Tag Archives: Times

St Jude’s Ranch Press Announcement – Child Abuse Increases in Difficult Economic Times

Boston, MA (PRWEB) April 18, 2008

One of the tragic consequences of tough economic times is an increase in family breakdowns. That means more abandoned, neglected and abused children. April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month, a time to bring attention to the 7,000 children who are dropped off somewhere, or forgotten, or left on a street corner every year in the United States. Their parents are drug addicts, criminals, prostitutes, mentally ill, or just destitute. Many thousands more children are abused, or neglected to the point that the local child protective services agency steps in and puts them in foster care or, if they’re in Texas and Nevada, sends them to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children.

St. Jude’s Ranch provides therapeutic healing and nurturing to these children that society has abandoned, and, unlike almost every other child care organization, has the ability to keeps siblings together. For example, most foster homes do not. “We believe it’s the right thing to do, the family thing to do” says Christine J. Spadafor, CEO of St Jude’s Ranch. “When these children come to us, often the only things they have left are brothers and sisters. Keeping them together gives them a place to start from, something to build on after all the trauma they have experienced together in their short lives.”

“We are bringing more children into our safe haven, including a family of 7 kids,” says Spadafor. “We always take in more children when times are tough, like now, because families can fall apart under economic pressure.”

The family of 7 children again sets St. Jude’s Ranch apart – it is the only therapeutic children’s program in the area that can keep so many brothers and sisters together as a family. Before living at the Ranch, they all lived in different homes, or were constantly on the move. “We gave them their own home on the Nevada campus, the first one they have ever had together,” says Spadafor. “It was absolutely the right thing to do. Given where they came from, it took some time for them to adjust and realize this is their home where it now feels safe and stable enough for them to stop living out of their suitcases, which is all they have known, and put their clothes in the drawers.”

Fundraising is more difficult when the economy is bad, and St. Jude’s Ranch must raise $ 1 for every $ 1 the state gives the not-for-profit. These tough economic conditions mean additional pressure on the organization at a time when it is taking in more children. “We’re finding it more challenging to raise money this year,” says Spadafor, “Giving is down just when we need it most.”

Like most families in America, St Jude’s Ranch must find creative ways to make ends meet. For example, one of their corporate sponsors, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, turned an employee conference in Las Vegas into a socially-responsible endeavor. Instead of hitting the tables, they enlisted staff teams to honor ‘wish lists’ and provided a truck full of boxes containing individualized clothes, shoes, toys and essentials for each of the children in both Nevada and Texas.

Helen, the mail room supervisor, goes once a week to the casinos and collects unclaimed lost and found items. She sorts through the astonishing range of things that people leave behind and sets aside shirts, trousers, dresses and jackets used to clothe the children, as they typically arrive at the Ranch with only the clothes they are wearing. Whatever Helen decides the children cannot use goes to the Ranch’s gift shop – now a shopping destination for people who pass it on their commute from Boulder City to Las Vegas or on their way to Boulder Dam and Lake Mead.

As well as taking care of the every-day expenses, larger donors are also vital to St. Jude’s Ranch as they aim to expand their services to other children in need. “We’re desperate to open our facility for pregnant and parenting teens; we are only in the planning stages and are already getting requests to place pregnant girls, the youngest being 10 years old,” says Spadafor. “Not to mention new programs that will provide homes for the many children who are bounced around the system, in and out of foster care. Some are sent to prison because they have no home and there’s nowhere else for them to go.”

“We need America to keep giving,” says Spadafor, “especially when times are tough. It’s not for lack of caring,” she continues, “It’s just that people don’t always know we’re here. That’s why having a month dedicated to National Child Abuse Awareness is so important to organizations like ours and to our children.”

For more information about St Jude’s Ranch for Children, or to make a donation, visit http://www.stjudesranch.org.

For press enquiries, please call Jennifer Becker, Community Relations Coordinator, at 1.702.294.7102.


