Flu virus goes to school
by Gail Marsh
The halls at Gore Middle School were a little quieter
than usual this week as the flu continued to wreak havoc on attendance
in several Harrison County schools.
According to Ed Propst, Gore Middle School's principal,
78 of the school's 352 students, about 22 percent of the student body,
were absent on Friday. The school averages about 15 absences on a normal
"We're hoping the weekend helps our students and
teachers get on the mend. This is one of the worst flu seasons that I can
remember," Propst said.
Bridgeport Middle School has also been hard hit
in the last week, with more than 70 children absent daily from the 640-student
school. Principal Frank Devono said the number of staff members out with
the flu was also up.
"Several of our staff members are out and we've
had trouble getting enough substitutes who were well and able to fill in
for them. We had at least two classes Friday that were not covered by subs,
so we had to make some arrangements for them," Devono said.
Dr. Paul Gordon of the Harrison-Clarksburg Health
Department said a random sampling of doctors' offices in the area found
reported flu cases at 977 for the week, compared to 300 cases last week.
Two weeks ago there were 500 cases reported.
"The flu season is much worse this year, not just
here but all over the country. And it looks as though it may be a while
before things ease up," Gordon said.
Flu symptoms include body aches, fever, sore throats,
nasal congestion, headaches, vomiting and a cough. Though most symptoms
clear up within three to five days, some symptoms may linger, Gordon said.
"People begin to feel better once their fever breaks,
but a cough may persist for some time," Gordon said.
Bed rest, aspirin and fluids may help to ease symptoms, but antibiotics
don't work on the flu because it's viral, Gordon said.
If the flu is complicated by a throat infection, that may require antibiotics,
but it won't help the initial disease, he said. The best thing to do during
flu season is to stay home if you are sick and to remain at home until
you are feeling better, Gordon said.
"It takes 3-7 days after exposure before you get
sick, so it's hard to avoid. The best thing you can do is stay home to
make sure you get well before going out again. This flu will just have
to run its course," he said.
The flu has been causing problems since early February
in the school system. Liberty High School was hardest hit during the first
two weeks of the month according to David Book, the principal there.
More than 190 students a day were absent, out of
a total of 722 students. At least a dozen teachers were also absent most
days during the two-week period, Book said.
"We hovered around 23-25 percent absent during that
time, but things are pretty well back to normal. We're running less than
10 percent of our students absent during this week, so we're hoping we've
seen the worst of it," Book said.
Homemade explosive detonated downtown
by James Fisher
Less than 1 1/2 hours after a homemade explosive
tore apart a concrete pillar and rained debris across Washington Avenue
behind CNG Transmission Corp., Clarksburg police officers arrested a 16-year-old
boy in connection with the incident.
Police said the boy, who was from the same neighborhood,
was visiting friends about 4 p.m. Friday at 419 Washington Ave. when he
decided to set off the miniature bomb in front of the house. The explosion
shattered the top two feet of the pillar and sent pieces of cardboard,
wax and concrete flying across the road in a 50-foot radius. No one was
injured in the incident.
Police confiscated gunpowder from a vehicle belonging
to the boy's family Friday. The boy allegedly hid the gunpowder in the
vehicle. Police also searched the boy's residence Friday night. It was
not immediately clear whether any additional explosives were found.
Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
were called to the scene, Mazza said. The boy probably won't face federal
charges, he said.
The boy was charged with setting off a homemade
explosive, said Chief Raymond Mazza, and was taken before a magistrate.
Other charges may be pending against the boy, Mazza said.
Officers asked the magistrate to schedule a detention
hearing for the boy, but whether one was set was not immediately available.
Although the explosion happened behind CNG, Mazza
said there was no indication it was directed toward the company or any
employees. Still, CNG employees were affected as Clarksburg officers closed
a portion of Washington Avenue for about three hours Friday night.
At least nine employees of CNG were parked in the
rear lot of the company and were not allowed to leave until the investigation
Mazza credited the residents of the neighborhood
and investigators with the quick apprehension of the suspect.