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Scouts BSA Girl Troops Gaining Popularity in US

It’s a cold, windy day in Washington, D.C., but that’s not stopping a group of about 20 girls from taking a 5-mile hike in Rock Creek Park.

As the girls in their khaki uniforms walk through the woods, they said they are happy to be in the first all-girls Boy Scout troop in the nation’s capital. Olivia Hurley, whose brother is a Boy Scout, said she always wanted to be one. 

“I think I’m going to get life skills and community service opportunities,” said the teenager. “I like being with all girls because it gives us an opportunity to learn and empower each other.”

The Washington troop was formed on Feb. 1, when the 109-year-old Boy Scouts of America allowed girls ages 11 to 17 to join all activities. Now called Scouts BSA, boys and girls are placed in separate troops. Girls were able to join the younger Cub Scouts program last year. 

​According to the Boy Scouts of America, approximately 15,000 girls have joined about 2,000 new Scouts BSA troops in the United States. There are about 40 troops in the Washington metropolitan area.​

Outdoor focus

The girls in the Washington troop said they like the challenge of learning and doing the same things as the boys, including leadership and outdoor activities. Today, they are learning to build a campfire, which Sophie Schell discovered is easier said than done as the wind kept extinguishing the flames. 

“I thought it would be a cool opportunity to practice my leadership skills, so I get better at leading and being more in the outdoors,” she said. “I also know some pocketknife safety, and I’ve swung an ax, which is pretty awesome.”

Dressed in a traditional Boy Scouts uniform, Scoutmaster Craig Burkhardt is leading the girls. Scouting is a tradition in his family, and he hopes it will continue with his daughter, who asked to join Scouts BSA. 

“Scouting is a very adaptable program for girls,” he said, despite critics who think girls should not be in the Boy Scouts. “The girls in my troop jumped into it with more enthusiasm than I’ve ever seen in any of the boy troops.”

Girl Scouts program

Perhaps not surprisingly, Girl Scouts of the USA is critical of the all-girl Scouts BSA troops, calling Girl Scouts the world’s single best leadership development program for girls. The group has a trademark infringement lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America for changing Boy Scouts to Scouts BSA.

Samantha Hermoza said she joined Scouts BSA because Boy Scouts do a lot more outdoor activities than Girl Scouts.

“The Girl Scouts is a good organization,” she said, “but I prefer being outdoors with nature.”

In the Washington suburb of Arlington, Virginia, another girls troop is reciting the Scouts BSA oath at their monthly meeting in a local church basement. Today, they are learning first aid, how to properly fold an American flag, and how to tie different kinds of knots.

‘Pioneers’

Scoutmaster Meghan Thomas said the girls have jumped into the program. 

“They’re excited to be pioneers by being part of an all-girl troop,” she said.

Her daughter Corbett joined Scouts BSA, but also remains in the Girl Scouts. 

“They both have different activities that they do, so I enjoy both of them,” Corbett explained. “And I didn’t want to quit one just to join the other.”

Her sister Sophie preferred Scouts BSA. 

“It gives more opportunity to show that just because we’re girls, we can go hiking or camping, and things like that,” Sophie said.

Assistant Scoutmaster Mark Sprulls hopes each of his three daughters will become a coveted Eagle Scout, which is the highest rank in scouting, like him. 

“I want them to have the same opportunity and learn the same types of skills that I learned. I would like them to be confident in themselves, and be able to handle any situation, and not think that they have to rely on a man to help them,” he said.

Study: Many Teens Don’t Know E-Cigarettes Contain Nicotine

A new study shows that many teenagers who use e-cigarettes do not understand the amount of addictive nicotine they are inhaling. 

The study, published in the American Academy of Pediatrics, found that 40 percent of adolescents who believed they were only using nicotine-free products were actually vaping significant amounts of the substance. 

The research involved 517 adolescents, aged 12 to 21, who were questioned about their use of e-cigarettes, traditional cigarettes and marijuana. 

Researchers from Stony Brook University in New York state compared adolescents’ responses about their use of such substances against urine samples taken from the teenagers. They found that almost all of the respondents were honest about their substance use, however, they discovered the biggest discrepancy in the study came from teens who thought they were using nicotine-free e-cigarettes. 

