‘Close to heart’

The news of the Coach Ted Heroux’s collapse last week at Belfast Area High School, and subsequent treatment with CPR and an AED [automated external defibrillator], struck very close to heart. We wish him the very best in a full recovery.

The reports suggest cardiac arrest — an event that can strike anyone, at any time — is unanticipated, and can be triggered by any of a number of causes.

In the last 15 or so years, three people have suffered an unexpected cardiac event in BAHS sports. In two cases, there was no emergency response plan, and no AED. In one case — last week — there was an emergency plan and the use of an AED. That person is the one who survived. The chance of survival diminishes 10 percent for every minute that passes from collapse to defibrillation.

An AED was donated to BAHS several months after Joseph’s tragic death at the Maine cross-country meet in 2003. The school nurse and schools statewide developed emergency (medical/injury) response plans.

Maine schools, athletic teams and the Belfast Police Department acquired AEDs since that time under the direction of our regional EMS, and must maintain their AEDs (with new electrode pads and batteries), accessibility and emergency vehicle access during school and athletic events.

Kudos to BAHS for having a current, effective AED plan.

Many Maine students and adults have survived a cardiac event in recent years, and now lead normal active lives with an ICD (implanted cardioverter defibrillator), which can shock a heart back into normal rhythm. At least two of these lives were saved using AEDs placed because Joseph’s life made an impact on others.

The Maine Principal’s Association, EMS, state Legislature, and the Maine Department of Education support school emergency response plans, AED placements, school CPR/AED training and heart screenings, and also require coach CPR/AED certification. Laws in most states clearly provide immunity from liability in bystander use of an AED.

On Sunday, coincidentally, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, American Heart Association, American Academy of Family Physicians and national cardiac and pediatric researchers concluded annual national conferences in cardiac medicine, SCD [sudden cardiac death] prevention, athletes’ heart screenings, and emergency response planning for schools, with goals to improve implementation of schools’ medical emergency action plans and further reduce sudden cardiac deaths in youths and adults.

We applaud the growing SCA [sudden cardiac arrest] awareness and increase in the “Chain of Survival” for life.

Cheers for those who get CPR/AED training and know where the nearest AED is!

Best wishes for Ted Heroux, family, friends and student-athletes.

Maura DiPrete and Michael DiGioia

Parents of Joseph DiPrete-DiGioia

BAHS class of 2007



Another view of the future, part II

This is part two of another possible future we may face in Waldo County by the year 2020, in reply to the recent Belfast Area Transition Initiative supplement to The Republican Journal [Editor’s note: the supplement appeared in the Jan. 5 edition of the Journal, and part one of this letter appeared in the Jan. 19 edition of the paper]. In last week’s letter we saw fisheries collapse, lawsuits and high court decisions, as well as epidemics threaten our food supply.

The answers were all right under our noses. Our ancestors had grown oats, wheat and a number of other grains and legumes. No longer was soy going to be squandered for cattle feed. We had small artisanal operations in Waldo County for the production of tofu, tempeh and seitan.

These were quickly ramped up to provide sufficient quantities to the area. A positive side effect was to discover that we had all been eating much more protein than was necessary, or even good, for our bodies. Workers were retrained and employment was ongoing.

Strangely, despite being known as a religious nation, it was overcoming our ingrained hold on the flawed concept of dominion over the animal kingdom that took the longest to evolve. Traditionalists persisted that all animals were ours to breed, to herd, to milk, to skin, to hunt, to slaughter, and yes, to abuse — because of course, slaughtering by definition is abuse, without any sane argument.

Science had distinctly shown our genetic closeness, since we are animals too. Ever more detailed studies — that fish felt pain (duh — put a barbed hook in your cheek!), or that birds were intelligent beings, “even” the chickens (steal your embryos and talk about abortion!) — brought people to realize that “dominion” was simply and unequivocally unethical.

It was a slow change, but not surprisingly, positive side-effects were the plummeting instances of abuse of children and women, as the abuse of animals was better understood.

How could we even quarrel with the health benefits? It was simple biological arithmetic: feed a substance (antibiotics, growth hormones, wormicides, pesticides, etc.) to an animal, then eat the products or flesh of that animal, and that substance will concentrate in our bodies. We saw the dramatic reductions in heart disease, cancers, stroke, diabetes — the list goes on.

Economically, there was more land available for direct growing of human food, instead of animal feed, and there was much less use of ever-limited fuels for refrigeration, processing and transportation of decaying animal products. Water use was way down, extending the life of our aquifers, and sewage waste was equally reduced.

We had passed the ‘Peak of Animal Protein,’ and only the richest among us — and frankly, there were far fewer of those — ever ate dead animals anymore, and some only out of a distorted sense of ritual: the Christmas turkey or the Easter ham. We had survived and indeed, flourished. The “daily holocaust” as described by Issac Singer had ended.

Paul Sheridan



Spectrum Generations touts its impacts

The Maine Association of Nonprofits recently reported on the positive financial impact Maine’s 6,300 nonprofits have on the economy. As Scott Schnapp, executive director of MANP, has said, “Maine nonprofits are strong, innovative and efficient partners.”

A prime example is Spectrum Generations which has served older and disabled adults and caregivers for nearly 40 years. Not only does Spectrum Generations have “mission impact” but it also has “monetary impact” as shown by the following:

• Spectrum Generations employs 170 men and women in Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Somerset and Waldo counties and injects $3,800,000 to the Maine economy annually through wages, salaries, benefits and payroll taxes.

• Spectrum Generations spends $43,576 per week with the local and regional business community for the purchase of goods and services.

• Spectrum employees’ salaries generate $565,000 annually in personal income tax revenues to local, state and the federal government.

• Spectrum Generations coordinates a volunteer labor force of 636 individuals who donate 34,656 hours of service with a dollar value of $701,784.


Spectrum Generations will always be known for their seven community centers, Meals On Wheels, Adult DayBreak, health and wellness programs, caregiver support and training and consumer information and referral services. But Spectrum Generations also strengthens the economic well-being their employees, the business community as well as local, state and federal government.

Dorothy E. Freeman, Ph. D.

Director of Development

Spectrum Generations

(Central Maine Area Agency on Aging)