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Raising Readers

WFSU and PBS Raising Readers - Get ready for summer reading!

Throughout the summer, WFSU-TV provides families with a variety of free and educational resources to encourage young learners to continue learning and exploring over summer vacation.

From June 3rd through August 9th, WFSU will air 10 weeks of adventures, exploration and just plain fun planned with all your favorite PBS KIDS series.
See the schedule here!
Check out the PBS Raise a Reader page each week for special downloads and activity suggestions to help your little reader keep the reading going when the shows are done! In the meantime, here are a few ideas to get you started:

· Explore vocabulary by journaling with Martha Speaks Journal.

· Make the most of your next trip to the library with Word Girl's Literary List.

· Stuck indoors? Create a puppet show with The Cat in the Hat.

· Encourage your child's inner author with this writing activity from Arthur.

· Or, sign up now for the Scholastic Summer Challenge and encourage your child to read for the world record with PBS KIDS heroine, WordGirl!

Check out the WFSU Summer Literacy Page to learn more

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New Free Online Course 2013

"MAKE THE LINK": Prevent Prenatal Substance Exposure

Enroll Now – improve your knowledge in this critical practice area. Log on to: http://fcbonline-ed.mrooms3.net/ and click on Substance-Exposed Infants.

An Urgent Need – Florida’s substance abuse and child welfare systems have been called to respond to an alarming increase in the number of infants born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) due to prenatal exposure to prescription painkillers and other drugs. Between 2006 and 2011, this number quadrupled! Substance abuse and child welfare professionals must understand the this problem and develop appropriate practice responses.

This NEW online course from the Florida Certification Board has been developed to help you meet that need. The course is self-paced and FREE – take it any time!

3 CEUs are offered at no cost for:

  • NAADAC Provider #516, Exp. Date 12/31/2013
  • National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) #6344
  • Florida Certification Board Provider #5033-A, Exp. Date 12/31/2013
  • Florida Board of Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling Provider #50-1836,
  • Exp. Date 3/31/2015
  • Florida Board of Nursing Provider #50-1836, Exp. Date 10/31/2013
  • Florida Board of Psychology Provider #50-1836,Exp. Date 5/31/2015

This course is supported by the Florida Department of Children and Families Substance Abuse and Mental Health Program Office funding.

Florida Certification Board, 1715 S. Gadsden St. | Tallahassee, FL 32301 | (850) 222-6314 | FAX: (850) 222-6247

WFSU and PBS Raising Readers - Get ready for summer reading!

Throughout the summer, WFSU-TV provides families with a variety of free and educational resources to encourage young learners to continue learning and exploring over summer vacation.

From June 3rd through August 9th, 2013, WFSU will air 10 weeks of adventures, exploration and just plain fun planned with all your favorite PBS KIDS series.

See the schedule here!
Check out the PBS Raise a Reader page each week for special downloads and activity suggestions to help your little reader keep the reading going when the shows are done! In the meantime, here are a few ideas to get you started:

· Explore vocabulary by journaling with Martha Speaks Journal.

· Make the most of your next trip to the library with Word Girl's Literary List.

· Stuck indoors? Create a puppet show with The Cat in the Hat.

· Encourage your child's inner author with this writing activity from Arthur.

· Or, sign up now for the Scholastic Summer Challenge and encourage your child to read for the world record with PBS KIDS heroine, WordGirl!

Check out the WFSU Summer Literacy Page to learn more


-- 2965 Municipal Way, Tallahassee, with Dr. Homer J. Rice, Administrator, Leon County Health Department--

Tallahassee and Monticello--This is to advise you that there has been increased mosquito-borne disease activity in areas of Leon and Jefferson counties. A resident of Leon County, who also visited Jefferson County during the time he was bitten, has tested positive for West Nile virus. In addition, we have one presumed positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEE) in Leon County’s sentinel chicken flock. Although none of Jefferson County’s mosquito pools has tested positive for any mosquito-borne disease, Jefferson recently had a horse test positive for EEE infection. The risk of transmission to humans has been increased.

Both county health departments remind residents and visitors to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. County mosquito control offices and the health departments continue surveillance and prevention efforts and encourage everyone to take basic precautions to help limit exposure by following the Department of Health recommendations.

To protect yourself from mosquitoes, you should remember “Drain and Cover”:
DRAIN standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.
Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers where sprinkler or rain water has collected.
Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren't being used.
Empty and clean birdbaths and pet's water bowls at least once or twice a week.
Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water.
Maintain swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.

COVER skin with clothing or repellent.
CLOTHING - Wear shoes, socks and long pants and long-sleeves. This type of protection may be necessary for people who must work in areas where mosquitoes are present.

REPELLENT - Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing.
Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide), picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus and IR3535 are effective.
Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.

