Playlist for The Big One | JK & The Lost Boys – It All Comes Down

JK & The Lost Boys provide proof of life in the indie rock scene in Atlanta GA. Damn if they don’t leave it all on stage with this song – and I love the group percussion session and megaphone vox about halfway through the video. Looks like one helluva live show to have taken in. This add to the Big Med Playlist for The Big One ain’t for the faint of heart. It’s the musical equivalent of an AED – guaranteed to pick your heart rate up and your sense of rhythm kicked in to high gear.

Who are these guys?

Their latest album Time Is Trouble was produced by producer Ryan Newell from the band Sister Hazel and features southern-rock tunes ranging from the hard driving “It All Comes Down” and “The Bottom” to the melancholy with “Good Enough”.

“We try to steer our fate and plan for the future but time has a way of forcing events in our life, whether we’re ready for it or not” – Justin Keller, a.k.a. JK. “It’s a visceral album. These songs are a reaction to events in my life that are part of growing up,” says front man JK. Sister Hazel’s famed guitarist, Ryan Newell, was enlisted as a producer, shaping a mature polish around the band’s raw high energy. Newell teamed with Atlanta’s Downright studios, producer/engineer Josh Golden, who helped craft Time Is Trouble into an energetic experience.

Striving to create an album that defines them, the band picked up bassist Chase Lamondo before laying down the demo. “After our first release, Street Lights and Avenues, we aimed to write music that was distinctly our own,” explains lead guitarist Jaz Dixon, who came on board with the band after engineering that first EP. Deeply metaphoric, JK’s lyrics take you through the experience of learning life’s hardest lessons while still trying to maintain a positive outlook. But JK & The Lost Boys has always been about the driving beat and high-energy that drummer Casey Courter helps keep in focus.

Raised in Rockdale County Georgia, JK and Casey formed the band before they could even vote. Courter talks about their high school beginnings, “Our first gig was an event at our school we did as a favor for a friend. Since then, everything’s been real natural and has gotten better over time.” Initially using music to express the feel-good vibes of teenage summers past, the band has toured throughout the southeast in the past year. “ I had good friends and good times growing up in Conyers and that came out when I sat down to write,” JK explains.

Now, with maturity only days on the road and hours in the studio can provide, JK & The Lost Boys has a new focus. Re-tooled to hit the road the band knows their worth and they don’t mind campaigning hard for the world to hear. “We’ll just keep playing shows and getting in front of people” Chase concludes, “..and having a damn good time doing it.”

JK – Acoustic Guitar, Lead Vocalist
Jaz Dixon – Lead Guitar
Chase Lamondo – Bass
Casey Courter – Drums

Follow JK & The Lost Boys on Facebook

West Yorkshire | Opening of first combined police/fire/ambulance station

Pontefract, Normanton | 21 April 2012

New fire stations in Pontefract and Normanton are to be officially opened next week by the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Dr. Ingrid Roscoe.

Pontefract will become the first ‘Blue Light’ complex in the county, with West Yorkshire Police and Yorkshire Ambulance Service sharing the facilities.

The opening of Normanton station will be at 1.30pm on Friday, 27 April and Pontefract at 3pm later that same day.

The Pontefract station, on Stump Cross Lane, enjoys excellent access to key road networks and is mid-way between the former Pontefract and Knottingley stations, which it replaces.

The £2m. Pontefract/Knottingley merger was first proposed back in 2006 to underpin a major revamp of fire and rescue cover across the Five Towns but the project as a whole was frustrated by land purchase problems and other technical issues. Work finally began in March 2010.

Building was carried out by ISG Construction plc and the station houses two fire engines, a gym, recreational area and meeting rooms. It incorporates the latest high performance materials, rainwater harvesting and solar panels. It also hosts a steel-framed training tower for rescue exercises.

Chief Fire Officer Simon Pilling welcomed local collaboration with police and ambulance services.

“Improved co-operation across the ‘Blue Lights’ will lead to more effective working and help all three agencies maintain cost-effective, resilient services to the public and local businesses alike,” he added.

Councillor David Ridgway, who chairs West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority, said that the brigade prided itself on innovation and forward-thinking ideas like the sharing of facilities at Pontefract and the new crewing system at Normanton were excellent examples of how more could be delivered with less.

Chief Superintendent Marc Callaghan, Wakefield District Police Divisional Commander, said: “the move to Pontefract Fire Station is an excellent opportunity ensuring that the Pontefract and Knottingley NPT remains at the heart of the communities it serves.

