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News Article
Stop making false promises

My friend, let me commence by asking to you a simple, straightforward question. Do you make a whole lot of promises, both to yourself to do something important, and to others who wish you to do something important for them, family members, friends, employers, employees, customers? Now, I'm sure that the answer to that question is in the affirmative for everyone as we all make promises, both to ourself and others on a regular basis. Now, here's a follow up question which is really important. Do you keep the promises you make both to yourself and others? Now please be completely honest as you answer that most important question. Quite frankly, I believe that we all know a whole lot of people who unfortunately are always making promises, which they know in their heart and soul, they have no intention whatsoever of keeping.
That's right, many, many people are continuously making promises, which they really have no intention whatsoever of keeping -- what a terrible sham! To all of those people I say stop making false promises. Stop trying to kid yourself and others, that you're going to take some form of action, when you know that you have absolutely no intention whatsoever in carrying out the actions you've promised to do. This really is a rather pathetic case of deliberately lying, in order to pretend to ourself and other unsuspecting individuals that we're going to take certain actions, which we know full well we will not carry out. Yes indeed stop making false promises.
First and foremost stop making false promises to yourself. That's right, stop saying that you're going to start to study, you'll definitely get a job, stop taking drugs, etc., when you have no intention whatsoever of doing any of these things. As Shakespeare put it "To thine own self be true." For God's sake stop making false promises to your children, as this is most damaging to them as they will not trust anyone when they grow up. Stop making false promises to your spouse or significant other, which you know you won't keep. Be faithful to the promises you make to that special person in your life. Take your marriage vows seriously otherwise simply stay single and continue to play the field, as the saying goes.
Yes indeed, today's message is so very important to literally everyone, stop making false promises which you know you will not keep and that of course includes to your creator God, whom we make so many promises to, which once again we do not keep.

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News Article
Party chairmen speak out on House row

A heated row in the House of Assembly between Prime Minister Perry Christie and Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner was uncalled for and reduced the level debate in the House, several politicians said yesterday.
Butler-Turner suggested that Prime Minister Perry Christie has a dislike for women after he said he will not be intimated by her "might or size".
Christie shot back, saying, his family would be amused "at the question of my sexuality" suggested by Butler-Turner.
St. Anne's MP Hubert Chipman said Christie's comments were disgraceful.
"I felt embarrassed," he said. "I was just sitting there and you ask yourself, 'Is this what you got into politics for?' We crossed a line there."
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Bradley Roberts felt that Butler-Turner was too emotional.
"She threatened to slap somebody again," he said. "Christie certainly took a swipe at that. But she was like a bull in the china shop. She was way off base.
"Christie in a nice way said my colleague right of a similar size too. He certainly took no umbrage with regard to that."
Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Darron Cash said Christie was thin-skinned and defended Butler-Turner's reaction.
"She is a good woman to be able to exercise the kind of constraint that she has," Cash said.
"They have dropped the level of debate on the other side, but she has continued to comport herself in a most dignified manner. She has done better than most people can do."
Cash noted though that MPs should remember that they are being looked up to.
"On the rare occasions that our members loose their cool, all of them are still under a strong obligation to remember that people are watching and people are looking to them for leadership," he said. "So as much as a strong response may be necessary, sometimes you will have to control your tongue and not give them the benefit of a response that is really justified."
Butler-Turner and MICAL MP V. Alfred Gray were arguing over amendments the Ingraham administration made to the Mayaguana deal between the government of The Bahamas and the I-Group.
The Ingraham administration had referred to the original deal entered into by the first Christie administration as the "great land give-away".
"I am not ashamed of who I am," Butler-Turner said. "When (my grandfather, the late former governor general) Milo Butler was leading the charge for the PLP, nobody had a problem with his size.
"But because I am on this side, you have a problem with it? Well you face it. This is my size, I am a woman and I am proud of who I am.
"As for my being offended by the prime minister, I don't need an apology from him. He clearly demonstrates that he has a dislike for me, my size and maybe women."
Christie fired back: "To those gladiators who sit along with her...they would know the tragic error of her ways in applying an imputation, the suggestion to me, they would know better. And they would know better because we have met in the forum of activities before.
"My wife knows, she knows what I was when she met me, a man of distinguished reputation in the field of valor."

