Monday, February 22, 2010

Homeless couple struggles to rebuild life in Lincoln

It was easier, she says, when they lived in their car.

In November, Tiffany and Byll Dale would park their 2006 Chevy Aveo on the top level of the parking garage of a Lincoln hospital, in a spot with good Internet reception.

Byll, a 35-year-old out-of-work computer technician, would place his Dell laptop on the dashboard and they'd catch up on movies and TV. "Entourage," "Fringe," "CSI." They'd put snacks in the middle just like at the movies.

It's a camping adventure!

That's what Colt, who's 8, said. Kaiden, 2, had no clue he and his family and his best friend Buzz Lightyear had no home. (They made sure to bring Buzz with them from Florida.)

This is an intergalactic emergency!

That's what Buzz told Kaiden when he pressed the buttons.

My ship has crash-landed here by mistake!

Tiffany, 28, felt scared at times in the car. It was light years from the life she knew in Florida, where she grew up with grandparents who owned businesses and ate dinner every night with them at the table. So far away from fishing on the lake where they lived and shopping with her friends at the mall and kicking her legs high as a high school cheerleader.

So far away from the house where she and Byll lived, the house where she watched Colt do his homework at the table, where she walked with Kaiden around the block and he pointed out every bird.

But at least in the car she and her family still felt like a family.

She'd never been homeless. How do you ... be ... homeless?

When it was time to sleep, they'd park the Aveo on the lowest level of the hospital garage. They liked having the security cameras nearby. It was cozy, even though Tiffany was pregnant and had just had surgery to put tubes in her back to drain her sick kidneys.

They lived mostly in their car for three weeks, and Tiffany was in and out of the nearby hospital -- BryanLGH Medical Center East.

In and out of pain.

To the mission

It's early January, and it's cold. Tiffany and Byll and the boys have a room at the People's City Mission. They've been here well over a month.

The people are nice, but Tiffany is at the end of her rope.

Kaiden is whiney. He didn't get a nap. And Colt got off the school bus crying because a girl punched him in the eye.

"I cry 95 percent of the time," Tiffany tells Chris Webster, a homeless outreach specialist for Lincoln Public Schools who's trying to help them get housing and gas cards and get Kaiden into Head Start.

"There's one lady here who's constantly cussing. Kaiden mimics everything she says, and he's picked up some really foul words. I almost feel like I'm being a bad mom, to have kids in the shelter. I can't fix it. There's nothing I can do."

Tears fall. They stain the T-shirt that covers her pregnant belly. She tells Chris she's been praying every night for a house or apartment of their own, before the baby comes.

But everything she's heard about housing tells her they'll probably have to wait nine months to a year.

They already call the baby by her name. Faith. The doctor wants to take Faith by C-section in mid-February.

"I just want to get a place," she begs Chris. "Please."

"Well, we're working on it here, Tiffany."

She wipes her eyes. She smiles at Chris. She says she forgot to tell him the good news, the one prayer that's been answered so far.

Life without a home

When they lived in their car, they had a routine. In the morning, they drove to the HyVee on O Street and washed in the bathrooms and ate breakfast in the café. They sat at the table for hours while Byll called computer companies about jobs.

The boys watched movies on the laptop or colored or read.

Sometimes, for an adventure, they walked to Barnes & Noble. They'd each find a book and sit together. Byll always bee-lined for the computer books. Colt liked books on drawing. Tiffany liked the gossip magazines. Or she'd read Kaiden books about Buzz Lightyear.

Byll applied for at least 30 jobs. The computer companies had openings, but nothing they were filling for a month or two. So he filled out forms at McDonald's, Burger King, HyVee. He almost fell asleep late one night at Walmart's computer kiosk, where the store's application took about an hour to complete.

Maybe, Tiffany thought, she and the boys should have stayed in Florida and waited for Byll to find a job. But the boys needed their dad.

Byll started his own company in Florida. Storm PC was going along fine, but then the economy soured.

Tiffany sometimes felt Byll was too soft-hearted to own his own company. If an older person thought her computer needed to be fixed and Byll saw that she just hadn't plugged it in, he wouldn't ask for any money. Tiffany used to get on him about that.

After the business folded, Byll couldn't find work. They got behind on their utility bills and couldn't dig out.

Tiffany's grandparents had owned a restaurant and a gas station. They'd worked together side by side. Her grandpa -- her "dad" -- died of a brain tumor when she was 16. Her grandma -- her "mom" -- died of cancer, too, a week after Kaiden was born.

