TISD Superintendent, Dr. John Kaufman, says he's pleased with the progress on the school construction upgrades. It's on track and budget, according to Kaufman, "The elementary roof repair is about 75% completed; however, there is some cleanup that needs to be done."
In a week or so the new parking lot for the high school will be finished, as well as the repairs on the pavement on the existing parking lot. They awarded the new track upgrade to Beynon Co., and everyone is hoping that they will be complete in time for this season. The underground and sewage are complete, too. The foundations for the new classrooms is on schedule. Weather permitting, all the construction should be completed in August 2018 as scheduled.
The one thing we will probably remember most about the 2017 Christmas holiday season is the number of friends and family who came down with the flu this year. There aren't many families in Trinity County that haven't been affected by the flu this year. Even if you or your family haven't been sick, you probably know someone who has. The "Walgreens Flu Index," shows that Deep East Texas is the hardest hit region in the nation right now with many people suffering from the influenza virus. Health officials warned early that the United States might have an unusually severe flu season this year.
There are a lot of factors involved in this prediction and the facts that prove them correct that we are experiencing now. The flu season started earlier than usual this year. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, explains, "Sometimes that's the forerunner of a serious season." Of course, the season starting earlier doesn't bode well for the overall flu season. It means it will last longer and more people have a chance of getting sick.
The flu vaccine appears to have been only about 10 percent effective against that strain of flu that's hit East Texas this year.
The United States' flu season follows that of the Southern Hemisphere. Generally, we can expect to experience here what Australia has experienced in their flu season that runs before ours. According to Fauci, "Australia had a particularly bad influenza season for several reasons. A major reason for Australia's struggle is that the main strain of flu circulating there was one known as H3N2. That kind of flu virus tends to make people sicker than other strains, especially the elderly."
Flu strains are constantly changing and the H3N2 strain used to make the vaccine mutated during the production of the vaccine. This weakened the shot's effectiveness.
It appears that the predictions were more accurate than hoped and we are following the pattern laid out by the Australians for this year. There are things we can do to avoid getting sick. The Center for Disease Control offers some helpful suggestion to help avoid the flu during this unusual season.
1. Avoid close contact. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
2. Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.
3. Cover your mouth and nose. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
4. Clean your hands. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
6. Practice other good health habits. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
By the middle of January Trinity will start installing the new Ultra Sonic Solid-State Water meters throughout the city. The state requires them for Trinity to become green compliant. By being green compliant Trinity becomes eligible for grant monies to upgrade the city water system. According to Police Chief, Steven Jones, these meters will be more sensitive to the most minute water flow and will track it. The old meters didn't register water flow from small leaks in the home, so water was wasted, and it often didn't show up on the customer's bill.
Jones asked everyone, all the city's water customers, to understand that a dripping faucet, toilet bowl flappers that don't seal off, and other minor leaks that may not show up now will record as water usage. These leaks can add from $10 or more to future water bills if anyone has any of these water leaks. Now is the time to repair them before the new water meters go online.
On Thursday, Trinity completed their dive inspection of City's water system. A diver inspected five of the six storage tanks for Trinity Water system. The diver inspected the tower behind the bank, north elevated tower, standing pipe storage, ground storage, and the submerged storage tank. Texas requires this annual inspection from every water department. The diver, Jay Thompson, who works for Tankdiver.us, did a visual on the sediment in each storage tank and is preparing a report for the city manager. If necessary, he will arrange to remove the sediment if the levels are too high.
Draining tanks to inspect or clean them wastes a significant amount of water, thereby costing the community valuable time and money. After the water is pumped up from the 1,500 feet underground aquifer, the city treats it and sends it to the water storage tanks and towers where it waits to be used at your tap. Over time sediment builds up in these.
Tankdiver.us uses commercial divers (also called line air because they are breathing surface supplied air on an umbilical line). They wear dry suits that completely seal them in their own environment. The diver is then washed down with a chlorine solution before entering the water supply.
Thompson is a retired military hard hat diver and bomb disposal expert who enjoys his job. He didn't want to work behind a desk. His diver certification makes him a perfect fit for inspecting city water systems. He especially loves the small towns because of the views. He said one of the perks is that he gets a birds eye view of every town where he does inspections.
The Special Needs Students from Lansberry Elementary stopped by the Trinity Volunteer Fire Department to take a tour of the department, look at the fire trucks and even play firefighter by spraying water. While visiting, the students got a firsthand look at the firetrucks and the equipment that is used to fight a fire and perform rescue operations.
Firefighter Richard Harrelson donned all the firefighting gear that is used in structural firefighting to show the students what firefighters look like when in full gear. This practice hopefully will eliminate fear in the children if they are ever in a situation where they encounter a firefighter.
Over the past decades, the Trinity Volunteer Fire Department has participated in Fire Awareness Month in October by visiting the Trinity Head Start, Lansberry Elementary School and, on occasion, the local day care centers. The special needs students got a special treat by being in a small group at the fire station with a slower paced one-on-one atmosphere. Trinity Firefighters included: Allen Ramsey, Richard Harrelson, Scott Womack and Truman Withers. The students got a special treat when Trinity Police Officer Donald “Big Sexy” Givens stopped by and explained to the students that police officers really didn’t eat donuts and they preferred salads, much to the amusement of the students.
Trinity residents will remember the Christmas Parade for a long time after the firetrucks raced from the starting point at Avalon to answer a call for a home on fire. The trucks were decorated and covered in lights with students on top prepared for the trek down Highway 19 to the other end of town. Instead, they made the trip in record time with some of them stopping at the firehouse to unload passengers before continuing to the fire. The burning home located on Aspin Street was a mobile home fully engulfed in flames. They were able to contain the fire but unable to save the home. The home was vacant, so, fortunately, the loss was limited. Arson is suspected.