Health department investigates bed bug complaints at several Louisville hotels

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — by Valerie Chinn | October 14, 2019 |

Creepy, crawly bed bugs can be found everywhere: in schools, movie theaters, homes and hotels.

The small insects bite, and while they aren’t known to carry disease, Connie Mendel, deputy director of the Louisville Metro Department for Public Health and Wellness, said they can cause itching and create red bumps and welts.

“We’ll strip the beds. We’ll look at linens,” Mendel said. “We’ll look at mattress covers, seams, furniture, bed frames, anything around, and we’ll look for signs of bed bugs.”

Hotels are not required to self-report. Complaints often come from guests.

“If we do find signs of bed bugs, the facility is not allowed to use that room, and we’ll also look at adjacent rooms,” Mendel said.

The health department said its most recent complaints were at the HomeTowne Studios on Taylorsville Road, the Louisville Marriott Downtown and the Budgetel Inn on Bardstown Road last month.

“In our quest to be the cleanest, friendliest and most well maintained choice for our guest, we take every claim very serious,” a spokeswoman with the Marriott said in a statement Monday night. “We isolated each room, call in a third party expert to determine if there is activity and remediate if necessary. No room is turned back into use without being cleared by our certified vendor. “

All have since been resolved. The list for 2019 include hotels all over Louisville.

A Lexington woman sent WDRB News a video showing a cup with a bed bug inside. She said she found it in her room at the Galt House Hotel while she was visiting for the Bourbon & Beyond Festival.

The health department wasn’t called in her case. After she posted about it and it was shared several times with pictures, the Galt House posted about a full refund and apologies and said no bed bugs were found.

Patrick Gregory, the general manager of the Galt House, issued this statement.

The safety and comfort of our guests is always our first priority. Immediately upon receiving our guests’ complaint, they were moved to a new room, and a third party pest control service was called, as is standard operating procedure. No bed bug activity was found. During the second night of their stay, our guest again reported bed bug activity. This room was also inspected, and no evidence of bed bug activity was found. Out of an abundance of caution, both rooms were treated proactively. Our guests were provided additional food and beverage vouchers, and were offered a reimbursement for their stay.”

“The Galt House Hotel has been in touch with the guests over the weekend and the situation has been resolved to their satisfaction,” a Galt House spokeswoman said. “The Facebook post in question has been removed.”

Mendel said you can put your luggage in the bathroom while you check for bed bugs in the sheets and mattresses, even head boards. If you do find them, ask to be moved to another room farther away.

“Unfortunately bed bugs can be found anywhere. It’s not a sign of cleanliness. They are great hitch hikers,” she said. “You may find rust colored spots. That’s the droppings. You may find casings where they are multed, or you may find one where they’ve crushed them in their sleep, and it’s a blood spot.”

See below for the complaints across Louisville in 2019:

 

California Bans Popular Pesticide Linked To Brain Damage In Children

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California is banning a pesticide often used by growers of grapes, citrus, almonds and other crops. Sales of chlorpyrifos will be outlawed in the state as of Feb. 6.
Eric Risberg/AP

NPR News | by Richard Gonzales | October 9, 2019

Beginning in early 2020, California will ban the sale of the pesticide chlorpyrifos which state environmental officials say has been linked to brain damage and other health defects in children.

Under an agreement reached with Corteva Agriscience, the maker of chlorpyrifos, sales of the pesticide will end Feb. 6, 2020, and agricultural growers will not be allowed to possess or use it after Dec. 31, 2020.

“For years, environmental justice advocates have fought to get the harmful pesticide chlorpyrifos out of our communities,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “Thanks to their tenacity and the work of countless others, this will now occur faster than originally envisioned. This is a big win for children, workers and public health in California.”

Chlorpyrifos is used primarily on crops such as alfalfa, almonds, citrus, cotton, grapes and walnuts.

California environmental regulators have targeted the pesticide for years. They have designated chlorpyrifos as “a toxic air contaminant” that poses health threats when inhaled or exposed to the skin of bystanders. The agreement includes a ban an aerial spraying.