When they were gone, so was the safety net.

Tiffany thinks her mom would have been upset with her for moving. Tiffany is the planner, but she let Byll take the reins on this one.

They chose Lincoln for their fresh start so he could live near his dad. The plan was for them to go in on a place with him.

They stayed with him the first few days, but he was in a tough financial spot too, and things didn't work out.

Byll reminds Tiffany of her dad. Byll is strong, upbeat. Never gives up. She remembers what her dad always told her: It's OK to make a mistake, as long as you learn from it.

One day in December, she and the kids waited for hours in the car outside Schrock Innovations, a company on Pine Lake Road. Byll was being interviewed, demonstrating how he can find viruses and take apart computers and put them back together.

A few days later, the day before Christmas Eve, one prayer was answered.

The phone rang.

Tiffany handed the cell to her husband and watched him step away from the car, so far away she couldn't hear. She tried to look unconcerned, in case it was bad news.

He got back in the car. She saw him smile.

I start tomorrow, he told her.

So far away

Tiffany has cystinuria, an inherited disorder that makes her body form and pass a lot of kidney stones. She's on disability and cannot work.

Back in Florida, she volunteered at a preschool. She loves kids.

Her urologist got upset each time she got pregnant. When she found out she was pregnant with Kaiden, one doctor suggested she abort.

Faith was a shock. Tiffany was in the hospital for another surgery to remove a stone when they gave her a routine pregnancy test. She cried. Kaiden was supposed to be her last.

Byll held her hand and told her everything would be all right.

On Jan. 12, she went to her doctor at St. Elizabeth Regional Medical Center for a checkup. Another shock. Her amniotic fluid was way too low. Tiffany was 33 weeks along; 40 is normal for a full-term pregnancy.

She phoned Byll at work, crying.

They want to take the baby, she told him.

Tiffany checked into Saint Elizabeth. They gave her steroid shots to speed the development of Faith's lungs. Byll tried to keep her upbeat. He joked that with all the steroids, Faith would come out looking like the Incredible Hulk.

He held her hand.

The Dales got together after they'd both had bad marriages. Tiffany was a friend to Byll's first wife, but she and Byll really didn't like each other much. After their marriages fell apart, they found each other.

Byll has three kids he loves from that first marriage. He says he wants to be able to pay child support to them again.

Colt is Tiffany's son from her first marriage. He worships Byll, and Byll worships Colt. Since Tiffany's dad was gone, Byll asked Colt's permission to marry her.

Colt helped him plan the proposal.

It was just before Mother's Day 2007, and Tiffany wanted a digital camera because she'd had to hock hers. Byll handed her a box with the camera inside.

Read the directions first, he insisted.

She opened the manual and found a folded piece of paper, a photograph of a red heart Byll colored with one of her Sharpies. In the photo, on top of the heart, was a ring and these words: Will you be my wife?

Room 254

"Why do I love Tiffany?"

Byll sits at his laptop in their room at the People's City Mission. The room has two windows, two bunk beds and cubbyholes for their clothes. An ultrasound photo of Faith is taped to the door.

"She's like my base," Byll says. "Without that, you'd just fall over."

You don't feel like much of a man, he says, when your family has to live in a place like this. But Tiffany never makes him feel bad.

"Her father taught her to love with everything she has, and everything she is. And that's probably the one main thing that I love about Tiffany -- it's whole-hearted, all out.

"And she lets me do the same."

He plays the Nickelback song "Far Away" on his laptop. It's their wedding song, he explains. And as if on cue, near the end, Tiffany returns to the room.

Keep breathing, hold onto me

Never let me go ...

"Hey," she says softly. "I know that song."

January 14

This is to be Faith's birth day. VH-1 plays on the TV to distract Tiffany.

Byll brushes Tiffany's hair, pulls it into a high ponytail.

She's on the verge of tears, scared something will be wrong with Faith, feeling she's failed as a mom because she couldn't carry her longer.

Byll says things to make her smile, and she does. She jokes that after she's through in the delivery room, maybe he should get in line for a vasectomy.

A hospital chaplain meets them at the doorway. They pray, heads bowed, then Byll walks her down the hall to the delivery room. The doors close.

Soon, a baby girl cries and another prayer is answered. Faith is healthy. Her scores on the newborn Apgar test show she's as healthy as a full-term baby even though she weighs just 3 pounds, 3 ounces.

This is a good day, but there have been some bad ones.