“Many of our participants were unaware of the nicotine content of the e-cigarette products they were using,” the researchers concluded. 

Pros and cons

The study comes at a time when the popularity of e-cigarettes is on the rise and their use has become a divisive topic in the public health community. 

Advocates for e-cigarettes say the products have the potential to shift lifelong smokers of traditional cigarettes onto less-harmful nicotine products, including e-cigarettes, while critics say that vaping risks bringing a new generation into nicotine addiction. Critics also point out that the health effects from the chemicals in e-cigarettes are not fully known.

E-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is addictive, but they do not contain tar or many of the other substances in traditional cigarettes, which make them deadly. Battery-powered e-cigarettes turn liquid nicotine into an inhalable vapor.

Use among teens

Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a plan to restrict sales of most flavored e-cigarettes at drug stores and gasoline stations in an attempt to keep them out of the hands of young people.

U.S. federal law bans the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18 years of age. But a study published last year found that 1 in 5 high school students report using the devices — an activity known as vaping. 

Study: Many Teens Don’t Know E-Cigarettes Contain Nicotine

A new study shows that many teenagers who use e-cigarettes do not understand the amount of addictive nicotine they are inhaling. 

The study, published in the American Academy of Pediatrics, found that 40 percent of adolescents who believed they were only using nicotine-free products were actually vaping significant amounts of the substance. 

The research involved 517 adolescents, aged 12 to 21, who were questioned about their use of e-cigarettes, traditional cigarettes and marijuana. 

Researchers from Stony Brook University in New York state compared adolescents’ responses about their use of such substances against urine samples taken from the teenagers. They found that almost all of the respondents were honest about their substance use, however, they discovered the biggest discrepancy in the study came from teens who thought they were using nicotine-free e-cigarettes. 

“Many of our participants were unaware of the nicotine content of the e-cigarette products they were using,” the researchers concluded. 

Pros and cons

The study comes at a time when the popularity of e-cigarettes is on the rise and their use has become a divisive topic in the public health community. 

Advocates for e-cigarettes say the products have the potential to shift lifelong smokers of traditional cigarettes onto less-harmful nicotine products, including e-cigarettes, while critics say that vaping risks bringing a new generation into nicotine addiction. Critics also point out that the health effects from the chemicals in e-cigarettes are not fully known.

E-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is addictive, but they do not contain tar or many of the other substances in traditional cigarettes, which make them deadly. Battery-powered e-cigarettes turn liquid nicotine into an inhalable vapor.

Use among teens

Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a plan to restrict sales of most flavored e-cigarettes at drug stores and gasoline stations in an attempt to keep them out of the hands of young people.

U.S. federal law bans the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18 years of age. But a study published last year found that 1 in 5 high school students report using the devices — an activity known as vaping. 

SeaWorld Publishes Decades of Orca Data to Help Wild Whales

The endangered killer whales of the Pacific Northwest live very different lives from orcas in captivity.

They swim up to 100 miles (161 kilometers) a day in pursuit of salmon, instead of being fed a steady diet of baitfish and multivitamins. Their playful splashing awes and entertains kayakers and passengers on Washington state ferries instead of paying theme park customers.

But the captive whales are nevertheless providing a boon to researchers urgently trying to save wild whales in the Northwest.

SeaWorld, which displays orcas at its parks in California, Texas and Florida, has recently published data from thousands of routine blood tests of its killer whales over two decades, revealing the most comprehensive picture yet of what a healthy whale looks like. The information could guide how and whether scientists intervene to help sick or stranded whales in the wild.

“For us, collecting blood from free-ranging killer whales is exceedingly difficult, so it’s something we would rarely ever do,” said Deborah Fauquier, a veterinary medical officer at the National Marine Fisheries Service. “Having partners that are in the managed-care community that can provide us with blood values from those animals is very useful. It’s giving us a very robust baseline data set that we haven’t had previously for these whales.”

The round-up of killer whales for theme-park display in the 1960s and ’70s was devastating for the Pacific Northwest’s resident orcas: At least 13 were killed and 45 kept to awe and entertain paying crowds around the world, according to the Center for Whale Research on Washington’s San Juan Island. Only one of those orcas survives: Lolita, at the Miami Seaquarium.

