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Nurse Says She Won't Have Officials Violate 'My Civil Rights'


Handout Photo(FORT KENT, Maine) -- As Maine officials said they were preparing to get a court order to enforce a mandatory quarantine, Ebola nurse Kaci Hickox said Wednesday night she is not willing to "stand here and have my civil rights violated."

"You could hug me, you could shake my hand, I would not give you Ebola," she said outside her Fort Kent home.

Her comments came hours after Maine officials said they would seek to force Hickox, 33, to obey a 21-day quarantine, although the order would first need to be approved by a judge before it could be enforced.

"When it is made clear by an individual in this risk category that they do not intend to voluntarily stay at home for the remaining 21 days, we will immediately seek a court order to ensure that they do not make contact with the public," Maine Health Commissioner Mary Mayhew said during a news conference Wednesday evening.

But legal experts say it's not clear whether such an order would be approved by a judge.

“The state has the burden of proving that she is infected, or at least was credibly exposed to infection, and also that by her own behavior she is likely to infect others if not confined,” said public health lawyer Wendy Mariner, who teaches at Boston University School of Law.

“The state is not likely to have any evidence of that,” Mariner said, adding that Hickox should be able to prove that she isn't infected and plans to take precautions to not expose anyone to her bodily fluids.

Earlier Wednesday, Maine's governor and other officials said they were are seeking legal authority to enforce what started out as a voluntary quarantine. They also said state police were monitoring Hickox's home "for both her protection and the health of the community," according to a statement from the Maine governor's office.

"We are very concerned about her safety and health and that of the community," Maine Gov. Paul LePage said. "We are exploring all of our options for protecting the health and well-being of the healthcare worker, anyone who comes in contact with her, the Fort Kent community and all of Maine. While we certainly respect the rights of one individual, we must be vigilant in protecting 1.3 million Mainers, as well as anyone who visits our great state."

Hickox was treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone for Doctors Without Borders. She returned to the United States on Friday, landing in Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, where she was questioned and quarantined in an outdoor tent through the weekend despite having no symptoms. She registered a fever on an infrared thermometer at the airport but an oral thermometer at University Hospital in Newark showed that she actually had no fever, she said.

After twice testing negative for the deadly virus, Hickox was released and returned home to Maine on Monday. The following day, the state's health commissioner announced that Maine would join the handful of states going beyond federal guidelines and asking that returning Ebola health workers self-quarantine.

Doctors without Borders issued a statement on Wednesday, disagreeing with blanket quarantines. "Such a measure is not based upon established medical science," the organization said. "Kaci Hickox has carried out important, lifesaving work for MSF in a number of countries in recent years, and we are proud to have her as a member of our organization. MSF respects Kaci’s right as a private citizen to challenge excessive restrictions being placed upon her."

"Our true desire is for a voluntary separation from the public. We do not want to have to legally enforce an in-home quarantine," Maine Health Commissioner Mary Mayhew said in a statement. "We are confident that the selfless health workers, who were brave enough to care for Ebola patients in a foreign country, will be willing to take reasonable steps to protect the residents of their own country. However, we are willing to pursue legal authority if necessary to ensure risk is minimized for Mainers."

But Hickox said she doesn't think it is reasonable.

"I will go to court to attain my freedom," Hickox told Good Morning America via Skype from her hometown of Fort Kent. "I have been completely asymptomatic since I've been here. I feel absolutely great."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn't consider health workers who treated Ebola patients in West Africa to be at "high risk" for catching Ebola if they were wearing protective gear, according to new guidelines announced this week. Since they have "some risk," the CDC recommends that they undergo monitoring -- tracking symptoms and body temperature twice a day -- avoid public transportation and take other precautions. But the CDC doesn't require home quarantines for these workers.

Someone isn't contagious until Ebola symptoms appear, according to the CDC. And even then, transmission requires contact with bodily fluids such as blood and vomit.


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No Shortage of Tanning Beds for Students at Top Colleges in US


iStock/Thinkstock(WORCESTER, Mass.) — College students at top schools in the United States have plenty of tanning beds at their disposable, according to a newly published study.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School found that nearly half of the top 125 colleges and universities from the U.S. News and World Report had indoor tanning beds either on campus or in off-campus housing. They also found that more than 500,000 students have access to tanning beds on campus.

