Fruit Farmers Need Federal Disaster Relief;
Raising Thruway Tolls for Trucks Grinds Gears for Business;
Protect Yourself from Lyme Disease

June 4, 2012
While many enjoyed the record warm temperatures March offered, fruit farmers held their breath and wondered what this would mean as trees began to bud earlier than they could remember. Hard freezes followed in April, which irreversibly damaged this year's crops. Some estimate more than 80 percent of their crops were affected.

My Assembly colleagues and I who represent Upstate and Central New York recently wrote to the Governor, urging him to petition the federal government to declare a federal disaster. With this declaration, crop farmers would then be able to apply for federal relief funds. While these funds will not substitute profits of a plentiful crop, they will help offset losses suffered this year. It is my hope that this federal disaster area can be declared and declared quickly.

Thruway Toll Increases for Truckers Poses Threat to Business

The New York State Thruway Authority is proposing a 45 percent toll hike on commercial trucks with three or more axles. I am opposed to this increase. This is a poor business policy that passes the costs to trucking companies, who will then have to pass their increased costs down to consumers. Not only would this percentage hike increase costs for businesses, but it would likely encourage more truckers to find alternative routes in rural villages and towns, which are not as safe for large vehicles.

Lyme Disease: Know the signs

Reports of tick bites already have been cited this year locally. While not all ticks carry Lyme disease, it's a good idea to protect you and your loved ones from the disease by knowing the signs, which can sometimes be hard to diagnose.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection usually recognized by a distinctive skin lesion, accompanied by headaches, stiff neck, fatigue and possible swelling of the lymph nodes. Not all symptoms are seen in every case, which complicates a diagnosis and sometimes the symptoms present weeks after a bite. While treatable with antibiotics, unrecognized and/or untreated patients may develop complications. Patients treated with antibiotics in the early stage of the infection usually recover rapidly and completely.

If you're outdoors, in the woods, tall grass, gardening or camping, the Centers for Disease control recommends checking for ticks. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body and remove any tick you find. Check these parts of your body and your child's body for ticks: under the arms; in and around the ears; inside belly button; back of the knees; under the arms; in and around the hair; between the legs; and around the waist.

Shower soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has shown to reduce your risk of being bitten by a tick. Check your children for ticks, especially in the hair, when returning from potentially tick-infested areas. Check your clothing for ticks. Ticks may be carried into the house on clothing. Any ticks that are found should be removed. Placing clothes into a dryer on high heat for at least an hour effectively kills ticks.

If you do find a tick on yourself or a child, use tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Gently pull the tick in a steady, upward motion. Wash the area with a disinfectant. When trying to remove the tick, do not touch the tick with your bare hands, do not squeeze the body of the tick as this may increase your risk of infection. Also, do not put alcohol, nail polish remover, Vaseline or a hot match on the tick. These methods can increase the rate of Lyme Disease transmission.

For much more information on Lyme Disease, visit the New York State Department of Health link on Lyme Disease at http://www.health.state.ny.us/diseases/communicable/lyme/.

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at barclaw@assembly.state.ny.us or by calling (315) 598-5185. You also may find me, Assemblyman Barclay, on Facebook.