The Alabama Department of Public Health will be holding a town hall meeting tonight to discuss an outbreak of Tuberculosis. Twenty-six people have been diagnosed in the Marion, Centreville and Tuscaloosa areas in the past two years. 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 cough lasting more than two weeks, shortness of breath, fever, night sweats, weight loss and fatigue. A person may be infected with the TB germ and have no symptoms.
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.
Governor Robert Bentley will join other state and local officials on Friday at the groundbreaking ceremony for Yorozu Automotive Alabama in Jasper.
The company plans to hire 300 employees in Walker County and will supply five automotive manufacturers including: Honda in Alabama, Nissan and Toyota in Mississippi, and Nissan and Volkswagen in Tennessee. The three global automakers in Alabama combined to produce more than 1 million vehicles in 2015, the first time the state’s annual output has reached that milestone.