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December 13, 2012 Issue

He’s on his way...
Wrens holds tax sale
Flu hits area hard

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He’s on his way...

The man in red made appearances at numerous holiday parades over the last few weeks, including Louiville’s annual Lions’ Club Christmas parade this past Saturday. For more pictures from the Louisville and Wadley parades see pages 11A-14A.


Wrens holds tax sale

By Carol McLeod
Staff Writer

The City of Wrens sold several properties for delinquent taxes at the county courthouse in November.

“We had a tax sale at the courthouse Tuesday morning (Nov. 6),” Wrens City Administrator Arty Thrift said. “The City of Wrens had 18 properties there. Nine of those sold; and, nine were no-bids. It was just for the taxes.”


Janee Hodge, Wrens’ city clerk, said the total amount received for the tax sale was $26,740.69. That figure includes taxes on some of the properties that was owed to the county.

“It will go to pay off the taxes,” she said, adding the funds go into the city’s general fund.

Thrift said the city started the process to get ready for the sale early in the year.

“We probably started in February to do that. It’s a legal process is what it is,” he said.

There are different levels of delinquency, Thrift said. Some of the property owners owed for two or three years, he said.

“We hire a company. A third party company does that. We hand them a list. We work in conjunction with them. They do the research. It’s kin to a title search,” Thrift said.

The company sends letters notifying the property owner and other lien holders, if there are any.

“You can’t do anything to that property for a year; because, you don’t own it yet,” the city administrator said.

The property owner has a year to reclaim his property by paying off the taxes plus interest to the person who purchased the property at the tax sale.

“We prefer that the property owners pay their taxes. If the taxes aren’t paid, we have to take it to the sale. That’s just part of the job or the work,” Thrift said.

For the properties that don’t sell, they remain as is.

“If the taxes aren’t paid, we’ll take them to the sale next year or at some point in time,” he said.

Thrift said property owners are notified as to how to redeem their property.

“They get notified of every step that’s taken,” he said.

Janee Hodge, Wrens’ city clerk, said the total amount of city taxes due was $11,240.64.

“That’s the city amount on the properties that were sold,” Hodge said. “We at least got that amount. Some of them we had excess funds but the county got theirs, too.”

Flu hits area hard

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

As the winter cold rolls in, so does the influenza virus, which hit the local area hard last week.

“We had a large amount of the population coming in with the flu last week,” Louisville Physician’s Health Group Nurse Practitioner Melissa Cave said Tuesday. “We even had a pretty good amount of our patients coming in with a stomach bug this week.”


Cave explained that the influenza vaccine does protect patients from particular strains of the flu that the vaccine covers.

“A lot of people who get it that have the vaccine got a different strain that the vaccine does not cover,” she explained. “The vaccine prevents them from getting the strain that is most rampant. We still do encourage everyone to get the flu shot. It does prevent a lot of people from getting the flu or a certain strain of the flu.”

Jefferson County Health Department Nurse Manager Janet Pilcher said the county was notified of an increase of influenza cases in Georgia.

“On the national news, they have said the shot covered it pretty well,” Pilcher added. “I called around to the schools last week and Wrens Elementary had a lot of students out last Wednesday or Thursday. Wrens seems to be hit pretty hard, but not really at the other schools.”

A spokesperson with Wrens Elementary said at one point there were a great deal of students out with the sickness.

“We have had 68 students out, not counting the number that have come up here sick,” they said. “It has been the flu and stomach virus. Most of our absentees are a mixture of those two. And we have had more out this year than last year.”

Even with the vaccine, the school reported students falling ill with the virus not even three days after receiving it.

Taliaferro County had its school close last week because of an outbreak in its school system leading to a high absentee rate.

At Glascock County Consolidated School, School Nurse Debbie Milburn said the school has seen some cases of the flu, but not many.

“We have had some,” she said. “But it is not bad at all here. We probably have three documented cases. We are real lucky here in Glascock County.”

A spokesperson with Carver Elementary said the school has had students absent with strep throat, stomach viruses, high fevers and flulike symptoms, as well as Jefferson County High School reporting six to seven confirmed cases, with a high rate of students absent on Monday.

Other schools have fared better including Louisville Academy, Louisville Middle School and Wrens Middle School.

While Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas are seeing the most activity, the level of influenza activity in Georgia is picking up, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last year’s flu season got off to a late start and was relatively mild. Flu seasons are unpredictable and can be severe, said Tom Skinner, a CDC spokesman.

“Each flu season is unique in and of itself. There’s really no explanation as to why the flu may start early one year and late the next.”

Skinner said this is the earliest he has seen such levels of influenza activity at this point in the year in about a decade.

He said 2009 was an exception because there was a pandemic of H1N1 — called swine flu by some.

The flu season typically peaks in January.

Skinner said it’s difficult to project whether this will be a severe season.

“We have to wait and see as we go along,” he said.

The people at most risk for having serious complications from the flu include the elderly, young children and people with underlying health conditions.

The best defense is the vaccine, according to many medical professionals.

“We are not hearing of any problems with people not being able to get vaccine,” said CDC’s Skinner. “There should be enough out there for everyone who wants to get one. So far, we have a good match between what is circulating and what is in the vaccine.”

Vaccines can be had in doctors’ offices, health departments or many local drug stores.

Most flu infections are spread by picking up germs on hands. The simple act of washing hands or using a decontaminating rub may prevent illness.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing to prevent the spread of the flu.

Antibiotics work for bacterial infections but do not work for viral infections such as the flu.

Not all cases of flu require a doctor’s visit, but a patient should see one if: there is on-going or worsening fatigue or irritability that cannot be controlled, confusion or headache that will not go away after taking pain relievers such as Motrin, severe muscle pain or red urine, labored breathing, neck stiffness or dehydration or persistent vomiting, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

According to the CDC most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than seven days. Symptoms start one to four days after the virus enters the body, meaning the flu is able to pass on to someone else before knowing they are sick, as well as while they are still sick. Some persons can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others.

Cave recommended that those with any symptoms of the flu or running a fever stay at home and out of school to not spread the virus.

“We promote hand hygiene, washing hands a lot,” Cave said. “It helps to prevent the rest of the family from getting it. If you have Lysol wipes, wipe down handles and other surfaces family members touch often, like toilet handles and remote controls, or spray them with Lysol.”

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Last modified: December 12, 2012