State health officials are urging Michiganders to get a flu shot, especially since the state’s vaccination rate was no better than 42nd in the nation last year. Last flu season, only 40.8 percent of Michigan’s residents were vaccinated against the flu. This was below the national flu vaccination coverage of 45 percent. Michigan lags behind the U.S. estimates for flu vaccine coverage in every age group. Flu can be a serious disease, particularly among young children, older adults, and people with certain chronic health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes. Flu cases have been confirmed across the state and are increasing in the southeast part of Michigan according to the Michigan Department of Community Health. Three influenza-associated pediatric deaths have already occurred in the U.S. so far this season. It takes about two weeks after receiving the flu vaccine to be fully protected against the flu virus. This week is designated National Influenza Vaccination Week. (MRN)
Norm Stutesman’s latest blog has now been posted, and is available by putting your cursor over AROUND TOWN above, and clicking on “Out and About”.
A Michigan legislator has announced a bill to require gas stations and convenience stores that stay open between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. to have two employees working or to install security cameras. The bill unveiled Monday in western Michigan comes after the April disappearance of a 26-year-old woman from her job at a Norton Shores gas station. Jessica Heeringa’s mother and law enforcement attended the news conference. Heeringa disappeared before she was set to close the station. Police say there was no indication of a robbery. Democratic Rep. Collene LaMonte of Montague detailed her bill that could be called “Jessica’s Law.” The gas station had no security cameras, leaving authorities without potential clues. (AP)
A 22-year-old Elkhart man has pleaded guilty to two counts of murder in the shooting deaths of the owner of a northern Indiana convenience store and an employee. Richard Gross pleaded guilty Monday moments before his trial was scheduled to begin. He admitted taking part in a Sept. 5 robbery at Saleh’s Market east of downtown Elkhart, where 55-year-old Jagtar Bhatti and 20-year-old Pawan Singh were shot and killed. Gross faces up to 130 years in prison when he is sentenced by Judge Terry Shewmaker on March 14. Another man, Kevin Moore, also was charged with two counts of murder in the robbery. He is scheduled to go on trial Feb. 3. (AP)