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News Article
FNMs have to eat too

Dear Editor,
I was shocked after reading senior journalist and the recently-appointed Bahamas press attache to Washington D.C. Oswald Brown's Facebook message to Andrew Burrows of the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas (BCB).
Burrows, who is the executive news director at ZNS, was admonished by Oswald Brown to fire FNM operatives at the state-owned corporation for allegedly undermining the Christie government.
I hope Burrows and BCB Chairman the Rev. Dr. William Thompson ignore Brown's heartless advice. Brown was suddenly retired from a major newspaper organization in early 2010 or thereabouts and blamed it on then Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and former FNM Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing.
Laing to this day denies that he had anything to do with Brown's dismissal. We must bear in mind that Brown is 71 years old. He was born in 1942. He used to support the PLP in the 1960s but left the party around the same time the Dissident Eight broke away from the PLP. For years he claimed to be FNM, but turned against the party after retiring from the said newspaper.
When he was retired in 2010 he was well past the retirement age. Despite him surpassing the Biblical allotted three scores and ten, and despite the sheer number of young, strapping PLP journalists out there who are more than qualified for the post Brown was given, and despite probably receiving a decent pension and retirement package, the Christie government still went ahead and hired him as press attache to Washington D.C.
Between 2010 and May 2012, Brown was relentless in his criticism against the FNM government for allegedly victimizing him. Now that the PLP is in power, Brown, out of sheer bitterness, is seeking to do the very thing he falsely accused Ingraham of doing to him.
He doesn't seem to care that the alleged FNM operative at ZNS might have young children to feed and mortgage payments to make. This is the same man who attends Mass regularly and considers himself to be a devout Christian. Yet, he's asking ZNS executives to take bread out of the mouths of Bahamians at a time when jobs are few and far between in this country.
Brown and others like him need to know that Perry Christie is prime minister of all Bahamians, not just PLPs. FNMs pay taxes also. I resent the fact that the tax dollars of FNMs are also being used to pay his hefty salary. Seeing that ZNS is subsidized by the Bahamian people, I am asking ZNS executives to ignore Brown's tit-for-tat request to harm FNM employees at the corporation.
FNMs have to eat too, not just PLPs like Oswald Brown.
-- Kevin Evans

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News Article
Dead baby's family recalls tragic fire

Sandra Mae Cooper sat outside the charred remains of an apartment building in the Grove yesterday, holding a picture of her youngest grandchild.
"We called her Mimi," she said.
The five-month old, whose real name was Santia Cooper, died in a fire on Mother's Day.
Cooper said Sunday started off as a normal day for the family.
She said she woke up early and went to church for the Mother's Day service.
When she got back home, she made lunch for the family and played with the baby for a while.
"They carried Mimi upstairs and laid her on the bed," she said.
"When she falls asleep, we always put the fan right there to the room to keep her cool."
She said the baby's mother, Satanya, and a few other family members sat outside the building talking.
"So we were talking and somebody came and said 'I smell smoke'," she said.
"So everybody started running up the stairs at the same time and then a guy came from the back of the building saying 'Sandra, Sandra, smoke coming out from the bedroom'.
"Well after that the mother dashed to the apartment.
"When she reached to the door, the smoke and the fire met her to the door.
"So I said 'let me give it a try' and the same thing that happened to her, the smoke and the flame, met me to the door.
"Everybody who was trying, that was the problem.
"After [Satanya] saw that, she ran down the stairs straight across the road crying."
Superintendent Walter Evans, director of fire services, said the baby's uncle made a heroic and courageous attempt to save Santia's life, but was unable to, and ended up injuring his right arm.
Phenton Cooper, another of the baby's uncles who also tried to save her, said he was devastated by the loss.
"I ran through the fire and tried to run into the other room to get her, but the fire kept burning me in my face," he said.
"I was bareback too and I wasn't getting burned about my body, just my face.
"I tried three or four times to get to the baby, but just couldn't.
"That had me stunned. I never expected to see anything like that."
The Department of Social Services is paying for the family to stay at the Colony Club hotel for a month.
Police have yet to determine the cause of the blaze.
The child's relatives said they lost everything in the fire and are asking anyone with a kind heart to donate what they can to help them move on.
They can be reached at 451-7595, 565-0207 and 467-9426.

