The following easy reference chart of West Nile essentials is offered for Tribune readers to clip, post to the refrigerator or keep handy by the phone as the virus season progresses:
West Nile Virus Symptoms
Most people who are infected with West Nile virus either have no symptoms or experience mild illness such as a fever, headache and body aches before fully recovering. Some may also develop a mild rash or swollen lymph glands. In some individuals, particularly the elderly, West Nile virus can cause serious disease that affects brain tissue. Symptoms of encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) include the rapid onset of severe headache, high fever, stiff neck, confusion, loss of consciousness (coma), or muscle weakness.
To Protect Yourself Against The Virus
From now through October, from dusk to dawn or during the day in an area where there are weeds, tall grass, or bushes, people, wear protective clothing, such as long pants, loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts, and socks, and consider the use of an insect repellent containing DEET.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that repellents used on children should not contain more than 10 percent DEET. Concentrations of up to 30 percent DEET have been shown to be acceptable for adults.
As with chemical exposure in general, pregnant women should take care to avoid exposures to repellents when practical.
Wash all treated skin and clothing with soap and water after returning indoors.
Depending on the concentration of DEET in a product, it can be effective for approximately three to six hours. Avoid prolonged or excessive use of DEET. Use sparingly to cover exposed skin and clothing. Do not apply it to skin covered by clothing.
Home Mosquito-Proofing Checklist
• Make sure that doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace all screens that have tears or holes.
• Remove all discarded tires from your property.
• Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or similar water-holding containers.
• Make sure roof gutters drain properly. Clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall.
• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. If not in use, keep empty and covered.
• Drain water from pool covers.
• Change the water in bird baths every 3 to 4 days.
• Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
• Eliminate any standing water that collects on your property.
Remind or help neighbors to eliminate breeding sites on their properties.
For The Latest Spraying Schedules
• Check the City’s website at nyc.gov/health or http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/wnv/wnv02spray.html.
• Call the West Nile Virus Information Line at 1-877-WNV-4NYC (1-877-968-4692).
If They Spray Your Neighborhood
• Avoid direct exposure to pesticides.
• Persons with asthma or other respiratory conditions are especially encouraged to stay inside during spraying.
• Air conditioners may remain on. Set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the recirculate function.
• Bring children’s toys, outdoor equipment and clothes from outdoor areas inside during spraying. If outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, washed them with soap and water to reduce the possibility of exposure.
• Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water.
• If you experience an adverse reactions to pesticides, seek medical care or call the NYC Poison Control Center at (212) POISONS or (212) 764-7667.
To Report A Dead Bird
Log on to www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/wnv/wnvbird.html for an intern information form.
To Report A Pool Of Standing Water
Mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus breed in pools of standing water. To report such a pool in your neighborhood, log on to www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/wnv/wnvwater.html and help the City remove the risk.
Still Have Questions?
For additional information call the toll free New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene’s West Nile Information Line, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 1-877-WNV-4692 or 1-877-968-4692.
— information courtesy of the
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
West Nile Virus Update Spraying Northeast Queens Again, Fighting The Deadly Virus
BY TAMARA HARTMAN
Following Labor Day weekend announcements of a Queens West Nile virus fatality and two more diagnosed cases in Queens, the City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene scheduled spraying for Northeast Queens, and the agency’s West Nile Coordinator spoke to the Tribune on the latest findings.
West Nile Coordinator Dr. Jim Miller explained that the City is reacting to the results of its weekly mosquito pool testing to decided on spray schedules and not on reported cases. The Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene is attempting to give 48 hours warning before spraying begins, but has resorted to 24 hour warnings if they believe the test results warrant faster action.
At presstime, the total number of human cases of the virus in Queens was up to three: a 73-year-old Jackson Heights man who died on Sept. 1; an 85-year-old woman from Richmond Hill hospitalized on Aug. 25 with fever, stiff neck, seizures, and altered mental status; an 86-year-old woman from Beechhurst who was hospitalized on Aug. 22 with encephalitis; and an 84-year-old man from Rosedale hospitalized in early August who remains in critical condition.
Miller explained that his agency has 92 trap sites throughout the City that are sampled every week. The decision to spray or not to spray is made based on the percentage of “human biting” mosquitoes from the sampling that test positive for the virus. He noted that since these kinds of mosquitoes “are liable to fly virtually everywhere” and because there is a time and weather lapse between a victim contracting the disease and the diagnosis, the City is relying on their samplings rather than case locations.
Scheduled to be sprayed as the Tribune went to press on Sept. 4 between 8:30 p.m. and 2 a.m. were Flushing Cemetery, Kissena Park and Golf Course, College Point, Whitestone, Beechhurst, Linden Hill, and Murray Hill “in the area bounded by Northern Boulevard and Crocheron Avenue to the south and the Clearview Expressway to the East.”
Miller explained that the due to the sampling results and, in part, a computer difficulty, this spraying only had a 24-hour warning, but he urged local residents to be cautious, but not worried. He said it is time for City residents to “realize that this is now part of our summer and early fall life. Taking precautions needs to become a habit” in the West Nile fight.
Though Queens Borough Hall had expressed concerns over notification of the borough’s last mosquito spraying last month, spokesperson Dan Andrews said that Borough President had been in touch with the Health Department and was actively reaching out to community boards and youth groups to spread the word. However, Borough President Helen Marshall was not available for comment at presstime.
