Sunday, September 27, 2009

Harmony and North Harmony Celebrate

Harmony Historical Society's
Fall Harvest Festival - October 3-4

The main source of income for the historical society is their Fall Harvest Festival, held on the first weekend in October. It is free and open to the public. They will have many people who sell craft items and local churches sell home made baked goods. Apples and cider are available.

In addition, there are several demonstrators of historical nature:

Weavers set up and work on looms in the weaving shed
spinners show how to use spinning wheels
wood carvers demonstrate their craft
learn how to hue a beam from a log
forge work
fireplace cooking

All of the society's buildings will be open for the public both days of the Festival.

-Busti Apple Festival

Busti Apple Festival

Sunday, September 27th - 11 AM to 4 PM

One of the largest festivals in region. Arts/Crafts vendors, 19th-century life-skill demos, 1838 grist mill tours, apple cider & apple favorites. Ready to eat & take-home concessions, farmers market and 1838 grist mill tours.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

National Geographic features Falls Primate Sanctuary

"Explorer' episode focuses on owners, effect of captivity on two chimpanzees

Two chimpanzees and their Niagara Falls home, the Primate Sanctuary, will be featured tonight on the National Geographic Channel.

Charlie and Kiko, along with sanctuary owners Carmen Presti and his wife, Christie, will appear in an episode of "Explorer," called "Chimps on the Edge." The episode airs at 10 p.m.

A crew from New York City-based Pangloss Films — founded by Buffalo native Peter Yost — came to town in May.

The crew spent three days filming for the show, which will explore the question of whether a new form of chimp is evolving in captivity, according to the channel's Web site.

"My chimps gave them everything they wanted," Carmen Presti said. "They were on their best behavior."

The footage taken of Charlie and Kiko included them using tools, having blood drawn from their arms, watching a violent television program and eating pizza.

Presti, the sanctuary's vice president, said he hopes the national attention will spur the fundraising effort to move the sanctuary from Livingston Avenue in the Falls to 30 acres of farmland that the couple owns in Wilson. The couple already has built a new home on the site.

The sanctuary has been running as a not-for-profit since 2000, though the Prestis have been operating a refuge for primates since 1990. Presti and his staff care for the two chimpanzees, 26 monkeys and 18 exotic birds.

Presti and his chimps have appeared on numerous television shows, including "Animal Planet" and "Live With Regis and Kathie Lee" in the late 1990s. Their main star was Charlie, who has since retired from being "the karate chimp." Charlie's martial arts expertise on video is still licensed to help raise funds for the sanctuary. Footage of Charlie also has been popular in the United Kingdom and Japan.

Presti said his facility is bursting at the seams, though it recently took in two homeless primates.

Mya, an 8-month-old rhesus macaque, came to the sanctuary two months ago after the state Department of Environmental Conservation took her from a home in Dansville, in Livingston County. Mya, who weighs a healthy 4 pounds, had been purchased over the Internet.

Another primate, a capuchin monkey, had been living in a Niagara County residence for 22 years before it recently bit one of its owners and the sanctuary took it in.

The monkey had been treated very well by his owners, Presti said.

If the state can't find a facility to accept illegally owned and seized primates, they could be euthanized, Presti said.

Under a 2005 state law, it is illegal to own a dangerous animal in New York without having a permit through the DEC, Presti said. He stresses his firm belief that these kinds of animals do not make good pets. "I'd like to see all the selling of primates just stop," he said.

Presti and some of his primates will be featured at the Wildlife Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Niagara Power Project, 5777 Lewiston Road, Lewiston.

To donate or find out more about the Primate Sanctuary, visit

The National Geographic Channel can be found on Time Warner Cable, channel 120; Dish Network, channel 186; and DirecTV, channel 276.

A clip of the episode with Presti, Charlie and Kiko, is posted on the National Geographic Channel Web site.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cornfields by Prendergast Creek

Ode to the West Wind

by Percy Bysshe Shelley

O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

The wing├Ęd seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave,until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow

Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odours plain and hill:

Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and Preserver; hear, O hear!

Thou on whose stream, 'mid the steep sky's commotion,
Loose clouds like Earth's decaying leaves are shed,
Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,

Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
On the blue surface of thine airy surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head

Of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith's height,
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge

Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre
Vaulted with all thy congregated might

Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: O hear!

Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams,

Beside a pumice isle in Baiae's bay,
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave's intenser day,

All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
For whose path the Atlantic's level powers

Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know

Thy voice, and suddenly grow grey with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves: O hear!

If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share

The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O Uncontrollable! If even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be

The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
Scarce seemed a vision; I would ne'er have striven

As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
Oh! lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!

A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed
One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.

Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
What if my leaves are falling like its own!
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,

Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawakened Earth

The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

Run to send Alice Ward on a Peace Mission to India

I rode my mare, Twig 8 miles with a group of runners on foot yesterday and had a wonderful day.

Hurlbut Church's Paul Womack and friends ran from Chautauqua to Panama (NY) on Sept. 19. You can still make a pledge and support Alice Ward's Mission of Peace trip to India.

The Mission of Peace is a yearly journey of
discovery and Shalom (peace) to nations in our
global community sponsored by the Northeast
Jurisdictional Council on Youth Ministries of the
United Methodist Church. This year's MOP is to India.
I, Alice Ward, have been chosen as one of four youth
from the Western New York Conference of the United
Methodist Church to go and share in this journey this
coming winter.
The MOP is a life changing experience! It is a journey which leads each participant to discover God's
Spirit at work in the world. It is an experience of God's extended family. It is a journey of discovering
God's Shalom. It is primarily a people to people experience in which we learn from our hosts how they
live as disciples of Jesus Christ in their country. It is a mission which has brought us closer to God's hoped
for community where all are sisters and brothers.

Each youth who journeys on the Mission of Peace is expected to share their experience at least five
times upon their return. I am looking forward to telling my story of Shalom.

Each year the Youth who represent the Annual Conferences of the United Methodist Church in the
Northeastern Jurisdiction must raise the money which supports their MOP. In the spirit of Shalom, the
Jurisdictional and Conference Councils on Youth Ministries humbly ask churches and individuals for
prayerful consideration of a monetary gift to the MOP

Alice Ward MOP Fund
C/O Hurlbut Community Church
PO Box 33
Chautauqua NY 14722

Monday, September 14, 2009

The NOs have it.

NORTH HARMONY - The town of North Harmony said no Saturday during a a special election on a proposal to spend $59,235 to prepare a sanitary sewer map, plan, report and enhanced aerial and Lidar survey. The results were 262 no votes to 78 yes votes.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


NORTH HARMONY - A special election was held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12 at North Harmony Town Hall. The question put to voters was whether the town should contract for studies that could allow for a sewer district along the lake. The results have yet to be announced.

The studies pertain to a proposed district along Route 394 and Chautauqua Lake, the southwest shore, for which federal funds will be sought.

On June 8, the town board adopted a resolution to do the studies that would include one with Tomlman Engineering, PLLC for an amount not to exceed $30,000 for maps and plans and one with Kucera International Inc., not to exceed $29,235 for aerial photography and a survey in case the funds are secured.

The ballot asked those voting if the town should spend money for the studies "for the availability of a sewer district to be formed ... in the event that federal stimulus or grant funding become available."

Only North Harmony registered and qualified voters were eligible to vote at the special election.

Because a sewer district opens up lake frontage to be further developed and allows for multiple family units to be erected on small parcels of land I do not think that a new sewer district would prevent further pollution of Chautauqua Lake. I feel it will contribute to further degradation of the watershed and certainly increase traffic on and around the lake front. I voted NO! The Lake is currently over developed and is being pushed to its limit.Only 10% of Chautauqua Lake's shoreline remains in a natural, undeveloped condition. The wetlands and streams that feed our lake and provide important wildlife habitat continue to be constricted by filling and channelization.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Hospital Considers Electronic Records

Hospital Considers Electronic Records
WCA Hopes To Take Advantage Of Stimulus

You've been sitting on the exam table idly kicking your feet and reading the posters on the wall for what seems like an eternity. The swollen glands that have kept you awake for the last few nights throb painfully and you feel achy, cold and tired.

Soon, though, the doctor enters the exam room, laptop in hand. Setting the computer on the counter, your doctor gently palpates your throat and asks you a few questions. Satisfied with the exam results, the doctor picks up a stylus, pokes at the laptop's screen a couple of times and tells you that your prescription will be available at the pharmacy shortly.

That's how - with a not-so-gentle nudge from the federal government - visits to the doctor's office will go in the near future. The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act dedicates nearly $20 billion to information technology for the health care industry.

The vast majority of that money - some $17 billion - will flow directly to physicians and hospitals through the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Starting in 2011, physicians and hospitals who adopt certified electronic health record systems will be eligible for extra money. But that carrot is also attached to a stick - those who fail to adopt electronic health record systems by 2015 will miss out on those federal subsidies and will get reduced Medicare payments as a penalty.

To qualify for those federal subsidies, providers will need to demonstrate they're using electronic health record systems in a ''meaningful'' way, though the government has yet to define ''meaningful.''

But one way or the other, health records will soon be created and maintained without the use of so much as a single piece of paper.


At least one local physician office has already made the move to electronic health records.