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News Article
The body is like an orchestra

The body is like an orchestra -- in order to get the best music -- all sections must be functioning at an optimum level according to Dr. Sy Pierre, the most recent medical professional to speak at the monthly Doctors Hospital Distinguished Lecture Series.
The anesthesiologist spoke on advances being made in anti-aging treatments and the treatment of degenerative diseases. He shed light on detoxification, diet, exercise and dietary supplementation, as well as bio-energy medicine, bio-oxidative medicine and bio-molecular medicine.
He told people that filled the hospital's conference room that no matter how many hormones someone pumps into a person, if their general health is not good, that it would not make any difference. And that the goal of medical professionals is really the prevention and treatment of the chronic, degenerative diseases that are at epidemic proportions.
With so many names -- anti-aging medicine, interventional endocrinology, orthomolecular medicine, functional medicine, allopathic medicine, alternative medicine, holistic medicine and integrative medicine -- Dr. Pierre said no matter what it's called, it all means one thing, the provision of the correct substance for the correct disease at the correct time with the goal being the prevention and treatment of chronic degenerative diseases.
Chronic degenerative diseases include cancer, heart and blood vessel disease, diabetes, hypthyroidism, hormonal dysfunction, menopause, andropause (male menopause) and other endocrine diseases, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, Chron's disease, ulcerative colitis, autism, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.
The epidemic
According to Dr. Pierre, The Bahamas is in the midst of an inflammatory crisis. In a graph he showed his audience what medical experts consider should be normal aging -- a person's birth, leveling off between ages 25 and 35, then going rapidly down to pass on to the afterlife between age 75 and 80. But he said what they're seeing now is people who are healthy a lot shorter than the average -- people attaining the age of 21-25 remaining healthy for a few years and then declining chronically, starting with hypertension, diabetes, arthritis and eventually cancer and some other disease.
He said with a disease like diabetes, at one time medical professionals used to break it down into juvenile diabetes and adult onset diabetes; but now it's so common early on that medical professionals just call it diabetes.
"We are in the midst of an inflammatory crisis," said Dr. Pierre.
Causing all of the inflammation, he said, is the presence of reactive oxygen molecules or free radicals; poor diet and lack of proper supplementation; lack of exercise; toxic personal care products; environmental toxins and electrical pollution, among other causes.
Free radicals or reactive oxygen species (ROS) are produced normally in humans as byproduct of oxygen utilization for energy. Normal amounts are essential for destruction of microbes, detoxification and excretion of toxins. Excessive amounts are dangerous.
"Reactive oxygen species are produced normally by humans or most animals that utilize oxygen for energy. And they actually have a good purpose as most things that we produce do and don't get rid off," said Dr. Pierre. "You produce them to fight increasing amounts of environmental toxins. But in excessive amounts he said they start attacking themselves and result in autoimmune diseases.
"When the immune system is attacked by these free radicals you get diseases such as Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, arthritis, Chron's disease, inflammatory bowel disease and eventually cancer. If the endocrine system is attacked you see things such as diabetes, thyroid disease, ovarian cyst, endometriosis. Heart and blood vessel attacks result in hypertension, heart attacks and eventually strokes. Neurological problems include autism, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other diseases."
Poor Bahamian diet
According to Dr. Pierre, the Bahamian diet -- one that's rich in sugar, processed carbohydrates, and unfermented dairy products - is a huge problem. He said the diet causes Hyperinsulinemia or Dysmetabolic Syndrome X, Gut Dysbiosis, Leaky Gut Syndrome and GERD.
"When you take large amounts of sugar and carbohydrate, the body responds by producing insulin, an androgenic or growth hormone. It's like a drug ... A heroin or cocaine addict is always trying to achieve that first high, but your body always responds in a way to say I'm not going to let it do it, so you take more sugar but you need more sugar to get the same effect, because your body is resisting it. In addition to driving sugar into the cells, insulin also creates plaque around your arteries and blood vessels. It also creates inflammation in the pelvis."
Dr. Pierre said people plagued with endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease should have their fasting insulin measured.