New York Times Bestselling Author Dana Canedy Kicks Off 31 Days of Glory in Fayetteville/Cumberland County on May 1

Fayetteville, NC (PRWEB) March 24, 2010

The series of events opens with A Journal for Jordan author Ms. Canedy giving a motivational speech, signing copies of the book, and visiting and connecting with civilians and soldiers and their families at two locations, Fascinate-U Childrens Museum and Fort Braggs North Post PX. The book is filled with life lessons that Canedys husband, Army First Sergeant Charles Monroe King, wanted to instill in his son in the event he did not return from war. The Pulitzer-Prize winning editor will share her heart-wrenching story with those who truly understand what its like to lose a loved one.

31 Days of Glory will honor children of fallen soldiers at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum (ASOM) during a special ceremony where Mayor Anthony Chavonne will present each child with a special coin recognizing them for their courage. Also during the event, winners of the museums month-long exhibit, Celebrating & Honoring Military Heroes, will be announced. The display features art from children of military families in Cumberland County Schools.

Our community is committed to watching over those who watch over us and 31 Days of Glory is just another way for us to honor and recognize the military for bravely protecting our everyday freedoms, says John Meroski, president and CEO of the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

With various patriotic and military attractions and events taking place throughout the month, 31 Days of Glory offers lively and fun activities for all ages. Please visit http://www.31daysofglory.com for a listing of all events, such as:

New Writing Contest: Animals Helping Special-Needs and At-Risk Kids Through the Worst of Times

Minneapolis, MN (PRWEB) June 8, 2010

A new contest is calling for inspiring true stories of pets or animals in nature helping children, parents, and families deal with life’s toughest challenges and issues — divorce and loss, learning disabilities, autism, attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity, congenital birth defects, cancer, deafness or blindness, bullying, peer pressure, and depression or mental health issues. Full description, rules, prizes, and entry form for this free contest are at http://www.angelanimals.net/contests.html. The deadline for entering is September 15, 2010. Early entries are considered first for inclusion in an upcoming book.

Allen and Linda Anderson, best-selling, award-winning authors and founders of the Angel Animals Network, are sponsoring the contest to find stories for their next new book to be published by New World Library in Fall 2011. Stories can be about any house pet, animal in nature, or therapy animal. Parents, teachers, staff of organizations, schools, or hospitals, writers, child-care specialists, social workers, animal advocates, animal-assisted therapy volunteers, and children or teens are encouraged to submit stories.

Allen Anderson says, “We’re looking forward to receiving heartwarming true stories from parents, grandparents, and guardians of children who have turned to animals for comfort. Maybe you remember from your childhood or teenage years a special animal who made it easier to cope with a chronic condition or with a devastating loss. Or an animal might have saved a child’s life. Send us your stories so we can consider sharing them with our readers around the world.”

The Andersons have sold over a quarter-million books. Their books are available all over the world in bookstores, online, and in libraries. They have editions published in the United States, Japan, Italy, Brazil, and the United Kingdom. They donate a portion of proceeds to animal welfare organizations. Their newest book in an ongoing series will be Dogs and the Women Who Love Them (New World Library, November 10, 2010).

The Andersons work has been featured in USA Today, Washington Post, national wire service articles, NPR, Today Show, Montel Williams Show, Animal Planet, Dog Fancy, Cat Fancy, BBC Radio, London Sunday Times, Beliefnet, ivillage, and numerous national publications and radio and television shows. For more information go to http://angelanimals.net/media.html.

People who have entered previous Angel Animals contests found that submitting a story is one of the best ways to ultimately be published in the Andersons’ upcoming books. By reading the Andersons’ previous anthologies, contestants can get a better of idea of the types of stories that have the best chance of success. Their books are available at shop.angelanimals.net, http://www.newworldlibrary.com, in bookstores nationwide, and in online bookstores, libraries, gift shops, and catalogs.

Previous books that include true story contest winning submissions include:

Angel Cats: Divine Messengers of Comfort

Angel Dogs: Divine Messengers of Love

Angel Horses: Divine Messengers of Hope

Angel Dogs with a Mission: Divine Messengers in Service to All Life

Horses with a Mission: Extraordinary True Stories of Equine Service

The following questions can serve as aids for selecting which experiences to write about for the contest.

