Archive for April 21, 2008

South Korea Checks Hospitalized Soldier for Bird Flu Infection

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea is testing to see if one of the workers taking part in a mass cull of poultry infected with bird flu may have become infected with the deadly virus, the health ministry said on Tuesday.

The ministry said it would take about one to three weeks to confirm if the soldier, said to be 22-years old by local media, had been infected with the H5N1 strain of bird flu.

“The soldier’s symptoms are consistent with that of suspected AI (avian influenza) patients, according to World Health Organisation standards, but the clinical symptoms also resemble bacterial pneumonia so we are on a close watch,” the ministry said in a statement.

The soldier, who is being treated in a quarantine ward, had a high fever and respiratory problems. He has shown signs of improvement after being treated with antibiotics, it said.



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CSX to Invest $40 million in Local Rail Infrastructure

CSX Corp. plans to spend $40 million to connect its Northeast Jacksonville rail spur to its main line along U.S. 1 so that trains going to and from new container terminals being built or planned don’t have to travel through town to its Westside rail yard.

The bypass initiative is linked to the Jacksonville Port Authority’s plans to develop an intermodal container transfer facility on the Northside to receive containers from the soon-to-open TraPac Inc. terminal at Dames Point and a proposed Hanjin Shipping Co. Ltd. terminal nearby. Combined, the two terminals are projected to have a capacity of 1.8 million 20-foot-equivalent units of containerized cargo a year.

CSX (NYSE: CSX) would expect to generate at least two trains a day of about 280 containers each to make a North Main Street bypass economically viable, said Chief Financial Officer Clarence Gooden, who announced the initiative Monday during a news conference at the authority’s Blount Island Marine Terminal.

“Jacksonville lends itself to being one of the first ports of call on the East Coast” for ships coming through the Panama Canal, Gooden said. “Having our interests aligned — CSX, the port, city and state — we’ll all move in the right direction.”

The announcement was heralded by public officials, including Mayor John Peyton, City Council President Daniel Davis and U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown. Getting as many containers off the road as possible is vital to striking a balance between economic development and quality of life, Peyton said.

Besides an ICTF, CSX’s plan depends to some degree on the Florida Legislature approving a plan to buy 61 miles of CSX track in Central Florida for a commuter rail system. CSX plans to use some of the money from selling that line to fund the bypass line, Gooden said.

If the Legislature approves the deal, the sale could close in the fall and the company could have the project going within 18 months, Gooden said. If the sale doesn’t go through, CSX’s plans would be slowed.

In any event, CSX would not proceed with construction until it is assured the plans for an ICTF are progressing, Gooden said. “We’d like to move in parallel with that.”

But CSX will work on acquiring right of way as soon as possible, he said, so that it’s ready whenever the port authority is.

For the authority’s part, it has received about 15 to 20 responses to a request for interest in investing in port-related infrastructure, including an ICTF, Chief Financial Officer Ron Baker said. From there, the authority will hold public meetings, issue a request for proposal and choose strategic partners.

“The goal,” Baker said, “is moving large volumes of containers on rail.”

Source:  Jacksonville Business Journal

Nearly 2 million more 20-foot containers a year is an awful lot of additional traffic that would be coming in and out of the port if the rail spur is not built in a timely manner.  While it would be very good for the independent truckers around town, it wouldn’t be quite so good for commuters.  

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79-Year-Old Man Leads Police on Wild Chase

PONTE VEDRA, FL — St. Johns County Sheriff’s Officers say an elderly man lead police on a chase that ended in a crash that left one person seriously injured.

According to the police report, the chase started when a St. Johns Officer spotted the suspect, 79-year-old William Frith, driving erratically. The officer says he tried to stop the driver, but instead he sped off, doing nearly one hundred miles per hour. The officer also reported that Frith slammed on the brakes during the chase more than once, trying to force a crash. He also says that Frith repeatedly “waved his middle finger at me.”  (Sounds like somebody was hittin’ the snakebite medicine hard again.)

The chase ended on South Ponta Vedra Boulevard, where the suspect and another driver crashed. One of the people in the victim’s car had to be taken to Flagler Hospital via LifeFlight. Their condition is not known at this time.  (Dang.  You should be able to drive along the street without some rampaging old coot seriously injuring you.)

After the wreck, Officers say Frith refused to cooperate, and pushed one of the officers. One officer responded by firing his taser.  (Probably only because the police have lately been under enough public criticism for shooting people that richly deserved it.)

Frith was taken to the hospital for a medical evaluation. 

Source:  First Coast News

Good GRIEF!  Is there something in the water that is making people go all crazy?  Maybe eating healthy foods and giving up tobacco products isn’t such a good thing if it makes people cranky.  I can only hope that the seriously injured person will recover without any disabilities.


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