Sunday, October 4, 2009






Flu season arrives early
Area schools report higher rate of absences; LaPoynor ISD shuts down
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Reports of school absences, mostly due to illnesses, are running a little ahead of normal for this time of year, but then the flu season descended a little earlier, as experts predicted it would.
LaPoynor School District, on the southeastern corner of Henderson County, closed classes Wednesday through Friday, due to a high percentage of absences.
LaPoynor ISD Superintendent Dr. B.L. Davis said the school has had no confirmed cases of H1N1, but between 18 percent and 20 percent of the district’s 500 students were out with flu-like symptoms.
School districts around Cedar Creek Lake report absences at 10 percent or less.
Mabank ISD Superintendent Dr. Russell Marshall said the district’s absentee rate usually averages between 4 percent and 6 percent of the student body.
This past week, absences were a bit higher, right around 10 percent, he said.
“The state allows a waiver day, if absenteeism reaches 15 percent,” Marshall said.
Malakoff ISD reports absenteeism up slightly, but no single school campus is significantly higher.
Three Malakoff students with confirmed H1N1 earlier this month have recovered, and are back in school after being absent four days, Superintendent Dr. John Spies said.
Three Trinity Valley Community College students who were recently reported ill with the H1N1 have also recovered after being out for about a week.
Eustace ISD reports a slightly higher rate of absenteeism, running between 6 percent and 7 percent of students. It’s usual to see an absentee rate of 2 percent to 3 percent, the administration reported.
Since the test for H1N1 costs about $550 each, health professionals are treating flu-like symptoms as they would the regular flu.
The flu is caused by a virus, and not usually treated with an antibiotic. Medication to ease the symptoms is often prescribed.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the main symptom of the flu is fever (higher than 100 degrees for three or four days), body aches and pains, fatigue, headache and a dry cough. About 60 percent of people with the flu experience chills, and chest discomfort is often severe with the flu.
With the H1N1 virus, a high fever – 103 degrees or greater – is the most obvious sign, along with the other flu-like symptoms. Anyone with these symptoms should see a doctor right away.
An infected person can spread the virus to others until seven days after the onset of symptoms and one day before getting sick.
Treatment consists of rest, drinking plenty of fluids, taking fever-reducing medication and isolation from others. Children should not take aspirin to reduce fever, as it can cause Reyes Syndrome.
To stem the spread of the virus, those who are ill are urged to stay home from work or school until fever-free for 24 hours, without use of fever-reducing medication.
Flu prevention measures
The H1N1 vaccine is expected to be available locally around mid-October. The seasonal flu shot is available now.
According to the CDC, flu prevention is the way to go. So it recommends:
• washing hands (for at least 20 seconds) throughout the day, or
• use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, if soap and water is unavailable.
• avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• cover mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and discard in a waste basket, and
• daily, clean frequently used surfaces such as toys, countertops and TV remote controls.
Area schools have stepped up their cleaning schedules, extending sanitizing efforts even to buses.
Students are being reminded to wash hands frequently, and use tissues when coughing or sneezing. Parents have received letters informing them of these precautions.


Flexible school day on Mabank ISD horizon
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–Seeing at-risk kids graduate from high school has long been discussed by educators.
One possible solution being considered at Mabank Independent School District is the flexible school day.
Following a public hearing Monday, in which no one spoke against the plan, MISD trustees approved the proposed application to operate an optional school day program.
The flex-day plan would enhance the present drop out prevention and recovery programs referred to as the Academy.
Trustee Dr. Darrell Kinnard expressed curiosity concerning the number of students the plan could impact.
The district’s Exemplary academic rating shows there is no current problem.
However, with the plan in place, at-risk students have an academic solution ready. The flex-day program would be available to students in danger of dropping out in grades 9 through 12, curriculum director Dena Mojica explained.
“The class plans are based on minutes instead of by periods,” she added.
“In other words, based on how well they perform, students can complete a year in a semester,” Kinnard said.
In other business, trustees:
• opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance by Central Elementary Students Dayton Thomas, Dylan Thomas and Montana King.
• heard coordinator Tonya Chapman report the spirit week fund drive raised $44,599.50.
• heard graduation is set for Thursday, May 27, 2010.
• heard the financial report through Aug. 31, the end of the district’s fiscal year, from assistant superintendent of business operations Scott Adams.
“The interest we are earning on the money the district has in the bank is higher than the interest on the Certificates of Deposit,” he reported. District accounts in TexPool, Lonestar and other investment accounts is lower than interest being paid on CDs owned by the district, he said.
• heard the district tax collection rate is 93.5 percent.




Domestic dispute leads to recovery of stolen goods
Monitor Staff Reports
KAUFMAN COUNTY–It’s so often the little things that draw the eye of the law in one’s direction, leading to discovery of bigger crimes.
That was the case Sept. 8, when Kaufman County Sheriff’s deputies were responding to a reported domestic dispute.
The call directed deputies to a residence on Farm-to-Market 148.
While confirming the incident, deputies noticed a substance thought to be methamphetamines in plain view.
Narcotics investigators were called, and the two residents, Ryan B. Rogers, 33, and Patricia Lynn Mathis, 26, both of Scurry, were charged with possession of a controlled substance less than four grams, a third degree felony.
Since methamphetamines were suspected, a search warrant was obtained.
The search turned up a truck reported stolen out of Henderson County, as well as a gas-powered pressure washer, airless paint sprayer, large air compressor on a trailer, MK Huskey air compressor, a Goodman A/C unit and a craftsman riding lawn mower, all with the serial numbers scratched off.
The recovered property was valued at $6,300.
Rogers is being held on bonds totalling $198,000, while Mathis is held on $1,000 bond. More charges are pending for each individual.

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