He told his audience that everyone has more bacteria and other microbes in their bowel than they have cells in their entire bodies and that they are good and bad but usually there is a balance. He said when a person takes in excessive amounts of sugar it feeds yeast like Candida, the abnormal bacteria and they get an overgrowth. The overgrowth, he added, creates tears in the bowel that allow "stuff" to leak into the blood stream, resulting in what is called Gut Dysbiosis.
"Because you're getting all these abnormal substances getting introduced into the body, your immune (system) sees it and attacks it; so now you have the autoimmune disease and now the body becomes mixed up. It does not know what is self and what is non-self so in addition to attacking these molecules, it attacks the blood vessels, kidneys, pancreas --you get diabetes."
One of the best forms of defense is offense, according to the doctor who said that exercise is important to increase oxygenation for immune system stimulation and detoxification.
"We all need to sweat. Sweat is probably one of the best methods of detoxification," he said.
While you get your sweat on, he said sensible sun exposure should also be taken into account because without sun exposure you miss the all-important Vitamin D, a hormone that he said most people are deficient in
"Black Bahamians in particular avoid the sun like the plague, but what is terrible is that the darker you are probably the more you need to be in the sun. Someone from Scandinavia who has red hair, freckles, blue eyes ... they can go out in the sun for 15 minutes and start to burn. There is a reason for that. Their skin is fair because of where they're descended from. They don't get a lot of sunshine so they need to absorb sun quickly whenever it is there. If obviously you're descendant from somewhere along the equator your skin needs to be darker to protect you from the sun, and so therefore the darker you are the more you need to be in the sun, and our people don't like to go in the sun," he said. According to Dr. Pierre, being in the sun is also a good method of detoxification, as it allows for sweating.
Personal care product alert
The doctor also urged people, especially women to be aware of the many personal care products they use in terms of toxicity.
"I usually say I think of a female in the morning getting dressed -- she may use shampoo, conditioner, she has hair color, relaxers, if they have weave some of them are using glue, one of the most toxic things known to man, mascara, eyeliner, lipstick, gloss, facial creams, lotion, perfume, deodorant, nail polish, toothpaste, mouthwash, shaving cream, soap, dental amalgams (fillings), all of these things contain small amounts of lead, arsenic, mercury, aluminum, lead, iron, PCBs, petroleum distillates, things that are very toxic. What we have to understand is that fat tissue and in particular breast tissue is used as a toxic depot. When your body can't deal with substances it goes into these lymph nodes. Once they go into there and into the breast tissue if the body can't deal with it right then, it kind of pushes it and stays in the breast tissue until you sweat it or it leaks out slowly. When you have all of these substances going into your breast tissue it's no wonder breast cancer is so high," said Dr. Pierre.
"Any of these substances by themselves are probably not that bad, but once you start adding five, 10, 15, 20 substances, for five, 10, 15, 20 years of your life, your diet is poor, you don't exercise, you don't sweat, I'm surprised that the rate of breast cancer isn't higher. And it will go higher if we don't stop," he said.
As far as environmental toxins, Dr. Pierre says there isn't much that can be done about it because those toxins are in the air.
As for the diet, Dr. Pierre's advise is that people eat 60 percent raw or minimally cooked vegetables; 20 percent protein in some form whether eggs, meat, chicken or seafood; 10 percent nuts and about 10 percent fruits.
"A lot of people fool themselves and say I eat a lot of fruit so I'm healthy, fruit has a lot of sugar -- if you eat a lot of sugar you're going to secrete a lot of insulin and you cause all those bad things. Like anything else, too much of any one thing is no good. It's better to eat more vegetables than fruit," he said.
He endorses moderate exercise and said people should take advantage of walks on the beach that would also allow them to get sensible sun exposure.
And he told them to search out non-toxic personal care products, substances like baking soda which he said is a good deodorant and antiperspirant, toothpaste and foot powder.
Getting rid of toxins
Sweating to detoxify is the best way to rid the body of toxins as are coffee enemas and colonics, according to Dr. Pierre. He said an old therapy Pulse Electro Magnetic Field (PEMF) Therapy is coming back again. The therapy sends different waves of energy to the cells that are not functioning and kinds of shocks them back into functioning normally. He said if a person has cells of their pancreas that are not functioning properly and they have PEMF, they may be able to decrease the amount of insulin that they have to take. Or that if they have arthritis or joint issues and pain and they get their collagen and all their substances and their cells start to work properly again, they may have less joint pain and actually be more mobile.
