Archives September 2014

CNY High School Stadium Renovation Qualifies for State Aid Through Carpet Repair

Officials at Jamesville-Dewitt School can’t be sure that voters will go for the school’s planned $3.1 million stadium renovation project, but they can be sure of something else: their project is now eligible for over $2 million in state aid, and it’s all thanks to carpeting.

According to district officials, a $49,000 carpet upgrade will allow the entire stadium improvement project to qualify for state aid. This is good news to the district’s taxpayers, who will have to pay far less if voters do approve the project on Oct. 28.

The carpet in question is the 22-year-old carpet in the high school’s band and choral room. Carpets in humid areas like Syracuse are susceptible to mold, which can cause various health problems. This means that carpet cleaning or replacement is always a good thing, but that’s not the reason officials are moving forward with the carpeting project.

The stadium improvement project was originally planned to include a new artificial turf field, new lighting, and a six lane track. Without work inside the school building, however, the project couldn’t qualify for state aid. However, with the carpet replacement tacked on to the project, the project qualifies for state reimbursement at a ratio of 71%.

This will bring the total cost for local tax payers from $3.1 million down to a mere $375,000.

The carpet improvement project wasn’t selected at random, either. Officials consulted a building condition survey the district performs every five years and chose from its list of potential interior projects. The carpet project appealed to them because it was simple and wouldn’t require a lot of review.

Other districts have performed similar combinations of indoor and outdoor work to qualify for capital work funds for large projects like new turf or sidewalks. Most of these projects are approved as long as the item to be renovated has outlived its use.

A public meeting about the project is scheduled on Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. at the high school, and if the project is approved, turf installation may start as soon as next summer, with the renovated stadium and band room both opening for the September 2015 school district.

New Technology Leads to Incredible Breakthrough at Stonehenge

The strange, solitary rock formation at Stonehenge has long puzzled historians and archeologists alike. But thanks to an unprecedented new discovery, researchers have discovered that Stonehenge wasn’t nearly as solitary as it seems today. In fact, it was just one small piece of a sprawling landscape of temples, burial grounds and buildings.

The discoveries announced Wednesday included hundreds of burial mounds and 17 ritual monuments, one of which was a massive wooden structure believed to be a “house of the dead.” Researchers also suspect that an almost mile-long “superhenge” was once present at Durrington Walls, composed of as many as 60 massive wood or stone columns — which may still be buried there.

“Nobody had any idea this was here,” lead scientist and professor of landscape archaeology at the University of Birmingham Vince Gaffney said in the announcement. “Instead of a monument in isolation, we find that Stonehenge was part of a rich monumental landscape.”

The 4,000-year-old circle of stones on Salisbury Plain in England had mystified and intrigued visitors and researchers for years. “Stonehenge is where archaeology got its start,” archeologist Nicola Snashall told National Geographic. “Antiquarians like John Aubrey and Inigo Jones began digging here in the 17th century to try to unlock its secrets—some of the world’s very first archaeological excavations.”

Of course, Aubrey and Jones didn’t have the technology available to the researchers of the Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project, which aims to create a 3-D, high-resolution underground map of the plains around Stonehenge.

Ground-penetrating radar has been leading the charge in a wave of unprecedented archeological findings. GPR was used earlier this year to uncover atypical and previously undiscovered slave barracks in Maryland, and a GPR search will soon be conducted to locate the remains of King Harold at a church in Waltham Abbey, Essex. A series of temples suspected to predate Stonehenge was discovered in Orkney using GPR.

Ground-penetrating radar is a geophysical survey method that images the subsurface using radar pulses. The project at Stonehenge features the most extensive and ambitious use of the technology to date, mapping over 3,000 acres to a depth of about 10 feet.

“Technology is opening doors for archaeology we could only dream about 15 years ago,” Gaffney told National Geographic, comparing the project to a 3-D underground mapping project he participated in at Wroxeter in the late 90s. “Back then, it took us four years to map 78 hectares, with about 2.5 million data points. With this latest survey at Stonehenge, we were doing that much in a week, [finding] new types of monument that had never been seen by archaeologists. All of this information has been placed within a single digital map, which will guide how Stonehenge and its landscape are studied in the future.”

Researchers hope to use this information to better understand the purpose of the Stonehenge monument and the cultures that lead to its creation.

Changes to Public and Private Health Care in Ohio Have Benefits and Reprecussions

Prescription MedicineIn an attempt to make their services and responsibilities clearer to the community, the Clermont County General Health District of Clermont County, Ohio decided to change its name and logo. Now called Clermont County Public Health, the agency hopes that the new branding will clarify residents’ perceptions of their role in the area. This comprehensive change reads as a positive step at a time when Ohio’s changing healthcare system seems to be making many things more opaque. 