“It also enables us to continue working closely with our partners to deal with issues which really matter to local residents.

“As part of our plans around the creation of the new divisional headquarters we have considered the location of all our resources across the Wakefield district. In these current challenging financial times we have also been working with our partners to maximise our resources and share costs where we can.

“Of course the public will still have access to the police at the police station in Pontefract.”

Paul Mudd, Locality Director for Emergency Operations (West Yorkshire) at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “our priority is to respond to 999 calls as quickly as possible and by having ambulances strategically located, where historically there has been a high level of demand, we are reaching patients quicker than ever before.

“The fire station at Pontefract will become part of our network of these locations across West Yorkshire and we are delighted to be working alongside our emergency service partners for the benefit of patients in the area.”

Normanton Fire Station, completed by Caddick Construction plc, has been built on the site of the old station at The Grove and on adjoining land at Princess Street which now provides the main entrance.

A nearby house has also been converted to provide accommodation for five firefighters operating the day-crewing/close call system.

The new building is larger than the old one and provides two appliance bays, a gym, workshop, offices and meetings rooms. It also boasts a training tower and environmentally-friendly features including rainwater harvesting and solar panels to pre-heat the domestic hot water supply.

The redevelopment cost £1.7m. Discussions are on-going regarding inter-agency collaboration at Normanton.

Mr. Pilling said both projects helped to secure fire cover for the area and wished local firefighters well for the future.

Eastern England | Community First Responders celebrate 10th birthday with the help of a patient whose life they saved

Watton | 21 April 2012

A group of ambulance volunteers are celebrating ten years of helping to save lives on Saturday.

And special guest at the Wayland Community First Responder (CFR) group’s birthday party will be a patient they helped save after he suffered a cardiac arrest three years ago.

CFRs are specially trained and equipped by the East of England Ambulance Service to attend calls like cardiac arrests when the difference between life and death can be a matter of minutes.

They serve the community where they live or work and are dispatched at the same time as an ambulance crew but because of their proximity to the call can get there faster to start immediate life-saving treatment until the crew arrives and can take over.

The first CFR group was established 15 years ago in the region covered by the ambulance in Essex.

Irene Barrowman, of the Wayland CFRs who are based in the Watton, Norfolk area, said: “To be still going strong ten years later is a fantastic achievement. It makes me feel very proud to look back on what we’ve achieved over that decade.

“Our numbers have gone up and down but we now have a core group of 14 to 15 volunteers which is great. Of course we are always on the look out for more so if anyone is interested they shoud contact the ambulance service.”

The anniversary celebration takes place at Queens Hall in Watton from 7.30pm on Saturday (April 21).

Anyone interested in becoming a CFR can contact responderadmin@eastamb.nhs.uk or click here for more information.

South Central England | Chipping Norton First Aid Unit (FAU) now open

Chipping Norton War Memorial Community Hospital | 21 April 2012

South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust (SCAS) working together with NHS Oxfordshire has jointly funded a First Aid Unit (FAU) at the new Chipping Norton War Memorial Community Hospital.

This innovative pilot scheme commenced on 4 April 2011 and will run for an initial period of 6 months during which the ambulance service will be working closely with local GPs to encourage people to use the FAU. At the end of the 6 month period the service will be evaluated and reviewed in line with local demand.

The First Aid Unit will be open Monday to Friday between 5.00pm and 9.00pm and at weekends and on bank holidays between 10.00am and 9.00pm to provide a drop-in service – no appointment necessary.

It will be staffed by an Emergency Care Practitioner (ECP) from the local ambulance service – a registered healthcare professional such as a paramedic or nurse who has received extra education and training to assess and treat simple injuries and minor illnesses which cannot be treated or managed with a home first aid kit.

These include:

  • Minor illnesses including ear, throat or urine infections
  • Insect bites and stings
  • Minor burns and scalds
  • Bruises and bumps to the head where there has been no loss of consciousness
  • Sprains
  • Minor wounds – cleaning and stitching.

Ally Green, Programme Director at NHS Oxfordshire said:

‘This service is an exciting pilot, bringing a wider range of skills into a first aid unit by working with the Ambulance Trust. We expect fewer people will need to travel to Witney, Banbury or Oxford and it could also reduce the number of calls for an ambulance. We want to keep local access to first aid services when the local GP practices are closed and we have listened to the concerns of the local community. It is important that local people use this service to ensure we can maintain it beyond the six month pilot.’

