Mayor addresses drug issue and helps set up task force

By on August 17, 2017

Kick-off planned Sept. 21

By Marylouise Sholly

Appalled at the rise in opiate overdose deaths in the area, Ephrata Mayor Ralph Mowen decided to do something about it.

“It’s running rampant and there’s no stereotype; anyone could fall victim to the opiate epidemic,” Mowen told borough council this week.

Beginning last March, and working with Ephrata’s Police Chief William Harvey, Mowen started a list of Lancaster County area professionals, including physicians, recovery specialists, educators, and law enforcement officials in order to work together to find solutions to the opiate addiction crisis.

Introductory letters were sent to 20 different organizations, inviting them to participate in the quest to look at ways to educate and possibly, heal.

“The response was overwhelming,” Mowen told council members.

This week, Mowen announced that the kick-off meeting for the task force will be Thursday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. in the Ephrata Area High School. The public is invited to attend.

“We want to solicit community involvement to set up various committees,” Mowen said. “We have a severe drug problem and we need to do something about it.

“What we’re experiencing right now is worse than the heroin crisis of 20 years ago,” the mayor said. “We had a local issue 20 years ago, but we have a national problem now.”

The plan is to institute a borough-wide program, with help from many different venues.

“If you don’t stop people from getting involved (in addiction), you’ll never get ahead of this issue,” Mowen said.

The group will focus on prevention, as well as education, he said.

“It’s a situation we’re going to work real hard on and we’re counting on the community to help,” Mowen said.

Council Vice President Thomas Reinhold said illegal drugs seem to be more easily accessible than in the past, and that has contributed to the rise in deaths.

Reinhold acted as council president in the absence of President Susan Rowe.

In another matter, borough residents Lena Fassnacht and Eloi Morales, who both live in an apartment building on South State Street, approached council to see what can be done about a mold issue in their building.

Fassnacht and her family have been living in the building for about three years, she said, and the mold has been getting worse in that time.

It’s something they can see and smell, Fassnacht said.

“When you open the door downstairs, the smell is ferocious,” Fassnacht said. “The mold odor is bad in my grandson’s room, too. I’m concerned not only for my family, but for the Morales’ newborn downstairs.”

The stucco building is not covered with any sealant and when it rains, moisture seeps inside the cracks in the building, Fassnacht said.

The building has seven units, Fassnacht said, and she doesn’t know if all the renters suffer the same mold problem as her family and the Morales family. She resides on the third floor of the building, and Morales, on the first.

The owners are aware of the problem, Fassnacht said.

The owners placed three de-humidifiers in the basement, but they are not running, Fassnacht said.

“I was told they’re a fire hazard because they’re plugged in with extension cords and they keep tripping,” Fassnacht said. “A lot of things are wrong here, but the mold is our big issue.”

About a year ago, Fassnacht called the borough to have someone look at the mold and help them to get rid of it.

Fassnacht isn’t sure of the official’s name, but he did look at the black substance on the walls and windows, then told her he couldn’t prove it was mold.

“It’s black and it’s growing on his wall,” Fassnacht said, referring to Morales’ apartment. “I’m not sure where to go to get help.”

Thomas Reinhold, acting as council president, told Fassnacht that Borough Manager D. Robert Thompson would have staff look into the problem.

“If there’s a way we can intercede, we will,” Reinhold said. “We’ll keep you apprised of what we can do…we’ll explore and see if there’s an avenue you can pursue.”

Morales said the mold is on his walls and windows, and he brought photos of the black matter to show council.

“I clean it, but it keeps coming back,” Morales said.

In another matter, Morales also told council that ice forms on the inside of his windows in winter.

“We need to understand what codes we have in place if we can conclude it’s an issue (for the borough), if not, then it becomes a legal matter,” Thompson said.

In another matter, David Dierwechter, president of the Board of Directors of Ephrata Performing Arts Center, informed council of the activities and future plans of EPAC.

“This year has been the most successful season we’ve had,” Dierwechter said. “Every one of our shows has sold above what we expected.”

