Posted by: Jennifer Mayerle | November 15, 2010

Cold & Flu Season is Here!

Cold and flu season is upon us, and sure enough, I’m just getting over a cold.

It can be hard to tell the difference between flu and common cold symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), both are respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. So how can you tell the difference between the two? I did a little research and came across a list of symptoms to help determine if you should be treating a cold or the flu:

Flu symptoms:

Sudden onset of illness
High fever
Extreme fatigue
Dry cough
Achy head
Achy muscles

Cold symptoms:

Slow onset of illness
Low or no fever
Mild fatigue
Severe cough and runny or stuffy nose
No headache
No achy muscles
No chills

Source: The Nemours Foundation

If you are anything like me, and you’ve recently had a cold or the flu this season, you may already be thinking about ways to avoid the sniffles in the future. The single best way to protect yourself and others against the flu is to get a vaccination each year. There are two kinds of flu vaccines available: the flu shot and the nasal-spray flu vaccine. In general, all healthy people should get vaccinated. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine.

The CDC also recommends that you take the following everyday actions to stay healthy during cold and flu season:

· Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
· Wash your hands with soap and water. Alcohol-based hand rubs are also effective.
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
· Stay home if you are sick. And limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
· Disinfect frequently touched surfaces like bedside tables, bathroom surfaces, children’s toys, door knobs, light switchers, and telephones.

These are just a few tips on how you can help protect yourself, your family and those around you from spreading germs that cause cold and flu viruses. Following these healthy habits can help you lead a healthier life!

Posted by: Jennifer Mayerle | July 15, 2010

A First I Hope I Don’t Repeat

DeToma Family (courtesy

I’ve told a lot of stories in the ten years I’ve been a reporter. As a reporter, you may interview the same people for different stories, like the mayor or governor, even active members of the community. I have never encountered the same person on a story like I did this past Monday. This was a first I hope I don’t repeat.

I was sent straight out the door when I walked into work Monday to head to breaking news. I was told a 5-year-old had been found dead in a Decatur apartment. That in itself is terrible, regardless of how it happened. The story continued to unfold during the 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscasts and we learned the dad had been arrested and charged with murder. A 4-year-old brother was also home when police arrived.

Police told us when the dad, Gary DeToma Sr., didn’t show up for work Monday a co-worker went to check on him. The 4-year-old answered the door, and police said that co-worker found DeToma Sr. in an upstairs bedroom with his son, who was dead. Police had been at the home earlier in the morning. The kids, Gary Jr. and Will, hadn’t been returned to their mother’s family after a weekend with dad and they were concerned. Police said no one answered the door and they didn’t find anything suspicious at the time. Neighbors told us the parents were going through a divorce and were fighting over custody of the children.

By 11 p.m. we learned the DeToma Sr. confessed to suffocating Gary Jr. and attempting to suffocate Will.

As I went home for the night something about the story bothered me but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I woke up the next morning and realized why. I had done an unrelated story on the family just a month and a half earlier. I met Gary DeToma Sr. and the two boys, 5-year-old Gary Jr. and Will, who at the time was still 3.

During the story the boys were fascinated with the camera and wanted to watch themselves. They rode their bikes for us, laughed and smiled. They acted like kids.

Their dad wasn’t a part of the story, although I met him and talked with him. The children’s grandmother told me of the nasty divorce and custody battle.

I have done more than one story on a lot of people, but this is the first time in ten years that someone, a child, that I had met on a story was the victim of a crime. This is a first I hope I don’t repeat.

Link to Recent Story, July 12, 2010:

Link to Original Story, May 20, 2010:

Posted by: Jennifer Mayerle | July 1, 2010

Cleanest Criminal

Sometimes in this business I feel like I’ve seen it all. Name a type of story; I’ve probably covered it, or some variation of it. Every now and then you get a little surprise that makes you realize there are still a million new stories to tell…today was one of those days.

I met a nice couple, Henry and Kaye Kenn. Unfortunately, I met them because someone had broken into their home this afternoon. Henry came home to find a back window had been broken, and someone was still inside the home. The man was in the bathroom and had taken a shower! Henry called police. The SWAT team was called out and they got the man out without any injuries. The man told police he was the Duke of Germany and he had a right to be in the house.

