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Top Stories
March 24, 2005 Issue

Volunteer "patients" line up outside the distribution site during Glascock County's anthrax drill last week.

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Glascock anthrax drill considered a success











Other Top Stories
Bus drivers aware of sex offenders

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Glascock anthrax drill considered a success

Volunteers help test county's emergency preparedness

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

I think it was a 100 percent successful event," said Nona Lord, Facility Administrator for the Glascock County Health Department. "The volunteers were fantastic. I could not have asked for anything better; they were like professionals."

Lord was excited and appreciative discussing the recent anthrax drill held on Saturday.

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After receiving a call just after 10 a.m. volunteers made their way up School Circle to Glascock County Consolidated School to take part in a mock terrorist attack.

During the drill, which lasted a couple of hours, the volunteers were to file through in different lines, with doctors and nurses treating 51 during the first hour and 124 during the second.

According to the scenario, packages had been sent through the mail to different residences containing anthrax spores. The school was the designated dispensing site for medications.

There were eight health department nurses, three physicians, two from the Medical Reserve Corps and one from Medical College of Georgia on hand for the drill.

Volunteer patients had to go through several areas, including registration, mass media and a mental health area.

Lord said that the volunteers excelled in every area.

"What we did was for our county and I think that our county is ready," said Lord. "If we had a bio terrorism attack strike us, we are more prepared than we were last week, last month or last year."

After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the government realized that terrorism can happen anywhere. Now many are aware that preparation is the key to saving lives.

"After 9-11 people have had second thoughts about what security is needed," Lord said . "At least this way we feel like we are more prepared than we were."

Helping Hands

Most of the volunteers are from Glascock County or have Glascock County roots. Lord said when they made the call to the community, they were ready to serve their county.

"These people saw the need to prepare," she said. "It was a wonderful way to give insight to 'what would I do if that happened?'"

Not only were everyday citizens taking action in the drill, faculty from the school, county and city officials and other well known members of the community took part.

"When you have people you know helping you, it makes you feel more comfortable, especially with children," said Lord.

One man that made a huge and helpful impact with the drill was Glascock County Superintendent Jim Holton.

"The school participated and I could not have done this without Jim Holton and the school," said Lord. "This county is fortunate to have him as a super. He wants the very best for this county."

Lord said she noticed that whether their job was big or small, the janitorial staff was some of the hardest working people she saw. From doctors to janitors to the Sheriff, Lord noted that everyone came together to make this a success.

"Everybody pulled their weight," said Lord. "Every job was very significant from the Sheriff, EMA Director, Family Connection and the Department of Transportation."

Ricky Sammons of DOT and Sandie Weeks from Glascock Action Partners were indispensable to Lord. She said they were there at all hours to help.

"Glascock County is so blessed and fortunate to have people to come forward. Everything they did, they excelled in."

The more you learn, the more you know

Continuing education will be a major step after the drill.

"The more you educate the more you learn, the more prepared we will be for the next one," Lord said.

On April 1, a website will be set up for bio terrorism training. Intrested parties can also contact Lord to receive a VHS tape.

One place that Lord said they can improve is in making sure citizens are trained in more than one area.

"I want to cross train where I can," said Lord. "It will help if they can go from one station to another and be bounced around."

The costs of the anthrax drill were offset with money that was allotted for this program. Lord said that she purchased containers that were labeled for each station.

"Anything needed for the station, it was in the container," said Lord. "That way helpers can come in and get the container and set up in a matter of minutes."

Many wondered why the East Central Health District chose Glascock County.

"They wanted to see a small rural town, to see if we could perform," said Lord. "We have every person in the county we need except a doctor and I have had doctors volunteer to come. If we got the call to open up, we would be ready."

Though many big cities are trained to handle this type of bio terrorism, Glascock County's are the only ones trained in the CSRA.

Citizens felt that the drill was so important, some expressed that they would like to do it yearly to keep their skills sharp.

"Now we are far ahead of the game, due to the bio terrorism team at East Central Health, Charles Reneau and Gary Zgutowicz who are coordinators," Lord said.