Has an animal helped a child:

–endure long-term or catastrophic illnesses and chronic conditions?

–who has learning disorders, attention-deficit disorders, or hyperactivity?

–who is blind or deaf or has physical/motor, mental, or emotional problems?

–function better with autism or Asperger’s syndrome?

–with everyday ups and downs?

–with unexpected difficult situations and circumstances?

–through traumatic events such as divorce, death, or other losses?

–cope with stress, bullying, or peer pressure?

–by being a hero and saving his or her life?

Other questions to ask when considering stories to enter in the contest are:

–Has an animal brought a child a message of love, acceptance, gratitude, or inner direction?

–Has a relationship with an animal been a catalyst for physical, emotional, or spiritual healing for a child?

–Has a child felt a connection showing that animals are sentient, caring souls?

–Have animals helped a child through suffering or offered protection from danger?

–Has an animal made a child laugh and see the humor in upsetting situations?

–Has the example of an animal caused a child to become a better son, daughter, parent, or family member?

–Has a child learned how to handle life’s challenges, deal with change, or heal, trust, and creatively solve problems with the help of an animal?

–Has an animal been a mirror for a child to reflect on his or her life, health, or attitudes?


Big Issues Make the Big Screen in Times Square

New York, NY (Vocus) September 8, 2010

As world leaders convene in New York this September for a high-level summit to advance the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the United Nations Foundation unveiled a high-impact public service announcement about the most critical issues facing the world today on the Toshiba Vision screen in Times Square. During a launch event at the Renaissance New York Times Square Hotel, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Assistant Administrator and Assistant Secretary-General Sigrid Kaag, and the UN Foundations Chief Operating Officer Rick Parnell unveiled a special Public Service Announcement inviting people to get involved to solve global problems marking the first time that the work of the UN is featured prominently in this iconic space.

The United Nations is grateful to Toshiba for its willingness to provide its Toshiba Vision screen to help raise awareness about the most pressing global challenges in one of the main crossroads of the world, said UNDP Assistant Administrator Sigrid Kaag. Only by working together with world leaders, the private sector, and individuals, can we make real progress towards ending poverty and hunger, improving the health of mothers and children, fighting preventable diseases, and protecting the environment.

Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter-television host-actress Kelly Rowland helped premiere the new video message via a live call, saying, We all can send the message to world leaders that we care about these goals and want to make a difference. Rowland joined the call to action by inviting her friends and fans to get involved. You dont have to be a celebrity or a world leader or a billionaire to make a difference. Everyone can do something today to make sure that women get an education, children are born with health and safety and families can live without the threat of disease.

The MDGs are a to-do list for the UN, world leaders, and citizens alike, said Rick Parnell of the UN Foundation. By placing this important message on the big screen in Times Square, we hope everyone will see that they too can help the UN create a better world. We want people to share the urgent call to action in their respective town squares across the U.S. and the world. We are thankful to Toshiba for providing its Toshiba Vision screen at One Times Square to help amplify the discussion about these important goals.

This month, all eyes are on New York where world leaders will meet at the UN headquarters for the MDG Review Summit – marking the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the eight goals by all 192 UN member-states. From September 20-24, 2010, President Barack Obama and other world leaders will deliver their plan to tackle the biggest problems facing the world today.

The 30-second PSA debuting today was produced by GOOD in partnership with the UN Foundation and Millennium Promise. It focuses on the eight MDGs: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability, and develop a global partnership for development. The PSA will continue airing on the Toshiba Vision screen throughout the month of September as world leaders meet at the UN General Assembly, UN MDG Summit, the Clinton Global Initiative and other high-level meetings.

Three additional PSAs will air on the Toshiba Vision screen, focusing on how individuals can help the UN advance the MDGs by empowering and educating girls, ending preventable childhood diseases, and protecting the environment. They will be broadcasted along with the new MDG PSA throughout the month of September. The videos are available for viewing and downloading at http://www.unfoundation.org/mdgs. The UN Foundation encourages people everywhere to use these announcements and share them with networks through social media, broadcast, and other channels to raise awareness about how people everywhere can get involved in tackling global problems.

