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Precautions For Summer Posted July 18, 2018

Pennsylvania residents and visitors are urged to take precautions to avoid ticks and mosquitoes when spending time outdoors this summer. Spending time outdoors and participating in physical activity is a key part of living a healthy life; however, people need to be aware of ticks and mosquitoes and the serious diseases they carry. As Lyme disease and West Nile virus become more prevalent in Pennsylvania, it is important for people to protect themselves when spending time outdoors.

This year, funding was bolstered to protect Pennsylvanians from Lyme disease, Zika virus, and West Nile virus through increases to improve mosquito and tick surveillance and provide education about the diseases associated with these insects. Through simple means like wearing insect repellent and avoiding peak mosquito activity times, Pennsylvanians can reduce their risks of mosquito bites and possibly being exposed to West Nile Virus.

In 2017, there were 11,900 cases of Lyme disease recorded in Pennsylvania. Throughout the last several years, the state has consistently recorded one of the highest counts of suspected Lyme disease cases in the United States.

Blacklegged ticks, also known as deer ticks, are the most common carrier of Lyme disease. Ticks typically thrive in tall grass, brush, and wooded areas, but deer ticks have been found in every county in the state and can live in any habitat. Ticks can infect humans year-round, but are most likely to do so from late spring through the summer months.

Whether visiting one of Pennsylvania's 121 state parks or hiking through more than 2.2 million acres of state forestland, outdoors enthusiasts must be aware of their surroundings. The first line of defense against Lyme disease and any other tick-borne illness is to avoid tick-infested habitats, such as areas dense with shrubbery or tall grass. Proper use of personal protective measures such as repellents and protective clothing are also essential when enjoying public lands.

Before heading outdoors, it is important to cover exposed skin, wear lightweight and light-colored clothing to aid in insect detection, and use an insect repellent containing 20 percent or more DEET. Once returning home, people should immediately check themselves, children, and pets for ticks. Then, individuals should take a shower to remove any ticks that may be attached to their skin. Clothing and gear should be checked carefully and put in the dryer on high to kill any ticks.

Symptoms of Lyme disease can include a bull's-eye rash, fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes. It is important to know that someone bit by a tick carrying Lyme disease may not always get a bull's-eye rash.

Anyone who believes they have been bitten by a tick should speak to a doctor immediately. Antibiotic treatment during the early stages of Lyme disease can help prevent the onset of more severe symptoms. If not treated promptly, Lyme disease may lead to severe health concerns affecting the heart, joints, and nervous system.

West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes that breed in areas with standing and stagnant water. These areas include urban catch basins, clogged gutters, discarded tires, poorly maintained swimming pools, flower pots, roof gutters, and other containers that hold water.

The Department of Environmental Protection surveys communities affected by West Nile virus each year and monitors cases of the virus in humans, mosquitoes, birds, and horses. In 2017, there were 20 human cases of West Nile virus reported in Pennsylvania. So far in 2018, no positive human cases have been reported.

Symptoms of West Nile virus are often flulike and can include a fever, headache, body aches, rash, and swollen lymph nodes, and typically only last a few days. However, West Nile virus can cause a serious neurological infection, including encephalitis and meningitis. Symptoms of these infections include a severe headache, high fever, muscle weakness, neck stiffness, paralysis, possible confusion and disorientation, tremors, and even a coma.

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EMS Organization Purchases Ambulance July 18, 2018

This summer, Good Fellowship Ambulance and EMS Training Institute dedicated a new ambulance, which was purchased with a $184,000 donation from the Lasko Family Foundation. The donation was announced at the dedication ceremony honoring the late Oscar Lasko and all his contributions to the greater West Chester community. State Sen. Andy Dinniman thanked the Lasko family for the donation.

At the ceremony, Vivian Lasko, Oscar's widow, turned the ignition on the ambulance, officially putting it into service. The ambulance is fitted with a plaque that reads, "This ambulance is dedicated in memory of Oscar Lasko for his lifetime commitment of improving our community through his generosity. Time will never erase the work he has accomplished and the lives he has positively impacted."