"In 14 percent of colleges, the campus cash cards that students can use to make purchases for food and books were able to be used to pay for tanning at local salons," said Dr. Sherry Pagoto, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Indiana University's website advertises that students can use their campus access card at a tanning salon near campus. The university declined comment to ABC News.

The researchers found that 96 percent of off-campus housing that offered tanning beds did so at no charge. One luxurious off-campus apartment complex near the University of Arizona had a tanning bed inside the building.

"One of the myths of indoor tanning is that it provides a safe tan," ABC News senior medical contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton said. "If you speak to any skin expert, any dermatologist will tell you there is no such thing as a safe tan."

A study in the International Journal of Cancer found that 76 percent of melanoma cases among 18 to 29 year olds were attributable to tanning-bed use.

"These indoor tanning salons are dangerous,” Ashton said. “They are expensive, the risks far outweigh any possible benefits and they're unnecessary.”


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See the Birth of Modern Medicine from the Doctor Who Collects the Negatives


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The early days of modern medicine, before penicillin and anesthesia, can seem gruesome by today's standards. But archivist and collector of medical photography, Dr. Stanley Burns, thinks it’s important to look back at the early days of medicine to understand how far modern medicine has come in just over 100 years.

Burns, the founder and archivist of the Burns Archive, has lots of evidence about how crude early medical treatments could be at the beginning of the last century. From electroshock for blindness to scoliosis cures that look torturous, the haunting photographs from the Burns Archive can be beautiful and scary reminders of how rudimentary medicine was just a century ago.

“The doctors 100 years ago were just as smart and interested in helping their patients as we are today,” Burns told ABC News. “The problem was they labored under inferior knowledge and technology.”

Burns’ photography archive includes thousands of pictures ranging from early medical operations to Civil War-era photos of prosthetic limbs, some of which were featured in a show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

His newest exhibition is decidedly more macabre. It’s a collection of memorial photography, which are pictures of the deceased for loved ones, mainly from the turn of the 19th century.

The photographs of the posed deceased are being featured at the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn, New York, until this January.

Earlier this year, Burns’ incredible knowledge about the birth of modern medicine has been utilized at his newest side-job -- medical adviser on the Cinemax drama The Knick. The show centers on the Knickerbocker Hospital at the turn of the 19th century, just as now common surgical techniques were being developed. It’s a show tailor-made for Burns’ sensibility.

“What I’ve been able to do is help make the medicine in the year 1900 come alive,” he said.

Burns not only vets the set and the procedures, he implemented “medical school” for the actors. Burns taught the show’s stars like Clive Owen how to properly stitch up a wound so that the camera could stay close on their hands during the operation scenes.

He said, “They were more serious about learning the medical [techniques]” than some students.

When Burns asked why they were so meticulous, his new students answered, “It’s going to be onscreen, it’s going to be forever.”

Burns said he hopes his medical archive and the show will help people realize that medicine is an ever-evolving field and that the crude procedures shown on The Knick were actually cutting edge for the time.

"When doctors 100 years from today look at what we’re doing they’ll look at us the same way," he said.


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Most Breastfeeding Friendly Airports Really Aren't


Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Are most U.S. airports “breastfeeding friendly” as they claim to be?

Not according to Michael Haight and Joan Ortiz, authors of the article, “Airports in the United States. Are They Really Breastfeeding Friendly?”

The pair polled 100 airports, 62 of which claimed they were friendly to women who need to feed their children. However, Haight and Ortiz learned that only 37 airports actually offered a lactation room.

What’s more, just eight out of the 100 airports surveyed that designated a specific area for breastfeeding moms made sure that it wasn’t also a restroom and that it also featured a table, chair and electrical outlet.

So, the authors conclude the only true “breastfeeding friendly” airports are: San Francisco International, Minneapolis-St. Paul International, Baltimore/Washington International, San Jose International, Indianapolis International, Akron-Canton Regional (OH), Dane County Regional (WI), and Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional (FL) airports.

