first_imgSep 22, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – The World Health Organization (WHO) today confirmed a new human case of H5N1 avian influenza in Indonesia, but said there is no evidence that the virus is easily spreading from person to person there.The agency said the Indonesian government confirmed a case in an 8-year-old boy who is being treated in a hospital. A WHO reference laboratory in Hong Kong did the confirmatory testing.But despite a growing number of patients being treated for suspicious respiratory illnesses in a Jakarta hospital, the agency said, “Current investigations in Indonesia have produced no evidence that the H5N1 virus is spreading easily from person to person.” Consequently the WHO has not raised its level of pandemic alert, though it promised to keep watching the situation closely.The newly confirmed case means the WHO now recognizes three cases in Indonesia, including a 38-year-old man who died in July and a 37-year-old woman who died Sep 10. The government counts the 38-year-old man’s two young daughters, who also died in July, as cases, but the WHO has said their test results did not meet the criteria for H5N1.The new case increases the WHO’s avian flu tally since late 2003 to 115 cases with 59 deaths, of which 91 cases and 41 deaths occurred in Vietnam.The WHO statement did not say where the 8-year-old boy lives or how he might have been exposed to avian flu. The previous cases have all been in the Jakarta area.Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that 13 people were being treated for possible symptoms of avian flu today at Jakarta’s Sulianti Saroso Hospital, four more than yesterday. A doctor there said the three newest patients had visited Jakarta’s Ragunan Zoo Sep 18, just before officials closed it because 19 birds there had tested positive for the H5N1 virus.Today’s WHO statement suggested that the rash of suspected cases of avian flu in Indonesia mainly reflects increased vigilance. Because of growing public and governmental concern, “several patients with respiratory symptoms and a history of possible exposure to the avian virus are being evaluated as part of ongoing surveillance efforts,” the agency said.The WHO also said today that tests on samples from the 37-year-old Indonesian woman who died of avian flu earlier this month showed that the virus had not mutated, according to news services.Georg Petersen, the WHO representative in Jakarta, said the virus that killed the woman appeared to be the same as viruses circulating in poultry in Indonesia, according to a report yesterday in the New York Times. The finding, which he called reassuring, was based on a genetic analysis of the virus by Malik Peiris at Hong Kong University.According to the story, Peiris said his analysis, not yet complete, suggests that the virus had not exchanged genes with human flu viruses, an event that could enable it to spread more readily from person to person.See also:Sep 22 WHO statement

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first_imgOxford faces the possibility of severe disruption to teaching at the start of term as university staff vote on whether to take industrial action.The ballot, which began on the 25th September, ends on the 10th October, coinciding with the beginning of term.The University and College Union, which represents the staff at higher education institutions, claims that the action was prompted by four consecutive years of pay cuts, with real wages dropping by 13%, and with just a 1% increase offered.Michael MacNeil, UCU head of higher education, commented: ‘What is very clear is that the employers can afford to pay their staff more than the miserly 1% on the table but they are making a calculated choice not to.   ‘Those in charge are cynically using a more competitive funding environment to justify driving down terms and conditions and pay for the majority of staff. At a time when staff have been under great pressure to improve the student experience and workloads have increased, they have had their pay held down.’If the vote is ‘yes’, action would be taken later in Michaelmas.last_img

first_imgWHATS ON YOUR MIND TODAY?“IS IT TRUE” will be posted on this coming WednesdayTodays READERS POLL question is: Do You feel its time for City Councilwoman Anna Hargis CPA to speak out on the city budget shortfalls?Please take time and read our newest feature articles entitled “HOT JOBS” and “LOCAL SPORTS” posted in our sections.If you would like to advertise in the CCO please contact us City-County [email protected] 2015 City County Observer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img