The “Kids For Kids” summer program also had the highest registration of any EPAC kids’ camps so far, he added.

Upcoming performances include “Doubt,” based on the Tony-award winning play and the musical “Sweeney Todd.”

In December, “The Wizard of Oz” will be the featured show.

The group is currently planning the 2018 ensemble of shows, but they won’t be announced to the public until fall, he said.

EPAC has run a capital campaign and continues to rely on the generosity of patrons, sponsors, grant providers, and advertisers.

Cost of maintaining the building and quality programming does provide a constant challenge, Dierwechter said.

Unique to Ephrata’s performing arts group is their show sponsorship program, Dierwechter said.

The program works by EPAC offering a sponsor, which can be a business, corporation or individual the opportunity to have their own show.

Some companies use the evening as an event for employees, while others may turn their night over to another group as a gift. That group, in turn, can sell tickets and make the gifted event a fund-raiser for themselves.

“It’s something unique and a project not every theatre group can do,” Dierwechter said.

Alison Weaver, office manager for EPAC, gave a presentation on new “Bandini” software that EPAC will be using. The software has many uses, including the ability to create packages, track membership, combine programs, do email marketing, and link to Facebook.

“It will keep all our information in one place and we’ll now have the ability to scan tickets,” Weaver said. “It will be helpful with marketing.”

In other business, council unanimously approved the request for the Ephrata Rec Center to provide beer and wine during the Clare Point Derby event to be held at the rec center Oct. 28. The derby is a fund-raiser for the recreation center.

Harvey said he wanted to remind everyone that school is starting soon, on Aug. 28.

The chief advised motorists to slow down and watch out for children crossing the roads and walking to buses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Executive Board has to make a decision regarding the insurance money from the damage at Camp Furnace Hills. On August 17th, the Executive Board will meet to decide what to do regarding the insurance money and Camp Furnace Hills. The two decisions are so intertwined that the Board will be making their decision at this meeting.

This is a plea to write to council, prior to August 17th, to state why Camp Furnace Hills should remain open and leave the core of camp intake for the future. Offer them ideas of what Camp Furnace Hills could be or what you want to see in the camp.

====

Thank you to everyone who has contributed both seen and unseen to the media efforts over the past few days. GSHPA needs to hear from the broader community before their pending decision on Thursday. Interest from local print and TV media will be most welcome. We will know within the next day or two if national media outlets that have been tracking GSUSA’s financial and membership relations struggles will pick up this story. The issue was socialized this weekend and it looks promising. Be aware that your thoughts and messages are getting out – just take a look at the Board members and Council Staff that had signed up to monitor this page. You have their attention although their agreement cannot be assumed.

 

On 8/14/2017 at 4:51 PM members of the NLCRPD responded to an armed robbery of a convenient store gas station located in the 800 block of Lititz Pike. The suspect is described as a white male, thin build wearing sunglasses and a black long sleeved tee shirt. He fled on foot with and undisclosed amount of cash. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Theresa Stauffer at (717)733-0965 or at www.nlcrpd.org

 

If he is seen, contact 911 and do not attempt to approach him.

 

ROBBERY SUSPECT APPREHENDED- On 08/14/2017, at 1651 hrs., officers of the NLCRPD were requested to respond to the Citgo, located at 825 Lititz Pike in Warwick Township, for a reported robbery. It was reported that an unidentified white male entered the store brandishing what appeared to be a firearm. The male suspect held the gun towards the cashier and demanded money. The suspect then fled the store with an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspect’s picture was immediately shared on the NLCRPD’s Facebook and Crimewatch page. Within the hour, numerous tips were received identifying the suspect as Jade Paul Polynone, a 33-year-old male from the 200 blk. of South Broad street, Lititz. Jade Polynone was later taken into custody without issue. The brandished weapon was found to be a revolver style BB gun with black tape around the handle. Polynone is currently awaiting arraignment at the Lancaster County Prison.