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Laws to Deter Underage Drinking Appear to Work


iStock/Thinkstock(OAKLAND, Calif.) — Social host laws that hold adults responsible when underage drinking is happening on their property may be helping to drive down the number of teens who use alcohol at weekend parties.

Mallie Paschall, a senior research scientist at the Prevention Research Center in Oakland, California, admits that there’s no direct proof yet of a link between these laws and a decrease in underage drinking.

However, the early findings are encouraging after a study of 50 California communities, half of which put the onus on parents or adults if people under 21 are caught imbibing at their homes or establishments.

In areas where social host laws were enforced, which can mean stiff fines, there were fewer reports of underage drinking parties.

Paschall explains that most teens get alcohol from social sources, such as parents or other adults, so it would stand to reason that laws that target those sources will result in a decline of underage drinking.

He adds that besides strict enforcement, there also has to be an aggressive public campaign about social host laws to inform parents about the penalties they face for allowing minors to consume alcohol on their property.

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Humility Is the Virtue Women Want in a Man


iStock/Thinkstock(HOLLAND, Mich.) — To the chagrin of the stereotypical nice guy, it seems that women are attracted to bad boys because they represent something naughty and dangerous. Certainly that’s true in the movies and even in some real life cases. But as Dr. Daryl Van Tongeren of Hope College in Michigan explains, what women really want in a man is somebody who exudes humility rather than conceit. In fact, that’s how men prefer their women too.

In a series of three experiments involving hundreds of college students of both sexes, the overwhelming majority were more attracted to a possible significant other who was willing to “overcome desires for power and superiority” in order to build and sustain a long-term romantic relationship.

People viewed as humble are better at evaluating their own strengths and weaknesses, have an easier time accepting criticism and are regarded as helpful and selfless.

So perhaps, it’s the mean guys who really finish last.

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FDA Approves Meningitis B Vaccine


luiscar/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first vaccine to target a strain of meningitis that caused outbreaks at Princeton University and the University of California-Santa Barbara last year.

According to the FDA, Trumenba prevents the disease caused by Neissaria meningitidis serogroup B, one of five main serogroups of the disease. Previously approved vaccines have covered the other four main serogroups.

"Recent outbreaks of serogroup B Meningococcal disease on a few college campuses have heightened concerns for this potentially deadly disease," said Karen Midthun, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

Three randomized studies looked at about 2,800 adult patients and found that 82 percent of subjects given Trumenba had antibodies that kill four representative strains of the disease in their bloodstream, compared to just one percent beforehand.

Minimal side effects were reported with Trumenba, including headache, diarrhea, muscle pain, fatigue and chills.

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These Fatter Crash-Test Dummies May Help Prevent Road Deaths


Humanetics(NEW YORK) -- Crash-test dummies are undergoing a makeover to reflect the thicker waistlines and larger rear ends of Americans.

“Studies show that obese drivers are 78 percent more likely to die in a car crash,” said Chris O'Connor, CEO of Humanetics, the only U.S. producer of the dummies.

O’Connor said crash-test dummies are now typically modeled after a person who weighs about 167 pounds with a healthy body mass index. His company is designing new dummies based on the measurements of a 270-pound person with a BMI of 35, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as other health groups, consider morbidly obese.

O’Connor said seat belts, air bags and other safety features are designed for thinner people and don’t fit heavier people the same way.

“Typically you want someone in a very tight position with their rear against the back of the seat and the seat belt tight to the pelvis,” O’Connor explained. “An obese person has more mass around midsection and a larger rear which pushes them out of position. They sit further forward and the belt does not grasp the pelvis as easily.”

Studies indicate that such drivers are indeed at greater risk in car crashes. In 2010, researchers from University at Buffalo and Erie County Medical Center analyzed more than 150,000 car crashes in the United States and found that drivers considered moderately obese had a 21-percent increased risk of death. Morbidly obese drivers were 56 percent more likely to die in a crash, the study found.

Dr. Mark Reiter, the president of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine, said he was unaware of significant differences in injury patterns between thin and fat drivers. But he did say obese victims of car crashes can be difficult to treat.

"It is harder to perform medical procedures like intubations of breathing tubes and insertion of chest tubes for collapsed lungs and they may have other chronic conditions that put them at increased risk," he said, adding that sometimes neck collars and transport boards may not fit them.