first_imgThe Thomas H. Heist Insurance Agency has five offices, with the main one in Ocean City. Here are some of the 70 employees. (Courtesy Thomas H. Heist Insurance Agency) By Maddy VitaleTom Heist IV sat down for an interview to discuss what keeps his family’s agency, Thomas H. Heist Insurance Agency in Ocean City, thriving, how in a competitive market the business remains a longstanding staple to customers and their families and how they continue their tradition of providing sound advice and insurance to fit specific needs.“The world is changing, and you want to align with insurance companies that could guide you through the issues,” Heist said. “We are here to serve our customers. Our job is to make sure our customers are taken care of, they get the right coverage to fit their needs and we make sure it is affordable.”But there is a lot that goes into being a good agent. Heist explained there are many responsibilities that go along with doing a job that his father and his entire family would approve of. You do what is best for the customer — nothing less.“You want people to feel they can go to bed at night and have the right protection,” Heist said.Heist, 54, a father of three, and his brother, John Heist, 47, a married father of twin girls, work together to run the Ocean City office and four other branches in the area.Heist is the president and his brother handles the sales side of the business.Their 82-year-old father, Tom Heist III, who started it all, continues to play an integral role in the agency, offering his expertise as the CEO.“We are just carrying on the legacy of our father,” Heist said. “He really is the heartbeat of the agency. John and I are partners. The three of us continue to meet and stay current with industry trends.”The brothers continue to learn from their father.“Our father is really good with the way he handles people. He has really set the tone and culture of having employees who love to be here,” Heist pointed out. “If they love their jobs, it affects how they treat the customers.”Another member of the team is their sister, Kristina Roberts, who lives in Massachusetts. She logs on to the agency website and helps the team with projects, Heist said.Brothers Tom Heist and John Heist have worked together in their family’s agency for 20 years. (Courtesy of Thomas H. Heist Insurance Agency)According to the agency’s website, in 1965, Tom Heist III, a graduate of Ocean City High School, returned home after college. He joined the D. Allen Stretch Agency to open its life insurance division in Ocean City.When D. Allen Stretch passed away in 1985, Heist III purchased the business and changed the name to the Thomas H. Heist Insurance Agency, Inc.The office moved to 701 West Avenue, and in 2001 moved to its present main office at 700 West Avenue in Ocean City.Heist IV returned home in 1989 and joined the company. In 1995, he was appointed president.Over the next 20-plus years, the agency grew. There are now branch offices in Margate, Egg Harbor Township, Marmora and Vineland. Altogether, there are 70 employees.The agency is licensed to conduct business in seven states: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Virginia and Florida.Heist said it just made sense to expand.“Really, the purpose was to give customers in the different communities convenience. We also support a lot of organizations in the communities,” he said. “That is what it is about.”He explained there are different insurance needs in the communities and each office has five agents to assist customers.The shore communities, especially post-Superstorm Sandy, have specific needs that, for example, homeowners in Vineland would not have to concern themselves with.Because of the variables in the communities, it is so vital that agents are knowledgeable about a variety of insurances.“There are a lot of different types of insurances out there. The agents need to have a good understanding of the products,” Heist said. “We are lucky. Our employees have a vast knowledge and understanding of the different insurances.”Heist added that the agency makes it a point to keep current on trends and attends educational seminars and classes on insurance. Certain insurances, especially ones concerning flooding and Medicare, are constantly changing.The Thomas H. Heist Insurance Agency with Thomas Heist III, center, is all about providing the best service to its customers.Sometimes being a good insurance agent simply means being there to explain some of complex matters to clients in an understandable way and helping them to navigate the insurance issues, Heist noted.“It is all about dealing with customers, seeing changes to codes for their homes, for instance, making sure their homes are in compliance,” Heist said. “We also help people navigate mortgage and Medicare issues.”It is often just a matter of listening.“We have consumers say, ‘I know I need to lift my house. What do I have to do?’ We can help guide them. There is a lot we do besides selling insurance,” Heist said.The agents are available to help with auto, dental and life insurances as well.“Our life is wrapped around helping people solve problems,” Heist added.There are matters when sometimes the Heist Insurance Agency acts as a broker. The agent will make sure a carrier is notified if, for example, there is a fire or flood. The agents coordinate the connection between the different parties.“If there is a fire, we go out and make sure the adjuster is there. If your house burns to the ground, we try to assure people they are in good hands and we will help them every step of the way,” Heist noted.More than ever, agents have a lot of insurances to offer to consumers.“We have Uber, Airbnb. People are using their cars and homes in different ways. There needs to be insurances for those ways,” Heist explained.Another newer, and extremely important piece of insurance, deals with cyber liability, Heist emphasized.He and the agents urge owners of large and small companies to consider this type of insurance.“Cyber liability is a huge issue. For a business, it can be very expensive. Every business needs to examine the need for cyber liability,” he said. “I think it is potentially the largest exposure of loss. You think of loss as a building burning, but today, people can suck the funds right from your bank account.”Whether it is dealing with the latest or more traditional forms of insurance, Heist Insurance Agency is all about helping customers who, over the years, have become more like family, Heist said.“There are so many customers who say they are so thankful. When you help people, you give them peace of mind. I feel blessed that we are able to do that. People are truly appreciative of what we do,” Heist reflected. “We hear feedback from customers sometimes when they are in their toughest times, who call just to say thank you. It makes me know we are in a great business.”The main office for the Thomas H. Heist Insurance Agency is located at 700 West Avenue in Ocean City. For more information, visit or call the office at (609) 399-0655 or toll free at (800) 220-6613.The main office for Thomas H. Heist Insurance Agency is located at 700 West Ave. in Ocean City.last_img

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