Ten years ago, Family Health Medical Services, which has offices in Jamestown on Dunham Avenue and Jones Hill, invested several hundred thousand dollars in an electronic health record system - and Dr. Robert Berke says the system has ''really streamlined the way we do things.''

''I can remember the days when I'd have a stack of folders on my desk about two feet high,'' Berke said. ''They were all the medical records I'd have to go through before I could leave for the day. Now, I have a laptop and I just need to make a few clicks on each person's profile. And better yet, I can log in to the system from my home and send in prescriptions or make notes that I didn't have time to make during the course of a day.''

Family Health Medical Services uses Medent's electronic medical record system.

That system presents health care providers with an interactive screen showing a list of patients that need to be seen in a day. It includes their appointment time; a code signifying the visit's purpose; the patient's name; a field listing whether the person has arrived for their appointment, already been seen or has had to reschedule; the time they were shown to a room and the number of the room they're in.

Using the system, physicians can click on a person's name to pull up their medical record, which includes links to the patient's past medical history and family history. The physician can write an electronic note to include as part of the medical record or, for offices that use dictation, can instantly record a transcription voice note that is attached to the electronic record.

''There's so much this allows us to do,'' Berke said. ''We're still learning about it. I think I learn something new about this system every day.''

Berke said the system allows him to be ''much more efficient'' with his time than the old paper records.

''With those old folders, you were always taking a chance that a piece of paper would work its way loose and fall out,'' he said. ''And if someone in billing needed a patient's file, it might be sitting on a physician's desk for a couple of days waiting for the loose ends to be tied up. It was very bulky and very inefficient.''

But now, thanks to the new electronic health record system, Berke said his time is ''better spent.''

''The paperwork has been streamlined and eliminated,'' he said. ''With just a couple of clicks, I can update a patient's record and save it. I can revisit it at home if I need to. I can instantly send prescriptions to any pharmacy. Anybody here who needs to get to a patient's file can get to it when they need it. And it has become much easier to send a patient's record to a hospital should they need surgery.''

The system has proven invaluable over the last 10 years, Berke said.

''I really don't think I'd go back to the old system,'' he said.


WCA Hospital is moving toward a hospital-wide electronic health record system. The hospital is in the process of evaluating different vendors and the systems they offer, according to Dianne French, the hospital's director of health information management.

The hospital has been searching for an electronic health record system for at least the last nine years, according to Keith Robison, the hospital's chief information officer. But the costs associated with implementing such a system for a hospital - infinitely more complicated than that for a physician office - prevented the hospital from taking what Robison called a ''big bang approach.''

That's because the stimulus package doesn't offer hospitals and medical centers any money to cover the up-front costs of implementing electronic health records. And that's a problem because a hospital's electronic health record system must be more complex than that implemented in a private physician office. That's because a hospital setting offers several different so-called ''points of capture'' for a patient. In a private physician office, the patient can only come in one way - by making an appointment. But in a hospital, a patient could come in through the emergency room, through the surgical ward, or in any one of a number of specialty departments for an appointment.

''A lot of systems will need to work together in order to create an electronic medical record for a hospital,'' Mrs. French said. ''There are systems we use to schedule and pre-admit. They need to work with systems already in place all over the hospital and work with systems that we have yet to implement. That's part of the challenge. Every system has to talk to each other.''

All of that means WCA will spend millions of dollars to purchase and implement an electronic medical record - money it doesn't have. But the hospital is working with vendors to see if they will extend to the hospital a line of credit to allow for the purchase of an electronic health record.

Hospital officials know they will need to purchase software - the most expensive portion of an electronic health record - but its still unclear what the hardware portion of the electronic health record will look like.

''It could be computer carts, wireless tablets, laptop computers or even computers embedded in the wall,'' Robison said. ''We just don't know. Each department is going to need its own method - and that method could differ between departments. It just depends on what's the most usable for the people in that particular department.''

Since the federal government in May announced the stimulus package contained money for health information technology, WCA has gone through what Robison called ''a fast-paced plan'' that will allow the hospital to take advantage of as much stimulus money as possible. Their goal - to implement electronic health records within the next 18 months.

WCA already has electronic medical records in radiology, lab and pharmacy, Robison said. That means the hospital is already a Level 1 electronic medical record according to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, or HIMSS.

''We need a system that's easy for the physicians to use,'' Robison said. ''Otherwise, it's not worth it.''

There are a number of issues the hospital has yet to address - among them how best to make the millions of pieces of paper that already exist as patient records part of an electronic record system. There are security concerns, too, such as whether to implement biometric measures for those who need access to electronic patient records.

Even so - at least for Mrs. French - the move to electronic health records is an exciting one.

''I've been here for 32 years, and this has been a dream of mine for at least the last 10 years,'' she said. ''It's exciting to finally be making this move.''