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07/06/17 4:30pm
JULIE LANE PHOTO Animal Control Officer Beau Payne (second from right) told committee member Marc Wein (left) he wouldn’t release original emails he received containing comments on the proposed Deer & Tick survey without a Freedom of Information request. Also pictured are committee member Dr. James Bevilacqua and committee secretary Amanda Gutiw.

JULIE LANE PHOTO Animal Control Officer Beau Payne (second from right) told committee member Marc Wein (left) he wouldn’t release original emails he received containing comments on the proposed Deer & Tick survey without a Freedom of Information request. Also pictured are committee member Dr. James Bevilacqua and committee secretary Amanda Gutiw.

There will be some quick steps this week to try to rescue a survey of public opinion on how the Deer & Tick Committee members should be proceeding with efforts to tackle tick-borne diseases. (more…)

10/21/13 2:39pm

JULIE LANE PHOTO | Cafeteria offerings at Shelter Island School feature fresh fruits and vegetables but no fries or greasy food. Sylvester Manor staff have also helped students develop a taste for vegetables such as beets and radishes.

No Mickey D’s. The Colonel is AWOL. Wendy’s invisible. Burger King has no castle here.

That might be the reason Shelter Island School students appear to be healthier than their counterparts in other parts of New York State — or score lower on body mass index (BMI) counts than reported by other districts, according to School Nurse Mary Kanarvogel. With no Golden Arches or any other fast food chains available, kids are eating healthier than their contemporaries off-Island.

Schools throughout New York are required to report BMI scores at least every other year to the State Department of Health, with some districts directed to comply annually. Scores are calculated based on each child’s height and weight and provides an indication, if not a direct measurement, of the amount of body fat a person has. The index for children is somewhat different than for adults since it must account for growth patterns, but it has been shown to be a measure for calculating the risk of health problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and even asthma, said Ms. Kanarvogel.

Because Shelter Island has so few students, she didn’t release specific scores that could be traced to particular children, but said statewide, about 32 percent of students are overweight or obese while fewer than 10 percent of Shelter Island students have weight problems. And while there are some students on the Island with asthma, she knows of none who suffer from any of the other weight-related health problems.

“It is a huge problem everywhere else,” Ms. Kanarvogelsaid about overweight and obese students.

There are other factors that contribute to the low BMI scores here, she said. For example, because of the small student population, all students, regardless of ability, participate in athletics.

“Our kids do everything,” Ms. Kanarvogel said. And they participate in many sports, not just one, so they are active throughout the year.

In addition, while many school districts have scrapped recess for teaching time, Shelter Island continues to give elementary students a break during the day where they can be active outdoors if weather permits or inside when the weather isn’t cooperating. The district also offers gym classes every day, not just two or three days a week as is the case in some school districts, Ms. Kanarvogel said.

And her son, Ian Kanarvogel, operates the Fitness Club at the FIT Center for high school students between 2:30 and 4 p.m. daily and provides tips to maximize the benefits of their exercise routines. He also allows student in the basketball gym to work on their games.

Many students also ride bicycles to school, Ms. Kanarvogelsaid.

It’s all in line with First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” program that promotes a minimum of 60 total minutes of physical activity per day for every child and healthy meals to counter the incidence of obesity in the country, Ms. Kanarvogelsaid.

Visit the school cafeteria and you won’t find french fries, potato chips and other greasy foods. Students are offered fruit, salads and other healthy choices.

Staff from Sylvester Manor sometimes bring over vegetables for the students and Ms. Kanarvogel said she is surprised and pleased to find that the students have developed an appetite for foods such as beets and radishes. A lot of schools have eliminated cafeterias because of budget cuts while Shelter Island is able to offer nourishing food at lunch and also offer breakfast for students on the free or reduced price meal program and others who are able to pay.

“It’s not to say kids aren’t excited when they go off Island and want fast foods,” Ms. Kanarvogel said. “But it’s not a daily routine.”