To watch the PSAs and to learn more about how to advance the MDGs, visit http://www.unfoundation.org/mdgs. For high-res images and b-roll footage of the PSAs on the screen, please contact klornsen(at)unfoundation(dot)org.

To learn more about the United Nations Development Programme and its work around the world to combat poverty visit http://www.undp.org.

About the United Nations Foundation

The United Nations Foundation, a public charity was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turners historic $ 1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. We build and implement public/private partnerships to address the worlds most pressing problems, and work to broaden support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach. Through our campaigns and partnerships, we connect people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The campaigns we conduct reduce child mortality, empower women and girls, create a new energy future, secure peace and human rights, and promote technology innovation to improve health outcomes. These solutions are helping the UN advance the eight global targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). For more information, visit http://www.unfoundation.org.

About Toshiba Vision

Prominently positioned below the world-famous New Year countdown ball in New York Citys Times Square business and entertainment district, Toshibas massive dual LED signboards, known collectively as TOSHIBA VISION, serve a variety of promotional and public-service functions. In addition to illuminating the annual New Year countdown for upwards of 1 billion celebrants worldwide, the Interlocking System connects both boards in brilliant seasonal displays and animated sporting events. From atop One Times Square Building, one of the most valuable advertising locations in the world, TOSHIBA VISION ensures superb domestic and international media exposure, providing the Toshiba brand with unrivalled quantitative and qualitative promotional benefits. For more information on the TOSHIBA VISION LED signboards please visit http://www.toshibavision.com.


Daphna Edwards Ziman’s The Gray Zone Hits New York Times Fiction Bestseller List

Austin, TX (PRWEB) July 08, 2011

The Gray Zone by Daphna Edwards Ziman, published by Greenleaf Book Group, hit #33 on the The New York Times’ extended list of Print Hardcover Best Sellers. Edwards Ziman’s debut novel shares the story of a terrified single mother who travels through hell and back to clear her name and protect her children from their maniacal father. A rich, fast-paced read, The Gray Zone relates a gripping tale while exposing the chilling realities of sexual trafficking of minors, including children in the foster care system. The book also was honored as number four fiction hardcover on the Washington Post Political Bookworm list.

One of the nation’s leading advocates for at-risk children, Daphna Edwards Ziman is the founder and chairperson of CUN (Children Uniting Nations), the chairperson of ABC LOVE (Adoption Brings Children Love) and a board member for HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters). She has received numerous accolades including the Jacqueline Kennedy Award from JFK University, the Women of Achievement Award from the North American Council for Adoptable Children, the Uniting Children of the World Award from the Child Welfare League of America, the Peace & Tolerance Lifetime Achievement Award for Child Advocacy, the Spirit of Compassion Award from the Aviva Family and Children Services, the Spirit of Life Award from LA’s City of Hope and the Blue Skies Award from the Penny Lane Center.

Her writing of “The Gray Zone” was inspired by her desire to expose tragic instances of foster children compelled to prostitution.


Actor Amanda Peet Launches New Video Message for Mothers Day in Times Square Celebrating the Milestones of Childhood

New York, NY (PRWEB) May 11, 2012

As people across the country prepare to celebrate Mothers Day this weekend, the United Nations Foundations Shot@Life campaign debuted a new public service announcement on the Toshiba Vision screen in Times Square today to raise awareness about the value of vaccines to protect children in developing countries from preventable diseases. Top influential online moms decided to mark Mothers Day with this important message.

Mother and actor Amanda Peet, along with Dr. Jacob Kumaresen, Executive Director of the World Health Organization office at the UN; unveiled the PSA with a signature 10, 9, 8 Times Square countdown during a launch event at the Renaissance New York Times Square Hotel.

Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a vaccine-preventable disease, but those deaths can be prevented with access to vaccines that cost just a few dollars. We hope this PSA inspires the millions of people who travel through Times Square to take action and join the campaign, said Devi Thomas, Director of Shot@Life. We are thankful to Toshiba for providing its world-famous Toshiba Vision screen to help amplify the discussion about vaccines and the role we all play in helping to create a safer and healthier world.

