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Action Signs: Your Youngster's Behavioral Health Thermometers

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 9:14am

Children often have different ways of experiencing and handling stress than adults, and may have trouble coping with issues in their lives.  WTIP volunteer Sherrie Lindskog spoke with Grace Bushard, Social Services Supervisor for Cook County, about signs that a child may be having emotional problems that require professional intervention.

Parents who may have concerns about their child can contact the Help Me Grow Program at 387-1273, their primary care provider, or Cook County Public Health and Human Services at 387-3620. 


Action Signs That Indicate Your Child May Need Professional Evaluation

Courtesy of the REACH Institute
Action Sign #1 - Feeling very sad or withdrawn for more than 2 weeks:
Depression is a serious condition and one of the most common mental health concerns in kids. The primary characteristics of depression are excessive sadness, loss of interest in activities, sleeping problems (either sleeping to much or not enough), lack of energy, preoccupation with death or dying, feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt and difficulty in thinking, concentrating, or making decisions.
Action Sign #2 - Seriously trying to harm or kill yourself, or making plans to do so:
Suicide is the result of many complex factors. Important risk factors for suicide and suicidal behavior include prior suicide attempt, other mental and alcohol or substance abuse disorders, feelings of hopelessness, impulsive and/or aggressive behaviors, easy access to lethal methods, especially guns, or lack of involvement in school and/or work ("drifting").
Action Sign #3 - Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason, sometimes with a racing heart or fast breathing:
Panic disorder is a common and treatable disorder. Kids with panic disorder have unexpected and repeated periods of intense fear or discomfort, along with other symptoms such as a racing heartbeat or feeling short of breath. These periods are called "panic attacks" and can last minutes or go on for hours. Panic attacks frequently develop without warning. Symptoms of a panic attack include intense fearfulness, racing heartbeat, dizziness or lightheadedness, shortness of breath, a feeling of being smothered, fear of dying, losing control, or losing your mind.
Action signs #4 and #5 - Involved in many fights, using a weapon, or wanting to badly hurt others, OR severe out-of-control behavior that can hurt yourself or others:
Conduct disorder (CD) is a persistent pattern of behavior in children and adolescents in which the youth is physically aggressive to others…he or she just looses control, but often feels bad afterwards. The child or adolescent usually exhibits these behavior patterns in a variety of settings—at home, at school, and in social situations—and they cause impairment. Behaviors characteristic of conduct disorder include aggressive behavior that causes or threatens harm to other people or animals, non-aggressive conduct that causes property loss or damage, stealing, lying, or serious rule violations. In children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), there is an ongoing pattern of uncooperative, defiant, and hostile behavior toward authority figures that seriously interferes with the youth’s day to day functioning. Symptoms of ODD may include frequent or extreme rages and temper tantrums, excessive arguing with adults, refusal to listen to adult requests and rules, deliberate attempts to annoy or upset people, blaming others for his or her mistakes, being easily annoyed by others, frequent anger and resentment, mean and hateful talking when upset, or seeking revenge.
Action signs #6 – Not eating, throwing up, or using laxatives to make yourself lose weight:
Bulimia nervosa is a serious eating disorder with a destructive pattern of binge-eating and recurrent inappropriate behavior to control one's weight. Binge eating is defined as the consumption of excessively large amounts of food within a short period of time. The food is often sweet, high in calories, and has a texture that makes it easy to eat quickly. To control one’s weight, someone suffering from this condition may use self-induced vomiting, abuse laxatives, starve oneself, or use non-purging behaviors, such as fasting or excessive exercise.

Action Sign #7 - Intense worries or fears that get in the way of his/her daily activities:
Children with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) have recurring fears and worries that they find difficult to control. They worry about almost everything—school, sports, being on time, even natural disasters. They may be restless, irritable, tense, or easily tired, and they may have trouble concentrating or sleeping. Children with GAD are usually eager to please others and may be “perfectionists,” dissatisfied with their own less-than-perfect performance. 
Action Sign #8 - Extreme difficulty in concentrating or staying still that puts him/her in physical danger or causes school failure:
There are three main types of ADHD. One type is characterized by inattentiveness, one type is characterized by hyperactive or impulsive behavior, and the third type is combined—when children and adolescents show signs of both types. Symptoms may not be noticed until a child enters school. Some inattentive symptoms include difficulty following instructions, difficulty focusing on tasks, losing things at school and at home, lacking attention to detail, or failing to complete homework or tasks. Some hyperactive symptoms include fidgeting excessively, difficulty staying seated, running or climbing inappropriately, talking excessively, blurting out answers or frequently interrupting, or having trouble waiting his or her turn.
Action Sign #9 - Repeated use of drugs or alcohol:
Teens use alcohol and other drugs for many reasons, including curiosity, because it feels good, to reduce stress, to
feel grown up or to fit in. It is difficult to know which teens will experiment and stop and which will develop serious problems. Teenagers at risk for developing serious alcohol and drug problems include those with a family history of substance abuse, who are depressed or anxious, who have low self-esteem, and who feel like they don’t fit in
Action Sign #10 - Severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships:
Bipolar disorder begins with either manic or depressive symptoms.  Some possible signs and symptoms include mania symptoms of severe changes in mood, usually excessively high self esteem, increase in energy level, risk taking behavior; or the other hand, depressive symptoms of frequent crying, withdrawal from friends, or decreased energy level.  Not all children with bipolar disorder have all symptoms.  Like children with depression, children with bipolar disorder sometimes have a family history of the illness.
Action Sign #11 - Drastic changes in your behavior or personality:
A drastic change in personality or behavior could be a sign of a more serious emotional problem. There is a possibility that it could be a sign of a mental health disorder, including but not limited to depression, bipolar disorder, or a personality disorder. For example, people with personality disorders may show signs of impulsivity and instability in mood, self-image, and personal relationships.

