Stomach Bug Spreading
Climbers Rescued
Airport Road Accident
Nine ER Doctors Leave Haywood Hospital
Downtown Countdown
Summit Inn & Spa Fire
Missing Inmate
John Edwards Plans Presidential Run In 2008
Flu Cases Increase
Caregiver Charged

Stomach Bug Spreading
A rapidly spreading virus infects hundreds of folks in Western North Carolina.

Doctors say the "Norwalk-like" illness, commonly known as the "stomach flu" is highly contagious and precautions need to be taken.

Health officials say 680 people have already been through Mission Hospitals Emergency Room with the virus.

The stomach flu is not related to influenza so there is no shot to prevent it and no antibiotics to get rid of it.

Health officials do have tips to try and limit the outbreak.

People should wash their hands, stay away from large gatherings if they can.

If they do feel like they've had the virus, they should stay away from work and other people for 48 to 72 hours after the symptoms subside because they're still contagous.

Symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Patients can also get a headache, fever or chills and muscle aches.

Symptoms often occur within 12 to 48 hours after exposure and typically last one to two days.

The biggest danger with the stomach flu is dehydration.

Doctors urge folks to drink plenty of liquids.

(POSTED 12:25 PM, 12/30/06)

Climbers Rescued
Two rock climbers are safe and sound after an intensive effort to rescue them in Jackson County.

The man and woman told emergency workers their ropes got tangled up, leaving them dangling on the mountain at Laurel Knob near Cashiers all evening.

According to rescuers, the female climber called authorities late last night from her cell phone, saying she didn't want to upset anyone by asking for help.

Emergency crews tried to reach them last night, but ended up having to wait until daylight to get to them. Rescuers found them about 250 feet up on the cliff side and were able to lower them to safety. They say the male climber was hanging on, by a thread.

(Posted 12/29/06, 6:05pm)

Airport Road Accident
A rear-end collision turns a truck into twisted metal near the Asheville Regional Airport Friday.

The pick-up was wrapped around a telephone pole off Airport Road.

The driver was rushed to the hospital.

Asheville Police say three cars were involved in the accident, which stalled traffic near the Agricultural Center Friday afternoon.

"One vehicle was trying to come over and didn't see the other vehicle in time. One vehicle hit the other which is wrapped around the telephone poll [right now]," Josh Hill of the Asheville Police Department said.

The driver of the pick-up is now at Park Ridge Hospital in stable condition.

(Posted, 5:45pm 12/29/06)

Nine ER Doctors Leave Haywood Hospital
Nine emergency room doctors are out of a job and a new crew is taking over.

Last week, the Haywood Regional Medical Center's board denied requests from doctors, medical staff and community members to renew a contract with the ER doctors.

Instead the hospital has signed on with a national company to supply emergency room physicians.

The CEO is confident there won't be a lapse in service.

Dr. David Rice says, "I think we'll see very little change. I don't think the public will notice the change at all."

Rice says a transition team is in place for the switchover and all the administrative staff.

He adds the new agreement will allow them to actually have more doctors on duty in the ER.

(posted 10:17 pm, 12/28/06)

Downtown Countdown
New Year's Eve in Asheville will be decidedly low key this year, because of the ongoing construction to expand City-County Plaza.

The festivities will include 3 live bands beginning at 10pm, capped off with fireworks at midnight. But it's a far cry from last year's "Winter Wonderland." City officials say they didn't want to create a whole snow kingdom, complete with kids' rides, because they didn't know where to put them. Organizers hope things will be back to normal at City-County Plaza next year, so they can have the usual New Year's Eve Bash.

(Posted 12/28/06, 6:20pm)

Summit Inn & Spa Fire
A fire destroys a historic inn in Franklin, kills one person, leaves another in critical condition, and injures two others.

The fire started just before 3:00 Thursday morning at the Summit Inn and Spa in Franklin and continued smoldering hours later.

Now nearly nothing remains of the inn, where six people were staying along with two owners.

Authorities haven't officially identified the person and it could take a while for the medical examiner to look at dental records in Raleigh.

But one of the owners is missing and his wife Nancy Poser told others she saw her husband, Chuck Poser go back inside the burning inn possibly to try to get their dog who didn't make it.

Owner Nancy Poser is now at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, GA where an inn worker tells us 80% of her face and hands are burned.

One man is at Mission Hospitals with a back injury after he jumped from the second story.

Franklin police were able to rescue three other people stranded on the roof and two others made it outside.

One of them went to Angel Medical Center for treatment as well.

Firefighters are still investigating but say they don't know yet what caused the fire.

The couple has three daughters, a worker at the inn says at least one of them is with her mother at the Augusta burn unit.

(Posted, 12/28/06, 5:50pm)

Missing Inmate
An escaped inmate now faces more charges.

Donnie Luker broke out of the Jackson County Jail early Christmas morning with three other inmates. Officers caught three of them, Luker remains on the run. He was behind bars on drug charges. Now along with escape charges, Luker faces theft and property damage charges for damage done to the jail, and items taken during the breakout.

((Posted at 5:30 am, 12/28/06))

John Edwards Plans Presidential Run In 2008
The word is out- Democrat, John Edwards plans to make another run for the White House.

Staffers of the former Tarheel senator leaked his intentions on the internet.

It became public when they accidentally activated Edwards' campaign web site today.

The former running mate of John Kerry's had planned to make the announcement tomorrow in New Orleans.

Edward is a fellow democrat and family friend of Lucretia Young, so she knows first hand what the politician's all about.

She says, "He's really someone you can get excited to work for and support and to represent North Carolina well."

Republican, Bill Fishburne, feels Hilary Clinton and Barrack Obama are the major contenders but admits Edwards is a good candidate for another reason.

Fishburn says, "It'll be good for the state of North Carolina that John Edwards runs. He will bring a lot of attention to our state."

Edwards is still expected to officially announce his run for president tomorrow in the New Orleans 9th Ward.

(posted 11:45 pm, 12/28/06)

Flu Cases Increase
Another round of the flu strikes the mountains, and health experts say it has arrived earlier than expected.

This is the second early round of the bug, the first was in early November. That outbreak shut down schools in Yancey and Mitchell County. The CDC confirmed the flu vaccine didn't cover that substrain of influenza. Officials aren't sure whether this latest strain to hit Buncombe County is covered either, but they still urge people to get vaccinated. The flu doesn't normally show up until mid-January. Local health departments say they still have flu vaccine available.

(posted at 6:37pm, 12/27/06)

Caregiver Charged
A Haywood County woman is charged with stealing more than $26,000 from a Parkinson's patient she was caring for.

Lucinda "Cindy" Woods faces 52 felony charges, including more than 40 counts of larceny by an employee, 9 counts of obtaining money by false pretenses and 2 counts of identity fraud.

Woods cared for Linda Medford for more than a year, and authorities say the thefts began the first month of her employment. But officials say no one realized it until a credit union employee questioned the signature on a check. Authorities say Wood altered pay checks and stole other checks, forging Linda's signature. The Medfords also believe Wood stole cash from them.

Cindy Wood is free on $75,000 bond. She is scheduled to appear in court on January 3rd.

(Posted 6:10pm, 12/27/07)