Oscar Lasko, a West Chester native and lifelong resident, operated Lasko Metal Products. He used his success to give back to his hometown community, including the West Chester YMCA, which bears his name; the Chester County Council of the Boy Scouts of America; Kesher Israel Congregation; and Chester County Hospital. Lasko passed away in April 2017.

Good Fellowship Ambulance, located in West Chester, responds to more than 5,000 emergency service calls per year.

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Community Blood Drives Scheduled July 18, 2018

Penn Medicine LG Health will sponsor community blood drives throughout Lancaster County. All blood collected during the drives will benefit patients at Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute, Lancaster General Hospital, and Women and Babies Hospital. Blood donors must be in good health, be age 16 or older, and weigh at least 110 pounds. No appointments are needed.

Community members may also schedule appointments to donate at the Penn Medicine LG Health Blood Donor Center at the Suburban Pavilion, 2104 Harrisburg Pike, Lancaster, by calling 717-544-0170 and choosing option 1, or by visiting www.lghealth.org/giveblood. The Blood Donor Center hours are Mondays from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Appointments are suggested at the donor center to reduce wait time.

Blood donors will be received from 2 to 7 p.m. Blood drives will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 1, at White Horse Fire Company, 111 White Horse Road, Gap; Thursday, Aug. 2, at Alliance Church of Elizabethtown, 425 Cloverleaf Road, Elizabethtown; Wednesday, Aug. 15, at Lancaster General Hospital, 555 N. Duke St., Third Floor Balcony, James Street, Lancaster; Thursday, Aug. 16, at East Fairview Church of the Brethren, 1187 Fairview Road, Manheim; Tuesday, Aug. 21, at Yoder's Market, 14 S. Tower Road, New Holland; Wednesday, Aug. 22, at Kinzer Fire Company, 3521 Lincoln Highway East, Kinzers; Thursday, Aug. 23, at Intercourse Fire Company, 10 N. Hollander Road, Intercourse; and Wednesday, Aug. 29, at Hosanna Church, 29 Green Acre Road, Lititz.

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New Cancer Screening Guidelines Posted July 16, 2018

The American Cancer Society (ACS) has released new recommendations for colorectal cancer screening guidelines, including the age screenings should begin for colorectal cancer. Previously, the screening age for a person at average risk was 50. The new guidelines have reduced that age to 45.

By lowering the screening age, the goal is to detect colorectal cancer earlier in patients who are at an increased risk for the disease. Even with advances in detection and treatment, colorectal cancer is the number one abdominal malignancy that affects both men and women. Roughly 1 in 20 Americans will develop this cancer, and getting a colonoscopy can help in the detection and treatment of it.

Last year, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that colon cancer rates increased from 1 percent to 2.4 percent annually since the mid-1980s among adults ages 20 to 39. For the 39 years encompassed in the study, rectal cancer rates grew 3.2 percent annually for adults ages 20 to 39.

Colon and rectal cancer have, historically, affected older men and women. But the most recent research shows an increase in the number of adults in their 20s and 30s who are being diagnosed with these cancers, particularly rectal cancer.

Individuals already at an increased risk for colorectal cancer as a result of their lifestyle or family history may need to begin screenings at an earlier age. Individuals should talk to their health care provider about risk factors and what age they should begin screenings.

People who are at high or increased risk for colorectal cancer can include those with a family or personal history of colon or rectal cancer or colorectal polyps; a family or personal history of other cancers, including ovarian, uterine, gastric, and breast; a history of inflammatory bowel disease; and a personal history of radiation to the abdomen or pelvic area as a result of cancer treatment.

The ACS' new guidelines also issue recommendations about colorectal cancer screening methods. While colonoscopy remains the gold standard for both the detection and treatment of colorectal cancer and precancerous polyps, other options are available.