The man was taken into police custody, and they were going to check his mental state.

The Kenn’s were a bit creeped out, but they tried to find the silver lining in the situation. No one was hurt…and Kaye joked she hopes the headline doesn’t end up on David Letterman.

Click on the link to see the story:

Posted by: Jennifer Mayerle | April 27, 2010

Meet A Little Miracle

Trey Winters has overcome more than most at just one year old. Trey is what doctors call a micro preemie. He was born 15 weeks early, weighing only 1 lb., 3 ounces. His first diaper was smaller than a dollar bill. Nearing a year old, he’s gained weight and is thriving.

Here is Trey’s story:

Telling Trey’s story reminded me of my cousin’s daughter. She was born premature as well, weighing 2 lbs., 3 ounces at birth. That was almost 6 years ago. Today she is a healthy, adorable little girl who makes me smile every time I see her picture.

Posted by: Jennifer Mayerle | March 5, 2010

Deadly Smoke Detectors

Reporter Jennifer Mayerle & Photographer Dimitri Lotovski

I covered a deadly fire in October of 2009, where three young sisters died with a working smoke detector in the home. I couldn’t understand the detector didn’t alert them in time to get out of the home safely.

That’s when I began a four-month long investigation into smoke detectors. Photographer Dimitri Lotovski and I traveled to Boston to put smoke detectors to the test with, Deputy Chief Jay Fleming, one of the leading experts in the country on smoke detectors.

There are three types of smoke detectors; the ionization, the photoelectric and the dual sensor, which combines both.

We found the photoelectric detector was far superior in a smoldering fire, alerting us 12 minutes before the cheaper and more widely used ionization detector.

Testing Smoke Detectors

Fleming believes requiring homes to have a photoelectric smoke detector will save countless lives. Take a look at the stories we’ve done.

Deadly Smoke Detectors:

Fire Commissioner John Oxendine Responds to Smoke Detector Investigation:

Tough Questions for CDC & Local Fire Departments:

Homeowner Contacts CBS Atlanta After Smoke Detector Investigation:

Smoke Detector Investigation Hits State Capitol:

Tough Questions for Atlanta Fire Deptartment:

Posted by: Jennifer Mayerle | January 12, 2010

Tough Question: What/Where Do Reporters Eat?

Reporters are often in a live truck from the beginning of a shift until the end of the work day. People I’ve run into while on a story have asked where we eat, what we eat and if we get a “regular” lunch break.

So here we go…

Depending on what story you’re on depends on if you’ll get a “regular” lunch break or not. If there’s breaking news, we don’t eat until it’s over. When we’re rushing, we eat on the fly, meaning we grab whatever fast food is around, or whatever the closest convenience store has to offer. Some days, we have time to sit down and have a real meal. Those are days to be cherished.

I’ve tried packing my lunch. In the summer it’s hard to keep it cool, even when you put in the freezer pack. In the winter, I try, but it seems I run out of “cold food” options.

There is a photographer that seems to do it right. My first week on the job at CBS Atlanta, I went out on a story with Jeff Thorne. He was loading up the live truck with all his gear, and the last thing he put in the truck was a microwave. I wondered what in the heck he could be doing with a microwave. Well, it was to heat up his food. Go figure.

After being in the business for ten years, I think I’ve finally figured it out (without carrying around a microwave). A photographer shared with me that Quik Trips have microwaves. Now, I bring whatever I want to eat. If it needs to be heated up, we swing by a QT. I grab a drink there, and heat up my meal.

I’ve realized by bringing my lunch, and sometimes having it cold, while other times warming it up, has allowed me to eat healthier. It’s also less expensive than eating out every day.

I am always looking for new ideas of what to bring to eat. I’d welcome any easy ideas and/or recipes!

Posted by: Jennifer Mayerle | December 1, 2009

Did You Vote?

