Sunday, September 20, 2009





Three confirmed cases of H1N1 have been seen at the TVCC-Athens campus today.
Special to The Monitor

Cases of the H1N1 version of the influenza virus as well as the seasonal flu are spreading rapidly around Texas. Three confirmed cases of H1N1 have been seen at the Trinity Valley Community College-Athens campus.

All three students live on the Athens campus. All three have improved after being ill for about a week.

“We are working to encourage our students to take steps necessary to prevent the spread of the virus,” said TVCC President Glendon Forgey. “Our first concern is the safety of our students and so we are strongly encouraging students and faculty members who have flulike symptoms to stay home. Do not come to class or work if you are ill.”

The college will be hosting a flu clinic for the seasonal vaccine on Oct. 5.

Also, said Forgey, TVCC is working with the Northeast Texas Public Health District to provide facilities to administer the H1N1 vaccine. That vaccine is expected to become available in the next few weeks.

A tentative date has been set for free H1N1 flu shots on the Athens campus from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Oct. 20 in the Cardinal Room of the Student Union Building. The Northeast Texas Public Health District will administer the shots.

The free shots will be given to those between the ages of 18-24, pregnant women, those with chronic health problems, and mothers caring for children 6 months of age or younger.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, symptoms of flu include fever or chills and cough or sore throat. In addition, symptoms of flu can include runny nose, body aches, headache, tiredness, diarrhea, or vomiting.

A fever is a temperature that is equal to or greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius when taken with a thermometer. Signs of fever are if a person feels very warm, has a flushed appearance, or is sweating or shivering.

It will be very hard to tell if someone who is sick has 2009 H1N1 flu or seasonal flu. Public health officials and medical authorities will not be recommending laboratory tests. Anyone who has the symptoms of flu-like illness should stay home and not go to work.

The CDC recommends four basic steps students and faculty members can take steps to prevent the spread of the virus:

  • Practice good hand hygiene. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.

  • Practice respiratory etiquette. The main way flu spreads is from person to person in droplets produced by coughs and sneezes, so it’s important that people cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into their elbow or shoulder, not your hands.

  • Stay home if you are sick. Remain at home until you have been fever-free for 24 hours.

Talk to your doctor about whether you should be vaccinated. Students, faculty, and staff who want protection from the flu are encouraged to get vaccinated for seasonal flu. Also students, faculty, and staff who are at higher risk for flu complications from 2009 H1N1 flu, should consider getting the H1N1 vaccine when it becomes available. People at higher risk for 2009 H1N1 flu complications include:

  • pregnant women,

  • people who live with and care for children younger than 6 months of age,

  • healthcare and emergency medical services personnel,

  • people between the ages of 6 months and 24 years, and

  • people ages 25–64 years of age who have chronic health conditions (such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes) or compromised immune systems.

Those who do become ill should avoid contact with others as much as possible. Fever-reducing medications are medicines that contain acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen (such as Motrin). These medicines can be given to people who are sick with flu to help bring their fever down and relieve their pain. Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) should not be given to anyone younger than 18 years of age who have flu; this can cause a rare but serious illness called Reye’s syndrome.




Las Vegas headliner keeps ’em laughing
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–It’s only taken Terry Fator 26 years to hit the big time, but now that he’s there – he’s really big!
“I just came back from Vegas, and Terry Fator’s name is everywhere,” The Monitor’s Janice Grubbs said.
Fator’s DVD was released in stores Sept. 8, and sold out at the local Walmart in two days.
Blockbuster still had copies of the two-hour show, and, of course, it can be rented as well.


Courtesy photo
A Terry Fator-autographed souvenir goes home with The Monitor sales representative Janice Grubbs.

