April 27, 2015

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream issues voluntary recall due to listeria

The possibility of listeria has prompted Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams to voluntarily recall all of its ice creams, frozen yogurts, sorbets and, ice cream sandwiches.

A random sample collected at Whole Foods in Lincoln by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture contained listeria monocytogene, an organism that can cause serious infections in people with weakened immune systems, such as children and the elderly.

Healthy persons also can be affected, displaying symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

Blue Bell Creameries of Texas also issued a voluntary recall of its products.

It is unusual for listeria to be found in ice cream. The bacteria cannot grow in freezing temperatures.

Officials at Jeni’s say no illnesses from their product have been reported. Still, all products under the “Jeni’s” brand name have been recalled by the company.

If you bought any of the product, either throw it away or return it to the store for a refund.

Customers may also contact Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at 614-360-3905. Jeni’s can also be contacted by email at recall@jenis.com, and at jenis.com/recall.


Keep an eye on your pooch for signs of dog flu

Dasher the DogDog owners in Nebraska are warned to be on the lookout for signs of CIV, or canine influenza virus, as there are outbreaks being reported across the Midwest. While there are no cases reported in Nebraska as yet, veterinarian Dr. Beth Streeter says the so-called dog flu is a concern.

“It’s something to be aware of and to watch pets for,” Dr. Streeter says. “It’s a little bit early to get too worried about it, other than in a proactive fashion, meaning, watching their pets for any signs of influenza and for veterinarians, being aware of the potential precautions to take with any pets exhibiting signs of influenza.”

Nebraskans who own dogs are advised to be vigilant for signs of illness in their pets.

“A lot of people, with they hear flu, think of the (gastro intestinal) flu, and that’s actually not what’s most commonly seen,” Streeter says. “This is a respiratory virus so you’re looking for signs of cough, nasal discharge, fever and just generally not feeling well.”

More than a thousand dog flu cases are reported in four states — Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin — though about 40 states have seen dog flu since 2004.

Much like with the human version of the flu, CIV can worsen if left untreated and become life-threatening.

“There are reports of dogs in Chicago succumbing to the illness and it can be quite serious in some pets,” Streeter says. “It’s also very contagious so we have to be very careful, if dogs do have signs of the flu, to keep them isolated and make sure they’re not exposing other pets.”

She says there is a vaccine for CIV but there are reports of complications with it. Also, this strain of dog flu may not have been included in the vaccine’s cocktail, so dogs that are vaccinated may still not be protected.

Streeter suggests dog owners avoid contact with other pets they don’t know if they’re traveling in states where there are outbreaks, while limiting visits to dog parks and boarding facilities.


Whatever your emergency, there’s now an app for that

ARC AppWhether you need to find immediate shelter in a flash flood, you need to know what to do in an earthquake or you want to learn how to give a dog CPR, a new all-encompassing emergency smart phone app is available.

Kara Kelly, spokeswoman for the American Red Cross, says the free application aims to answer just about every possible question Nebraskans might have about urgent situations, from fires to first aid.

“The great thing about this app is it really is an all-in-one emergency app,” Kelly says. “It has preparedness information, weather alerts, safety tips for 14 different emergencies. It’s really a great tool to have on your phone.”

Life-saving information is just a few taps away on your mobile device with the app, which Kelly says is designed so you can familiarize and prepare yourself ahead of time for a host of emergencies, or to use during the real thing. It also lets users customize more than 35 emergency alerts so they will know what to do no matter where they live or travel.

“If you have a smart phone or a tablet, this is a really easy thing you can set up for yourself,” Kelly says. “What’s really cool about this app is you can actually monitor your friends and family members who maybe don’t live by you. You can set up alerts and there’s a ‘family safe’ feature so you can keep track of folks in your family who don’t live nearby.”

The Red Cross has released several apps in recent years and Kelly says this new one can replace them all.

“The emergency app is free for Android and Apple devices, either on iTunes or the Google Play store,” she says. “You don’t necessarily need to get rid of all the other Red Cross apps if you have them, but this certainly could free up some room on your phone as it truly is all-in-one.”

There’s also a “Make a Plan” feature to help families plan what to do and where to go if a disaster strikes. Learn more at: redcross.org/apps


Deaf and hard-of-hearing receiving smoke detectors

It was a year ago the Omaha Fire Department conducted a demonstration of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors specially designed for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. Captain Melanie Bates says the response was overwhelming.

Captain Bates says, “”They are very expensive. They are pieces of equipment that you have to order from specialty companies. There are only three or four vendors across the country that provides these. We want to be able to provide the same level of protection for people who may not have the resources to get it otherwise.”

Captain Bates says each unit consists of three pieces. One goes in the main living area and flashes when smoke is detected. A second piece is placed under a pillow and vibrates when the smoke alarm goes off. The third unit is a carbon monoxide detector that also flashes when it detects a problem.

Captain Bates says the department received a fire prevention and safety grant for more than $44,000 that will be used to purchase more than 500 units.

Sponsor of Medicaid expansion measure willing to try again (AUDIO)

Sen. Kathy Campbell/Photo courtesy of Unicameral Information Office

Sen. Kathy Campbell/Photo courtesy of Unicameral Information Office

Even after defeat for three straight legislative sessions, the sponsor of the bill to expand Medicaid in Nebraska says she won’t give up.

Sen. Kathy Campbell of Lincoln says she expected the battle to be tough and knew Gov. Pete Ricketts opposed expanding Medicaid.

“I wasn’t surprised with Gov. Ricketts’ comments and his position, because he was pretty clear about that position, I think, during the campaign,” Campbell tells Nebraska Radio Network in an interview.

The Unicameral moved to table LB 472 until the end of the legislative session after only three hours of debate. Similar measures to expand Medicaid under provisions of the Affordable Care Act in the past failed to overcome filibusters mounted against them.

Campbell heard the same arguments against the measure: skepticism over whether the federal government would continue to pay 90% of the cost, worry about how the United States Supreme Court might rule on another crucial case against the Affordable Care Act, and the cost of expansion.

Campbell expresses frustration supporters couldn’t convince enough senators about the financial benefits of expansion. She cites a University of Nebraska-Kearney study that projects Medicaid expansion could bring in $2.2 billion in federal funds to the state by 2020, more than offsetting the cost of expansion.

Expansion would have extended the state Medicaid health insurance program to approximately 77,000 needy Nebraskans without health care coverage. Campbell says there really isn’t any alternative to provide them coverage. She agrees with the governor that more money needs to be given to the state’s community healthcare clinics, but is quick to add that with only one clinic in western Nebraska, they cannot meet the need.

Going into debate, the stances of veteran senators were well known. What wasn’t known was how the 18 freshmen senators would vote.

Campbell says she worried she didn’t have the votes going into the debate, especially with the uncertainty of the freshmen and the opposition of the governor. She says a few freshmen have spoken to her since the vote to ask questions about expansion.

The issue, though, is dead for this session.

“But, looking at next year, I still have to believe that if there’s interest among some of the freshmen to talk to me about this proposal, it’s worth exploring.”

AUDIO:  Brent Martin reports [:45]