CBS News Logo CDC: Vaccine “philosophical differences” driving up U.S. measles rates

Measles was declared eliminated from the United States in 2000, but anti-vaccination beliefs may be playing a role in bringing the disease back, a new government report suggests. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigated more than a decade's worth of data on measles cases (including 2013 cases through the end of August) and found that most patients had not been vaccinated. Measles is a respiratory disease caused by a virus, that spreads through breathing, coughing and sneezing and causes a serious rash and fever. While measles is harder to come by in the United States, the CDC notes it's still a worldwide public health problem that can be brought over to the country and spread to Americans. Measles can also result in serious complications including ear infections, pneumonia, and brain swelling -- or encephalitis, which occurs in about one out of every 1,000 cases and may lead to death, Dr. Roya Samuels, a pediatrician at Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York in New Hyde Park, N.Y., told in an email. One CDC expert pointed out that a measles infection can linger for four hours even after the infected person is no longer in the vicinity. "Clusters of people with like-minded beliefs leading them to forgo vaccines can leave them susceptible to outbreaks when measles is imported from elsewhere," Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters Thursday during a teleconference. "This is an extraordinarily contagious virus." Such clusters included people with similar religions, those with extended large extended families or even certain school districts where vaccine rates are low. So far this year, 159 cases of measles were reported in 16 states, with three outbreaks accounting for most of cases: outbreaks in New York City (58 cases), North Carolina (23 cases) and Texas (21 cases). That's on track for the most cases since measles was considered eliminated.Fortunately, said Continue Reading

Westin bankruptcy plan approval could help Lombard’s finances

Bankruptcy sounds like a bad thing, but Lombard's finances actually could benefit from a restructuring plan recently approved for the Westin hotel. The village could see a boost because the plan calls for the agency that owns the hotel to stop asking the village every six months for help making up shortfalls in bond payments. The village does not own the 18-story Westin hotel at 70 Yorktown Center, but the village board appoints members to an agency created in 2003 to be the owner, called the Lombard Public Facilities Corporation.The corporation fell behind on bond payments as the hotel's revenue fell short of pre-recession projections.In December 2011, the corporation first asked for village help making a bond payment, and the village board issued its first denial.The board declined to use taxpayer money to help pay hotel debt every six months until July 2017, when the public facilities corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.Originally at AA-plus before hotel issues cropped up, Lombard's credit rating now stands at B, according to Standard & Poor's.The repeated bond-assistance denials look bad to the ratings agency, Village Manager Scott Niehaus said.But as part of bankruptcy restructuring agreements approved in federal court March 6 and approved by the village board last week, the requests will stop.In exchange for $6.7 million the village will contribute toward physical improvements at the hotel -- $3 million on Friday as the bankruptcy restructuring plan is set into motion and $3.7 million by 2027 -- Niehaus and Finance Director Tim Sexton said the public facilities corporation has agreed to no longer ask for help paying off bonds."This is a necessary first step," Niehaus said.Without constant debt-payment pressure, the village could be able to take on new bonds, which it hasn't done since 2013, Sexton said.Village President Keith Giagnorio said Lombard will build up credit like a new consumer getting a low-limit credit card -- slowly, Continue Reading

Lawmakers approve plan requiring counties spend more on community mental health

INDIANAPOLIS — Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties would be required to spend more of their budgets on mental health services under a measure headed to Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb.House Enrolled Act 1141, which won final legislative approval Tuesday, changes how the maximum county payment to community mental health centers is calculated, and removes conditions that currently allow counties to contribute less than the maximum.If signed into law, Lake County would pay approximately $175,000 more each year and Porter County about $150,000, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency.LaPorte County only would owe about $15,000 more because state data show it already nearly pays the maximum required appropriation.Community mental health centers operate in all 92 counties and largely are the front line in Indiana's battle against drug addiction.Holcomb has declared that combating the state's opioid abuse crisis is one of his top priorities as governor.The legislation passed the House, 92-2, and the Senate, 48-0.See the latest in our Crossing the Line series here Crossing the Line — Wind Gusts Crossing the line separating Indiana and Illinois sometimes means dealing with different laws and customs. Readers are asked to share ideas for this weekly feature. This week: Wind gusts.It's often said that March weather comes in roaring like a lion and goes out peaceful like a lamb.That's something most any resident of Illinois or Indiana can confirm as they struggle to cope with strong winds in the first weeks of this month.But folk wisdom aside, weather records show the highest recorded wind gusts in both states, excluding tornadoes, occurred at other times of the year.According to the National Weather Service, the highest wind gust in Chicago was 87 miles per hour during a snowstorm on Feb. 12, 1894.And even though Chicago is known as the "Windy City," the Illinois state capital of Springfield has a higher recorded wind gust: 98 mph on June 14, Continue Reading

