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NC Dept. of Water Resources catching fish on Dan River for testing

EDEN, N.C. — A crew with the N.C. Department of Water Resources spent the day on the Dan River catching fish for testing.

Jeff DeBerardinis says checking wildlife like fish is a priority after the coal ash spill into the Dan River at the beginning of the month.

He and Mark Hale collect fish samples by “electrofishing.”

“You basically electrify a field in front of the boat and fish are basically stunned. They float up and roll over and we’ve got a netter up front that will scoop them up,” explained DeBerardinis.

Some fish are left behind alive. Others are taken to a lab where they’re tested for metals like arsenic, lead and iron, found in coal ash.

They’ll either be processed into filets to test what a human would eat I r tested as an entire fish body like what a bird would eat.

18-year-old hospitalized after venomous snake bite

REIDSVILLE, N.C. — An 18-year-old has been hospitalized after being bitten by a pet rattlesnake inside a Reidsville home Monday night.

Kameron Burgess, 18, of Ruffin, was bitten inside the home on Auburn Street by a Canebrake Rattlesnake while he was visiting a friend.

Burgess’ friend, who lives at the residence, has a collection of venomous snakes, including an Eyelash Viper, Gaboon Viper, Rhino Viper, Brazilian Lance Head, Mojave Desert Side Winder, Puff Adder Viper, Southern Copperhead, Neotropical Rattlesnake, Monocled Cobra and a Costa Rican Jumping Viper.

The boys were returning the snake to its enclosure when it bit Burgess on the arm.

He was transported to Wake Forest Baptist Hospital for treatment. As of Tuesday afternoon, he was listed in good condition.

Draper Elementary students raise more than $700 for children with cancer

EDEN, N.C. — Students at Draper Elementary school raised more than $700 this month to donate towards children with cancer.

The project is called “Pennies for Patients.” All money will be donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Parents like Valecia Dillard, whose son is a third grader at the school, know the struggles of caring for a child with cancer all too well.

Her son Carmello, also known as C.J., was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer at five years old.

“The tumor was like the size of a grapefruit,” Dillard said. “One side of his stomach was growing larger than the other.”

Today, C.J. is nine years old and cancer-free after a liver transplant.

“I thank God that he allowed me to keep my child because I really thought that he was going to be gone,” Dillard said.

Environmental officials sampling fish tissue near Dan River coal ash spill site

EDEN, N.C. — Scientists with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources started Monday collecting fish in the Dan River in Eden near the site of the coal ash spill to begin fish tissue testing, which will help determine if fish are safe to eat, according to a news release from DENR.

DENR staff members hope to compare the fish tissue samples collected throughout the week with samples the state agency will collect periodically during the next year to help scientists determine any impacts coal ash metals and other residuals could be having on fish in the river.

Fish tissues collected this week will serve as baseline data to compare against fish tissue samples collected later in the year. Scientific research shows that it typically takes more than a few weeks for pollutants to accumulate in fish tissue.

Dan River coal ash spill hurting Rockingham Co. businesses

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. — The spilling of coal ash may have stopped but its effects are still far reaching for businesses along the Dan River.

Glenn Bozorth owns Dan River Adventures in Rockingham County and normally looks forward to the few weeks leading to spring.

“We do canoe trips, kayaking trips and tubing trips on the Dan River,” Bozorth said.

But this spring he’s worried that those upcoming trips — where he averages about 300 customers a weekend — won’t be as booked.

“I anticipate that we’re going to have some folks that decide not to come here,” he said.

A Duke Energy pipe burst on Feb. 2, spilling tons of toxic coal ash into the Dan River.

Bozorth’s business is located about 15 miles upstream from where the spill happened.

“None of that toxic sludge is drifting past us or anybody in our immediate neighborhood,” Bozorth said.

Rockingham County Tourism encourages people to experience upper sections of Dan River

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. – The Rockingham County Tourism Development Authority issued a statement on Thursday encouraging people to enjoy the upper sections of the Dan River due to the recent coal ash spill.

The group said they are “concerned” about possible environmental impacts.

“At this time, we do not know the full extent of the environmental impacts or the effects this will have on our aquatic life or river recreation in Rockingham County,” the group said in a statement. ”Local, State and Federal environmental officials are working closely with Duke Energy to monitor the situation and we will follow any recommendations that will follow as a result of the investigation.”