Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Asbestos

Q. What are some of the health effects of asbestos?

The most dangerous asbestos fibers are too small to be visible. After they are inhaled, they can remain and accumulate in the lungs. Asbestos can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma—a cancer of the chest and abdominal lining, and asbestosis—irreversible lung scarring that can be fatal. Symptoms do not show up until many years after exposure began. Most people with asbestos-related disease were exposed to elevated concentrations on the job.

Q. What is asbestos and why should I be concerned about it?

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that has been used commonly in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire retardant. It is commonly found in older homes, in pipe and furnace insulation materials, mineral siding, roofing paper and shingles, millboard, gray coat in plaster, spackle used for repairing plaster or wallboard, wallboard joint compound, textured paints, other coating materials and vinyl floor tiles. Major concerns with asbestos are deteriorating, damaged or disturbed materials. Elevated concentrations can occur after asbestos containing materials are disturbed by cutting, sanding, and other remodeling activities or by improper removal attempts.

There are no immediate symptoms from excessive asbestos exposure, but there is a long-term risk of chest and abdominal cancers and lung disease. Smokers are at a higher risk of developing asbestos-induced lung cancer.

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Aging and Adult Services

Q. What do I look for in choosing a nursing home for my parent?

  • Location is usually a factor for most families.
  • Cleanliness of facility.
  • Atmosphere: Are bright colors used, natural lighting, seasonal decorations?
  • Personnel: Does there seem to be a good rapport between aides and residents (i.e., gentle persuasion and bantering)?

Learn more at Eldersouce.

Q. Am I financially responsible for my parents?

No, you have no legal obligation to pay parents’ bills or for their care in a nursing home or other facility.

Q. What legal matters do I need to be aware of in dealing with my parents?

It is essential that older persons grant a Power of Attorney to a relative or lawyer, or close friend if there are no relatives. This should be done through an attorney. Everyone over the age of 18 should have a Health Care Proxy. The Health Care Proxy is currently the only legal form in New York State for the designation of a patient’s wishes, when the patient is unable to speak for him/herself and/or has no hope of survival.

This document SHOULD CONTAIN A SPECIFIC STATEMENT CONCERNING THE PATIENT’S WISHES REGARDING ARTIFICIAL NUTRITION THROUGH A FEEDING TUBE AND HYDRATION THROUGH AN IV TUBE. This does not need to be done through a lawyer, nor does it need to be notarized in order to be legal.

Q. Who pays for nursing home care?

Nursing homes expect that the patient will pay for his/her own care. Only in very rare cases will Medicare pay for the nursing home and then, only partially for up to 100 days.

Medicaid will pay when the patient runs out of money. There are financial provisions made for a spouse remaining at home while the other is on Medicaid in the nursing home, so that the at-home spouse will not be impoverished.

Q. What alternative senior housing situations are available for Monroe County?

  • Subsidized apartments for low income seniors. Most of these charge 30% of income as rent.
  • Apartments for seniors with rents from $500-$900/month.
  • Senior Retirement Apartments, most of which are related to Assisted Living Facilities and Nursing Homes. These apartments have rents beginning at about $1,100–$3,400 per month.
  • Adult Homes/Assisted Living - all meals, laundry,housekeeping services provided as well as activities. Costs range from $2,000–$3,500/month.
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities with costs ranging from $4,000–$6,500/month.

For printed information on different types of housing situations,please call Eldersource at 585 325-2800; 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (Monday through Friday).

Q. Will Medicaid take my home if my husband goes into the nursing home?

As long as the spouse continues to live in the homestead, Medicaid will not take the home.

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Airport (ROC)

Please click here for FAQs regarding the airport.

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Board of Elections

Q. Why do you use “You’re” instead of “Your” in your slogan: “You’re Right to Vote”?

The meaning of “right” in this sentence is intended to be ambiguous, a play upon words. Right can mean correct or proper, as in “You are correct to vote,” or it can mean a guaranteed civil prerogative as in “Your right to vote.”

Our hope is that both meanings will be implied by the one sentence. The sentence as written is a commending or urging of people to vote but as a pun it also underscores that voting is a civil privilege and duty, guaranteed under our laws. We wish to affirm both meanings.

Q. Do I have to register every year?

No. Once you register, you are permanently registered. Name, address or party enrollment changes can be made by submitting a new registration application. If you move, you must notify the Board of Elections within 25 days by re-registering.

Q. If I register to vote, will I be called for jury duty?

Jurors are drawn from lists of state taxpayers and licensed drivers as well as from voter registration rolls. Do not give up your right to vote in the hope that you will avoid jury duty. Chances are, if you pay taxes or drive a car, you will still be called.

Q. What do I need to bring when I go to vote?

You do not need identification or a card from the Board of Elections in order to vote, however, we recommend that you bring your driver’s license in case inspectors need to verify identification when a voters signature is not on file for any reason or to verify a change in your name.

Q. What if I speak little or no English?

Election districts having a 5% or greater Hispanic population are furnished with materials and information in both English and Spanish. At present, there are 63 polling sites that required a Spanish interpreter. The Commissioners continue to recruit interpreters from within the community as well as utilizing students from area colleges.

Q. What if I am not permitted to vote?

If you are not on the poll-list, it may be because your registration form was not received or, for a primary, because you aren’t enrolled in a party. If you believe that you are eligible, you can still vote. Ask for an affidavit ballot, which is basically a paper ballot. After the election, the Board of Elections will check its records and your vote will be counted if you are indeed eligible to vote. If not, you will receive notice that you are not eligible, along with a registration application for future elections.

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Combustion Pollutants

Q. How can I reduce the risk from combustion gases?

The most important practice is to keep all combustion equipment well maintained and inspected for safety. Experts recommend having your combustion heating system inspected by a trained professional every year. Look for blocked openings to flues and chimneys, cracked or disconnected flue pipe, sooty air filter, rust or cracks in the heat exchanger, soot or creosote build-up, and exhaust or gas odors. Always operate combustion equipment for its intended purpose and make sure that it has been installed correctly. Never use unvented combustion appliances indoors without following manufacturer’s recommendations.

Q. How can I determine if combustion gases are affecting my health?

They may be the culprits if you feel bad only when you’re inside the home and the symptoms disappear when you leave or if more than one person in the home has similar symptoms.A noticeable increase in moisture, like excessive condensation on windows, can also be a sign.

Remember carbon monoxide related symptoms are similar to those of flu. Carbon monoxide detectors can be purchased and installed to alert you to dangerous levels. The detector must be properly located according to directions and maintained to assure accurate sensing. However such a detector will not detect other combustion by-products that can still make you ill.

Q. How do combustion pollutants get into the home?

Combustion pollutants enter the home from a variety of sources. Any heating appliance that burns fuels—furnaces, boilers, water heaters, fireplaces, stoves, space heaters, ranges and clothes dryers—may introduce combustion gases. These pollutants are also produced by tobacco smoking, burning of candles, automobile exhaust entering from a garage, and activities involved in the use of the internal combustion engines, burning, welding or soldering.

Combustion gases and particles also come from chimneys and flues that are improperly installed or maintained and from cracks in furnace heat exchangers. Pollutants from fireplaces and wood stoves with no dedicated outdoor air supply can be back-drafted from the chimney into the living space, particularly in weatherized homes.

Carbon monoxide buildup can occur several ways: when flues or chimneys become blocked so exhaust can not be vented to the outside; when a fuel burning furnace has a cracked or rusted heat exchanger allowing combustion gases into the living spaces; when fuel-burning space heaters, ovens, ranges or grills are operated in the home without adequate ventilation; when a car exhaust from an attached garage enters the home; when combustion equipment is not working properly and causes incomplete combustion; and when there is negative pressure balance between the inside and outside of the home that prevents adequate venting of combustion gases.

“Backdrafting” can be a problem. It occurs when the air pressure inside the home is less than the air pressure outside, causing combustion by-products to spill back into the room rather than being vented outside. It can also occur when natural draft appliance exhaust is pulled back into the house by mechanical ventilation –like the use of a kitchen or bathroom exhaust fan.

Q. Why should I be concerned about combustion pollutants?

Carbon monoxide, an odorless gas can be fatal. Nitrogen oxides can damage the respiratory tract and sulfur dioxide can irritate the eyes, nose and respiratory tract. Smoke and other particulate irritate the eyes, nose and throat and may cause lung cancer. Too much water vapor can lead to moisture problems in the home, including the growth of mold.

Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that interferes with the delivery of oxygen throughout the body. At high concentrations it can impair judgement, cause paralysis or coma, and death. Lower concentrations can cause a range of symptoms from headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, muscle ache, confusion and disorientation, to fatigue in healthy people and episodes of increased chest pain in people with chronic heart disease. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are sometimes confused with flu or food poisoning. Fetuses, infants, elderly people and people with anemia or with a history of heart or respiratory disease can be especially sensitive.

Nitrogen Dioxide is a colorless, odorless gas that irritates the mucous membranes in the eye, nose, and throat and causes shortness of breath after exposure to high concentrations. There is evidence that high concentrations or continued exposure to low levels increase the risk of respiratory infection and that repeated exposures to elevated levels may lead, or contribute to the development of lung disease such as emphysema. People at particular risk from exposure include children and individuals with asthma or other respiratory diseases.

Particles, released when fuels are incompletely burned, can lodge in the lungs and irritate or damage lung tissue. A number of pollutants, which can cause cancer, attach to small particles that are inhaled and then carried deep into the lung.

Q. What are combustion pollutants?

They include gases or particles that come from the burning of fuels—natural gas, propane, wood, oil, gasoline, kerosene and coal. The resulting harmful gases include carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, acid aerosols, particulate and excess water vapor.

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Crime Stoppers. Blow the Whistle On Crime!

Q. What is Crime Stoppers?

Crime Stoppers is a non-profit program relying on cooperation between the Police Department, news media, and citizens of Monroe County. Crime Stoppers encourages people to call the Police Department with information to solve ANY crimes already committed or those about to occur. Rewards of up to $5,000 are available to callers if the information they supply results in an arrest and indictment of a criminal.

Q. How did Crime Stoppers begin?

In July 1976 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a university student was killed during a gas station robbery. After six weeks of investigation the police had very few leads in the case. Police Detective Greg MacAleese thought that if the people were able to observe a re-enactment of the crime on television, this might lead to someone providing valuable information.

Greg MacAleese was right. A caller contacted the Police Department the next day after seeing the re-enactment. The tip information was enough to lead the police to the two men who were responsible. Within 72 hours of the re-enactment being aired, the police had solved the murder. This was the beginning of Crime Stoppers.

Since the program started in 1976, there are now more than 950 Crime Stoppers programs worldwide. More than 425,000 crimes have been solved since its inception and over $2.9 billion worth of stolen property and narcotics has been seized. Locally, the Rochester Crime Stoppers program also has been very successful. In the past four years, more than 1,880 calls were made to the hotline, and the information from those calls resulted in 361 arrests.

Q. How does Crime Stoppers work?

The Crime Stoppers tip line is manned by trained police personnel who receive, process, and pass on tip information to investigating officers. Callers are given a code number, which is used in all subsequent calls, and callers do not have to identify themselves.

A reward of up to $5,000 is offered to anyone providing information that leads to an arrest and indictment for a crime. Rewards may also be made for information leading to the recovery of stolen property, the seizure of illegal drugs or an arrest on an outstanding warrant.

