News

Annual Teachers, Officers Basketball Game Helps Charity

As printed in the Jamestown Post-Journal on Mar 30, 2017

Katrina Fuller
Education Reporter

Police officers and teachers donned their basketball shorts and sneakers Wednesday for a good cause and a little bit of fun.

During the third annual Jamestown Police Department vs. Jamestown Teachers charity basketball game, the players from different professions displayed their skills to benefit the Alex George Gregory Foulk Memorial Fund. The fund supports organizations and programs that provide assistance to individuals dealing with substance abuse.

While it was a friendly game, the competition side of the game was still evident.

Tony Dolce, senior class advisor, said the game has been a newly-created tradition in the past three years. The game acts as a fundraiser for the Battle of the Classes for the senior class.

“We kind of give it to the senior class because it’s their year,” Dolce said. “It’s kind of evolved into that.”

The police officers and teachers that play have a good time, and benefit a worthwhile cause at the same time, Dolce said, adding that the game is a popular part of the Battle of the Classes line-up.

“I think they enjoy it,” he said. “Every year, we go out and solicit the sign-ups for it, and we get teachers who are willing to do it. It’s for a great cause and they have some fun.”

In addition to the game, a basket raffle and a 50/50 raffle were held.

“All the proceeds are donated back to the Alex Foulk Foundation. It’s a fundraiser for us, but other classes are doing other things,” Dolce said. “There’s a spaghetti dinner on Saturday, other classes have had pancake breakfasts, they’re selling things and doing tag days. It’s part of the competition to see who can raise the most money, but all the money eventually goes to the cause.”

Dolce said Alex Foulk was a graduate of Jamestown High School, so it was only natural to have the Battle of The Classes benefit the fund created in his honor.

“Each year, we solicit ideas from the community,” he said. “With the situation in our community, with addiction and drugs and heroin, this seems to be a very good cause and it hits home to a lot of the kids in the community. We just thought this was a great idea to bring the community and the school together to fight something that’s been a problem in our community.”

Dolce also invited the community out to attend the Battle of the Classes on April 6 at 6:30 p.m. held in the McElrath Gymnasium. Tickets are $1 pre-sale from any JHS class officer or $2 at the door. For more information, call Tony Dolce at 483-3470 or email anthony.j.dolce@jamestown.wnyric.org.

 

After Hiatus, Gus Macker To Return To Jamestown

Three news publications in the area are resurrecting a Jamestown tradition 20 years after it was first begun.

This summer, The Post-Journal, Dunkirk OBSERVER and Times Observer of Warren, Pa., will host the return of the Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball tournament to downtown Jamestown, with Media One Group acting as media sponsor for the event.

The Gus Macker tournament was previously held in and around the downtown Jamestown area by The Resource Center for nearly two decades, starting in 1997. After a few years in which The Resource Center had dropped its Gus Macker affiliation and hosted an in-house basketball tournament known as “Street Jam,” the tournament itself was put on hiatus and no official basketball tournament was held last year.

According to Michael Bird, publisher of The Post-Journal, the area newspapers agreed this year to team up and host a tournament for the 2017 season with the original Gus Macker brand.

“The papers decided to pick up where The Resource Center left off and bring Gus Macker back to Jamestown, where it has a 19-year history,” Bird said. “So we’re resurrecting the tournament this year.”

Bird said the tournament will be held Saturday, June 3, and Sunday, June 4, along Third Street between its intersections with Washington and Monroe streets — which incorporates the Northwest Arena. Player registration will be Friday June 2 from 4-7pm and Saturday June 3 from 7am to noon at the Ice Arena. Players must be registered before their first game. The papers have worked alongside city officials in order to ensure that the tournament will take place as scheduled with the proper safety precautions in place.

Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi said the city will act as an “in-kind sponsor” in the sense that it will divert non-financial resources to the tournament.

