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February 19, 2013

"Magnet Balls" Pose Danger to Kids - Recalled by Feds

Magnet Balls are a very popular desktop toy on the market right now. The small 5mm diameter balls are extremely strong for their size and can be molded into any shape imaginable. The magnets are made of the rare earth neodynium and are at least 15 times more powerful than normal magnets.

These little balls stick together with such force that, if they are accidentally swallowed, they can cut holes in the stomach or intestines. Life-threatening injuries like perforations, sepsis and blockages can occur within hours following ingestion. They are manufactured by several different companies and marketed in slim plastic tubes filled with 216 shiny magnetic balls. So who in the world would ever put them in their mouth and swallow them? Young kids and teenagers apparently.

A recent study says that hundreds of children and teens have been treated by physicians, with dozens needing surgery for injuries, in just the past two years after swallowing the super-strong magnetic balls, despite bold labels and warnings to keep them away from children.

The U.S. consumer product watchdog, CPSC, recalled the magnet toys. The balls are sold under brand names such as Buckyballs, Zen Magnets, and NeoCube, which was the first of these toys to hit the market in 2008. While most manufacturers and importers say they will comply with the CPSC recall, two are fighting the recall. The CPSC has sued these manufacturers to force them to stop selling the dangerous product.

The latest study is based on reports compiled by the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. That study found a total of 480 cases in which children or teens swallowed the tiny magnets, with 204 incidents occurring in just the past 12 months. Approximately 80 percent of those incidents required endoscopy or surgery.

More than 50 percent of the cases involved children six years old or younger; 16 percent involved teenagers, who use the magnets to mimic tongue, lip, and nose piercings. Teenagers are putting one magnet under their tongue and one magnet on the top of their tongue to make it appear like a piercing.

If you have some of these magnets and you also have young kids or teenagers, you should either make sure that the balls are safe and secure, or simply trash them. If you want your money back, you can return them to the seller for a full refund under the recall.

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February 7, 2013

Beware of Counterfeit Drugs

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More and more generic drugs are turning out to be COUNTERFEIT! A counterfeit drug is one that is marketed and sold as the real drug, but in actuality it is missing one or more of the key active ingredients. Taking such drugs can be dangerous and hazardous to your health. Headlines have recently discussed the popular flu remedy Tamiflu as having a counterfeit on the market.

Yesterday, the FDA announced that it had identified another counterfeit cancer drug. The drug is a generic counterfeit version of the cancer drug Avastin. This is the third case involving the best-selling Roche drug in the past year. The FDA is notifying and warning doctors about this latest counterfeit.

Most of these counterfeit drugs are found on-line at discount pharmacies. The on-line pharmacies that are selling counterfeit drugs have websites that look professional and authentic. But, as the old saying goes, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is! So, beware consumers, if the price of the drug is unbelievably low, it is probably a fake. Buyers of on-line drugs must be careful that they are dealing with reputable pharmacies.

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October 11, 2012

Teen Drivers Can Create Serious Liability For Parents

teen driver 1.jpgEvery so often, we have to do things that we would rather not do, if we had the option. For me, going to the dentist every six months to get my teeth cleaned falls into this category. During my dental visit yesterday, my hygienist told me about her son who just turned sixteen. "He now has his driver's license, and we bought him a Jeep," she told me with some anxiety in her voice. Having younger children myself, this peeked my curiosity.

She went on to tell me that they had titled the Jeep in her and her husband's name and added the son to their car insurance policy. At this point, the lawyer in me came alive. "Do you understand that if he gets into a wreck and hurts someone, you could get sued," I asked? She looked surprised, and said, "you've got to be kidding? How?"

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February 21, 2011

North Carolina Moves Forward To Ban Cell Phones While Driving

cell phones prohibited.jpgWith the epidemic of texting while driving causing more and more serious crashes, injuries and deaths, the North Carolina Legislature is taking up the issue of a total ban of cell phones while driving a motor vehicle. North Carolina Lawyers Weekly covered the story this week.

Representatives Garland Pierce, D-Hoke, and Charles Graham, D-Robeson, filed the bill to ban cell phone use while driving on February 2, 2011. The bill is known as H. 31 and is titled, "An act to make using a mobile phone unlawful while driving a motor vehicle on a public street or highway or public vehicular area." The bill is currently in the House Rules Committee.