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Great Lakes shipping season is off to a slow start

Wed, 04/30/2014 - 12:50pm

The late season ice on Lake Superior has the shipping season off to a slow start. Adele Yorde, the Public Relations Manager of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, talks to Matthew Brown about the background of the DSPA, and when we can expect to see some of the first "salties" on the lake.

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Community invited to take part in National Day of Prayer at Cook County courthouse

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 10:17pm

The National Day of Prayer is an annual day of observance held on the first Thursday of May, designated by the United States Congress, when people are asked "to turn to God in prayer and meditation.” Each year since its inception in 1952, the president has signed a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day. Community members are answering the call on May 1 from 12 noon to 1 p.m. on the Cook County courthouse steps.

One of the citizen organizers Rae Piepho said everyone is invited to come for the observance to take advantage of the Constitutional right to pray at this public gathering. Piepho said all are welcome to pray for our nation at the event dubbed "One Voice, United in Prayer."

A look into the past and future of Boreal Access

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 2:42pm

For nearly 20 years, local non-profit ISP Boreal Access has been connecting people in Cook County to the internet and giving them daily news and events through its community-supported homepage. Now that Arrowhead Electric is bringing broadband connection to the county, Boreal's role in the community will change. Jack McDonnell speaks on how Boreal got started all those years ago, how it evolved over time, and what's coming up next.

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EDA hears Oddz & Endz proposal

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 11:29am

Sharon Bloomquist, Arvis Thompson, and Lisa Bloomquist were at the Tuesday, April 8 Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) meeting to explain their new venture, Oddz & Endz. Thompson said they represent a team of people who have formed a nonprofit organization to operate a “repurpose, reuse or recycle retail store.”

Thompson said, “We see ourselves as taking what people don’t need—furniture, lawn mowers, small appliances, etc.—and finding a home for these things.”
“We want to take that coffee table that looks like a rat trap and turn it into something you would like to see in your living room,” she said.

And similar to the 1st & 2nd Thrift Store, volunteers will do the work, earning money for a community nonprofit of their choosing.

Oddz & Endz will be housed in the former Howling Wolf Saloon (which has also been home to a bowling alley, Gunnar’s bar and restaurant, and most recently the temporary home of the Cook County Whole Foods Co-op.)

It is hoped that the building will also rent space for fledgling businesses to offer services and merchandise, as a business incubator of sorts, explained the group. Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux is spearheading that effort.

To open the doors, the group must be granted a conditional use permit. They are on the agenda of the Cook County Planning Commission on Wednesday, May 14 at 5 p.m. at the Cook County courthouse.

County approves information systems requests

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 11:27am

Rena Rogers, the county’s new information systems/communication director came before the county board on April 22, 2014 with three requests.

Rogers first asked the board to approve spending $899.10 to purchase an eLearning license. The contract will run one year and provide more than 3,000 online classes for IT staff.

Rogers said, “IT departments have an almost continuous need for training to keep pace with technology changes. The cost for a 3-5 day training class including travel expenses, for one individual can easily exceed $5,000,” Rogers said.

In addition to cost savings associated with staying at home, Rogers said she and her staff can learn at their own pace as well as receive training for new projects.

Second on her list was a request for $9,752.24 to purchase 10 workstations and two laptops at a cost of $2,649.58. This is a scheduled expenditure as work stations are replaced on a four-year schedule.

And last but not least, Rogers asked that a new central server room, co-located with the IT staff, be built at a cost of $31,943.42.

Rogers said benefits of this move include significantly enhancing the physical security of IT assets, increasing the operational efficiency by locating the equipment near the IT staff, and significantly improving environmental controls by limiting traffic in the server room which improves system reliability.

The project consists of converting a current supply room into an up-to-date server room. 

Brian Silence, county maintenance director, presented estimates for the project with a total for construction of $11,395.  The cost of replacing switches, panels and cables will cost $20,548.42.

The board approved Rogers’ three requests. Preconstruction on the server room will begin April 30, construction on May 10, and the project is scheduled for completion on June 30.