As a mother and an Every Child by Two Vaccine Ambassador to the Shot@Life campaign, Amanda Peet has been a passionate advocate of vaccines for children for years. Its proven- vaccines are life-saving. I cant imagine my daughters not reaching major milestones because of a preventable disease like pneumonia, diarrhea, measles or polio. No mother should have to imagine that, said Peet. We know vaccines work and for only $ 20, we can help protect a child from these four diseases. All children should have the opportunity to lead healthy lives and experience all of lifes priceless moments.

The Shot@Life campaign, which launched nationally last month, in Atlanta, GA aims to raise awareness and funding in the U.S. to ensure that children in developing countries have access to life-saving vaccines. We have the ability to prevent 1.5 million deaths each year simply by getting vaccines to the children that need them. This Mothers Day, lets give those 1 million mothers the gift of watching their children grow up and lead healthy lives, said Thomas.

The PSA will air in the crossroads of New York City through June 2012. To view the PSA or to learn more about Shot@Life visit ShotAtLife.org.


About Shot@Life

Shot@Life educates, connects and empowers Americans to champion vaccines as one of the most cost-effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries. A national call to action for this global cause, the campaign rallies the American public, members of Congress, and civil society partners around the fact that together, we can save a childs life every 20 seconds by expanding access to vaccines. By encouraging Americans to learn about, advocate for, and donate vaccines, the United Nations Foundations Shot@Life campaign will decrease vaccine-preventable childhood deaths and give children a shot at a healthy life. To learn more, go to ShotAtLife.org.

About The United Nations Foundation

The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the worlds most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by global corporations, foundations, governments, and individuals. For more information, visit http://www.unfoundation.org.

About Every Child By Two

Every Child By Two, Carter/Bumpers Champions for Immunization, works to ensure that all children receive timely immunizations and continues to seek methods to institutionalize vaccine delivery and ensure access to vaccines for all children.

About Toshiba Vision

Prominently positioned below the world-famous New Year countdown ball in New York Citys Times Square business and entertainment district, Toshibas massive dual LED signboards, known collectively as TOSHIBA VISION, serve a variety of promotional and public-service functions. In addition to illuminating the annual New Year countdown for upwards of 1 billion celebrants worldwide, the Interlocking System connects both boards in brilliant seasonal displays and animated sporting events. From atop One Times Square Building, one of the most valuable advertising locations in the world, TOSHIBA VISION ensures superb domestic and international media exposure, providing the Toshiba brand with unrivalled quantitative and qualitative promotional benefits. For more information on the TOSHIBA VISION LED signboards please visit http://www.facebook.com/ToshibaInnovation.

The Roots of Tragedy: Lakota Peoples Law Project Challenges New York Times Povertys Poster Child OpEd by Nicholas Kristof

Santa Cruz, CA (PRWEB) May 30, 2012

Mr. Kristof did not address the core causes of poverty and social dysfunction among the Oceti Sakowin Oyate the People of the Seven Council Fires a people we know as the Sioux, claims the Lakota Peoples Law Project. (According to Native American linguists, the name Sioux is actually an insult meaning little snakes and was given to the Dakota by the Ojibwa People. The People of the Seven Council Fires are divided into three groups according to their dialect: Dakota, Nakota, and Lakota.) Mr. Kristof mentions various symptoms at the Pine Ridge Reservation that deter investment and economic prosperity. One is the fact that the land is held in common and frequent changes in tribal government leave investors at a disadvantage. Another is that according to Mr. Kristof and most other observers, the land itself cannot support many types of economic development, as demonstrated by the fact that white communities in the region and throughout rural America are contracting or even disappearing. While gambling and other ventures have worked as sources of income for some reservations, Mr. Kristof states, But here in the prairies, those riches are only rumors. In addition, Mr. Kristof quotes Robert Brave Heart who runs the Red Cloud Indian School, People here still have to develop good work habits, even getting to work on time, Brave Heart said. And people here have constant family crises that cause them to miss work.

