University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Pitt-Johnstown Seal

Fall - Winter 2005

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH HAZARDS OF LEADING TICK-BORNE DISEASES IN THE EASTERN UNITED STATES

Eugene J. Palka, Department of Geography & Environmental Engineering
United States Military Academy

Abstract

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease are the two most prevalent tick-borne diseases in the United States.  The former has been known for more than one-hundred years, while the latter was discovered only about 30 years ago.  The diseases are examples of environmental health hazards that exist in nature, independent of human activity.  High-risk areas of the country are those regions that offer the ideal environmental conditions for the agent, vector, host and reservoir for each disease.  While Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is prevalent in the Southeastern US and extends through the Mid-South, Lyme disease is concentrated in the Middle-Atlantic and southern New England, with a lesser concentration in the upper Mid-West.  Although there are considerable differences between the two diseases, they also have a number of similarities.  A geographic perspective enables us to better understand both environmental health hazards.


THE FLOYD FIASCO: LESSONS LEARNED IN HURRICANE EVACUATION PREPAREDNESS

Tim G. Frazier, Department of Geography
The Pennsylvania State University

Abstract

This research seeks to determine the progress of evacuation planning in an area where a large-scale evacuation has previously occurred, the South Carolina coastal region.  The flawed evacuation from Hurricane Floyd in 1999 is examined to determine the preparedness of emergency management officials pre- and post hazard to explore additional areas where evacuation efficiency might be enhanced.  Research results indicate that improvements in evacuation planning have occurred post Hurricane Floyd.  Intelligent traffic systems coupled with improved infrastructure development are working to improve evacuation potential.  Communication, better planning, and agency cooperation are now the buzzwords among South Carolina evacuation team members.  Many of the issues that inhibited the Floyd evacuation have seen some resolution but problems with evacuation efficiency persist.  Evacuation officials watch helplessly as development continues to occur in vulnerable areas placing an ever-increasing number of residents at risk.


FAIR WEATHER AHEAD?  CHANGES IN NEWSPAPER WEATHER MAPS: 1902-2005

David A. Call, Department of Geography
Syracuse University

Abstract

Many people encounter newspaper weather maps on a daily basis, yet the information contained in these maps is rarely critiqued.  Furthermore, few researchers have studied changes in the content and quantity of newspaper weather maps through time.  This study will discuss changes in newspaper weather maps from 1902 to 2005, based on a regional sample of newspapers commonly available in New York and Pennsylvania.  While newspaper weather maps were uncommon until the middle twentieth century, many newspapers now include multiple weather maps in their daily weather reports.  However, few maps include basic cartographic conventions such as scale bars.  This article will describe changes in newspaper weather maps over time and critique current ones.  Suggestions for improvement will also be offered.  Although newspaper weather maps provide valuable information for readers, simple changes could make them even more effective. 


THE WET-DRY ISSUE IN ARKANSAS

H. Jason Combs, Department of Geography
Arkansas State University

Abstract

Fifteen states in this country have local-option alcohol policies.  Arkansas is one of the fifteen and at the present time 43 counties are “dry” and 32 are “wet.”  Opposition to and support for local prohibition remains a salient issue throughout the state, as it has for well over 100 years.  Preliminary findings indicate that wet counties have a higher proportion of reported alcohol-related offenses in comparison to dry counties.  However, upon further investigation of urbanization rates, tourism, the border effect, and traffic fatalities those earlier conclusions become somewhat suspect.  Most of Arkansas’ larger cities, metropolitan areas, and tourist destinations are located in wet counties, many of which are surrounded by dry counties.  Additionally, dry county residents are easily supplied by a number of border effect liquor stores.  Finally, the analysis reveals that dry counties in Arkansas have a higher rate of traffic fatalities and alcohol-related traffic fatalities.


LATINOS IN BERKS COUNTY, PA: MIGRATION, SETTLEMENT, AND EMPLOYMENT

Mark E. Reisinger, Department of Geography
Binghamton University

Abstract

The Latino population of Berks County and Reading has increased dramatically over the past 20 years. This paper examines migration, settlement, and labor market patterns of Latinos to the area. It was found that the origins for the greatest number of Latino migrants are counties in the northeast U.S. Substantial numbers also come from Puerto Rico and other foreign countries. Latinos in Reading are highly segregated from Whites and the vast majority has settled in the central city area. Latinos in Berks County are employed in secondary sectors of the labor market and have higher unemployment rates than Whites. As a result of residential concentration and a relatively poor position in the labor market high levels of socioeconomic inequality exist between Latinos and the White population.