The media is a very important component of Crime Stoppers. An unsolved crime may be re-enacted and shown on television or may be publicized in a newspaper or aired on the radio. The media also brings the program to the attention of the public.

Q. Who runs the Crime Stoppers program?

Crime Stoppers is governed and administered by a volunteer Board of Directors, a group of local business and professional people concerned with the safety of our community. Crime Stoppers is a non-profit corporation and is responsible for raising funds and the disbursements of rewards. The Board of Directors works in close cooperation with the Police Department and all areas of the media.

Q. What does it cost? How is the Crime Stoppers program funded?

Crime Stoppers is very cost-effective. It’s a Community Project supported by donations of money, goods, and services. Contributions from individuals, private sources, corporations, clubs, professional associations, retailers, and civic and social groups keep the Crime Stoppers program up and running. All donations to Crime Stoppers are tax-deductible.

Q. Who benefits from Crime Stoppers?

We all do. When citizens become involved in policing their community and make a strong contribution in solving crime, Monroe County becomes a better place to live.

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Doing Business with Monroe County

Q. Once my company is on the county’s bidders list, will I automatically receive all appropriate specifications by mail?

No, Monroe County has an extensive bidders list for most material groups. A reasonable number of specifications are mailed to bidders who bid the material group previously or suggested vendor listings from the county end users. A list of current bids available is listed on the upcoming bids portion of our website. We also advertise each Friday in the Rochester Business Journal and the Daily Record.

Q. How do I go about contacting end users in County departments to make them aware of my product line or services I provide?

Vendors may contact the general numbers of the departments listed on the Monroe County website and ask the receptionist to direct them to the appropriate person responsible for purchasing that particular product or service.

Q. How can I get my company on the county’s bidder’s list?

Your company will be added to the county’s vendor database by completing the New Vendor Registration Form (324k PDF) available on our website. Your application communicates to the Purchasing Department what commodities and/or services your company can provide. It should be emphasized that public bids are posted on the County’s website every Friday and it is your responsibility to frequent this site.

Q. Can we fax in our quotes?

Yes, a facsimile with a signature is an appropriate format for a response to a Request for Quotations.

Q. Can we fax in our response to a public bid?

No, a faxed copy of your bid is unacceptable. Pursuant to State Law, all bids must be received in a sealed envelope, and publicly opened and read and must contain an original signature on the bid.

Q. Are late bids accepted?

No, each bid is time stamped and we will not accept late bids. Purchasing is not responsible for any mail service disruptions or the availability of parking for bidders who wait until the last minute to submit their bids. Bidders should make an effort to either mail their bid, allowing extra time for delivery, or allow time to find parking if they plan to bring it in for the bid opening.

Q. May I send a check for the public works bid specifications after I receive them in the mail?

No, county policy requires that the check be in the county’s possession at the time the bid specifications are released. For this reason, a faxed copy of your check is not acceptable. For your convenience, the County accepts both MasterCard or VISA to pay the specification deposit.

What is the difference between a purchase contract and a public works contract?

A purchase contract applies to the procurement of commodities (e.g., equipment, material, supplies) and public work refers to contracts consisting primarily of labor and construction. The public bidding limits is $10,000 and $20,000 respectively.

Q. Is my spec deposit refundable?

Yes, under the following circumstances:

  • Specifications deposits are returned only to those prospective bidders who submit bids to the county and have returned their specifications unmarked and in good condition within 30 days of the bid award.
  • If you return the specifications in good condition and unmarked at least seven (7) days prior to the bid opening.

Q. Can anyone other than county departments buy off county contracts?

Yes, bid specifications with the other agencies clause requires the winning bidder to honor the prices, terms and conditions of this contract with any and all municipalities, school districts, fire districts and other district or public authority within Monroe County. Contracts that eligible agencies may use are included in our contract section.

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Elder Abuse

Q. I suspect an elderly person may be the victim of elder abuse. What should I do?

Get as much information as possible about the signs of elder abuse and compare this with the situation you are observing. Ask questions of the alleged victim, in a respectful, but direct manner. It is recommended, and may be necessary, to interview the older person privately, without the alleged perpetrator present.

Q. Where can I obtain information on elder abuse?

In New York State, contact your local Office for the Aging and/or Adult Protective Services. You can also find the listing in our website directory. For other areas in the United States, call the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116.

Q. If an elderly person is being abused, what choices does he or she have?

Unless a court has determined that s/he is lacking in capacity to make his/her own decisions, the person has the same rights as any adult to make choices about his/her living situation. These choices can range from taking action against the abuser to doing nothing and allowing the situation to continue. When the victim chooses to stay in the abusive relationship, it is often the most difficult choice for the family, friends and service providers to understand. Counseling, in-home services, other living arrangements and adult day programs are some other options which might improve the situation and reduce the risk of further abuse.

Q. Can't Adult Protective Services force a change in the situation?

Not if the victim has capacity and knows his/her options. Lack of capacity can only be determined by a medical evaluation and a ruling by the courts.

Adult Protective workers will interview the alleged victim and make an assessment of the situation. They will probably employ the least restrictive method of intervention to address the problem.

A medical evaluation to determine capacity should be as comprehensive as possible. Physical and cognitive abilities/disabilities should be evaluated, preferably by a doctor that has experience with older adults. The primary care physician may be willing to make a referral to a geriatric assessment clinic or a geriatric psychiatrist if cognitive (mental) functioning is suspected to be impaired. A written report of the findings should emphasize the level of incapacity or impaired judgment, and in which areas of functioning these impairments occur, e.g., ability to make financial decisions, live by themselves and understand health risks.

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Q. What legal options exist for the victim?

There are several, depending on the circumstances and desire of the victim to choose one. In New York State, s/he may choose to get an Order of Protection judge will take into account the wishes of the victim when issuing an Order of Protection. This order may or may not include the expulsion of the perpetrator from the home. Another option, particularly in cases of physical abuse, is to call the police and have the perpetrator arrested under the state’s Domestic Violence Law. In cases of financial exploitation, there are several legal options available, such as guardianship, to stop the exploitation. Victims should contact their attorney, the local District Attorney’s Office or Adult Protective Services to see if criminal or civil charges can be pursued. If outside New York State, check with your local Adult Protective Services office.

Q. I know of an older woman who is being physically and financially abused. She doesn't want her substance-addicted grandson to go to jail, so the police are not called. All she keeps saying is can't you make him get help? What can I do?

Your options are limited. Even though you may want to act on an older person’s behalf, the victim must agree to take some action. You can call your local Office for the Aging or Adult Protective Services.

Your identity will be kept confidential. New York State’s Social Services Law 473-e provides this protection for those who call in a referral. However, the victim can get an order of protection (see previous question) and a determination will be made without incurring criminal sanctions. If the grandchild violates the order, he may go to jail for contempt of court.

Q. An elderly man has been caring for his wife for many years. I believe she has Alzheimer’s disease. He seems very stressed. Will he become abusive?

Not necessarily. Recent research is casting doubt on the long-held belief that the stress of care giving, by itself, will inevitably lead to abuse. Subjective factors such as a caregiver’s response to the situation, feelings of guilt, being constantly in demand or feeling out of control were more important. Of equal importance was the relationship between the caregiver and care receiver. If there has been a past history of poor relations, or the care receiver is perceived to be unappreciative or demanding, the risk for possible abuse increases (From The Mistreatment of Elderly People, London Sage Publications, 1993).

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Becoming An Election Inspector

Serve your community. Election Inspectors are the people that make Election Day really happen.

Our country has asked everyone to chip in and take an active role in protecting our freedoms. The right to vote is one of the oldest and most important entitlements. With those rights come responsibilities. Free and open elections are the basis on which this country was formed and you can make a difference by becoming an Election Inspector to help protect those freedoms.

Q. What is an Election Inspector?

They are voters who are appointed by their political party to serve a 1-year term. They work on Election Day.

Q. What are an Election Inspector’s Responsibilities?

They are responsible for making sure that the voters are processed in a fair and efficient manner and according to Election Law.

Q. Are Election Inspectors Volunteers?

No, the county pays them.

Q. Can anyone be an Election Inspector? What are the qualifications?

Any registered voter who is enrolled in the Democratic or Republican Party can be an Election Inspector. They are also required to speak, read and write the English Language.

Q. Does it require a lot of training to be an Election Inspector?

They are required to be trained and tested every year. A flexible training schedule is held throughout the County from August to November. Classes last about 2 hours long. If Election Inspectors work on General Election Day they are paid for attending training.

Q. What Days and Hours do Election Inspectors work?

All Election Inspectors work on General Election Day in November from 5:30 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. They also sometimes work for a Primary or a Special Election usually 11:30 a.m. until 9:30 p.m.

Q. Election Day is a long day, what if I can't work the whole day?

Sometimes substitute Inspectors are needed to fill in for part of the day. Each municipality has different rules regarding this. You may call for more information.

Q. Will I be working with experienced Election Inspectors?

Yes, there are four (4) inspectors working at each voting site. 3,200 Election Inspectors serve at almost 800 districts in Monroe County. About 75% return faithfully year after year. So the majority are trained and experienced.

Q. Do Election Inspectors get time off during the day?

Yes, Election Inspectors should take time off during the day to eat a meal and to vote. They may leave their site with at least one of each party remaining.

Q. Will I be working at my own voting location?

If there is an opening, yes, otherwise you will be placed as close to your own district as possible.

Q. What if I am on SSI, unemployment or concerned about tax consequences?

Each person’s circumstances are unique and therefore they must check with their own advisors. However, Election Day workers in most cases are exempt from tax deductions (i.e., social security, medicare, etc.).

Q. How do I sign up?

Call the Board of Elections at 585 753-1550 or complete the attached form. We can answer additional questions and put you in touch with the Coordinator in your area who is actively recruiting Election Inspectors.

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Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS)

Q. What can I do to reduce my family’s risk from ETS?

Do not smoke in your home or permit others to do so. If a family member insists on smoking indoors, increase ventilation (open windows or use exhaust fans) in the area where smoking is to take place. Do not smoke if children (who are particularly susceptible) are present, especially infants and toddlers.

Q. What about the risks to children?

Secondhand Smoke is a serious risk to children. EPA estimates that passive smoking is responsible for between 150,000 and 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections in infants and children less than 18 months of age annually, resulting in between 7,500 and 15,000 hospitalizations each year. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to have reduced lung function and symptoms of respiratory irritation like cough, excess phlegm and wheeze.

Passive smoking can lead to the buildup of fluid in the middle ear, the most common cause of hospitalization of children for an operation. Asthmatic children are especially at risk. Exposure increases the number of episodes and severity of symptoms in hundreds of thousands of asthmatic children. EPA estimates that between 200,000 and 1,000,000 asthmatic children have their conditions made worse by exposure to secondhand smoke. Passive smoking may cause thousands of non-asthmatic children to develop the condition each year.

Q. How does secondhand smoke affect my health?

Secondhand smoke has been classified by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a known cause of lung cancer in humans (Group A carcinogen). It causes eye, nose and throat irritation; headaches; may contribute to heart disease; increased risk of lower respiratory tract infections such a bronchitis and pneumonia; increased severity and frequency of asthma episodes and decreased lung function. Homes with one or more smokers may have particles levels several times higher than outdoor levels.