 

I have so many amazing memories from summers spent here. It breaks my heart that my 3 year old daughter may not have the chance to do the same. Girl Scouts and Furnace Hills was such an important part of my life as a kid. Is there anyone I can send an email to or anything I can do to help?

 

Yesterday Northern Lancaster County PD arrested Polynone for robbing the Citgo, located at 825 Lititz Pike in Warwick Township, Polynone was later taken into custody without issue. The brandished weapon was found to be a revolver style BB gun with black tape around the handle. Polynone is currently awaiting arraignment at the Lancaster County Prison.

 

for a reported robbery. It was reported that an unidentified white male entered the store brandishing what appeared to be a firearm. The male suspect held the gun towards the cashier and demanded money. The suspect then fled the store with an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspect’s picture was immediately shared on the NLCRPD’s Facebook and Crimewatch page. Within the hour, numerous tips were received identifying the suspect as Jade Paul, a 33-year-old male from the 200 blk. of South Broad street, Lititz. Jade

 

SHEAR &  HABERMAN you’re  dishonest journalists. Antifa has been aggressively staging planned assaults at several rallies…Nobody is apologizing for Nazis…But free speech doesn’t mean throwing cement-filled cans or punching and clubbing people you hate.  It was only a matter of time before somebody got killed

 

 

Photos submitted

 

 

A group that included members of  Ephrata Troop 70256 were stranded at Camp Furnace Hills in the aftermath of the straight line wind storm that blew through Lancaster County Feb. 25.

Phil there’s two types of people in the world. Those who accept today’s one-sided journalism and those who see modern journalism as inherently dishonest by omission. The latter elected DJT. Hey Philip Heronsend me a link to a NEWS story that explains exactly how violence started and escalated in Charlottsville….I asked NYTs same question…Funny. news is no where to be found in a NEWSPAPER…a disgrace.

 

No one ever defended Nazi …but our law protects free speech. ACLU has historically defended KKK’s right to free speech.  Free speech does NOT include violence just because you hate somebody’s view.  Yet somehow our media takes great leap that truth (details)  doesn’t matter  bc Nazis deserve to be beaten…a very dangerous path and contradicts law and journalistic integrity (which appears tainted by rush to vilify DJT).

 

 

 

Truth: Charlottesville was clash between Antifa  Marxists and Neo-Nazis.

But let’s blame Trump.

Antifa’s underlying political goal is to transfer wealth and power by any means necessary. Obviously this threatens Nazis’s white-supremacist world view to maintain a white national identity.

The Marxist’s “no tolerance for the intolerant” mantra is driven by a victim vs oppressor standard aiming to eliminate what IT (no discussion, what “IT”) perceives as immoral, wrong, and devastating to the free world.

I personally reject both views as extreme, repulsive, dangerous and destructive. However, MSM clearly embraces the Marxist’s, FOCUSING ONLY ON Antifa’s championing of diversity and tolerance for race and ethnicity, and ignoring its intolerance for IDEAS and VALUES.

I liked the world I lived before the half-baked flick “Idiocracy” became a Ken Burns’ real life  documentary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A “no tolerance for the intolerant” paradigm that’s somehow more tolerant to Islamic fundamentalists than to those that fight them..

 

view

victim vs oppressor paradigm that we think is immoral, wrong, and devastating to the free world.

 

 

Day after election, I heard “stories” blaming Trump for “EMBOLDENING” male bosses who suddenly abused female workers. I read news stories on increased violence vs. minorities quoting BS stats from SPLC blaming DJT. Meanwhile daily anti-Trump attacks & actual violence by Antifa were ignored by media.

It took GOP baseball assassination attempts and four anti-Trump teenagers’ Facebook live Chicago feed – showing hate-fueled suspects cutting and beating a white, mentally DISABLED man – to nudge CBS, ABC, NBC news coverage.

That sickening story of tortured DISABLED man streamed live evaporated in seconds. Why Phil?  We in media loved reporting on scum Barry Robert Baker’s sucker punch of DISABLED man in West Chester…Double standard is obvious… imagine if pro-Trump thugs kidnapped disabled man in Chicago where they cut,  tortured, humiliated for hours.  Be honest!

