BRANFORD — Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH) has opened a cardiac rehab center at 84 North Main Street in Branford. YNHH Cardiac Rehabilitation Center offers individualized, medically supervised exercise and education programs and counseling for individuals who have experienced a cardiac event or need to reduce their risk of heart disease.

YNHH Cardiac Rehabilitation Center is a physician-referred program staffed by exercise physiologists and an onsite cardiologist. The center is accredited by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.

The center is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays Tuesdays and Thursdays, and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays. For particulars phone

203-483-3107.

 NEW HAVEN — For women undergoing cancer treatment, the appearance-related side effects can be devastating.  The American Cancer Society is working to improve the quality of life for cancer patients with a program that teaches beauty and self-image techniques to help cope with the side-effects of chemotherapy and radiation.  Currently a need exists for certified cosmetologists who would be willing to give an hour or two per month to help implement the program at the Hospital of St. Raphael and Smilow Cancer Hospital in New Haven as well as Middlesex Hospital Cancer Center in Middletown.

“Look Good, Feel Better” is a free, community based, national program of the American Cancer Society that uses the volunteer services of licensed cosmetologists to offer services including makeup, skin care, nail care, and options related to hair loss, such as wigs, turbans and scarves.

Participants receive a free kit of cosmetics for use during and after the workshop, and the program is product-neutral.  Volunteers and program participants do not promote any product line or manufacturer. All cosmetics used in the group program have been donated. Interested volunteers must be licensed cosmetologists and attend a training workshop. To learn more phone 800-227-2345 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 NEW HAVEN — Women at high risk for breast cancer due to family or medical history are the focus of a new program at the Women’s Center for Breast Health at the Hospital of Saint Raphael. Under the initiative, community surgeons active in the care of breast disease are teaming up with Saint Raphael’s physicians to identify and screen women at high risk.

 

The High-Risk Breast Health Program offers initial counseling, diagnostic testing and education to women with the following risk factors: genetics (two or more breast cancers or male breast cancer in the family); history of ovarian cancer; past atypical biopsy; and/or dense breast tissue. For more information on the program, call 888-577-9224 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 But feds warn of prosecutions elsewhere

 

HARTFORD — Top state lawmakers in Connecticut are pushing ahead with plans to legalize marijuana for medicinal use, despite recent warnings to officials in other states of possible federal prosecution.

"States have a right to decide this for themselves," said Michael P. Lawlor, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's senior criminal justice adviser.

Malloy and Democratic leaders are proposing allowing physicians to write prescriptions that would permit their patients to grow marijuana indoors. The current bill does not provide for operation of marijuana dispensaries, as other states' laws do, but some backers are considering a dispensary amendment.

U.S. attorneys in several states, including Washington and Rhode Island, have warned state officials that while the Justice Department does not plan to prosecute sick people who use marijuana for medical purposes, it is prepared to prosecute those who grow or distribute the substance, regardless of state law.

The letters have led Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee and Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire to pull back from plans to license marijuana dispensaries in those states.

But State Rep. Gerald M. Fox (D-146) of Stamford, the Judiciary Committee’s co-chairman, said that while he is keeping an eye on the potential legal challenges going on in other states, he does not believe that will kill the momentum of this bill.

"I don't think that will hold up the bill," said Fox. "I will certainly pay attention to the federal government when something happens."

Lawlor agrees.

"The feds haven't done anything yet. We're just trying to get a sense of what these letters mean," he said. "There are definitely mixed messages coming from Washington on this."

The U.S. Attorney General's office in October 2009 issued a memorandum announcing the Department of Justice would not pursue prosecutions against cultivators, distributors and patients as long as they adhere to state laws. But federal officials recently raided several dispensaries in Montana and Washington.

State officials say they have not received any communications on the issue from Connecticut's U.S. attorney's office. A spokesman said the office would not comment on whether it plans to pursue legal action if Connecticut lawmakers move forward with the bill.

But State Rep. John Hetherington (R-125), the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said the law is there for a reason and it is up to state legislators to abide by it.

"We can't just disregard and ignore the laws we don't like," he said. "I'm all for making this available to people who may healthily benefit, but not when it's illegal. Are we really going to start the practice of disobeying laws?"

Members of the Public Health Committee decided May 3 to move the proposal out of committee, but some said they are reserving judgment whether they will be able to vote for final approval with legal uncertainty hanging over it.

"There are some concerns," said State Rep. Elizabeth B. Ritter (D-38), co-chairwoman of the Public Health Committee. "This is probably not the first time we've run afoul of the federal government on something."

The proposal next heads to the State Senate.