Vicky Holliday, SCAS ECP Operational Manager said: ‘This project is a great example of partnership working between the ambulance service and Oxfordshire PCT towards ensuring the residents of Chipping Norton are able to benefit from this initiative at evenings and weekends for conditions that cannot be treated at home and which do not require an ambulance resource or a trip to A&E.’

The ECP will also have a rapid response car to enable them to respond quickly to medical emergencies in the local area.

If you are in any doubt as to whether your injury or illness can be treated at the FAU please telephone a member of staff at the unit on 01608 648 233. When the unit is closed patients should contact their own GP. For life-threatening medical emergencies make your way to your local hospital A&E Department, or dial 999 for an ambulance.

San Diego County | West Nile Virus Awareness Week declared

San Diego County | 21 April 2012

With warmer weather and mosquito season fast-approaching, California legislators have declared April 22-28 “West Nile virus and Mosquito & Vector Control Awareness” week, reminding us all to be smart and protect ourselves from the potentially-fatal disease.

San Diego County, with larvicide drops, education and prevention, has done a good job of warding off West Nile virus, with zero human illnesses in 2010 and 2011 and just one batch of mosquitoes testing positive in 2011.

But with 158 illnesses and nine deaths statewide in 2011, West Nile virus remains a threat.

“So far, our efforts have paid off here in San Diego County,” said Supervisor Greg Cox. “But we need to stay vigilant. Diseases like West Nile virus can strike anywhere, anytime. Fortunately, all of us can take an active role in protecting ourselves and the community.”

Cox said the County would continue to do its part: using helicopters and other equipment to drop mosquito-larvicide into ponds and water sources; looking for “green” pools that could become mosquito breeding grounds; giving out free mosquito-eating fish; and visiting schools and health fairs with West Nile virus posters and educational materials.

County Environmental Health officials said the public can also help, by remembering and acting upon this phrase: “Prevent, Protect, Report.”

  • Protect Yourself from Mosquito Bites: Protect yourself from the virus by staying inside when mosquitoes are most active, between dusk and dawn. Wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors. Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of eucalyptus or IR3535 when outside. Make sure screens on windows and doors are in good condition and secured.
  • Prevent Mosquito Breeding: Dump out or remove any backyard item that can hold water, such as plant saucers, rain gutters, buckets, garbage cans, toys, old tires and wheelbarrows. Mosquito fish may be used to control mosquito breeding in backyard water sources such as unused swimming pools, ponds, fountains and horse troughs.
  • Report Dead Birds and Green Swimming Pools: Please report dead crows, ravens, jays, hawks and owls, and green pools to the Vector Control Program.

County officials said people can sign up to receive text messages to get the latest West Nile virus updates over their cell phones. All they have to do is text the word PEST to the number 75309 from their cell phones.

For information about West Nile virus and how to protect yourself, call 858-694-2888 or visit www.SDFightTheBite.com.

San Diego County | Drinking and driving leads to tragic consequences

Serra High School | 20 April 2012

The theme of the Safe Teen Driving Assembly at Serra High School Friday was “One Poor Choice … “

A 19-year-old Vista man, barely older than the students he was addressing Friday, spoke of the tragic consequences of his terrible choice to drive while intoxicated.

On Oct. 18, 2010, the life of an 18-month-old Oceanside boy, Izaiah Wallis, changed forever when he was struck by a vehicle driven by the speaker, who was then 17-1/2 years old. The driver was admittedly “really, really high” and didn’t even realize he had hit the toddler or his grandfather until later when an officer told him.

“I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe what I had done. I never even saw them. That’s how messed up I was,” he said.

The speaker, who asked not to be identified because he was a juvenile at the time of the offense, served 11 ½ months in the juvenile justice system and is now on probation. He shared his painful story with his peers in hopes of getting them to think twice about the consequences of drinking and driving.

Superior Court Judge Joan Weber introduced the speaker and told the teens that when the crash occurred, the teenager was 2 ½ times over the legal limit for alcohol. Later, the teenager told the students he had smoked a lot of marijuana and the synthetic stimulant spice too.

“What happened to baby Izaiah is such a tragedy that words can hardly express,” said Weber, who showed photographs of the toddler hooked up to hospital machines. “Baby Izaiah suffered severe life-threatening injuries. He almost died and he was hospitalized for months. A year and a half later, he is partially blind and paralyzed from the waist down.”

