Business Leader Touts “STAY-cation” Perks Of Chautauqua Region

first_imgImage via – A local business leader is recommending residents in Chautauqua County to take a “STAY-cation” this summer as several national destinations were added to the state’s quarantine list.Todd Tranum, President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce is highlighting several attractions that residents can take advantage of in our own backyard.“Soak up the sun and relax on the water on any of our fabulous lakes,” said Tranum in his weekly Chamber Corner letter to the community. “There are beaches available on Lake Erie, Chautauqua Lake, Findley Lake, and the Cassadaga Lakes. Marinas are readily available where you can rent a boat for the day and give your family a nautical adventure.”Image via says in addition to aquatic actives, residents can cool off by visiting local wineries, breweries, and distilleries. “You can sample and purchase some terrific locally made beverages,” explained Tranum. “Social distancing is still required, but some have outdoor venues and others have created outdoor spaces in order to make visitors more comfortable.”Tranum says if all those recreational activities aren’t enough, most local museums and attractions have reopened in capacity.“Spend some time touring the National Comedy Center, the Lucy-Desi Museum, any one of the fascinating local history museums or the Robert H. Jackson Center, and see great art at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute or one of the small local galleries located throughout our county,” said Tranum. “We urge you to call first or check their websites to learn about appointments and protocols.”Image via learn more about recreational and cultural experiences available in Chautauqua County, visit Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Costa Rica Cracks Down on Illegal Explosives Smuggled from Nicaragua

first_img SAN JOSÉ — Pyrotechnics are a deep-rooted tradition in Costa Rica, but the proliferation of illegal fireworks has the nation’s Ministry of Public Security on edge. “Unfortunately we have seen an increase in burns and injuries from these explosives,” the ministry’s arms director, William Hidalgo, told Dialogo, noting a jump in smuggling of explosives from neighboring Nicaragua. In response, the ministry — in an alliance with the Red Cross and a local children’s hospital — has launched a campaign called “Zero burned, zero suffering, zero pain and zero dead” [Cero quemados, cero sufrimiento, cero dolor, cero muertes]. The campaign is geared primarily toward preventing injuries to children. Statistics from the Public Security Ministry showed that 70 percent of hospitalizations involving illegal explosives last year were of children between the ages of 1 and 4. “The campaign consists of banners and commercials designed to educate the public about the danger of different types of gunpowder,” said ministry spokesman Carlos Hidalgo Flores. “It informs people of the law and the danger of burns to children.” Most of these injuries result not from large professional fireworks shows, but from poorly made gunpowder-packed explosives sold illegally at convenience stores throughout Costa Rica. While most of these fireworks are used for celebrations, they’re beginning to crop up in criminal investigations as well. “We find them in clandestine locations, like houses or buses,” said Flores. “More and more we see people trying to bring explosives across the border. We are not sure what they are being used for.” One of the Public Security Ministry’s main concerns is the importation of explosives from Nicaragua. In the last two months of 2011 alone, police seized 92,000 units of explosives at Peñas Blancas, Costa Rica’s most popular border crossing with Nicaragua. “Many gunpowder factories in Nicaragua have no type of quality control,” Security Minister Marío Zamora told the press at the launch of the safety campaign. “These products often have technical problems and increase the chances for accidents.” Costa Rica is not known for producing illegal explosives, but is a large importer, said Zamora, adding that his ministry has beefed up security at the border in response to the increased flow of smuggled explosives. Since the start of the campaign last November, the Public Security Ministry has confiscated more than 9,000 units of gunpowder in rural Costa Rica; most of these seizures were at convenience stores selling fireworks illegally. While fireworks are the most common illegal explosive, 2012 saw a number of other explosives seizures. On Dec. 29, police in Cartago pulled over a truck and found two men with 27 sticks of dynamite. Under Article 93 of the Costa Rican constitution, the arms and explosives law, the men face three to seven years in prison if found guilty. By Dialogo January 21, 2013last_img read more

