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September 27, 2007 Issue

Counties to hold flu drill
Chief warns Louisville residents to lock up
A mini-ocean in Louisville

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Counties to hold flu drill

• Real flu shots will be available during drill directed at dealing with a pandemic flu event

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

The Georgia Department of Human Resources East Central Health District is hoping a flu drill in its 13- county service area will help vaccinate many citizens, while testing the readiness of their capacity to provide mass immunizations in the event of a biological disaster. East Central Health District Public Relations Information Coordinator Emmitt Walker said that this format pertains to the plans already in place in the district and counties in responding to a pandemic flu event or other disaster.

During the drill, which will be held Oct. 2, 3 and 4 in Glascock and Jefferson counties, the flu vaccine will be administered to anyone who comes to the Health Departments, while testing each area involved in the distribution of the flu shots.

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“This gives us practice using the seasonal fl u vaccine,” Walker said. “It creates a window of opportunity to get the fl u shot and it affords us the opportunity to evaluate and to administer the vaccine through a certain time frame.”

Walker said each person who plays a role in distribution of the shots will be evaluated.

“There is a greeter, a person who provides information, a person who administers the vaccines,” he said. “This all relates to how our plans are structured in case of a possible pandemic. As it relates to this particular drill here, we are not time specific, we are actually looking at each person’s specific role and responsibility when each citizen comes in.”

During the fl u drill, citizens will be vaccinated against seasonal human influenza (fl u) and pneumococcal disease. Illnesses associated with these diseases can be life threatening, Walker said. Citizens will also be educated about Avaian (bird flu) and pandemic influenza. Participants will receive a packet of educational materials including a Pandemic Flu Planning Checklist for Individuals and Families.

While anyone can be vaccinated, Walker said they are gravitating towards the elderly and young children who are more susceptible to the seasonal flu, as well as those with chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes or a weakened immune system.

“And the list goes on and on,” he said.

While Glascock and Jefferson counties will be participating, all other counties in the district, Burke, Columbia, Emanuel, Jenkins, Lincoln, McDuffie, Richmond, Screven, Taliaferro, Warren and Wilkes, will hold the same drill.

“This is a district-wide effort, this is why we refer to it as a drill,” Walker said. “All 13 counties will all be participating, some hours vary from county to county, but they all will participate. The information will be tracked as to the clients that came in and the vaccines administered.”

In recent years, there has been a vaccine shortage due to a contaminated batch, but Walker said he does not fear the East Central Health District running out of the vaccine.

“As the vaccine begins to diminish, should it diminish, we are ready to access more,” he said. “There was a particular vaccine that was tainted, but we have not had any problems with our supplier in getting the appropriate vaccine. We are hoping, based on demand, we will have enough.”

Flu season begins in October and generally peaks in January, but does not diminish until March, according to Walker.

“These are several long months to be exposed to the flu virus,” Walker said. “Even though we have a three-day window for this drill, the vaccine will be available up until the time flu season expires.”

During the flu drill, flu shots can be administered for $20. Health departments do accept Medicare or Medicaid and a receipt will be given to those with health insurance to file with their company.

Glascock County will hold their drill from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. each day, while Jefferson County will hold their drill from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.



Chief warns Louisville residents to lock up

• Burglars may have entered homes while citizens slept

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

Several Louisville residents have been affected by a string of recent thefts and burglaries some of which involved entering homes while the residents were present and asleep.

Beginning on Thursday, Sept. 13, Frankie Sheppard reported to the Louisville Police Department that a golf cart had been stolen from his Academy Drive residence in Louisville, reported Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Clark Hiebert.

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“Two days after it was reported stolen, I met two young guys on a golf cart,” Hiebert said of the theft that was unknown to him at the time. “They kept turning around and looking at me, to see if I was going to turn around and come after them so they could decide whether to turn off or keep on going. I hadn’t heard about the report yet, so I wasn’t too concerned about it.”

Later Hiebert said he was informed of the Sheppard theft and had talked to numerous individuals in the community about what kind of golf cart it was and from where it was stolen. “Soon we started to get reports of the same young guys driving the golf cart,” Hiebert said.

When Jefferson County Sheriff Gary Hutchins was in Fred’s days after the theft, Hiebert said an older man approached him to report a golf cart near Wrens Quarters that had been abandoned in the woods.

“He called Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Patton, and he along with Louisville Police Chief Jimmy Miller, located the golf cart and did, in fact, verify that the golf cart located in the woods was Frankie Sheppard’s.”

Only four days later on Monday, Sept. 17, the Spruce Street residence of William Hadden was broken into early that morning.

Chief Miller reported that Hadden said the burglary happened between midnight and 6 a.m.

“Someone entered his residence and stole money and other items from his house,” Chief Miller said.

The thief allegedly gained entry to the Hadden residence through a window in the kitchen area, Miller said. “He and his wife were at home asleep at the time of the thefts,” Chief Miller said.

The Haddens reported that the thief must have entered the same bedroom where they were sleeping to steal a wallet and pocketbook. Chief Miller said the wallet and pocketbook were both recovered on Elm Street with only the cash missing.

“They just had to follow a trail of papers,” Miller said.

Chief Miller said that they do have a suspect in the theft, but no arrests have been made.

This is the second time in two years that money has been taken from the Hadden residence.

The third recent theft occurred on Monday around 2:15 a.m. at a West Eighth Street residence.

“He (the homeowner) heard some noise downstairs and when he came down, the suspect was gone,” Chief Miller said.

Officers found that the suspect gained entry through the back door, which was probably unlocked.

