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

edge

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.

Chicken-a

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.

Wipe the remote, and 9 other tips for a clean, safe and relaxing hotel stay

Be wary of drinking glasses, and don’t put your luggage on the bed if you want to avoid bed bugs

IrishTimes

Don’t assume that just because hotel is super posh it won’t have bed bugs. Image: iStock

Irish Times |by Geoffrey Morrison | August 14, 2019

I’ve lost count how many hotels I’ve stayed in. Hundreds, for sure, and on every continent except Antarctica. From beach-side resorts in St Kitts in the Caribbean, to a grand, soaring high-rise in Tokyo, to a castle-adjacent treehouse on the north coast of Scotland, I’ve stayed in some truly lovely places. I’ve also stayed at dilapidated dives in Vegas with rusty taps and rugs so thin you could see the concrete underneath. The memory of the latter still makes me itch.

Over the years I’ve come up with a set of tips and tricks I use in every hotel, from 5-star to wear-your-shoes-in-the-bathroom-star. They range from a little peace of mind and a reduction of annoyance to maintaining a bit of safety and health while travelling. Starting with …

1. The remote is gross
What is touched by everyone but rarely cleaned? A quick swipe with some baby wipes or a damp (not wet) hand towel should help a bit.

2. 20°C is 68°F
Need to set the thermostat in your room? Twenty degrees Celsius is equal to 68°F – a good place to start.

3. Be skeptical of drinking glasses, especially if the hotel lacks a restaurant
Generally, drinking glasses are cleaned after every guest. Generally. If there’s no on-site restaurant, though, how are they cleaned? By hand presumably, but how well? Give them a rinse and a sniff, at least.

4. Don’t put your luggage on the bed
Bed bugs are gross little vampires. Like mosquitoes, but worse. Putting your luggage on the bed can give them a free ride to your next location … like your house. The luggage rack might not be a good option either, since it’s usually close to the bed. Your best bet is to put your luggage in the bathroom and then give the bed, rack, and chair/sofa a close look. Also, don’t assume that just because hotel is super posh it won’t have bed bugs. They might have more means to get rid of the problem, but it can happen anywhere.

5. Bring long cables for your phone
As the number of devices needing to charge increases, the number of outlets available in hotel rooms … stays the same. I’ve stayed in new hotels with zero easily-accessible plugs. Mind blowing. In most airports you can pick up long USB cables so you can plug in and still, hopefully, use your phone from the bed. Travel power strips are handy for plugging multiple devices into that one outlet you found behind the bed.

6. Yes, you can take the little shampoo bottles. No, you can’t take the robe
Some hotels give the remaining soaps to charities like Clean the World. It’s worth checking if they do, as perhaps that’s a better use of the remaining soap than getting lost in your luggage or forgotten in your home medicine cabinet. Many hotels are moving toward large-bottle dispensers, both as a cost- and Earth-saving measure.

7. Lock, latch, and put out the do not disturb sign
Housekeeping comes early. Exactly 100 per cent of the time I’ve wanted to sleep in and forgot to put out the sign, housekeeping wakes me up. In how many languages do you know how to say “come back later, please?” For me, when woken from a deep slumber, a croaky none.

Enabling the safety latch also lets you open the door to see if it really is management knocking while preventing said knocker from unexpectedly opening the door fully. Exceptionally unlikely, sure, but why take the chance?

8. Take a picture of the safe code
Even if you just use your birthday or something memorable in the moment, take a picture of the number you program into the safe.

9. Laundry is expensive
I travel for months at a time. I do laundry about once a week. At an expensive laundromat in Paris I paid €7 for a load of all my clothes. While trapped at a hotel in Fiji during a typhoon I paid $10 for each pair of underwear.

You should definitely pack light enough that you’ll need to do laundry on any trip longer than a week. Some hotels, and nearly all hostels, have inexpensive laundry facilities on-site or nearby. The staff will usually help you find a place. There’s always washing in the sink too, which is free if you have the time.

10. And lastly … Stay in a hostel instead
I’ve spent the majority of nights during my extended travels of the last five years in hostels. Hotels can be great, but they’re invariably expensive. Hostels probably aren’t what you think, and can be a great way to save money and meet new people.

– New York Times

CNET report details guest’s bed bug problem at Philly Airbnb

Plus, some tips to make sure your stay is free of any creepy-crawlies

airbnb bed bugs philly

                                                                                                                                     JAYMANTRI/PEXELS

PHILLY VOICE by Bailey King – August 14, 2019

Airbnb has taken the world by storm since its 2008 launch, providing travelers a more home-y and authentic experience at costs often lower than hotels.

While the user experience with Airbnb is generally regarded as seamless, one irritating problem has bothered some travelers: bed bugs.

A quick Google search of “Airbnb bed bugs” brings up pages and pages of reports of the discovery of reddish brown bug infestations or clustered itchy bites on the skin.

A CNET story published Tuesday about Airbnb’s problem included one woman’s report of bed bugs at an Airbnb here in Philadelphia. (Perhaps this is no surprise since Philly topped one list of cities  most infested by the pests.)


The woman, Dariele Blain, told CNET she found a bug crawling on the bed of a six-bedroom townhome she rented for a birthday party in July. She sent photos to Airbnb, which confirmed her suspicion that it was a bed bug, but the company said it could not relocate her 20-guest party to another Airbnb, to prevent spreading the bugs. Instead, the group was told to book a hotel, which Airbnb reimbursed – plus the original rental fee – within a few days, Blain said.

Blain told CNET:

“There’s nothing in there [about] what to do if the house is not clean or if there’s bedbugs. They need to be more proactive with stuff like that because it’s a public health issue.”

(This appears to be common protocol, as friends of mine had the same experience in Montreal and had to move to a hotel.)

While this is Airbnb’s unofficial protocol, there is no official one. The company claims to handle bed bug cases on a case-by-case basis and, in one such instance, reportedly asked a renter to sign a nondisclosure after an incident.

Bed bugs are a type of insect that feed on human blood, usually during nighttime hours. While they do not transmit disease, their bites can result in skin rashes, psychological effects and allergic symptoms. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, bed bugs are, indeed, a public health issue.

While hotels primarily have a handle on the little critters, no place is truly safe from an infestation.

The New York Times has an all-inclusive tip guide for to make sure you don’t bring any bed bugs home with you. These tips include looking out for the telltale brown-black stains on sheets, mattresses and boxsprings, avoiding putting your luggage on the bed and use a lint roller to test luggage for bugs after travel.

And read the full story from CNET, “Bedbugs are giving Airbnb users headaches… and itchy bites.”