Like the day Colt got punched in the eye on the bus. And the day Tiffany got a call from Byll's dad, telling her Kaiden had just used a string of bad words.

The day the boys woke up with tiny red bites. Bed bugs.

The day she and Byll got "written up" for having a bottle of Gatorade in their room at the mission.

There have been good days, too.

Like the day Tiffany ran out of gas on O Street and coasted into a Git 'N Split and a woman overheard her say she had no money and paid for the gas.

Like the day some people from a church paid for a hotel for them for a few nights when they were sleeping in their car.

The day at the mission when she was overcome with fear and talked with a kind pastor there.

The day some women at the mission threw her a baby shower.

And this day, Faith's birth day.

But still, they have no home.

With Byll's job, they could pay rent and utilities. But they don't have money yet for a deposit.

A few days before Faith is to be discharged, the baby's doctor gives the Dales a letter -- "To Whom It May Concern" -- implying she does not want Faith to go to the mission for health reasons.

Tiffany and Byll show the letter to a case worker at the Lincoln Action Program. But so many people are like them now, the case worker says.

Chris, the LPS homeless outreach worker, tries his hardest to pull strings -- pull heartstrings, too. This is a deserving family, he tells people.

A new place

Just days before Faith was to leave the hospital, the Dales packed their things and checked into Value Place, a hotel near the interstate that lets people pay by the week.

They got a room for $219 a week. It's clean. It's homey, like a studio apartment. It has a kitchenette, a full-size fridge and stove, a table, a bathroom, two beds.

The first night, Tiffany ate a piece of beef in her bed. Just because she could, she told Byll.

You, my friend, are one of my favorite life forms.

That's what Buzz Lightyear told Kaiden when he pressed the buttons.

To infinity, and beyond!

February 9

This has been one of the best days in this journey so far away from a normal life.

Tiffany fed Faith one last time at the hospital about 3 p.m., then dressed her in a pink outfit with brown polka dots and little brown booties shaped like bears.

She put her in her car seat, drove the Aveo to pick Colt up from school and then drove to Value Place.

For supper, she microwaved meatloaf and mac and cheese, and before they ate it the table, they thanked God.

For Faith. For their family, now complete. For having a place to call home again.

Even if it's just week to week.

Source: By COLLEEN KENNEY / Lincoln Journal Star

Bed bugs go undetected? No state money for hotel inspections.

Bed bugs go undetected? No state money for hotel inspections.

Becky Andrews checked into the Super 8 hotel in Bonner Springs last fall as she prepared to watch her son act in a play at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

For Andrews, a retired high school chemistry teacher from Colorado, the night turned into an ordeal.

"I had this sensation of things crawling on me, but I never saw anything," she said. "It took a long time for me to realize what was going on."

After several "itchy-twitchy" hours, she said, she captured a live bug in a plastic cup and took it to the front desk the next morning to complain.

She said that when the hotel didn't appear to take her seriously, she filed a complaint with the state.

A Kansas Department of Agriculture inspector visited the hotel on Nov. 3 and confirmed that Room 406 was infested with bed bugs.

The hotel was ordered to fix the problem, and a follow-up inspection was scheduled for Dec. 3. But the follow-up never occurred.

The state announced that day it was suspending its lodging inspection program because of budget cuts.

In Kansas today, no government agency is working to ensure that hotel rooms are free of bed bugs, showers are free of mildew, evacuation routes are conspicuously posted, and drinking glasses are properly prepackaged.

"This is the painful reality of our current economic climate," Josh Svaty, acting agriculture secretary, said in a news release issued that day.

"Whether the department will be able to resume inspections will depend on future funding levels."

In what has turned out to be a tight budget year, it seems unlikely that the state will find the $240,000 it needs to fund the lodging inspection program for another year.

Andrews said she finds that unsettling.

"If you just go to a regular, normal hotel and inspect a room, I don't know what you're going to find," she said. "But I sure think that any time you have a complaint, there should be an inspection. And then a follow-up to make sure management is taking care of the problem."

Hotel law

In Kansas, hotels, motels and bed-and-breakfasts are governed by the Lodging Establishment Regulations, a 54-page document that regulates the water temperature in hot tubs, the liners used in ice buckets, and the markings that delineate the deep and shallow ends of hotel swimming pools, among other things.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture licenses more than 800 lodging facilities, and until last year each of those was required to submit to an annual inspection focusing on safety and sanitation issues.