In its new guidelines, the ACS recommends choosing from six different types of screening tests. Screenings include a highly sensitive fecal immunochemical test, a highly sensitive guaiac-based fecal occult blood test, multi-targeted stool DNA tests every three years, a colonoscopy every 10 years, a virtual colonoscopy (CT colonography) every five years, and flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years.

These screening recommendations are for every patient, and it does not matter which method they choose. However, if a test is positive, people should make sure to follow up with their health care provider, as they will then require a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy can detect potentially cancerous polyps and lesions before they develop into cancer or a more progressive form of cancer.

If an individual notices any of the symptoms of colorectal cancer, regardless of their age or health status, they should call their health care provider. Symptoms include a change in bowel habits, like diarrhea or constipation; rectal bleeding; blood in the stool; abdominal pain or cramping; weakness and fatigue; and unintended weight loss. Timely treatment can affect the choice of treatment options and survival.

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Summer Health Talks To Continue July 12, 2018

UPMC Pinnacle is holding a series of Lancaster/Lititz Summer Health Talks. The next event, a Surgical Weight Loss Seminar, will take place on Thursday, July 26, from 7 to 9 p.m. at UPMC Pinnacle Lititz, located on Highlands Drive, Lititz.

To register, readers may visit www.upmcpinnacle.com/LititzBariatric or call 717-627-0398.

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Neighborhood Watch Sets Meeting July 12, 2018

The Rohrerstown Neighborhood Watch will hold a meeting on Monday, July 23, at 7 p.m. in the conference room at the Rohrerstown Fire Department, 500 Elizabeth St., Lancaster. The meeting is open to all Rohrerstown residents.

Police officer Matthew Spitler will be in attendance to answer questions.

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TPA Pennsylvania Division Wins Award July 12, 2018

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Fundraiser To Benefit Police July 11, 2018

A fundraising campaign is underway to help equip the New Holland Police Department with Cuddle Bear book and plush sets to offer to children that they encounter during police calls.

The goal, with the help of community members and local businesses, is to provide a way for officers to comfort young children at crash scenes and in other situations where children are traumatized. The practice simultaneously fosters good relationships between police officers and the community they serve.

Through the Literacy for a Lifetime program of Usborne Books and More, donations will be matched at 50 percent. Donations of any amount will be accepted.

The fundraiser will continue through Thursday, July 26. For more details, readers may visit www.gofundme.com/cuddle-bear-to-the-rescue.

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LG Health Receives Donation July 11, 2018

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Farmers Market Vouchers Available July 11, 2018

To ensure that families with nutritional needs have access to fresh fruits and vegetables, the Community Action Partnership has announced that the agency's WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) locations will distribute farmers market vouchers to WIC customers through the Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), which helps ensure good health for mothers and children and support both community farmers markets and Pennsylvania farmers.

FMNP provides qualifying WIC customers with $20 in vouchers to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers markets through Friday, Nov. 30. Pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women and children ages 1 to 5 are eligible.

WIC nutrition staff distribute the vouchers to WIC customers along with nutrition education emphasizing the importance of eating fresh fruits and vegetables and a list of participating farmers markets in the area. The FMNP is sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. Across the commonwealth, more than 1,000 farmers benefit from the program.

More information about WIC is available by calling 717-509-3686 or visiting www.caplanc.org.

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Craley Community Celebration To Support Fire Company July 11, 2018

On Friday and Saturday, July 20 and 21, the Craley Community Fire Company, 73 New Bridgeville Road, Wrightsville, will host the Craley Community Celebration featuring a book sale, a chicken barbecue and other food, children's activities, and a craft and yard sale. The public is invited to attend.

Thousands of used books will be available to purchase at the book sale, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on July 20 inside the fire hall and will reopen at 8 a.m. on July 21 and continue throughout the day. Organizer Robert Kline noted that the book sale will replace the one normally held at Craley Days, which historically took place in August. Craley Days is being replaced this year with the community celebration.