He said oxidative medicine are more cutting edge unique therapies like the use of hyperbaric oxygen chambers and pushing pure ozone into cells of the body to increase oxygenation to decrease toxins and help the body to function a lot better. He said these treatments are good for people with hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, joint pain and arthritis.
Bio-identical hormone therapy
In biomolecular medicine a physician writes a prescription, but according to Dr. Pierre, what they are now trying to do is use more normal or natural occurring substances.
"If someone has a flu you can give them a high dose -- 50, 100, 200 grams of Vitamin C intravenously into their veins. This is a normal substance, it won't cause any problems and it will cure them over a day or two, especially for colds, flus. Substances like Vitamin C, high dose B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, these things are things are what our bodies lack and may be the reason for us getting the infection in the first place," he said.
In bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, hormones that are identical to those that the body produces and treat that are low or absent in bodies are replaced. It is the same principle used in diabetes when the pancreas does not produce sufficient insulin.
"You're giving your body something that is now gone to the point where it cannot produce it in sufficient amounts any longer."
Depending on the hormone replaced, the medicine may be taken by mouth, may be used as a cream or get that is rubbed on the skin, or by the injection of a small amount of medicine under the skin a few times a week.
Primary replacement hormones include thyroid hormone, cortisol, estrogen, progesterone and pregnenolone, testosterone, growth hormone, DHEA and melatonin.
According to Dr. Pierre, without a proper amount of thyroid hormone no other hormone or system works in the body.
"We all need adequate amounts of thyroid hormone. With deficiency you see decreased energy, chronic fatigue, early morning fatigue, decreased mental acuity, depression, weight gain, hair loss at the outer eyebrows, muscle joints, aches and pains, fibromyalgia, constipation and high cholesterol."
Progesterone deficiency in women he said causes early menopause. He said it's not so much the progesterone deficiency, but the fact that it's out of balance. Women he said suffer with insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, mood swings, breast soreness, bowel changes, hot flashes, fibrocystic disease, ovarian cysts, abnormal uterine bleeding. He said progesterone deficiency in men isn't seen much, but if it does, it can cause sleep disturbances and anxiety.
Dr. Pierre said progesterone deficiency starts in the mid-30s, while estrogen deficiency starts later in life in the 50s and 60s. But he said if a person is replacing estrogen, they must also take progesterone as well.
"They must be used together [as] estrogen by itself will probably increase your rate of cancer."
Estrogen deficiency in men he said usually results in osteoporosis and bone loss. In women the results are hot flashes, night sweats, depression, dry, wrinkled and cracked skin, especially of the face, headaches, bone loss, vaginal dryness, recurrent urinary tract infections, strokes, heart attacks and cancer.
The primary anti-inflammatory
According to Dr. Pierre people have to have Cortisol, the primary anti-inflammatory of the body which is produced by the adrenal gland which has the richest store of Vitamin C in any organ of the body.
"If people are deficient [in Cortisol] they may have multiple chemical sensitivities, allergies, joint and muscle pains, loss of muscle and bone, high cholesterol, sugar and salt craving."
As people hit their 70s, Dr. Pierre said patients undergoing orthopedic surgery should look into having growth hormone therapy to make their surgical procedure a lot less likely to have side effects.
Growth hormone is a big player in all connective tissue such as bone, muscle, fat and any other connective tissue. It optimizes a person's immune function and is a good thing to replace if it's low according to the doctor. He said maximally it takes four to six weeks to start working so if a person needs surgery, they should speak to their surgeon a few weeks prior to their surgery.
DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) he said is the most abundant hormone in the body. When it's low he said people have a decreased sex drive, have frequent upper respiratory track infections, colds and flus, decreased body hair, weight gain and osteoporosis.
He said melatonin decrease is usually seen in older people who sometimes have difficulty sleeping and wake in the middle of the night. He said melatonin replacement may actually alleviate the problem and should not cause any side effects if used in normal doses.
o Dr. Pierre described HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) as the new wave hormone that is now sold for weight loss. HCG is produced naturally in humans. It's replacement is usually given by injecting a small amount of the liquid under the skin of the arm, leg or thigh, two to three times per week. HCGT is used to treat weight management challenges in men and women. It is also used to treat male menopause or andropause. But he cautioned that if it is being used that HCG should be supervised by a physician who is familiar with its use.

