Jonah Triebwasser interviews Cary Institute disease ecologist Shannon LaDeau on the recently recognized dangers from the Zika virus and on the mosquitoes that carry it from human to human. Zika has been known in the Old World since the 1940s but did not reach the Western Hemisphere until 2014, when travelers brought it to Brazil. It has since spread widely through South America, the Caribbean, and some neighborhoods in Florida. Zika is carried from person to person primarily by two species of tropical and subtropical mosquitoes that are daytime biters and to a lesser degree by sexual relations. About 80% of humans infected show mild symptoms or none, but the disease can cause severe damage to an unborn child if the mother is infected. The main concern has been microcephaly, which results in an abnormally small skull and likely brain damage.
Pleasant Valley Rotarian Ellen Haggerty is the guest on RadioRotary, discussing Rotarian Action Groups (RAGs) and Rotary Fellowship Groups with special emphasis on the RAG Rotarians for Hearing, an action group started by Ms. Haggerty. Rotarians for Hearing has a grant from the Rotary Foundation that covers hearing tests for newborns in Guatemala. An electronic device checks the baby’s ears to see if they are working properly; babies with difficulties are sent to Guatemala City for brain scans that reveal hearing problems in detail. It is important to get to children before the age of six, because older children who have never heard language then fail to learn it. There is much more of interest on this program—how Ms. Haggerty became involved in hearing about how she has traveled the world as a member of the Travel and Hosting Rotary Fellowship.
When Red Hook High School Student Abby Romm was 15, she decided that she wanted to spend a year abroad. She had learned of the Rotary Youth Exchange program and applied, listing Spain as her first choice, since she had already studied Spanish; but she was happy to learn she would be going to Italy, a country she had visited 8 years earlier and loved. Somewhere in the process, she told her parents, who hesitated at first but then approved and now agree with Abby that it was one of the best things she could do. Her father, Bard College Professor Dr. James Romm, briefly joins the RadioRotary interview with Ms. Ram and reports that now Abby is a citizen of the world as a result of the Youth Exchange experience. Listen to the show for her account of her exciting exchange year.
Susanne O’Neill, Program and Events Manager for Walkway over the Hudson, talks about the history and coming events at the longest, highest pedestrian bridge in the world, Poughkeepsie and Highland’s Walkway over the Hudson. This former railway connection between Dutchess and Ulster counties ceased operation after a fire in 1974, but in 2009, in connection with the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s historic first sail up the river, the bridge, now reconstructed as a pedestrian (and bicycle and rollerblade) walkway, opened to the public. It was an instant success with 50,000 visitors in the first week, and now draws about 500,000 per year. The Walkway is 1.28 miles long from gate to gate, and in addition to level entrances from each end, it is served by a 212-foot elevator a short walk from the Poughkeepsie Train Station.