Atlanta will soon have a new mayor…either Mary Norwood or Kasim Reed. The candidates have been trying to get out the vote, leading up to today’s run-off election. Traditionally there is a low turnout for a run-off, making every vote count…

I voted this morning in midtown Atlanta. By 10:30 a.m., 400 people had already voted. The same polling location only had a total of 900 votes on election day. The poll workers were optimistic they would have a better turnout today.

Stay tuned to CBS Atlanta News for results…

Posted by: Jennifer Mayerle | October 27, 2009

Celebrity Dance Challenge!!!

Have you heard about Celebrity Dance Challenge? It’s Atlanta’s version of Dancing With The Stars. Local personalities have been paired with a dance partner from Dance 101. They’re already practicing, getting ready for a live competition on November 19th at the 14th Street Playhouse in Midtown.

The event benefits the Eating Disorders Information Network or EDIN, an Atlanta-based charity dedicated to preventing eating disorders. I serve on the Board of Directors for EDIN.

CBS Atlanta News is the sponsor of this event, and our own Corinna Allen is one of the dancers!

You can already vote online for your favorite celeb. Check out!

Posted by: Jennifer Mayerle | October 11, 2009

Three Sisters Die in Townhome Fire — How Do You Get Through It?

Three sisters clung together in a closet to escape a fire in their town home  in Duluth Friday night.  Two died at the hospital.  Less than 24 hours after the fire, the third sister died from her injuries.   The sisters were ages 12, 17 and 19.  Their mother was the only one to survive.

Neighbors say the mother told them they heard the fire alarm going off.  She went down to check, while her three daughters stayed upstairs.  The oldest was told to get the phone and call for help.  By the time the mom got downstairs, it was filled with smoke.  She jumped off the second floor deck and went around to the front to open the door to try to get her daughters out. The door was locked, and the mother started screaming for help.

The three sisters were all together huddled inside a closet on the third floor.  Firefighters battled intense heat and smoke to rescue them, but in the end, their efforts weren’t enough. 

Fire officials say the fire started in a bedroom near the kitchen on the first floor.

I’m told the mom is not doing well, as you can imagine.  The dad is in the Army.  The Red Cross located him in Kuwait and told him what happened.  He is supposed to return home Sunday morning.

I’m not a parent, but I cannot begin to imagine what the mother and father are going through.  How do you say goodbye to one child, let alone all of your children?

Posted by: Jennifer Mayerle | September 8, 2009

Melanie Oudin!!!

US Open TennisPicture Courtesy: AP

Melanie Oudin is a tennis phenom from Marietta, GA.  Today the 17 year old won again, beating 13th seed Nadia Petrova.   So far in the U.S. Open, she upset 4th seed Elena Dementieva and 29th seed Maria Sharapova, who won the Open in 2006.

After today’s big win, Oudin talked with reporters about the match.   Oudin says making it to the end is about being mentally tough and playing smart.   In all three U.S. Open matches, she’s lost the first set and come back to win.  Said Melanie, “I don’t actually mean to lose the first set.  Sometimes,  I just start off slowly.  Maybe I’m a little nervous.  Today,  my timing was off a little.  But I just totally forgot about it,  started off the second set like it was a new match, and I started playing better.”  

In the 3rd set one point changed the game.   It was the first break of the set, and Oudin said she knew she had to do something, “I was like yeah, I’ll throw up a lob and it ended up going in so yeah, I think I was on the defensive at that point.”  And the momentum kept growing.  “I think it’s just mentally I’m staying in there with them the whole time and I’m not giving up at all, so if they’re going to beat me, they’re going to have to beat me because I’m not going anywhere,” said Oudin.

Oudin said she knew Nadia Petrova would be a tough competitor, and she’s glad she won. “Today, there were no tears because I believed I could do it.  Now I know I do belong here.  This is what I want to do. I can compete with these girls no matter who I’m playing.  I have a chance against anyone.”

I played tennis growing up and even coached a little bit.  I never dreamed of playing past high school.  It’s incredible for me to watch a local young woman who is playing in the top tier of tennis players at her age.  It’s fun watching her live her dream.  I wish Oudin all the best in this U.S. Open, and I know I’ll be watching her in years to come.

Oudin’s next match is Wednesday.

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