Weber went on to say that the toddler, who just turned three, unfortunately still cannot speak or eat on his own. She said he will probably need round-the-clock care for the rest of his natural life. His parents were invited to speak as well, but they declined saying it was still too painful. They have never spoken with the teenager, although he wrote a letter of remorse to them as part of the terms of his probation.

Weber showed a video of baby Izaiah running around and smiling before the crash in contrast to the pictures of the child crying as nurses changed out a tube. The teenager did not look away when the photos were shown and he watched the video.

When it was his turn to speak, he told the teenagers he had sat where they were a little more than two years ago. And he had laughed with his friends during these kinds of presentations. He never thought he would be where he was now. He hoped they would take the message seriously.

After taking them through the events of that horrific day, he told them about his emotional struggles.

“The hardest part of this whole experience has been dealing with my emotions and feelings and thoughts,” the teenager said.

He said he was angry most of the time. He knew a lot of people didn’t like him because of what he had done and his friends warned him that people wanted to kill him when he got out.

“I was more mad at myself than anything else because of what I had done,” he said. “I started realizing, I mean I’m really sorry for what I did to baby Izaiah. You guys saw the video right now. I had to deal with that and I have to deal with that for the rest of my life. I affected him so so much. I mean he was barely starting to live life and I messed it up for him.”

He also wanted them to know that being incarcerated was difficult for him. He had heard other people talk about it not being that bad, but they were wrong. He missed his family, basic comforts and freedom, and he was attacked twice by other detainees.

Finally, he told the students that he would not wish what happened to him and Baby Izaiah on anyone. He hoped that they would listen to what he had said and would take his challenge not to drink and drive on weekends or for the upcoming prom.

“This type of terrible decision can impact the entire rest of your life,” Weber said. “You can’t take back a mistake like this ever.”

Now supervised by County Probation, the teenager remains under intensive supervision. He has a 6 p.m. curfew, must undergo regular alcohol and drug testing and has unannounced visits from his probation officer. His license is suspended and he could be on probation until he is 21 years old.

At the end of the presentation, Serra High School students approached him and thanked him for sharing his story. One group of boys asked him if they could pray with him and they quietly formed a circle and bowed their heads.

Oklahoma | Senate approves anti-meth bill

Oklahoma City | 20 April 2012

Legislation to target meth manufacturers without limiting consumer access to medicines has been approved by the Senate. House Bill 2941, authored by Rep. David Derby and Sen. Rick Brinkley, was approved Tuesday by a vote of 46-1.

Brinkley said the proposal is a way to fight meth addiction in Oklahoma without burdening law-abiding citizens by forcing them to get a prescription for safe, effective cold and allergy relief like Claritin or Advil Cold and Sinus.

“The tragedy of meth addiction in Oklahoma demands a strong legislative response,” said Brinkley, R-Owasso. “This bill provides us with a way to fight meth production in a way that protects the rights of law-abiding citizens. It provides law enforcement with powerful tools to combat meth manufacturers and empowers pharmacists to prevent illegal sales.”

HB 2941 enhances Oklahoma’s real-time electronic blocking system, ensuring it is online with other states which use the technology to limit the sale of pseudoephedrine. The bill also limits over-the-counter purchases of pseudoephedrine to 7.2 grams per month – the recommended therapeutic dosage, and would institute a 72-hour purchase block for those who exceed the daily purchase limit.

Rep. Derby said he was pleased to see the measure advance with broad support.

“House Bill 2941 is the toughest meth bill in the nation and it is the toughest without impeding access to law abiding citizens,” said Derby, R-Owasso.

Maryland | Two people injured in two-alarm building fire in Reisterstown

3 Caraway Road | 20 April 2012

An early morning fire heavily damaged an apartment unit in the Reisterstown section of Baltimore County. The fire at #3 Caraway Road was reported shortly after 2 a.m.

First arriving crews had fire through the roof of the complex and they quickly called for a second alarm. Initially people were reported trapped in the building, but fire crews quickly performed two searches and found that all residents had self-evacuated.

The fire was quickly contained to the middle of the group apartment building, although there were light smoke conditions in both #1 and #5 Caraway Road. Approximately 50 firefighters and 20 pieces of fire apparatus responded to the scene. A total of 11 individual units were damaged by the fire. Investigators estimate that the fire caused about $850,000 worth of damage.