Donations of quality used books are still being accepted and may be dropped off in front of the fire hall. Additionally, individuals interested in renting a space for the craft or yard sale for a set fee may contact Kline at 717-891-2303.

Subs and pretzel sandwiches will be available to purchase on July 20. A bake sale will take place on July 21, with the chicken barbecue beginning at 11 a.m. and continuing until sold out. Additional food available on July 21 will include breakfast sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, soft pretzels, homemade ice cream, and more.

Children may enjoy playing in a bounce house and watching presentations by Marty's Miraculous Flea Circus, a children's act with fleas performing circus-inspired tricks.

All proceeds from the two-day celebration will support the Craley Community Fire Company. "I think people don't always understand how fortunate they are to have a volunteer fire company, and the best thing you can do is to support them," remarked member Betsy Shaw.

Craley Community Fire Company, a 100-percent volunteer fire company located in Lower Windsor Township, has been serving the local area since 1914. Individuals with questions about the community celebration may contact Kline at 717-891-2303 or robdkline@yahoo.com.

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PA Child Abuse Hotline Posted July 11, 2018

All schools in Pennsylvania will be required to publicly display a poster containing the statewide toll-free number for reporting suspected child abuse, beginning in the 2018-19 school year. Known as ChildLine, the toll-free hotline number to report suspected child abuse in Pennsylvania is 800-932-0313.

Posting this critical information in schools will let students know they have somewhere to turn if they need to report abuse or neglect that they have suffered or if they suspect another child is being abused or neglected. The poster is required to be displayed in a high-traffic, public area widely used by students. The poster also would include the address of the Department of Human Services' website that provides information and resources related to child protection.

For more information, readers may visit www.keepkidssafe.pa.gov.

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Summer Travel Safety Tips Posted July 10, 2018

Anyone planning to travel this summer may want to consider taking precautions to protect their health. Patient First has posted health-related vacation tips.

Travelers should ask their doctor about health issues and health care in the regions they plan to visit. Vaccinations or certain medications may be necessary. Travelers should research the area's medical facilities, including hospitals, urgent care centers, and pharmacies.

Readers should also remember to take any prescription and nonprescription medication they might need. They should pack the medicine in a carry-on bag if they fly so they do not lose the medicine if their luggage gets lost.

While traveling, people should wash their hands frequently to protect against viruses and bacteria. When traveling by car, people should wear seat belts and take frequent breaks to help drivers stay alert behind the wheel and give everyone a chance to stretch their muscles.

Vacationers should not forget about sun protection. Before going outside, they should protect their skin from the sun's damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. People should always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum of 30 SPF, even when it is cloudy. Sunscreen should be applied 15 to 20 minutes before one leaves home. People should reapply sunscreen at least every two hours and after swimming. Wide-brimmed hats help to shade the neck and face, but they do not offer complete protection. People should use sunscreen on these sensitive skin areas.

Travelers should also wear light-weight sun-protective clothing. Long sleeves and long pants will help protect skin. Travelers should wear sunglasses that block UV rays and also take advantage of shade whenever possible. They should keep in mind the sun's UV rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Travelers should carry any important medical history with them, along with the name, address and phone number of an emergency contact.

For more information, readers may visit www.patientfirst.com/blog.

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Boosting The Immune System July 10, 2018

A strong immune system can go a long way toward ensuring one's overall health. But bolstering one's immune system is no small task, as even medical researchers admit there is still much to learn about the links between lifestyle and immune function.

The Harvard Medical School notes that a strongly functioning immune system requires balance and harmony. So it stands to reason that a highly unhealthy lifestyle will compromise the immune system, but it is also worth noting that pushing the body too hard in the other direction also can adversely affect immune function.

Researchers continue to study the potential links between immune response and variables such as diet, exercise, age, and psychological stress. Though studies are ongoing, the Harvard Medical School notes that the immune system is bolstered by various strategies associated with healthy living.

