Radioactive: Dogs, Cats and Wildlife

by Linda DeStefano
Translated by Rob English

When nuclear disasters occur, not only people but also nearby animals are contaminated with radioactivity. This has been observed in Chernobyl and in Fukushima. In 1986 the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union) exploded, contaminating a vast area with radioactivity. Emergency responders died. About 50,000 people evacuated, and most never returned home because the contamination is long-lasting. What of the animals who could not evacuate? Some of the abandoned dogs and cats survived and reproduced. Their descendants are helped today by Clean Futures Fund. The Fund provides veterinary care to these animals and adopts out the dogs, removing radioactive particles from their fur and from inside their bodies. Luckily, most of the dogs live in parts of the zone that are less contaminated – unlike the wild animals that populate the area – perhaps because dogs stay near humans who feed them. Also unlike the wild animals, the dogs do not exhibit any obvious abnormalities. Among the negative impacts for Chernobyl wildlife are tumors, infertility, smaller brains and dwindling populations. Whereas migratory wild animals may spread genetic damage to unaffected populations through breeding, the dogs are evaluated for DNA damage, and are spayed or neutered before being transported to their new homes.

But what about the plants and the wild animals? Organic matter in forests around Chernobyl are taking years or even decades longer than normal to decay. There are reduced population sizes and genetic abnormalities among birds, bees, butterflies, grasshoppers, dragonflies, spiders, and mammals in highly radioactive parts of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Birds are showing an increase in sterility, albinism and cataracts, with abnormal sperm in barn swallows up to 10 times higher for Chernobyl birds as compared to sperm from males living in control areas.

Another nuclear disaster occurred in Fukushima, Japan in March, 2011. After an earthquake and tsunami, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plants had meltdowns and explosions, contaminating a wide area of land and the Pacific Ocean. About 47,000 people evacuated initially and more later. At least one kind man chose to stay behind to care for the abandoned farm animals. In studying the effects of the contamination, Dr. Timothy Mousseau and his team found that animals and microbes living in contaminated areas are failing to thrive.

Upstate nuclear power plants with the same design as those that failed in Japan could also have meltdowns and explosions because a severe ice storm could make the backup generators useless. Even without a disaster, the nuclear facilities have regular releases of radioactivity and create toxic waste that will last hundreds of thousands of years. And the water they take from Lake Ontario goes through grilles which kill fish. The hot water which is returned to the Lake is also a problem for the animals living in the water.

It is important to quickly move from these dangerous, expensive nuclear facilities in our backyard to energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal). Gov. Cuomo is keeping the Fitzpatrick nuclear facility in Oswego open by forcing all ratepayers to subsidize it. That money could instead be used for moving more quickly toward clean energy, which would create more jobs.

Information about transition to a green economy can be found at

Linda DeStefano is President of People for Animal Rights. For more information about animal rights or to connect with Linda, contact People for Animal Rights, P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse, NY 13215-0358, (315) 488-PURR (7877) between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., or

A Look at your world

A Moment of Reflection…
by Lilia M. Fiallo

A Look at your world

What is to love yourself?

To love yourself, is to accept you as you are, with all your defects, qualities and virtues, being aware what defects you can change, seeking to live with tranquility and peace with your own being, every minute of your existence.

All the answers to the various questions you find, will be of your privacy. They are thoughts that contain the truth and justice that characterize a clean mind open to heaven.

What is the first thing you do in the morning when you wake up, thank God?
Do you do well in all of your life’s actions?

If the answer is NO, you are not prepared to face difficult times throughout your life.

Do you get optimistic because you know you are going for your work or for school?

Your work, however humble or professional, has great significance. For your work you receive a payment that covers the daily expenses, leaving something to save, and perhaps, you can give yourself the pleasure of buying what you crave. Do you love your job, or do you love the money you are paid for doing that work?

Do you treat your family with the love that characterizes you? Can you understand the difference in the way of thinking for each one of them, and simply you remain on the sidelines, or mix in the discussions?

With responsibility and maturity, do you perform your tasks or do your work conscientiously?

Live in peace and let live?

Being offensive and hurtful causes harm to others. Do not judge, do not criticize, do not censure. Bring positive energy to your life!