House speaker thinks he can get enough votes together to pass Step Up plan

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma House Speaker Charles McCall said Thursday he is optimistic he can get enough Republican votes to pass Step Up Oklahoma’s plan to resolve the state’s budget impasse if as many Democrats will vote for the plan as voted for a revenue bill that failed last year. A crucial vote on revenue-raising portions of the plan is expected to take place as early as next week, he said. Whether large numbers of Democratic House members will support the plan remains a huge question, however. House Democratic Caucus Chair Emily Virgin said Thursday that House Democrats would like to see substantive changes in the plan’s proposal to raise additional revenue through changes in state income tax laws. Virgin said she doesn’t believe there will be enough Democratic votes to pass it unless those changes are made. Meanwhile, House Minority Floor Leader David Perryman of Chickasha said he is going to have to see the proposals in bill form before he can decide whether to support them. The Step Up Oklahoma plan is a package of proposals put together by a statewide coalition of Oklahoma civic and business leaders. It calls for raising revenues to resolve the state budget impasse, providing $5,000 pay raises for teachers, and restructuring state and county government to reduce waste and fraud and improve accountability. “This is a really good opportunity,” said McCall, R-Atoka. “We’re looking at the Step Up plan holistically in that it is a plan of revenue and reforms.” Major revenue-raising measures called for by the plan include raising the cigarette tax by $1.50 a pack, raising the tax on gasoline and diesel fuel purchases by 6 cents a gallon, increasing the initial gross production tax on oil and gas wells from 2 percent to 4 percent, making changes in individual income tax laws, placing some sort of new tax on the wind industry and revising gaming laws to allow Indian casinos to use balls and dice in craps Continue Reading

Nine West said to plan a bankruptcy filing with asset sales

Emma Orr and Lauren Coleman-Lochner, Bloomberg Published 10:52 am, Wednesday, January 24, 2018 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-5', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 5', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-10', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 10', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-15', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 15', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-20', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 20', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-25', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 25', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-27', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 27', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Photo: Gary Coronado / Houston Chronicle Image 1of/27 CaptionClose Image 1 of 27 See companies and brands expected to die off in 2018. See companies and brands expected to die off in 2018. Photo: Gary Coronado / Houston Chronicle Image 2 of 27 | Sears Holdings Analysts love to Continue Reading

Transit agency still studying tax issue for Nov. ballot

Detroit – The future of the Regional Transit Authority of Southeastern Michigan after 2019 is largely dependent on Metro Detroit voters.Much hinges on whether the agency can convince residents to pass a millage for the RTA’s master plan. The RTA narrowly lost a vote in 2016 on a $4.6 billion millage to expand transit service across Metro Detroit.“If we can’t get on the ballot in 2018, our next opportunity won’t be until 2020, and we don’t have identified resources committed that would allow us to make it to 2020,” RTA board chairman Paul Hillegonds said in a phone interview Monday.He said the goal is to resurrect the millage, but it’s not a done deal.“It’s not a certainty,” said Hillegonds. “We wanted the regional leaders to take a look at the master plan we developed because there was some discomfort with some of the details.”The failed millage proposal included plans to create bus rapid transit, a rail line between Ann Arbor and Detroit, an airport shuttle service, a regional fare card system and other service changes.Regional leaders have been meeting to devise a new plan. An announcement about that plan may be revealed before the month ends.The leaders include Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. Washtenaw County also has had a representative at the meetings, according to Jim Martinez, a spokesman for Evans.“We’re clearly looking for a consensus,” said Hillegonds. “Something the regional leaders can support in the upcoming election.”Hillegonds said Plan B would be to approach the state or local bus services to help the RTA make it through 2020.“In the past, the state has supported us, but local bus services already are stretched,” he said. “The law requires us to stay in business, but if they don’t support the master plan Continue Reading

Dutchess legislators to begin new jail plan review

The next few weeks will be paramount for Dutchess County legislators as they pore through documents and analyze figures on a proposed new, bigger jail and modern and more efficient sheriff’s office.A series of meetings and public information sessions will pave the way in providing more clarity and answering questions from legislators and Dutchess residents, which will come to a head at a special meeting on March 21 to vote on a $192 million 30-year bond for construction of the new facilities.The proposal comes after decades of debate about an overcrowded jail that required housing Dutchess inmates around the state at a cost of millions of dollars each year. The county has until April 1 to approve the bond, or the state could pull the wavier that allows the county to use four pods to house some of its inmates.The county has been under state pressure to build a jail that adequately and safely houses its inmates. The North Hamilton Street jail can house 250 inmates, while nearly 200 additional inmates have been housed in out-of-county facilities, at a cost of about $8 million annually to taxpayers. To address the cost of boarding out inmates, the county installed pods in mid-2015, but that was meant only as a temporary fix.While legislators on Thursday were given detailed documents they’ll have to review, they’re set to meet Monday and vote on declaring Dutchess County as lead agency for the project’s environmental review. Officials said this isn’t a step to be taken lightly.Minority Leader Micki Strawinski, D-Red Hook, said she’s concerned that the environmental review process may be rushed and that taxes may be impacted.“That all remains to be seen,” she said regarding the county’s assertion that the project would actually save $5.3 million annually. “Our caucus will be working with some financial people and people who are very familiar with the (environmental Continue Reading

