Liam Blake Morgan, originally from Rifle, turned 1 year old on Dec. 28 at his home in Gautier, Miss.
He celebrated with his parents, Blake and Courtney Morgan; paternal grandparents, Klaus and Leigh Minter of Rifle; maternal grandfather, Duane Vasten of Thomasville, Colo.; his Mimi, Sandy Morgan; great-grandparents, Lea and John Vasten of Thomasville; and his Aunt Mars and Uncle Kaleb of Rifle.
C.J. Vondette of Rifle was invited to compete as a barrel racer on the Colorado team representing the National Western Stock Show during the "Colorado vs. the World Rodeo" on Saturday in Denver.
Vondette was the Colorado champion and made it to the sudden-death showdown against the 2012 World Champion, Mary Walker, from Ennis, Texas. Vondette won $900 in the event, while Walker took home $10,000.
Influenza is hitting Colorado and U.S. residents hard this year. More than 500 flu-related hospitalizations have been reported in Colorado, and the number of cases rises each day. Six hospitalizations have been reported in Garfield County so far this season, and medical providers locally are treating more people with flu symptoms.
Such symptoms typically include fever, cough, body aches, upper respiratory congestion and fatigue. Those experiencing symptoms are encouraged to stay home and keep ill children home from school. Frequent hand washing and covering of coughs are very important preventative measures.
"The flu vaccine is the very best defense against the flu," said Laurel Little, nurse manager for Garfield County Public Health. "It isn't too late to get a flu shot, but, I recommend you get one the sooner the better, as it can take up to two weeks for the vaccine to be effective."
Flu effects not only those who get sick, but the recent nationwide spread of the illness shows how important it is for vaccine use to protect others.
"We have data showing that about 30 percent of Garfield County residents get flu vaccinations. This is great, but the more people who are vaccinated, the better our entire community is protected against the flu," said Little.
Dr. Thomas Frieden of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 90 percent of this year's circulating flu matches the strains that are in the vaccine.
Garfield County Public Health still has plenty of vaccine available, and residents can call 945-6614 in Glenwood Springs, or 625-5200 in Rifle, to make appointments for vaccinations.