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Posted: 6:36 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, 2013
CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. —
In a month, a task force created to come up with ideas to keep people from getting sick at the Cleveland County fair will release its plan. Hannah Roberts, 5, approves of the idea to end petting zoos at the Cleveland County Fair. She is one of the dozens of children hospitalized after being infected with E. coli at the fair last year. "No amount of money or fun is worth seeing your child fight for her life, and so I am very, very thrilled that there are going to be no more petting zoos there," said Hannah's mother Tracey Roberts. That is one of the changes decided by fair operators after more than 100 people were sickened with E. coli and 2-year-old Gage Lefevers died. Tracey Roberts joined a class action law suit against the fair. "That's really what this whole effort has been about making sure this doesn't happen to another family," Tracey Roberts said. Last week operators installed 12-inch drainage pipes at the fairgrounds to quickly drain runoff water. State health officials decided that rainwater helped to spread E. coli last year. Members of the E. Coli Task Force said they have more recommendations for changes at the fair. They plan to announce their findings on June 1. "I am very pleased with the steps they have already taken," Tracey Roberts said. She hopes the new recommendations will make a difference. Fair operators believe recommendations from the task force could become a standard for other fairs. They said recently an organization of fair operators from across the state met and talked at length about the E. coli task force and they are waiting to hear the task force suggestions.
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