Sunday, May 10, 2009




  Kaufman ISD reopens schools
Less than 1,000 U.S. H1N1 cases
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Following the recent announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the H1N1 flu is considered to be a mild outbreak that shouldn’t call for school closures, Kaufman ISD will reopen classes Monday, May 11.
Everything will run back on the regular schedule, including bus routes.
Previously, the district had announced school closures until Monday, May 18.
The recent announcement altered the district’s plans, which were taken as a matter of safety for staff and students, district superintendent Todd Williams said.
An Associated Press writer reports only about 10 percent of infected Americans got it as a result of travel to Mexico, or through association with someone recently come from there.
Most got the bug at home, a U.S. health official is quoted as saying.
Over the weekend, the CDC said about a third of the U.S. cases at that point were people who had been to Mexico, where the outbreak began.
CDC acting chief Dr. Richard Besser said Thursday there are now nearly 900 confirmed cases.
He says the ongoing spread within the U.S. borders explains why a shrinking proportion of cases are people who traveled to Mexico.
The ages of those who got swine flu now range from 1 month to 87.
However, there are two reasons the 2009 H1N1 outbreak will probably wind down soon.
First, cases of influenza tend to dwindle when the weather gets warmer. And second, the 2009 H1N1 virus outbreak in Mexico has reached its peak, and numbers there are going down.
It is expected that same pattern could happen in the United States.
Since the 2009 H1N1 virus is new, no one has immunity to it, Besser said.
He points out that the three outbreaks in the last century that were caused by new viruses – in 1918, 1957 and 1968 – started with a mild wave followed by more severe waves months later.
Public health officials expect the 2009 H1N1 virus to linger a while, and they expect to see more cases.
“H1N1 flu could die down soon and return later again this fall, when the flu season enters back in full swing,” says Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. “We’ll be working very closely with the international community to understand what happens to this virus over the next few months as flu season begins in the Southern Hemisphere,” she says.
“That will tell us a lot about whether the virus is changing, whether it’s becoming more severe and what measures we might want to take in the fall.”
Peter Palese, chairman of the department of microbiology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York thinks this virus “doesn’t have what it takes to become a major problem” – similar to the outbreaks of new viruses in 1957 and 1968, which were far more mild.
Scientists are already working on a vaccine for 2009 H1N1.
According to the World Health Organization, making a new vaccine takes five to six months, and longer to build up a supply.


Meth lab busted
Monitor Staff Reports
SEVEN POINTS–Citizens complaining about narcotics activity in their neighborhoods are seeing prompt response from the Henderson County Drug Enforcement Unit.
Just days after two traffic stops in or near Seven Points yielded first degree drug felony charges, investigators following up on a citizen tip uncovered a drug lab just three miles west of Seven Points off Farm-to-Market 85.
Investigators Ronny Halbert, David Faught and Darrell Waller called on the suspect property and found the owner Richard Duane Riggs, 48, there.
According to a press release, Riggs signed a consent form for the authorities to conduct a search.
A “large quantity of methamphetamine in the manufacturing process” was discovered. Also onsite were containers, which tested positive for the presence of ammonia and hydrochloric gas, both commonly used in the making of methamphetamine.
Riggs was arrested and taken to the Henderson County jail and charged with manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance greater than 200 grams and less than 400 grams – a first degree felony.
Van Zandt County Narcotics Task Force investigators Rusty Grimes and James Bradshaw assisted the investigation, along with staff from the District Attorney’s Office.
Riggs currently is being held without bond.


Refuge horses get homes
File photo
Refuge horse rescuers Betty Bancroft and Jerene Thompson announce the winners of a raffle benefit held recently. Those holding the winning $1 tickets went home with a horse. The winners are Ron Alexander of Flint, who won Lucky, and Wayne Kurtine of Lively, who won the 5-year-old Arabian mare called Egypt (shown), who wasn’t a refuge horse, but included in the raffle to raise funds to provide for the other refuge horses in their care.
The women are still looking for donations to continue their work. Bancroft can be reached at (903) 286-4696.

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