Another ignored video showed a man robbed, viciously beaten and presumably car-jacked by black men bc “he voted for Trump”…There’s been numerous fake pro-Trump violence stories MSM salivated over then  ignored when discredited as false.

MSM have WAITED FOR THIS moment to PRESENT the story it so badly wants to tell…The glee by media over tragedy is sickening. “It’s Trump’s fault!”

Has DJT emboldened loony fringe right kooks? Yes. Contrarily, MSM have emboldened Alt-Left hate exponentially more through disturbing, agonizing, lopsided news coverage.

I’d also say MSM deserves the most credit for emboldened loony fringe right kooks by a single-minded dishonest focus on left issues, most notably BLM, a Marxist, anti-police

I became a conservative THE DAY BEFORE  before 12 police were shot in a massacre at BLM event in Dallas.

 

 

Other fake hate crimes attributed to Trump enthusiasts: Zeeshan-ul-hassan Usmani of Cary, N.C., says that he planned to leave the United States after an Islamophobic assault on his son following harassment by neighbors who named-checked Trump. School officials say there is no evidence that attack ever happened.

-A gay man in Santa Monica claimed to have been assaulted by Trump partisans, but the attack seems not to have happened.

-The San Francisco homeowner who raised a swastika flag was not a Trump supporter but a Trump opponent.

– Fake hate crimes and other politically charged fictitious horrors did not begin with Trump’s election. In her memoir, Lena Dunham made up a story about being raped by an Oberlin College Republican named Barry; after reporting here at National Review and elsewhere (and a lawsuit threat from an Oberlin graduate), Random House was obliged to emend the book.

– Two black students were charged with pro-KKK vandalism at the University of Miami. Terroristic threats made against Muslim students at Concordia University turned out to come not from right-wing Muslim haters but from a Lebanese-Canadian man named Hisham Saadi.

– Anti-Arab graffiti on the home of an Arab family in Ohio was put there by a fellow named Osama (!) Nazzal. A large Internet archive of such fake hate crimes, with links to local media reporting, is available here.

A catalogue of similarly false, exaggerated, or distorted hate crimes has been assembled by Reason  http://reason.com/blog/2016/11/11/election-night-hijab-attack-false

The day after election, I heard “stories” blaming Trump for “emboldening” male bosses who suddenly abused  female co-workers. I read news stories on increased violence vs. minorities quoting BS stats from SPLC blaming DJT.

Meanwhile daily anti-Trump attacks & actual violence by Antifa were ignored by media. It took GOP baseball assassination attempts and four anti-Trump teenagers’ Facebook live Chicago feed – showing hate-fueled suspects cutting and beating a white, mentally DISABLED man – to nudge CBS, ABC, NBC news coverage.

That sickening story of tortured DISABLED man streamed live evaporated in seconds. Why Phil?  We in media loved reporting on scum Barry Robert Baker’s sucker punch of DISABLED man in West Chester…Double standard is obvious… imagine if pro-Trump thugs kidnapped disabled man in Chicago where they cut,  tortured, humiliated him for hours.  Be honest!

Another ignored video showed a man robbed, viciously beaten, and presumably car-jacked by black men bc “he voted for Trump”…There’s been numerous fake pro-Trump violence stories MSM salivated over then  ignored when discredited as false.

Media have waited for THIS moment to PRESENT the story it so badly wants to tell…The glee by media over Charlottseville tragedy is sickening. Has DJT emboldened loony fringe right kooks? Yes. But he’s emboldened Alt-Left hate (media endorsed) exponentially more. Bottom line: NEWS coverage is disturbingly & agonizingly unbalanced, unfair and even untrue.

Other fake hate crimes attributed to Trump enthusiasts: Zeeshan-ul-hassan Usmani of Cary, N.C., says that he planned to leave the United States after an Islamophobic assault on his son following harassment by neighbors who named-checked Trump. School officials say there is no evidence that attack ever happened.