Smoking is linked to a host of diseases and ailments, so it is no surprise that it also compromises the immune system. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) notes that cigarette smoke contains high levels of tar and other chemicals, which compromise the immune system's ability to effectively combat infections. The effects of smoking on the immune system are both immediate and long-term. Smokers' immune systems may not be able to fend off infections like the common cold as effectively as the immune systems of nonsmokers. And over time, as smokers keep smoking, their immune systems will continue to weaken, which the NCI says makes them more vulnerable to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

There is no magical food or foods that can strengthen the immune system to a point where infection is impossible. However, the Cleveland Clinic notes that a balanced, healthy diet that includes a mix of vitamins and minerals plays a role in strengthening the immune system. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain a bevy of vitamins and antioxidants that help the immune system fight off potential infections. Many people bemoan the absence of fresh fruits and vegetables at their local grocery stores during certain times of the year. But the Cleveland Clinic notes that manufacturers typically package frozen fruits and vegetables at peak ripeness. That means frozen fruits and vegetables provide similar nutrition to fresh fruits and vegetables during those times of year when foods are not in season.

Like a healthy diet, routine exercise provides a host of benefits, and one such benefit is its impact on the immune systems. The U.S. National Library of Medicine notes that the precise relationship between exercise and immune system function remains a mystery. Some researchers suspect that physical activity may flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways, reducing one's risk of getting a cold, flu, or other illness. Another theory suggests that exercises causes changes in white blood cells, which the immune system uses to fight disease. These exercise-related changes may make it possible for the cells to detect illnesses earlier than they would if the body was not exercised regularly. While it is important to note that these are just theories, the Harvard Medical School suggests that it is reasonable to consider moderate regular exercise an important component of a healthy, immune-boosting lifestyle.

Men and women interested in boosting their immune systems will no doubt find many products claiming to do just that. The Harvard Medical School urges consumers to be skeptical of such products, many of which make dubious claims that are not rooted in recognized scientific research.

The immune system remains a mystery in many ways. But several healthy strategies may help people bolster their immune systems and potentially reduce their risk of infection.

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Information About Alzheimer's Shared July 10, 2018

Aging is associated with a host of mental and physical side effects. For example, many adults expect their vision to deteriorate as they grow older. Such a side effect can be combatted with routine eye examinations that may indicate a need for a stronger eyeglass prescription, a relatively simple solution that will not impact adults' daily lives much at all.

While physical side effects like diminished vision might not strike much fear in the hearts of aging men and women, those same people may be concerned and/or frightened by the notion of age-related cognitive decline. Some immediately associate such decline with Alzheimer's disease, an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that gradually destroys memory and cognitive skills, ultimately compromising a person's ability to perform even the simplest of tasks.

But age-related cognitive decline is not always symptomatic of Alzheimer's disease. Learning about Alzheimer's and how to maintain mental acuity can help aging men and women better understand the changes their brains might be undergoing as they near or pass retirement age.

The National Institute on Aging notes that only a very rare form of Alzheimer's disease is inherited. Early-onset familial Alzheimer's disease, or FAD, is caused by mutations in certain genes. If these genes are passed down from parent to child, then the child is likely, but not certain, to get FAD. So while many adults may be concerned about Alzheimer's because one of their parents had the disease, the NIA notes that the majority of Alzheimer's cases are late-onset, which has no obvious family pattern.

Studies of Alzheimer's disease are ongoing, but to date there is no definitive way to prevent the onset of the disease. Although researchers have not yet determined a way to prevent Alzheimer's disease, adults can take certain steps to maintain their mental acuity into retirement.

Routine exercise may be most associated with physical benefits, but the NIA notes that such activity has been linked to benefits for the brain as well. For example, a 2011 study published in the journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America" found that aerobic exercise training increases the size of the hippocampus, leading to improvements in spatial memory. The NIA also notes that one study indicated exercise stimulated the brain's ability to maintain old network connections and make new ones vital to cognitive health.

