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Town Hall Tuberculosis Meeting Tonight, Federal Judge Acquits Eric Parker

Eric Parker
Brynn Anderson
Former Madison police officer Eric Parker

The Alabama Department of Public Health will be holding a town hall meeting tonight to discuss an outbreak of tuberculosis.

26 people have been diagnosed with TB in the Marion, Centreville and Tuscaloosa areas since last January.

Pam Barrett is the director for the Division of TB Control with the Alabama Department of Public Health. She says keeping track of those infected has been a problem.

“The people who actually have TB have been very reluctant to name their contacts so we have been unable to trace the people they have been exposed to because we didn’t know who they were.”

The town hall meeting takes place this evening at the Francis Marion High School Auditorium at 6:30. Symptoms of TB include a cough lasting more than two weeks, shortness of breath, fever, night sweats, weight loss and fatigue. A person may be infected with TB bacteria and have no symptoms.

A federal judge has thrown out the civil rights case against Madison police officer Eric Parker. Parker was accused of using excessive force on a man visiting Alabama from India.

U.S. District Judge Madeline Haikala granted a motion to acquit Parker yesterday after two previous trials ended in hung juries.

Parker slammed 58-year-old Sureshbhai Patel to the ground face-first during a suspicious person investigation in February last year. The incident was recorded on police dash cameras, and Patel was partially paralyzed.

Parker has testified that Patel tried to pull away from him and kept placing his hands in his pockets where Parker believed there may have been a weapon.

Patel testified through an interpreter that he doesn't speak English and couldn't understand officers' orders.

Parker's attorney, Robert Tuten, has called the incident an unfortunate escalation of police tactics.

Thomaston, Alabama and the surrounding areas south of Tuscaloosa will soon have local access to fresh meats and produce for the first time in decades.

The community of just under 500 residents and greater Marengo County have long been classified as a food desert.

Brenda Tuck is the executive director of the Marengo County Economic Development Authority. She says residents typically have to drive dozens of miles to get groceries.

“We do have a convenience store here, and they can carry a little bit of stuff. But if they’re out of the few half-gallons of milk they’re able to carry, it is literally 25 to 30 miles round-trip to get a gallon of milk. That adds up for working-class families, even if they do have transportation.”

Now, CSX Transportation and the Conservation Fund have awarded a $10,000 grant to help a grocery store open in Thomaston. The grant is one of a dozen awarded to communities in food deserts across the country. Dave’s Market has been renovating a building in Thomaston since August and plans to open a full-service grocery store early next month.

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