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West tops Salisbury in alumni basketball game, 1B Sunday, August 1, 2010 | $1 NO MORE SEIZURES Assistant DA fights off dog attack Biernacki suffers numerous bites to her face, arms Brain surgery helps get 34-year-old back on the road, into living BY SHAVONNE POTTS n his first try, Brian Andrews got his driver’s license after passing the driving portion of the test. He chose a background for his license, took his picture and afterward, posed for a picture at his mother’s request. Andrews, 34, is pretty excited about being able to drive. It will be the first time he’s had a license in six years. Andrews has suffered from seizures since he was 16. Andrews had his first seizure at home. It was a grand mal seizure, also known as a tonic-clonic seizure. “It came out of the blue. It’s when you lose consciousness and have full convulsions,” he said. Grand mal seizures are caused by abnormal electrical activity throughout the brain. It’s the type of seizure most people picture when they think of a seizure. It is commonly associated with epilepsy. “It lasted up to a minute,” said Sylvia Andrews, Brian’s mother. Months passed and Brian didn’t have another seizure until an overnight school field trip, Sylvia recalls. He had a seizure in the hotel room one night and was rushed to the local hospital. Brian was soon after treated for epilepsy. Doctors said he was experiencing sleep seizures because they occurred at night when he was relaxed. Brian was placed on a widely used anti-seizure medication. “Medication seemed to control them at the time. After a long time, the seizures started O BY EMILY FORD showing up in different ways,” Brian said. He began having different types of seizures, some nonconvulsive and silent. The sleep seizures stopped and the absence seizures or petit mals began. A person who experiences petit mals seems to tune out for a short time. He had sporadic periods of disorientation, which at first didn’t affect his driving. “My periods of disorientation moved to almost unconsciousness. It was a dreamlike state,” he said. Often, whatever activity Brian was doing, he kept doing while having a seizure. Once while filling out paperwork at the doctor’s office, he had a petit mal seizure. When he came to, he’d scribbled all over the form. For years, doctors prescribed several different medications to combat the seizures and ran tests to determine what was causing them. “The longer he had waking seizures, the worse they got. The medications weren’t as effective,” Sylvia said. In 2008, while attending an epilepsy support group, it was recommended that Brian go to a neurologist in Winston-Salem. The doctor informed Brian about other treatments that included implants, a dog who senses a seizure before it happens and brain surgery. He opted to look into brain surgery. Doctors first needed to run more advanced tests. He had several imaging scans including a PET and EEG, a noninvasive way to monitor his brain shavonne potts/SALISBURY POST Brian Andrews leaves the DMV office after being cleared to drive. He had surgery to halt the seizures he’d had for years. Karen Biernacki, a Rowan County assistant district attorney, fought off an 85-pound dog Friday evening and suffered numerous bites to her face and arms. “Copper,” a Rottweiler-mix that Biernacki rescued a year ago and nursed back to health, attacked the prosecutor when she inspected the dog’s paw, which Biernacki suspected was injured. Biernacki said the attack does not change her election plans. She is running to succeed her boss, Rowan County District Attorney Bill Kenerly, who will retire in December. Biernacki, who called 911 herself, sustained three to four puncture wounds on each arm BIERNACKI and said she can’t count the number of stitches in her face. She stayed on her feet throughout the ordeal, while the dog repeatedly lunged at her and bit her forehead, arms and nose. Recovering at home Saturday night, Biernac- See DOG, 5A Withheld lottery money necessitates budget cuts BY KARISSA MINN County commissioners will consider several potential budget cuts Monday to make up for lottery money held back by the state this year. At the commissioners’ request, County Manager Gary Page created a list of options — including employee furlough days, job cuts and reductions in library and park hours — for offsetting the loss of $900,000 in N.C. Education Lottery funding. The money had been budgeted to pay down bond debt, which must now be paid with other funds. The board will discuss those options at 4 p.m. in the commissioners meeting room on the second floor of the J. Newton Cohen Sr. Rowan County Administration Building, 130 W. Innes St. Page said the whole sum could be taken from the fund balance, but the county will have to make cuts next year to avoid drawing it down any further. Making some of those now would help save money so that future cuts wouldn’t need to be as severe. “Unless the economy turns around, next year is going to be more difficult than the past two,” Page said. “This is about cutting our losses as See BRAIN, 2A Brian Andrews has his photo taken after passing the tests to get his driving privileges back. See BUDGET, 2A andy mooney/SALISBURY POST Some take issue with magazine’s ranking N.C. as 4th laziest in nation BY EMILY FORD A Business Week top 10 list that ranks North Carolina as the fourth laziest state in the country draws the wrong conclusion, Rowan County business leaders say. People here simply know how to relax. “People put in a hard day’s work, and then they go do something with their church or their family,” said Robert [|xbIAHD y0 0 2ozX Van Geons, executive director for RowanWorks Economic Development. “Life is more to them than just work.” North Carolina appeared on the lazy list behind Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas. ranked the country’s laziest states based on five years of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics American Time Use Survey. They evaluated the amount of time people Today’s forecast 81º/74º Mostly sunny, thunderstorms WRIGHT VAN GEONS spent doing activities like sleeping, watching television, relaxing, thinking, socializing, playing board games and Please recycle this newspaper Deaths surfing the Internet, compared to time spent working and exercising. Bob Wright, president of the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce, said the list should have been titled, “These people know how to spend their leisure time.” “I have never heard anybody out there suggest that North Carolina employees or North Carolina people in general have a lazy streak,” Wright said. Janie Starnes H. Brown Jack Monroe Gullett Dawn Waller Hair Elva Sides T. Reynolds If the state’s workers were lazy, North Carolina would not win recognition year after year as a great place for business and industry. “We are regularly rated one of the top states in the country for the quality of our labor force,” he said. Many workers in Rowan County put a strong emphasis on family and their “lives away from the office,” Van Geons said, “which is one of the reasons that they stay Contents Books Business Celebrations Classifieds 5D 1C 3E 4A here through good times and bad.” Time in the office does not equal productivity, he said. He wondered if Business Week, when compiling the list, took into account whether people were paid hourly or a salary, and if they endured layoffs or furloughs during the years when statistics were collected. Figures were based on Deaths Horoscope Opinion People See LAZY, 2A 4A 9C 2D 1E Second Front 3A Sports 1B Television 9C Weather 10C

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