Under the system, each violation was noted in an inspection report, and follow-up inspections were scheduled when problems couldn't be corrected immediately. About 11 percent of last year's inspections required follow-up visits.

In addition to the routine inspections, the Department of Agriculture last year investigated 132 lodging complaints, 35 of which involved bed bugs. Inspectors said 11 of the bed bug complaints — including the one submitted by Andrews — were valid.

State inspectors have the authority to shut down an establishment that poses an "imminent health hazard" involving fire, flood, sewage backup, rodent infestation, bed bug infestation or "any other condition that could endanger the health and safety of guests, employees and the general public."

Last year, imminent health hazard violations were issued 24 times. Six of the violations involved bed bugs.

Constantine Cotsoradis, deputy agriculture secretary, said that discontinue-operations orders, particularly in bed bug cases, usually apply only to areas of a hotel affected by the problem.

"We want to protect the public but do as little economic harm as possible to the business," he said.

State law gives regulators the authority to impose civil penalties on establishments that experience repeated violations. Last year such a penalty was imposed only once — a $1,350 penalty assessed to the Knights Inn and Suites in Leavenworth.

During its final 12 months of operation — December 2008 through November 2009 — the state's lodging inspection program sent inspectors to nearly 800 businesses, and most inspections uncovered at least some violations.

The businesses collectively were cited for 3,251 violations including soiled linens, moldy showers, and unsafe levels of chlorine in swimming pools.

The most common violations — those dealing with smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers — accounted for nearly 20 percent of the total.

Hotels' perspective

Don Sayler, president of the Kansas Restaurant & Hospitality Association, said hotel and motel managers usually have no control over bed bug infestations.

While cleanliness and attention to detail will keep a hotel in line with most state regulations, Sayler said, bed bug infestations typically occur randomly when the bugs are brought into a room in the luggage of a guest.

"It's not a huge issue, but obviously it's a problem anytime you have them because they are hard to get rid of," he said.

The manager of the Super 8 hotel referred questions about the bugs to a spokeswoman who did not return a message left on her cell phone.

The hotel had a perfect score when it was inspected in August, four months before Andrews' visit.

Sayler said his organization would like to see lodging inspections resumed, though on a scaled-back basis. Until a few years ago, he said, the state stepped in only after receiving a complaint from a guest. It wasn't until about four years ago, he said, that the state began conducting annual inspections of all hotels and motels.

Sayler said chain hotels have their own inspectors, who make annual or semi-annual inspections that are more rigorous than those conducted by the state.

"There is some type of oversight going on over and above what state had been doing," he said.

But he said he thinks there needs to be some state involvement.

"We don't want to be a totally unregulated industry," he said. "We think that people need to have somebody to call if there's a problem.

"We think there needs to be a venue where they can go to say, 'I've got a complaint.' "

Andrews noted that an in-house inspection that uncovered bed bugs probably wouldn't be detailed in a public inspection report.

Sayler and Cotsoradis both said they support a bill that has been introduced in the Kansas Legislature that would at least reinstate inspections after complaints are received.

"It's going to take funding, so that's really the key point at this time," Cotsoradis said.

Andrews' experience

Andrews said that after her encounter with bed bugs at the Super 8 hotel, she became a student of the species. She said half of humans show no reaction when exposed to bed bugs, which explains why her husband felt no ill effects during his stay at the hotel.

Andrews, on the other hand, said she felt the full wrath of the bugs.

"I'm like a canary in a coal mine for bed bugs," she said. "I just broke out in welts all over my throat and chest and arms."

The Wichita Eagle

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Don't let the bed bugs bite

Diamond Marquesa and Buffy can sniff out the bed bugs.

Cathy Palmer breeds and raises Beagles in Cedaredge and more recently has gone into the bed bug detection business as well. After nine months of training, two of her retired show dogs are certified and ready to hunt down the tiny insects — in hotels, apartment complexes, hospitals, or private homes. The business is called Scentsational Hounds.

It's not just beds that can become infected. The Denver Public Library was forced to quarantine the library and destroy some rare books after a patron returned the books infested with bed bugs last fall.

Palmer began training two of her retired Beagles last year after she saw news coverage of the need for bed bug detectors.

“Bed bugs have made a huge resurgence in the U.S. in the past 10 yeas,” Palmer said. She attributes the occurrence to more international travel and a resistance to pesticides.

The bugs “spread mainly through hotels — the bugs come out at night, get into luggage and hijack home,” Palmer said.

