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Two Flu-related Deaths Confirmed in North Georgia


    Dalton (GA) - The Georgia Department of Public Health has confirmed two
flu-related deaths in North Georgia. Of the current 19 confirmed
flu-related deaths in Georgia, these are the only two that have been

reported thus far for the North Georgia Health District, comprised of
Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield Counties.
   Both of the deceased were middle-aged, and there is no evidence in the
Georgia Registry of Immunization Transactions and Services that either
of them had received an influenza vaccination.
   Health officials continue to stress the importance of getting a flu
shot and that anyone 6 months and older who has not yet gotten a flu
vaccination this season should get one now at their local health
department, through their healthcare provider or at a pharmacy that
provides flu shots.

UPDATED: Dog trapped in burning home released from emergency clinic

Family asks for help with veterinary bills



Chili the boxer/mix that was injured in a Sunday fire.

     "Chili" was released from Cobb Emergency Veterinary Clinic to her grandmother, Becky McElhenney, yesterday afternoon after 54 hours in ICU.    She will continue her rehabilitation with Dr. Chester at Animal Medical Clinic of Jasper.  Her rehab consists of medical management of burns to her esophagus, eyes, and skin.  She is on oral and topical antibiotics, gastrointestinal protectant, ophthalmic antibiotics, and pain medication as well as humidification for her lungs. 

Concerns for "Chili" at this point are that patients with smoke inhalation and thermal wounds can initially appear o.k. and then worsen.  They are at risk for secondary pneumonia, fluid build up in the lungs, ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome).  Wounds can initially appear o.k. and then become infected or necrotic (tissue can die).

Friends To The Forlorn has set up the Ucare account to accept donations for her medical expenses at:

Read original story below:


     Chili, a boxer mix that was trapped inside her owner’s burning home in Nelson Sunday morning, is facing a long recovery after enduring thermal burns on her skin, eyes and to her lungs.
    Chili was inside her Winchester Oaks home, trapped, before being rescued by her owner, Shane McElhenney.

A neighbor, Heather Jackson, said when she was awoken at 6 a.m. and saw the home engulfed in flames she also found Chili collapsed on her lawn. Jackson said McElhenney told her he heard his dog screaming and he ran back in to get her.
    “I could already see she had thermal burns on her skin and her eyes and you could tell she had damage to her lungs because she was having difficulty breathing,” Jackson said.
    Jackson works at the Cobb Emergency Veterinary Clinic and McElhenney asked her to have Chili treated.
    Jackson described the 8-year-old Chili as a “very sweet dog who is now just very sad” because of her injuries.
    “When you see her eyes they kind of have this - it’s almost like a plastic coating look to them like a white film on them at first,” Jackson said. “As the eyes try to heal they develop ulcers so she has those on her eyes now.”
    Jackson said Monday the veterinarian is concerned about “esophageal burns from the smoke inhalation and thermal heat during the fire.” The good news, she said, is that radiographs of her chest on Monday revealed that her lungs are clear.
    McElhenney’s mother, Becky, said Chili still has a lot of medical issues to face but “she’s part of our family”.
    Chili is receiving 24-hour intensive care, continuous oxygen therapy, IV fluids, IV antibiotics, IV pain medications, oral gastrointestinal medications, eye medications, and external wound management for first and second degree burns.
    “Her external wounds look worse today (Monday) which is to be expected. However, her eyes do look a little better,” Jackson said. “An initial attempt at weaning her out of the oxygen chamber failed Sunday night.”
    Anyone wishing to help with a donation towards Chili’s care should visit and go to the emergency vet’s PayPal link. Jackson said to list Chili’s name in the information area so funds are routed into her account.
    “She does have a good chance of recovery - it’s just going to be a long road,” Jackson said.

Flu may be worst in past decade


     Piedmont Mountainside Hospital has seen multiple admissions for flu this season and the severity of those cases are worse than in previous years, according to emergency room doctor Dr. Larry Simpson.
    “The consensus in the emergency room is we’re seeing more flu cases than usual and the severity is worse than usual,” Dr. Simpson said.
     For the rest of this story see our print or online editions.

Jasper man builds snow-making machine


                                                                                                                               Damon Howell / Photo

     One Fitts Road  family made the most of this week's arctic cold snap with their very own homemade snow-making machine. Kenny Lyman built the machine after his third-grade daughter Samantha begged him for snow.

County to take out $6 million TAN

Budget overages led to diminishing fund/cash balances, according to report




     At their January work session, the board of commissioners accepted a bid from Regions Bank for a $6 million Tax Anticipated Note, or TAN, to help fund 2014 operations. 
    TANs are short-term loans, which for several years have been used by the Pickens government to cover operating expenses. They have also been the subject of much public criticism the past two years.
    TANs are typically originated in the beginning of January and must be paid off no later than December 31 of the same year.

See the rest of this story in our print or online editions.