Avid readers may be happy to learn that one of their favorite pastimes can improve the efficiency of their cognitive systems while delaying such systems' decline. A 2013 study published in the journal "Neurology" by researchers at Chicago's Rush University Medical Center found that mentally active lifestyles may not prevent the formations of plaques and tangles associated with Alzheimer's disease, but such lifestyles decreases the likelihood that the presence of plaques or tangles will impair cognitive function.

Maintaining social connections with family, friends, and community members also can help women prevent cognitive decline. Epidemiologist Bryan James of the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center studied how social activity affected cognitive decline, ultimately noting that the rate of cognitive decline was considerably lower among men and women who maintained social contact than it was among those with low levels of social activity.

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Cancer Support Group To Meet July 5, 2018

WellSpan will host a Cancer Support Group from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 17, at the WellSpan Ephrata Cancer Center, 460 N. Reading Road, Ephrata. The group shares information, offers support, and provides resources and strategies for those living with cancer and their caregivers.

The group is open to the community. No preregistration is required. For more information, readers may call 717-721-4835.

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Wellness Center Slates Classes July 5, 2018

The Wellness Center of WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital will offer programs to manage diabetes. To register, readers may call 717-721-8790.

Taking Charge of Your Diabetes will meet from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays, July 25 to Aug. 29, at the WellSpan Cocalico Health Center, 63 W. Church St., Stevens. The class provides people who have diabetes with essential day-to-day skills for better blood sugar control. The program will include 10 hours of group instruction, initial assessment with a registered dietitian and registered nurse, and follow-up. A family member or friend may attend as a support person. Cost varies by insurance provider.

Pre-Diabetes and Diabetes Prevention Classes will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, July 11 and 18, at the WellSpan Garden Spot Health Center, 435 S. Kinzer Ave., New Holland. The program will focus on preventive strategies such as healthy eating, portion control, label reading, and physical activity. There is a cost to attend.

Diabetes Support Group will meet at 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 12, at the WellSpan Garden Spot Health Center, 435 S. Kinzer Ave., New Holland, and at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, July 24, at the WellSpan Cocalico Health Center, 63 W. Church St., Stevens. The program is free.

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WellSpan Posts Health Classes July 5, 2018

The Wellness Center of WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital will host lifesaving and wellness classes. Classes will all be held at the WellSpan Cocalico Health Center, 63 W. Church St., Stevens. There is a fee for each class. To register, readers may call 717-721-8790.

Basic Life Support - CPR will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, July 17. This course will cover adult and pediatric CPR, two-rescuer scenarios and use of a bag mask.

Heartsaver Adult, Child and Infant CPR with AED Training will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, July 18, and from 8 a.m. to noon on Monday, July 23. This course teaches CPR and relief of choking and instruction on the Automated External Defibrillator (AED).

Heart Saver First Aid will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, July 24. The course is designed to meet requirements of childcare worker and/or emergency response teams. Participants will learn how to respond and manage an emergency.

The Tobacco Free Living Series will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, July 19 through Aug. 30. The free program will include group interaction and support. Individual consults are also available.

Safesitter Training will be offered in two sessions, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, July 13, or on Monday, July 23. Participants ages 11 to 14 will learn babysitting skills, CPR techniques, injury prevention, and more.

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Lions Club Presents Donations July 5, 2018

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Low-Cost Vaccine Clinic Planned July 3, 2018

PAWS and The Dogs' Den will hold a low-cost vaccine clinic for cats and dogs on Sunday, July 15, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at PAWS, 9803 Jonestown Road, Grantville. Distemper and rabies vaccinations for cats and dogs will be administered. For a three-year rabies vaccination, proof of previous rabies vaccination is required. Microchips will also be available for a set price, which includes registration.

The clinic will be first-come, first-served. Breeders will not be serviced. Cash and checks will be accepted as payment. All cats must be in secure carriers, and all dogs must be leashed. For more information, readers may contact The Dogs' Den at 717-469-7325 or Doggieden@aol.com.

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