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Article Published: Feb. 4, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

Hearts of Hospitality Ball Feb. 6
The annual Hearts of Hospitality Ball steps off Saturday, Feb. 6, from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. at the Helen Powers Grand Hall at the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center in Boone.

All proceeds benefit Hospitality House and its combined campaign to build and operate a new shelter. The agency has reached 88 percent of its funding needs for the project and hopes to raise the remaining 12 percent in 2010.

The ball will include dinner, music by the Todd Wright Band, a silent auction and a dance contest.
Dancers include Cay and Andy Harkins, Edie and Fred Milano, Robin Lane and Andy Glass and the High Country Dance Crew with Haley Walton and Bianca Capo.

Attendees can vote for their favorite dancers at $1 per vote, with each dollar equaling one vote.
Tickets are $75 each and may be purchased by calling Rose Bridgeman at (828) 264-2733 or at High Country Bank at New Market Centre or Shadowline Drive.
The event is semi-formal (black-tie optional).

Hospitality House is a High Country United Way agency.

Seasonal resident aids in search and rescue efforts
Dr. Rudolph "Rudy" Moise, an Eagles Nest homeowner, is traveling to Haiti to help with search and rescue efforts

A devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the Caribbean island on Jan. 12, causing the collapse of a majority of structures in the capital city of Port-au-Prince.

Moise is traveling to the area as a member of the Florida Urban Task Force 1, which includes 75-80 highly trained search and rescue specialist. He is a physician, attorney and colonel-designee in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.

"The Florida Task Force 1 is specially prepared to respond to natural disasters and catastrophes like this," Moise said in a prepared statement. "As one of four doctors and the only Haitian American member of the task force, I feel a special responsibility to be a part of America's relief efforts in Haiti.

"I strongly encourage you to do what you can to help our neighbors in Haiti. They need everything, including water, blankets and food."

Health Dept. offers flu vaccines
Though local flu activity has been mild so far this year, the Watauga County Health Department is hoping more people get vaccines before the flu season begins in earnest.

Jennifer Greene, health educator for the health department, said the clinic in the Human Services Center still had both seasonal-flu and H1N1 vaccines available during regular clinic hours.

There is no fee for the H1N1 vaccine, and Greene said the more people who get the vaccine, the less likely the disease will make a significant impact.

"We still haven't seen that third wave," she said, noting the typical pattern for influenza outbreaks.

The seasonal flu has peaked in February and March during the last few years, which means a vaccine can still be effective.

"It's not too late," Greene said. "People sometimes don't get it because they think they missed the window of opportunity, but there's still time to get it before late winter."

The Centers for Disease Control reported overall flu activity in the United States decreased again slightly during the week of January 10 through 16. Though flu activity, caused by either 2009 H1N1 or seasonal flu viruses, may rise and fall, it is expected to continue for several more months.

So far, there have been 39,387 hospitalizations and 1,857 deaths reported due to flu-related causes.

For more information, call the health department at (828) 264-6635.

- Scott Nicholson

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