Downtown agency’s interim chief Jennifer Oswalt juggling roles

Downtown Memphis Commission interim chief Jennifer Oswalt has a solid Plan B if leading the public development agency doesn't become a permanent gig.Oswalt, who was left in charge when Terence Patterson abruptly resigned July 6, already has another job: chief executive officer of her previous employer, Contemporary Media.In an unusual twist, Oswalt is being shared by two employers, working as Contemporary Media CEO for an hourly rate while also serving as interim DMC chief.Oswalt said her role with the media company will be more of a consultant while she's still with DMC. She said she’d recuse herself if any of the company’s minority partners, such as developers Henry Turley and Jack Belz, have business before the DMC.Oswalt was next in line behind Patterson by virtue of her position as chief financial officer. She handed in her notice to Patterson, not realizing he was about to resign.Board chairman Carl Person said he'll ask the full board on Thursday to back Oswalt as interim president and chief executive officer and set her pay at Patterson's rate of $15,833 a month.Oswalt, 41, is a certified public accountant with a background including public finance and wealth management. She's near the end of a term as co-chairman of the Women's Foundation for a Greater Memphis.She was chief financial officer at Contemporary Media before taking the same position in August 2015 at DMC, where she succeeded long-time CFO and vice president of finance and administration Jim Street.Oswalt and Person have been making the rounds to reassure constituents that the DMC won't miss a beat as an advocate for Downtown, recruiter of new development and provider of security, maintenance and activities for Main Street mall and environs.“The DMC is open for business," said Person. "There is no hesitation in anything because of the recent change or transition. We have the confidence of our Continue Reading

Brent Spence accident rates, traffic counts climb as bridge in national spotlight

Think accidents and traffic are getting even worse on the Brent Spence Bridge?You're right.Data obtained by The Enquirer shows that the number of vehicles on the 53-year-old span is reaching record numbers as of late. And, on average, you can count on two crashes or more per week."I've been driving that bridge for 30 years, and seen it all," said Mike Dietz of Florence, who drives up to an hour each way to and from his job in Mason. "That bridge has always been a choke point, but now everything is catching up with it and making it even worse."On top of the traffic issues, the most recent inspection reports show rust, cracks and decay worsening on the span that carries nearly 186,000 vehicles a day on Interstates 71 and 75 over the Ohio River between Covington and downtown Cincinnati. Indeed, the bridge hasn't been painted in more than 25 years, creating more rust issues in recent years."The bridge is still structurally sound and we are committed to keeping it that way," said Bob Yeager, chief engineer for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's District Six, which oversees maintenance of the 53-year old bridge. "But you've got two interstates converging and diverging at one end and that creates issues and traffic patterns we just can't fix overnight."A better economy is worse for the bridge. It's only natural that the traffic would go up. Nothing is going to stop that unless the price of gas goes up to $10 a gallon. And the accident counts go hand in hand with that."The Enquirer analysis of state and local data comes after a list initially reported to have come from the White House named the Brent Spence as the second-most urgent major infrastructure need in the country. Subsequent reports indicated that the list may have been supplied to the White House from the National Governor's Association as the White House disavowed the list as being official policy.Apart from a vague reference to fixing the bridge during a campaign stop, neither President Trump nor Continue Reading

Students not all a-loan paying college bills

A college education is likely the best investment you'll ever make. But college can cost you, and most families - after tapping grants, scholarships and savings - still need help with school bills. That's where Stafford and Perkins come in. Never heard of them? They may be your new best friends when it comes to paying for college. Federal student loan programs named after an education-minded U.S. senator and a similarly minded congressman help make college affordable. There are also federal PLUS loans for parents, private loans and consolidation loans, which wrap multiple loans into one to simplify payment. The difference between grants and scholarships versus loans is that loans are paid back, with interest. So it's wise to seek grants - which you don't repay - first and foremost. You might also consider a tuition payment plan such as one offered by CUNY through a private company, permitting families to spread out the year's tuition payments in equal monthly installments. If you end up borrowing, you certainly won't be alone. Two-thirds of U.S. undergrads finish college with some loan debt. Average Stafford and Perkins debt for graduating seniors was around $19,000 in 2003-04 compared with around $17,000 at public four-year colleges to just over $28,000 at private four-year institutions. Whether your debt chomps or merely nibbles at your future paychecks depends on choices you make now and during school. Smart borrowing - and smart spending - are critical. Check out Web sites such as, and for the nitty gritty on different loans, including eligibility and dollar limits. Meanwhile, here are 10 frequently asked questions about student loans and savvy borrowing: When do I apply for a loan? Smart borrowing starts with using your free money - grants and scholarships that you don't repay - first. These include federal Pell, state Tuition Assistance Program, or awards like CUNY's Peter F. Vallone Continue Reading