​Protecting orcas

Washington state eventually sued SeaWorld to stop the hunts. Today, 17 of SeaWorld’s 20 whales were born in captivity, including some descended from orcas captured near Iceland; the company hasn’t collected a wild orca in more than 40 years. Under public pressure, it ended its captive breeding program and is replacing trained orca shows with what it describes as “more educational experiences where guests can still enjoy and marvel at the majesty and power of the whales.”

It took decades for the so-called southern resident killer whales, which spend several months every summer and fall in the marine waters between Washington state and Canada, to recover from the hunts. By the mid-1990s, their population reached 98. 

Half a century later, the orcas are struggling against different threats: pollution, vessel noise and, most seriously, starvation from a dearth of Chinook salmon, their preferred prey. There are just 75 left, and researchers say they’re on the verge of extinction.

Gov. Jay Inslee has proposed $1.1 billion in spending to help the whales, with much of the money going toward protecting and restoring salmon habitat. The National Marine Fisheries Service, also known as NOAA Fisheries, is planning to propose expanded habitat protections this year for the whales’ foraging areas off the Washington, Oregon and California coasts.

SeaWorld has also boosted its efforts to help the southern resident orcas, pledging $10 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Killer Whale Research and Conservation Program.

​SeaWorld research

“Our stance is to do research with our animals to try to help this population now, and that’s what we’re doing,” said Todd Robeck, SeaWorld’s vice president of conservation research. “That’s why I got into what I do — to try to help animals in the wild.”

Robeck is one of the lead authors on the review of SeaWorld’s data, which included results of more than 2,800 blood tests on 32 whales from 1993 to 2013. Data from sick and pregnant whales were excluded to obtain a standard range for blood values, including cholesterol, platelet count, triglycerides and many other metrics. The whales were trained to present the underside of their tails for the blood draws, which were taken once or twice a month.

The results show that most of the values don’t differ much between male and female whales, but they do differ considerably with age and season, Robeck said. The study suggests that orcas lose some immune function as they age.

While there will be some difference between the values for captive and wild whales due to differences in climate, diet and other factors, the research provides a template for understanding the whales, Robeck said. Further, the values may be compared to data from blow samples or fecal samples to provide even greater insight, he said. Among the ongoing research projects at SeaWorld is studying the extent to which toxins that build up in the whales due to pollution are transferred to calves from their mothers.

“It’s something that could only be done with our animals,” Robeck said. “It’s an example of how we are dedicated to participating in the well-being of killer whales in the Pacific Northwest and around the world, and how research with our animals is vital in answering some of these questions about how to address the needs of the animals in the wild.” 

SeaWorld Publishes Decades of Orca Data to Help Wild Whales

The endangered killer whales of the Pacific Northwest live very different lives from orcas in captivity.

They swim up to 100 miles (161 kilometers) a day in pursuit of salmon, instead of being fed a steady diet of baitfish and multivitamins. Their playful splashing awes and entertains kayakers and passengers on Washington state ferries instead of paying theme park customers.

But the captive whales are nevertheless providing a boon to researchers urgently trying to save wild whales in the Northwest.

SeaWorld, which displays orcas at its parks in California, Texas and Florida, has recently published data from thousands of routine blood tests of its killer whales over two decades, revealing the most comprehensive picture yet of what a healthy whale looks like. The information could guide how and whether scientists intervene to help sick or stranded whales in the wild.

“For us, collecting blood from free-ranging killer whales is exceedingly difficult, so it’s something we would rarely ever do,” said Deborah Fauquier, a veterinary medical officer at the National Marine Fisheries Service. “Having partners that are in the managed-care community that can provide us with blood values from those animals is very useful. It’s giving us a very robust baseline data set that we haven’t had previously for these whales.”

The round-up of killer whales for theme-park display in the 1960s and ’70s was devastating for the Pacific Northwest’s resident orcas: At least 13 were killed and 45 kept to awe and entertain paying crowds around the world, according to the Center for Whale Research on Washington’s San Juan Island. Only one of those orcas survives: Lolita, at the Miami Seaquarium.

