Williston, Vt. Vermonts only home-away-from- home for cancer patients has received good news from the states largest banking institution: a major pledge to build a bigger, more functional building.Recently, the Campaign for a New Hope Lodge gained a pledge of $40,000 from the Chittenden Bank Community Fund. The pledge comes on the heels of notification that the campaign is eligible to receive a $400,000 challenge grant from The Kresge Foundation.The American Cancer Society Hope Lodge has operated for more than twenty years offering patients and caregivers a home-like setting while they receive treatment in the Burlington area. The Campaign for a New Hope Lodge has a goal of $4.4 million to build and operate a state-of-the-art facility on East Avenue that will provide lodging and support for sixteen patients and their caregivers.Were very excited to hear this good news from the Chittenden Bank, commented Dr. Richard Branda, a hematologist/oncologist and chair of the Campaign for a New Hope Lodge. We have a very ambitious financial goal, and the Kresge challenge grant and Chittendens generous donation give us added incentive to reach out to other community groups and individuals to join us in this effort.Working in conjunction with Fletcher Allen Health Care, the American Cancer Society has planned the new facility to include private suites for all guests, room for support groups and accommodations for handicapped guests. The Campaign has made progress toward the goal, according to vice president for development Howard Goodrow.The Kresge Challenge, he explains, helps stimulate further fundraising while acknowledging the work done to date. The Kresge challenge grant stipulates that the campaign needs to raise remaining funds toward the goal by December 31, 2006. With the help of the Chittenden Bank and other donors, we are on our way. Goodrow notes that more than two-thirds of the project cost has been committed to the Campaign, and the Chittenden Bank gift is the first major gift to count toward the Kresge Challenge. Chittenden Bank Community Fund provides financial support to charitable groups and non-profit organizations throughout Vermont, according to Jan Marinelli, Community Service Director at Chittenden Bank. The Chittenden has helped Vermonters for over 100 years, and we have great respect for the Hope Lodge and the unique way it supports cancer patients, Marinelli explains. She says that the Campaign for a New Hope Lodge is making a difference in the lives of cancer patients and their families who are often without any support when they travel for treatment.The Campaign for a New Hope Lodge hopes to begin construction on the new building sometime this summer. For more information about the Campaign, contact Howard Goodrow at 802/872-6313, or online at firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail).The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy and service. Founded in 1913 and with national headquarters in Atlanta, the Society has 13 regional Divisions and local offices in 3,400 communities, involving millions of volunteers across the United States. For more information anytime, call toll free 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org(link is external).# # #
Few people like ants—they bite and overrun kitchen counters. But in Vietnam, thousands of farmers have turned to weaver ants to help them grow their cashews. That’s because in 2008 researchers showed that these reddish brown insects are so much more effective and cheaper than chemical sprays at eating or deterring pests that the farmers’ net income jumped 71%. Curious whether weaver ants might be effective alternatives to pesticides in other situations and eager to see whether biocontrol methods did work, researchers have now combed the literature for relevant research. When ants came, crop yields often improved, the team concludes online today in the Journal of Applied Ecology. And the insects proved superior to other pest control methods in four of the six studies that evaluated cost-effectiveness. Calling this “the best documented case of efficient biocontrol in open agricultural systems,” the researchers think more farmers should make use of ant control. The idea of using weaver ants is not new, they point out. About 1700 years ago, Chinese farmers could buy ants on the market to release in citrus groves, a practice long forgotten with the invention of chemical pesticides. But now, two European companies are considering how to provide weaver ant nests to farmers, and a Danish aid project is helping to establish ant nurseries in Africa so as to provide mature colonies to farmers interested in trying out these six-legged pest controllers. Given that there are 13,000 ant species in the world, the potential may be limitless, the researchers note.