-A gay man in Santa Monica claimed to have been assaulted by Trump partisans, but the attack seems not to have happened.

-The San Francisco homeowner who raised a swastika flag was not a Trump supporter but a Trump opponent.

– Fake hate crimes and other politically charged fictitious horrors did not begin with Trump’s election. In her memoir, Lena Dunham made up a story about being raped by an Oberlin College Republican named Barry; after reorting here at National Review and elsewhere (and a lawsuit threat from an Oberlin graduate), Random House was obliged to emend the book.

– Two black students were charged with pro-KKK vandalism at the University of Miami. Terroristic threats made against Muslim students at Concordia University turned out to come not from right-wing Muslim haters but from a Lebanese-Canadian man named Hisham Saadi.

– Anti-Arab graffiti on the home of an Arab family in Ohio was put there by a fellow named Osama  Nazzal. A large Internet archive of such fake hate crimes, with links to local media reporting, is available here.

A catalogue of similarly false, exaggerated, or distorted hate crimes has been assembled by Reason  http://reason.com/blog/2016/11/11/election-night-hijab-attack-false

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today is Purple Heart Day, which is uniquely special to us this year at The Ephrata Review.

The efforts of our staff and Adamstown-area resident Brian Travis, who discovered a lost World War II Purple Heart medal, have failed despite months to track down the family of a Purple Heart recipient who lost their medal.

The hero Purple Heart recipient, Harvey Wert, born in 1921 in Mohnton, died on Sat. June 17, 1944 during the Battle of Normandy.

He is honored at the American Legion Auxiliary Cloister Unit 429 War Memorial, located near the Eicher Arts Center, 407 Cocalico St. Ephrata.

Our original plan was to do a story on how Travis was able to locate the family and return the medal.

Nevertheless, since that didn’t happen, today we’re asking for help from The Ephrata Review readers’ help in contacting the Wert family.

This story began while Travis pursued his hobby of foraging through possible treasures at thrift stores. On the morning of April 6 he noticed a discolored what cardboard box priced $1.97 on the shelf of the Goodwill store in Shillington near Reading.

Inside was another box inscribed with “Purple Heart.”  Inside that was a heart-shaped medal within a one-and-a-half inch wide gold border around a profile of General George Washington.

A shield of George Washington’s coat of arms – a white shield with two red bars and three red stars in chief – between green leaves. On the back is a raised bronze heart inscribed with “For Military Merit” below the coat of arms and leaves.

“At first I didn’t think it was real,” Travis said. “The white faded box looked old but I thought ‘How could a World War II Purple Heart get here’?”

He showed it to a friend who confirmed its authenticity.  “The last time I saw a Purple Heart like that was when my boyfriend was killed in Vietnam,” she told him.

So what was Travis to do?

“Then I saw the name (Harvey Wert) on the back and found some information on P.F.C. Wert online,” he said. “But I could not locate any relatives.”

Travis was determined to reunite the medal with the family. He contacted Captain Zachariah Fike of Purple Hearts Reunited online and sent the medal to the organization in Vermont for framing.

Captain Fike found the name and number to Wert’s nephew in Mohnton.

They both spoke on the phone with him to learn the medal was inadvertently donated to Goodwill during the process of cleaning out a third-generation home.

“We were planning to present the medal to him and other relatives on the Sunday before Memorial Day at the Ephrata war memorial where PFC Wert’s name is listed,” Travis said.

He left a couple voicemails, but never heard back from the family.

“I went to the memorial that day just in case someone showed up,” he said. “No one came. It appears that the family has moved and I do not have a contact number for them.”

Perhaps it was meant to be.

Perhaps, if  P.F.C. Harvey Wert’s Purple Heart was returned, this story may never have been written.

Perhaps this hero’s history would be forgotten among the people in the area where young Harvey Wert grew up.

