Saturday January 19, 2013

N.H. analyzes economic impact of excessive alcohol use

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- An organization that works on preventing and reducing alcohol and drug abuse says new research on how excessive alcohol consumption hurts New Hampshire’s economy validates what business, health care and public safety professionals have observed for years.

New Futures is holding a briefing Friday in Concord on analysis conducted by PolEcon Research, which found that excessive alcohol consumption costs the state $1.15 billion each year.

The group is also bringing together experts who will discuss possible solutions to the problem.

Flu declining in Mass.,
but still above average

BOSTON (AP) -- State public health officials say reported cases of the flu have dropped in Massachusetts for a second consecutive week, yet remain higher than at this time in recent years.

New state figures released on Friday show the percentage of people visiting health care providers with flu-like symptoms dropped to 2.4 percent after reaching nearly 4.5 percent earlier in the month. A small decline in flu-related hospitalizations was also reported.

Health officials say while the decline is encouraging, they point out that the flu can be unpredictable and that it is too soon to say whether flu season in Massachusetts has peaked. Officials say it also not too late to get a flu vaccine.

A widespread outbreak of flu in Boston prompted the city to declare a public health emergency last week.

Mass. basketball coach fired for ‘take out’ order

AMHERST, Mass. (AP) -- An assistant basketball coach at a Massachusetts high school has been fired for telling one of his players to "take out" another team’s coach.

Eric Wheeler was fired Thursday by Amherst Regional High School following an investigation into Monday’s incident in which an Amherst player is seen on video pushing South Hadley High coach Jeff Guiel to the ground from behind. Guiel was out of bounds.

School officials say Wheeler was apparently frustrated because game officials had not penalized Guiel for stepping out of the coaching box and thought contact with a player would result in a technical foul.

Amherst officials determined that head coach Jim Matuszko had no knowledge of the situation. The 16-year-old player also faces punishment. Guiel, an attorney, says he is "exploring all the options."

Officials: amputee vet among three hurt in N.H. avalanche

PINKHAM NOTCH, N.H. (AP) -- The mother of a retired Marine injured in an avalanche on New Hampshire’s Mount Washington says her son is resting comfortably in stable condition.

Denise Zeier said Friday she hasn’t spoken to her son, 26-year-old Sgt. Keith Zeier, since Thursday evening’s incident, but his doctors told her his injuries are not life threatening and that his prognosis is promising.

Keith Zeier, who lost his leg and suffered a brain injury in Iraq in 2006, was climbing Mount Washington to raise funds and awareness for families of Special Operations forces killed and wounded in action. His mother says her son has no fear and is passionate about the cause.

Zeier was hiking with two others, who were also injured. Their conditions were not known.