Northeast News: January 20, 2016

Grant aids driver program

The Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation has awarded a $2,500 grant to Community Care Center of the Northeast, 2417 Welsh Road, for its Wheels for Independence transportation service.

Grant funding will include recruitment of additional volunteers for its roster of Wheels drivers and computer tracking of the number of rides to medical appointments and other local destinations.

During the last two years, Wheels has experienced a 200-percent growth in client numbers.

Volunteer Wheels drivers are selected with background checks, and trained and supervised by the program coordinator. Wheels drivers use their own cars to give personal one-to-one service, bringing clients to medical appointments, grocery stores and other destinations safely and on time. Clients receiving the service are able to walk independently or with the assistance of a cane or walker. A donation of $10 per ride is offered by the passenger to the driver.

Individuals interested in becoming Wheels for Independence drivers are invited to contact Cathy at 215–335–3816 or ••

Sabatina wants to close gun loophole

State Sen. John Sabatina Jr. (D-5th dist.) will seek state action to close a loophole that he said has allowed thousands of terror suspects to purchase weapons.

“It makes no sense to maintain a list of suspected terrorists only to allow those on the list to walk out the door with an unlimited supply of arms,” Sabatina said. “Anyone too dangerous to board a plane is too dangerous to own an arsenal. This is a loophole that must be closed.”

Sabatina noted that a terror suspect arrested in Harrisburg last year was advertising on jihadist social media that Pennsylvania’s “very light gun laws” make it “very easy to arm yourself.”

“Pennsylvania cannot allow itself to become known among terror groups for weak supervision of arms sales,” he said. “The safety of our citizens hangs in the balance. ••

White wants action on Kane

State Rep. Martina White (R-170th dist.) is urging the House of Representatives to form a bipartisan subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee to investigate the conduct of Attorney General Kathleen Kane and whether it rises to the level of impeachment.

“With the attorney general refusing to step down following the revocation of her law license, we must begin the process of impeachment,” said White, a member of the Judiciary Committee.

White has endorsed a resolution circulating in the House to allow the subcommittee to conduct an investigation of Kane’s conduct in office and decide if there are grounds to begin the impeachment process.

Kane’s law license has been suspended, and she is facing criminal charges related to an alleged leak of secret grand jury documents.

A Senate panel is weighing whether Kane can fulfill her duties without that license and should be removed from office. Kane has argued that the Senate doesn’t have the constitutional authority to remove her.

“The only sure way to properly remove someone like Kane who has brought such disgrace to her office is impeachment,” White said. “So I urge my colleagues to move forward and bring respect and dignity back to the attorney general’s office.” ••

Free dental for Holocaust survivors

Area Holocaust survivors may be eligible to receive free dental care through the new Temple University dental clinic located at KleinKlife, 10100 Jamison Ave.

“These services are available to Holocaust survivors who are not covered by private insurance or who are not eligible for medical assistance (Medicaid) or do not have the personal resources to pay for the cost of the required dental care,” said Andre Krug, president and CEO of KleinLIfe.

Qualified Holocaust survivors will be eligible for full dental examinations, surgical care, preventive care, restoration of teeth, non-surgical periodontal care, some surgical periodontal care and removable prosthesis with laboratory support.

Holocaust survivors may call 215–464–1704 for additional information about qualifying for the complimentary dental services. ••

BVM student earns scholarship

Maternity BVM eighth-grader Colin McNicholas earned an academic merit scholarship from Father Judge High School.

Colin will receive $4,000 per year for four years at Judge.

“We are very proud of Colin. This is a tremendous achievement,” said Mary Zawisza, Maternity BVM principal. “Colin is carrying on Maternity BVM’s tradition of high academics.”

Colin, who has attended BVM since first grade, qualified for the grant by taking a test at Judge.

“The test was hard but I studied for weeks and it really helped,” Colin said. “I am happy to receive this scholarship because Father Judge is the school I always wanted to go to.” ••

Tax help available

Volunteers from RSVP Philadelphia are offering to help people in the area to prepare simple tax returns and other documents free of charge at KleinLife, located at 10100 Jamison Ave.

People who are interested in receiving free help in preparing their 2015 tax returns are required to have incomes below $65,000 for a single filing or less than $95,000 for a joint filing. They also must bring their W-2s, 1099s and other investment income and forms and make an appointment prior to coming to KleinLife for help.