They say that in a closed mouth does not enter insect, so it is always convenient to keep silent. What A said of B, B can’t know and what B said of A, either. Silence is better not to be involved in absurd situations that can cause great wounds in the soul, enmity, and sometime even death. It is better to build an atmosphere of harmony to your surrounding with nobility and humility.

Health is the most precious treasure that every human being has. We worry little and nothing about taking care of our health, we usually give it a second place, and if we have a doctor’s appointment, we often ignore it. Blood pressure for example, is a hidden enemy of young people and adults and although you know it, you believe that it is child’s play and continue to eat everything, far from taking precautions. If you end up in the hospital, who would you blame?

With respect, without harming anyone, without taking over another’s place, when you project, think or decide something, you do it with enthusiasm and pride because you know you have the right to be happy? And for all the goals that you intend, do you think you will get?

Never postpone your big goals for trivial matters that will hinder your life. Your mind can wrap it whimsically to get everything you want and when you wake up from your mistake you can’t back down. Use the great power of the mind to crystallize dreams that will fill your life with happiness.

Are you happy with what you have?
Do you give others the treatment you would like them to give you?
Do you currently live a world of tranquility and peace?

Today analyze, meditate and think, what you can correct and what you want to achieve.

May the gray years not surprise you without realizing your goals!

Lilia M. Fiallo was born in Bogotá, Colombia, where, between tasks and free time, she found a place to write about subjects, somehow forgotten by others. With gold letters engraved in her memory, she began her working life, in the heart of the technical part, of the air traffic control of her native country. In the midst of aeronautical phraseology and codes, the world of aviation gave her one of the highest experiences, because of the precision required by this craft, where a single mistake could cost many lives. It is there, where in her concern to communicate her ideas, she begins to write with dedication, themes a little relegated by society, the Church and the State. Discovering a truth that nobody wants to talk about, but much more real and everyday, than it seems. It is thus, as it appears, her first work, “Parir por parir”.
You can find her book at for sale in Amazon

USCIS – The New Deportation Machine?

by José Enrique Perez

Yes. Starting October 1, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin a Estados Unidos phased implementation of its June 28, 2018 Notice to Appear (NTA) Memorandum, which directs agency adjudicators to initiate removal proceedings against a broader group of foreign nationals.

An NTA is a document that instructs an individual to appear before an immigration judge. This is the first step in starting removal proceedings against them.

If applicants are no longer in a period of authorized stay, and do not depart the United States, USCIS may issue an NTA.

Before this memorandum, USCIS did not have this power. In point of fact, any foreign national who made an application before the Trump administration was safe even if the application was denied by the USCIS. This is not the case anymore.

According to the USCIS’s announcement issued last month, USCIS will apply the policy to Form I-485 permanent residence applicants and to Form I-539 applicants to extend or change nonimmigrant status. Employment-based petitions – including H-1B, L-1, E and O petitions – will not be subject to the enforcement policy at this time. Humanitarian application and petitions are allegedly also exempted.

USCIS first announced the NTA policy in July of this year, but deferred implementation while it developed internal guidance.

USCIS is soon expected to provide further information on how the NTA policy will be implemented. It is anticipated that a foreign national whose I-485 or I-539 application is denied and who has no underlying valid immigration status would receive a notice to depart the United States. Those who do not depart timely could be issued a Notice to Appear before an immigration judge, who would determine whether the foreign national should be removed from the United States or is entitled to legal relief that permits him or her to remain.

You should remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about the new immigration policies. Furthermore, the article is not intended to explain or identify all potential issues that may arise in connection with the filing of applications with USCIS. Each case is fact-specific and therefore similar cases may have different outcomes.

I represent individuals in immigration cases. If you have any questions or concerns about an immigration case or potential case, you can call me at (315) 422-5673, send me a fax at (315) 466-5673, or e-mail me at The Law Office of Jose Perez is located at 120 East Washington Street, Suite 925, Syracuse, New York 13202. Now with offices in Buffalo and Rochester!!! Please look for my next article in the November edition.

Fuel Up!

Fuel Up- Healthy School Lunches and Snacks!

It’s that time of the year again! Summer is coming to an end with the first day of school fast approaching. Focus on balance during September from cooking wholesome dinners to packing nutritious school lunches. A balanced eating plan includes whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy and colorful fruits and vegetables!