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Talking Bahamian

'STOP Skinnin' Up Ya Nose at We Language' is the title of one of the sessions at a conference marking the 40th Anniversary of Independence.

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Sir Arli gets high praise from current president

Following are remarks from current Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) President Wellington Miller at Sir Arlington Butler's Awards Ceremony and Reception at Government House on Friday evening:

First, let me add my voice of congratulations to Sir Arlington on receiving the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Pierre de Coubertin Award.
Sir Arlington is The Bahamas' own answer to Baron de Coubertin as an early and transformative leader of the Olympic Movement here in The Bahamas. When I first sat down to think about what to say in tribute to Sir Arlington, I realized that I would be speaking amongst many colleagues and admirers, but I feel that I have a unique point of view, having served with Sir Arlington for four years as vice president of the Bahamas Olympic Association, and having been around him for many years.
I remember in particular, during the trip from Nassau to the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea, as we were boarding the flight, the flight attendant was asking each person as they entered the plane, what sport they were taking part in. When she got to Sir Arlington, she asked the same question. Sir Arlington replied, "Gymnastics!"
The flight attendant was taken aback because she knew gymnastics athletes to be basically small people, slight in height and weight. She asked another flight attendant if this was really true? Could a person of his size really win a medal on the trampoline?
The truth is, of course, that as leader of the Olympic Movement in The Bahamas, Sir Arlington was responsible for all Olympic sports and athletes, gymnastics included. We in the Bahamas Olympic Committee thought it was very fitting to have this ceremony to honor Sir Arlington Butler for his wide involvement in sports and his long and unselfish service as president of the Bahamas Olympic Association, now committee.
Sir Arlington has spent over 50 years in the service and administration of sports in The Bahamas. Any one of us in sports can testify that this kind of involvement will sooner or later become an annoyance to your family, because you tend to be so passionate about sports and spend so much time in the exercise.
In those early days, when Sir Arlington was president, he had no office at first, so his car, his house, even his own professional office, became the places where Olympic documents were stored. It was not an easy task being a sports administrator in The Bahamas.
Sir Arlington, respect is shown here by the number of Olympic presidents and secretary generals who have come to be part of this celebration, and the amount of congratulations we have received from sporting dignitaries around the world. They have sent their best wishes and admiration for your work and contributions.
Sir Arlington was also instrumental in changing the name from the old British Empire Games to the Commonwealth Games. I understand that it was Sir Arlington who made that motion at the Commonwealth Games meeting when that change was made, so Sir Arlington, on behalf of the Olympic Movement in The Bahamas, the Bahamas Olympic Committee and all the sporting federations, associations and regional and international sporting leaders who have sent their best wishes, I say thank you very much, Sir, for preparing the road for us.
I could speak about the many good stories I hear about you when I talk with international sporting colleagues, but there is no doubt that you have made your contribution and now you can relax, because we shall carry it on your behalf. It gives me the greatest pleasure to have you receive the very first Bahamas Olympic Committee President's Award for excellence in service to sports, nationally and internationally.

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Top junior players expected at Goombay Splash