"It does seem reasonable to utilize test dummies that have different body types to see if it has an impact on injury types and severity,” he said.

Russ Raider, a spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a group that tests vehicles for safety and uses Humanetics dummies in its testing, said cars that perform well in crash-test ratings are designed to protect people of all sizes.

"There certainly is a place for heavier crash-test dummies,” he said. “For example, engineering more robust restraint systems such as seat belts and airbags. However, all of the improvements we’ve seen in safety of vehicles over the last couple of decades are allowing people to walk away from crashes without serious injuries regardless of size."

O’Conner said it’s unclear whether heavier passengers are also in greater danger but he said he assumes so. He also said the data used to create the new dummies indicated that obese women drivers had double the risk of becoming a fatality compared with obese men.

With more than 70 percent of Americans now either overweight or obese, according to the CDC, O’Conner said the death risk for obese people in cars is a serious problem that must be addressed.

“We need to find a way to make cars safer for everyone, regardless of size,” he said.

The heftier Humanetics dummies will go into trial usage by the end of this year and become available for wider use sometime next year, O’Conner said.

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Cars, Pumpkin Carving Top List of Halloween Dangers


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- One of the scariest things about Halloween is the high rate of mishaps. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported more than 3,500 Halloween-related injuries in October and November last year.

The statistics aren’t meant to frighten, said Kate Carr, the president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, a consumer safety group. Rather, they’re meant to get parents focused on safety.

“We want everyone to have fun on Halloween,” she said. “That’s why it’s important to have a conversation with your kids and do some planning.”

Here are tips on avoiding Halloween dangers:

Traffic Fatalities


Halloween ranks as the third-deadliest day for pedestrians, according to a recent National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration analysis that examined a quarter-century's worth of data.

However, it’s the deadliest for kids. Children are twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on a typical night, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Carr advised parents to put reflective tape on costumes or have their child carry an item that glows or reflects car lights. She also urged parents to accompany kids younger than 12 on trick-or-treat rounds.

“Kids who are younger than that can’t accurately judge speed or distance to gauge how fast a car is going,” she said.

Food Allergies

One in 13 American children have been diagnosed with food allergies, according to the allergy awareness group Food Allergy Research & Education. Candy containing soy, wheat, eggs, peanuts or tree nuts can sometimes cause life-threatening symptoms, which means trick-or-treating is usually off-limits to food allergic kids.

This year, FARE has introduced pumpkins painted the color teal -- the color of food allergy awareness -- to alert parents to houses that give out small toys instead of candy. People also can download teal pumpkin posters from the FARE website.

Acceptable trick-or-treat alternatives include glow sticks, pencils, stickers and plastic vampire fangs, FARE advised. However, some non-food items may still contain allergens. Play-Doh, for example, contains wheat. And some toys are made of latex, a potential allergen.

Cuts and Bruises

Of the 3,500 Halloween-related injuries on the CPSC list, the most common mishaps included burns, lacerations from pumpkin-carving and injuries from collisions related to impaired vision.

“If you are planning on carving jack-o-lantern, make sure an adult is present and that a child is old enough to handle a knife or carving tool properly,” said Carr, adding that parents should consider using a battery-operated candles with jack-o-lanterns to reduce fire risk and should ensure masks and headdresses don’t obscure a child’s ability to see where they are going.

Stairs

Children ages 10 to 14 sustained the greatest proportion of injuries, a recent study in the journal Pediatrics revealed. They accounted for more than 30 percent of the calamities reported on Halloween day. The most common Halloween-related bumps and bruises came from falling down stairs and tripping on floors -- though about 4 percent of the injuries involved beds and pillows.

To cut down on trips and falls, Carr said, parents should take a careful look at their child’s costume to make sure they don’t drag or impede movement.

“Tighten up those shoe laces so they are ready to hop, skip and jump from door to door,” she said.

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Maine Scrambles with How to Enforce Quarantine Against Ebola Nurse


ABC News(AUGUSTA, Maine) -- Maine officials are scrambling to figure out what to do about returning Ebola nurse Kaci Hickox, who has vowed to disobey its quarantine rules.