Q. What is secondhand smoke?

Secondhand Smoke is a mixture of the smoke given off by the burning end of a cigarette, pipe or cigar and the smoke exhaled from the lungs of smokers. This mixture contains more than 400 chemicals, more than 40 of which are known to cause cancer in humans or animals and many of which are strong irritants. Exposure to secondhand smoke is called involuntary smoking or passive smoking.

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Formaldehyde

Q. What can I do to reduce formaldehyde problems?

High humidity and elevated temperatures cause formaldehyde release. Humidity may be controlled through air conditioning and dehumidification. Elevated levels can be reduced by increased ventilation, particularly after bringing new sources into the home. When remodeling and in new construction, select low formaldehyde containing materials. It cannot penetrate plastic laminate and is at least partially blocked by coatings, varnishes and special formaldehyde sealants.

Q. Why should I be concerned about formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is a strong irritant that causes watery eyes and at low doses, causes burning sensations in the eyes, nose and throat. Wheezing and coughing, fatigue, shin rashes, headaches, loss of coordination and nausea are other symptoms. Larger doses can cause asthma attacks as well as damage the liver, kidneys and central nervous system. Some people are highly sensitive and react to formaldehyde concentrations that don’t bother other people.

Q. What are the major sources of formaldehyde?

Sources in the home include building materials, smoking, household products and the use of unvented fuel-burning appliances like gas stoves or kerosene space heaters. It is used to add permanent press qualities to clothing and draperies, as a component of glues and adhesives, in cosmetics, in veneered or laminated furniture, as a preservative in some paints and coating products.

In homes, the most significant source of formaldehyde are likely to be pressed wood products made using urea-formaldehyde (UF) resins. Pressed wood products made for indoor use include: particleboard used as a sub flooring and shelving, formica countertops and in cabinetry and furniture; hardwood plywood paneling used for decorative wall covering and used in cabinets and furniture; and medium density fiberboard used for drawer fronts, cabinets and furniture tops. Medium density fiberboard contains a higher resin-to-wood ratio than any other UF pressed wood product and is generally recognized as being the highest formaldehyde emitted pressed wood product.

During the 1970s, many homeowners had urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI) installed in wall cavities of their homes as an energy conservation measure. Many of these homes were found to have relatively high indoor concentrations of formaldehyde.

Q. What is formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is a chemical widely used by industry to manufacture building materials and numerous household products. It is a good preservative, makes an excellent adhesive, widely used in buildings and furnishing industries and found in small amounts in some textiles as an anti-wrinkle agent. It is also a by-product of combustion and certain other natural processes and may be present in substantial concentrations both indoors and outdoors. Formaldehyde has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals and there is some limited evidence that is causes cancer in humans.

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Foster Care Pediatrics

Q. Who will my child see at Foster Care Pediatrics?

The staff includes:

  • Moira Szilagyi,MD, Ph.D.; Medical Director
  • Nancy Crevalier, NP
  • Elizabeth McMahon, NP
  • Daria Pratt, MSW
  • Pat LeClair, RN
  • Pam Rademacher, CHN
  • Claire Ovenshire, CHN
  • Lisa Yockel, RN
  • Karen Hall, PHA
  • Ernestine Lockett, Clerk
  • Linda Elliott, Clerk

Q. How do I contact the Foster Care Clinic?

Location:
111 Westfall Rd.
Room 183
Hours: 8:30 until 4:30, Monday through Friday; (Open until 7:00 p.m. every other Wednesday)
Phone: 585 753-5927
After Hours Number: 585 753-5927 and you will be transferred to our after hours service.

Q. How do I make an appointment for my foster child?

Appointments: Call the main number any day during office hours to schedule appointments for well-child care (physicals ), acute illness, chronic illness, behavior problems, developmental issues, adolescent health care including pelvic examinations, and evaluations for physical or sexual abuse.

Q. What about medical emergencies?

Emergencies:
If you have a child with a life-threatening emergency; call 9-1-1.

Urgent Health Problems:
Most "emergencies" fit into this category, in that they require urgent attention, but are not immediately life-threatening. Examples include moderate to severe asthma attacks, fractures on long bones, etc.

If you feel a child needs immediate medical attention:

  • During office hours, call 585 753-5927 as soon as you are aware of problems as early in the day as possible and explain the problem to the secretary.
  • After office hours, call 585 753-5927. You will be referred to the answering service. Call and ask to speak to the nurse or doctor on call. Identify the problem for the answering service.
  • If you have not spoken with someone within about 10 minutes after your call, please call back and stress the urgent nature of your call.
  • Call our office the following day to let us know the status of the situation.

Acute illness, non-urgent:
Call the office as early as possible in the day during office hours, or the answering service after hours. A nurse or doctor will call you back as soon as possible.

Q. What about prescriptions for a foster child?

Routine prescription refills:
Call at least one week prior to prescriptions running out. Call during office hours and leave your name, child’s name, name of the medication, and pharmacy’s name and number. Most refills are done by mail and it takes 4-5 days for turn around. When you have a child on any medication you need to keep a record of the administration on a medication log form. A copy is available at the office. Please bring this log with you to each visit.

Q. How soon do you need to see a child entering or returning to foster care?

New admissions (or returns to care):
We feel it is very important to see children and teens soon after they enter foster care. This allows us to document growth, development, signs of abuse, and neglect and acute medical problems.

We ask you to call us within 48 hours after a child enters your home so that we can schedule an examination within a few weeks of entry to care whenever possible.

Admission evaluations are usually a two-step process. We usually see the child shortly after entry to care and then about eight weeks later to ensure that all medical, developmental and behavioral issues have been addressed.

Q. What happens when a child leaves foster care?

Discharges from care:
We ask you, whenever possible, to notify us when a child is scheduled to leave foster care. This enables us to schedule a discharge visit, identify a new physician for the child, and ensure that medical records are transferred.

Q. What about behavioral issues in foster children?

Behavioral issues:
Many children in foster care have behavioral and mental problems. If the child has a therapist, the therapist is the logical person with whom to discuss those issues. The caseworker can also he helpful.

If you identify a new problem or a worsening of existing problem you may speak to us about these types of issues. We now have a Social Worker on staff who can assist you in identifying and accessing services for children. Many times, problems are identified that might respond to medication. We are bound by DSS policy to seek parental permission prior to beginning a child on medication for mental health or behavioral problems. We will work with you and the caseworker to facilitate this.

Q. What about HIV screening for foster children?

HIV Screening:
Caseworkers are mandated by law to complete a risk assessment for HIV infection on every child admitted to foster care. Physicians and nurse practitioners are required by law to do the same at each well-child care visit. If a risk factor is identified, the caseworker will attempt to obtain consent for a test on the child involved. In some cases, where there is a risk factor identified, and the parent or guardian is unwilling or unable to consent to screening, DSS may provide consent. HIV test results are available to foster families, except in rare circumstances. HIV test results can not be given over the telephone.

Q. Who handles child abuse evaluations?

Abuse Evaluations:
Dr. Szilagyi, of our staff, is a recognized expert in the area of child abuse and neglect. Most abuse evaluations can be conducted in our office. Occasionally, it may be necessary to refer a child to the REACH Program at Strong Memorial Hospital for further evaluation.

Q. How does the clinic handle consent and confidentiality?

Consent:
Foster parents may not consent for medical procedures, medication or the release of medical records, except in the rare circumstance where the foster parent is also the legal guardian. Always ask the provider to contact the child’s caseworker or caseworker supervisor if you are asked to sign something.

Confidentiality:
Foster parents have access to all of the medical information concerning children in their care with limited exceptions. Adolescents may choose to keep information related to sexual issues (sexually transmitted diseases, birth control), pregnancy (and abortion), drug and alcohol use, and HIV infection confidential. Unless an adolescent behaves in such a way as to pose harm to themselves or others, medical providers are bound by law to protect their confidentiality in these areas. Our staff always encourages adolescents to share information with their caseworker and their foster parent, both of whom are also bound by confidentiality rules.

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Health Insurance—Did You Ever Wonder?

Q. I have Medicare and my ex-employer provides a supplement. Do I need a Medigap policy?

Probably not. Check the coverage your supplement provides. Are there any areas you feel could be better covered by a Medigap or an HMO program? Compare the cost to you for both options. Beware! If you leave your ex-employer’s coverage you probably will not be allowed to re-enroll later.

Q. Where can I find prescription drug coverage?

This is not a Medicare benefit, however, some Medigaps and HMOs offer a degree of coverage. Also, many New Yorkers qualify for New York State’s Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) program.

Q. I'll be 65 in three months and just received a Medicare card. Part A will cost me nothing, but I'll have to pay a premium for Part B. What will Part B do for me?

Part B covers a wide range of services and supplies, however, probably the most important coverage is the help with doctor bills. The medically necessary services of a Medicare certified doctor are covered no matter where you receive them within the United States, whether at home, in the doctor’s office, in a clinic, nursing home or hospital.

Q. I'm going to work beyond age 65 and my employer will continue providing health insurance. Should I accept Medicare Part B?

If there are 20 or more employees, your employer will have to offer you the same coverage provided to the under age 65 employees. If you take Medicare Part B, it will be the secondary payor and the residual benefit may not be worth the cost of Part B. It’s your decision. If you choose not to take Part B be sure to contact the Social Security Office as soon as you become aware that you will no longer be eligible for your employer’s coverage. If you wait until a later time to enroll in Part B you'll be penalized a 10% increase in your Part B premium for every year you could have taken it and didn't.

Q. My doctor submits claims to Medicare but does not send the balance to Blue Cross/Blue Shield for consideration. Can you help me?

Yes! We can help. The Monroe County Office for the Aging sponsors a program called Health Insurance, Information, Counseling and Assistance Program (HIICAP). HIICAP has trained volunteers who can assist with claims filing, initiating appeals, explaining coverage, assisting with comparisons of insurance options, and many other concerns related to HMOs, Medicare, Medigaps, Long Term Care Insurance, etc.

If you'd like to discuss any of the above questions, or have other questions related to seniors’ health insurance, call the HIICAP Hotline at the Monroe County Office for the Aging at 585 274-6292.

For copies of a Health Care Proxy and instruction sheet, contact Eldersource at 585 325-2800 (Proxies only).

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Household Hazardous Waste Program

Q. What is the household hazardous waste program?

Most household paint and chemicals are safe when used and stored properly. When disposed of improperly, household wastes can become environmental hazards. Monroe County provides residents with a way to safely recycle or dispose of this household hazardous waste (HHW) free-of-charge. (See below for product lists and quantity limits.)

Q. Who can participate and how?

The free portion of this program is open ONLY to Monroe County residents with non-industrial household chemicals. To ensure safety and better serve customers, items are accepted by appointment only. Call 585 753-7600 (Option 3), 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday–Friday for an appointment. Be ready to describe your items and the quantity of each. After an appointment is made, you will be mailed directions to the HHW facility and instructions for the safe packaging and transportation of your items. Under a separate fee-based program, businesses, out-of-county residents and Monroe County households that have somehow acquired industrial-use products may also call the above number for disposal information.

Q. What can you bring?

Monroe County residents can bring up to 30 gallons of liquid and 75 pounds of solid HHW per appointment without charge. No 55-gallon drums will be accepted.