In a couple of days, the National Tennis Center will be buzzing as top ranked junior players prepare to compete in the Goombay Splash Bowl of the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
The grade five tournament will be hosted by the local governing body for the sport - the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA) - starting Friday, November 22. Some international players are expected to arrive in the capital today, with the others coming in between Wednesday and Thursday. During the two-week tournament, players will compete in either the under 14 or under 18 divisions for boys and girls. The qualifying rounds will start on Friday and the main draw swings into action on Monday. Bahamian players will have first preference to the wild card spots in both the under 14 and under 18 divisions.
There are four wild cards slots in the main draw and six in the qualifying rounds. According to BLTA President Derron Donaldson, requests for wild cards from international players are coming in. Donaldson said the BLTA will make a final decision by Tuesday. Bahamians not making the first cut for the main draw will be entered into the qualifying rounds. The main draw selections are based on international rankings as well as points earned at high level ITF tournaments. Points on the local end will also be considered, Donaldson noted.
"We have gotten a number of calls and emails from international players asking to be entered into the draw. These are quality and high ranking players, but we must give our players the opportunity to compete in this tournament," said Donaldson.
"This is a big tournament, being a grade five and sanctioned by the ITF. A lot of
juniors are excited to be a part of the tournament and are looking forward to playing here in The Bahamas. Bahamians will get first preference as far as the wild cards go. Our local players will also be among those entered into the qualifying rounds, trying to play their way into the main draw.
"The draw is going to be filled with top players all looking to earn more points. This tournament usually attracts the best junior players who are ranked high on the international level. We have players coming from as far as China, the United States of America, the Caribbean and other places, including Puerto Rico.
"The official draw will not be revealed until late Sunday. But the next couple days will be challenging ones for the executives in the BLTA as we will be very busy preparing, making sure that we are ready to show off our players and our ability to host high international tournaments."
Last year's winner and runner-up in the boys under 18 division, Bahamians Kevin Major Jr. and Shaquille Taylor, will return, according to Donaldson, who said Major Jr. is playing great tennis. Mikey Williams is the chief official, and Bradley Bain is tournament director.

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The complication that can surface from a common childhood illness

It was six years ago, but Elmira Cox remembers it like it was yesterday -- the day she woke up in pain after experiencing a night of unusual itching and tingling that she chalked up to mosquito bites. But the morning she woke up with a burning across her back, the Acklins native knew that something was truly wrong.
Throughout the day the pain got worse even though she tried to ignore it. It was only when blisters started to appear on her back and that she took her daughter's advice to see a doctor who diagnosed her with shingles -- a skin rash that occurs as a result of the chickenpox virus being reactivated in the body due to a weakened immune system.
"I didn't know what it meant but [the doctor] said it happens sometimes to older people like me because I had chickenpox when I was a girl. I still don't know how that has anything to do with now but I never want to experience that again. It hurt so much and the pain didn't go away even after the rash went. I sometimes feel that deep pain every now and then," said the 83-year-old.
Unlike Cox, most people have never heard about shingles, but the disease was pushed into the forefront in the last few weeks with television advertisements for treatment for the disease, showing an elderly woman describing how debilitating the burning sensation characteristic of the disease was for her. She then describes how shocking it was to visit her physician to uncover the root of the problem only to be given the shocking truth that anyone who has ever had chickenpox can develop the disease decades after recovering from the infantile illness.
While many people may have seen the commercial and disregarded its message, Dr. Rashmi Unwala, a dermatologist with a sessional clinic at Doctor's Hospital said people should make themselves aware of the disease as it is a relatively common condition. And anyone who has had chickenpox before she said is susceptible to getting the painful disease as they age beyond 60 years.
"When people think of herpes zoster also known as shingles and see it on television they may feel it is not relevant to them and it's a far away illness that happens to other kinds of people, but this is not true. It's not about color, region or family history. Shingles can happen to anyone older, particularly over 60 years old. And depending on your health or if you are on any immunosuppressant medication or treatments it may even occur to people younger in some cases," she said.

Painful skin rash
According to the dermatologist, shingles is a painful skin rash associated with chickenpox that reddens and causes painful blisters on the skin in a distinctive stripe like pattern. It can also burn uncontrollably and cause throbbing pain to the area that is affected. It occurs because the chickenpox virus (Varicella zoster virus) never actually leaves the system even after someone has overcome it in their youth. As a result it can reactivate within a few nerves if the immune system weakens and the virus escapes confinement.
"The way this virus works is that once you've had chickenpox it stays within the system but the body is able to keep it under control for years and decades to come. There is no specific reason why, but once you get much older and your immune system is not the same it can reactivate within a nerve and spread along [the nerve's] path," she said.
Depending on where the virus activates, certain complications can result if treatment is not sought aggressively. Dr. Unwala said if it occurs in a nerve that connects to the ear or the eye, hearing loss and damage to eye sight may occur permanently.
"This illness is very distinctive in that when the rashes appear they only occur in one strip of the skin on one half of the body," said Dr. Unwala. "There are few diseases that work like that so it can be diagnosed right away in many cases. It appears like this because when the virus reactivates it goes along a specific nerve and that is all. Nerves end in the center of the body so the track it will follow will stop right down the middle of the front and back of the body. But the interesting thing about it is that it can reactivate in any nerve where it was once dormant so that the means it may affect the arm, leg, abdomen or anywhere."
No matter where the rash appears the dermatologist advises people to seek treatment within the first two to three days of seeing symptoms.