The bill basically bans any use of a cell phone, even via blue tooth hands-free technology, while one is operating a motor vehicle. This ban would include school bus drivers. The only exception under the new bill would be in the case of an emergency.

The penalty for violating the proposed new law would be a $100 fine and no insurance points.

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January 7, 2011

Texting While Driving Claims Another North Carolina Teen's Life

chocowinity-teen-killed-in-accident.jpgAnother North Carolina teenager has tragically died as a result of texting while driving. WITN news just reported that yesterday afternoon at 3:42pm, Sarah Edwards appears to have glanced down at her cell phone to read a text message. That distraction caused her Honda Accord to drift across the yellow line into the on-coming lane where it struck the rear tandems of a tractor-trailer logging truck. She died instantly. The collision occurred on Chandler Road in Beaufort County. Her cell phone records show that she read a text message one minute before the first of several 911 calls were placed reporting the collision.

Ms. Edwards, 18 of Chocowinity, was a senior at Southside High School in Washington. Her funeral is this Saturday at 11 a.m. at Pamlico Memorial Gardens in Washington.

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November 14, 2010

Robbinsville Pit Bull Attack - Who's Responsible? Dogs, Owner or Town?

pit-bull-attack1.jpgPeople are rarely attacked by vicious dogs, but when those attacks happen to young children or the elderly they can be deadly. Particular breeds, like pit bulls, Rottweilers, Akitas and German shepherds are publicized as being more aggressive and dangerous than other breeds. While that is probably true, there is no question that pit bulls have been bred to be aggressive and strong.

A two year old Robbinsville boy remains in critical condition after being attacked and mauled by as many as 6 pit bulls that lived at the child's grandmother's home. The Asheville Citizen Times reported that the incident took place around 3:15pm last Saturday at a house on North Main Street across from the Robbinsville Elementary School. Neighbors and teachers at the school reported having seen the dogs running lose in town.

Someone at the school had complained to Town officials recently when he saw the dogs running down the sidewalk after a couple of kids on bikes. In the rural town, no leash law existed to prohibit a dog owner from allowing their dog to run loose. Approximately one week prior to the attack, the Robbinsville Town Council had considered passing a leash law but failed to do so. The mayor pro tem, Bobby Smith, admitted to feeling guilty that they did not already have such a law. A simple leash law might have prevented this tragedy.

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November 11, 2010

Education Is The Key To Stopping North Carolina Teens From Distracted Driving

distracted driving.jpgDistracted driving is killing teenagers at an alarming rate. The National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been on a rampage against distracted driving by teens for more than a year, but studies show that distracted driving by teens continues despite teenagers' knowledge of its dangers. Last month, teenage drivers nationwide pledged to take two seconds to turn off their cell phones and other wireless devices before driving a motor vehicle. These pledges were part of a National Two-Second Turnoff Day sponsored by AAA, Seventeen and the US Department of Transportation. A recent survey by AAA and the popular teen magazine Seventeen showed that nearly 9 our of 10 teen drivers have driven while distracted, even though almost 85% of them know its dangerous.

The key to stopping distracted driving is not telling teen drivers how dangerous it is, that is just preaching to the choir. They all know how dangerous it is, but they do not think anything bad could happen to them. Education on this topic must involve and engage teenagers. The below video is a great place to start this education:

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September 30, 2010

Westville Pub Attack Creates Civil Liability

Tuesday night, a Candler woman, Jessica Renee Hall, 32, of Reeves Cove Road, crashed her SUV into the barriers separating the outdoor patio from the parking lot at the Westville Pub in West Asheville. Hall intentionally rammed her vehicle into the huge metal radiators that create a wall beside the patio where patrons often enjoy their food and beverages.

Witnesses say that Hall backed her SUV up approximately 20 feet from the patio, then jammed the vehicle in drive and then accelerated toward Amy Nicole Roberts and several others on the patio. The collision pinned Roberts under the radiators and the front of the SUV, causing serious injuries to her left leg. Hall then backed the SUV up, screamed out the vehicle's window, "that's what you get for f+++++g with me, b+++h!" and fled the scene. A witness ran after the SUV and got the license tag number and called 911. Police later contacted Hall at her home, and she was subsequently arrested and charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. She is out of jail on a $9,000 bond. The motive for the assault appears to be that Ms. Roberts was friends with Hall's ex-husband.

