Originally created 08/15/04

Across the southeast



Many lawmakers used funds despite days off

RALEIGH, N.C. - More than half of North Carolina's lawmakers took expense money for days they missed during the General Assembly's last session, according to legislative records.

Legislators get $104 a day during the legislative session to help cover costs such as lodging, transportation and meals. More than 100 of the 170 lawmakers accepted money for days they didn't attend.

Taxpayers would have saved nearly $40,000 if legislators had waived their allowances for the missed days.

State Sen. David Miner, a Cary Republican, said he took payment despite missing five days because he does legislative work on days he doesn't attend the session. Many legislators view the per diems as part of their compensation, he added.

Flesh-eating bacteria kills 52-year-old man

HOUSTON - A man has died from flesh-eating bacteria that entered his body through a minor cut on his leg.

Dr. Kenneth Dean Creamer, 52, died late Thursday in a hospital where he had been treated since July 17, two days after he was exposed to the saltwater bacteria vibrio vulnificus.

Dr. Creamer, a Houston dentist, apparently hurt himself July 15 when he slipped on a dock during a fishing trip. Within days, both of Dr. Creamer's legs had to be amputated and he went into a coma, a hospital spokeswoman told the Houston Chronicle.

Dr. Creamer is the seventh vibrio-related fatality in Texas this year, according to the Texas Department of Health. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said a typical year brings 16 vibrio-related deaths in the Gulf Coast states.

Roadside eateries are detailed in booklet

ROCKY POINT, N.C. - A couple turn off Interstate 40, away from the chain restaurants that draw in most travelers, to Paul's Place, where proprietor David Paul estimates he and his family have served 30 million hot dogs since 1928.

Paul's Place is one of 76 down-home restaurants detailed in a recent guide to North Carolina roadside dining written by D.G. Martin, a retired educator and politician.

Slim enough to fit in a glovebox, the Interstate Eateries booklet offers directions to places located no more than a few turns off an interstate highway.