Reservations can be made by calling 267–345–7787 or emailing

All of the volunteer tax preparers are qualified and have undergone extensive training. ••

Flu prevention tips

Dr. Leonard M. Malamud, director of Aria Health’s Division of Family Practice, offers the following preventative tips to help avoid the flu:

• Get the flu vaccine: While washing your hands frequently and keeping warm can help you avoid sickness, the best way to prevent the flu is to receive the vaccine.

• Eat healthy foods: Natural anti-viral fruits and vegetables can prevent the onslaught of any sickness. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain a multitude of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals that boost your immune system and provide healthy nutrient content. The all-time fan favorite, chicken soup, also helps with the common cold by opening up congested noses and throats while providing fluid.

• Wash your hands (often): The flu is often transmitted through the mucous membrane, so it’s important to keep your hands clean and to avoid touching your face, especially your nose, eyes and mouth, when in public spaces where germs are easily spread. Also, avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you feel a cold coming on, it’s best to stay home and rest.

• Stay hydrated: It’s important to ensure you are drinking plenty of fluids. Preventing dehydration is critical, as dehydration will make you more prone to infections. Aim to take in at least six glasses of water a day to better boost your immune system in response to viruses.

• Get plenty of sleep: Lack of sleep can lower your immune system, increasing your vulnerability to colds and infections. Make sure to get plenty of rest — at least for eight hours — to give your body ample time to rest and reboot. ••

Bill would allow out-of-state booze buys

Legislation sponsored by state Rep. John Taylor (R-177th dist.) to decriminalize the purchase of out-of-state wine and liquor has passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

“For decades, people have driven into New Jersey and Delaware to purchase wines and spirits not available in Pennsylvania, which is illegal, though rarely enforced. When it is enforced, the consequences can be great and often unfair,” Taylor said.

House Bill 757 decriminalizes this activity as long as the person making the purchase pays the Pennsylvania taxes owed on the product.

“My bill will specifically allow residents of Pennsylvania to purchase wines, spirits and beer outside of the commonwealth and bring those purchases home with them without fear of criminal prosecution,” Taylor said.

Furthermore, Taylor’s legislation would allow a Pennsylvania resident to be reimbursed by a friend or family member for alcohol purchased outside of Pennsylvania.

“It’s time to reform this system,” Taylor said.

The bill now moves to the Senate. ••

Woman leaves big donation to Holy Redeemer

Marie Frank, who died recently at age 93, left Holy Redeemer Health System with a $600,000 donation in her will.

Frank lived alone, never married, never had children and had no family at the time of her death.

“She was a real believer of the health system and the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer,” said Bob Berkenstock, a longtime next-door neighbor and friend of Frank.

“We are incredibly grateful to receive this generous legacy gift,” said Cass Egan, chief administrative officer and executive vice president for Holy Redeemer Health System. “We are dedicated to honoring Marie’s unassuming spirit by providing the highest quality of caring comforting and healing.”

Frank worked at the old Fidelity Bank and volunteered at the Huntingdon Valley Library. She came to Holy Redeemer Hospital after she broke her hip. When it came time for her to be released, she chose to become a resident at Holy Redeemer Lafayette, 8580 Verree Road.

“I believe that Holy Redeemer did an awesome job for her and I’m glad that she lived at Holy Redeemer Lafayette for the last seven years of her life,” Berkenstock said. ••

Longtime doctor honored

The Nazareth Hospital administration and medical staff recently honored Dr. Angelo DiBello for 60 years on the job.

DiBello’s service was celebrated at a dinner dance at Union League at Torresdale.

Nancy Cherone, executive director of the hospital, presented DiBello with a plaque.

“Nazareth Hospital has given me the opportunity to develop as a medical professional, and I couldn’t imagine a better institution to practice doing what I love,” DiBello said.

DiBello graduated from Hahnemann Medical College in 1954. He was an intern at Nazareth for a year, then joined the medical staff.

“Dr. DiBello has devoted 60 years of service to Nazareth Hospital, and we applaud his dedication and appreciate his loyalty not just to the hospital, but to the patients we serve,” Cherone said.

DiBello, 89, still maintains a private practice and remains on the Nazareth medical staff. ••

Big donation by CTCA

Cancer Treatment Centers of America recently presented a check for $100,000 to support the American Lung Association’s Lung Force Giving Day.