Ms. Roberts is still in the hospital receiving treatment for her mangled left leg. Doctors are hopeful that she will recover to the point that she can use the leg again, but there is still a possibility that she might have to have the leg amputated. Doctors expect that she will need multiple surgeries to address the severity of her injuries.

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August 23, 2010

Guilford Teen Charged With Texting While Driving & Hit and Run

Hit & Run.jpgAs safety advocates and parents continue to preach the dangers of texting while driving, teenagers continue to test the texting laws to the detriment and harm of everyone else. Last week, Justin Wallace, a 19 year old Connecticutt man, showed up in Superior Court to be formally charged with a host of minor crimes arising out of his texting while driving hit & run fiasco with a pedestrian.

In the early evening of July 24, Lori Walsh was walking single file with her dog and two children down Tanner Marsh Road. At the same time, Wallace was driving his father's 1997 tan Toyota Camry in the same direction as the mother and children were walking. Wallace was sending and receiving text messages on his cell phone as he drove down the road. He knew it was against the law but didn't think he would get caught.


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July 8, 2010

Defective Bicycle Sold In North Carolina Recalled By CPSC

bike - defective.jpgAs parents and students begin preparing for the coming school year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a voluntary recall for a single speed bicycle sold by Campus Cruisers LLC of Boulder, Colorado.

Although the bicycle is popular among high school and college students, the CPSC has received several reports of crashes caused by the bicycle's front fork cracking and breaking. This type of front fork failure is extremely dangerous because such a break generally causes the rider to go head first onto the ground or pavement. Serious head and neck injuries can result from this type of crash. The bicycle was sold to independent bicycle dealers in North Carolina and in other states from March 2010 through May 2010. The cost of the bicycle was approximately $450. The bicycle was manufactured by a company in China.

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June 27, 2010

"Do As I Say & Not As I Do" - Adults Are Texting & Driving Too

texting while driving adult.jpgA new national study by the Pew Research Center finds that adults are just as likely to have sent text messages while driving as teenagers, and adults are much more likely to have talked on their cell phone while driving when compared to teenagers.

While much attention has recently been focused on teen texting while driving due to several fatal crashes, it appears that adults are just as deserving of similar attention and education. The study's statistics are startling, and it makes this author think that we adults need to look in the mirror before we are so quick to judge our teenagers.

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June 26, 2010

Two Critically Injured In Claremont Motorcycle Crash

motorcycle crash near Claremont.jpgOn Thursday morning around 9:50 a.m., a motorcycle driven by Bruce Offenbacker, age 24, rocketed down NC Highway 10 at over 100 mph. On the back of the motorcycle was Offenbacker's 20 year old girlfriend, Jasmine Shope of Newton.

As the motorcycle approached the intersection of Bethany Church Road, Isaiah Edgell, 44, was stopped in his 1989 Mazda pickup truck facing west on NC Highway 10, waiting to make a left hand turn into the Country Market. Iredell County Trooper C.M. Trouille just happened to be sitting in his marked State Highway Patrol vehicle behind the stopped pickup truck. When the pickup truck began to make its left hand turn, the motorcycle collided with the passenger side of the pickup truck at a high speed and with substantial force. Trooper Truoille stated he never even saw the motorcycle before impact. This crash was orignally covered by the Hickory Daily Record. The following video is a good example of how this crash happened:

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May 18, 2010

I-40 Tractor-Trailer Accident: Truck Runs Over Car

Statesville Truck Wreck.JPGA serious crash closed Interstate 40 for over an hour Monday evening when a westbound Lincoln Town Car crossed the median and went under the rear wheels of an eastbound tractor-trailer. The collision happened just east of the Radio Road bridge that crosses I-40 near Mile Marker 150. Emergency workers and the North Carolina Highway Patrol shut down all 4 lanes of Interstate 40 while they attempted to rescue the occupants of the car.

Statesville Truck - SHP Qns.JPGTrooper Marty Liles of the State Highway Patrol (SHP) investigated the crash and reported that the car, driven by Rashad Whitner, 32 of Hickory, originally went off of the right side of the westbound lanes, re-entered and crossed the westbound lanes, entered the median and went under the median cables, and then entered the eastbound lanes at which time the car went under the rear of the tractor-trailer and was run over by the trailer's rear axles.

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