In a standard hotel room it'll take a dog two to five minutes to detect the bugs, whereas a human may need an hour to find them, Palmer said.

Palmer's dogs were certified in Florida through the National Entomology Scent Detection Canine Association. Palmer trains the dogs six days a week, a practice that will continue for their entire lives, she said.

Bed bugs suck human blood and can cause redness and itching, although they spread no known disease, Palmer said. Some people are affected psychologically however with an inability to sleep.

“If hotels get on a quarterly schedule for a sweep, it can catch bugs before it becomes a huge infestation,” Palmer said. They tend to hide in crevasses of mattresses, wall outlets and in luggage, she said.

Scentsational Hounds is a detection company only. A pest control company must be called to eradicate the insects.

Dogs can pinpoint exactly the location of the bugs allowing an exterminator to spray a specific spot.

“It saves on a lot of unnecessary chemical use,” Palmer said.

Several years ago when she was starting her dog and cat boarding business, Happy Tails Pet Lodge, Palmer came to Grand Junction to attend Leading Edge, a comprehensive business course offered at the Business Incubator Center, 2591 B 3/4 Road.

“If it hadn't been for that class I never would have got it up and running,” Palmer said.

The Incubator is a nonprofit organization that offers low-cost business classes and free consulting to new and expanding businesses.

The 12-week intensive Leading Edge program covers topics such as cash flow management, marketing, finance, personnel and legal issues, as well as hands-on assistance in preparing a business plan.

When Palmer set out to expand her business to include Scentsational Hounds, she re-took the Leading Edge course, and received help in writing another business plan.

“It's really helpful. It's got a lot of good resources,” Palmer said. “There are a lot of great speakers,” including bankers, local business people and attorneys.

Palmer and her bug-detecting dogs will travel all over the Western Slope, as well as to Denver and Las Vegas.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Job Corps Center blasting bed bugs with freezing-cold air

FLINT -- The Flint/Genesee Job Corps Center is using the freezing-cold as an ally against invading bedbugs, and the center director says the strategy seems to be working.

“We are so grateful that it’s gotten cold,” said center Director Jean Hill. “We are letting cold air into the buildings when students are away.”

Notoriously hard to wipe out, bedbugs often spread quickly throughout a building and can be hard to find as they hide in nooks and crannies, including bedding, mattresses and box springs.

But the bugs can be killed by freezing cold weather, and Hill said officials at the center have also had exterminators fumigate buildings and clothing on campus and given students advise on caring for their clothing to make sure the insects aren’t carried back onto campus.

Officials have said the bed bugs appear to have been brought onto campus in the first place by a student returning the center after winter break earlier this month.

Hill said there have been no recent bedbug spottings and credited the Job Corps Center’s varied and persistent treatment, including the blasts of cold air.

“We’re using every treatment that we’ve (heard of),” she said.

Bed bugs were one eradicated in most developed countries with the use of DDT after World War II, according to the Mayo Clinic Web site, which says the return of the parasites to this country may have occurred because of increased international travel.

The bugs are reddish brown, oval and flat — about the size of an apple seed.

There are about 280 students who live on campus at the Job Corps Center, a free education and training program that helps young people learn a career, earn a high school diploma or GED, and find and keep jobs
The center is located on North Saginaw Street in Flint

Source:By Ron Fonger | Flint Journal

THIS JUST IN: Ohio County

Jan. 5
Michele Zane vs. CSA Fraternal Life and Gary A. Castricone
PA- Barry Hill; William G. Petroplus; J- Recht
* Mr. Zane was issued a policy in March 2007 by Slovene for $10,000; subsequently, Castricone wrote a policy with CSA in November 2007 for $25,000. CSA denied Mrs. Zane's application for benefits and she asks for a judgment on her breach of contract.
Case number: 10-C-5

Jan. 6
State of West Virginia, ex- rel., West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau for Child Support Enforcement vs. Shawn M. Murphy, Sr. and Laurie Ann Murphy and Estate of Shawn M. Murphy, Jr. By Security National Trust Company
PA- Pamela S. Paith; J- Mazzone
* BCSE moves this Court for an Injunction prohibiting the Estate from disbursing any funds which would otherwise be subject to inheritance by Shawn Murphy, Sr., asserting his support arrears of $35,742.96, are owed for periods through September 30, 2008.
Case number: 10-C-6

