It’s an instinctive reflex. The moment a baby is born parents check the fingers and toes for reassurance that their child is healthy. But that’s only the start of testing for newborns.
Parents are often unaware that while nearly all babies born in the United States undergo newborn screening tests for genetic birth defects, the number and quality of these tests vary from state to state. These often low-cost tests, done immediately after birth, may mean the difference between a healthy life or a severe disability for a baby.
As part of the January observance of Birth Defects Prevention Month, the March of Dimes is announcing it has widened its core list of newborn screening tests to include the metabolic disorder called medium chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (MCAD) deficiency. The other tests that make up the March of Dimes recommended list are: phenylketonuria (PKU); congenital hypothyroidism; congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH); biotinidase deficiency; maple syrup urine disease; galactosemia; homcystinuria and sickle cell anemia.
MCAD deficiency affects about 1 in every 15,000 infants born in the United States and can lead to mental retardation or death if not identified shortly after birth.
In addition, the March of Dimes advises a hearing test for all newborns but remains concerned about the current level of technology and intervention. Whether a baby gets a hearing test or not, parents should be alert throughout childhood for hearing impairment.
Approximately four million infants are born annually in the U.S., with 123,839 in New York City during an average year. Of those, 4,488 are born with birth defects, and 10,563 are born with low birthweight (weighing less than 5.5 pounds.)
The March of Dimes believes that every baby should receive the same core group of screening tests, regardless of which state he or she is born in. In New York these tests are given: phenylketonuria, homozygous sickle cell disease, hypothyroidism, branched-chain ketonuria, galactosemia, homocystinuria and HIV.
The national observance of Birth Defects Prevention Month is a good time to draw attention to the vital importance of newborn screening tests. We can, and should, do more than check fingers and toes. Let’s give New York’s babies the best chance for a healthy start in life, including comprehensive newborn screening tests.
Program Services Director,
March of Dimes
Greater New York Chapter
A copy of the following letter was received by the Gazette.
Dear (Fire Department) Commissioner (Nicholas) Scoppetta:
As president of the East Bayside Homeowners Association, Inc., Bayside’s largest and most active civic organization, as a former member of Congressman Gary Ackerman’s Fort Totten Committee and both the Army and Coast Guard Resporation Advisory Boards, and as a retired New York City teacher and 61-year resident of Bayside, I am writing you in regard to continued use of one of the Fort Totten buildings by the Queens Women’s Center, as control of the surplus land is transferred to New York City from the federal government.
After participating in several years of meetings that evaluated requests for space in unused Fort Totten buildings by the Ackerman Committee, it was learned that the Queens Women’s Center was one of four groups which finally received permission to use space at Fort Totten. The other three were to be the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans organization, the Architects and Engineers Association, and the Bayside Historical Society. Although I have been a member of the latter for over 30 years, I have never been involved in the work of any of the four organizations, and I do not speak for any of the groups.
From what I have been informed, and from what I have read in the press, it appears the Fire Department is now trying to evict the Women’s Center from Fort Totten, but is not doing the same with any of the other groups! I have seen the great amount of work the Women’s Center has put into restoration of its building, and I have never heard of any type of complaint from anyone about the activities that are conducted there. Although I am conservative in most matters, it would appear there is a discrimination present in "selected eviction!" There is certainly no greater park compatibility by the veterans or architects and engineers—and I think not even by the historical association—than the Women’s Center! Indeed, it appears that someone in the Fire Department has decided the well-to-do white males in the architects’ and engineers’ organization are more deserving than clients of the Queens Women’s Center, who are generally poor and from minorities! Obviously, such an impression by many members of the community, including civic leader senior citizens like myself, is not good for New York City!
I am, therefore, requesting (that) you please investigate this situation and determine exactly who in the Fire Department has decided on this selected eviction and remove him/her from any future decision-making about land and buildings in Fort Totten. Also, I request that you rescind this eviction of the Queens Women’s Center, unless the Fire Department is going to similarily evict the other three groups at the same time, to show equality.
May I please hear from you at your earliest convenience?
Homeowners Association, Inc.
New DFTA CommissionerTo The Editor:
As an educational recreational and social worker volunteer professional at a large senior citizen center in the Astoria-Long Island City area for the past 11 years, senior citizens’ rights and welfare have been dear to my heart.
Your very interesting and informative article that appeared in the January 16, 2002 issue of the Gazette introducing new DFTA Commissioner was enlightening and insightful. DFTA is such a very important agency in our city because our city has a vast segment of the population who are senior citizens who need nutritional, emotional, recreational, economic and social work services. These people have done so much for our society and were the pillars and foundation of society.
We thank Mr. [Herbert] Stupp, our former DFTA Commissioner, for his dedication, devotion and hard work in helping promote the needs of senior citizens.
We salute you Mr. Santiago Mendez–upon your new position. You have excellent credentials and a fine professional background in helping senior citizens and you have shown by your past performance your tireless efforts on behalf of senior citizens.
May you continue to positively enrich and enhance the lives of senior citizens through the many services and programs that you will continue and create during your tenure as commissioner.
Long Island City
Little Theater Wins Big
A copy of the following letter was e-mailed to the Gazette:
Dear Convent Players Members, Supporters, and Friends:
I am delighted to announce that on January 4 and 5 "Music of Our Hearts," the benefit cabaret for the Bishop’s September 11 Relief Fund, set a new fundraising record for The Little Theater!
In just two nights, thanks to the talents and support of our contributors, advertisers, audience members, cast and crew we were able to raise $2,545 for this excellent cause. Amazingly, this all time record for the Little Theater not only represents the most money made by any single production at the Little Theater in just two nights, but also the most funds raised by any production (regardless of length of run) at the Little Theater.
We are deeply indebted to Paul Wiley, who directed and arranged all the music for this production and to Dina Desiderio and Lynda Browning, our two producers. A special thanks also goes out to all those wonderful backstage and "behind-the-scenes" volunteers who helped make this a very special night.
The Little Theater was created by the Convent Players two years ago as a fundraising entity for St. Mary’s Parish School. Since the inception of the Little Theater, TCP has raised over $15,000 for St. Mary’s educational programs, painted and renovated key areas of the school building, and created great family entertainment for satisfied audiences visiting from all over the tri-state area.
For more information about the Little Theater, the Convent Players, or some of our past productions, please visit our website; www.conventplayers.org. or call (718) 897-5285.
TCP and The Little Theater are non-profit organizations.
Founder, Creative Director
The Little Theater of St. Mary’s
BVM Help of Christians Parish
(718) 897-5285 (box office)
The photographs of the United Artists Astoria Theater and of the closing of 248th Street in the Zone 1 and Zone 3 editions, respectively, of the Gazette of January 16 were taken by staff photographer Luis Rocha.