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The blue banner. online resource ([Asheville, N.C.]) 1984-current, November 15, 2007, Image 1

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f r UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA ASHEVILLE Blue Banner Men’s Basketball Bulldogs go undefeated so far this season, see page 4. Travelogue Grab a croissant and read about a student's trip to France. see page 11. compited by SaixJy LaCorte aixl Gina Douthat THUR. 51 17 FRI. 52 52 SAT. 55 50 SUN. 57 55 Thursday, November 15, 2007 WWW. ■ \bl. 17, Is.sue THE NEWS IN BWEF Wildfires inspire new e-mail scam A new e-mail scam soliciting donations to California wildfire victims emerged in the wake of the tragedy, the Internal Revenue Service warned Friday. The ( scheme, known as “phishing,” attempts to lure recipients to a fake IRS Web site, where users enter their personal and financial infor mation. The e-mail could also contain malware, or malicious software, which steals passwords and other ’private information from the vic tims computer, the IRS said. Landmark court case remembered I Today UNC Asheville hosts j“Brown v. Board of Education: Fifty Years Later,” a one-man per formance by award-winning actor Mike Wiley. In the performance, Wiley trans forms himself into multiple char acters, recounting the court case, f the judge’s decision and the conse- tquences of the ruling. The per formance counts as a Humanities I Cultural Event credit and takes place from 12:20 to 1:20 p.m. in Lipinsky Auditorium. Suspects tracked to ECU campus Authorities charged Charles Frederick Collins and Justin Benjamin Graham with first- degree murder Sunday for the murder of a Hendersonville woman and her son. Authorities found the suspects on the East Carolina University campus, where they fled in their car to a nearby cemetery where they abandoned the car. compiled by Aaron Dahlstrom Asheville climate ignites concern Af T - - I I ’ ' Jessica Hi.Y'nn: - Stam-PHonKiKAPHi'R Asheville city firefighters work to clean up the rubble after Ashley Furniture Store burned to the ground last Monday. No one was hurl in the lire on Patton Avenue, but nearly all of the city’s fire trucks reported to the scene to try to squelch the blaze that started around 9:30 p.m. and continued to burn well into the night. Ollieials said the fire only reminded them of the country’s ongoing drought problems. Water shortage brings attention to dangers of statewide drought By Jon Waiczak Staff Writer Severe wildfires, similar to the ones recently seen in California, might one day burn in the million acres of pub lic forests and lands surrounding UNC Asheville, according to Gary K. Cornett, Asheville Fire Department assistant chief of operations “I don’t know if we would ever be as severe as California, but the potential is here for devastating fires,” Cornett said. Dozens of wildfires scorched California over the past few weeks, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people. Southern California is more prone to massive wild fires than Western North Carolina because of a higher con centration of dry, combustible brush and also because of the Santa Ana winds, which helped the fires rapidly expand, Cornett said. “It’s just two different topographies and climates,” he said. “But under the right circumstances, we can have fires of that nature.” Asheville, like much of the Southeast, suffered from the effects of a blistering drought in recent months, raising the likelihood of wildfires. “We are included in what’s called an extraordinary drought,” Cornett said. “That’s the most .severe drought classification there is.” To prevent wildfires. Governor Mike Easley enacted a statewide ban on open fires, except camp fires or cooking fires within 100 feet of an occupied structure, Cornett said. The City of Asheville also enacted a burning ban. The Asheville Fire Department recently fined Nick Heling, senior literature student, for starting a small fire in his backyard. “It was a small wood fire in an enclosed pit intended for grilling,” Heling said. He was previously unaware of both the state and city bans on open burning, according to Heling. “My backyard seemed appropriately damp at the time, but closer inspection and consideration proved me wrong,” he said. “My fire was indeed in a pit, but knowing what I now know, 1 no longer experience the sense of comfort that 1 once did. I have been humbled by the dangerous power of fire without having to get (physically) burned.” The official brush fire season in Western North Carolina began Oct. 15, and ends May 15. “It progressively gets worse as the winter goes,” Cornett said, “When we get complete leaf-fail, it will get worse. The absolute worse time for brush fires in Western North Carolina is around March, when it starts warming up and we get a lot of winds and low humidity.” The most common of brush fires in the Asheville area is carelessly discarded cigarettes, Cornett said. To conserve water, the City of Asheville requested that citizens voluntarily reduce their daily consumption and be mindful of wasteful activities, such as washing cars or watering lawns. “The last I heard, those restrictions, voluntary ci)nscrva- tion, have saved about a million gallons a day,” Cornett said. UNC Asheville also implemented voluntary measures, asking both students and faculty to do their part to conserve water, according to Vollie Barnwell, director of Housing Operations. A recent e-mail to students included sugges tions on how to save water. “A memo went out from Residential Education last week,” Barnwell