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May 7, 2009 Issue

Relay raises $87K
Six qualify for probate judge seat
Georgia has first case of swine flu, area health officials watchful

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Relay raises $87K

By Kate Agel
Intern

The 15th annual Relay for Life in Jefferson County went off without a hitch - and, as rarely happens, without downpours of rain. Crowds of people convened at the walking track in Wrens for fun, food and a good cause.

Relay Event Committee Chairman, Chris Dube, said there were around 2,000 people participating this year.

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The event kicked off with a welcome from Dube, followed by performances throughout the evening by many local talents, including, “Dem Wyte Boiz,” Dem imonde and Dorie Johnson singing the favorites of Patsy Cline.

“The bands and performers were great entertainment this year. And of course, they donated their time, so we really appreciate that,” said Dube.

Games also highlighted the evening. Dube said that one of them, the “Not-So-Newlywed” game, seemed to be a crowd favorite. This game involved contestants who had been married for more than 10 years answering game-show style questions, and trying to match answers with their spouse.

“Their answers didn’t always match,” said Dube, “but it was a lot of fun.”

Dube said he was most pleased with the amount of survivors participating in the Survivors’ Lap.

“We had a really high number of survivors participating this year, so it was great to see them take the track for their lap,” said Dube.

In all, 177 survivors registered, but he believed there were more unregistered survivors taking part in the Survivors’ Lap.

The total raised this year was $87,897.22, which was just shy of the goal of $100,000. Regardless, Dube said he is pleased with the result of this year’s fund raising.

“I think that’s a strong showing for Jefferson County. Folks here have been great with the Relay, and with the economic times right now, we certainly understand why there was a drop. The teams and committee worked hard. The total number is still a very strong number based on the population of Jefferson County,” he said.

CJ’s Animals raised the most money this year, with a total of $23,207.23, and they also received this year’s Team Spirit Award.

Cancer survivor Lynne Hunley was given the Individual Spirit Award for what Dube said was an incredible amount of dedication to the Relay.

“I saw Lynne out on the field at midnight cleaning up the Mount Horeb tent. Even with everything she is going through, she gave 110 percent to this event,” Dube said.

For 15 years, Jefferson County has participated in the fight against cancer, and Dube said he thinks the Relay for Life of 2009 went great.

“I’d like to say it was the best Relay I’ve been involved with. I think the event is getting better every year. And that’s our goal—to make it a positive experience for our survivors and teams,” he said.



Six qualify for probate judge seat

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

Six Jefferson County residents have qualified as candidates in the race to fill the county’s probate judge seat, which was left vacant by Q.L. Bryant’s death in March.

The base salary is $46,408.38.

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The candidates are Charlotte Lewis Gilmore of Louisville who works for Georgia Power; Asholyn Powell Lampp of Bartow, the current Chief Deputy Clerk of the Probate Court; Tyler C. Mahaffey of Wrens, a lawyer and partner in private practice; Marnique Williams Oliver of Louisville, a lawyer and partner in private practice; John J. Pilcher II of Wrens, a lawyer in private practice; and Alton W. Spells Jr. of Louisville, a teacher. A special election for the position is scheduled for Tuesday, June 16. This is a countywide, non-partisan election. When this position is part of a normal election, it is partisan.

Normal polling stations will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Election Day. Anyone who is not registered but would like to vote in this election must register by Monday, May 18, at 5 p.m., said Chandrel Evans, the county’s registrar.

Advance voting will be from Monday, June 8, through Friday, June 12, at the registrar’s office at 302 East Broad St. in Louisville.

Evans said the office will be open its usual hours, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., but will not close during the day for lunch.

“As soon as the probate office informs me that the ballots are in, I’ll inform the public of the dates for early voting,” she said.

Anyone interested in absentee voting should contact the registrar’s office at 478-625-8357.

“The last day to register to vote in this election is May 18 until 5 p.m.,” Evans said.

“They can come to our office to register or they can also register through the public libraries in the county,” she said.