Picture This: Local Authors’ New Book Illustrates Richmond Hill’s Rich History
BY BEN ABELSON
A home to famous faces and beautiful places — Richmond Hill began to grow during the second half of the 19th-century and emerged as a new village from the rolling fields of Central Queens.
This is where the story of Images of America: Richmond Hill – a unique illustrated historical guide put together by two Queens history buffs – begins.
They Wrote The Book On Richmond Hill
Written by longtime Richmond Hill residents Carl Ballenas and Nancy Cataldi, the book traces the early history and development of Richmond Hill from the last third of the 19th century through the current era.
The story through the ages is told through over 200 pictures, postcards, and portraits, each of which are accompanied by a short, descriptive paragraph.
The two authors initially met “seven or eight years ago,” according to Cataldi, who currently works as a freelance photographer and fashion designer.
There was an instant bond; both were obsessively involved in the historical preservation of Queens, especially Richmond Hill.
Although Ballenas moved out of Richmond Hill to Jamaica Hills several years ago, both he and Cataldi remained extremely committed to preserving and tracing the history of the venerable neighborhood.
Cataldi is the current president of the Richmond Hill Historical Society, while Ballenas teaches social studies and science at the Immaculate Conception school in Jamaica Estates.
Local History From Around The World
When the South Carolina based publishing company Arcadia approached Ballenas and Cataldi with the idea for the book last year, they both jumped at the opportunity, and used their extensive private collections of antique photographs as a base to begin their work.
Their exhausting research, which supplied the rest of the images, took them on a strange path around the world.
“We found a contact in Denmark” after doing research on Jacob Riis, Cataldi said. “They gave us a picture of Elisabeth Riis [his wife], who no one had seen before.” Ballenas agreed that Riis’ story is one of the most inspiring in the book. “He’s an immigrant who comes from Denmark, and he loves America…he’s America’s first photojournalist. He uses the camera to bring the slums of New York to the eyes of everyone in the country.”
Riis was a legendary reformer and social crusader who fought for the rights of the poor and disenfranchised, while also supporting the development of parks and nature in New York City.
He wrote “so many articles about what’s going on, about the children in the slums, the hunger, the overcrowding, what’s going on in these places,” according to Ballenas, that he crafted them into a famous book called, How the Other Half Lives.
A park on the western end of Rockaway Peninsula bears his name, and a chapter in the book traces the history of this distinguished Queens resident.
‘Man’ About Town
Many of the pictures were supplied by a granddaughter of Alrick Man, the first elected president of the village of Richmond Hill who was responsible for much of the development in the area.
His father, Albon Platt Man, bought the land that became Richmond Hill.
Along with his partner, Edward Richmond, “he transformed the former 250 acres of farmland into lots suitable for residences,” according to the text. A section of one of the chapters follows the history of this ‘founding family’ of Richmond Hill.
Worth Thousands Of Words
While the book is a historical text, the development of Richmond Hill is strikingly traced through the photographs, not the words, in the book, which gives it a unique perspective.
Readers do not have to visualize the changes that occurred in this neighborhood; they are provided with a visual basis of how everything actually looked. “Now there’s pictures of people that are long gone…so it’s like giving them a voice again,” said Ballenas, “and allowing them to speak for themselves and showing their life, and for us to learn, because they still have stories to tell us and we have stories to tell our next generation.”
The Richmond Hill Historical Society regularly hosts cultural events and meetings in the Richmond Hill area.
The Marx Brothers of movie fame called this 89th Avenue and 134th Street house their home in the 1920s.
Photos Provided by Arcadia Publishing
Ernest Ball, composer of “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling,” lived near 115th Street and 84th Avenue.
Jahn’s Ice Cream Parlor opened for business in 1926.
The society began in 1997, and is currently “working with Councilman [Dennis] Gallagher to have a historic district made so that the houses won’t be destroyed,” Cataldi said. Many of the old houses are being illegally converted into duplexes, and their original features are being ruined, according to Cataldi.
“Houses [are] being knocked down and apartment buildings put up – so we’re trying to re-zone. We wanted to make people aware of what a beautiful neighborhood, and what a great incredible history comes out of this area. So we thought it was the perfect time to come out with this book.”
All proceeds from the book’s sales, which Ballenas and Cataldi produced for free, will be donated to the Historical Society.
The Historical Society also holds walking tours of historic Richmond Hill several times a year, and hopes to begin holding similar events aimed at the younger residents of the area. “When they’re young, it’s a good time to say ‘you see that, that’s real wood, that’s a stained glassed window, they don’t make that anymore, you’ll never see that again in our lifetime, so it’s something to appreciate and preserve,’” Cataldi said.
The society will be opening its archives within the next month, according to Cataldi.
Many photographs not seen in Images of America: Richmond Hill will be displayed there, along with original newspaper articles and books.
The archives, located at Hillside Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard, above Simonson’s Funeral Parlor, will not be open full-time, but appointments to view the materials there can be set up with the Richmond Hill Historical Society.
The society also holds open meetings four times a year, and is always looking for dedicated new members, according to Cataldi.
How To Learn More
To find out more about the Richmond Hill Historical Society, or to order a copy of Images of America: Richmond Hill, call 748-6070, log onto www.richmondhillhistory.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The book costs $19.99, plus shipping and handling.
Richmond Hill is only one of the many neighborhoods featured in the Images of America series, which is put out by Arcadia Publishing. Check out the other titles on the Arcadia website at www.arcadiapublishing.com.