COVER doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house.
Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches and patios.

PROTECT PETS from mosquito bites.
Mosquitoes can transmit heartworms to your dog and cat, so please call your veterinarian about the best precautions to take for your pets. Although curable if caught early enough, heartworm treatment is expensive and difficult for animals.

Tips on Repellent Use:
§ Always read label directions carefully for the approved usage before you apply a repellent. Some repellents are not suitable for children.
§ Products with concentrations of up to 30 percent DEET are generally recommended. Other US Environmental Protection Agency-approved repellents contain Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535. These products are generally available at local pharmacies. Look for active ingredients to be listed on the product label.
§ Apply insect repellent to exposed skin or onto clothing but not under clothing.
§ In protecting children, read label instructions to be sure the repellent is age-appropriate. According to the CDC, mosquito repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under the age of three years. DEET is not recommended on children younger than two months old.
§ Avoid applying repellents to the hands of children. Adults should apply repellent first to their own hands and then transfer it to the child’s skin and clothing.
§ If additional protection is necessary, apply a permethrin repellent directly to your clothing. Again, always follow the manufacturer’s directions.

DOH continues to conduct statewide surveillance for mosquito borne illnesses, including West Nile virus infections, Eastern equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, malaria and dengue. Residents of Florida are encouraged to report dead birds via the web site for Surveillance of Wild-bird Die-offs located at http://www.myfwc.com/bird/. For more information, visit DOH’s Environmental Public Health web site at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/arboviral/index.html or call your local county health department’s environmental health division.

Leon County Environmental Health Division: 850-606-8350.
Leon County Mosquito Control: 850-606-1400


Florida KidCare Update

The Florida Legislature recently passed legislation that provides a new opportunity to state employees. Families with income less than 200% of the federal poverty level, but above the amount that qualifies for Medicaid, can now qualify for health insurance for their children for less than $20 per month.

This new law is effective July 1, 2012, and will serve as a qualifying event for those state employees who presently have their children covered by the state group insurance program.

With coverage throughout Florida, state employees who apply for this coverage can be confident that their children will receive quality service.

Please let interested employees know they can apply online at www.healthykids.org.

Print an application from the website and mail it to P.O. Box 980, Tallahassee, FL 32302-0980; or call 1-888-540-5437 to have an application mailed or to receive additional information.

For state employees whose Healthy Kids application has been approved and would be eligible to switch from family coverage to single coverage, contact the People First Service Center at (866) 663-4735, or TTY users call (866) 221-0268.


Program provides kids with free meals

Tallahassee Democrat - Published May 31, 2012

Written by Sarah Proctor, Democrat writer

A program to make sure children don't go hungry while school is out over the summer will soon begin providing free meals to young people in Leon County and across Florida.

Summer BreakSpot, Florida's free breakfast and lunch summer initiative, will begin serving meals as early as June 4 at some locations and continue through mid-August. The Summer Food Service Program, funded through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will include about 3,000 Summer BreakSpots across the state.

This summer, the program will include 32 BreakSpot locations in Leon County, said Cathy Reed, the Nutrition Services director for Leon County Schools. Four of these locations are open to anyone under the age of 18 at no cost.

The four local open BreakSpot locations are Jake Gaither Community Center, Walker Ford Community Center, Palmer Munroe Teen Center and Lawrence-Gregory Community Center.

"We are making a big push to expand the program," Reed said. "We want to alert the communities where open sites are located to provide more meals to the children."

Last summer, more than $347,524 went toward the program in Leon County and about 45,000 breakfasts and 80,000 lunches were served locally, according to Leon County Schools. In summer 2010 a total of 9,618,472 meals were served in Florida and 133,773,137 nationwide, according to DACS.

The initiative is a summer continuation of the National School Lunch Program, which provides free or reduced-price lunches to over 1.6 million Florida students in need during the school year. In 2009, Congress spent almost $358 million nationally on the National School Lunch Program, according to the USDA.

Many schools and nonprofit organizations, such as Second Harvest of the Big Bend, help provide these meals free of charge to the children to ensure they eat healthy meals during the summer months and return to school well-nourished and prepared for the upcoming year.

"It's easy to provide meals during the school year when children have to be there and it's made easily available," said Sterling Ivey, spokesman for DACS. "This program allows children to continue to have that access to breakfast and lunch during the summer months."


• Lawrence-Gregory Community Center, 1115 Dade St., will begin serving lunch June 11 from 11-12.

• Jake Gaither Community Center, 801 Bragg Dr., will begin serving lunch June 11 from 11-12.

• Walker Ford Community Center, 2301 Pasco St., will begin serving lunch June 11 from 11.30-12.45.

• Palmer Munroe Teen Center, 1900 Jackson Bluff Road, will begin serving both breakfast and lunch June 4, breakfast from 8-9 and lunch from 12-1.