William D. Robertson, D.D.S., M.S., vs. vs. Douglas Neil Robertson, D.D.S., M.S. in their capacity as members of Drs. Robertson & Robertson, PLLC
PA- Melvin F. O'Brien; J- Mazzone
* Plaintiff owned 100 percent of the firm when it was originally founded but sold 50 percent to his son, in 2007, on an installment five-year term basis. Fundamental disagreements concerning the management and operation of the firm have arisen that frustrate the economic purpose rendering it impracticable for the firm to carry on its business. A judicial decree dissolving the firm is deemed appropriate.
Case number: 10-C-7

Jeannie Geiser, as Administratrix of the Estate of Jacob Geiser, Deceased, and Jeannie Geiser, individually vs. Simplicity, Inc. a/k/a Simplicity for Children, SFCA, Inc.
PA- Ronald W. Zavolta; J- Gaughan
* Jacob Geiser died by strangulation on Jan. 15, 2008, when the negligently designed crib separated from the headboard causing Geiser's head and neck to be wedged between the rail and headboard. The direct and proximate result of sustained injuries resulted in the infant's death. Defendants failed to adequately warn purchasers of the risks and dangers associated with the intended use of the crib.
Case number: 10-C-13

Katherine Karras vs. Colten Wise and Gary Wise
PA- Ronald W. Zavolta; J- Mazzone
* Karras was rear-ended on National Road by defendant Colten Wise. The negligence committed on Jan. 8, 2008, is claimed for lasting injuries and judgment is demanded jointly and severally.
Case number: 10-C-8

Desire Clendenning and Ed Clendenning vs. Super 8 Worldwide Inc., Super 8 Motel dba Rohan Investment LLC dba Nirvi LLC and Akshay S. Sham
PA- Teresa C. Toriseva; J- Mazzone
* Plaintiff was on a business trip in Aberdeen, Md.; while staying as a guest at Super 8 she encountered bed bugs in her room. She suffered a severe reaction to the bites over her body and seeks judgment for equitable relief.
Case number: 10-C-9

Source: By Denise Simpson -Ohio Bureau

Fastest bed in the West

OATMAN - Sunny skies provided a background for the 20th annual Great Oatman Bed Races Saturday afternoon.
The Bed Bugs from Kingman made the loop - and the bed - the fastest at just under 35 seconds. But the Daily News was unable to catch up with them following the race. One of the team members left right away to celebrate his engagement, which had just happened before the team took its turn.

Fred Eck, emcee for the races, said this was the first engagement in the history of the event.

Reigning champions the Womack Revivers from the Mohave Valley Medical Care offices tried to sustain the momentum they've had for the past two years.

“I think we had two very lucky days in a row,” said team captain Brian Womack of his teams' first-place finishes in two years.

“Some of the people from Valley View Medical Center have been talking trash, so as long as we beat them, I'll be happy,” Womack joked.

And beat VVMC they did. Womack's Revivers came in at 48 seconds and VVMC's Bed Pans ended the course at 50.99 seconds.

Each team is made up of five people, four to steer the bed and one person to ride on it. Teams are required to stop in the middle of the course and make a bed, complete with sheets and four pillows needing cases. Ideally, teams put their lightest person on the bed.

The Superheroes from Colorado River Medical Center in Needles came in second place. Team captain Catwoman - a.k.a. Mary Gonzales, director of medical records - said the team wanted to do the superhero theme last year but did not have time to pull it off. Team members donned outfits such as the Incredible Hulk, Wonder Woman, Spiderman and Bruce Wayne.

“I figured if we didn't win at least we would get the award for best costume, but I guess they aren't giving it out this year,” Gonzales said.

As usual, teams from the Oatman Fire Department and the Red Hatters participated in the race by having fun with the audience and race officials. Neither team participated for the title. The Red Hatters used the pillow cases to collect spare change to go toward the new bathrooms in Oatman.

Source: HEATHER SMATHERS/The Daily News

Bed Bugs Infest Part of Idaho Senior Center

Officials with the Blackfoot Senior Citizens Center say bed bugs are infesting some apartments at the center-run Sunset Manor.

The apartments cater to low-income seniors and those with disabilities. Larry Wadsworth, who serves on the board of directors for the senior center, says the affected units have been treated monthly by an exterminator, to no avail.

The Idaho State Journal reports that officials are now considering temporarily moving all the tenants to a hotel so the entire apartment complex can be treated. That could cost as much as $60,000.

Bed bugs are small, flat bugs that feed on blood and make bites similar to those caused by mosquitoes.

Source: BLACKFOOT, Idaho (AP)