Q. What are acceptable items?

  • Oil-based and Latex Paint (for 1/3-gallon or less of latex paint: discard lid, add kitty litter, let dry, place can in trash)
  • Wood Stain and Preservatives
  • Automotive Fluids (antifreeze; brake, power steering and transmission fluids)
  • Pesticides and Fertilizers
  • Flammable Products (gasoline, kerosene, thinners, strippers, solvents, glues, etc.)
  • Household Cleaners (soaps, waxes, drain cleaners, etc.)
  • Driveway Sealer
  • Propane Tanks (1 and 20-pound only)
  • Pool and Photo Chemicals
  • Rechargeable (Ni-Cad) and Button Batteries
  • Mercury (fluorescent tubes, thermometers, thermostats - CFLs go to Home Depot for recycling)
  • Syringes/Sharps (safely packaged)
  • Cooking Oil/Cooking Grease
  •  

Q. What are not acceptable items?

  • 1/3-Gallon or Less of Latex Paint (see instructions above)
  • Cans with Dried Paint—remove lid and place in trash)
  • Used Motor Oil and Lead Acid Batteries (contact service station or retailer)
  • Empty Containers (place in trash or recycle)
  • Smoke Detectors (trash or contact manufacturer)
  • Everyday Alkaline Batteries (place in trash)
  • Glazing/Spackle and Joint Compounds (trash)
  • Asbestos (see Yellow Pages under “Asbestos Abatement”)
  • Products intended for industrial use
  • Explosives/Ammunition/Black/Smokeless Powder (Call 9-1-1)
  • Shock Sensitive Materials (i.e. crystallized ethers, picric acid) (Call 9-1-1)

Q. What is the location for drop-off?

Monroe County Household Hazardous Waste Facility
444 East Henrietta Road
Rochester, New York 14620
Phone: 585 753-7600 (option #3)

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Household Products

Q. What are some ways that I can minimize potential health problems from household products?

  • Always read the labels of the products that you are considering buying. Note the product ingredients and beware of any warnings of its use.
  • Always use household products only for their intended purpose and according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Use the product in a well-ventilated area. Choose products that are packaged to reduce the chances of spills, leaks and child tampering.
  • Keep household products in their original containers so that safety information and directions for use are always with the product.

NOTE: Some products may be labeled “environmentally safe,” but any product that evaporates into the air has the potential to be an indoor air pollutant, depending on the quantity used, the method of use, the products toxicity and the sensitivity of the user.

Q. What are some of the health effects of organic chemicals?

The ability of organic chemicals to cause health effects varies greatly—from those that are highly toxic, to those with no known health effect. As with other pollutants, the extent and nature of the health effect will depend on many factors including level of exposure and length of time exposed. Eye irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders and memory impairment are among the immediate symptoms that some people have experienced soon after exposure. Long-term exposure can cause loss of coordination; nausea; and damage to the liver, kidneys and the central nervous system. Many organic chemicals are known to cause cancer in animals; some are suspected of causing or are known to cause cancer in humans.

Q. What are the particular household product ingredients that I should be concerned about?

The products to watch are those containing volatile organic compounds (i.e., petroleum distillates, mineral spirits, toluene, xylene) which are organic compounds that easily evaporate into the air. Some may be flammable while other can be a hazard if they are used improperly. Some of the ingredients not specifically listed or listed as “inert” may also have some unhealthful side effects. People using products containing organic chemicals can expose themselves and others to very high pollutant levels, and elevated concentrations can persist in the air long after the activity is complete.

Q. What are some of the household products that I should be concerned about?

These include:

  • solvents;
  • paints;
  • varnishes;
  • paint strippers;
  • waxes;
  • wood preservatives;
  • aerosol sprays;
  • moth repellents;
  • air fresheners;
  • stored fuels;
  • automotive products;
  • hobby supplies;
  • pesticides;
  • dry-cleaned clothing;
  • adhesives and fabric additives used in carpeting, draperies and furniture;
  • and some cleaners, degreasers and disinfectants.

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Human Resources

Please click here for FAQs regarding Human Resources.

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Indoor Air Quality

Q. What can be done to improve indoor air quality?

There are three basic strategies for improving indoor air quality. Usually the most effective way to improve indoor air quality is to eliminate individual sources of pollution or to reduce their emissions. Another approach is to lower the concentration of indoor air pollutants in your home by increasing the amount of outdoor air coming indoors. The third is the purchase and installation of air cleaning equipment.

Source Control:
Some sources, like those that contain asbestos, can be sealed, enclosed or removed; others, like gas stoves, can be adjusted to decrease the amount of emissions. In many cases, source control is a more cost-efficient approach to protecting indoor air quality than increasing ventilation because increasing ventilation can increase energy costs.

Ventilation Improvements: Most home heating and cooling systems, including forced air heating systems, do not mechanically bring fresh air into the house. Opening windows and doors, operating window and attic fan, when the weather permits, or running a window air conditioner with the vent control open increases the outdoor ventilation rate. Local bathroom or kitchen fans that exhaust outdoors remove contaminants directly from the room where the fan is located and also increases outdoor ventilation rate.

It is particularly important that you take as many of these steps as possible while you are involved in short-term activities that can generate high levels of pollutants—for example, painting, paint stripping, heating with kerosene heaters, cooking or engaging in maintenance and hobby activities such as welding, soldering, or sanding. You might also choose to do some of these activities outdoors, if weather permits.

Advanced design of new homes are starting to feature mechanical systems that bring outdoor air into the home. Some of these designs include energy-efficient heat recovery ventilators that are also known as air-to-air heat exchangers.

Air Cleaners:
There are many types and sizes of air cleaners on the market, ranging from relatively inexpensive tabletop models to sophisticated and expensive whole-house systems. Some air cleaners are highly effective at particle removal, while others, including tabletop models, are much less so. Air cleaners are not generally designed to remove gaseous pollutants but some can to various degrees of efficiency.

The effectiveness of an air cleaner depends on how well it collects pollutants from indoor air (expressed as a percentage efficiency rate) and how much air it draws through the cleaning or filtering element (expressed as cubic feet per minute). A very efficient collector with a low air circulation rate will not be effective, nor will a cleaner with a high circulation rate but a less efficient collector. The long-term performance of any air cleaner depends on maintaining it according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Another important factor in determining the effectiveness of an air cleaner is the strength of the pollutant source. Tabletop air cleaners, in particular, may not satisfactorily remove pollutants from strong nearby sources. People with sensitivity to particular sources may find that air cleaners are helpful only in conjunction with concerted efforts to remove the source.

Over the past few years, there has been some publicity suggesting that houseplants have been shown to reduce levels of some chemicals in laboratory experiments. There is currently no evidence, however, that a reasonable number of houseplants remove significant quantities of pollutants in homes and offices. Indoor houseplants should not be over watered because overly damp soil may promote the growth of microorganisms, which may affect certain individuals.

Q. What are the signs of possible home indoor air quality problems?

  • Unusual and noticeable odors, stale or stuffy air
  • Noticeable lack of air movement
  • Dirty or faulty central air or air conditioning equipment
  • Damaged flue pipes or chimneys
  • Unvented combustion air sources for fossil fuel appliances
  • Excessive humidity
  • Tightly constructed or remodeled home
  • Presence of mold and mildew
  • Health reaction after remodeling, weatherizing, using new furniture, use of household or hobby products, or moving into a new home
  • Feeling noticeably healthier outside the home

Q. How does outdoor air enter a house?

Outdoor air enters and leaves a house by: Infiltration, natural ventilation and mechanical ventilation. Infiltration is the process where outdoor air flows into a house through openings, joints, and cracks in walls, floors, and ceilings and around windows and doors. In natural ventilation, air moves through open windows and doors. Air movement associated with infiltration and natural ventilation is caused by air temperature differences between indoors and outdoors and by wind. There are a number of mechanical ventilation devices, from outdoor-vented fans that intermittently remove air from a single room such as bathrooms and kitchens, to air handling systems that use fans and duct work to continuously remove indoor air and distribute filtered outdoor air to strategic points throughout the house. The rate at which outdoor air replaces indoor air is described as the air exchange rate.

When there is little infiltration, natural ventilation, or mechanical ventilation, the air exchange rate is low and pollutant levels can increase.

Q. What causes indoor air problems in homes?

Indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air are the primary cause of indoor air quality problems. Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor pollutants out of the building. High temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of some pollutants.

Pollutant Sources: There are many sources of indoor air pollution in any home. These include combustion sources such as oil, gas, kerosene, coal, wood and tobacco products; building materials and furnishings as diverse as deteriorated asbestos containing pipe, duct insulation, floor tiles, wall and ceiling coatings and exterior siding; wet or damp carpets and cabinetry or furniture made of certain pressed wood products; products for household cleaning and maintenance, personal care or hobbies; central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices; and outdoor sources such as radon, pesticides and outdoor air pollution.

The relative importance of any single source depends on how much of a given pollutant it emits and how hazardous those emissions are. In some cases, a factor of how old the source is and whether it is properly maintained is significant. For example an improperly adjusted gas stove can emit significantly more carbon monoxide than one that is properly adjusted.

Some sources such as building materials, furnishings and household products like air fresheners release pollutants more or less continuously. Other sources, related to activities carried out in the home, release pollutants intermittently. These include smoking, the use of unvented or malfunctioning stoves, furnaces or space heaters, the use of solvents in cleaning and hobby activities, the use of paint and strippers in redecorating activities, and the use of cleaning products and pesticides in housekeeping. High pollutant concentrations can remain in the air for long periods after completion of some of these activities.

Ventilation: If inadequate outdoor air enters a home, pollutants can accumulate to levels that can pose health and comfort problems. Unless they are built with special mechanical means of ventilation, homes that are designed and constructed to minimize the amount of outdoor makeup air may have higher pollutant levels than other homes. However, because some weather conditions can drastically reduce the amount of outdoor air that enter a home, pollutants can build up even in homes that are normally considered “leaky.”

Q. How do I know if my home has significant concentrations of radon?

The only way to know is to have your home tested. Radon detection kits are inexpensive and easy to use. You can purchase a kit at your local hardware store or other retail outlet, the local office of the American Lung Association or you can order a kit (single test) from the New York State Department of Health (1-800-458-1158).

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Kendra’s Law (Assisted Outpatient Treatment)

In 1999, New York State enacted legislation that provides for court-ordered assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) for certain people with mental illness who, in view of their treatment history and present circumstances, are unlikely to survive safely in the community without supervision. This legislation is commonly referred to as Kendra’s Law. The Monroe County Office of Mental Health assumed the responsibility for the operation of the AOT program in Monroe County.

Q. Who may be affected by Kendra’s Law?

A person may be ordered to obtain Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) if the court finds that he or she:

  • is at least 18 years of age and suffers from a mental illness; and
  • is unlikely to survive in the community without supervision, based on a clinical determination; and
  • has a history of noncompliance with treatment for mental illness which has led to either 2 hospitalizations for mental illness in the preceding 3 years, or resulted in at least one act of violence toward self or others, or threats of serious physical harm to self or others, within the preceding 4 years; and
  • is unlikely to accept the treatment recommended in the treatment plan; and
  • is in need of AOT to avoid a relapse or deterioration that would likely result in serious harm to self or others; and
  • will likely benefit from AOT.

Before a court may order AOT, it must be satisfied that AOT is the least restrictive alternative for the person. Thus, if a less restrictive program or treatment exists that could effectively deal with the person’s mental illness, the court will not issue an order for assisted outpatient treatment.