--Leon County Health Department urges precautions now--

Tallahassee—Ticks love our springs and summers and return to the business of spreading diseases during our beautiful weather. Because it is the start of the active seasons for disease-carrying ticks in Florida, we need to take precautions to protect ourselves and our pets. Florida ticks carry diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Ehrlichiosis. It can take a month or more to show symptoms of one of these diseases, so be alert if you are exposed to a tick.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), typical symptoms include fever, chills, aches, pains and rashes. Tickborne diseases can result in mild symptoms treatable at home or severe infections requiring hospitalization. Although easily treated with antibiotics, these diseases can be difficult for physicians to diagnose. However, early recognition and treatment of the infection decreases the risk of serious complications. So see your doctor immediately if you have been bitten by a tick and experience any of the symptoms described here.

“Ticks are more active during the spring and summer,” said Homer J. Rice, RS, MPH, PhD, Administrator of the Leon County Health Department. “When we are out enjoying nature in the warm weather, we are more likely to be exposed to feeding ticks. Though rare, cases of tick-borne disease have been detected in Florida through our surveillance systems, so please take the precautions recommended below now.”

Tick-borne Disease Precautions

--Avoidance is the best way to keep from getting ill--

  1. Apply repellent to discourage ticks from biting. EPA registered repellants containing 20% DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) can provide some protection. Repellents with permethrin can be used on clothing, shoes, tents and gear (but not on skin).
    • Read label directions carefully when applying repellent.
    • Some repellents are not suitable for children. DEET is not recommended for use on children younger than 2 months old.
  2. Wear white or light-colored clothing to cover your skin as much as possible, so you can see any ticks crawling on your clothes. Tuck your pant legs into your socks so that ticks cannot crawl up the inside of your pants.
  3. Walk in the center of a trail or path to avoid touching tall grasses and other plants that are tick hang-outs.
  4. Check your body and your child’s body for ticks after spending time outside (for example, in your backyard, a park, the woods) where ticks are likely to be. Look carefully at your feet and legs, as some ticks are small enough to crawl into shoes and through socks. It takes a number of hours after a bite for a tick to be able to transmit disease, so checking carefully for and removing ticks quickly can prevent illness.
  5. Shower within two hours of coming indoors to reduce risk of tick bites.
  6. Check your pets for ticks. Talk to your veterinarian about products that keep ticks off your pets. Follow package directions.
  7. Landscape your yard to reduce the number of ticks present. To see how you can control ticks in your yard visit www.cdc.gov.

Removing Ticks:

If you find a tick on you or your pet, remove it right away with a pair of fine-tipped tweezers:

  • Grasp the tick as close to the surface of the skin as possible.
  • Pull upward with a steady, even motion without squeezing or crushing the tick.
  • After removing and disposing of the tick, clean the bite site and wash hands well with soap and hot water.
  • Avoid folklore remedies such as "painting" the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible--not waiting for it to detach.

Most tick bites do not result in illness, so treatment is not recommended unless a person becomes ill. If you do develop an illness with a fever or rash within one month of being bitten by a tick or after spending time in tick habitat, seek medical care right away and tell your health care provider you may have been exposed to ticks. Delays in treatment can result in more serious illness.

For more information on tick-borne illnesses and current surveillance information, visit www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/arboviral/Tick_Borne_Diseases/Tick_Index.htm or call the Leon County Health Department at 850-8190.


Black Wings: American Dreams of Flight

February 2 - April 22, 2012 - Admission and parking are free!

Museum of Florida History, R. A. Gray Building, 500 South Bronough Street, Downtown Tallahassee

850.245.6400 or www.museumoffloridahistory.com for more information.

From the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and made possible by the support of the MetLife Foundation.


A Hope to Dream

For every mattress sold at your Tallahassee Ashley Furniture HomeStore, $5 is being donated to provide mattress sets to local children in need. Our goal is to give away 500 mattresses by the end of the year.

We need your help to accomplish our mission by referring a child for consideration to receive a mattress set. Our efforts can only be successful if caring individuals refer the children in need.

We invite you to review the program online and refer a child in need of a new mattress set. To request additional applications please send an email to: AHopeToDream@ashleyfurniture.com or use the online application at www.ahopetodream.com


Community Baby Shower

Click here to watch WCTV's "In the Spotlight" featuring the Community Baby Shower


Healthy Kids Day - New Farmers' Market Initiative at the YMCA



We Give Books - United Way of Florida Campaign

Read a book online today and help put books into young people's hands across Florida.

When you select the United Way of Florida's Children's Week campaign and read online, you'll help We Give Books distribute brand-new books to children in need across the state.