The 4 faces of bird flu

first_img(CIDRAP Source Weekly Briefing) – Bird flu is 4 problems, not 1. Keeping them straight is a prerequisite to sensible risk communication—and sensible preparedness.Vocabulary lessons are a pain. But sloppy language use has encouraged sloppy thinking, greatly compounding our preparedness problems. Millions of people think flu pandemics come from birds. Millions think Asia already has a pandemic. Millions think when the pandemic gets here the only people it will endanger are those who get the flu. These mistakes are grounded in confusion about the 4 faces of bird flu.So grit your teeth for a crucial vocabulary primer.1. The ongoing epizootic.A widespread infectious disease outbreak in a nonhuman species is called an epizootic.An epizootic of the influenza strain called H5N1 is currently wreaking havoc among birds in parts of Asia and Africa. This strain of H5N1 is incredibly infectious and incredibly deadly to domestic poultry. It is the worst bird flu in recorded history. Even if it never becomes a serious human health problem, it will remain a big deal for farmers and veterinarians.Many experts think H5N1 is already widespread enough to be considered a panzootic (worldwide outbreak) instead of an epizootic; others think that’s premature, since it hasn’t been found yet in the western hemisphere.For decades, animal outbreaks have routinely been called epidemics and pandemics instead of epizootics and panzootics by professionals who know better. It’s probably too late to cure them of this bad habit. But readers of this newsletter shouldn’t follow them into it. Distinguish the current animal epizootic from the possible future human pandemic. (The experts defend their longstanding historical misuse of the technical vocabulary—all the while ridiculing the media and the public for getting confused. Wouldn’t it be neat if businesspeople were to start using the terminology correctly?)2. The occasional zoonotic infection.From time to time a disease that’s common in animals passes to an unlucky human or two. That’s called a zoonotic infection.As of Jan 24, H5N1 has infected 269 people that we know about, out of millions of people exposed to infected poultry. H5N1 passes easily from bird to bird. But so far it passes from bird to human only with great difficulty—and from human to human with greater difficulty still.What’s scary is this: While very few people have become infected with H5N1, a huge percentage of that tiny number—roughly 60% —have died. That compares to a US case fatality rate of about 2½% for the infamous 1918 flu pandemic, and far below 1% for the typical seasonal flu.A 60% case fatality rate is terrifying. But H5N1 is still a minor public health problem. Even poultry farmers whose flocks contract the disease face a surprisingly small risk to their health—so small that they rightly smell a rat when authorities say they need to kill their birds to keep themselves healthy (rather than to keep the disease from spreading to nearby flocks). The zoonotic risk faced by chicken consumers and other non-farmers is immeasurably small.For zoonotic infections to become a major problem, the virus would have to mutate in a way that enabled it to pass easily from birds to humans. Nobody talks much about that possibility. Most experts are guessing that it’s probably less likely than the possibility they talk about incessantly: that H5N1 may mutate so it passes easily from humans to humans.3. The mild pandemic.If H5N1 ever “learns” efficient human-to-human transmission, we will have a pandemic. By then H5N1 probably won’t be bird flu anymore. It will have mutated (or reassorted) into a human flu—a new human flu to which we have no natural resistance and for which we have (at the start) no vaccine. At that point, unless zoonotic infections become common for the first time in influenza history, birds will cease to be an issue. We’ll be worrying about catching the disease from each other. The pandemic risk in places where the birds are healthy will be exactly the same as the risk in places where they’re infected.Of the 4 “faces” of bird flu, in other words, 2 of them aren’t bird flu all; they are possible pandemic descendents. Phrases like “bird flu pandemic” are intrinsically confusing. Such phrases confuse the 2 bird flu problems we have now (bird-to-bird and bird-to-human) with the 2 pandemic, human-to-human problems we’re worried about.Why 2 pandemic problems? Because not all pandemics are the same.Do you have vivid memories of the pandemics of 1957 (H2N2) and 1968 (H3N2)? Neither do I. They were serious enough to kill significantly more people than the typical flu season kills. They were serious enough to lead to some hospital surge capacity problems and even some business absenteeism problems. But unless you were paying close attention or happened to know someone who became sick, they were easy to miss.If H5N1 causes a pandemic like those 2, it will be something of an anticlimax. Companies worried enough about pandemic preparedness to subscribe to this newsletter will presumably cope better with a mild pandemic than non-subscribers. But non-subscribers will get through it okay, too. And both will wonder a bit what all the fuss was about.4. The severe pandemic.By contrast, the 1918 pandemic (H1N1) killed more people than World War 1. It was the mother of all flu pandemics. If H5N1 causes a pandemic like 1918’s, nobody is going to think it anticlimactic.Nor is 1918 the worst-case scenario. What if H5N1 acquires efficient human-to-human transmission without becoming less fatal in the process? Imagine a disease that’s as contagious as a bad flu season (infecting, say, 30% of the population) and as deadly as H5N1 is today (killing 60% of those it infects). It would be an unprecedented human health catastrophe. Since a flu pandemic that bad has never happened before, most experts figure it probably won’t happen this time. But H5N1 has already broken a lot of influenza records. And things that have never happened before happen all the time.Medically, 2 factors determine the severity of a pandemic: what percentage of the population gets sick, and what percentage of those who get sick die. But there’s a third factor that’s at least as important as those 2: how much the pandemic disrupts society’s infrastructure. Does the power go off? Does the water treatment plant run out of chlorine? Do the supermarkets run out of food? Are diabetes patients unable to replenish their supplies of insulin and syringes? Are there riots and looting? Does your company stop performing even its most essential functions?What sort of pandemic a society prepares for depends on who’s in charge of preparing. To most departments of health, pandemic preparedness is about social distancing, about quarantine and hygiene strategies, and about having enough medicine, ventilators, and nurses to cope with the influx of flu patients. In other words, health departments are preparing mostly for a mild pandemic. Departments of emergency management, on the other hand, are thinking about keeping the power going and the water potable. They’re worried about infrastructure resilience and social stability. They’re preparing for a severe pandemic.Smart companies are preparing for both—and being clear about the difference.An internationally renowned expert in risk communication and crisis communication, Peter Sandman speaks and consults widely on communication aspects of pandemic preparedness. Dr. Sandman, Deputy Editor, contributes an original column to CIDRAP Source Weekly Briefing every other week. Most of his risk communication writing is available without charge at the Peter Sandman Risk Communication Web Site ( For an index of pandemic-related writing on the site, see For more on the vocabulary of bird flu, see (written with Jody Lanard).last_img read more

