Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic proportions. Zoeller was in Gary Thursday to announce a new state website to help make Region residents aware of the problem and how to deal with it. Zoeller says in 2011, 718 Hoosiers died from accidental drug overdoses, compared with 654 deaths the year before. Zoeller's office says More people abuse prescription drugs in the U.S. than cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and inhalants combined, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Website: http://www.in.gov/bitterpill/ ###...
Drought conditions are beginning to creep into the Midwest, and here in Northwest Indiana, Lake, Porter, Newton and Jasper Counties now fall into the abnormally dry category, according to the latest US Drought Monitor released Tuesday. A wide swath of central Indiana is also considered abnormally dry. http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/DM_state.htm?IN ###...
Today [Aug 30] is the final Friday of the month, the day of the Hobart Marine Corps League Howlin' Mad Detachment Number 93 Doughboy ceremony where the names of fallen soldiers are read out loud – fifteen names are being read tonight. The public is invited to the service, which starts at 5 pm at the Hobart Doughboy statue at 7th and Main. Doughboy was a term used to describe US infantrymen of the American Expeditionary Force during World War One. Last montn, the Hobart Marine Corps league marked their 3rd anniversary of reading the names, a three-year total that stands at over 16-hundred. ###...
NIRPC headquarters are staying in Portage. The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission Thursday voted to remain where they are on Southport Road, after earlier considering a possible move to Hammond or LaPorte. About a half-million dollars worth of work is planned for the building NIRPC is currently in, and internet service will be upgraded as well. ###...
A blast furnace that went down earlier this month at ArcelorMittal's East Chicago plant was said to be up and running again. The outage reportedly involved a turbo blower failure at the Number 3 furnace at Indiana Harbor West. Workers and customer orders were not affected by the unscheduled shutdown. ###...
The number of students at St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer sits as 11-hundred 63, the highest total since 1971. Classes began August 19th, with 371 first-time students. This year's freshmen represent 16 states, with students from as far as Oregon and Maryland. The Nursing program, with 276 students, has the highest enrollment of any program offered by the College. The Biology Department welcomes the highest number of freshmen with 59, followed by Business Administration with 41. Entering its third year, SJC's Master of Business Administration program combines with the new Master of Forensic Science program to bring their total number of graduate students to 22. In July, the Rensselaer Program of Church Music and Liturgy (RPCML) saw seven students graduate. The RPCML, which offers two accredited M.A. degrees granted by SJC, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010. "The entire College community is excited to have the largest enrollment since 1971," said SJC President Dr. F. Dennis Riegelnegg. "It is clear that parents and students value our high quality academic programs and the individual attention that students receive. Also, we have made every attempt possible to make Saint Joseph's College affordable. The results of all our efforts are reflected in our enrollment numbers." ###...
A Hobart man has cashed in a 200-thousand dollar winning ticket. The Hoosier Lottery says Philip Washko, a Bethlehem Steel retiree, matched all five numbers in the August 13 Mix and Match drawing. Washko, an electrician for 32 years, retired in 2003, and said he wants to "think on it a bit" before making any purchases. ###...
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and The South Bend Police Department want incoming fans to be prepared for altered traffic routes around the University of Notre Dame as The Fighting Irish Football season gets underway this weekend. New roadways have taken shape, other roadways are closed for construction, and GPS units likely won’t be updated with the recent changes. Plan ahead to ensure your football weekend is a victory. Road Closures (map below) - South Bend Avenue, between Notre Dame Avenue and Frances Street - Twyckenham Drive at State Road 23 (closure at south side of intersection) - Eddy Street, between SR 23 and Howard Street New Roads and Signals - A new Douglas Road (just north of Old Douglas Road) now intersects with the Indiana Toll Road exit (mm 77) and SR 933 - New traffic signal operational at SR 23 (Eddy Street) and Campeau Street (Perley School) Keep in Mind - Turn off the GPS - Watch for police officers directing traffic - Plan your route before leaving home Find up-to-date Notre Dame Game Day maps and traffic information online by liking the INDOT Northwest Facebook Page (www.Facebook.com/INDOTNorthwest) and following INDOTNorthwest on Twitter (@INDOTNorthwest)
INDIANAPOLIS—State health officials have confirmed a case of measles in an individual in Monroe County. The individual, who was not vaccinated, became infected with measles while overseas. The Indiana State Department of Health and local health departments are working to prevent further transmission of the disease by identifying individuals who may have been exposed as well as potential additional cases. The individual visited the Indianapolis International Airport on Aug. 22, while infectious. Those who visited the airport that day and develop symptoms of measles, such as rash, fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes, should stay home and call their health care provider. Secondary cases would begin experiencing symptoms from Aug. 24 through Sept. 12. Health care providers should consider measles in patients with rash and fever, particularly if the patient is unvaccinated, and visited the Indianapolis International Airport on Aug. 22, or has a history of travel to Texas (where a measles outbreak is currently occurring), international travel, or contact with international visitors or symptomatic cases. Health care providers are encouraged to ask these patients if they have been vaccinated against measles.
