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Perry County Tuberculosis Update, Transportation Meeting in Dothan

Perry County Health Department
Perry County Health Department, Marion, Ala.

Tomorrow is the last day for residents in a small Perry County town to be tested for tuberculosis and get paid for it. APR’s MacKenzie Bates has the latest on what officials are doing to eradicate the respiratory illness in Marion,

New numbers released by the Alabama Department of Health say 85 people have tested positive for the TB infection. Nine of those people have active cases. The Health Department is paying residents $20 for each screening and more money for follow-ups.

But Division of Tuberculosis Control Director Pam Barrett says a lot of people coming in to get tested are just doing it for the money.

“Some of the people have come in that were genuinely concerned about their health. But I’m not sure that some of the population that we need to be testing has been tested.”

Barrett says the Perry County Health Department will continue testing people for TB after Friday’s deadline. But the tests will only be administered on appointment basis and patients will not be paid.

A group of state lawmakers is looking for public opinion on the state of Alabama’s roads and bridges this morning.

The Alabama Joint Transportation Committee is in Dothan to discuss the state’s infrastructure as well as ways to fund repairs and constructions. One proposal is an increase in the state’s gasoline tax. That’s expected to be a hot topic in the upcoming legislative session starting next week.

Representative Mac McCutcheon is the chairman of the Joint Transportation Committee. He says committee members will definitely consider public input when it’s time to write legislation.

“I think it’s going to be important in actually writing actually writing the bill itself. When we look at rural areas, the amount of monies and how those monies, where that money needs to be spent… I think this is very important to gather all this information and hear from these regions of the state.”

The meeting will be held this morning from 10 AM until noon at the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce.

An Associated Press analysis shows that the closing of more than 150 Wal-Mart stores nationwide will create food deserts across the country including in Alabama.

Stores slated to shut down today will leave residents in parts of Fairfield, Alabama without a supermarket. Coal Hill, Arkansas and parts of Wichita, Kansas will also be losing their only supermarket.

The federal government considers a neighborhood a food desert if at least a fifth of residents live in poverty and a third live more than a mile from a supermarket in urban areas, or more than 10 miles in rural areas.

Another 31 neighborhoods in 15 states will also lack access to grocery stores after Wal-Mart's closures. But those aren't as impoverished.

Wal-Mart says it has a good track record in needy neighborhoods and is offering help to the communities it's leaving.

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