CNN’s Campbell Brown battles Bill O’Reilly, Keith Olbermann and mold

CNN anchor Campbell Brown has become an expert in mold. She’s had no choice.  Just before the inauguration, and after months of struggling with her baby’s unexplained illness, Campbell, her child and her husband, Dan Senor, were forced to flee their mold-ridden apartment without their belongings. “When something like this happens,” Brown told the Daily News, “you become an expert in toxic mold. But I certainly realized how fortunate that I am, in this economic climate, that we had the ability to get out. When they said, ‘You need to get your baby and get out now,’ we were able to get out.” She’s been dealing with the housing issue – she and her family have been in a hotel since January – while anchoring a nightly show during what has been a huge news cycle.

 And never once did she let her problems at home infiltrate her work. “I do think, in many ways, [work] was a diversion,” she said.  Last September, her son, Eli James (now 14 months old), developed a cold that wouldn’t end.  “It was crazy to me,” Brown said. “The doctors couldn’t figure it out. I would get home at 9:30 or 10, and he would wake himself up with these horrible coughing attacks.” But Brown noticed two days into a trip to Florida, the symptoms stopped.  Later, she spotted something on the wall of their apartment that looked odd. After some research, she was convinced it was mold – and her son was showing the symptoms of exposure. 

Mold specialists confirmed her findings and had them leave. Once they were out, her son immediately got better. “It was the not knowing – and as a mother, to know something’s wrong with your child, you instinctly feel, this wasn’t right,” she said. “Finding out, there was a great sense of relief.” Brown joined CNN in fall 2007 after an 11-year-run with NBC. She began anchoring the nightly “Election Center.” She went on maternity leave in December, and returned in March 2008 to anchor “Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull,” a nightly, hourlong show. Like most, it became focused on the election, and now the new administration and the economy. Airing at 8 p.m., the show faces Fox News‘ dominant “The O’Reilly Factor” and “Countdown” on MSNBC.  Brown said she’s had to show more of herself to be competitive in the cable news field. “You have to be willing to open yourself up a little more to find an audience,” she said, “and you have to be willing to push the envelope a little bit.” And she’s done that on-air, while dealing with turmoil off-camera.  The couple still don’t have all of their belongings back, but they expect to move into a new apartment as soon as this weekend. Brown is due with their second child in early April. Roland Martin will sub for her while she’s away. “That’s the beauty of our jobs. … you have a deadline every day,” she said of balancing work and her home crisis. “Was it a challenge? On certain days, certainly. But we have a great team of people and they’ve been really supportive.” 

Mold Found At Elementary School Again

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 (Updated 11:28 pm)

By J. Brian Ewing
Staff Writer

GREENSBORO — Guilford County Schools officials hope they have resolved mold issues at Oak Ridge Elementary School after students and faculty complained for nearly four years about respiratory problems and other health concerns.Workers are removing rubber-backed carpeting from four classrooms after mold was discovered under the carpet last month. Carpet previously was removed from two other rooms. Classrooms are being moved temporarily until the carpet can be replaced with vinyl tile.The school sent a letter to parents this week about the mold and cleanup. Some parents have pulled their children out of the school because of the problems.Kim Delahanty’s daughter, Kate, will be on medical leave for the rest of this school year. Kate, a fourth-grader at Oak Ridge, began to have bad headaches, a sore throat and red eyes while at school.Delahanty thought it was allergies at first, but after prescription drugs didn’t help she started to ask questions and didn’t like what she heard. Kate’s class was one where mold was found. She and her classmates were moved to another part of the school, but her headaches persisted.Leo Bobadilla , the school system’s chief operations officer, said the system has spent nearly $600,000 addressing mold since complaints began at the school in 2005. That year, the school system installed a $500,000 dehumidifying system and removed carpet with mold. Since then, workers have cleaned mold from the heating and air conditioning system and had the carpets cleaned with anti-microbial cleaner. Results of additional indoor air quality tests are expected soon. Bobadilla said he will address whatever issues are discovered in that testing.With complaints still coming in, Bobadilla met with officials from the state Department of Public Instruction, the Department of Health and Human Services and industrial hygiene experts. Through these meetings, the mold was found under the carpeting. The culprit: a leaking roof.Bobadilla estimates that two-thirds of the system’s 120 schools need significant maintenance work, including dozens of schools with leaking roofs.Getting those problems fixed could become more difficult if county commissioners cut as much from school maintenance funding as is proposed, Bobadilla said. County Manager Brenda Jones Fox has proposed a $4 million capital projects budget for the schools, $3 million less than the current budget. “Certainly, you’re not going to see as many roof replacement projects,” Bobadilla said.County Commissioner Kirk Perkins said commissioners have a long way to go before approving a budget.He said he thinks that the cuts to maintenance funding are too deep and that he expects to review that recommendation closely.“I’m not in favor of cutting that really anymore,” Perkins said. “I’m not in favor of costing us more in the long run.”He warned that finding money for maintenance could mean funding cuts elsewhere.

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