Saturday, April 26, 2008

Norovirus Identified as Cause of GI Outbreak at Eloy Detention Center

     ELOY- Specimens tested at the Arizona State Public Health Laboratory on April 24th have confirmed norovirus as the cause of an outbreak currently occurring at the Eloy Detention Center. 

     Over 300 detainees have become ill so far with symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.  Pinal County Public Health and Environmental Health officials are working with officials at the Eloy Detention Center to manage spread of the infection in the facility.  At this point no cases have had serious illness or needed to be hospitalized.      

     Norovirus, which causes what is commonly referred to as "stomach flu" or "winter vomiting disease" typically causes symptoms such as low grade fever, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.  Symptoms usually resolve in 1-3 days. 

     Norovirus is spread through the fecal-oral route from person to person, often involving contaminated environmental surfaces such as door or sink handles.  Health officials are still investigating the source of the norovirus outbreak.

     While norovirus is more common during the colder months, it is found year round in Arizona and is a common cause of outbreaks associated with institutional settings, schools, daycares, cruise ships, and other environments where people are in close proximity to one another. 

     Norovirus is the most common documented cause of outbreaks in Arizona.  It is typical in these settings to see high percentages of residents and employees become ill until rigorous disinfection practices are implemented. 

     "No institutional setting is immune to this," said Tom Schryer, Director, Pinal County Public Health.  "One case of this very common illness brought into an institutional setting is enough to cause an explosion of secondary cases.  We appreciate the cooperation from officials with the Corrections Corporation of America to help identify this outbreak of norovirus."

     The best way to protect yourself from infection of norovirus and many other communicable diseases is to practice good hygiene including washing hands multiple times a day. 

     For more information about norovirus or influenza call the Pinal County Public Health Services District at (520) 866-7347, or the Arizona Department of Health Services at (602) 364-3676.



Friday, April 25, 2008


Saturday April 12, 2008. was a very special day for PAWS 4 LIFE, as they all gathered for class , and took photo’s of a pup that has been in training for a while and, its new owner Vincent Schafer. This was all made possible through a lady whose dog is already in training to become a service dog. Back in December of 2008 Susan Hurst had to have surgery, and called on PAWS 4 LIFE to assist her with her dog. She was rehabbing in a facility in Mesa. Her dog birthed early. She all of a sudden had herself in a hospital, her husband in a facility, and her dog having pups, and was overwhelmed, and needed assistance. PAWS 4 LIFE got involved, and helped her out. She decided to donate one of her pups to our organization, to go to someone who was handicapped, or disabled. We have now come full circle with this pup. The pup has a new owner, and they have become involved in her training, and it is a very active relationship between them, and PAWS 4 LIFE.

The pup joined in with the four other pups we had in training, along with some very busy student volunteers, and at one time there were seven pups in training. They continued to work with the pups on a regular basis, and it started to show in the learning process. Of course, at the end of a session they were still pups, and all so cute at the same time. It is amazing the changes that have occurred, and how fast the pups have joined in with the other dogs in in their basic obedience classes. They are all learning so fast, and changing so fast. People are beginning to ask the owners: “What are you feeding them, Miracle Grow?” The students are growing right along with their assigned pups. It is a learning process for all.

Meanwhile PAWS, which is a non profit organization, and fairly new, began taking in applications for people who were handicapped, and disabled. A couple by the name of Vincent, and Mary Lou Schafer came to the PAWS booth at Lost Dutchman days, and were told of the application process, and they applied, and began the process. This pup will go on to be a hearing impaired service dog. They both are totally 100% hearing impaired, and qualified. The doctor did his part of filling out the necessary paperwork, and the rest of the process began. Now, Vincent and his wife will begin training for one year solid. They and the pup will be tested by the person who has tested, certified, and registered three of our service dogs already a year from now, and continue to be tested periodically, as will our other service dogs. The test takes over and hour, and the dog and the handler are both tested. The person doing the testing comes from Flagstaff to do the test. By the time this pup tests out, Paws will probably have a few more dogs to be tested, certified, and registered.

The classes are two hours long, with breaks, they (all attendees) are learning both verbal, and hand signals, due to we have more than one hearing impaired person in the classes. It is quite interesting to see both the hearing impaired, and those that hear work side by side. The exciting part is: Mr. Schafer and his wife teaching all of us the sign language also. We have our basic hand signals, for the classes, but they are going to teach us further, so we can all communicate while in class, or in public. You never know in a crowd what will happen, and should you need to get your dog, or another dog, and they can not hear you, it doesn’t hurt to have both human, and the dog know sign language should this ever happen.