​Protecting orcas

Washington state eventually sued SeaWorld to stop the hunts. Today, 17 of SeaWorld’s 20 whales were born in captivity, including some descended from orcas captured near Iceland; the company hasn’t collected a wild orca in more than 40 years. Under public pressure, it ended its captive breeding program and is replacing trained orca shows with what it describes as “more educational experiences where guests can still enjoy and marvel at the majesty and power of the whales.”

It took decades for the so-called southern resident killer whales, which spend several months every summer and fall in the marine waters between Washington state and Canada, to recover from the hunts. By the mid-1990s, their population reached 98. 

Half a century later, the orcas are struggling against different threats: pollution, vessel noise and, most seriously, starvation from a dearth of Chinook salmon, their preferred prey. There are just 75 left, and researchers say they’re on the verge of extinction.

Gov. Jay Inslee has proposed $1.1 billion in spending to help the whales, with much of the money going toward protecting and restoring salmon habitat. The National Marine Fisheries Service, also known as NOAA Fisheries, is planning to propose expanded habitat protections this year for the whales’ foraging areas off the Washington, Oregon and California coasts.

SeaWorld has also boosted its efforts to help the southern resident orcas, pledging $10 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Killer Whale Research and Conservation Program.

​SeaWorld research

“Our stance is to do research with our animals to try to help this population now, and that’s what we’re doing,” said Todd Robeck, SeaWorld’s vice president of conservation research. “That’s why I got into what I do — to try to help animals in the wild.”

Robeck is one of the lead authors on the review of SeaWorld’s data, which included results of more than 2,800 blood tests on 32 whales from 1993 to 2013. Data from sick and pregnant whales were excluded to obtain a standard range for blood values, including cholesterol, platelet count, triglycerides and many other metrics. The whales were trained to present the underside of their tails for the blood draws, which were taken once or twice a month.

The results show that most of the values don’t differ much between male and female whales, but they do differ considerably with age and season, Robeck said. The study suggests that orcas lose some immune function as they age.

While there will be some difference between the values for captive and wild whales due to differences in climate, diet and other factors, the research provides a template for understanding the whales, Robeck said. Further, the values may be compared to data from blow samples or fecal samples to provide even greater insight, he said. Among the ongoing research projects at SeaWorld is studying the extent to which toxins that build up in the whales due to pollution are transferred to calves from their mothers.

“It’s something that could only be done with our animals,” Robeck said. “It’s an example of how we are dedicated to participating in the well-being of killer whales in the Pacific Northwest and around the world, and how research with our animals is vital in answering some of these questions about how to address the needs of the animals in the wild.” 

Кличко обіцяє, що цього літа у Києві не буде масового відключення води

Цього у Києві не буде такого масового відключення гарячого водопостачання, як це було минулого року. Про це журналістам заявив мер Києва Віталій Кличко.

«Цього року будуть роботи по заміні труб. Тільки із цим можуть бути пов’язані короткострокові відключення води, але такого масового відключення, як було у минулому році, цього року не буде», – зазначив Кличко.

Він нагадав, що минулого року були проблеми з відсутністю водопостачання але «Київенерго» повернули у власність громадян».

З початку року на кір захворіли майже 42 тисячі українців

В Україні з початку року на кір захворіли 41640 людей, зокрема 22369 дітей. Про це повідомляє Центр громадського здоров’я.

З 12 по 18 квітня на кір захворіла 2141 людина, з них дітей – 1035.

За звітний тиждень найбільше нових випадків кору зареєстровано в Харківській (290 хворих, з них 74 дитини), Тернопільській (219/162), Київській (187/71), Львівській (161/120) областях та в Києві (170/82).

Кір – надзвичайно заразне інфекційне захворювання, що передається від хворої людини до здорової повітряно-крапельним шляхом, тобто під час чхання, кашлю або розмови хворого. Вірус кору може жити в повітрі й на поверхнях до двох годин після того, як хвора людина залишила приміщення.

Специфічного лікування від кору немає. Єдиний спосіб запобігти ускладненням і смерті від кору – вакцинація.