Originally created 06/30/03

Across the southeast



Watercraft riders lobby for park access

MARSHALLBERG, N.C. -Folks who ride personal watercraft are hoping the National Park Service will ease or drop a ban on the speedy craft at Cape Lookout National Seashore in Carteret County.

The watercraft - known by the brand names Jet Ski, WaveRunner and Sea-Doo - have been banned from the seashore on the central coast for more than a year.

Officials are taking another look at Cape Lookout as part of a national review sparked by complaints from personal watercraft users and by U.S. Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., who said a total ban was unwarranted.

Seashore officials are studying whether to open the seashore, continue the ban or allow the craft in a few areas along the 56 miles of national seashore islands. A decision is expected later this year.

Personal watercraft were considered a threat to park resources and a noisy nuisance to many visitors.

CDC to study rash of Panhandle drownings

PENSACOLA, Fla. -The rash of drownings this month in the Florida Panhandle has prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to spearhead an investigation into conditions in seven coastal Panhandle counties.

Nine people drowned in Walton, Okaloosa and Escambia counties during a two-day span in early June. Nearly 40 other people were rescued from rough waters and riptides in that period.

The proposed study comes only a few days after the Escambia County Commission shelved Commissioner Tom Banjanin's proposal to form a committee to address the 23 drownings that have occurred at unguarded spots along Escambia and Santa Rosa beaches since 2001.

Mr. Banjanin said he hopes the CDC investigation will spur remedies to a vexing problem that could threaten local tourism as national publicity about the tragedies grows.

Hospital caters to Hispanic moms' needs

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -One of every five babies delivered at Forsyth Medical Center is Hispanic and the hospital has made changes to cater to the growing population using its services.

Doctors and nurses deliver 6,500 babies a year at Forsyth, one of the busiest delivery rooms in the state.

The increase in Hispanic mothers has changed a lot of things at the hospital's Sara Lee Center for Women's Health.

Translators are on duty 24 hours a day. Brochures and other educational material are offered in Spanish, and the hospital is developing a new outlook on how breast-feeding should be taught.

In March, a breast-feeding expert from Mexico visited Forsyth and spoke to 93 health care workers from the 20-county region that the hospital serves about how to talk to Hispanic mothers about breast-feeding.