Local real estate agent Charles Hartley took in Fator’s show when he was in Las Vegas back in July.
When asked what he liked best, he answered: “All of it. He keeps on surprising you with one joke and puppet after another.
“I’d never paid much attention to ventriloquist acts before, but he’s definitely an entertainer,” Hartley said. “We saw it two days in a row and both nights the theater was packed.”
Fator, having won the second season of “America’s Got Talent,” now wows audiences at The Mirage.
A Texas native, Fator says it’s hard to miss home when you’re living your dream as a Las Vegas headliner.
During his 90-minute show, he talks about how hard it was to be on the road and away from family, playing carnivals, fairs and opening for superstars like Reba McEntire, Garth Brooks and Styx, so now he’s as happy as lark singing songs in the voices of those who made them famous.
Fator says there’s no impression he can’t do – from the heart of soul’s Louis Armstrong to the BeeGees, from Will Roger’s yodeling to Garth Brooks, Kermit the Frog and a “cougar” named Vicky, who sounds like a cross between Joan Rivers and Mae West.
Fator plays the straight man to his “cast of thousands,” who gets all the songs and laughs, even when they’re put away in their box. Fator throws his voice behind him and then acts surprised at the comments coming from his characters offstage.
Besides Fator’s own tenaciousness and love of performing, which he started to do at age 6 for his parents’ guests, he often refers to the negative influences that motivated him.
“My father told me it’s impossible to learn to yodel off of a Will Rogers record. So of course, I had to prove him wrong,” he says on the video.
Will Rogers was among many comedians whose recordings Fator’s dad had on hand. He also studied their routines, jokes and voices.
At age 10, Fator had to write a report, and at the same time found a book called Ventriloquism for Fun and Profit. His mother, local Realtor Marie Fator-Sligh, bought a $20 puppet at Sears.
By the time he was in high school, he was known as a ventriloquist. He says he was also a nerd, but never passed up the opportunity to perform.
Whenever someone dares him to try something new or different, he rises to the occasion.
Up until about four years ago, Fator did no female impressions. Then his friends bought him a girl puppet for Christmas, and Emma Taylor was born. She sings Etta James’s “At Last, My Love Has Come Along” at the Fator Theater in the Mirage.
One of his favorite impersonations is that of Roy Orbison, as the voice of Winston the Impersonating Turtle, of course.
Winston tells how he won “America’s Got Talent” and how the million dollars kinda slipped through his fingers, first at the gaming tables and then at the “dude,” uh ... Turtle Ranch.
Fator told how Orbison’s widow called to thank him for bringing Orbison’s voice back to life.
Fator does two really surprising acts. He pulls someone from the audience and turns them into a puppet he controls. Everyone’s sides are just busting as a big burly man is transformed into “Cher.”
To most every question, he shakes his head, “No,” only to have his mouth say, “Yes.” Utterly hilarious is the only way to describe it.
The act climaxes with Fator donning a Sonny Bono wig and the pair of them singing in tandem “I’ve Got You, Babe.”
Then Fator, with goatee and moustache and wearing a curly shoulder-length wig, imitates Michael Jackson. The laughter escalates as Michael Jackson banters with “a real man,” Walter T. Airedale, and they perform the “Boot-Scootin’ Boogie,” complete with yodeling.
“I thought his show was completely amazing,” Grubbs said. “My cheeks literally hurt from laughing so hard.”
Grubbs took her twin 13-year-olds to the show, and they couldn’t stop thanking her.
“’This is the best time we’ve ever had. We’re having so much fun,’” Grubbs quoted them.
“It was the most fun we had in the six days we spent in Vegas,” she added.
Judy Esslinger of “It’s Your Time, Travel” in Seven Points is organizing a group tour to Vegas to include Terry Fator’s show. For details, see the accompanying advertisement.
If you know anyone who needs a good laugh, who is sick at home recuperating from illness or surgery (if it doesn’t hurt them to laugh), anyone who is discouraged and down in the dumps, get them to view this video.
It may be just the pick-me-up they need. It wouldn’t do you any harm, either.


Trustees hold KHS payment
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–Following a report from cost control specialist John Kennedy of JBK Associates in Ennis, Kemp Independent School Board trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to hold up a monthly construction payment on the new high school.
“I believe you have all the right in the world to withhold payment,” Kennedy said.
The problem could just be an accounting issue, stemming from the possibility that construction manager Blair Williams of Baird Construction was unfamiliar with auditing procedures, Kennedy said.
There were three problems that Kennedy said he was trying to address.
The first dealt with receiving the data needed to determine costs.
“We provided a request for data, but so far have not received what we requested,” Kennedy said.
Data requested included all of the sub-contracts and sub-contractor change orders, along with a detailed list on contingency spending, he explained.
“I want to see a complete check register to all vendors, including the amount paid and the date,” he added.
“While these are issues, once they are taken care of, it (the problem) will go away,” he said.
Another problem involved contract issues and the fact the invoices for change orders were not handled correctly, Kennedy said.
“I need to know the answers. I need to see contracts to answer our questions on bonding (for subcontractors, etc). We need to see the answers,” Kennedy explained.
The last issue Kennedy described concerned general conditions and how they were paid.
General conditions involves those items belonging normally to the expense groups incurred by the contractor.
The items included (but are not limited to) renting trailers, fencing, blueprints, Fed-Ex costs, fuel and other contractor overhead expenses.
“The items should not be billed to us, as it could cause some (costs) to be duplicated,” Kennedy explained.
“We need to let him (Williams) respond to this. That is our next step,” Kennedy said. “It is one of those things you can negotiate on.”
In other business, trustees:
• heard the summer school report presented by Dr. Joanna Slaton.
• heard the curriculum report presented by Dr. Debra Airheart.
• heard school enrollment totaled 1,568 students as of Aug. 28, with an additional 12 students enrolled after the Labor Day holiday.
• approved the 2009 appraisal roll of $664,443,462 as the certified tax roll.
• discussed the August Board Buzz meeting.
“There were new people that showed up and a guest from Malakoff ISD was present,” Jim Collinsworth said.
• set 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28, to discuss when junior high students could begin moving into the old high school, along with plans for the intermediate school.
• heard comment from trustee Curtis Donovan concerning the new high school.
“I was very proud of the administration, principals and teachers,” he said, noting the extremely short move-in time before school started.
“I was very disappointed in the contractors,” he added, noting contractors did not meet the expected completion date.
• accepted reports on annual and quarterly investments, finances and tax collections presented by business manager Kim Johnson.
The quarterly interest earned for the period ending Aug. 31 totaled $314,975.69.
The accounts included certificates of deposit, Texpool accounts, MBIA class investments and Bayerische Landesbank.
Interest earned for the 2009 fiscal year (Sept. 1, 2008, to Aug. 31) totaled $853,297.70.
Tax collection percentage for the current year (2008-9) was 92 percent.



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