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A Night for Zombie Rights: ZWatch and the Zombie Pride Parade PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 29 October 2009 07:41

Zacharia Furio before ..."This is a big risk even talking to you," said Alexander Iaccarino. "I'm afraid of being prosecuted for this. 'Cause I'm not absolutely sure that any of this is legal."

It was October 16, more than three months after it all started and two weeks before its finale: the Zombie Pride Parade on Halloween night in downtown Davenport.

Looking back with that information, it's easy to see what Iaccarino was up to, and easy to laugh at it.

But when he told me that he was concerned about getting arrested, he sounded sincere and serious. And when he launched ZWatch.org on July 10, things were less cheeky. The Web site talked about a man named Zacharia Furio who was missing, and it alluded to a secretive organization called the QC Department of Biological Sciences.

Iaccarino and a small group of friends then produced videos, photos, and faked documents to tell the story of the H1Z1 virus and a local cover-up, slowly revealing a zombie narrative. The story was supported by some conspirators, such as local author Brian Krans (http://bit.ly/4erGco), and missing-persons posters. (Incidentally, the "H1Z1" idea was not original with Iaccarino; the name and concept of an H1N1-related zombie plague showed up several months before ZWatch: Google.com/search?q=h1z1, http://bit.ly/eiZhp.)

How convincing was it? On August 7, the Rock Island Argus/Moline Dispatch ran a front-page article titled "In Search of Zach: Is Story of Missing Man Just an Internet Hoax?" The story (http://bit.ly/1kq4nV) certainly suggested that ZWatch and Furio weren't real, but it also allowed for the possibility that they were authentic. There remained a seed of doubt, which is all it takes.

 
Moritz Improves Election Security, But Audits Require State Action PDF Print E-mail
Local News
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Wednesday, 28 October 2009 08:09

Roxanna MoritzThe irony was clear. Earlier this month, Michael D. Elliott came in third place by one vote in the Third Ward primary for Davenport City Council.

Elliott ran for Scott County Auditor - the election administrator for the county - in 2008 on a platform that included election transparency and integrity, including a push for post-election audits. The recount he requested in the city primary gave him the opportunity to test the system.

The recount returned the same results, and Elliott said by e-mail that he was satisfied with the policies and procedures put in place by Auditor Roxanna Mortiz, who defeated him and Steve Ahrens last year: "The process was thorough and documented. Obviously the counts came out correctly. I was also there at one of the precincts to watch the poll be closed, so I pretty much got to see the entire process in action. I am very confident that the system works as it should. ... Moritz was very open and patient and did an excellent job throughout this small election. I'd say it was a good trial before our larger municipal election" next week.

 
Health Groups Seek Relaxed Doctor-Note Policies PDF Print E-mail
City Shorts
Written by Joe Collins   
Tuesday, 27 October 2009 05:18

The health departments of Scott and Rock Island counties along with Trinity Regional Health System and Genesis Health System are asking for the help of businesses and school districts to reduce traffic to doctor offices during flu season. In a memo sent last week to area chambers of commerce and school districts, the health-care organizations asked school districts and employers to temporarily relax their policies and not require a doctor's note prior to returning to school or work. Doctor offices are receiving large numbers of requests for signed forms for patients returning to work and returning to school. These requests bring people to offices for routine visits at a time when many clinics are already seeing larger volumes from those seeking treatment for flu-like symptoms. This not only increases exposure risk for patients but also strains the resources of already busy offices.

 
Hospitals Change Visitation Policies PDF Print E-mail
City Shorts
Written by Joe Collins   
Tuesday, 20 October 2009 10:49

Genesis Health System and Trinity Regional Health System have temporarily changed their visitor policies to restrict visitors younger than age 18 from visiting children's and maternal units during flu season. To ensure the safety of patients, only visitors at least 18 years old and without flu symptoms will be allowed to visit Genesis BirthCenters at Genesis Medical Center in Davenport and Genesis Medical Center Illini Campus in Silvis, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Davenport, and the pediatrics units in Davenport and Silvis. Trinity's Pediatrics Unit at its West Campus in Rock Island, and Trinity BirthPlace at its Seventh Street campus in Moline (which includes its Neonatal Special Care Unit) and Terrace Park campus in Bettendorf have enacted the same restriction. Parents younger than 18 will be an exception.

 
H1N1: Despite the Media Frenzy, There’s Little Reason to Panic PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 15 October 2009 06:05

If you're torn about how worried to be about the H1N1 flu virus, you're not alone.

Consider: "I think the hysteria of H1N1 concerns me the most." That's Paul M. Bolger, medical director for emergency medicine at Trinity Regional Health System.

"Let's say it's equivalent to a seasonal flu" in terms of symptom severity and mortality, countered Louis M. Katz, the medical director of the Scott County Health Department, an infectious-diseases specialist, and the executive vice president for medical affairs of the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center. "Multiply 30[,000] or 40,000 [typical annual deaths in the United States from seasonal influenza] times five or six, or three or four, in terms of number of deaths. It's a big deal. It's a huge deal. Both from the standpoint of what we call morbidity and mortality - illness and death - and from the impact on societal operations and infrastructure."

This is a worst-case scenario, right? "No, it's what's going to happen," Katz said.

These aren't really contradictory; they're just different perspectives. But they express the general realities about H1N1 that appear to be in conflict: Our brief experience with this new strain of influenza suggests that its symptoms are generally less severe than the seasonal flu's and that its death rate is comparable, but because there's virtually no immunity in people under 60, it has the potential to affect a greater percentage of the population and cause widespread problems.

 
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