“The swift end to the sale of chlorpyrifos protects vulnerable communities by taking a harmful pesticide off the market,” said California Secretary for Environmental Protection Jared Blumenfeld in a statement. “This agreement avoids a protracted legal process while providing a clear timeline for California farmers as we look toward developing alternative pest management practices.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama proposed a federal ban on chlorpyrifos in 2015. But the EPA reversed course within three months of the new Trump administration.

Last year the federal government’s top fisheries experts issued a report saying that the pesticide and two others — diazinon and malathion — were washing into streams and rivers and harming wildlife, such as endangered species of salmon.

Chlorpyrifos has already been banned in Hawaii, according to the Associated Press.

Pesticide manufacturer Corteva Agriscience did not respond to NPR’s emailed request for comment.

However, it told the Associated Press: “Through recent actions, the State of California has improvised and implemented several uniquely challenging regulatory requirements for chlorpyrifos. These new, novel requirements have made it virtually impossible for growers to use this important tool in their state.”

Maine school district warns parents about bed bugs

by WGME | October 9, 2019

95e2071c-0169-4596-8910-3a66540e6714-large16x9_bedbugMSAD 11, which serves Gardiner, West Gardiner, Pittston, and Randolph, is warning parents and guardians about bed bugs after a student contracted them.

Superintendent Patricia Hopkins said a student with bed bugs was riding bus 643 and was at Gardiner Regional Middle School Tuesday morning.

Bed bugs are a nuisance and can cause considerable discomfort. They are usually active at night and feed on human blood. The bite does not hurt at first, but it may become swollen and itch, like a mosquito bite.

Hopkins said if parents have medical concerns, please contact your doctor.

Hopkins said even though it is unlikely for bed bugs to infest a school, Gardiner Regional Middle School and bus 643 are being thoroughly inspected and, if needed, they will implement their integrated pest management plan.

If you have questions regarding bed bugs in MSAD 11, contact Director of Operations Gabe Dostie at 582-6663 or gdostie@msad11.org.

Bed Bugs Notification by WGME on Scribd

 

Bedbugs Cause Three-Day Restricted Access at NY Hospital

October 7, 2019 |By Cathy Jakicic | Facilitiesnet.com

img_2370 The outpatient area of C.R. Wood Cancer Center at Glens Falls Hospital in New York was restricted recently because of bedbugs, according to the Post-Star.

A patient came to the outpatient Cancer Center with bedbugs, according to a hospital spokesperson.

In response, the facility restricted the area and gave it a thorough cleaning.

The hospital tried to contact all patients who had an appointment scheduled to tell them of the restriction.

The area was reopened three days later.

Clairton, PA schools cancel classes amid bedbug issue

Tribune Review | by Brian Rittmeyer | September 19, 2019

Allegheny County, PA | Clairton City School District is dismissing students early Thursday and will be closed Friday because of bedbugs, the district announced.

According to a letter dated Wednesday from Superintendent Ginny Hunt, a bedbug incident occurred in the district’s building, which houses its elementary and middle/high school.BB_Clairton

Clairton Middle/High School September 18, 2019 5:01 pm

Please be advised;

This is a follow-up to the letter posted on the districts social media pages and sent home on Wednesday afternoon;

Clairton City School District will have a 11:30 am early release on Thursday 09/19/19 and will be closed on Friday 9/20/19 for preparation and administration of a secondary treatment.

All after school activities will be cancelled on Thursday and Friday. The Home Football Game at Neil C. Brown will still take place and is scheduled for a 7 pm kickoff.

As always our number one priority is the safety and well-being of our students and staff and we will continue to take all necessary precautions and safety measures. As always it is at the parents discretion to keep the student home (this would be an excused absence, if a note is received to the office within 3 days of returning)

School will resume on Monday 9/23/19.

Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. Adult bedbugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed; they swell and are a reddish color after feeding. They do not fly but can move quickly.

The district has contacted an exterminator to treat multiple classrooms in addition to common areas.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and consult with public health and pest control professionals to eliminate any remaining bedbugs in the building and to minimize the potential for future bedbug activity in the school, as necessary,” Hunt said in the letter.