About Measles Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It is rare in the United States due to the widespread availability of the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine; however, visitors from other countries or U.S. citizens traveling abroad can become infected before or during travel. More than 95 percent of people who receive a single dose of MMR will develop immunity to measles, and more than 99 percent will be protected after receiving a second dose. Two doses of the vaccine are needed to be fully protected. Individuals are encouraged to check with their health care providers to ensure vaccinations are up-to-date. Children are routinely vaccinated for measles at 1 year of age, and again at 4-6 years of age before going to kindergarten, but children as young as 6 months old can receive the measles vaccine if they are at risk. Individuals born before 1957 are presumed to be immune to measles. Individuals who are unsure about vaccination history should contact their health care providers. Hoosiers can also access immunization records directly through the secure online tool, called MyVaxIndiana, by requesting a PIN from their health care provider. Go to www.MyVaxIndiana.in.gov to learn more.
Symptoms Measles begins with a fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes about 7-10 days after exposure. The fever increases and can get as high as 105 degrees. Two to four days later, a rash starts on the face and upper neck. It spreads down the back and trunk, and then extends to the arms and hands, as well as the legs and feet. After about five days, the rash fades the same order in which it appeared. Measles is highly contagious. When infected persons sneeze or cough, droplets spray into the air. Those droplets remain active and contagious on infected surfaces for up to two hours. For more information about measles, please visit the Indiana State Department of Health at www.StateHealth.in.gov or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/measles/. Follow the Indiana State Department of Health on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/isdh1.
CLEVELAND — Following a number of swimming and boating accidents on the Great Lakes over the last several weeks, the Coast Guard is urging those who plan to recreate on the Great Lakes during Labor Day weekend, or at any other time, to take appropriate safety precautions. Labor Day weekend marks the end of the traditional beach and boating seasons on the Great Lakes, and is usually one of the busiest for the Coast Guard. During the month of August, the Coast Guard's 9th District conducted search-and-rescue cases in Lakes Ontario, Erie, Huron, Michigan and Superior and other navigable waterways within the Great Lakes region, like the St. Marys River, which highlighted the importance of proper preparation and boaters looking out for one another. "Accidents happen fast and unexpectedly on the water," said Michael Baron, Coast Guard 9th District Recreational Boating and Water Safety Program manager. "Individuals looking to celebrate the traditional end of summer on the Great Lakes mustn't let their guard down. Everyone needs to be conscientious and practice personal safety so that their celebration doesn't turn into a tragedy." "Whatever the activity, keep an eye on the weather and water conditions," Baron said. "Avoid using alcohol and wear your life jacket when boating." Alcohol plays a major role in boating accidents and fatalities. As of Aug. 28, 2013, the Coast Guard has issued 122 boating under the influence citations, 40 of which were federal tickets. The Coast Guard encourages swimmers and boaters to always check the current and forecasted marine weather before heading to the water. Even on seemingly nice days, waves and underwater currents may be more than the average swimmer or boater can handle. Marine forecasts can be found on the National Weather Service's website. The following are additional safety tips all boaters should abide by:
Have a marine band radio and visual distress signals — While many boaters rely on cell phones for emergency communications on the water, VHF-FM radios are much more reliable in the marine environment and work in areas where cell phones sometimes don’t. When a mayday is broadcast over channel FM Channel 16, the international hailing and distress frequency, multiple response agencies, and other nearby boaters can hear the distress call and offer immediate assistance. Additionally, in accordance with federal law, recreational boats 16 feet and longer are required to carry visual distress signals such as flares, smoke signals or non-pyrotechnic devices, and vessels 12 meters or longer are required to carry sound-producing devices such as whistles, bells and gongs. State and local laws may require further safety equipment.