“As both mayor of Jamestown and co-chair of the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation Board of Directors, we are thrilled that Macker is coming back to the streets of downtown Jamestown, where it belongs,” Teresi said. “It’s a good, wholesome, family-oriented community event that draws thousands of people; and, in the process, it does some good for the community because there’s always a giveback to a local charity or community organization.”

Teresi added that the event, which has been seen to draw between 8,000 and 10,000 people downtown in the past, has presented very few problems for the city during its previous incarnations. Additionally, he said, it was one of the more well-attended and well-organized events to have been held in the downtown area.

Bird, who will serve as co-director of the tournament along with Chris Dole, said 20 percent of the net proceeds will be donated to the Alex Foulk Fund. The fund was created by Kim Carlson, who is also the founder of A Fresh Start — an advocacy, grassroots group of volunteers dedicated to providing encouragement and support through personal experiences for those suffering directly or indirectly with substance abuse disorders, including drug addiction and alcoholism.

Other proceeds will also be donated to various volunteer organizations that will be helping out at the event.

The Gus Macker tournament is designed so that anyone can play: male or female, young and old, short and tall, and at all levels of experience. Teams are computer-matched into male and female divisions within one of the following categories: junior, adult or top. The age, height and experience of all players are considered. Registered officials will be on-hand at every court to referee each game.

Bird said he wanted to thank Vicky Bardo, employee of Filling The Gap an affiliate of the Resource Center, for bringing The Gus Macker tournament to Jamestown in 1997 and supervising it the succeeding years.

“(Vicky) really laid the groundwork years ago, and established this event in this area,” Bird said. “She did a phenomenal job all those years, and we’re really riding on the coattails of what she established. It makes it a lot easier to organize an event that was already here for years, and run well, because everybody is well-aware of what to do and how to do it.”

Teresi also extended his gratitude to The Resource Center for hosting and cultivating the Gus Macker brand in Jamestown for many years.

“I give credit to The Post-Journal for picking this up and continuing the tradition; but also to The Resource Center for starting this event, developing it and demonstrating its value to the community for 19 straight years,” he said. “Had they not done that, we wouldn’t have anything to build upon with this year’s tournament.”

The registration fee for the event is $136 per team, with a mail-in deadline of May 12 and an online deadline of May 15. Online registrations can be completed by visiting macker.com. Team registrations forms will be available in each newspaper building or the form can be downloaded with this article at post-journal.com.

Macker Application form.pdf

Bird said there are still plenty of sponsorship opportunities for local businesses, as well as volunteer opportunities for those interested in helping out. Interested parties can contact Bird at The Post-Journal by calling 487-1111, ext. 201.

St. Luke’s To Host Community Shower For Alex House

As printed in the Post-Journal on March 3, 2017

Local News
Mar 3, 2017

A community shower for the Alex House, a supported recovery house that will open in Jamestown, will be held from 4–6 p.m. Saturday at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

Community members are asked to bring donations of basic household items to help resource the house. Celebratory food will be served, and information from other community agencies that deal with addiction and recovery will be available. There will be a special presentation at 4:15 p.m.

The Alex House is an Oxford house — a democratically run, self-supporting drug and alcohol free home. First established in 1975, the Oxford House concept has proven to be a “remarkably effective and low cost method of preventing relapse.” Oxford Houses provide a time-tested, solid foundation for all aspects of recovery.

The Jamestown house is named in memory of Alex Foulk, a young community member who died last year of a heroin overdose. The opening of the first Oxford House in Jamestown is the work of Kim Carlson, Foulk’s mother and recovery advocate, and ‘A Fresh Start,’ a local nonprofit organization designed to promote awareness and encouragement based on personal experiences. Working directly with UPMC Chautauqua, the Mental Health Association, CASAC and other organizations, the group’s goal is to help people get comfortable with conversations about addiction and alcoholism so that they can get the help they need. A Fresh Start is also open to assist family members who have lost loved ones to addiction or who currently suffer with the disease.