For the preparation and administration of a secondary treatment, the district will release students at 11:30 a.m. Thursday. The district will be closed on Friday.

After-school activities on Thursday and Friday are cancelled; however, a home football game at 7 p.m. Friday at Neil C. Brown Stadium will still take place.

Classes will resume on Monday.

The Edge at Union Station settles tenants’ class action lawsuit for $550,000

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The Edge Apartment Building and Union Station in Worcester Christine Peterson

Telegram.com | by Brad Petrishen | September 18, 2019

WORCESTER – The Edge at Union Station, the upscale off-campus student housing complex behind Union Station, has agreed to pay $550,000 to settle a class action lawsuit alleging it improperly handled security deposits and built illegal stipulations into leases.

Among the provisions the owners agreed to not enforce going forward was one that allowed them to fine tenants $100 for not answering the door for a law enforcement officer, as well as a clause stating the complex was not liable for property losses attributed to bedbugs.

“The Edge did a good job recognizing the issues and working with us to help resolve them,” Josh Gardner, lawyer for the plaintiffs, said Tuesday.

About 535 people who lived in the building between June 2016 and June 2019 are expected to be eligible to file a claim, court documents show, and claims are due Oct. 25.

Mr. Gardner filed the lawsuit in Worcester Superior Court in October 2017 on behalf of Douglas Schaffer, a three-month tenant of the building at 8 Grafton St., who alleged his security deposit was returned late after he departed in June 2017.

The suit alleged that The Edge did not properly account for the security deposits it collected, did not always return them quickly enough and improperly charged a $50 application fee.

It also alleged The Edge billed tenants on estimates of their electricity usage rather than using dedicated meters, and violated sanitary code by not cleaning common bathroom areas.

Opened in June 2016 in the former Osgood Bradley building, The Edge was specifically built with students in mind. According to court records, it features one-, two- and four-bedroom suites, and tenants pay for bed space within a unit rather than for a whole suite.

Each tenant pays a pro-rated portion of the electricity, court papers show, while the multi-unit suites have bathrooms in each bedroom as well as a half-bathroom in the common area.

Noting that each bedroom had its own bathroom, it argued it also was not legally required to clean the common half-bathroom once every day.

In a joint motion filed Aug. 13 urging a judge to certify the class and preliminarily approve the settlement, lawyers on both sides agreed the bathroom and electricity claims faced “significant legal obstacles” for the plaintiffs and had “the least likelihood of success.”

The Edge did concede that it “did not properly handle the security deposits in some respects in the past.”

The lawsuit had alleged the complex broke a law governing security deposits by collecting application fees, failing to hold deposits in separate interest-bearing accounts, failing to providing notice to tenants of which bank accounts held their security deposits, failing to pay interest on the security deposits and failing to properly withhold or return the deposits within 30 days of the end of tenancy.

According to the joint Aug. 13 motion, The Edge has stopped charging application fees and has “placed security deposits into a compliant account.”

It also states The Edge has “agreed to amend (its) standard lease to take out the provisions plaintiff believes do not comport with Massachusetts law.”

Also removed was language allowing The Edge to charge up to two months of rent as security deposit, allowing it to terminate utilities “at any time,” and language pertaining to certain fees and procedures relative to lease enforcement.

As for the electricity bills, The Edge will determine those charges by dividing the number of bedrooms in each unit rather than dividing the number of tenants in each unit.

Mr. Gardner, of Gardner & Rosenberg in Boston, said it is “not often the case” in a class action lawsuit that the defendants recognize and work to solve issues, but that is what happened here.

“It’s a good settlement, and it’s a credit to them and their attorney that we were able to reach it,” he said.

The bulk of the settlement – $500,000 – will be covered by an insurer, court records show, while the remaining $50,000 will be paid by The Edge.

“The defendants themselves have significant financial constraints,” the joint motion reads. “For this reason, the remaining $50,000 will be paid by defendants, with a personal guarantee from two individuals.”

Mr. Shaffer and Mary Shaffer are listed in the settlement as the two people guaranteeing the extra $50,000.