Nevertheless, thanks to the Purple Heart Reunited, we know his story now:

PFC Harvey Wert (Service Number: 33483921) was born in 1921 in Mohnton, Pennsylvania to Isaac and Emma Louisa Wert. He had brothers Daniel B., Paul, Stanley, and John. He had one sister, Sallie Elizabeth.

He would later enlist for service in the U.S. Army on 03 December 1942 and was assigned to the 175th Infantry Regiment of the 29th Infantry Division. His unit landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy on June 7, 1944 and later moved toward the objective of St. Lo, France. Against heavy German resistance, Harvey lost his life on June 17, 1944.

Ironically, he paid the ultimate sacrifice on a hill named “Purple Heart Hill”, as the 29th Division sustained over 600 casualties there. He is buried in the Normandy American Cemetery, Plot G, Row 20, Grave 12.

For his sacrifice, he was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Military Order of the Purple Heart established Aug. 7 as Purple Heart Day in 2014. Prior to that, the day was often marked on various dates. The first Badge of Military Merit awards presented by George Washington, then still commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, on Aug. 7, 1782.

 

You found Purple Hearts Reunited online and contacted Captain Zachary Fike who took possession of the medal.     You contacted the family after Purple Hearts Reunited framed the medal . However you lost contact with the family who recently moved.   In fact it was during that move, from a home Mohnton? where three generation had lived, that the medal was misplaced.

 

 

Here’s some photos and some info Capt Fike wrote up and sent to me in May. I will send more photos to you today:

 

 

“PFC Harvey Wert (Service Number: 33483921) was born in 1921 in Mohnton, Pennsylvania to Isaac and Emma Louisa Wert. He had brothers Daniel B., Paul, Stanley, and John. He had one sister, Sallie Elizabeth. He would later enlist for service in the U.S. Army on 03 December 1942 and was assigned to the 175th Infantry Regiment of the 29th Infantry Division. His unit landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy on 07 June 1944 and later moved toward the objective of St. Lo, France. Against heavy German resistance, Harvey lost his life on 17 June 1944. Ironically, he paid the ultimate sacrifice on a hill named “Purple Heart Hill”, as the 29th Division sustained over 600 casualties there. He is buried in the Normandy American Cemetery, Plot G, Row 20, Grave 12. For his sacrifice, he was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.”

 

 

 

 

Here’s some photos and some info Capt Fike wrote up and sent to me in May. I will send more photos to you today:

 

“PFC Harvey Wert (Service Number: 33483921) was born in 1921 in Mohnton, Pennsylvania to Isaac and Emma Louisa Wert. He had brothers Daniel B., Paul, Stanley, and John. He had one sister, Sallie Elizabeth. He would later enlist for service in the U.S. Army on 03 December 1942 and was assigned to the 175th Infantry Regiment of the 29th Infantry Division. His unit landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy on 07 June 1944 and later moved toward the objective of St. Lo, France. Against heavy German resistance, Harvey lost his life on 17 June 1944. Ironically, he paid the ultimate sacrifice on a hill named “Purple Heart Hill”, as the 29th Division sustained over 600 casualties there. He is buried in the Normandy American Cemetery, Plot G, Row 20, Grave 12. For his sacrifice, he was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.”

 

 

Good idea. Pat and Dena, please sort out how you want to package those two items for both papers. I would suggested naming them Lyme1, 2. For Lititz, please place in News Ready.

 

As for the local angle, we can talk more about that at our 1 p.m. meeting.

 

 

 

A vaccine to prevent Lyme disease is being fast-tracked for approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to address what public health officials say is the most rapidly growing vector-borne disease in the United States.

Currently, there is no Lyme vaccine for humans, although one is available for dogs. The human vaccine being expedited for approval by the FDA is known in its preapproval phase as VLA15, a product of French vaccine-maker Valneva. Only 180 participants in a preliminary clinical trial have received the inoculation so far.

Valneva has been authorized to move its research into the FDA’s program called Fast Track. Designated products are aimed at unmet medical needs, agency officials said.

grown

Long Island doctors and those in other regions infested with ticks said a Lyme vaccine would be a welcome addition to the medical arsenal.

