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National
Bus driver builds wheelchair ramp for special needs student
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Bus driver builds wheelchair ramp for special needs student

Bus driver builds wheelchair ramp to help special needs student

Bus driver builds wheelchair ramp for special needs student

After watching a mother and her wheelchair-bound daughter tumble bloodied to the ground, Hamilton school bus driver Bob Thacker knew he had to do something to help.

Thacker, a decade-long veteran of the city schools, dashed out of his bus to help mother Tonya Uhl and her special needs daughter Katelynn to right themselves and tend to their injuries.

“She (Katelynn) was all bloody so I said, ‘I got to do something,’” Thacker said of the accident last month.

The solution would be a wheelchair ramp, but Thacker said the Uhl family couldn’t get any local agencies to pay for and install it.

“So I decided to build it myself,” he said, adding the ramp he created out of sturdy wood is detachable, portable and can be used on other stairs should the Uhls move from their Pleasant Avenue home.

Uhl, whose seventh-grade daughter attends Garfield Middle School, said of Thacker, “he doesn’t know how much he did for us.”

“It’s really appreciated. He went the extra mile to help us out like nobody else has before,” said Uhl.

Becky Goosey, director of transportation for the city schools, praised Thacker for going far beyond his bus driving duties after witnessing how difficult it was for Uhl to push and pull Katelyn in her wheelchair up the steps of their home.

“The student fell out of her wheelchair and had a significant injury to her mouth, and the parent had trouble getting up after she fell,” said Goosey.

Joni Copas, spokeswoman for Hamilton Schools, said, “Bob is just one great example of our staff members going above and beyond the call of duty.

“He saw a need and wanted to help Katelyn and her mother. He witnessed the daily struggle they had getting in and out of the house, so he took it upon himself and his own expense and built a ramp for them.”

Thacker also arranged for another city resident to donate an electric, motorized wheelchair to Katelynn so she can more easily move about the neighborhood and school.

“Sometimes, you just got to help people,” he said.