Two civilians required medical attention at the scene of the fire. Both were transported to Northwest Hospital; one by county medic; and one asked to be taken by a family member. There were no injuries to any firefighters. Fire Investigators were on the scene, and the fire remains under investigation at this time.

Pennsylvania | Dept of Health stages three-day, full-scale emergency exercise

Harrisburg | 20 April 2012

The Pennsylvania Department of Health today began a three-day drill to practice, test and evaluate its ability to respond to natural and man-made public health emergencies. This statewide, full-scale exercise will end Sunday, April 22.

The drill simulates major catastrophic events occurring simultaneously in three different regions of the state, a scenario that would typically overwhelm emergency response resources.

The exercise will help the department test the ability to evaluate and care for a large number of patients at the same time. Hospital services, mobile medical resources, the evacuation tracking system and communications between the Department of Health and field locations will be put to the test.

Numerous state and local partners are participating in Clearfield, Lebanon and Lehigh counties. The exact locations of the exercises are not being disclosed due to the safety of those participating and sensitivity of the exercise.

The drill will not hamper the ability of emergency crews to respond to any actual emergencies that may arise during the exercise.

Partners in the exercise include the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Public Welfare, emergency medical services, local police, emergency management agencies, hospitals, schools and other emergency response groups and volunteers.

Georgia | The April 2011 ‘Super Outbreak’: one year later

Atlanta | 21 April 2012

This week marks the one year anniversary of a “Super Outbreak” of intensely destructive tornados across Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee. A total of 15 tornadoes touched down in Georgia on April 27 and 28, 2011, including an EF-4 and five EF-3 twisters resulting in dozens of injuries and 15 deaths.

“Last spring was an unprecedented season for severe weather, and Georgia was particularly hard hit,” said Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA) Director Charley English.” However, our state, federal and local personnel, along with volunteer organizations and the private sector, rose to the occasion and did the kind of outstanding work that we’ve come to expect. The communities have also done an incredible job of overcoming this disaster.”

Governor Nathan Deal issued a state of emergency immediately after the first storms hit, and requested an expedited presidential disaster declaration before touring some of the hardest hit areas the following day. President Barack Obama approved the request on April 30, 2011, clearing the way for federal assistance and funding.

A total of 26 counties were included under the declaration for individual (IA) and/or public assistance (PA): Bartow, Catoosa, Cherokee, Coweta, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Greene, Harris, Heard, Lamar, Lumpkin, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Pickens, Polk, Rabun, Spalding, Troup, Walker, and White counties (IA & PA); Habersham and Upson counties (IA only); and, Jasper County (PA only).

More than $13 million in federal disaster assistance was distributed to survivors throughout Georgia in the form of grants ($5 million) and low-interest SBA disaster loans ($8 million). Of this, $4 million was provided for housing assistance and $1 million was distributed for other serious disaster-related needs.

The local, state, and federal costs shared through the Public Assistance program has helped local and state governments, and eligible private nonprofit organizations pay for 354 projects, such as debris removal and repairs to public facilities and infrastructure, totaling approximately $26 million, to date.

The declaration also made the state eligible for additional Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) awards, making federal funds available to develop projects and initiatives to reduce the impact of further severe weather events. GEMA is currently reviewing for submission to FEMA more than three dozen HMGP project applications from the declared counties. When approved, these grants will provide an additional $5 million in federal funds to help pay for warning and communication system improvement, Community safe rooms, and local mitigation plan updates.

Dozens of organizations from Georgia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster(GaVOAD) were actively engaged in this response and recovery. GaVOAD’s coordination efforts helped ensure the effective deployment of volunteer resources statewide.

A robust local mutual-aid response lead by the Georgia Fire Chiefs, Police Chiefs, and Sheriffs associations and state government’s response with personnel and resources from 15 state agencies quickened the transistion from emergency to recovery throughout affected communities

In addition to local, state, and federal governmental and volunteer organizations, the private sector, the general public, and the government of Taiwan, which made a generous financial contribution, played a major role in carrying out these recovery efforts.

For more information on GEMA, visit www.gema.ga.gov. To learn how to prepare for disaster and create a custom kit and plan, visit www.ready.ga.gov. Follow GEMA at www.twitter.com/georgiaema, www.facebook.com/gema.ohs, and www.youtube.com/ReadyGAfromGEMA.