The governor and other officials are seeking legal authority to enforce what started out as a voluntary quarantine, and state police are monitoring Hickox's Fort Kent home "for both her protection and the health of the community," according to a statement Wednesday from the Maine governor's office.

"We are very concerned about her safety and health and that of the community," Maine Gov. Paul LePage said in the statement. "We are exploring all of our options for protecting the health and well-being of the healthcare worker, anyone who comes in contact with her, the Fort Kent community and all of Maine. While we certainly respect the rights of one individual, we must be vigilant in protecting 1.3 million Mainers, as well as anyone who visits our great state."

Hickox, 33, was treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone for Doctors Without Borders. She returned to the United States on Friday, landing in Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, where she was questioned and quarantined in an outdoor tent through the weekend despite having no symptoms. She registered a fever on an infrared thermometer at the airport but an oral thermometer at University Hospital in Newark showed that she actually had no fever, she said.

After twice testing negative for the deadly virus, Hickox was released and returned home to Maine on Monday. The following day, the state's health commissioner announced that Maine would join the handful of states going beyond federal guidelines and asking that returning Ebola health workers self-quarantine.

"Our true desire is for a voluntary separation from the public. We do not want to have to legally enforce an in-home quarantine," Main Health Commissioner Mary Mayhew said in a statement. "We are confident that the selfless health workers, who were brave enough to care for Ebola patients in a foreign country, will be willing to take reasonable steps to protect the residents of their own country. However, we are willing to pursue legal authority if necessary to ensure risk is minimized for Mainers."

But Hickox said she doesn't think it is reasonable.

"I will go to court to attain my freedom," Hickox told ABC's Good Morning America Wednesday via Skype from her hometown of Fort Kent. "I have been completely asymptomatic since I've been here. I feel absolutely great."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn't consider health workers who treated Ebola patients in West Africa to be at "high risk" for catching Ebola if they were wearing protective gear, according to new guidelines announced this week. Since they have "some risk," the CDC recommends that they undergo monitoring -- tracking symptoms and body temperature twice a day -- avoid public transportation and take other precautions. But the CDC doesn't require home quarantines for these workers.

Someone isn't contagious until Ebola symptoms appear, according to the CDC. And even then, transmission requires contact with bodily fluids such as blood and vomit.

"I remain really concerned by these mandatory quarantine policies for aid workers," Hickox said Wednesday. "I think we're just only adding to the stigmatization that, again, is not based on science or evidence."

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Runner Takes on NYC Marathon After Nearly Losing His Leg


Kevin Dunbar(NEW YORK) -- Among the thousands of runners in the 2014 New York Marathon aiming to break personal or even world records, one runner will simply be happy to cross the finish line on his own two feet.

Ken Dunbar, 33, nearly lost his right leg three years ago after an accident during a soccer game. A rare complication from a single kick during the game led to swelling and tissue loss in Dunbar’s leg.

It started when a player accidentally kicked him squarely on his right calf. Dunbar said he felt a pain similar to a cramp.

“When you get a cramp, it feels like the muscles are tightening and won’t stop pulling,” the Cincinnati man told ABC News. “Over the course of the next hour or so, it kept getting worse. “

By the end of the late-night soccer game, Dunbar was in the hospital unable to put even the slightest pressure on his right leg.

Dunbar said doctors at the hospital quickly realized he had dangerous condition called compartment syndrome, where the blood supply is cut off from part of the limb because of an injury and swelling.

“The swelling starts to push in on bone and all of that and it cuts off blood circulation,” Dunbar said.

A hematoma or a collection of blood similar to a bruise in Dunbar’s leg caused swelling in his lower right leg, cutting off blood flow to the area. Severe cases of compartment syndrome can result in tissue death that leads to amputation.

For at least one day he was still unsure whether he was going to get to keep his leg.

“They were checking the pulse every hour,” he recalled. “If I started to lose a pulse in my leg. They were going to amputate.”

To relieve the swelling, doctors made incisions from the bottom of Dunbar’s knee to his ankle. When tissue started to die in his leg, Dunbar said doctors had to go in and cut it out. He spent more than a week in a hospital bed on morphine with no chance of quick recovery.