Q. What is the process to get AOT for someone?

A petition must be filed with the court in order to get AOT for someone. In Monroe County, the first step is to contact the AOT program for information and assistance in filing a petition with the court. People authorized to file petitions for AOT are:

  • a parent, spouse, adult sibling or adult child of the person;
  • an adult roommate;
  • the director of a hospital in which the person is hospitalized;
  • the director of an organization, agency or home in which the person resides and receives mental health services;
  • a psychiatrist who is either treating or supervising the person’s treatment;
  • the mental health director or social services official for the county where the person is believed to be present;
  • a parole or probation officer assigned to supervise the person.

People authorized to file petitions should contact the AOT program at 585-428-4530. The AOT program will send an information packet regarding the law, petition process, information/documentation requirements and necessary forms for the petition process. The petitioner should review this information and if they decide to move forward, they should re-contact the AOT program to begin the process.

Q. What is the AOT petition process?

Upon receiving a request for a petition the AOT program will work with the petitioner to determine if there are potential community-based service alternatives to AOT. If the petitioner decides to move forward with the filing, the AOT program will determine if the individual meets the criteria for AOT and will make arrangements for the next steps in the process.

The petition, which is a formal statement of facts demonstrating that the person meets the criteria for AOT, must be accompanied by the affidavit of an examining physician. The AOT program will make arrangements for the physician examination. The affidavit must show that the physician examined the person within 10 days of the filing of the petition, and that he or she meets the criteria for AOT. If the subject of the petition has refused examination, the physician’s affidavit must state that attempts at examination were made and that the physician believes the individual meets the AOT criteria. Several other procedural forms must also be filed, which will provided by the AOT program.

Once the petition is filed with the court, copies must also be served on the person who is the subject of the petition, Mental Hygiene Legal Services, any health care agent appointed by the person in a health care proxy, if known, the State Office of Mental Health and the Director of the County Office of Mental Health.

Q. What happens next?

The court is required to set a hearing date that is no more than 3 days after the court receives the petition (the hearing may be adjourned to a later date if the court finds good cause for doing so). At the hearing, the court will hear testimony of the physician whose affidavit was filed with the petition, and may also consider testimony of the petitioner and the subject of the petition. Other forms of admissible evidence may be considered as well. If the court determines by clear and convincing evidence that the criteria for AOT are met, and a written treatment plan has been filed with the court, an order for assisted outpatient treatment is issued.

The court order is directed to both the person receiving AOT and the director of the AOT program. The court will require the person to accept the treatment deemed necessary by the court, and will require the AOT Director to furnish such treatment.

In Monroe County, court-ordered services are provided by community mental health agencies. The individual will also be assigned to an Intensive Case Manager or the Assertive Community Treatment Team to assist the individual in adhering to the treatment plan.

The initial court order is effective for up to 6 months from the date of the order. The order can be extended for successive periods of up to 1 year each, but any application to extend AOT requires a showing that the person continues to meet all of the AOT criteria.

Q. What happens if the person does not comply with the terms of the court order?

Non-compliance will be addressed on an individual basis. The AOT program, in consultation with the treating physician and the ICM/ACT team, will determine appropriate steps to address non-compliance. This may involve closer monitoring, modifications to the treatment plan (which would require that a material change to the AOT order be obtained through the court) or involuntary hospitalization.

If a physician determines that the person may need involuntary admission to a hospital, the physician may recommend that the person be transported to a hospital and retained for up to 72 hours to determine if inpatient care and treatment are necessary. Any refusal of the person to take prescribed medications, or the failure of a test to determine either medication compliance or alcohol or drug use, may be considered by the physician in reaching the clinical determination regarding involuntary admission. Any decision to retain the person beyond the initial 72 hours must be in accordance with the procedures for involuntary admission set forth in Mental Hygiene Law.

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Law Department

Q. I have a question on the Lemon Law?

Call the New York State Attorney General’s Office at 585 546-7430.

Q. Who can I contact to register a complaint against my attorney?

Call the Monroe County Bar Association – 585-546-1817.

Q. I need the phone number for Small Claims Court.

The address/location of Rochester City Court - Small Claims Court is:
Hall of Justice
Rochester, NY 14614 Phone: 585 428-2444

Q. I need the phone number for Monroe County Legal Assistance.

Monroe County Legal Assistance is located at:
80 St. Paul Street
Rochester, NY 14604
Phone: 585 325-2520

Q. I need the phone number for the Monroe County Bar Association.

The Monroe County Bar Association is located at:
One Exchange Street
Rochester, NY 14614
Phone: 585 546-1817

Q. Can you check to see if a person has been arrested?

Questions regarding prisoners should be directed to the Sheriff’s Department.

Q. Have a legal question or requesting an attorney for a personal matter and would like to speak to an attorney?

The Law Department is not allowed to answer these types of legal questions as they are strictly attorneys for their one client - Monroe County. Call the Monroe County Bar Association 585 546-1817.

Q. Can you check to see if there is a local law on a certain subject?

All local laws are included in the Monroe County Charter or you may contact the Monroe County Legislature’s Office at 585 428-5350.

Q. Can you give me the current amount I owe on my MC taxes?

Call the Monroe County Treasurer’s Office.

Q. I want information regarding the County’s In Rem Foreclosure?

The law firm of Phillips Lytle LLP now handles these matters. You may call them at 585 238-2000.

Q. I want information on the foreclosed property and other property that is being auctioned off in the COB lobby?

The law firm of Phillips Lytle LLP now handles these matters. You may call them at 585 238-2000.

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Medicaid

Q. Where do I get information about Family Health Plus, Child Health Plus, Women-Infant-Children, or Prenatal Care Assistance Program?

Check out the information about Family Health Plus (FHP), Child Health Plus (CHP), Women-Infant-Children (WIC) or the Prenatal Care Assistance Program.

Learn more at New York State Department of Health–Consumer Info.

Q. Where do I get information about the New York State Partnership for Long Term Care?

For information about the New York State Partnership for Long Term Care visit their website.

Learn more at NYS Partnership for Long Term Care.

Q. Where do I call for an application for Family Health Plus or Child Health Plus?

To request an application or an appointment for Family Health Plus or Child Health Plus, please call 585 530-4215.

Q. Where do I call for information about home care services?

For information about Medicaid home care services programs, please call 585 753-6563.

Q. Where do I call for information about Medicaid managed care programs?

For information about Medicaid managed care programs, please call 585 464-6402.

Q. How do I apply for Medicaid?

To apply for Medicaid, call 585 753-6960 and an application will be mailed to you. Or, you may pick up an application from the Monroe County Department of Social Services waiting room at 111 Westfall Rd., Rochester, NY.

Q. How do I order Medicaid transportation to a medical appointment?

If you are a Monroe County Medicaid recipient, you may call 585 288-4680 (Medical Motor Service) to request transportation to medical appointments.

Q. How do I report Medicaid Provider or Consumer Fraud?

To report provider or consumer fraud, you may call 1-877-87FRAUD (1-877-873-7283).

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Mold

Q. If I’m concerned about biological contaminants in my home, what can I do to deal with the problem?

There are no practical tests for biological contaminants for use by non-professionals. However there are signs to watch for. You can sometimes see and smell mold colonies growing on surfaces. Mold growth should be suspected wherever there are water stains, standing water or moist surfaces. Prevent mold growth by keeping basements, bathrooms, and other rooms clean and dry. Use a disinfectant to clean surfaces that have mold on them. If carpeting or furnishings become wet, they must be quickly and thoroughly dried or discarded.

Humidifiers, dehumidifiers and air conditioning condensing units should be regularly cleaned with a disinfectant such as chlorine bleach. Keep humidity at acceptable levels (between 30% and 50%) and make sure there’s plenty of ventilation, especially in area where moisture tends to build up. People who are sensitive to dust mites may need to replace carpeting in their homes with hard surfaced flooring and use area rugs that can be removed and cleaned.

Vacuums with high efficiency filters or central vacuum systems can help reduce the airborne dust generated by vacuuming.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Install and use exhaust fans that are vented to the outdoors in kitchens and bathrooms and vent clothes dryers outdoors. This can eliminate much of the moisture that builds up from everyday activities. Another benefit is that they can reduce the levels of organic pollutants released during cooking or vaporized from hot water used in showers and dishwashers.

Keep the house clean. House dust mites, pollen, animal dander and other allergy causing agents can be reduced, although not eliminated, through regular cleaning. People who are allergic to these pollutants should use allergy-proof mattress encasements, wash bedding in hot (130° F) water, and avoid room furnishings that accumulate dust, especially if they cannot be washed. Allergic individuals should also leave the house while it is being vacuumed because vacuuming can actually increase the airborne level of mite allergen and other biological contaminants.

Ventilate the attic and crawl spaces to prevent moisture buildup. Keeping humidity levels in these areas below 50% can prevent water condensation on building materials.

Thoroughly clean and dry water-damaged carpets and building materials (within 24 hours if possible) or consider removal or replacement.

Q. How are biological contaminants transported through the house?

Molds and dust mites thrive in areas of high humidity. Mold grows on organic materials such as paper, textiles, grease, dirt and soap scum. Mold spores float throughout the house, forming new colonies where they land.

Dust mites thrive on dead human skin cells and in textiles such as bedding, carpeting and upholstery. When these textiles are disturbed during vacuuming, making beds or walking on carpet, dust particles become airborne. Pollen, plant material can enter through windows or on pets while animal dander becomes airborne when disturbed.

Infectious diseases caused by bacteria and viruses are generally passed from person to person through physical contact, but some circulate through indoor ventilation systems.

Q. What are some of the health effects of mold?

Allergic reactions are the most common health problems associated with biological pollutants. Symptoms often include watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing, nasal congestion, itching, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, headaches, and dizziness, lethargy and fatigue, fever and digestive problems. Dust mite residues have been identified as an important trigger for asthma attacks.

Some biological contaminants trigger allergic reactions including hypersensitivity pneumonitis, allergic rhinitis, and some types of asthma. Infectious illness such as influenza, measles, and chicken pox are transmitted through the air. Molds and mildew can also release disease-causing toxins.

Allergic reactions occur only after repeated exposure to a specific biological allergen. However that reaction may occur immediately upon re-exposure or after multiple exposures over time. As a result, people who have noticed only mild allergic reactions, or no reactions at all, may suddenly find themselves very sensitive to particular allergens.

Q. What biological problems with mold should I be concerned about?

Molds and mildew also known as fungi, bacteria and dust mites are some of the main biological pollutants inside the house. Some, such as pollen, are usually generated outside the home. Mold and mildew generated in the home may release volatile organic compounds and spores into the air. They are often found in areas of the home that have high humidity level, such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms or basements. Dust mites and animal dander are problematic when they become airborne during vacuuming, making beds or when carpeting or textiles are disturbed.

Biological contaminants include bacteria, molds and mildew, viruses, animal dander and cat saliva, house dust mites, cockroaches and pollen. There are many sources of these pollutants. Pollen originates from plants; people and animals transmit viruses; bacteria are carried by people, animals, soil and plant debris; and household pets are sources of saliva and animal dander. The protein in urine and feces from rats, mice, cockroaches and house dust mites is a potent allergen, and when dry, can easily become airborne. Contaminated central air handling systems can become breeding grounds for mold, mildew or other sources of biological contaminants and can then distribute these contaminants through the home.

