published Thursday, August 30th, 2012

'Smiling snake' startles driver and news from the areas around Chattanooga

'Smiling snake' startles driver

KNOXVILLE — A man driving on Interstate 40 in Knoxville said a snake popped its head out of an air conditioner vent and seemed to smile at him.

According to WBIR-TV, the unidentified motorist pulled to the side of the highway and called for help. State Trooper John Carr and an animal control officer responded. They could see the snake in the dashboard but couldn't get it out.

Carr said that, in six years on the patrol, this was his first snake-in-the-car call, but that they were common when he worked as a sheriff's deputy.

The driver had his car towed to a safer location so the dashboard could be disassembled and the snake removed.

It wasn't clear what species of snake it was.

Flu shots now available

DALTON, Ga. — Influenza shots now are available at health departments in Whitfield, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray and Cherokee counties, according to North Georgia Health District officials.

Each county soon will conduct drive-through shot clinics, a news release states.

In addition to doses of the regular seasonal flu vaccine, health departments in Whitfield, Fannin, Gilmer and Cherokee counties are offering high-dose flu vaccine for people ages 65 and older.

The regular seasonal flu vaccine is $20, and the high dose shot is $50. Health departments will accept cash, checks, Medicare and Medicaid as well as state Cigna and state United Healthcare insurance cards at the drive-through clinics.

Drive-by flu shot clinic dates, times and locations are:

• Whitfield — Tuesday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. to0 4 p.m., at the Whitfield County Health Department, 800 Professional Blvd., Dalton; (706) 226-2621

• Fannin — Sept. 26, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., The Farmers Market, East First St., Blue Ridge; (706) 632-3023

• Gilmer — Each Friday in September, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Gilmer County Health Department, 28 Southside Church St., Ellijay; (706) 635-4363

• Gilmer — Oct. 5, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., First United Methodist Church of Ellijay, 75 McCutchen St., Ellijay; (706) 635-4363

• Murray — Sept. 18, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Murray Recreation Center, 651 Hyden Tyler Road, Chatsworth; (706) 695-4585

• Cherokee — Sept. 11, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Woodstock Health Center, 7545 North Main St., Woodstock; (770) 928-0133

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the yearly average number of people in the U.S. hospitalized due to influenza is more than 200,000. The CDC estimates the annual number of flu-related deaths in the U.S. over the past 31 years has ranged from 3,000 to 49,000.

For more information, contact your local health department.

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