“CTCA is honored to have supported the American Lung Association to help increase awareness and much-needed research dollars to find a cure for lung cancer,” said John McNeil, president and CEO of CTCA in Philadelphia. “We are proud to be able to contribute to this important effort to help lung cancer patients here at CTCA and around the country.” ••

White bill would aid nonpublic schools

State Rep. Martina White (R-170th dist.) has co-sponsored legislation to ensure that, in the event of a delay in the enactment of the state’s budget, students in nonpublic schools are not denied access to educational workbooks.

White’s legislation would require the Pennsylvania Department of Education, in the event that a budget is not enacted by July 15, to use any unspent funds previously appropriated for nonpublic school textbooks, materials and equipment for purchase of student workbooks.

In the event that these funds are less than $2 million, the Department of Education would be required to use unspent funds from general government operations. Any amount allocated from these funds would be deducted from the total allocation appropriated for nonpublic school textbooks, materials and equipment once a budget has been enacted.

“Because the entire process of ordering and delivering workbooks can take several weeks, it’s critical that we make sure these funds are available for the purchase of materials before the start of the school year,” White said. “We cannot delay the learning process for these students. It is unfair for students in nonpublic schools to be disadvantaged by the lack of educational materials because the state budget has not been enacted in a timely manner.” ••

Tips on movie memorabilia

Ilena Di Toro, a Bustleton resident and owner of Just Movie, is advising people not to purchase movie memorabilia for investment purposes.

“If you are going to get a movie memorabilia item,” she said, “get it because you like the movie, the stars, the genre or even the design itself. Don’t buy it with the expectation that you can sell it for a million dollars in ten years and retire to Florida.”

Di Toro has these tips when buying a memorabilia item either via the Internet or directly from a dealer:

• Research the item so that you will know what you are buying.

• Ask questions of the seller.

• When a movie prop, costume or movie poster sells for five figures or more, it most likely didn’t start out at a garage sale for $2. The item in question either came from the studio or a collector, and it was originally bought for a hefty price.

• If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. If something doesn’t seem right about the item, don’t buy it.

“It can be cool to own Princess Leia Slave Girl costume or a BB-8 Droid,” Di Toro said. “Just don’t pin all your financial dreams on these items.” ••

Nazareth accredited for heart care

Nazareth Hospital has received full Chest Pain Center with PCI Accreditation from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care.

Accreditation expires in September 2018.

“We at Nazareth Hospital are proud to have earned Chest Pain with PCI Accreditation, which recognizes the quality and timeliness of our emergency heart care services,” said Nazareth Hospital Executive Director Nancy Cherone.

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with 600,000 people dying annually of heart disease. More than 5 million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain.

By achieving SCPC’s Chest Pain Center with PCI Accreditation status, Nazareth Hospital demonstrated expertise in the following areas:

• Integrating the emergency department with the local emergency medical system

• Assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients quickly

• Effectively treating patients with low risk for acute coronary syndrome and no assignable cause for their symptoms

• Continually seeking to improve processes and procedures

• Ensuring the competence and training of Accredited Chest Pain Center personnel

• Maintaining organizational structure and commitment

• Having a functional design that promotes optimal patient care

• Supporting community outreach programs that educate the public to promptly seek medical care if they display symptoms of a possible heart attack. ••

Murt wants action on bill

State Rep. Tom Murt (R-152nd dist.) recently held a news conference to urge action on a bill he’s introduced to establish the offense of female mutilation.

House Bill 135 would specifically make it a crime for a parent to cut or allow someone to circumcise or excise the genitals of a female minor.

The practice involves cutting of the female genitalia and is often a coming-of-age ritual in various parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

According to the African Women’s Health Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, it is estimated that 228,000 women in the United States have been cut because they come from an ethnic community.

“The United States Department of State considers female mutilation not only a public health concern, but a human rights issue, as the practice violates the right to a woman’s bodily integrity,” Murt said. “I agree with the Department of State.”

Women who are immigrants are at continued risk of the practice, as these cultural beliefs follow the women to the United States, where the practice has moved underground. Pennsylvania is among the states with the highest number of women who have been victimized.

Murt’s bill would make the practice a first-degree felony. ••

Aria hires breast surgeon

Aria Health has hired board-certified breast surgeon Dr. Ronit Sugar.

Sugar brings new clinical and surgical breast health services to Aria Health’s Torresdale and Bucks County campuses.

Sugar has spent nearly 20 years as a private practice physician with a focus on breast surgery.