Karen Friedman, the lawyer for The Edge, did not immediately return phone and email messages left Tuesday afternoon. A voicemail left at the office number for The Edge late Tuesday afternoon was not immediately returned.

The amount individual claimants receive from the settlement will depend on how many of the estimated 535 eligible tenants file a claim.

The $550,000 – minus about $182,000 in lawyers’ fees, and some other expenses – will be spread among the people who file claims by Oct. 25.

Mr. Gardner said he anticipated everyone who files a claim will get at least $500, and likely more than that.

Mr. Schaffer, who now lives in Ohio, will get $5,000 for being the lead plaintiff.

The settlement will not technically become official until after the claims are submitted and the judge gives a final approval. The agreement notes that The Edge is not admitting any wrongdoing by agreeing to settle.

Bedbugs found in student-issued iPads in Minnesota

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School districts said bedbugs have been found in five of the iPads.  (golibo/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

New York Daily News | by David Matthews | September 17, 2019

These tablets have a few bugs. Literally.

Beginning in the 2014-15 school year, students in the St. Paul Public School District had the opportunity to be issued an iPad to improve their learning experience. This year’s iteration of the program has gotten off to a rocky start after students reported their devices being infested with bedbugs.

CBS 4 reports that the creeps have been found in district-issued iPads, necessitating a letter be sent to parents asking their help in keeping the devices clean. The district said that high school and middle school students can bring their iPads home, but did not clarify what year the students with the affected devices were enrolled.

The school system said that the bedbugs had only been found in five of the 17,000 iPads it had issued.

“There is no indication of the presence of any additional pests in any other iPads,” the district told CBS 4. “However, as the health and safety of our students are our highest priorities, we felt it was responsible and prudent to ask families to maintain the cleanliness of the devices.”

Research links chicken consumption to prostate cancer, others

The Guardian | by Femi Ibirogba | September 17, 2019

A new research outcome from the University of Oxford has linked the consumption of poultry, especially chicken, to an increased risk of prostate and blood cancer.

Thousands of cancer cases were associated with chicken intake in the study. Although several other studies had liked red meat consumption to increased risks of breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer on the account of how blood from the meat is digested,
no study had linked chicken intake to cancer until now.

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Published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the research found that “Poultry intake was positively associated with risk for malignant melanoma, prostate cancer, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”

Exactly 475,000 people living in Britain were tracked from 2006 to 2014, and their diets were analysed in comparison to their health conditions.

During the research time frame, 23,000 new cancer cases were recorded among the individuals. Hence, it was found that higher rates of chicken consumption corresponded with malignant skin, lymphoma and prostate cancer.

The researchers identified a number of factors that might contribute to this link, such as that chicken meat itself might contain a carcinogen, or cancer risk might be elevated depending on how the chicken is cooked.

However, health scientists pointed out that the positive link between intake of chickens and prostate cancer, lymphoma as well as melanoma requires additional research.

Meanwhile, Mr Olusola Olunowo, Managing Director of AgroPark, while explaining the possibility of the link, said: “There is bio-accumulation of chemicals in the human body from the food we consume. These chemicals originate from antibiotics and growth hormones that are used to raise the chickens.

“Also, the effect of pesticides sprayed on crops that chickens feed on is a major source of concern.”

As a way forward, he advocated the consumption of organic chickens, “as the use of herbs and spices are used as treatment and multivitamins for organic chickens and this totally eliminates the use of chemicals.”

He added that the herbs and spices used are also beneficial to humans’ health when the chicken is consumed.

Turmeric and basil are anti-cancer and anti-oxidant herbs respectively, and they are used in raising chickens as antibiotics, he added.

NC – Recent bed bug infestation marks growing trend in Asheville’s housing developments

Asheville Citizen Times | by Brian Gordon and Joel Burgess | Aug. 29, 2019

An apartment complex for the city’s low-income and disabled seniors is struggling with a bedbug infestation.

About 50 of the 248 units at the Asheville Terrace public housing development have been infested with bedbugs in recent weeks, according to the Asheville Housing Authority. This infestation represents a growing prevalence of bedbugs infestations across public housing in Asheville.