“The incidence of Lyme disease has increased dramatically,” said Dr. Benjamin Luft, the Edmund D. Pellegrino Professor of Medicine at Stony Brook University and a specialist in infectious diseases. He said the number of people who have contracted Lyme disease and other tick-related illnesses has risen as the bugs have expanded their range.

Luft, who himself has developed a Lyme vaccine, said that any inoculation aimed at Borrelia burgdorferi — the bacterium that causes Lyme disease — must address the variations seen in the organism. Otherwise, he said, the vaccine is of no benefit to those who receive it.

Luft’s vaccine was licensed to the Illinois-based Baxter pharmaceutical company, but the license now is held by Shire Plc, he said.

Shire, with headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, acquired Baxter’s biopharmaceutical division last year.

Valneva officials, meanwhile, said their vaccine appears to be effective against the six most common types of B. burgdorferi that are prevalent in the United States and Europe. Under the fast-track designation, the company will advance to a larger clinical study of the vaccine early next year.

 

The expedited approach with fast-tracked therapies, such as the Lyme vaccine, means the FDA will accept less data for approval and that studies of the vaccine can continue after it goes on the market.

 

 

Dr. Benjamin Luft, the Edmund D. Pellegrino Professor of Medicine at Stony Brook University and a specialist in infectious diseases, is shown on Sept. 6, 2016. Photo Credit: Ed Betz

Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, is transmitted through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick, often called the deer tick. The bug is a parasite of the white-footed mouse, whose populations have exploded on the Island, especially in recent months.

 

@Newsday

 

Early Lyme symptoms include a rash that gradually expands and a constellation of other, less specific ailments — fever, a stiff neck, joint pain and fatigue. Antibiotic therapy can effectively treat the infection in a majority of patients.

 

One of the most basic problems in the Lyme disease dilemma, experts said, is the mounting number of patients. The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now suggests the actual number of diagnosed cases may be 10 times higher than reported by states across the country. The agency estimates 300,000 cases occur annually nationwide based on a variety of factors, even though their actual tally is 30,000.

 

In New York, there were 3,252 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in 2015, the most recent year for which there are complete statistics, according to the state Department of Health. About one-fifth of those cases — 669 — occurred in Suffolk County, the Island’s epicenter of Lyme and other tick-borne infections.

 

Concern about ticks and the illnesses they cause have been quantified in other quarters of the medical community as well. Calls to the Tick-Borne Disease Resource Center at Southampton Hospital, for example, jumped 46.6 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to the hospital’s website.

 

Health

Who are Long Island’s top doctors?

 

The CDC defines Lyme as the fastest-growing vector-borne disease in the United States. More people come down with tick-transmitted Lyme than diseases borne by fleas, mosquitoes or any other biting insects. Lyme disease cases are concentrated along the Eastern Seaboard and throughout portions of the Midwest, experts said.

 

 

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“It’s a serious public health concern,” Dr. Alan Bulbin, director of infectious diseases at St. Francis Hospital in Flower Hill, said of Lyme disease during an interview last week.

 

But Bulbin questioned the value of an inoculation that offers protection against only one of the pathogens carried by ticks.

 

“Lyme captures most of the media attention, but you potentially can get Lyme, anaplasmosis and babesiosis — the big three — all from one tick bite. So there are other infections that can make you acutely sicker than Lyme disease,” he said.

 

Like Lyme, anaplasmosis is a bacterial infection that causes headaches, muscle pain and fatigue. The infection can prove fatal for some people. Babesiosis is a debilitating parasitic infection that zeros in on red blood cells and causes a malarial-like disease, which also can be fatal in some cases.

 

Health

What are the best patient-ranked hospitals on LI?

 

Dr. Luis Marcos, an associate professor of clinical medicine in Stony Brook’s division of infectious diseases, is working on a project led by Luft that routinely studies the blood of 250 outdoor workers on the East End. The aim is to assess their exposure to ticks.