Vanover, Spaw check out on Stock Car foes

first_imgKyle Vanover topped the first Thursday night qualifier for Stock Cars at the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s. (Photo by Melissa Coker, Melissa’s Out On A Limb Photography)BOONE, Iowa (Sept. 6) – Kyle Vanover and Johnny Spaw both made sure the race was for second Thursday at Boone Speedway.Vanover led all 25 laps in winning the first IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s Stock Car qualifying feature and Spaw more than matched that impressive run in the second.The top four drivers in each feature advance to the middle row of Saturday’s main event.Twelfth starting Jeff Tubbs, 15th starting Jeff Mueller and 16th starting Jason See chased Vanover to the checkers. Luke Lemmens, 2010 champion Jeremy Christians and two-time champion Donavon Smith were scored behind Spaw. Hunter Marriott, Bryan Rigsby and Justin Nehring were disqualified in post-race tech for rev limiter, compression and failed rear suspension, respectively.Tubbs settled in behind Vanover following the first of two cautions just after midway; Mueller and See made their way into the top four with five laps left.Spaw was the master of traffic as the nightcap stayed green the final 20 circuits. Lemmens ran second following the lap five restart but Spaw checked out on everybody.Christians and Smith both qualified for the 12th time in their careers, Vanover for the sixth, Mueller for the fifth, See and Tubbs for the second, and Spaw and Lemmens for the first.1st qualifying feature – 1. Kyle Vanover, Beatrice, Neb.; 2. Jeff Tubbs, Colby, Kan.; 3. Jeff Mueller, Albion; 4. Jason See, Albia; 5. Chad Krogmeier, Burlington; 6. Travis Barker, Sioux City; 7. Jason Ward, Sioux City; 8. Randy Brands, Boyden; 9. Tom Cannon, West Branch; 10. Mathew West, Kellerton; 11. Jake Ludeking, Decorah; 12. Ryan Harris, Hubbard, Neb.; 13. Corey Piffer, Indianola; 14. Shane Stutzman, Milford, Neb.; 15. Norman Chesmore, Rowley; 16. Tony Ritterbush, Dunlap; 17. Dusty Springer, Colby, Kan.; 18. Shawn Wagner, Lena, Wis.; 19. Scott Davis, Madrid; 20. Chad Clancy, Polo, Mo.; 21. J.J. Heinz, Green Bay, Wis.; 22. Reid Keller, Webster City; 23. David Brandies, Wilton; 24. Marcus Fagan, Adair; 25. Billy Wade, San Angelo, Texas; 26. Austin Daae, Estevan, Sask.; 27. Mikey Dancer, North Platte, Neb.; 28. Aaron Stolp, Suamico, Wis.; 29. Bob Fuegmann, Minot, N.D.; 30. Brandon Pruitt, Stuart.2nd qualifying feature – 1. Johnny Spaw, Cedar Rapids; 2. Luke Lemmens, Madison, Wis.; 3. Jeremy Christians, Horicon, Wis.; 4. Donavon Smith, Lake City; 5. Tanner Pettitt, Norfolk, Neb.; 6. Michael Murphy, Jefferson; 7. Todd Reitzler, Grinnell; 8. Keith Knop, Shelby; 9. Justin Temeyer, Independence; 10. Pete Alexander, Albert Lea, Minn.; 11. Robert Stofer, Jefferson; 12. Matt Schauer, Arlington, Minn.; 13. Mark Schuenemann, Boulder Junction, Wis.; 14. Jay Goosmann, Merrill; 15. Andrew Borchardt, Plymouth; 16. Landon Mattox, Fairview, Okla.; 17. Jon Boller Jr., St. Joseph Mo.; 18. Rod Richards, Madrid; 19. A.J. Zimmerman, Cleveland, Minn.; 20. Luke Ramsey, Bedford; 21. Mark Zorn, Russell, Kan.; 22. Cary Heinen, Fort Dodge; 23. Jesse Taylor, Fort Morgan, Colo.; 24. Bruce Wickman, Emmetsburg; 25. Brad Whitney, Trenton, Mo.; 26. Les Lundquist, Sioux City; 27. Jeffrey Larson, Lakefield, Minn.Johnny Spaw checked out on everybody in winning the second Thursday night IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s Stock Car qualifier. (Photo by Carl Larson)last_img read more