By controlling the relative humidity level in the home, the growth of some sources of biologicals can be minimized. A relative humidity of 30% to 50% is generally recommended for homes. Standing water, water-damaged materials, or wet surfaces also serve as breeding ground for molds, mildew, bacteria and insects. House dust mites, the source of some the most powerful biological allergens, grow in moist and warm environments.

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Monroe County Prescription Discount Plan

Monroe County is proud to offer an exciting program that helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle, all while holding on to more of your hard earned money. The Monroe County Prescription Discount Card – now administered by local company ProAct, Inc. – is a FREE program that offers discount savings on the purchase of prescription drugs. Best of all, it costs NOTHING for Monroe County or local taxpayers. So why pay more? Just bring this card with you to your next pharmacy visit, and let the savings begin!

—Maggie Brooks, Monroe County Executive
 
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: How does the Monroe County Prescription Discount Card work?

A: Just present this FREE card to your pharmacist the next time you bring in a new prescription, or go for a refill.

Q: Where can I use my Monroe County Prescription Discount Card?

A: The card is accepted by most pharmacies in Monroe County, including Wegmans, Tops, CVS, Eckerd, Rite Aid, Target, and Wal-Mart. For more information on over 55,000 participating pharmacies nationwide, please call ProAct toll free at 1-877-776-2285 or visit www.NYRxDiscountCard.com.

Q: What does the Monroe County Prescription Discount Card cover?

A: All prescription medications are covered, at a discount rate. Savings are also available on Vision, Lasik, and Hearing services. For more information on discounts, please visit www.NYRxDiscountCard.com.

Q: Can I use my card to get prescriptions through the mail?

A: Yes, the card allows for a 90-day supply at Health Direct Pharmacy Services. For more information, please call 1-866-287-9885.

Q: Can I use the card if my prescriptions are already covered by insurance?

A: No. This card is intended to be used if you don’t have insurance, or if something is not covered by  your current program. It can’t be used to discount prescription co-payments or deductible charges.


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Monroe County Sheriff’s Office

Q. Where is the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office located?

The Sheriff’s Headquarters is located in the Monroe County Public Safety Building on the Civic Center Plaza, 130 South Plymouth Avenue, Rochester, New York 14614. Our phone number is 585 753-4178.

Map showing Monroe County Neighborhood Zones for Sheriff.

  • Zone A substation
    Town of Pittsford
    789 Linden Avenue
    Phone: 585 753-4370
  • Zone B substation
    Town of Henrietta
    245 Summit Point Drive
    Phone: 585 753-4400
  • Zone C substation
    Town of Chili
    2330 Union Street
    Phone: 585 753-4470

Q. What zone am I in?

The Neighborhood Zone Map (above) shows which towns and villages are in each of the three zones. Click here to find out which zone you live in.
 

Q. What number do I call in case of an emergency?

For emergencies, please call 9-1-1.

Q. Does the Sheriff’s Office offer fingerprinting services?

Fingerprinting services are available for all County residents for employment and pistol permit applications at the Sheriff's Central Records Unit.

Times: Monday-Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m and 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.; and Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

There is a $25.00 fee for fingerprints.

Q. How do I obtain a pistol permit?

Applications for pistol permits are only available through the Monroe County Clerk's Office at 39 West Main Street, Rochester, New York 14614. Visit the Monroe County Clerk's Office for more information.

Q. I receive calls from solicitors requesting donations for various police related associations. Are these legitimate? Should I donate?

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office does not solicit over the telephone. Calls for other law enforcement agencies are generally done by telemarketing firms. If you decide to contribute to any of the organizations, always ask for the name, address and telephone number so that you may call back after careful consideration.

Donations may be made to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office through the Monroe County Sheriff's Foundation. Founded in 1991, the Monroe County Sheriff's Foundation, a non-profit organization, funds special Sheriff's Office projects, education and programs that cannot be realized with county funding alone.

For more information visit the Monroe County Sheriff’s Foundation page.

Q. How do I formally recognize or make a complaint concerning an employee of the Sheriff’s Office?

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office is recognized as one of the finest in the nation. Continual feedback from the citizens it serves is vital to improving all aspects of the Sheriff's Office. We encourage your comments and suggestions.

To formally recognize an employee you may contact his/her Supervisor or Command Officer by telephone at 585 753-4178. You may write the Sheriff or Undersheriff directly.

You may file a complaint at any time by calling (585) 753-4178 or 911 and request a Sheriff's Supervisor or Command Officer contact you at your location. You may contact Internal affairs by calling (585) 753-4519, Monday through Friday, 9am - 5pm. You may also write the Sheriff, Undersheriff or Internal Affairs directly.

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Internal Affairs
130 S. Plymouth Ave., 6th Floor
Rochester, NY 14614

M.C.S.O.
Sheriff’s Administration
130 S. Plymouth Ave., 6th Floor
Rochester, NY 14614

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Monroe County Sheriff’s Civil Bureau

General Fee Information

2013 Fee Schedule and Mileage Rates

Q. What information do I need for personal property levies?

We request that you provide:

  • A specific and detailed list of assets or the property upon which we will levy.

Additional information that is helpful includes:

  • VIN numbers for vehicles and equipment.
  • Serial numbers, color, make or model.
  • Any other combination of identifiers that would assist us in making our levy.

You may also be requested to supply someone to accompany the Sheriff to assist with property identification.

Q. What information do I need for an income execution?

Most employers request the debtor's:

  • Last known address.
  • Social Security number.
  • Departmental number.
  • Employee ID number.

You must also provide the full correct name and address of the employer.

Q. When may I anticipate checks on collection accounts?

Once an execution is working, we issue bi-weekly checks on all accounts once certain funds to be disbursed are cleared at the bank.

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Notary Public Exam

Note: The Notary Public Examination is a Walk-in Exam.

Q. Is there an exam fee?

Yes, there is a $15 fee for each exam you take. You may pay by check or money order made payable to the Department of State or charge the fee to MasterCard or Visa. Cash will not be accepted. A $20 fee will be charged for any check that is returned for insufficient funds. Application and exam fees are non-refundable.

Q. What are the eligibility requirements for a commission?

You must be at least 18 years of age at the time you apply. Nonresidents (including attorneys admitted to practice in New York State) must have an office or a place of business within the state to become a Notary Public.

Q. What are the regulations and procedures at the test center?

You must bring a photo ID card to the test center on the day of your exam to verify your identity. If you do not have a photo ID, you will not be admitted. For security reasons, all applicants are thumb printed prior to taking the exam.

Be early. Give yourself some time before the exam. You should report to the test center at least 15 minutes prior to the starting time because seats are assigned on a first-come/first-served basis. We cannot guarantee that enough space will be available to accommodate everyone who arrives.

Bring acceptable supplies. You should bring two no. 2 pencils to the exam. You cannot use study or reference material during the exam.

You will be given a maximum time limit of 1 hour to take this exam.

Note: Examination proctors may, at their discretion, dismiss from the test center any person who is found cheating or engaging in practices contrary to the rules and regulations of proper examination conduct.

Q. What type of examination is given?

The written exam is multiple choice. You will mark your answer by filling in circles (o) on a machine-readable score sheet. Exam topics include: law, general terms and information related to the duties and functions of a notary public, as outlined in the Notary Public License Law booklet available from the County Clerk’s Office or the Division of Licensing Services.

Q. What is a passing score?

You must correctly answer at least 70 percent of the questions to pass the exam. However, we report all exam results as either passed or failed; you will not get a numerical score.

Q. When and how do I get my exam results?

We will notify you by mail as soon as your exam results are available. Results will not be given over the telephone, so please do not call Licensing Services for them.

When you pass the written exam, we will send you an examination application slip marked “PASSED.” That original slip (not a copy) must be submitted with your application form, fee and oath of office card (signed and notarized), etc. (Complete application details are provided in the application form instructions.)

Note: Failure to apply for a commission within two years of the date of the examination will invalidate the results.

Applicants who fail will receive a notice in the mail. They may retake the written exam on a date and time of their choice. Exam schedules are updated twice a year.

Q. Where are the test sites and what are the times?

Test sites and times are subject to change and exams may be canceled due to weather conditions or other emergencies. If hazardous weather conditions exist in your area, you may call 518 474-4429 to see if an exam has been canceled. Please do not call the test centers listed below.

If you need assistance or exam information, you may contact a Division of Licensing Services office in your area or call the Albany phone center at 518 474-4429. TDD users may contact the New York State relay operator at 1 800-662-1220.

Exams are scheduled every Tuesday, at 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in Buffalo and Syracuse and EVERY WEDNESDAY, at 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. in Albany, Franklin Square, Hauppauge, New York City and Rochester.

Exams are scheduled on Tuesdays at 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in Binghamton, Newburg and Utica on January 4 & 25; February 8 & 15; March 8 & 22; April 12 & 26; May 10 & 24; and June 7 & 21.

Exams are scheduled on Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m. in Plattsburg and Watertown on January 11; March 8 and May 17.

Exams are scheduled on Fridays in Westchester on March 25 at 1:30 p.m. and June 24 at 8:30 a.m.

No one will be admitted to an examination after the specified starting time.

Locations:

  • Albany, 84 Holland Avenue, Basement
  • Binghamton State Office Building, 44 Hawley Street, 15th Floor
  • Buffalo State Office Building, 65 Court Street, Main Floor Hearing Room, Part 5
  • Franklin Square, VFW Hall, 68 Lincoln Road, Basement (N6 Bus Route on Hempstead Turnpike)
  • Hauppauge State Office Building, 250 Veterans Memorial Highway, Basement Conference Room
  • New York City, 123 William Street, 19th Floor
  • Newburgh (Orange Ulster Boces Adult Educational Center), Federal Building, 471 Broadway, 2nd Floor
  • Plattsburgh (Clinton County Community College), Lake Shore Drive; Route 9 South
  • Rochester Finger Lakes DDSO, 620 Westfall Road—Take Thruway to Exit 46, take 390 North to Exit 16, turn right on East Henrietta Road, turn right at second traffic light onto Westfall Road, Finger Lakes DDSO is on left. Park in lot on right and enter building through main lobby.
  • Syracuse (American Postal Workers Union), 407 East Taft Road, North Syracuse
  • Utica State Office Building, 207 Genesee Street, 1st Floor, Room 107
  • Watertown State Office Building, 317 Washington Street, 11th Floor
  • Westchester (Westchester Community College), 75 Grasslands Road, Room C200

Note: Remember the $15 exam fee, arrive early and bring your photo ID and two no. 2 pencils.

See the New York State Notary Public License Law for more information.

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Persons In Need of Supervision (PINS)

Q. What is PINS?

Person in Need of Supervision (PINS) is a term used to describe youth with serious behavior problems who come to the attention of the Juvenile Justice System. The Family Court Act (Article 7) contains laws which determine how PINS cases must be handled.

Q. Who is a PINS?

Youth under the age of eighteen who show a pattern of disobedience, running away, curfew violations, drug or alcohol abuse, violent behavior or severe school truancy.

Q. What can the PINS process do?

Youth who exhibit such behavior may receive from probation assessment, supervision, counseling, evaluation, advocacy, respite housing, or other services—often free of charge. Diversion services are required in most cases. The PINS process works primarily with cases which have already tried other services in the community.

Q. Who can bring a complaint?

Most PINS complaints are made by the parents or school districts. To make a complaint you must have specific charges, including information on when the behavior occurred. You do not need police reports but may need school attendance records.

