• US looking past Ebola to prepare for next outbreak

    Updated: 16 min ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The next Ebola or the next SARS. Maybe even the next HIV. Even before the Ebola epidemic in West Africa is brought under control, public health officials are girding for the next health disaster. "It's really urgent that we address the weak links and blind spots around the world," Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told The Associated Press. "Ebola is a powerful reminder that a health threat anywhere can affect us." Ebola sprang from one of those blind spots, in an area that lacks the health systems needed to detect an outbreak before it becomes a crisis.

  • Sanctions for competency cases reaches $200,000

    Updated: 24 min ago

    SEATTLE (AP) — Sanctions against the state's health services agency for failing to provide competency evaluation and treatment to mentally ill defendants have reached almost $200,000, according to recently released documents. So far this year, judges in King and Pierce counties have held the Department of Social and Health Services in contempt in 24 cases and ordered sanctions of $200 or $500 for each day a mentally ill defendant sits in jail instead of being transported to a state psychiatric hospital, the documents show. Jane Beyer, assistant secretary for the Behavioral Health and Service Integration Administration, said her agency is slammed and the sanctions only make things worse.

  • Students from Missouri named as Rhodes Scholar

    Updated: 33 min ago

    CHESTERFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A suburban St. Louis woman studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been named one of 32 U.S. Rhodes Scholars. Anisha Gururaj of Chesterfield will use her scholarship to study biomedical engineering and public policy at Oxford University in England. The MIT senior wants to develop affordable biomedical devices for the U.S. and developing world. Rhodes Scholarships were created in 1902 by the will of British philanthropist Cecil Rhodes. Winners are selected on the basis of high academic achievement, personal integrity, leadership potential and physical vigor, among other attributes.

  • Marijuana advocates hope Maine goes legal next

    Updated: 35 min ago

    SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Marijuana advocates want to finally take their legalization drive — thus far the province of western states — to the Northeast, and they say the first state to do it here might be Maine. The Pine Tree State has a long history with cannabis — Maine voters approved medical marijuana legalization 15 years ago, becoming the first state to do so in New England. Now, national marijuana advocates say, the state represents a chance for pro-marijuana forces to get a toe-hold in the northeastern states they have long coveted.

  • Prosecutor's 'diatribe' about marijuana ruins case

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    MUNISING, Mich. (AP) — A prosecutor's inflammatory remarks about medical marijuana have cost her a conviction in the Upper Peninsula. The Michigan appeals court says Paul Heminger apparently was growing more marijuana than allowed under law, but the verdict last year was spoiled by the closing argument of the Alger County prosecutor. The court says Karen Bahrman embarked on a "personal diatribe" to discredit the medical marijuana law. She told jurors that a local pro-marijuana group wants a "country where everybody can walk around stoned." In a 3-0 decision Friday, the appeals court cited many other comments and said the prosecutor's argument was "thoroughly improper." Bahrman didn't return a message seeking com

  • Church members each get $500 to do good for world

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    CHICAGO (AP) — On a very memorable Sunday, Pastor Laura Truax surprised her congregation with a bold announcement: She was about to hand out money to everyone. Not a huge sum, but the pastor said the LaSalle Street Church had received a tidy $1.6 million from a real estate deal, and $160,000 — a typical 10 percent tithe — would be divided among some 320 regular attendees. Each would get a $500 check to do something positive for anything or anyone, including themselves. It was an unorthodox gesture, but Truax notes, LaSalle is "a gutsy little church" with a history of making waves around socially progressive causes it embraces.

  • GA lawmaker wants schools to go digital by 2020

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Nearly 30 eighth graders bend over laptops during Karen Farnsworth's Thursday morning math class, raising their hands for help as the teacher moves around pointing to their screens or providing video links. In the second row, 13-year-old Yocelin Rodriguez glances at a question about finding the height of a shape before grabbing her pencil and making calculations on a sheet of paper. The combination, Rodriguez said, helps her learn concepts and then figure out how to solve them. She prefers paper "to think through the process," but likes the videos available on the computer when she's struggling. All Georgia classrooms will look like Farnsworth's by 2020 if one state lawmaker's proposal makes it through th

  • Health officials give advice on travel to Africa

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota health officials have put together a set of guidelines to advice individuals traveling to Ebola-affected nations in West Africa. Officials say people traveling to Guinea, Sierra Leone, Mali or Liberia should inform the Department of Health about their plans prior to traveling. Officials also ask that individuals coordinate their travel with a well-established group that routinely operates in those countries. Upon returning to North Dakota, travelers should follow all protocols issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Officials add residents should contact the Health Department as soon as they return to the state to coordinate their 21-day monitoring period.

  • UNH promoting healthier choices at meals

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    DURHAM, N.H. (AP) — The University of New Hampshire is going to start offering more fruits and vegetables and lower-calorie desserts at its dining areas. The changes are coming as a result of UNH signing on to the Partnership for a Healthier America's Healthier Campus Initiative, a three-year commitment to make the campus healthier by adopting guidelines around food, nutrition, physical activity and programming.

  • Maine communities get $1M for in-home health care

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Four Maine communities are getting more than $1 million to develop ways to help people who are sick or elderly stay in their homes. The goal of the grants from the Maine Health Access Foundation is to improve services so that people can receive care in their homes rather than having to go to a hospital or nursing home. The four grant recipients are: The Aroostook Area Agency on Aging, the Bucksport Bay Healthy Communities Coalition, Charlotte White Center in Dover-Foxcroft and Washington Hancock County Action in Blue Hill.