Clermont County Public Health has also switched to a logo now being used by public health agencies around the United States. The new image takes its inspiration from the first blue and yellow flag to be flown in the Colonies in 1749, as a method of requesting help from the maritime health service. The legacy of these colors is often clearly apparent, as public health nurses and the U.S. Public Health Service always wear blue uniforms. Accordingly, the new logo is blue, white and khaki, with the maxim “Prevent. Promote. Protect” under it’s three-pointed shield. 

Like many similar community organizations around the country, Clermont County Public Health offers a wide range of services to their area. These services include providing immunizations for children and adults, administering a local Women, Infants and Children nutritional program, and a number of inspection and licensing services that cover everything from plumbing and septic systems to restaurant safety. They currently employ 47 public health professionals and support staff. They can be contacted at their new website,, or by phone at 513-732-7499. 

However, in spite of this coherent change in Clermont County, healthcare in Ohio as a whole is experiencing varying degrees of confusion and controversy in the wake of the state’s change to a managed-care plan. One of the biggest problems thus far is the result of a “dual eligible” program for the elderly and disabled who receive both Medicaid and Medicare, which has caused a number of home health workers to go without pay. 

Previously, payment claims from independent home health workers and companies in Ohio were submitted to the government and were typically processed within a few days. As of July 1, however, these payment claims are being processed by Aetna Better Health of Ohio or Molina Healthcare of Ohio. But while both of these private health insurers, who are among the top five largest insurance companies in the state, reportedly made a profit of $3 billion and $1.2 billion in 2013, home health workers have stated that the turnaround rate for their payments has dramatically increased, and that regular pay has become obsolete. Several companies have even complained that they have not received any money for patients who switched over to the new managed-care plan. As a result, many are losing both employees and patients, as workers are unable to care for their families as they wait for payments to come through and patients are unable to risk losing care. 

Representatives from both state Medicaid and the insurance companies have stated that they are working to ensure payment are made in a timely manner. However, for home care workers, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck, this promise may not come soon enough. As the United States as a whole becomes increasingly reliant on private health care services, we are likely to see a number of similar situations, as well as positive results from working with independent corporations. For example, statistics have showed that urgent care centers see an estimated 160 million patients every year, helping reduce overwhelming patient numbers at community hospitals and doctors offices. However, with so many home health workers reportedly going unpaid due to inefficient service at a private health insurer, positive changes in government health agencies like the Clermont County Public Health administration’s comprehensive name change is certainly reassuring.

Tracy Morgan Faces Slow Recovery From June Truck Collision

Broken windshield, car accidentTracy Morgan continues to struggle through recovery from a June auto collision, according to his attorney. The former “Saturday Night Live” actor and comedian was injured when a Wal-Mart truck slammed into a limo bus Morgan was riding in. Comedian James McNair was killed during the crash.

Currently, Morgan is using a wheelchair to get around, and it may be a while before he can walk on his own again, says attorney Benedict Morelli. The accident, which ended up involving six separate cars, left Morgan with a broken nose, leg, and several broken ribs.

Since the crash, the Wal-Mart truck driver, 35-year-old Kevin Roper, has pleaded not guilty to death by auto (one count) and assault by auto (four counts). At the time of the incident, Roper had been driving for 13.5 hours, and was driving at a speed of 65-miles-per-hour in a 45-miles-per-hour zone. Under federal law, truck drivers can work for 14 hours each day — with 11 of those hours spent behind the wheel. Roper had been heading toward Perth Amboy. Had he finished his route, it’s possible he would have reached his 14-hour limit before reaching his destination.

Along with three other plaintiffs, Morgan filed a personal injury lawsuit against Wal-Mart, which is listed as a defendant in the case. They are asking for both punitive and compensatory damages. Morelli believes that Wal-Mart fosters a work culture in which drivers are encouraged to work over 14 hour shifts.

Walmart’s released statement about the crash has, not surprisingly, contained no admittance or denial of guilt, saying in part that, “We know it will take some time to resolve all of the remaining issues as a result of the accident, but we’re committed to doing the right thing for all involved.”

The case, for many, has shed light on safety statistics that often remain hidden or ignored. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, auto accidents cost the average person $900 each year, regardless of whether they are personally involved in a crash. And every year, over 50,000 accidents involving trucks occur — many of them the result of driver fatigue.