Monthly Archives: September 2008

Flu season begins Oct. 1; all-time high supply of vaccine available

Flu season officially begins Oct. 1, and public health officials nationwide are working hard to spread the word that there will be an all-time high supply of vaccine this year so more people than ever will be able to seek protection from the flu.

Flu shots are either now or will be available at many doctor’s offices, medical clinics, hospitals, pharmacies and health departments.

According to the National Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 5 to 20 percent of Americans will come down with the flu between Oct. 1 and May 1 — some 200,000 nationwide will be hospitalized as a result, and 36,000 will die.

The agency offers these tips to protect yourself and others from the flu:

• Cover your mouth and nose
• Clean your hands
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
• Avoid close contact with people who are already sick
• If you get sick, stay home
• If you feel sick, call your doctor
• Maintain a healthy lifestyle
• Get a flu shot

The CDC website reveals that early flu vaccination should begin as soon as vaccine is available and continue throughout the influenza season, into December, January, and beyond. Influenza season most often peaks in February, but influenza viruses can continue to cause illness into the spring. For people not able to get their influenza vaccine in the fall, vaccination in December, January and beyond is beneficial in most years.

The protection (immunity) provided by the vaccine lasts about a year, so vaccination in August or September provides protection for the duration of the United States flu season, which can last until April or May. Getting vaccinated as soon as vaccine is available may be most important for children being vaccinated against flu for the first time, who need to get two doses of flu vaccine at least 4 weeks apart.

The flu vaccine protects against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season. This year’s influenza vaccine contains three new influenza virus strains.

In general, anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu can get vaccinated. However, it is recommended by CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) that certain people should get vaccinated each year. Most of these people are recommended for vaccination because they are at high risk of having serious flu complications or they live with or care for people at high risk for serious complications.

People recommended for vaccination during the 2008-09 flu season are:

Children aged 6 months up to their 19th birthday
Pregnant women
People 50 years of age and older
People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
Health care workers
Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)

The Dallas County Health and Human Services Department begins offering flu shots to adults starting at 10 a.m. Monday at their office at 2377 North Stemmons Freeway, Suite 627A, in Dallas.

Call 214-819-2000 for more information.

Fundraising scam alert about businesses selling advertising for Royse City ISD

A fundraising scam alert has been issued by Royse City ISD to warn businesses in Royse City not to purchase advertising on T-shirts, cups, on the radio and stadium scoreboard by a company called End Zone, which is falsely claiming to represent Royse City ISD.

There may also be other companies attempting to sell merchandize and/or advertising which are not authorized by RCISD.

The alert was issued Sept. 22 by RCISD Superintendent Randy Hancock. It reads as follows:

September 22, 2008

Dear Royse City Chamber Members:

There has been at least one company – the one we know of is End Zone – that has gone around to some of our businesses in the area and used Royse City ISD as a way to sell advertising. They were selling advertising for cups or t-shirts and in turn they have promised “air time” during our football games and ads on the scoreboard. Please be aware, these groups are not sanctioned by us and they do not have the authority to use our district for their profit. Furthermore , if necessary, we will use legal action to stop these groups if they can be identified.

If you have anyone come by your business and offer to sell you ads – please verify that they are directly connected to the district. This should only be our booster clubs or student organizations. If someone comes to you, and you do not know them, ask who they are representing and ask for the sponsor’s name. If they provide you one – tell them you want to verify the event before you agree to anything. The above mentioned group actually provided one of our employee’s name so it seemed legitimate. So feel free to actually call the appropriate campus and speak to that person before you give them any money.

I apologize to those of you that may have been caught in one of these deals. We appreciate the support we receive from everyone and we certainly do not want to see any of you taken advantage of and we don’t want others to profit from these inappropriate acts.

Sincerely,

Randy Hancock

For further information, call RCISD at 972-635-2413.

Helping Hands issues plea for cash, food, to help hurricane victims now here

Helping Hands emergency services agency has issued a plea to Rockwall County residents to please donate cash and food pantry items immediately to help Hurricane Ike evacuees who came to Rockwall to escape the storm and are now stranded here without the necessities of life.

Following is the statement from Helping Hands Executive Director and Rockwall City Council Member Margo Nielsen:

“Please consider making a donation to Rockwall County Helping Hands and help the agency to continue assisting hurricane evacuees that have come to our community.

The Food Pantry shelves at Helping Hands need restocked and financial donations are always welcomed.

In two days, the agency assisted 155 hurricane evacuees in 45 families with 175 bags of food, $1,060 worth of gas cards and 36 vouchers for the Thrift Store to get clothing and houseware items. The Health Center of Helping Hands is also aiding evacuees that need prescription refills and those that are sick.

Today the stories are a little sadder because people are getting news about the devastation and delays in getting back home. FEMA is putting people in local motels for extended stays, and some may qualify for emergency food stamps. Helping families get through this awful time until they can get back home is our primary goal. The generosity of Rockwall residents always makes our job easier.

Food may be brought to the Food Pantry at 950 Williams St. (SH-66), Building A from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

To make a donation, please call 972-771-HELP or visit our web site at http://www.helpinghands.com.