 

 

“A Lyme disease vaccine is important,” Marcos said. “But it is also important to recognize other tick-borne diseases.”

 

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Purple Heart break

Brian Travis noticed a discolored white cardboard box priced $1.97 Goodwill store shelf. Inside was another box inscribed  “Purple Heart.”

 

 

By Patrick Burns

Purple Heart Day on Tuesday found us in a unique situation.

For weeks, we’ve failed to help Adamstown-area resident Brian Travis deliver a lost World War II Purple Heart medal to the hero’s family.

The Purple Heart recipient, Harvey Wert, born in 1921 in Mohnton, died Sat. June 17, 1944 during the Battle of Normandy.

Wert is honored at the American Legion Auxiliary Cloister Post 429 War Memorial, located near the Eicher Arts Center, 407 Cocalico St. in Ephrata.

Our original plan was a feature story on how Travis located the family and return the medal.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

The story began while Travis pursued his hobby of foraging through possible treasures on thrift stores shelves.

On the morning of April 6 he noticed a discolored white cardboard box priced $1.97 on the shelf of the Goodwill store in Shillington near Reading.

Inside was another box inscribed  “Purple Heart.”

Inside that was a heart-shaped medal with a one-and-a-half inch wide gold border around a profile of Gen. George Washington.

A shield of George Washington’s coat of arms — a white shield with two red bars and three red stars in chief — between green leaves. On the back is a raised bronze heart inscribed “For Military Merit” below the coat of arms and leaves.

“At first I didn’t think it was real,” Travis said. “The white faded box looked old but I thought ‘How could a World War II Purple Heart get here’?”

He showed it to a friend who confirmed its authenticity.

“The last time I saw a Purple Heart like that was when my boyfriend was killed in Vietnam,” she told him.

So what was Travis to do?

“Then I saw the name (Harvey Wert) on the back and found some information on P.F.C. Wert online,” he said. “But I could not locate any relatives.”

Travis was determined to reunite the medal with the family. He contacted Captain Zachariah Fike of Purple Hearts Reunited online and sent the medal to the organization in Vermont for framing.

Captain Fike found the name and number to Wert’s nephew in Mohnton.

They both spoke on the phone with him to learn the medal was inadvertently donated to Goodwill during the process of cleaning out a third-generation home.

“We were planning to present the medal to him and other relatives on the Sunday before Memorial Day at the Ephrata war memorial where PFC Wert’s name is listed,” Travis said.

He left a couple voicemails, but never heard back from the family.

“I went to the memorial that day just in case someone showed up,” he said. “No one came. It appears that the family has moved and I do not have a contact number for them.”

  • One could say maybe it was meant to be.

If PFC Harvey Wert’s Purple Heart wasn’t lost, his story wouldn’t be told 73 years after his death.

This hero’s history is no longer forgotten among the people in the area where young Harvey Wert grew up.

Thanks to Purple Heart Reunited, we know this:

PFC Harvey Wert (Service Number: 33483921) was born in 1921 in Mohnton, Pennsylvania to Isaac and Emma Louisa Wert.

He had brothers Daniel B., Paul, Stanley, and John. He had one sister, Sallie Elizabeth.

Wert would later enlist for service in the U.S. Army on Dec. 3,1942 and was assigned to the 175th Infantry Regiment of the 29th Infantry Division. His unit landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy on June 7, 1944 and later moved toward the objective of St. Lo, France. Against heavy German resistance, Harvey lost his life on June 17, 1944.

Ironically, he paid the ultimate sacrifice on a hill named “Purple Heart Hill”, as the 29th Division sustained over 600 casualties there. He is buried in the Normandy American Cemetery, Plot G, Row 20, Grave 12.

For his sacrifice, the U.S. Army posthumously awarded PFC Wert the Purple Heart.

Patrick Burns is social media editor and  staff writer for The Ephrata Review. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4455

 

 

 

About Patrick Burns

Social media editor and staff writer for Ephrata Review and Lititz Record Express.

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