Evans said the registration information must be received in her office by 5 p.m. on May 18 or if by mail, the post mark must be May 18 or earlier.

A runoff, if needed, will be held July 14, according to John Murphy. Murphy is acting probate judge and election superintendent until a new judge has been elected. He assumed that role by law as his position as the county’s state court judge.

Only counties with more than 96,000 people are required to have a lawyer as the probate judge. In Jefferson County, because the population is less than this, the judge does not have to be a lawyer.

“If a lawyer is elected, a lawyer is allowed to practice law under state law anywhere but probate court,” Murphy said.

The term for the probate court judge is four years. However, since Bryant had already served part of his term when he died, whoever is elected will serve the remainder, which ends Dec. 31, 2012.

According to a website on the probate courts of Georgia, www.gaprobate.org, “County probate courts exercise exclusive, original jurisdiction in the probate of wills, administration of estates, appointment of guardians and involuntary hospitalization of incapacitated adults and other individuals. All probate court judges administer oaths of office and issue marriage licenses.”

The website states probate judges serve as election supervisors when authorized by local statute, which is the case in Jefferson County.

Candidates for probate court judge in counties with fewer than 96,000 people must be at least 25, a high school graduate, a U.S. citizen and a county resident for at least two year prior to the election.

A runoff, if required, will be held Tuesday, July 14.



Georgia has first case of swine flu, area health officials watchful

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

A confirmed case this week of the H1N1 flu, commonly called swine flu, has prompted Henry County officials to close a private school there.

Two other students who are ill may have the disease but have not been confirmed yet as of Tuesday morning, said Janet Pilcher, nurse manager of the Jefferson County Health Department.

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A total of 403 cases of the H1N1 flu across the United States had been confirmed by Tuesday at 11 a.m., according to the website of the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta.

Those cases spread across 38 states, including one case in Georgia last week. The case of the Kentucky woman hospitalized in Georgia counts as a Kentucky case, Pilcher said.

This type of flu, according to the CDC, is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that cause regular outbreaks in pigs.

“There are three confirmed cases in Georgia,” Pilcher said Tuesday. One case is in Cobb County, one in Henry County and one in DeKalb County.

“Right now there are guidelines that the doctors have,” Pilcher said, adding those guidelines could change.

“I think since it’s getting more widespread, they’re going to change the guidelines for testing,” she said.

“The reason the health department would test is for disease surveillance, not diagnosis. This is to keep track of where the disease is and how it’s spreading,” Pilcher said.

“It’s a flu that’s passed from swine. Somehow it made that jump, from swine to humans. Similar to the avian flu or the bird flu. You can’t get it from eating pork. The H1N1 is how the flu strains are classified. Our office has not tested anybody in our county for swine flu,” she said.

“Right now, the way a case would be handled is if a doctor thinks a patient should be tested for swine flu, that doctor would screen the client to see if the client would meet the criteria. If the client met the criteria, the doctor would call public health and I would get permission from the district epidemiologist for the testing. We would get the specimen, which is similar to a throat swab, and transport it to the district office in Augusta. From there, it would go to Atlanta. It would be tested there at the state lab. Positive tests would be reported to the CDC for confirmation,” Pilcher said.

From there, it would go to Atlanta. It would be tested there at the state lab. Positive tests would be reported to the CDC for confirmation,” Pilcher said.

“It’s pretty contagious. Just like the flu is,” she said.

For anyone who is experiencing flu-like symptoms, the CDC recommends the person stay home from work or school to avoid spreading infections.

The agency states emergency warning signs for children that need urgent medical attention include fast breathing or trouble breathing; bluish skin color; not drinking enough fluids; not waking up or not interacting; being so irritable that the child does not want to be held; flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough; and fever with a rash.

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion and severe or persistent vomiting.

Prevention techniques are to cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and throwing the tissue in the trash after using; wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing, alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective; avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth; and try to avoid close contact with sick people.

The CDC also advises people cannot get swine flu from eating pork products.




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