• Be mindful! Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables and focus on eating from all food groups.
• Eat slowly. You will be more likely to notice cues that let you know you’ve had enough to eat.
• Send the kids to school with food to keep them fueled and focused. Hard-cooked eggs, baked chicken, garbanzo beans, peas, or nuts are great protein choices that keep the brain and body energized.
• Don’t forget the veggies! Cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, carrots and green beans are easy to snack on and full of fiber. Dip them in hummus, low-fat ranch, tzatziki, or plain Greek yogurt!
• Color your meal. Fruits make for a yummy addition to any lunch! Cherries, apple slices, pears or orange wedges are a delicious way to add nutrients and color to a meal.
• The brain needs grains! Children’s brains need energy from whole grains (pasta, bread, rice) to be focused and do well in school. Start the day with a whole wheat English muffin, oatmeal, whole grain bread or whole grain cereal. Add low or non-fat dairy for a high protein, high energy, nutrition packed meal.

Send your child to school knowing they are eating well. Try out these easy recipes as school lunches or afterschool snacks!

Veggie Pockets: Cut a whole wheat pita in half and let kids add their favorite veggies. Sprinkle with low-fat cheese and a dab of dressing!

Simple Pizzas: Top a whole wheat English muffin with sauce, chopped vegetables and low-fat mozzarella, then toast lightly for a mini pizza!

Brain Boosting Trail Mix: Toss together dried fruit, mixed nuts, cereal and popcorn in a snack-size bag. This makes a filling, healthy snack you can bring anywhere!

Roll-Ups: Spread peanut or almond butter on a whole wheat tortilla, add sliced strawberries, roll it up for strawberry roll-ups! Or, layer a tortilla with deli turkey, low-fat cheese and lettuce for a turkey roll-up!

Let the kids help! When kids help create their lunch or snacks, they are more likely to eat it. Be creative and save money at the same time. Try making your own snacks and limit processed ones that could be high in added sugars, sodium or saturated fat. Start school off on the right foot this year and give the family food you feel good about.

United by the Music

United by the Music
by Félix Martínez Marrero

What is trova and how did it become part of typical Puerto Rican music? When is it heard? The trova is the poetic composition composed to be sung. It is the typical music of our ancestry. The trova is significant as a cultural expression. It is heard all year, although some relate it mostly to the Christmas season.

Like most Puerto Ricans who emigrate to the United States in search of a prosperous future for their families, 48 years ago, my parents and their 11 children did the same. One of those children was me. Although I came to Rochester as a young man, I have never stopped longing for my beautiful island, our culture and the neighborhood where I was born. That’s how music became my refuge, becoming the consolation of longing for the soil where I was born. From here came my dream of one day to record a CD of typical music. The years went by and I continued to be involved in music with Pedro Núñez, the Maso Rivera of Rochester who may rest in peace and Marcos Santiago, among others. Even if the temperature was below zero, I did not miss a “parranda”.

Six years ago I started trying to make my dream come true, but for one reason or another I could not achieve it. One day, talking with my wife Margarita, I decided to start communicating with friends who are involved in the music to see if I could achieved my purpose. I spoke with my friend Eliú De Jesús in Florida, who put me in touch with Josean Feliberty Colon in Puerto Rico and I from Rochester, NY, how would we achieve this get-together? It was this way that JFC Home Studio in Ciales, PR, Freddygeezstudio in Rochester, NY, and EDR Studios in Groveland, FL, joined by the music and started my long-awaited project. We started to decide which topics we would include: seises, aguinaldos, trullas… The recordings began in three different studios, “UNITED BY THE MUSIC”. Everything was ready with plans to go on the market in October 2017 and Hurricane María hit PR. It was necessary to postpone the release of the CD.

Originally the CD included eight songs. During the wait and hearing about the suffering of our Puerto Rican brothers, we were inspired by the last song which became the number one on the CD “Puerto Rico Rise Up” (Puerto Rico se Levanta in Spanish). Now the CD contains nine songs with five styles of six, three aguinaldos and a trulla. Each one with an original message of nostalgia for the country, a love story, a biblical message, a cultural controversy, a tribute to Don Pedro Núñez, among others. By obtaining this CD, you will join us, through music, to promote our cultural heritage and although far from the Puerto Rican soil, we will always carry it proudly in our hearts.