  • Construction underway on medical building

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    NORTHFIELD, Vt. (AP) — Construction is underway on a new medical building on the campus of Norwich University in Northfield. The new Green Mountain Family Practice building is a collaboration of the Central Vermont Medical Center, Norwich University and E.F. Wall and Associates. Central Vermont Medical Center President Judy Tartaglia says the building will allow more room for primary care practitioners and physical therapy. An orthopedics and sports medicine doctor will have office hours there. The building will be used by members of both the Norwich and Northfield communities. Dignitaries held a ground breaking on the project last week.

  • Does bad behavior really hurt business?

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Silicon Valley seems to have more than its share of companies behaving badly. Among up-and-comers in the tech world, privacy abuses and executive gaffes have become viral sensations. But is all that bad behavior actually bad for business? Last week, Uber sparked controversy after a top executive suggested spending $1 million to dig up dirt on a journalist critical of the driver-on-demand company. It's only the latest time Uber has been called out, either for actions by its drivers or its corporate culture. The company also is investigating one of its New York employees for tracking another journalist's ride, which has raised fears that Uber is misusing customers' private location information.

  • Sioux Fall surgeons' group stops selling implants

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A group of Sioux Falls surgeons has stopped selling surgical implants at a local hospital amid concerns over conflicts of interest and legality. The Argus Leader reports (http://argusne.ws/1ywLI9G ) Great Plains Surgical Distributors is owned by nine Orthopedic Institute surgeons who work at the nearby Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital. The hospital management launched an inquiry into the distributor this summer and ordered a cease and desist. Its owners say such distributorships can lower health care costs and that they have been closely following federal laws. Critics say doctors profit from the devices they use in surgeries, which gives them an incentive to do more procedures.

  • Health care M&A leads global deal surge

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    In a big year for deal making, the health care industry is a standout. Large drugmakers are buying and selling businesses to control costs and deploy surplus cash. A rising stock market, tax strategies and low interest rates are also fueling the mergers and acquisitions. It's all combining to make 2014 the most active year for health care deals in at least two decades. The industry has announced about $438 billion worth of mergers and acquisitions worldwide so far, about 14 percent of the $3.2 trillion total for all industries, according to data provider Dealogic. Overall, M&A is on track for its best year since 2007, the year before the financial crisis intensified.

  • UK police: up to 5 terror plots foiled this year

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    LONDON (AP) — The head of London's police force said Sunday that as many as five terror plots were foiled this year, as he warned of increasing pressure on resources amid the rising threat. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe told the BBC that normally security services disrupt one plot annually. However, he said this year alone authorities have disrupted "we think four or five." Police have become increasingly concerned about young people traveling to fight in Syria and becoming radicalized by the Islamic State group. The fear is that they will return and wage attacks at home. Authorities estimate that some 500 British jihadists have traveled to Syria.

  • Guam private hospital won't open until '15

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — Bogged down by construction delays, Guam's first private hospital is unable to open next month as previously planned. The Guam Regional Medical City issued a statement saying it "anticipates a delay in the opening of its new state-of-the-art hospital until early next year." The hospital's management attributed a statement to construction contractor dck Pacific project director Don Hergenreder that "additional time is necessary to complete construction while ensuring quality and safety." "The GRMC/dck team remains committed to the completion of the hospital using the highest standards," said Margaret Bengzon, the hospital's chief executive officer. "We will deliver a first-class facility and world-

  • Cleanup on, flood threat looms after huge NY snow

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The weekend offered the Buffalo region a chance to dig out of record levels of deep snow before a flood warning took effect because of rising temperatures and rain. With roughly the equivalent of six inches of rain tied up in the snowpack, volunteers moved through the area assisting residents. Beth Bragg's home was spared the worst of a lake-effect storm that buried parts of the Buffalo area under more than 7 feet of snow. But she still was out first-thing Saturday with her shovel — along with hundreds of other volunteers. "I know that people really need to get shoveled out, especially some of the older folks, so I'm just doing my part to help out," said the bank manager and "shovel brigade" mem

  • Computer science students seek software proposals

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Computer science students at the University of Alaska Fairbanks are looking for software design proposals as part of their learning process. UAF officials say the projects allow public service and private organizations, as well as governments, to get free software while students get experience. Officials say more than 65 successful projects have been developed by students over the past two decades. Project clients work with students and are involved in evaluating the results. Dec. 1 is the deadline to submit proposals and get feedback allowing the submission of revised proposals. Jan. 13 is the final deadline to submit proposals for software design projects. ___ Online:

  • Rhodes scholars named for 2015

    Updated: 6 hr ago

    The 32 American students chosen as Rhodes scholars for 2015, listed by geographical region: District 1: Noam Angrist, Brookline, Mass., Massachusetts Institute of Technology Benjamin D. Sprung-Keyser, Los Angeles, Harvard University District 2: Matthew J. Townsend, Chappaqua, N.Y., Yale University Ruth C. Fong, Somerset, N.J., Harvard District 3: Joseph W. Barrett, Port Washington, N.Y., Princeton Gabriel M. Zucker, Brooklyn, N.Y., Yale District 4: Jordan R. Konell, Philadelphia, Yale Kate I. Nussenbaum, Newton, Mass., Brown District 5: Fang Y. Cao, Silver Spring, Md., University of Maryland Maya I. Krishnan, Rockville, Md., Stanford University <

  • Brother: Mental illness factor in deaths of family

    Updated: 7 hr ago

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The brother to one of five Utah family members found dead in September says a goodbye letter from a 14-year-old boy makes relatives believe the deaths were planned and mental illness was a factor. Jacob Strack said Friday his brother Benjamin and wife Kristi appeared to have been in a state of paranoia when they died along with their three children: 14-year-old Benson, 12-year-old Emery and 11-year-old Zion. Though neither parent was diagnosed with mental illness, Jacob Strack says there were signs and early screening might have helped prevent their deaths. Benjamin Strack had been isolated from his family since an attempt to help with drug abuse met with resistance. Springville police Lt.