The Lakota Peoples Law Project finds it perplexing that a journalist of Mr. Kristofs standing and achievement would overlook certain basic anthropological findings regarding the conquest of indigenous peoples. The People of the Seven Council Fires should be wealthy, but they were denied their treaty rights to gold in the Black Hills. The 2011 Indian trust lands case Cobell v. Salazar (Case No. 1:96CV01285 (D.D.C.) ) found that the federal government violated its duties by (a) mismanaging trust funds/assets, (b) improperly accounting for those funds, and (c) mismanaging trust land/assets (Indian Trust Settlement Summary Notice ). Preliminary estimates of what the tribes are owed are in the billions of dollars. We will never know the full amount because no records were kept by the Department of the Interior according to court records in the Cobell case.

Lakota Peoples Law Project consulting anthropologist, Randolfo Pozos, PhD. asserts that The structure of the tribal governments was imposed as a way to break up the fundamental clan and family structure of the People of the Seven Council Fires. Tribal governments have been plagued by a lack of transparency, corruption, and dysfunction as seen in a recent series of indictments. Assimilation efforts motivated the wholesale kidnapping of generations of Native children and their detention in boarding schools from the late 1800s to the early 1960s.

Nevertheless, the Lakota Peoples Law Project sees ethnic bleaching still persisting in the form of policies and practices by South Dakota that defy the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act. As Laura Sullivan reveals in her NPR report, Nearly 90 percent of Native American children sent to foster care in South Dakota are placed in non-native homes or group care. This violates the Indian Child Welfare Act which mandates that all active efforts necessary be undertaken by state D.S.S. officials to place Indian children removed from their Native parents homes with their closest Indian relatives. The Lakota Peoples Law Project investigation asserts that over the last ten years, Lakota children in South Dakota have been systematically removed from their Lakota parents under factual circumstances under which white children would never have been taken away from their white parents. Thus, without fundamental structural change within the South Dakota government, the Lakota Peoples Law Project sees no way for there to be comprehensive or lasting relief for the symptoms Mr. Kristof aptly describes.

The Lakota Peoples Law Project sees the 2011 Cobell case, which has awarded Native communities $ 3.4 billion in federal money for past mismanagement of Indian trust lands, as a step in the direction of healing past wrongs against Native Americans. Nevertheless, the Lakota Peoples Law Project advocates increasing the settlement significantly to represent an amount closer to the true value lost to Native people.

Our trust lands and our children must no longer be a cash cow for state governments states director of the Lakota Grandmothers Project, Madonna Thunderhawk, The efforts of the Lakota grandmothers to hold the state of South Dakota accountable for its defiance of the Indian Child Welfare Act and the disappearances of our grandchildren are only the first drumbeats of a political and cultural resurgence by the Lakota people. There is a small but growing movement among the Lakota grandmothers to create our own tribal Child and Family Services and Foster Care funded by the Federal government, without state involvement.

For the complete story on the South Dakota State violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act and Native American rights, please listen to Laura Sullivans Peabody Award-winning NPR story Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families, which ran last October.

According to the leaders of the Lakota Peoples Law Project, the national outrage as seen in the hundreds of comments posted on NPR, Facebook, and Twitter in support of the Native Lakota in response to the NPR expose has caused a sharp counter attack by the governor and attorney general of South Dakota, including criminal indictments against Lakota child welfare advocates attorney Brandon Taliaferro and court appointed special advocate Shirley Schwab. The Lakota Peoples Law Project has documented the States counter strike in a special report Justice as Retaliation: How the State of South Dakota is Attempting to Punish Native American Child Advocates and Protect Child Abusers The Mette Case. To read the full Special Report, please visit: http://lakotalaw.org/special-reports/

Over the last seven years the Lakota Peoples Law Projects has worked with the Lakota to develop a long-term, holistic vision for change. What emerged were seven long-term objectives:


TSDHS Confirms Laredo TX Flu Outbreak; Six Times Higher Than 2011; Contrasts Little Flu Activity Elsewhere in U.S.; Laredo health, school officials alert families, recommend immediate actions


Oct. 13, 2012 (PRWEB) October 13, 2012 — The Texas State Dept. of Health Services (TSDHS) in Austin confirmed this week two Laredo school districts are reporting influenza cases this season, which are running at levels six times higher than in 2011.

