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By The Staff

Health officials warn of bed bugs

The Kentucky Department for Public Health encourages Kentuckians to learn more about bed bugs, a pest that could be lurking in their homes.

"During the 1940s and 1950s, the bed bug was a common pest in many homes," said Guy Delius, acting director for the division of public health protection and safety. "Although annoying, the bed bug has not been known to carry disease."

The bed bug is a small, brownish insect that feeds on the blood of animals. It gets its name primarily because it is most active at night and often hides in the tuffs and folds of bedding.

Reactions to the bite vary by individual but are generally mild, resulting in itching and swelling at the site of the bite. The most significant health concern stems from scratching the bite, which can lead to secondary infection in rare instances.

Signs that you may have a bed bug infestation include unexplained bites after sleeping; blood spotting or staining on mattresses or bedding; and the observance of insects or their discarded skeletal casings.

Public Health Commissioner William Hacker, M.D., recommends that people who think they may have a problem with bed bugs seek advice from their local health department or health care provider.

Accurate identification of the insect followed by treatment by a licensed pest control company is the most effective means for addressing bed bugs. DPH has developed information to help citizens understand more about these insects.

Additional information can be obtained from the local health department, area pest control specialists or the DPH Web site at http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/info/phps/enviromgmt.htm.

You may also call DPH staff members, Erica Brakefield, technical consultant in the environmental management branch, at (502) 564-4856 Ext. 3732; or Vonia Grabeel, program administrator in the environmental management branch, at (502) 564-4856 Ext. 3724.

KECI is looking for entrepreneurial coaches

The Kentucky Entrepreneurial Coaches Institute is looking for community leaders in Taylor County who are interested in helping form the region's first network of entrepreneurial coaches in South Central Kentucky.

If you are a community-minded resident with an interest in creating entrepreneurial friendly communities and serving as an advocate for individual entrepreneurs, KECI may have a place for you in its next training class for entrepreneurial coaches.

"Coaches help entrepreneurs in their communities to develop a business plan, evaluate its possibilities and potential and put them in touch with others who are able to take their business to the next level," said Harvey Mitchell, director of agricultural outreach for The Center for Rural Development.

Prospective candidates have until Nov. 30 to apply for one of 30 spots available in the 2008 class, which is scheduled to begin in February. Applicants chosen for the 16-month training program will receive a fellowship, valued at about $18,000, which will cover the costs of eight regional seminars, each lasting two or three days, and an eight-day trip to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota to learn about successful entrepreneurial ventures in the face of significant obstacles.

KECI, coordinated by the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, is partnering with The Center for Rural Development in Somerset to expand the program into 22 counties in South Central Kentucky: Adair, Allen, Barren, Butler, Casey, Clay, Clinton, Cumberland, Edmonson, Green, Hart, Laurel, Marion, Metcalfe, Monroe, McCreary, Pulaski, Russell, Taylor, Warren, Washington and Wayne.

For more information about KEIC or to apply for the 2008 class, contact Harvey Mitchell or Jessica Melton, youth programs director, at The Center for Rural Development at (606) 677-6000 or visit the Web site at www.centertech.com.