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News

  • At least 722,000 people worldwide – including more than 142,000 people in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. Officials are attempting to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. as hospitals brace for unprecedented patient surges. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Monday, March 30, continue below: Tokyo Olympics rescheduled for 2021 Update 8:15 a.m. EDT March 30: Organizers announced Monday that the Tokyo Olympics, which had been set to take place over the summer, have been rescheduled for 2021. Tokyo organizers said Monday the opening ceremony will take place on July 23, 2021 — almost exactly one year after the games were due to start this year. “The schedule for the games is key to preparing for the games,' Tokyo organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori said. “This will only accelerate our progress.” Adviser to British PM Boris Johnson experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolating Update 7:26 a.m. EDT March 30: Just days after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he tested positive for coronavirus, one of his chief advisers is experiencing symptoms and has decided to self-isolate. According to The Associated Press, Dominic Cummings said he started feeling sick over the weekend and has been staying at home. Meanwhile, Johnson took to Twitter on Monday morning to say he’s “been working from home and continuing to lead the government’s response to coronavirus.' >> See the tweet here FDA issues ‘emergency use authorization’ of anti-malaria drugs for coronavirus treatment Update 6:45 a.m. EDT March 30: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an “emergency use authorization' to allow two anti-malaria drugs donated to the Strategic National Stockpile to possibly be used to treat coronavirus patients, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced in a news release Sunday. HHS said it “accepted 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate donated by Sandoz, the Novartis generics and biosimilars division, and 1 million doses of chloroquine phosphate donated by Bayer Pharmaceuticals' on Sunday. The authorization allows the donated drugs “to be distributed and prescribed by doctors to hospitalized teen and adult patients with COVID-19, as appropriate, when a clinical trial is not available or feasible,” the release said. In addition, the authorization “requires that fact sheets that provide important information about using chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate in treating COVID-19 be made available to health care providers and patients, including the known risks and drug interactions,” according to the FDA’s website. Read more here or here. New York City to fine people who violate social-distancing rules Update 5:20 a.m. EDT March 30: New York City will fine those who fail to follow social-distancing guidelines, officials said. According to WPIX-TV, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the news in a Sunday news conference. “We’re going to give people every chance to listen, and if anyone doesn’t listen, then they deserve a fine at this point,” he said, adding that people could face fines of $250 to $500 if they continue to violate the rules after receiving a warning from police. The city has already shut down nonessential businesses and instructed to residents to stay inside when possible, WPIX reported. Budget airline EasyJet grounds entire fleet Update 4:32 a.m. EDT March 30: British airline EasyJet announced that it is grounding all of its 344 planes amid the coronavirus pandemic, ITV is reporting. According to CNN, the budget carrier’s decision takes effect Monday. “At this stage, there can be no certainty of the date for restarting commercial flights,” the Luton-based airline said in a statement. The carrier tweeted Monday that entitlements for customers whose flights were canceled “are available for up to a year after your flight was originally due to depart.” >> See the tweets here 'I Love Rock 'n' Roll' songwriter Alan Merrill dies of complications from virus Update 3:23 a.m. EDT March 30: Alan Merrill, best known for writing the hit song “I Love Rock 'n' Roll,” died Sunday morning after experiencing coronavirus complications. He was 69. According to USA Today, Merrill’s daughter, Laura, said in a Facebook post that her father died at a New York City hospital. “I was given two minutes to say my goodbyes before I was rushed out,” she wrote of Merrill, who also was a guitarist and vocalist. “He seemed peaceful, and as I left, there was still a glimmer of hope that he wouldn’t be a ticker on the right-hand side of the CNN/Fox News screen.” She said she walked home and received the news of his death by the time she reached her apartment. “I’ve made a million jokes about the ‘Rona’ and how it’ll ‘getcha’ ... boy, do I feel stupid,” she continued. “If anything can come of this, I beg of you to take this seriously. Money doesn’t matter. People are dying. You don’t think it’ll happen to you or your strong family. It has.” >> See the post here ″I Love Rock 'n' Roll' was originally released by the Arrows, a band Merrill was part of, in 1975, according to “Entertainment Tonight.” Seven years later, rocker Joan Jett and the Blackhearts released a version of the song, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts, the outlet reported. Jett took to Twitter to pay tribute to Merrill on Sunday, sending “thoughts and love” to his loved ones and the music community. “I can still remember watching the Arrows on TV in London and being blown away by the song that screamed hit to me,” Jett wrote. “With deep gratitude and sadness, wishing him a safe journey to the other side.” >> See the tweet here News of Merrill’s death came the same day that country music star Joe Diffie died from the virus, “ET” reported. Costco to temporarily change store hours Update 1:31 a.m. EDT March 30: In an effort to help protect its customers, Costco announced it will temporarily implement new weekday closing hours for its locations nationwide. Beginning Monday, all its warehouses will close at 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and its gas stations will close at 7 p.m. However, it said some specific locations’ hours would be different. The wholesale giant said its weekend hours would remain the same. For its members ages 60 and older and those with physical impairments, Costco has special operating hours from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Costco said it has made some temporary department changes to create more space for social distancing and is following CDC recommendations to minimize risk to its members and employees. U.S. cases soar past 142,000, including more than 2,500 deaths Update 12:39 a.m. EDT March 30: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States soared past 142,000 across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands early Sunday. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, there are at least 142,502 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 2,506 deaths. Worldwide, there are 722,435 confirmed cases and 33,997 deaths from the virus. U.S. cases outnumber those in any other nation, including the 97,689 reported in Italy and the 82,149 confirmed in China. Of the confirmed deaths, 966 have occurred in New York, 200 in Washington state, 161 in New Jersey and 151 in Louisiana. In terms of diagnosed cases, New York remains the hardest-hit with at least 59,746 confirmed cases, followed by New Jersey with 13,386, California with 6,284 and Michigan with 5,488. Four other states have each confirmed at least 4,000 novel coronavirus cases, including: • Massachusetts: 4,955, including 48 deaths • Florida: 4,950, including 60 deaths • Illinois: 4,596, including 66 deaths • Washington: 4,493, including 200 deaths Meanwhile, Louisiana and Pennsylvania have confirmed at least 3,000 novel coronavirus infections each, while Texas, Georgia and Colorado have confirmed at least 2,000 cases each.