“Our goal is to help people open up to and talk about substance abuse disorders, addiction and alcoholism. So many people don’t get the help they need because of stigma and not knowing where to go.” Carlson said. “Alex had a zest for life. He was hard working, well mannered, physically fit, and by all accounts a happy and healthy 26-year-old man. I knew that if this could happen to my son, our family, that it could happen to anyone. I had to take a stand to find a way to bring light to this situation. Losing a child is the most horrific pain a parent will ever feel. I say that I talk about my child so people can talk to their children. Through our experience, communication, knowledge, open minds and open hearts we can bring change so that others might not feel our pain.”

St. Luke’s has collaborated with A Fresh Start to serve as an operational base by offering meeting spaces at its 410 N. Main St. location. The shower and presentations are the first of many expected to be held there. The purpose of the shower is not only to help resource the home to be ready to support the daily needs of the residents, it is also to help educate the community about the Oxford House program and how it can help the area.

“We are thrilled to assist the work of recovery. We are a non-judgmental community that welcomes and supports people in recovery, helping them to grow into their best selves,” said the Rev. Luke Fodor, Rector of St. Luke’s. “Kim’s work is a manifestation of resurrection in action-she has turned death into life We are honored to assist with the establishment of the Alex House; a timely celebration of new birth almost one year after his death.”

Foulk Fund To Support Transitional Housing And Prevention

As printed in the Post-Journal on May 19, 2016

Foulk Fund To Support Transitional Housing And Prevention

Community
May 19, 2016

When more than 30 people gathered recently at Shawbucks to “Be Part of the Solution” of the local heroin crisis, Kim Carlson described the need for transitional housing for drug addicts.
Since the Feb. 26 death of her 26-year-old son, Alex Foulk, of a heroin overdose, Carlson has been working tirelessly to bring awareness of the drug problem to the Jamestown community.
“If we all come together and do a little bit, we can make a difference,” Carlson assured her audience.

She described encountering a man pumping gas who recognized her as Foulk’s mother. This stranger told her how much Foulk’s support and encouragement had helped him get through cancer treatment. “Alex will always be with us,” she said.

Opioid pain medications like vicodin, oxycontin and percocet, are gateway drugs to heroin. In her opening remarks, Carlson stressed the importance of not keeping these medicines where they are accessible to children or other family or visitors. People have been known to ask to use the bathroom just so they could search for these. Carlson’s primary focus was on the need for prevention and bringing transitional housing to Jamestown, so addicts aren’t told they have to leave the community to get help. She plans to help address both of these with the Alex George Gregory Foulk Memorial Fund she established at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.

Carlson is working with Rick Huber, CEO of the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County, to develop a place where men, women, and mothers with children can be housed while they transition back to work and family life. As she described, transitional housing is neither a half-way house nor a rehabilitation facility, but rather a safe place for recovering addicts to live while learning work-life skills.

Foulk’s sister Kasie talked about the TPT concert to benefit her brother’s memorial fund. The event will be at 7 p.m. Friday at the Willow Bay Theater, 21 E. Third St., Jamestown. Doors will open early for basket giveaways and T-shirt and frisbee sales. Tickets are $3 pre-sale for students/children and $5 pre-sale for adults. Tickets are $4 at the door for students/children and $6 for adults.

Carlson said her son’s fund at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation will be used exclusively for the transitional housing project and to support the prevention work of CASAC, the Chautauqua Alcohol and Substance Abuse Council. Julie Franco, coordinator of CASAC’s substance abuse prevention coalition HOPE (Healthy Opportunities, Prevention & Education) Chautauqua, can be contacted at 664-3608 or by emailing julie@casacweb.org.

The Mental Health Association is a peer support recovery center that promotes acceptance and recovery principles. In addition to one-on-one meetings with recovery coaches, the Mental Health Association also offers more than two dozen peer support groups. At these weekly meetings, men and women come in and talk with others across a wide range of concerns. All services and programs are offered free of charge: call 661-9044 or visit www.mhachautauqua.org or www.facebook.com/MHAChautauqua.