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Stories Added - October 2009
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DETCOG gets update on H1N1 efforts
Polk County Enterprise - October 2009
WOODVILLE – The Regional Medical Director for the Texas Department of State Health Services, Dr. Paul McGaha, spoke to the elected officials on the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG) Board Thursday about his department’s plans for dealing with the H1N1 flu. While giving a brief history of the disease’s emergence, he commented that further study has shown the virus to be part swine flu, part avian flu and part common human flu, so now the disease is being identified as H1N1. He went on to say studies have shown children under the age of 12 to be hard hit by the disease, so the initial inoculations will be made available for them and in the form of a nasal spray. Dr. McGaha said the Texas Department of State Health Services will be placing its orders for H1N1 vaccines at the end of September with the first releases expected to arrive in mid-October.
Also speaking to the DETCOG Board were State Representative, Jim McReynolds and State Senator, Bob Nichols. McReynold’s talked about the recent ground-breaking for the Burke Center’s Psychiatric Emergency Service Center. He said that, until recently, law enforcement agencies in Deep East Texas didn’t have a place to take people in need of emergency psychiatric care, and he was pleased to have a part in its creation. After noting his work with Rep. McReynold’s on behalf of the region, Senator Nichols talked about the division in the Texas Senate being more “rural verses urban interest” than political parties. Expressing his concern over the region maintaining its control of water rights, he said the upcoming redistricting resulting from the 2010 Census may make that fight more difficult to win. In other business, DETCOG Second Vice President, Houston County Judge, Lonnie Hunt reported on the recent Texas Association of Regional Councils (TARC) conference. He announced that DETCOG Regional Solid Waste Planner, Gary Hanlon, had received recognition as “Solid Waste Planner of the Year” from TARC.
The award is given “for outstanding service and dedication to fellow planners and councils of governments” as well as “the improvement and maintenance of environmental quality in the State of Texas.” Hanlon administers solid waste and recycling grants for DETCOG’s 12-county region. He is an expert in storm debris and works closely with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on a variety of environmental issues. Because of a conflict with a Texas Municipal League conference, the next DETCOG Board meeting was rescheduled from Oct. 22 to Oct. 15. That meeting will be held in Newton County.