As he lay in bed, high on painkillers, Dunbar remembers one moment clearly.

“If I can get through this week without [their] taking my leg, I am going to start running again,” he recalled thinking.

When Dunbar was finally released, he still had his leg, but was unable to put any pressure on his injured leg, much less run on it.

“I was on crutches and it was wrapped up so much and it was very, very painful,” he remembered.

But even at that early point he was determined to get back into a race.

During four months of intense physical training, Dunbar focused on one goal: He wanted to run.

While he had been a runner in high school, he spent over a decade trying out other sports as he married and had three children. He said the accident made him want to get back to his roots as a runner.

“We fought through physical therapy, which was months and months of physical labor,” he said. “They got me back to where I was able to run.”

When he was finally approved to run, Dunbar set his goal on his first race in years: a half-marathon.

“I did my first half-marathon,” Dunbar said. “As soon as I got done, I said I need to do a full.”

Dunbar has since run nine marathons in six states and plans to run in a marathon in all 50 states. But the father of three is especially excited to run his first New York marathon along with around 50,000 participants.

“New York has been on my bucket list,” Dunbar said. “Between New York and Boston, those are the two that I want to do the most. [New York is] the one every runner wants to do.”

After fighting back from his injury, Dunbar says he doesn’t mind the lengthy training it takes to run a marathon.

“With any training you’re going to have your ups and downs and bumps and bruises,” he said. “That’s part of what makes marathoning so enjoyable. [After] 18 to 23 weeks of training, you don’t know how it’s going to go.”

Dunbar said the race will be just the second time he’s visited New York. But that this time he expects to see much more of the city.

“The fact I’m going to go through all five boroughs and all different types of New York City,” Dunbar cited as what he’s most excited about.

“The fans in New York, there is no comparison,” he said.

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Hidden Camera Records More than 100 Catcalls Aimed at New York Woman


AbleStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Aided by a hidden camera, a New York City woman has exposed what she says happens to her every day on the city’s streets.

Shoshanna Roberts says she was catcalled over 100 times while being filmed over the course of 10 hours.

“It was all types people,” Roberts told ABC News. “All colors, shapes, sizes [and] ages.”

Roberts filmed her first-hand view for Hollaback!, a non-profit organization that raises awareness about street harassment.


The recording of Roberts, an actress, is now being used by the organization as a PSA titled, "10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman."

“I wanted to give it to guys who would maybe consider whistling at a girl,” said Rob Bliss, the owner of his own creative firm who reached out to Hollaback! with the idea of creating the PSA.

“To see things from the other side and to really feel for the first time, going through this every day, I feel kind of sick,” said Bliss, who captured the catcalling with a GoPro camera hidden on his back while he walked in front of Roberts.

Viewers of the PSA have responded with comments online like, “No woman should ever have to experience this,” and, “All you men should be ashamed of yourself.”

The woman at the center of the catcalls says it is time for change. “It is not acceptable,” Roberts said. “Enough is enough.”

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POLL: Ebola Worries Ease a Bit Despite Preparedness Concerns


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Ebola worries have eased slightly in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, despite a broad sense among Americans that their local hospitals are unprepared to deal with the virus -- and continued preference for a more robust response by the federal government.

After the difficulties at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where two nurses were infected, just 29 percent in this national survey think the staff at their local hospitals is adequately trained to deal with Ebola cases. Six in 10 think not.

[See PDF with full results, charts and tables here.]

The fact that both nurses recovered -- and just one further case has been identified -- may have done at least a little to calm fears of a broad outbreak. In interviews Thursday through Sunday, 36 percent of Americans expressed worry that they or an immediate family member might catch the Ebola virus, down by 7 percentage points from two weeks before. And while 60 percent are concerned about an epidemic occurring in the United States, that’s eased from 65 percent.

Further, the new poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, shows an 8-point increase in Barack Obama’s approval rating for handling the issue, to 49 percent, now exceeding the 41 percent who disapprove. There’s a closer division on the response by the federal Centers for Disease Control, 47-45 percent; it’s said it could have moved more forcefully in providing oversight in Dallas.

