News and notes
By TIMES WIRES
Published October 14, 2006
Without shortage, this year, flu vaccination a free-for-all
Remember that flu vaccine shortage last year? That was then; this is now: Flu shots are starting to be offered around the Tampa Bay area, and health officials don't expect the long lines and supply problems of recent years. In fact, federal officials expect to have more than 100-million shots available across the United States. That's 17-million more than those ever been produced in a single flu season. The Pinellas County Health Department will offer shots beginning Monday, and Hillsborough County expects to start Oct. 30. Check with your doctor, or go online to www.findaflushot.com. Health officials especially recommend flu shots for certain groups: people older than 50; residents and staff members of long-term care facilities; people with chronic medical conditions and their families; children 6 months to 5 years old and their families and caregivers; pregnant women; health care workers; and caregivers and families of babies younger than 6 months old.
New construction rules for three beach mice
Forget building a better mouse trap: The federal government has come up with new rules for three species of beach mouse that could cost property owners and developers millions of dollars. New federal rules for 6,200 acres in the Florida Panhandle and coastal Alabama will require property owners or developers to survey property for the mice before construction, or to redesign a project that would harm the nocturnal creatures. The acreage, most of it in Florida, includes a mix of federal, state park and private land. The rules cover the Perdido Key beach mouse, which is native to Alabama, and the Choctawhatchee and St. Andrew beach mouse. Your average house mouse is out of luck.
Hillsborough enrollment keeps growing
Hillsborough public schools keep moving ahead - in size, at least. Hillsborough is the nation's eighth-largest school district, passing Philadelphia in an annual ranking by American School and University magazine based on 2004-05 enrollment. The magazine counted 188,610 students in Hillsborough, though it has since increased to 191,151. The district has moved up one spot each year for the past three. That streak might end: Seventh-ranked Houston had well more than 200,000 in 2004-05.