Twenty dollars was taken from a money clip, but all credit cards remained untouched.

The burglar also took a 26-inch silver and blue men’s bicycle that was in the kitchen.

“There is very little left to go on,” Chief Miller said. “We’ve got to find the bicycle.”

Other thefts have been reported in Louisville in the past several months, because of this Chief Miller wants to remind citizens to lock up their houses and belongings.

“The people need to lock their doors, lock their windows, lock their gates and lock their cars,” he said. “A thief is going to take the easy way in, where a locked door or car would have sent him on down the street.

“People need to watch out for each other. If they see something, notify law enforcement. They see things a lot more than we do. People have been generally good about calling, so keep the calls coming.”



A mini-ocean in Louisville
• Finding fellow enthusiasts

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Linda Irby of Louisville calls her hobby an obsession. She got her first saltwater fish tank as a Christmas gift from her husband Charles “Pinky” Irby in 2005.

“I had been asking for a saltwater tank for a long time,” she said, explaining they lived near a fish store and she would go in there and look at the fish. “My husband didn’t realize what he was getting me into. My whole house is tropical. Snails and crabs, there’s all kinds of life in there (the tank).”

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Irby and her husband, a Louisville native, moved to Louisville about a year ago. They are renovating a house on Peachtree Street. Because of those renovations Irby’s 55-gallon tank is in the laundry room. She said she wants to get a larger tank, a 180-gallon one, and place it on one wall in a larger room of the house.

She enjoys watching her fish and said, “Fish have characters. They do have personalities.”

She recently acquired a bulb anemone as an enhancement for her clownfish. “They’re symbiotic,” she said of the two creatures. The anemone cleans the clownfish and by doing so feeds off the items taken from the fish. The anemone seemed to be a good acquisition as the clownfish kept returning to it and the anemone kept enveloping the fish. She pointed to another, different type of anemone she had had in the tank for a while. That pairing between the earlier anemone and the clownfish hadn’t seemed to work out, she said.

“They didn’t like each other.”

She said that the anemones, although they seem stationary, do roam until they find a spot they like. She would have to make sure the two anemones didn’t get too close to each other as they may attack one another. She also has two fish that fight from time to time.

Most of the inhabitants of the tank get along. Besides the anemones and the maroon clownfish, the tank is home to a diverse group.

“I’ve got some pretty strange stuff in my tank,” she said. “I’ve got a cucumber worm. He’s actually got a pearlfish and it lives inside the rectum and it feeds on the respiratory system. The cucumber worm is able to grow it back. There’s a convict damsel, a fox-faced rabbit fish and I have one of the original inhabitants of this tank, a blue damsel. He’s about four to four-and-a-half inches long. Normally they only grow to about three inches. He’s just really big. People think it’s a bream.”

She also has an engineer goby.

“He lives underneath the rocks and he spits sand from underneath the rocks. He makes tunnels and rearranges the rocks. He’s a character. He’s got a good personality. He’ll come up to the window and I’ll kind of pet him.

“The fox-faced rabbit fish is poisonous. When he throws up his fins and makes them into spikes, it means he’s threatened. If he spikes one of the other fish or me, you can have an allergic reaction to it and die.”

She also has other items including a starfish, a shrimp and several snails. The diversity of the fish tank mimics the diversity of the ocean, according to Irby.

The tank she has contains what is referred to as FOWL, or fish only with live rock, she said. “Live rock is usually imported from Fiji or the Caribbean, like old coral; when you have a saltwater fish tank, you have live rock because that helps with the cycle of the tank get the biodiversity that you would get in the ocean. Algae grow on it and coralline; that’s what you strive for in a home tank. It’s pink and eventually what you hope for is that it covers your rock.”

Irby said a tank starts with live sand. “It’s got stuff out of the ocean in it,” she said. “It’s got good organisms already in the sand and then you add your saltwater. You mix your own saltwater. You have to add chemicals to it like calcium and buffers to balance the pH. The salinity is kept at, on my tank I prefer at 1.025.” Irby said saltwater tanks should maintain salinity levels between 1.022 and 1.025.

Additionally, the water should have proper levels of copper, magnesium, iodine, as well as other elements.

“People don’t realize how much is involved with chemistry,” she said. “Mine is a basic setup. When you start adding corals, you upgrade everything. When we do the bigger tank I am going to upgrade and then this tank is going to become what you call a sump, or refuge, refugium.”

Adding items to the tank is a time-consuming process.

“You do have to acclimate them,” she said. “Any invertebrate, shrimp, worms, starfish, anemones, have to be drip acclimated, which takes anywhere from one hour to two hours. Shrimp have to have two hours. You take the bag they’re in and float it in the tank for 15 minutes. That brings the temperature in the bag to the temperature in the tank. Then you open your bag and put it on a stable platform and take a tube of water from the tank, allowing drops of water, about three drips a second, go into the bag where the fish is. After about 15 or 20 minutes, you pour out about a third of the water where the fish is then start dripping again.”

She said this process has to be repeated several times.

“This ensures the fish has as little shock as possible,” she said, adding she even turns off the lights on the tank as well as household lights.

“I use one little desk light that I don’t shine directly on them,” she said.

All of the effort and time is well spent, according to Irby who hopes to find other saltwater tank enthusiasts in the area. Anyone interested in contacting Irby and learning more about her hobby can contact her via email, she said. Her email address is cuttingras@yahoo.com.

She said she would like to start a club for people who enjoy having saltwater fish and watching them.

“It’s a whole world,” she said.




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