Q. Want to find out more?

A Probation Officer is available to accept telephone inquiries or return calls daily, Monday through Friday. The officer will discuss the situation, make referrals, or schedule appointments. Ask for Preliminary Intake Review (PIR).

Probation Intake: 585 428-2250

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Pesticides

Q. How can I reduce the risk of pesticide exposure in the home?

Use only the pesticides approved for use by the general public and then only in recommended amounts. Increasing the amount does not offer more protection against pests and can be harmful to you, your pets and your plants. Read the Label and follow directions.

Ventilate the area well after pesticide use. Mix or dilute pesticides outdoors or in a well-ventilated area and only in the amounts that will be needed immediately. If possible, take plants and pets outside when applying pesticides to them. Minimize children’s exposure by keeping them away from the applied material for several days.

Keep pesticides in their original labeled containers. Do not store pesticide products within reach of children.

Dispose of unwanted pesticides safely. If you have unused or partially used pesticide containers that you want to get rid off, dispose of them according to directions on the label or on special household hazardous waste collection days.

Q. What signs can help me determine if pesticides are affecting my health?

Both active and inert ingredients in pesticides can be organic compounds; they both add to the levels of airborne organics inside the home.

Exposure to high levels of pesticides commonly associated with misapplication have produced various symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, muscle twitching, tingling sensations and nausea. They can cause long-term damage to the liver and central nervous system, as well as increased risk of cancer. As with other household products, there is insufficient understanding at present about what pesticide concentrations are necessary to produce these effects.

Q. Why should I be concerned about pesticides?

Pesticides are used around the home to control insects, termites, rodents, fungi-mold, mildew, and microbes (disinfectants) They are sold as sprays, liquids, sticks, powders, crystals, balls and foggers. It is important to remember that the “cide” in pesticides means to “kill.” These products are dangerous if not used properly. In addition to the active ingredient, pesticides are made of ingredients that are used to carry the active agent. These carrier agents are called “inerts” because they are not toxic to the targeted pest. Nevertheless, some inerts are capable of causing health problems.

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Preliminary Intake Review (PIR)

Q. What can I expect at Probation?

All PINS cases must be reviewed by Probation Intake; first to ensure that they are eligible for service, then for assessment and planning. The process may take two to three hours and includes a complete family history. In some cases probation will ask that your child be seen for other evaluations. Probation Intake can supervise cases for up to six months.

Q. Can I use a PINS to prevent problems with my teenager?

No. Cases cannot be accepted unless a pattern of behavior already exists. Threats to run away or not attend school are not grounds for a PINS.

Q. Can I just walk in?

Cases are seen by appointment only! If there is an emergency you will be seen quickly, but we first need to review each case by telephone to be sure you bring the required documents and there is an officer available to help you.

Q. Must I bring my child?

The law requires that both parent and child be seen at probation. You cannot begin this process in secret. If your child is missing from home or refuses to come with you, call probation for instructions on how to proceed.

Q. What do I do if my child runs away?

You should begin by calling 911 to file a missing person report. There is no waiting period for reporting children missing. If your child has a history of running away, has been gone several days, or is refusing to return home you may need to request a warrant to allow police the authority to locate and hold your child. In these cases you should call probation after filing the missing person report.

Q. Do PINS cases go to court?

Most PINS cases are resolved at Probation and do not go to court. The law requires that every effort be made to avoid court. Severe cases which go to court may be given a warning and rules by the judge and returned to Probation for services; be placed on probation supervision for one year; or, placed out of the home. If a case does go to court, the law requires both parents be notified, even if they do not live together.

Q. Do I need an attorney?

The assistance of an attorney is not required to bring a complaint. Probation will assist parents with initial paperwork if court involvement is necessary.

Q. Will my child be placed?

Probation and the court are required to make every attempt to keep families together and avoid placement. The majority of cases do not result in placement.

Q. If my child is placed, who pays?

Parents are responsible for the financial support of minor children. If your child is placed by Family Court, you will be required to pay an amount based on your income. The law requires that both parents and step-parents share in the cost of placement.

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Radiological Health/Radon/Basement Radon Levels

Q. If I’m concerned about asbestos in my home, what can I do to deal with the problem?

If you think your home may have asbestos, don’t panic. Usually it is best to leave asbestos materials that are in good condition alone. Generally, material in good condition will not release asbestos fibers.

Do not cut, rip, or sand asbestos containing materials. Leave undamaged materials alone and, to the extent possible, prevent them from being damaged, disturbed or touched. Repairs can be made by the homeowner but we recommend that you do not apply duct tape directly onto the asbestos material. Duct tape can make future removal more dangerous and, as the adhesive dries out over time, the tape can pull away and actually create a more hazardous situation. Homeowners should contact the Indoor Air and Toxics Section of the Health Department for guidance on repairs they can undertake themselves.

If asbestos-containing material is more than slightly damaged, or if you are going to make changes to your home that might disturb it, you should consider repair or removal by a professional.

Asbestos contractors are required to be licensed by the New York State Department of Labor. Licensed contractors are knowledgeable and understand abatement regulations (Rule 56).

Contact the Monroe County Health Department to find out about proper handling and disposal procedures.

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Radon

Q. How do I test my home?

There are two general ways to test for radon: The quickest way to test is with short-term testing (1-3 days) using charcoal canisters. Because radon levels vary from day to day and season to season, a short-term test is less likely to tell you your year round average radon level. If you need results quickly, a short-term test followed by another short-term test may be used to decide whether to fix the home. Continuous scintillation cell radon monitors can be used by contractors to record hourly or total integrated average radon concentrations (sampling period should not be less than 24 hours).

Be sure to close windows and outside doors at least 12 hours before beginning the test and not conduct tests during unusually severe storms or periods of unusually high winds. Place the test kit in the lowest lived-in level of the home at least 20” above the floor in a location where it won’t be disturbed, away from drafts, high heat, high humidity and exterior walls. Follow package instructions.

Long-term tests remain in your home more than 90 days and use alpha track or electret ion chamber detectors (recommended by New York State Department of Education for use in schools). Follow package instructions.

The best time to test is in winter when the heat is on and negative pressures inside are likely to be their highest.

Q. How does radon enter your home?

Because radon is a gas, it can leak into your house through the basement or crawl space –via adjacent or exposed soil and rock- or through well water. In a small number of homes, the building materials can give off radon. Radon enters homes through dirt floors, cracks in concrete walls and floors, floor drains, and sumps. When radon becomes trapped in buildings and concentrations build up indoors, exposure to radon becomes a concern. Any home may have a radon problem, from new and old homes, well sealed and drafty homes, and homes with and without a basement.

Q. How does radon affect my health?

Radon gas decays into radioactive particles that can get trapped in your lungs when you breathe. These particles release bursts of energy that can damage lung tissue and lead to lung cancer. EPA estimates about 14,000 deaths per year in the United States; but this number could range from 7,000 to 30,000 deaths per year. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.

Q. What is radon, where does it come from, why should I be concerned?

Radon is an odorless radioactive gas that results from the breakdown of uranium. Uranium is present in most of the soil and rock around the world. It is especially concentrated in areas with lots of granite, shale, phosphate and pitchblende.

Exposure to radon can increase your chances of getting lung cancer. Scientists are more certain about radon risk than risks from most other cancer causing substances. Smoking combined with radon is an especially dangerous health risk.

Q. What do test results mean?

The outdoor radon level normally found in outside air is about 0.4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter). The average indoor radon level is estimated to be 1.3 pCi/L. USEPA recommends that levels do not exceed 4 pCi/L. However, EPA believes that any radon exposure carries some risk – no level is safe. The U.S. Congress has set a long-term goal that indoor radon levels be no more than outdoor levels. While this goal is not yet technologically achievable in all cases, most homes today can be reduced to 2 pCi/L or below.

Q. How do I know if my home has significant concentrations of radon?

The only way to know is to have your home tested. Radon detection kits are inexpensive and easy to use. You can purchase a kit at your local hardware store or other retail outlet, the local office of the American Lung Association or you can order a kit (single test) from the New York State Department of Health (1-800-458-1158).

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STD/HIV Disease Control Program

Q. What is gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea, a bacterial disease, is spread through sexual activity. The bacteria which causes gonorrhea grows in warm moist areas of the reproductive tract, including the cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes in women; and in the urethra in women and men. The bacteria can also grow in the mouth, throat and anus.

Q. How do people get gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is spread through any sexual contact with an infected person. Gonorrhea can also be spread from mother to child during birth and to other unlikely parts of the body. For example, a person can get an eye infection after touching infected genitals and then the eyes. Individuals who have had gonorrhea and received treatment may get infected again if they have sexual contact with an infected person.

Q. How many cases of Gonorrhea were reported in Monroe County in 2001?

There were 2,102 cases of gonorrhea reported in Monroe County in 2001. This is a decrease from the number of cases reported in 2000.

Q. Who is at risk for gonorrhea?

Any sexually active person can be infected with gonorrhea. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the highest rates of infection are usually found in people under the age of thirty.

Gonorrhea is spread through sexual contact with an infected person.

Q. What are the signs and symptoms of gonorrhea?

When initially infected, the majority of men have some signs or symptoms, including a burning sensation when urinating and a yellowish white discharge from the penis. Sometimes men with gonorrhea develop painful or swollen testicles.

In women, the early symptoms of gonorrhea are often mild, and many women who are infected have no symptoms. The initial symptoms in women include a painful or burning sensation when urinating and a vaginal discharge that is yellow or occasionally bloody. Women with no or mild symptoms are still at risk of developing serious complications from the infection. Untreated gonorrhea in women can develop into pelvic inflammatory disease which can lead to infertility.

Q. Is there a cure for gonorrhea?

Yes, antibiotics are used to kill the germs. But, while medicines can cure the disease, they can not repair any damage that may have already been done to the body. That's why it is important to start treatment as quickly as possible.

It is important to take all of the medicine prescribed to cure gonorrhea, even if the symptoms stop before all the medication is gone.

Q. What sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are reportable to the New York State Health Department?

All newly diagnosed cases of Gonorrhea, Chlamydia and Syphilis are reported to the New York State Health Department.

Q. For providers, how can I report a new sexually transmitted disease?

For confidential reporting of gonorrhea, chlamydia or syphilis, call the STD clerk at 585 753-5481. Leave a confidential voice message any time. Information regarding the patient, diagnosis and treatment are required.

Q. Is HIV reported to the New York State Department of Health?

Yes, beginning in June 2000, medical providers are required to report HIV to the New York State Department of Health.

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Temporary Assistance

Q. How Do I Apply for Temporary Assistance?

To Apply: Phone 585 753-6960 to request to have an application mailed to you or you can stop at any of our offices and pick up an application.

The Financial Assistance Division receives over 40,000 applications yearly. Applicants are scheduled to attend an Information Session about the application process and the applicants’ responsibilities. Applicants are required to look for work throughout the application process as well as pursue any other potential benefits such as Social Security and child support.

Important: To apply for Medicaid/Food Stamps or child care benefits only call:

Medicaid/Food Stamps: 585 753-6960

Child Care: 585 753-6316

Q. What is Meant by “Work First”?

“Work First” is the phrase used to convey the primary goals for applicants and recipients ... To consider work their first priority. “Work First” is based on the idea that finding a job and earning a paycheck is the best way for families to become self-sufficient.

The responsibility of this office and our partners in the community is to support work and help families overcome barriers. For job search assistance visit RochesterWorks! (585 258-3500) at 34 St. Paul Street.