Each year, the United Way of Florida and more than 80 partners put a spotlight on issues that affect young people and their families during Florida's Children's Week. A primary focus is literacy: dozens of community and family reading celebrations across the state culminate with a week of exciting events at the State Capitol in Tallahassee - all to raise awareness about the importance of early childhood literacy and other vital children's issues.

This year, the We Give Books ReadMobile Tour is joining many of these community reading events to promote the importance of reading through fun, educational activities hosted with United Way partners. At each stop across the state, the We Give Books team coordinates engaging literacy events for children aged 3 through 7.

Then, the ReadMobile Tour concludes on the steps of the State Capitol building with reading events, literacy awareness activities, and the Legislative Reading Corner, where state leaders read with young children all day long.

The Children's Week campaign at We Give Books is an integral part of the United Way of Florida's efforts to increase literacy and awareness for children aged 1 through 7 across Florida. With your online reading support, the Pearson Foundation and We Give Books are committed to donating 5,000 brand-new books to children throughout the state as the exclusive Literacy Partner of Children's Week. Every time you read a book at We Give Books, you will put a brand-new hardcover or paperback book in the hands of a young person who attends a Children's Week event. The United Way of Florida will also reach out to the wider community of families and children, all with the goal of increasing literacy rates among young children.

Many of these children may never before have had a book to call their own, and the impact of taking home a story to read with family members can be profound. Your efforts will make a difference for young people throughout Florida as they discover the joy of reading during Children's Week and embark on a lifetime of learning.

Go to www.wegivebooks.org/united-way-of-florida for more information.

Click here to read a book online!


National Sleep Awareness Week --- March 7--13, 2011

March 4, 2011

March 7--13, 2011, is National Sleep Awareness Week. Sleep impairment is linked as a contributing factor to motor vehicle crashes, industrial disasters, and medical and other occupational errors (1). Persons experiencing sleep insufficiency are more likely to have chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, or obesity (2,3). In 2008, approximately 28% of surveyed adults in the United States reported frequent insufficient sleep (≥14 days in the past 30 days) (4), which has been associated with fair/poor general health, frequent mental and physical distress, depressive symptoms, anxiety, and pain (3). Sleep insufficiency and poor sleep quality also can result from sleep disorders such as chronic insomnia, restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea, or narcolepsy (1).

The National Sleep Foundation suggests that healthy adults need 7--9 hours of sleep per day, and school-age children might require 10--11 hours of sleep (5). Additional information regarding the public health importance of sleep is available at http://www.cdc.gov/sleep. Information regarding sleep health and safety is available from the National Sleep Foundation at http://www.sleepfoundation.org.


  1. Institute of Medicine. Sleep disorders and sleep deprivation: an unmet public health problem. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2006.
  2. Buxton OM, Marcelli E. Short and long sleep are positively associated with obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease among adults in the United States. Soc Sci Med 2010;71:1027--36.
  3. Strine TW, Chapman DP. Associations of frequent sleep insufficiency with health-related quality of life and health behaviors. Sleep Med 2005;6:23--7.
  4. CDC. Perceived insufficient rest or sleep among adults---United States, 2008. MMWR 2009;58:1175--9.
  5. National Sleep Foundation. How much sleep do we really need? Washington, DC: National Sleep Foundation; 2010. Available at http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need. Accessed February 22, 2011.


ZERO TO THREE Video Promotes Early Language and Literacy Development

Source: ZERO TO THREE Policy Center - Retrieved August 27, 2010
The ZERO TO THREE Policy Center has released a new video illustrating how early language and literacy development contributes to a child’s success throughout life. The video can be viewed online and can be shown to policymakers, advocates, community partners, and others. A Window to the World: Promoting Early Language and Literacy Development is available at http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4250110001?bctid=587336352001


July 20, 2010

TeenTruth.org Fosters Positive Youth Development

Tallahassee-based Wahi Media and the Florida Department of Health launched an interactive, web-based initiative to encourage young people across Florida to make positive choices by providing the information they need to make the right decisions. TeenTruth.org utilizes a new approach—interactive drama—to educate Florida’s youth in a way that extends the relevancy, reach, and retention of the information for teens.

Wahi stands for Web Automated Human Interaction. Wahi partnered with the Florida DOH’s Office of Positive Youth Development to provide over 90 minutes of content for TeenTruth.org. Each viewer navigates through the wahi much like an online “choose your own adventure” book. Each time the viewer interacts with the wahi, it responds and leads the viewer down the next branch.

The wahi also educates parents on the realities of teen life by simulating "real life" examples of good child/parent relationships and challenging ones, as well as encouraging parents to help their teens to make positive choices. The wahi targets community members, informing them on the realities of teen life and urging them to mentor kids and be empathetic to the challenges they face.

Go to www.TeenTruth.org to view the wahi.