The Perils of Smoking

by Adrián Martínez

Many of you have heard through school, the news, or your medical providers that smoking has the potential to cause or worsen many diseases, ranging from heart and lung disease to various forms of cancer. In fact, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data indicate that smoking can significantly increase risk of developing heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes, which are among the leading causes of death for Latino people (1). With this in mind, it is understandable why healthcare providers are encouraging their patients to quit smoking. Unfortunately, the Latino population has lower access to health insurance than white Americans, which means they have less access to healthcare providers and the treatments that may be offered to help quit smoking.

According to surveys from the United States Census Bureau, smoking rates vary among the Latino subpopulations. About one in five Puerto Ricans and Cubans admit to cigarette smoking, which is about twice the rate of Central and South Americans; among all groups, men are more likely to smoke daily than women (2). This can reflect more social acceptance of smoking in those groups with higher rates, which in itself can result in more difficulty for people in those groups to quit. Part of the process of quitting involves avoiding environments in which you might be more likely to smoke a cigarette. If you are surrounded by people who smoke, it is much harder to avoid the temptation of smoking. Surround yourself with people who can support you in your efforts to quit, and encourage your loved ones to quit alongside you.

What methods are there to quit smoking? Besides attempting to do so on your own, you have a few options from which to choose. Nicotine replacement therapy includes nicotine gum, patches, lozenges, inhalers, and nasal sprays. Other treatments include the medicines varenicline and bupropion, both of which reduce cravings for nicotine and have other helpful effects. All these medications come with their own side effects, which you should discuss with your healthcare provider. Do not be discouraged if you are unable to quit using one of the medications; quitting is a process that requires effort and persistence. If you are interested in quitting, make an appointment with your primary care provider or call 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) for guidance and support.

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vital Signs: Leading Causes of Death, Prevalence of Diseases and Risk Factors, and Use of Health Services Among Hispanics in the United States—2009–2013. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2015;64(17):469–78.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Disparities in Adult Cigarette Smoking—United States, 2002-2005 and 2010-2013. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 2016;65(30).

Adrian Martinez is a Puerto Rican born in California and raised in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Florida. He graduated in 2014 from the University of Florida with a B.S. in Biology and is currently a fourth-year medical student attending the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. He is on the executive board of the school’s chapter of the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) and will be pursuing a career in psychiatry.

Catholics must Demand Change

Catholics must Demand Change after Sex Abuse Scandal
by Maximilian Eyle

In light of the recent scandal in Pennsylvania regarding the systematic sexual abuse of children by priests – Catholics everywhere must ask themselves a question: how can the Church be held accountable? It has been proven in court that the Church itself helped cover up these crimes, and the New York Times reports that the blame reaches all the way up to the Vatican. If Catholics are going to continue to associate themselves with the Church, they must demand accountability for these years of abuse.

This is far from the first time this has happened. In 2002, the Boston Globe uncovered another large-scale cover up of child sexual abuse by priests that had been going on for years. Under the past Pope, the Cardinal who helped cover up the abuse in Boston was moved to Italy to serve as archpriest of a large and popular Basilica in Rome. This behavior is criminal, and inexcusable in any context. For an institution that claims to offer moral guidance, they should be ashamed to take the side of the abuser instead of the victim.

Of course the majority of Catholics are disgusted by these events, but disgust is not enough. It is the moral obligation of every Catholic to demand that the institution they support change how it deals with sex abuse allegations. From 2004 to 2013, the Catholic Church paid almost $3 billion to victims of child sexual abuse – yet we know from the recent scandal in Pennsylvania that this money does not solve anything. No amount of money can account for the misery and sorrow that has been created by these abusive priests. Payouts and expressions of regret from the Pope are simply not enough. We must demand a Church that values the safety of children over its reputation.

Maximilian Eyle is a native of Syracuse, NY and a graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He works as a media consultant and writes each month about a variety of issues for Spanish-language papers across New York State. Maximilian has a love of Hispanic culture and learned Spanish while living in Spain where he studied and worked as an English teacher. He can be contacted at