Q. When I Work, Can I Still Get Temporary Assistance?

Yes! Partial benefits are available to families depending upon how much is earned. There are over 2,000 Temporary Assistance families who work and receive partial cash benefits and food stamps. DSS will also pay for child care.

Q. What Benefits Are Available When It Ends?

If you have children, you will still be eligible for Medicaid and Child Care. All child support collected will now go directly to you. Many families who leave Temporary Assistance will still be eligible for Food Stamps.

Q. What is the Earned Income Tax Credit?

The Earned Income Credit is a special tax benefit for people who work full or part-time. Even if you don’t owe income tax, you can get the credit. But, you must file a federal tax return. New York State also has an Earned Income Tax Credit.

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Transportation

Q. How do I contact the director of the Department of Transportation?

Terrence J. Rice, P.E., Director
Monroe County Department of Transportation
City Place, Suite 6100
50 West Main Street
Rochester, NY 14614
Phone: 585 760-7720

Community Involvement Opportunities

Q. Who can ADOPT-A-HIGHWAY?

Businesses, Community Service Groups, Churches, Alumni Clubs, Government Agencies, Professional Associations, Radio Stations, Hospitals, Neighborhood Organizations and others can all ADOPT-A-HIGHWAY!

Q. What do you need to participate in ADOPT-A-HIGHWAY?

All that is needed to ADOPT-A-HIGHWAY is the commitment of a minimum of ten volunteers, General liability insurance, basic yard tools and the desire to improve your community.

Q. Why your group should join the ADOPT-A-HIGHWAY program?

Exposure! Monroe County DOT will install two 3 x 4 highway signs crediting your organization for its efforts. Thousands of motorists a day see these signs. It’s a great group activity. Many participating groups use their clean-up day as an opportunity to hold a post-clean-up picnic or other family event.

It’s the environmentally responsible thing to do!

Q. Why should I join?

Exposure. Monroe County Department of Transportation will install a sign crediting your organization for your efforts. Thousands of motorists a day see these signs, therefore providing you excellent exposure in our community.

As you participate in helping our environment, you gain public awareness. Not only is this an environmentally positive action, but also a fun and rewarding group activity for your club, group, or business!

Q. What does my group have to do once we sign up?

Your group will be responsible for weed control, providing mulch for the bed area and attending to the watering needs of your flowers.

Q. What do we need to participate?

  • Individuals committed to the program.
  • Experience on similar types programs has shown that a minimum or ten volunteers will insure success
  • General liability insurance
  • Basic yard tools such as rakes, shovels, spades, work gloves, etc.
  • Watering devices

Q. Who can participate?

Garden Clubs, Businesses, Churches, Alumni Groups, Government Agencies, Professional Associations, Radio Stations, Hospitals, Neighborhood Organizations, County and State, ADOPT-A-HIGHWAY Groups, Neighborhood Organizations, Service Organizations, etc.

Bridges and Culverts

Q. What is the difference between a bridge and a culvert?

A bridge is a crossing structure equal or greater than 20' in span.

Q. What is a bridge deficiency rating?

A bridge deficiency rating is a number indicative of the overall condition of a bridge structure. The bridge is rated on a scale of 1 thru 7, with 7 indicating a brand new bridge and 1 a severely deteriorated bridge, that must be closed to traffic. Any bridge with a rating that is lower than 5 is considered deficient.

Q. How often are bridges and culverts inspected? By whom?

Bridges are inspected every two years by the state and the county. Culverts are inspected by the county every four years.

Traffic and Highway Operations

Q. Why do I call the county for problems with traffic signs, signals or pavement markings on City of Rochester streets?

The answer to this often asked question is traced back to the year 1970. In an effort to assist the City with their financial problem, the County entered into an agreement with the City. The agreement gave the County ownership and responsibility over all traffic engineering services in the City of Rochester. Therefore, all traffic signs, signals and pavement markings on city streets are installed and maintained by MCDOT. MCDOT also reviews design plans for all city street reconstruction projects.

Q. What makes signs and pavement markings appear to glow in the dark?

The material or “sheeting” used on traffic signs is Retroreflective. “Retroreflectivity” means that when light strikes the surface, it is reflected back to the source. When your vehicle's headlights shine on a sign, it is reflected back to the driver. The retroreflectivity is caused by tiny spherical glass beads imbedded in the sign sheeting. The same effect for pavement markings is achieved by dropping the tiny glass beads onto the wet paint as it is applied to the surface of the road.

MCDOT Traffic Signals Division

Q. What makes the signal change as soon as I pull up to some intersections?

Traffic loops. These “loops” are wires buried in the roadway. When a vehicle drives towards an intersection that has a traffic signal, these loops detect the presence of the vehicle and send a message to the control unit of the traffic signal that there is a vehicle approaching. This helps to reduce waiting time for the vehicle and avoids having the signal change if no vehicle is waiting.

Q. How can I get traffic count information from the County?

Monroe County conducts manual tube counts on each roadway in the City and County on a four year cycle. An annual Highway Count Summary report is produced that provides the latest count information available. This report is distributed to other government agencies, consulting firms, and other interested parties that regularly use such count data. If you need count information for a particular location, contact us.

Q. Why do the walk lights provide so little time at many locations?

Pedestrian indications provide three displays: “walk,” flashing “don't walk,” and solid “don't walk.” Many displays now show these pictorially as a walking person, a flashing hand, and a solid hand. These indications have the following purpose:

  • “Walk” or the walking person symbol are intended as the designated time to step off the curb and begin the crossing. Pedestrians must check for conflicting vehicles before taking this first step. It is not intended that the person get all the way across the street on this indication.
  • Flashing “don’t walk” or the flashing hand symbol designates the time that a person who has already started to cross may continue to walk across the intersection. You should not begin crossing at this point, as there may no longer be enough time to get all the way from one side to the other side. However, anyone who began crossing during the “walk” interval has plenty of time to finish the crossing.
  • Solid “don’t walk” or the solid hand symbol designates the time at which no pedestrians should be in the crosswalk.

Q. How do you know how long to make the flashing “don't walk” interval?

This is timed based on the width you have to walk across. A wider crossing gets more time. The assumed walking speed is four feet per second, which is relatively slow to accommodate those that need some extra time.

Q. How do you decide where traffic signals are provided?

Traffic signals are the highest level of traffic control and must be used only where they are absolutely necessary. It is important to remember that traffic signals, while a great help to many locations, also come with some disbenefits, such as a possible increase in overall intersection delays and other problems associated with the interruption of traffic (examples include potential increase in certain accident types, added wear and tear on vehicles and pavement, and increased driver frustration).

New York State publishes guidelines known as signal warrants that define what constitutes the need for a signal. Some of the many factors considered include vehicular and pedestrian volume, the delays being experienced by side street vehicles, and accident history.

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Tuberculosis (TB)

Q. What causes TB?

TB is caused by bacteria that usually affect the lungs, but other parts of the body can also be affected.

Q. Who gets TB infection?

Anyone at any age can become infected with bacteria that cause tuberculosis. Some people at higher risk include:

  • people who spend time with a person who has TB disease in the lungs
  • the homeless
  • the incarcerated
  • people who are from countries where TB is endemic
  • the elderly
  • people who are chemically dependent
  • people with poorly managed HIV disease
  • people who have medical conditions which impair their immune systems (i.e., cancer, diabetes, silicosis.)

Q. What are the symptoms of TB disease?

Symptoms of TB disease include:

  • fever
  • night sweats
  • fatigue
  • weight loss
  • persistent productive cough, and sometimes, coughing up blood.

TB disease can occur in other parts of the body and show different symptoms, depending on the site.

Q. How do you test for TB?

A simple, painless skin test is used to screen for tuberculosis. This test is offered by the Health Department. No appointment is necessary. Please call 753-5161 for cost and clinic time information.

If the test is positive, you may need a chest X-ray to see if there are any abnormalities in the lungs.

Q. What is the difference between latent TB infection (LTBI) and TB disease?

People with latent TB infection test positive on their skin test for TB but they are not sick and they can not spread the disease to anyone else.

People with active TB disease are sick and usually have symptoms.

ONLY PEOPLE SICK WITH ACTIVE TB DISEASE CAN SPREAD IT TO OTHERS.

Q. How is tuberculosis spread?

TB is spread in the air. When an untreated person with active TB disease in their lungs coughs, the germs are spread in the air. If a person breathes in the germ which causes TB, they MAY get infected with TB. However, it usually takes exposure over many days before the person becomes infected.

Remember, a person with TB infection and no disease cannot spread the disease.

Q. If infected, who is most likely to develop active TB?

  • Medically underserved populations
  • Alcoholics and IV drug users
  • People whose resistance is low due to conditions such as HIV infection, diabetes, some cancers, and chemotherapy

Q. What is the treatment for TB?

  • A person with TB infection is prescribed medication for several months to prevent the development of active TB disease.
  • People with active TB disease are given medications for six months or more.
  • Regular follow-up by TB clinic staff and directly observed therapy (DOT) are part of the treatment plan as well.

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Youth Bureau

Q. Where can youth find opportunities to serve their community?

The American Red Cross has created a Student Volunteer Directory that is now accessible online. You may contact the American Red Cross for more information at 585 241-4490 or view the directory, Generation Give Back at www.generationgiveback.org.

Youth can choose the organization they would like to volunteer for, select the hours they want to work, and keep track of the hours they work right on the website.

Q. Where is the Youth Bureau located?

The Youth Bureau is located at:
111 Westfall Road
Suite 814
Rochester, New York 14620
Phone: 585 753-6455

Our hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Q. How do I get working papers or a work permit?

Youth under the age of 18 can get their working papers/work permit from their local high school office. If the work permit application is not available from your local high school office, you may get one from:
Rochester City School District Office
131 West Broad Street
Rochester, New York 14614
Phone for Work Permits: 585 262-8564

Q. My son or daughter is looking for a job, where can my child find information on job openings?

If a youth needs help finding a job, suggest he or she start by contacting one of the following:

  • The Center for Youth, Learn to Earn Program at 585 473-2464
  • City of Rochester Good Grades Pay Program for Ages 14+, call 585 428-6366
  • Catholic Youth Organization, Rent-A-Kid, call 585 546-2440
  • Job Corps for Ages 18+ (ages 16–24, income eligible and public assistance), call 585 454-5130
  • Monroe County Department of Human Services, Employment Unit (for only those on public assistance), call 585 530-4537
  • Native American Cultural Center, call 585 442-1100
  • Rochester Works at 255 N. Goodman Street, Rochester, NY 14607, phone 585 258-3500, will assist youth ages 14–21 with training and tools to help them get jobs. See the quick link to their website below!
  • Urban League of Rochester, Youth Build program, call 585 325-6530
  • Workforce Investment Act (WIA), call 585 258-3535
  • AmeriCorps, for ages 18+, 585 262-1778

The Monroe County Library System offers "book shelving positions" in the Main Branch and at the Monroe County Library Branch Offices. Requirements are:

  1. The student must have completed the 8th Grade
  2. The student has working papers/work permit.

Call 585 428-7300 and ask for the Personnel Office.

You can also contact the School to Work Coordinator in the Rochester City School District at each 7–12 grade school.

For more employment information, download the Adult Guide to Youth Services (232k PDF) and view page 35.

Visit the Rochester Works! website for additional information.

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