Have a registered 406MHz emergency position indicating radio beacon — When a 406MHz EPIRB signal is received, search-and-rescue personnel can retrieve information from a registration database. This includes the beacon owner's contact information, emergency contact information, and vessel/aircraft identifying characteristics. Having this information allows the Coast Guard, or other rescue personnel, to respond appropriately.
Have a personal locator beacon — A PLB is a compact device that is clipped to a boater, normally on the life jacket he or she is wearing. Once activated in a distress situation, the PLB transmits a 406 MHz signal to the International Cospas-Sarsat Satellite System, which provides distress alert and location data for search and rescue operations around the world.
Drowning is the third leading cause of accidental death in the United States and the second leading cause of accidental death for swimmers aged 5 to 44. The Coast Guard recommends the following tips for swimmers:
Swim near a lifeguard — U.S. Lifesaving Association statistics during a 10-year period show that the chance of drowning at a beach without lifeguard protection is almost five times as great as drowning at a beach with lifeguards.
Never swim alone — Many drownings involve single swimmers. Learn water rescue techniques you can use if someone you are swimming with is in danger.
Don’t fight the current — If caught in a rip current, don’t fight it by trying to swim directly to shore. Instead, swim parallel to shore until you feel the current relax, then swim to shore. Most rip currents are narrow and a short swim parallel to shore will bring a swimmer to safety.
Swim sober — Alcohol is a major factor in drowning. Alcohol can reduce body temperature and impair swimming ability. Both alcohol and drugs impair good judgment, which may cause people to take risks they would not otherwise take.
Don’t float where you can’t swim — Non-swimmers and weak swimmers often use flotation devices, such as inflatable rafts, to go offshore. If they fall off, they can quickly drown. No one should use a flotation device unless they are able to swim. The only exception is a person wearing an inherently buoyant Coast Guard approved Type I, II or III personal flotation device, or life jacket.
Prepare for the unexpected — Wear a life jacket while participating in any activity during which you could unexpectedly enter the water, such as when fishing from break walls or piers.
Avoid unnecessary risks — Walking along break walls is risky because it only takes a momentary loss of footing to invite tragedy. Jumping from break walls, waterside structures or into unfamiliar water is extremely dangerous since unseen underwater hazards may exist.
According to United States Lifesaving Association statistics, 80 percent of beach rescues are necessary due to rip currents, and more than 100 people die annually from drowning in rip currents. The following are tips on identifying, avoiding and escaping rip currents:
Identify — Look for changes in water color; water motion; incoming wave shape or breaking point compared to adjacent conditions; channels of churning or choppy water; lines of foam, seaweed or debris moving seaward.
Avoid — Check the latest National Weather Service forecast for local beach conditions before heading out; learn to swim; learn to swim in surf; never swim alone; swim near a lifeguard; look for posted signs and warning flags indicating hazards; check with lifeguards before swimming and obey their instructions; always assume rip currents are present; if in doubt, don’t go out.
Escape — Remain calm to conserve energy; don’t fight the current; swim across the current parallel to the shoreline; when out of the current, swim an angle away from the current and toward shore; if you can’t escape, try to float or tread water until the current subsides then swim to shore; if you can’t reach shore, face the shore, wave your arms and yell for help to draw attention.
Assist — Get help from a lifeguard or if one isn’t available, call 911; throw the victim something that floats — a life jacket, cooler, ball; yell instructions to escape; don’t become a victim trying to help someone else.
Finally, the Coast Guard reminds mariners that water temperatures will start to descend rapidly with the change in seasons. Hypothermia is a risk regardless of water temperature, but cooler waters accelerate its onset. A person in cold water without proper protective closing will lose functional movement in fingers, arms and legs within minutes. At this point, a victim who is not wearing a life jacket will likely drown because he or she can no longer tread water and remain afloat. Even with a Coast Guard-approved life jacket, hypothermia is a threat to survival once someone is exposed to cold water. The body may lose heat 25 times faster in cold water than in cold air. When recreating outdoors, mariners should dress for the water temperature — not the air temperature. # # #...