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May is Tickborne Disease Awareness Month in Dutchess County
Spark Media Project Wins ‘Be Tick Free!’ Contest

Published: 5/12/2016

Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro proclaims May as Tickborne Disease Awareness Month. As part of the awareness effort, students from the Spark Media Project/Poughkeepsie Middle School group were honored for their winning entry in the 2016 “Be Tick Free!” Media Contest, sponsored by the Department of Behavioral & Community Health and the Dutchess County Tick Task Force, at Monday night’s Dutchess County Legislature Board Meeting.

“While Dutchess County has a high rate of tick-borne disease, we have strived to decrease our overall risk by providing science-based research on effective tick-borne disease prevention methods,” County Executive Molinaro said today, referring to an extensive literature-review produced by the Department of Behavioral & Community Health in partnership with the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies.  “Avoiding tick-infested areas and following simple, proven and effective preventive measures are essential to reducing the risk of tick bites.”

County Executive Molinaro lauded the Department of Behavioral & Community Health (DBCH) and the Legislative Tick Task Force for sponsoring a new, fun, and creative way for young adults to become involved in a proactive way to raise awareness of tick bite prevention.

“The ‘Be Tick Free!’ campaign allows young people to experience the positive impact they can have on their community,” DBCH Commissioner Henry M. Kurban, MD, MBA, MPH, FACPM said.  “By using today’s technology to create a public service announcement video, these 14 Poughkeepsie Middle School students have become educators by promoting easy steps everyone can take to protect themselves from ticks and ultimately, tick-borne diseases. “

The winning students received a certificate of recognition and gift certificates courtesy of the Dutchess County Tick Task Force. They also received a “Be Tick Free!” backpack with tick-bite prevention materials, a tick removal kit, and hand sanitizer.

“Tick-borne disease education is of paramount importance for everyone in Dutchess County,” said Donna Bolner, Dutchess County Legislator and Chairman of the Tick Task Force.  “Who better than our youngest generation to help educate the entire community and prepare the next generation of Dutchess County residents to protect themselves?"

To view the winning video and find out how to “Be Tick Free!,” including DBCH’s Science-based Answers to Commonly Asked Questions about Tick-borne Disease, visit

To learn more about the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health’s programs and services, including clinical and referral services, visit


2016 Be Tick Free! Media Contest Winner - Group Category

Spark Media Project at Poughkeepsie Middle School

Student         Grade

Rebecca Neville       7

Jessica Neville          6

Isaiah Thorpe            7

Elijah Thorpe             7

Karega Wood            7

Nazir Scott                  8

Daquan Jordan          7

Zion Anderson          6

Tehneil Cawley        8

Brandon Martinez   6

Zhane Williams        7

Cierra Williams        6

Keith-Michael Dipalo            8

Ernest Stumbo          8