She went on to say she will probably never forget the day when Glascock County was called upon to help and they did so with enthusiasm and dedication.

"I don't know all the positive adjectives in the dictionary to describe the crew," she said. "The heart is in the community, this is where they live. The best thing is the volunteers and I am proud of them."





Bus drivers aware of sex offenders

Jefferson County School bus drivers have been given booklets with photos to help them recognize registered sex offenders living along their bus routes

By Ben Roberts
Staff Writer

As Director of Support Services for the Jefferson County School system, Dr. Curtis Hunter is responsible for overseeing the safety and well being of children while they ride county school buses.

That responsibility doesn't end when a student steps off a bus, and last summer Hunter took measures to protect children from a danger you wouldn't normally associate with a school bus stop: sex offenders.

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Georgia law requires persons convicted of certain sexual crimes to register with the Sheriff's office in the counties in which they live, work or attend school.

That registration includes providing their current address and, sometimes, submitting a photograph for the registry.

This information is in turn sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), who maintains a statewide registry of sex offenders.

That list is public information and available on the Internet at the GBI's website at www.ganet.org/gbi. The list for any given county should also be available at that county's Sheriff's office.

According to the GBI website, Jefferson County has 27 registered sex offenders. Glascock County has one.

In an effort to protect students, Hunter has provided his bus drivers with the list of registered sex offenders who live on or near those drivers' routes throughout the county. Drivers have been asked to familiarize themselves with the names and photos on the list and should they spot an offender near a bus stop, their instructions are simple: Do not drop children off at the scheduled stop. Instead, drivers are to return to the school and parents or guardians will be notified.

"Each driver's list has the offenders they're most likely to see in the area near stops," Hunter said, explaining that the lists are route specific. Hunter said he has also taken offenders' addresses into consideration when approving a bus stop.

"Children shouldn't have to walk by one of these individual's houses to catch the bus to school," he said.

Both Hunter and Jefferson County School Superintendent Carl Bethune are quick to point out the driver's lists were created as a precautionary tool, not because of any incident that has occurred.

"One of the major reasons why it is important to be informed about sexual offenders is so that we can take steps to prevent problems in our community," Bethune said. "The vast majority of cases involving children being molested are by someone they know, but we need to be aware of predators that may be in the community."

As Director of Support Services for the Jefferson County School system, Dr. Curtis Hunter is responsible for overseeing the safety and well being of children while they ride county school buses.

That responsibility doesn't end when a student steps off a bus, and last summer Hunter took measures to protect children from a danger you wouldn't normally associate with a school bus stop: sex offenders.

Georgia law requires persons convicted of certain sexual crimes to register with the Sheriff's office in the counties in which they live, work or attend school.

That registration includes providing their current address and, sometimes, submitting a photograph for the registry.

This information is in turn sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), who maintains a statewide registry of sex offenders.

That list is public information and available on the Internet at the GBI's website at www.ganet.org/gbi. The list for any given county should also be available at that county's Sheriff's office.

According to the GBI website, Jefferson County has 27 registered sex offenders. Glascock County has one.

In an effort to protect students, Hunter has provided his bus drivers with the list of registered sex offenders who live on or near those drivers' routes throughout the county. Drivers have been asked to familiarize themselves with the names and photos on the list and should they spot an offender near a bus stop, their instructions are simple: Do not drop children off at the scheduled stop. Instead, drivers are to return to the school and parents or guardians will be notified.

"Each driver's list has the offenders they're most likely to see in the area near stops," Hunter said, explaining that the lists are route specific. Hunter said he has also taken offenders' addresses into consideration when approving a bus stop.

"Children shouldn't have to walk by one of these individual's houses to catch the bus to school," he said.

Both Hunter and Jefferson County School Superintendent Carl Bethune are quick to point out the driver's lists were created as a precautionary tool, not because of any incident that has occurred.

"One of the major reasons why it is important to be informed about sexual offenders is so that we can take steps to prevent problems in our community," Bethune said. "The vast majority of cases involving children being molested are by someone they know, but we need to be aware of predators that may be in the community."




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