Sugar received her bachelor’s degree from Muhlenberg College and her medical degree from Hahnemann University. She completed her internship and residency at Albert Einstein Medical Center. ••

Family doc added to Holy Redeemer center

Dr. Guillermo A. Infante has joined Holy Redeemer Family Health Center at Cardone, part of Holy Redeemer Physician & Ambulatory Services.

Infante practices family medicine at the health center, which serves employees of Cardone Industries, as well as the surrounding community.

Infante received his doctorate in Medicine and Surgery from the Universidad Libre de Cali, Cali, Colombia. In addition, he earned a Master of Public Health degree from the Drexel University College of Medicine/Hahnemann University.

He also completed a nine-month course on Structural Acupuncture for Physicians from the Harvard Medical School Department of Continuing Education.

Prior to joining Holy Redeemer, Infante served for eight years with physician practices in New Jersey and the southwestern United States. He is fluent in Spanish and English.

Holy Redeemer Family Health Center at Cardone is located at 5600 Tabor Road. ••

Local man lands faculty position

Penn State Lehigh Valley has appointed Northeast resident Nickolas Dominello to its faculty.

Dominello is a full-time instructor in psychology. He received his Doctor of Psychology degree from Capella University. He previously was an adjunct instructor at Penn State Abington and Holy Family University. He still occasionally facilitates online courses for Southern New Hampshire University, Thomas Edison State College and Ashford University.

Penn State Lehigh Valley is located in Center Valley, and gives students access to the nearly 160 academic programs offered by Penn State.

For more information, visit ••

Sabatina wants minimum wage hike

State Sen. John Sabatina (D-5th dist.) joined a group of lawmakers in supporting a parliamentary maneuver to force a Senate vote on a minimum wage hike in Pennsylvania.

“A strong majority of Pennsylvanians supports a reasonable minimum wage and, I believe, a strong majority of lawmakers do as well,” Sabatina said. “Unfortunately, the bill is locked away in a Senate committee as political leverage on other issues and that’s an affront to thousands of working Pennsylvanians.”

Sabatina said he would support a move by the bill’s supporters to move the bill out of committee with a “discharge resolution.”

“Fortunately, there are ways to restore democracy to the process and I support the strategy to fight for a full Senate vote on a fair minimum wage,” he said.

A discharge resolution could force a full Senate vote on whether to move Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione’s Senate Bill 195 out of the Labor and Industry Committee, where it has sat dormant for nearly a year.

The bill would gradually raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour and index future adjustments to inflation.

“The buying power of low-income workers shouldn’t be subject to political gamesmanship in Harrisburg,” Sabatina said. “Both employers and employees would benefit from a rational, predictable system for adjustments.”

Pennsylvania remains the only Northeast state to fail to increase its minimum wage above the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour. Maryland’s minimum wage is $8.25 and is set to increase in stages to $10.10 by July 2018. New Jersey’s minimum wage is $8.38 but it is now indexed to the Consumer Price Index. New York’s base hourly rate is $8.75 and is going to $9 at the end of this year.

In total, 29 states and Washington, D.C. pay more than the Pennsylvania/federal minimum of $7.25. ••

Boyle wants tough hate-crime law

State Rep. Kevin Boyle (D-172nd dist.) wants prosecutors in Pennsylvania to be able to charge attacks based on sexual orientation as hate crimes.

“While Kathryn Knott was found guilty of assault and reckless endangerment, this attack was clearly a hate crime against a gay couple and it should have been treated as such,” Boyle said.

Knott was part of a group of friends who encountered a same-sex couple in Center City on Sept. 11, 2014. The group of friends allegedly asked the men if they were “boyfriends,” taunted them, and then physically attacked them. One of the victims was hospitalized with facial injuries that included a broken jaw.

Two of the other attackers, Philip Williams and Kevin Harrigan, pled guilty and accepted a plea deal while Knott decided to go to trial.

Boyle introduced H.B. 218, which would amend the state’s hate crimes law to include sexual orientation. A crime motivated by hatred toward these protected classes would be graded one degree higher than already specified in law.

“Many believe, and I agree, that the horrible attack perpetrated by Knott and her friends was a hate crime,” Boyle said. “Unfortunately, the current law did not give Philadelphia’s district attorney the opportunity to charge these attackers with a hate crime. We need to rectify Pennsylvania’s hate crimes law now before another horrific hate crime goes unpunished.” ••