Another result shows steady majority confidence -- 63 percent -- in the ability of the federal government to respond effectively to an outbreak. That said, 61 percent also say the government should do more to try to prevent further cases in the United States.

The public by 46-37 percent also says the United States is not doing enough to try to stop the spread of Ebola in Africa; on this question 17 percent have no opinion.

Interviews for this survey were conducted before debate erupted over moves by some state governments to impose greater restrictions than the CDC’s on people who’ve been to West African countries affected by Ebola. Regardless, 70 percent support restricting entry to the United States by such people -- similar to the level two weeks ago -- indicating general support for aggressive efforts to prevent spread of the disease.

AWARENESS and WORRY – This survey also finds a high level of awareness about the disease: Eighty-one percent feel that they understand how the Ebola virus is transmitted among humans -- an important result, because feeling informed relates to concern.

Specifically, worries about catching the virus, and about a U.S. epidemic, are substantially lower among those who say they understand how it’s transmitted. These concerns are lowest among the 37 percent who feel they know “very well” how transmission occurs, underscoring the role of education in quelling public fears.

Education factors into feeling informed -- among college graduates, 91 percent say they’re well informed about how Ebola is transmitted, including 51 percent “very” well informed. Those numbers decline to 76 and 30 percent, respectively, among those who lack a degree.

GROUPS and CHANGES – Concerns about Ebola are concentrated in some groups. Worry about catching the disease remains particularly high among less-educated adults -- nearly twice as high among those without a college degree (42 percent worried) compared with college graduates (24 percent). Concerns about a U.S. epidemic, similarly, are 23 points higher among the less-educated group, 68 vs. 45 percent.

That said, some of the greatest changes from two weeks ago are among more-concerned groups. Worry about catching Ebola is down by 8 points among non-graduates compared with earlier this month, and concern about an epidemic is down by 6 points in this group.

Among other groups, worry about an epidemic has subsided among Republicans and conservatives, by 11 and 8 points, respectively. Nonetheless, both remain much more apt than others to say the government should do more to try to stop the spread of the disease in the United States -- putting these groups in the somewhat unusual position of favoring more, not less, government action.

Women are 10 points more likely than men to express worry that they or a family member might catch the disease, and 9 points more apt to say they’re concerned about an epidemic. There’s also a sharp racial division, with worries about catching Ebola 22 points higher among nonwhites than whites.

METHODOLOGY – This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Oct. 23-26, 2014, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,204 adults, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3 points, including the survey’s design effect.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y.

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More Parents Find Nutrition Labels Really Are Helpful


iStock/Thinkstock(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) — Over the years, nutrition labels have become part of the supermarket shopping experience even if many Americans still don’t pay much attention to them.

Fortunately, the numbers are trending upwards, at least among parents, according to the Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health.

In the survey of nearly 1,500 parents, four out of 10 moms say they read nutrition labels “very often” or “always” as compared to 35 percent of dads.

Meanwhile, ten percent of mothers and 16 percent of fathers admit they don’t look at the labels while shopping.

In terms of how much the nutrition labels influence their purchases, 46 percent of moms and 33 percent of dads said either “very often or always.”

What tops the list when it comes to which nutrient parents regard as “very important?” It’s sugars in both cases, although women also say that proteins and dietary fiber are also “very important.”

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Fatalities Jump as More People Ride Bikes


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — More Americans in recent years are biking as a means of staying fit and reducing transportation costs. However, the downside to this phenomenon is that more bikers are also dying on U.S. roads.

The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that between 2010 and 2012, the number of bicyclists involved in fatal collisions with vehicles jumped 16 percent from 621 to 722.

The researchers wouldn’t say conclusively that an increase of people on bikes was directly related to a jump in deaths although the signs certainly point in that direction.

During the first year the association compiled figures in 1975, there were just over 1,000 deaths as the result of crashes involving cars. Back then, the overwhelming majority of people killed were under 20 years old. Today, most of those killed are over 20.

The study also showed that two out of three bicyclists killed in 2012 were not wearing helmets.

Another disturbing finding is that 25 percent of bikers over the age of 16 who died had been drinking alcohol with many at or over a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent, which is legally drunk.

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