  • A Florida man is facing several charges after he told a deputy he tested positive for COVID-19 and coughed toward the deputy, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office said. Deputies said Christian Perez, 23, was taken into custody after he was stopped for reckless driving. Perez reportedly told deputies he had COVID-19, so deputies provided him with a protective mask to cover his mouth. Deputies said at one point, Perez removed the mask and began intentionally coughing toward a deputy. The deputy got the mask back on Perez’s mouth to reduce the risk of contamination, officials said. Deputies said Perez was charged with driving under the influence, driving without a license, assault on a deputy and threatening a public servant. Sheriff William Snyder said men and women of law enforcement encounter enough dangers daily without actions like this. “We have zero tolerance for this despicable behavior, and anyone who threatens the health and lives of my deputies will face the maximum charges,' Snyder said.
  • A metro Atlanta housekeeper says her services are more in demand now that coronavirus has hit. Four years after launching her business, Teresa Goodman tells WSB that her housekeeping appointments are way up.  'Mine have doubled or tripled,' says Goodman. 'I have clients, I only go to them like once a month. But when the coronavirus came in, I go once a week.'  She says homeowners, anxious over the bug, want to make sure their houses stay healthy.  'Everyone wants their home clean and sanitized, so really it picked up for me,' Goodman says. She has begun carrying an additional DIY alcohol-based disinfectant that she begins using on the doorknob as soon as she steps up to a client's door. Frequently-grabbed places like closets, appliance handles, and drawer pulls get the spritz, too.  Homeowners like to see Goodman clean and disinfect the rooms where they hang out the most, and the items they touch the most.  'Telephones, TV remotes, the arm of the chairs, computers, faucets,' she explains.   Goodman admits that she was a bit nervous at first to keep going into clients' homes amid the viral concerns, but says the job is essential to her family.  'I am, but it's a business. You got to do what you've got to do for your family. I just stay prayed up,' says Goodman, who adds that the job is important to her clients.  'They trust me to do a good job,' she says. Goodman changes gloves in between one room and the next, and noted that her attention to detail and even her products have led to smiles.  'A neighbor came over and said, 'You know that Lysol you've got is worth more than gold now!' We just laughed, laughed, laughed. I said, 'You're right.''  She hopes the new handwashing and extra-cleanliness habits people are forming stick with us post- pandemic.  'Don't wait until after the coronavirus,' says Goodman. 'Say they say it leaves or whatever, you want to stop. Wrong thing. Keep doing what you're doing. Just keep your house sanitized--or call me. And I'll come do it for you.
  • A metro Atlanta emergency room doctor is doing what he can to keep himself and those he works with safe from COVID 19.  Dr. Mehrdod Ehteshami has already had to treat patients with the virus and is worried the limited supply of personal protection equipment will soon run out. So, he’s taken a MacGyver approach to keeping his N95 mask functional as long as possible.  “I actually went to a home improvement store and bought some air filters that apparently are able to block against viruses down to .3 microns, which is about what I need for the COVID 19,” he tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.  Ehteshami then cuts the filter in the shape of the cartridge inside the mask and replaces it.  He says it’s what he will be using in the event the masks at the hospital where he works runs out.  “We still have, at my hospital, N95s but we are definitely dwindling,” says Ehteshami.  He has a group of friends who are also making fabric masks with pockets where the filter can be placed with the goal of having enough for his staff too.  And Ehteshami is not stopping there when it comes to shortages of other PPE.  “I can reuse my goggles by just cleaning them with the 60 percent alcohol wipes that we have left,” he says, adding, “The PPE with the gowns and gloves and shoe covers are more of a problem. We’re just doing the best we can. We’re not out yet… but I’m trying to think about how to fix that problem as well.”
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in Florida charged 50-year-old David White with using a hoax weapon of mass destruction after he sprayed a substance labeled “COVID-19” on the doors and entrance of a Jacksonville business, deputies said. JSO said White told employees and patrons of the business they were now infected with coronavirus after he sprayed the substance. JSO’s Intelligence Unit and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force investigated the incident and identified White as the suspect. The business took precautionary measures to sanitize the area where White sprayed the substance.
  • Alan Merrill, best known for writing the hit song 'I Love Rock 'n' Roll,' died Sunday morning after experiencing coronavirus complications. He was 69. According to USA Today, Merrill's daughter, Laura, said in a Facebook post that her father died at a New York City hospital. 'I was given two minutes to say my goodbyes before I was rushed out,' she wrote of Merrill, who also was a guitarist and vocalist. 'He seemed peaceful, and as I left, there was still a glimmer of hope that he wouldn’t be a ticker on the right-hand side of the CNN/Fox News screen.' She said she walked home and received the news of his death by the time she reached her apartment. 'I’ve made a million jokes about the 'Rona' and how it’ll 'getcha' ... boy, do I feel stupid,' she continued. 'If anything can come of this, I beg of you to take this seriously. Money doesn’t matter. People are dying. You don’t think it’ll happen to you or your strong family. It has.' >> See the post here 'I Love Rock 'n' Roll' was originally released by the Arrows, a band Merrill was part of, in 1975, according to 'Entertainment Tonight.' Seven years later, rocker Joan Jett and the Blackhearts released a version of the song, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts, the outlet reported. Jett took to Twitter to pay tribute to Merrill on Sunday, sending 'thoughts and love' to his loved ones and the music community. 'I can still remember watching the Arrows on TV in London and being blown away by the song that screamed hit to me,' Jett wrote. 'With deep gratitude and sadness, wishing him a safe journey to the other side.' >> See the tweet here News of Merrill's death came the same day that country music star Joe Diffie died from the virus, 'ET' reported. Read more here or here.