“Bedbugs have become something we deal with on a regular basis, all around our properties,” said David Nash, executive director at the Asheville Housing Authority. “It’s a trend.”

Asheville Terrace, off Tunnel Road, is designed specifically for tenants age 55 and older. Pest control costs at Asheville Terrace, which includes bedbug exterminations, have risen from nearly $14,000 in 2016 to over $30,000 last year. So far in 2019, the housing authority has dedicated $27,815 to pest control at the development.

“We have a full-time staff member dedicated to it,” Nash said. The housing authority contracts with Orkin Pest and Termite Control to handle bedbug situations.

While bedbugs are gently inserted into night-time nursery rhymes, infestations are serious matters.

The tiny, round insects sustain themselves on the blood of humans and animals. They seek out crevices that provide easy access to their food source, and their bites leave red marks on exposed skin. According to WebMD, female bedbugs can lay hundreds of eggs over a lifespan.

Nash said bedbugs are often carried into units on used furniture. Tenants with impacted apartments must exit the room as spray is applied. Infested clothes must be washed, and any furniture exposed to bedbugs must be thrown away. Tenants are not financially compensated for any furniture lost to bedbugs, including any chairs or beds with special features for disabled tenants.

The housing authority provides tenants tips on how to avoid bringing bedbugs into apartments after each infestation, but not before.

Several tenants at Asheville Terrace expressed concern about voicing their complaints over bedbugs or other facility issues, saying they feared eviction. Asheville Terrace is categorized as a project-based property, meaning the public voucher that subsidizes rent stays with the apartment if a tenant were to leave. To relocate to another public housing development, tenants would have to reapply and be put on a waiting list. The main waiting list for the housing authority has 1,518 applicants.

Nash said tenants are not evicted for voicing concerns. “Speaking with the press is not a lease violation,” Nash stated in an email. “They just need to be sure they pay their rent and comply with the other terms of their lease.”

South Carolina – Two dogs dead from pesticide poisoning, owner searching for answers

After playing around a popular Upstate creek on the Laurens County/Newberry County line, two yellow Labs fell ill and die.

Two dogs dead from pesticide poisoning, owner searching for answers

Two yellow Labrador retrievers died after being poisoned with pesticides.

“They went from healthy to dead in 30 minutes,” said Wishert.

Max died on the way to the vet, and Ellie had to be put down.

A Laurens County sheriff’s deputy went to the scene on the 14th, and noted in their report that the water was ‘stagnant and green.’

At first, Wishert wondered if blue-green algae was to blame, but the toxicology report shows carbamate and carbofuran — insecticides that can be deadly to pups and people. “There’s someone here every day,” said Wishert “The children come down here and swim. And then would swim with my dogs down here.”

Wishert is hoping someone will come forward, or that investigators will figure out why this poison was in an area where dogs and children play.

“Right now, I can’t tell you who did this, but I would hate for this to happen to somebody else!” she said.

Newberry County sheriff Lee Foster tells WYFF News 4 that his office spoke with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources on this matter, and that it is not uncommon for farmers or deer hunters to bait coyotes during this time of year.

Sheriff Foster tells WYFF News his office has no evidence, but it is reasonable to believe that the dogs could have accidentally come across poison meant for a coyote.

Both Newberry County and Laurens County sheriff’s offices do not have suspects at this time.

There is a $1,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest.

Clemson Regulatory Services Criminal Investigative Unit oversees the sale, use and distribution of pesticides, as well as their illegal misuse within the state of South Carolina.

A day after this story aired on WYFF News 4, deputy director Mike Weyman told reporter Renée Wunderlich that the agency has opened up a parallel criminal investigation.

Weyman said that this particular product is an extremely toxic agricultural pesticide. He said, had it been in the water, any fish, bugs or other living things would have been killed.

He told Wunderlich that there is reason to believe the pesticide that killed Max and Ellie was put there on purpose – perhaps as a bait for a predator like a coyote or a fox – but that that the investigation is just beginning.

Weyman said this pesticide is highly regulated, and that placing it in an area like this without the proper permission is a both a state and federal violation of the law.

The person or persons responsible for this crime could face both state and federal charges.