The states acknowledgement is in sharp contrast to a recent report of sparse flu activity in the United States by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. The CDC is now conducting further confirmatory testing, which was spurred by a new in-the-field surveillance system.

This surprising early influenza outbreak at levels usually seen only in the winter months has been present almost from the onset in late August of the fall 2012 semester for both the Laredo Independent (LISD) and United Independent (UISD) school districts, said Dr. Vincent Friedewald, Chief Medical Officer for Argus1 Systems, Austin.

The TSDHS this week identified samples obtained from children in the Laredo outbreak to be Type B influenza virus, and not the swine flu variety being sporadically reported across the USA during the past summer.

The testing of samples was spurred by the Laredo school districts use of a highly advanced, Internet-based, instant reporting system developed by Argus1 Systems Corp. of Austin, TX.

The City of Laredo Health Department (CLHD) and the LISD were the first in the nation to fully test and install the Internet-reporting system in 2009-10 for early identification of a possible novel Influenza H1N1 virus infection of students, teachers and staff. The virulent infectious illness became commonly known as the swine flu.

The Argus1 system immediately notifies sickness cases to the health department at the time each child visits the school nurse. This instantaneous reporting, as opposed to standard once-weekly paper faxed formats, is one possible explanation for Laredos early recognition of the current influenza outbreak.

Early Warning, Findings & Action

The Argus1 system is used to help nurses care for and report on about 65,000 students in the two districts, Friedewald explained It is used daily by more than 80 nurses, as well as by monitoring personnel at the citys health department.

Detailed analysis of the cases in the outbreak is underway, confirmed Friedewald. We have found in the surveillance reports that all schools, kindergarten to 12th grade (K-12), are involved.

Gastrointestinal complaints, especially nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are much more common in this outbreak compared to past years, although the usual flu symptoms of fever, cough and sore throat still dominate, he said.

Friedewald, a former leading researcher with Arizona Heart Institute in Phoenix, is currently Associate Editor of The American Journal of Cardiology, a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the

University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston and an Adjunct Senior Research Professor at Indiana University School of Medicine in South Bend, IN. The former Mass Communications professor at Notre Dame is widely published in several fields.

As a result of the outbreak, Laredo health and school officials are putting out alerts. Letters from the schools to households are urging parents to have their children vaccinated immediately, as well as undertake hygienic measures to help combat the flu.

It is imperative that families get flu immunization, emphasized Irene Rosales, Chief of Nursing and Health Services Director for UISD. Additionally, parents should encourage their children to wash hands frequently, to cover coughing and sneezing and to avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. And if they are sick, stay home.

Sandra Gallegos, Health Services Coordinator for the Laredo I.S.D., agrees, adding: We must do all we can to keep our schools open to students and functioning normally despite this unexpected outbreak.

The Laredo flu outbreak also should serve as a warning to other communities that their populations should be vaccinated as soon as possible, Dr. Friedewald said. The influenza we are seeing in Laredo is likely coming their way, too, and maybe a lot sooner than anyone expects.

Historic Applications

The City of Laredo, a major U.S.-Mexico land port of entry, has played a key role in the design and development of the Argus1 System, serving as a test site from 2003 to 2008. Based on extensive testing and refinement, the system was re-deployed for the 2009-10 school year, with particular attention to the then new Influenza A H1N1 virus.

According to Christine Hsu reporting in Medical Daily (June 27, 2012), The 2009 swine flu pandemic may have killed 284,500 people globally, 15 times more people than reported at the time, according to the first report to estimate the death toll.

A study, published earlier in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, focused on figures in poorer countries and found that the H1N1 flu virus, which particularly effects young persons, may even be responsible for as many as 579,000 deaths, a dramatic difference from the World Health Organization original estimate of 18,500.

