Deadly Tobacco Becomes A Lifesaver - 09/02/14

  The irony ~   Tobacco, the very plant blamed for prematurely killing 443 thousand Americans each year.  Tobacco, the same plant that led to a $246 billion dollar lawsuit settlement in the 90's against the tobacco industry.  Tobacco, the cash crop for Kentucky and North Carolina for decades.  This little green plant that's gotten the bad rap for snuffing out lives too early... has now saved at least two.... and scientists can't grow enough of this hybrid tobacco fast enough.

   The Ebola outbreak the CDC now says, "is out of control" is all of the sudden heavily dependent on tobacco and it's all being grown just up the road from us in a lab in Owensboro, Kentucky.  Somehow, this special tobacco is able to host a cocktail of antibodies that kick starts the immune system in Ebola victims and promotes healing.

    It worked for the two American aid workers who were brought back here to the states for the experimental treatment.  Now, the challenge is to grow more of it faster and substantiate the trials needed to use it on sick people who will otherwise die, according to doctors.

     Scientists have been working on this tobacco cocktail known as ZMapp for years with plans for trials at some point in the future.  They just didn't anticipate what's now a pandemic in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.   The CDC says for every day Ebola spreads in West Africa, it threatens people of all nations who may travel.  It's hard to contain and highly contagious.
 
    That's why the CDC is dispatching a team to Senegal to help prevent the spread of the disease. More than 1500 people have already died and another American doctor came down sick with Ebola today.  He had been working with pregnant women in West Africa. 
 
      Just a little news update interwoven with a redemption story for tobacco and I think it's all pretty darn cool that it's happening just up the road from us.  A hop, skip and a jump away. 

 

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Last Update on March 30, 2015 07:07 GMT

PINK CHICKENS

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- If someone said they saw pink elephants, you'd ask what drinks had gotten into them. When people in Portland, Oregon spotted pink chickens -- it turned out it was because of the drinks the birds had gotten on them. Animal control officials picked up the pink pullets after they were spotted running loose in the city's waterfront park. Turns out the owner used food coloring, beet juice and Kool-Aid to dye the birds. He says he released them for a while to "make people smile." He may not be smiling at the result. He got a bill for the time the chickens were in county care -- and a scolding about the dangers of releasing birds in public areas.

PIANO MOUNTAIN

CALABASAS, Calif. (AP) -- You've heard of Mount Rushmore and Mount Everest -- but Mount Piano? Hikers who made the trek up to Topanga Lookout in the Santa Monica Mountains of California recently have come upon an odd sight: a battered upright piano, sitting on a graffiti-covered concrete slab. Turns out the piano was used for a music video. The video producer says he and four others used a dolly and rope to haul the 350-pound instrument a mile up the trail last week. After the shoot, it was too dark to get it down. The video maker says while it seems people are happy to see it there, he will haul it back down if necessary.

SNACK RUN

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- We've all had those times: you have a craving for something to eat or drink in the wee hours, and hop out of bed to get it. In this case, the person with the craving in the wee hours was a wee lass: just 4 years old. And to get to the store, she hopped on a Philadelphia bus. Police say the girl slipped on a purple raincoat, slipped out of her house at 3 a.m. in a downpour -- and boarded the bus. Driver Harlan Jenifer says the girl swung her legs in her seat as she chanted, "All I want is a slushie." The driver called police, who took the girl to a hospital where she was reunited with her mom. Authorities say the girl's family was unaware she had gone on her slushie run.

ANGRY BIRDS?

MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) -- It's a game of angry birds no one in Melbourne, Florida wants to play. Officials say ducks, geese, seagulls and other feathered friends are acting more like feathered fiends -- chasing people and tying up traffic in Wells Park. Animal officials say it appears the birds are losing their fear of people. And in some cases, that means people are gaining a fear of birds. City Manager Mick McNees tells the Florida Today newspaper three white geese chased him as he jogged in the park. He says he had trouble scaring the birds off -- but fears that an older person or child may not be able to. Officials have put up signs barring people from feeding wildlife to try to restore the balance of nature in the park.

 
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