Helping Hands is the main critical assistance agency that has served the Rockwall community for more than 30 years.

Unidentified young woman’s body found in Lake Ray Hubbard

An unidentified young woman’s body was found in Lake Ray Hubbard at about 8 am this morning by a fisherman.

According to Dallas police who investigating the death, the body was found drifting about 20 yards offshore near I-30 and Dalrock Rd.

The body appeared to have been in the water for less than a day, and there were no signs of trauma, according to the Dallas Co. Medical Examiner, who is looking into the cause of death.

Police said neither her age nor race are known. They are investigating whether there are any missing persons who might fit the description of the body.

Who is “Pastor” Steve Richardson?

“Pastor” Steve Richardson

(Click on photo to enlarge)

Just who is “Pastor” Steve Richardson, anyway?

According to his MySpace.com website, he’s a 36-year-old
“united methodist preacher serving a church just east of dallas in the great town of royse city.”

He’s been “married for almost 13 years to heidi” and they have three children: robert (9). sean (7) and zuri (6 months).

Following the MySpace form, he writes that he’s a “Straight, White/Caucasian, “Pisces,” Protestant, who’s a “Proud Parent” and “Post Grad” whose hometown is “Plano.”

He further reveals that he graduated from SMU (Southern Methodist University) in 2000 with a Master of Divinity Degree, which he started upon graduation from UNT (University of North Texas) in 1996 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. He was also a member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity.

Richardson says he loves “all types of music. i grew up listening to heavy metal bands of the 80s but then fell in love with country. now i love it all – hip hop to christian.”

He writes that his favorite TV shows are “24, if it ever returns,” and “i do love ‘earl’ and ‘office.’

He’s had three “friends” post messages on his site since being arrested, with comments ranging from “You’re a good man, Steve,” to “Praying for you, Heidi and the kids” to “We’re all here for you.”

Royse City pastor has admitted to child porn charges, authorities say

Royse City First Methodist Church pastor Steve Richardson has admitted to transporting child pornography using his church office computer, according to the federal agents who arrested him Sept. 24.

Pastor Steve Richardson was arraigned in a federal court Sept. 25 on charges of transporting child porn.

In a statement released by U.S. Attorney Richard B. Roper, Richardson admitted he viewed and transported images of child pornography using Google’s Hello Internet site. The images even included several images of infants engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Richardson’s arrest was made after a long-term investigation by federal Immigration Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) that involved at least two other persons.

According to Roper’s statement, the investigation began in August 2007 when ICE agents executed a search warrant in a child pornography investigation at the residence of an individual who allowed agents to use his online presence on Google Hello to communicate with individuals involved in distributing child pornography.

The unnamed indvidual told ICE agents that one of the screen names that he remembered receiving images from was “CowboySpades.” An examination of the Google site showed that cowboyspades had sent at least 30 “homemade” images to him within the past three months.

According to Roper’s statement, the Google Hello records for cowboysspades lists the email address as “girlpedolover@hushmail.com.” Further investigation revealed that the Yahoo! e-mail name girlpedolover@yahoo.com is registered to Steve Richardson in Royse City, Texas, with the same IP address as one of the nine IP addresses cowboysspades used to logon to his Hello account.

The statement continues, “Further forensic investigation revealed additional chats between cowboysspades and others. In one, cowboysspades received and distributed dozens of images of child pornography, including several images of infants engaged in sexually explicit conduct.”

Richardson and his wife have two sons, plus adopted an infant girl from Ethiopia, whom they brought to the United States on May 5. There is no reference to the girl in the criminal complaint.

Richardson, who remains in federal custody, came to Royse City in August, 2006, following five years of service with the First United Methodist Church in Boyd TX.

Immediately upon hearing of Richardson’s arrest, the North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church suspended him, saying, “The church holds the sanctity of the pastoral office and the place of the church as an environment of safety and security for all an absolute value.”

The investigation into Richardson is ongoing. Currently charged with transporting child pornography, other charges may be forthcoming.

Rockwall-Heath scores two TDs in fourth quarter to beat Greenville, 42-28

Quarterback Drew Hollingshead completed a near perfect 19-of-20 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns to lead Rockwall-Heath (4-0, 1-0) to a 42-28 victory over Greenville (1-3, 0-1) in the District 10-4A opener for both teams Friday night at Greenville.

Although the game was tied 28-28 at the end of the third quarter, the Hawks scored 14 points in the fourth quarter and held the Lions scoreless to preserve the victory for the area’s fourth-ranked team.

Hawks receiver Matt Bielski, who caught seven passes during the game for 107 yards, grabbed a 50-yard TD strike in the fourth quarter as RHHS pulled away. The Hawks’ Cameron Wilson also caught five passes for 73 yards.

Hawk running-back Kendial Lawrence rushed for 131 yards and three touchdowns to offset the performance of Lion running-back Alton Dennis, who ran for 221 yards and three scores for Greenville. Lawrence now has 13 touchdowns for the year.