The system provides decision support for school nurses and other providers in caring for sick students; instant alerts such as vaccine recommendations; and continuous reporting and tracking of outbreaks to the CLHD and school authorities.

Argus1 also can be used by physician offices, emergency medical responders and hospital emergency departments, noted Robert Burns, Director of Information Technology for Argus1 Systems.

This system also provides point-of-contact surveillance for other forms of influenza as well as the potential to track other public health infectious diseases and chemical agents that the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security has identified as possible agents in a biological or chemical terrorist attack, Burns stated.

In 2009, Patricia Keck, MSN, RN, and now past Director of LISD Health Services, stated:

Argus1 will be an important part of our Fight the Flu program. By quickly receiving reports from school nurses, LISD Health Services Dept. in conjunction with the City, is able to track illness patterns. If an illness pattern develops at an LISD school, we will provide the school with intensified flu prevention recommendations. Argus1 is a valuable weapon in fighting flu outbreaks.

In addition to assisting nurses caring for sick students, Argus1 provides a distinctive reporting function to the CLHD, Friedewald said at that time. The system is secured and uses both landline and wireless Internet-connected computers.

This surveillance system is an important adjunct to track and monitor disease from the onset at the provider level and to quickly report to the CLHD for a rapid response intervention to contain disease, Hector Gonzalez, MD, MPH, Director of the citys Health Dept., said in 2009.

Signs, symptoms, test results

An important part of the Laredo-Argus program involves assessment of patients signs, symptoms and test results, which are instantly transformed into a comprehensive list of possible disease causes and detailed information about each of the diseases.

Additionally, when a persons symptoms match any of nine categories of public health syndromes, including influenza-like illnesses, the exact time and location is reported to both the CLHD and to the central office of the School District, Burns explained.

All reported cases are displayed on a map of the City of Laredo so that potential cases are immediately tracked to help officials decide how to prevent its spread throughout the schools and the community at large.

The beginning of every school year and every flu season is a potentially very dangerous period since a new influenza virus can strike young persons

Heath-Newton LLP Featured in New York Times

San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) April 26, 2013

Family Lawyer, Erik W. Newton of Heath-Newton LLP, shared his legal expertise on prenuptial agreements in an opinion piece on March 21 in the New York Times. Heath-Newton LLP is a family law firm in San Francisco that has built their reputation on guiding their clients through the stressful process of divorce with compassion and sound legal expertise. Newtons article sheds a unique light on the often controversial subject of prenuptial agreements.

Newton explains that each state has its own laws regarding marriage and divorce, and those laws are no more or less a premarital agreement. This unique perspective begs the question of whether couples would prefer to create their own premarital agreement or if they feel the states laws are sufficient. “The question is not whether you should have a prenup, but whether you want your states default version of one,” said Newton.

For most couples, Newton says, the states default prenup works. It has been crafted over hundreds of years both through common law and common sense. It is up to the couple to do the research to find out if the state laws are in their best interests. Newton then goes on to explain the state prenup gives couples the opportunity to discuss important topics like finances.

For the article in its entirety, please visit: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/03/21/the-power-of-the-prenup/you-already-have-a-prenup.

About the Company:

At Heath-Newton LLP, they specialize in family law, asset protection and estate planning services. Based in San Francisco, their boutique firm has earned a reputation for managing their clients cases well, reaching successful resolutions, and minimizing costs and disruption to their clients lives.

They have handled a long list of family law cases, including a broad range of issues facing new families (such as domestic partnerships, premarital agreements, adoption and more), as well as divorce mediation, asset division, child custody and child and spouse support. They also have extensive experience in estate planning, wills, probate, mediation, living wills and trusts.

Collectively, their attorneys have thousands of hours of experience, allowing them to be both efficient and effective. They are guided by a practical approach that emphasizes avoiding litigation to minimize costs and disruption; however, they can and will be fierce litigators when all other strategies have proven ineffective. For more information on their divorce lawyers, please visit their website at http://www.heathnewton.com. To discuss a situation with one of their attorneys, please call them at (415) 398-1290.