The earliest symptoms of shingles are often headaches, fever and malaise (a feeling of general discomfort or uneasiness, or being out of sorts). This can lead to people not taking the symptoms to be anything initially. But its usually when other symptoms like a burning sensation, itching, over-sensitivity of skin or a feeling of constant pins and needles or prickling feeling in an area of skin that looks normal arises that people tend to get a lot more concerned.
After treatment has been sought, and even after the
illness has healed for two to four weeks, the doctor said some people may still suffer from long term pain in the affected nerve called postherpetic neuralgia which may be the result of not treating the condition right away, or the severity of the patient's case. She also said sufferers may have scarring after their brush with the disease as well.
"People with shingles should also be careful when they have their blisters because during this time they are contagious. This means they should avoid being around other people -- particularly those [people] susceptible to catching it -- like the elderly, children under the age of one and pregnant people. They are likely to get chickenpox which may or may not develop into shingles," said Dr. Unwala.
The good news is that much like the chickenpox vaccine there is a shingles vaccine that the elderly can get administered by their primary physician. Dr. Unwala recommends that everyone over age 60 should have the shingles vaccine administered.
And even though shingles is associated with chickenpox, she said it does not appear in the same way. And that it is a virus within the herpes family, but that it's not the same as the sexually transmitted disease called herpes or the mouth sore also from the herpes family. She said it is a distinct disease that should not be ignored.

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Flamingo Gardens facility named after 'Boston Blackie'

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson has adopted the famous quote "build it and they will come", using it as motivation on his latest community-building project.
On Saturday Johnson officially opened the Flamingo Gardens Community Park, in the Carmichael Road area. The multi-facility center is the home of the Bahamas Boxing Commission and a newly renovated boxing gym. A baseball field, tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts, are also on the park, making it a complete outdoor sporting complex. The Flamingo Gardens Park is the first on a long list of facilities that will be renovated, according to the minister.
"This is our community effort what we have put in place, a community center where persons can come together, through sports," he said. "I feel sports can bring persons together like no other activities can. All we are asking now is for the young people to come and get involved. We have professional trainers out here so they will be getting the best.
"The community center is built up now. It is well lit, there are CCTV cameras that are connected to the police station, the persons who live around the park, they are getting involved and everyone is very excited. The boxing professional commission is housed in the same building with the boxing gym, so they will give the amateur groups proper guidance. We are going to have professional tennis instructors here. We have refurbished the tennis courts for them to use. There are two young ladies who won scholarships to go to college, they started out on this court about 15 years ago, and they are coming back this summer to run some programs for the kids. The new baseball diamond is finished, completing the baseball field. There are proper dugouts, bleachers are now in the area, the fence is up and they can come down and play. We are now looking to install basketball and volleyball on the southern perimeter. There is a pond here with about 25 different birds. We were very fortunate to have a playground already on the park, so you see how we are trying to build the community, take this area and make it the centerpiece of Carmichael."
The new boxing facility was officially named after local boxing great, Leonard 'Boston Blackie' Miller on Saturday. Johnson said more parks will be named after some of the top sporting leaders in the country. Community parks on the Family Islands will also get a facelift, according to Johnson.
He said: "I wanted to lead by example. I think in politics you can't talk it, you should do it. I wanted to show my colleagues in very simple form what the template is and what we can do for a community. It brings people together. This is not a tough design and it is not hard to do. We will go around The Bahamas, not just in Nassau but all around in the Family Islands and put in these parks."
The next stop on the list is Abaco, then the parks in the Farm Road, Centerville area.

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