said. “All resident students received it in addition to the flyers that were put up in the residence halls.” Suggestions include reducing shower time by two min utes, not flushing toilets multiple times and turning off all si'i; Water pa(;k 3 I Antibiotic-resistant infection spreads from hospitals to students By Caroline Fry Staff Writer A bacterial infection resistant to antibiotics has made its way to Western North Carolina, according to the Buncombe County Health Center. “MRSA usually infects people who are in hospitals or long-term oare settings, but over the past 10 years it has become more of a problem outside of health care set tings,” said Dr. Steve Swearingen, medical director at Buncombe County Health Center. “This type of MRSA is becoming more wide spread throughout the nation, and IS a real issue affecting communi ties everywhere.” MRSA stands for Methicillin- resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Swearingen said a MRSA infec- 'ton is dangerous because resistant to certain antibiotics. Staphylococcus aureus, stnph, is a common bacteria, . . common that 25 to 30 percent of ns have it living on our skin at any time,” Swearingen said. MRSA is a less-common variety of staph that isn’t affected by com mon antibiotics, such as cillin.” According to Swearingen •t CDC does not require MRSA cases to be reported by physi cians to local health depart ments, so no data has been col lected about this infection. However, three cases were recently County reported in Buncombe schools, and the Buncombe County Health Department sent out letters con taining information about MRSA to parents of school chil- 1* . _ t. ^ dren. it is or so according to Deborah Gentry of the Buncombe County Health Department. Students are at a higher risk for contracting MRSA, according to Linda Pyeritz, a specialist in col lege health nursing at UNC Asheville’s Student Health Services. “MRSA infections are becoming more common in community set tings, including schools,” Pyeritz said. “Staph and MRSA infections are spread by direct contact, as seen in athletic teams and residen tial facilities.” The most common symptom ot MRSA is a small red bump that looks like a pimple or spider bite, •ed, swollen and painful to the touch, according to Swearingen. He said MRSA may MRSA infections are becoming more common in community settings, including schools. Staph and MRSA infections are spread by direct contact. Linda Pyeritz UN(] Asheville Smdent I Icalth Services peni- but is red be hard to recognize because it can appear like a normal skin infec tion, but it can be dangerous if gone undiagnosed. “Some infections can become more serious and cause pneumo nia, or other hard to treat infec tions,” Swearingen said. “Anyone with those symptoms should see a health care provider immediately.” MRSA is spread by direct physi cal contact with the bacteria, or through contaminated items such as shared towels, razors or gym equipment. Infections occur only when the bacteria gets into a break in the skin, and cannot be spread through the air. Students who live in college dormitories are at a higher risk for getting MRSA because it is easily spread in places where people have close contact to each other, according to Pyeritz. “Factors associated with the spread of MRSA include close skin-to-skin contact, open cuts or abrasions on the skin, contaminat ed items and surfaces, crowded living conditions and poor hygiene,” Pyeritz said. Athletes are especially at risk for contracting MRSA and there fore should be especially on the lookout for symptoms of the infection, according to Swearingen. “In Buncombe County and throughout the country, most outbreaks of MRSA in schools have involved athletes,” Swearingen said, “Athletes are more likely to have broken skin, which gives the bacteria an easy way into the body. They arc also likely to share personal items like towels in locker room situa tions or come in direct contact with other athletes who may have open or draining wounds on the playing field.” Aarika Converse, a senior lit erature student, was diagnosed with MRSA during the past sum mer. “I was diagnosed in June and had not successfully gotten rid of the MRSA or the symptoms until August or September,” Converse said. “I was on multiple oral antibiotics for weeks at a time. According to the health clinic, I had probably been suffering from MRSA for about a month, the symptoms escalating over that time period.” Converse believed she got the bacteria while spending a semester in Hawaii, after getting her car pierced and spending time in a vil lage contaminated with polluted water. She had never heard of MRSA until she was diagnosed. “MRSA is deadly and easily contracted,” Converse said. “It is also expensive to treat and has the potential to kill. Individuals on campus and in the community at large should watch open cuts and sores for any development of infection and keep their bodies clean.” Practicing good hygiene is a vital way to stop the spread of MRSA, according to Swearingen. He recommended not sharing items such as towels, sheets and clothing that might be contaminat ed with the bacteria. He also rec ommended covering up any open wounds with a clean and sterile bandage. “The most important thing you can do to reduce the spread of MRSA and a lot of other infections like the flu and the common cold is to wash your hands thoroughly and often,” Swearingen said. If you have questions or con cerns about MRSA and its symptoms, contact Student Health Services at 251-6520. 'r. 5: i I

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