As mentioned earlier we are a fairly new organization however, none of the members, are new to training, working with dogs, or handicapped people. We do presentation’s, and participate in functions so that all; can be knowledgeable about different types of service dogs, or types of training, and classes. We even have a class lined up for the dogs to be trained around horses, so they learn how to act around horses, and the handlers will learn at the same time. It is a constant learning process for all. In fact; this year all of the service dogs went to the Elks club to meet the Clydesdale horse, and have their photo’s taken with the large horse, and to see how they would inter act around the large horse. They all did very well and even did well with the crowd that was present. One of our service dogs Simon was actually allowed in by the “Budweiser Wagon” and had his photo taken with them, and Ranger Lt. Ron Corbin. It truly was and important day for all. At the Elks Club the large horse leaned down and kissed one of the dogs. It was like magic watching the interaction between one large horse, and the dog.

We have training four times a month, and try to meet the needs of all time frames so the working people can participate. Our tester has not only had sixteen years experience in training, she has judged in competition, and performed with dogs in competition. She began training dogs back in the 60’s, and continued to train. She works with the testing of both service dogs, and other obedience testing. Mary Helen has been a wealth of knowledge for our organization, and has been working very hard for our legislation in this state to be more exact when it comes to the terms of a service dog. She is very active in training, and helps other people train, and has been a big help with us for our dogs. Her dog “Buster” tested with our three last January 17th on 2007, and it was very interesting , and a very lengthy test. In other word’s; the test was not done in ten minutes or fifteen minutes, we were still testing one hour later. She gave a very good presentation class before the test also.

Our trainers have different years into training, and all different training levels. The apprenticeship program for students is well and thriving. One will graduate in May, and a new one will start in June of 2008.

Eventually we will be in a facility and have the training available there, and we realize this will take time and money, but we will work towards that goal, and continue to work with service dogs, and offering affordable training, and the student programs, along with pet sitting. We will strive to work with the public also; to educate them more about service dogs and working dogs in general. There are a lot of people that do not know the whole spectrum of the working dog class, and the service dogs. The amount of time and money is put into either, along with long hours, constant training. In the long run it is all well worth it in the end. Sometimes that reward is just a tear in ones eye, or a smile of appreciation, or the good feeling that we get, when we know we have succeeded in what we set out to do. That is to help someone. We are also educating people on responsible pet ownership. The schools have been very open to us coming in and speaking to the students. Showing the dogs, and interacting at times with our program. We sometimes end our classes in song, and hugs, which only signifies that we all are on the same page, when it comes to the pets, or the service dogs. It is a good group of people with the same goals, and a love for their dogs.

For information regarding PAWS 4 LIFE please call: 480-983-5378 or 480-262-5479.

We welcome your interest, and look forward to giving back to the community for which we all belong too. Just seeing the pup and how it is still interacting with all the dogs and other pups in classes, and “Play Date, “tells us it was and is the right thing to do.

It is unconditional love at its best.

Chairman Snider May office hours in Maricopa

Chairman Snider to Hold Maricopa Office Hours on Tuesday, May 6


     CASA GRANDE- From a recent Health and Human Services summit to railroad issues, Board Chairman David Snider says that April has been a busy one for him and his fellow Supervisors.

     "We hosted the Health and Human Services summit, where many issues that directly affect the residents in this area were discussed," Chairman Snider said.  "We also have worked with the Union Pacific Railroad on coming up with a plan for current and future crossings throughout this area as well.  It's been an interesting, albeit busy month."

     The Chairman would like to invite residents to his monthly office hours in Maricopa which will be held on Tuesday, May 6 from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm at the Interim Maricopa City Hall located at 45145 W. Madison Avenue.

     "Thanks the generosity of the Maricopa City Government, I am able to be closer to this area and discuss in detail many issues that are of concern to area residents," Chairman Snider said.  "We can discuss the issue of the railroad crossings to our recent Pinal County Town Hall held at the Biosphere in Oracle.  A lot is definitely going on here in Pinal County."    

     If you would like to schedule a specific time to meet with the Supervisor, please call his office at 836-0003 – otherwise, it's a first-come, first-served opportunity to meet with Chairman Snider.




For Immediate Release                                                              Contact: Joe Pyritz

April 24, 2008                                                                               (520) 866-6226

                                                                                                     Heather Murphy

                                                                                                     (520) 866-6057


City of Casa Grande Makes Maps Public

City of Casa Grande - City of Casa Grande Maps
City of Casa Grande Maps available for download. ... The City of Casa Grande GIS Division has prepared the following maps in PDF format. ...

Officials Investigating Gastrointestinal Illness Outbreak at Eloy Prison

Pinal County Health Officials Investigating Gastrointestinal Illness Outbreak at Eloy Prison Facility


     ELOY- Pinal County officials from the Public Health Services District and Division of Environmental Health are working in concert with Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) officials on an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness at their Eloy facility.

     Approximately 80 cases of gastrointestinal illness symptoms were reported by CCA to the Public Health Services District on Wednesday, April 23.  Symptoms included vomiting and diarrhea.

     Pinal County has taken samples to the Arizona Department of Health Services lab in Phoenix for analysis.  It is unknown when the results will be available.



Press Release


For Immediate Release                                                              Contact: Joe Pyritz

April 24, 2008                                                                               (520) 866-6226