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Workers walk out, warn of black mold at Muskegon hotel

By Alex Shabad,

Mold StrikeThey were disgusted, fed up, and they took to the streets. A half a dozen workers walked out of a Muskegon hotel to warn the public about black mold and other health hazards, that they say are in several rooms.

Anyone can reach a breaking point. For six workers at the Victory Inn and Suites in Muskegon, that time is now.

“I can’t take it no more,” says Alicia Rogers, with housekeeping at the hotel.

“I’m worried about the health of me, the other employees, and our customers,” says Christopher Hill, with maintenance at the hotel.

All the employees say they’ve all tried letting management know about the problems with black mold.

“When brought it to his attention, he told me to stay in my profession,” says Rogers.

So, Alicia Rogers led the group of six workers outside the Victory Inn and Suites, where they could carry their signs, and show the evidence. Rogers sent photos to WZZM 13, which she says show the black mold that’s in several rooms.

“We’ve got 128 that is saturated in black mold,” says Rogers.

“They just asked me yesterday to wipe down a room that had mold growing on a ceiling, to wipe it down so they could rent it out the same night, its disgusting,” says Hill.

The employees say the problems have been going on for at least four months and in just the past month they’ve had three different managers.

“The second one came in was here for a day, packed his bags, and left the next day couldn’t deal with it,” says Hill.

WZZM 13 tried to reach the manager by phone and then inside the hotel, but he had no comment. Read more

Snow mold popping up on lawns

It’s that time of year when things start to sprout up and grow.

But you might find an unwanted visitor on your lawn this spring: snow mold.

The fungus gets its name because it thrives underneath snow cover. So all the snow we got this past winter means the mold is popping up on more lawns than in past years.

The temperature underneath all that snow sits right around 30 degrees, the perfect conditions for which mold to grow, said Nate Devisser of Weed Man Lawn Care.

“Those are conditions that are prime for the fungus to grow in lawns: prolonged period of snow cover,” Devisser said.

The good news is, it’s not hurting your grass. Only in rare causes would the mold cause permanent damage.

It just looks bad.

“It looks like dead grass,” Devisser explained. “A lot of homeowners might panic and say, ‘Oh my goodness, my lawn died over the winter!'”

But there’s a simple fix to get rid of it: just rake it up.

“You just want to fluff it up,” he said.

But even though snow mold doesn’t hurt your lawn or plants, you’ll still want to take care of it as soon as possible in case someone in your family’s allergic to mold.

It can cause some serious symptoms, said Dr. Christina Barnes, an allergist with the South Bend Clinic.

“Runny nose, itchy nose, sneezing, sometimes stuffiness, drainage,” Barnes listed. “And if they have asthma, it can trigger asthma as well.”

Fungi Get Into the Holiday Spirit

holiday-themed-fungus-petri-dishes-snowman_62639_600x450The living artwork is the creation of Stephanie Mounaud, an infectious disease researcher at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) in Rockville, Maryland.

For the last several Christmases, Mounaud has used the different strains of mold that she works with to create holiday-themed fungal art.

The snowman pictured here was made by combining four different fungi, including common strains such as Aspergillus niger and rarer ones such as Penicillium marneffei.

Getting the colors just right for her artwork was tricky and required growing the right fungi on the right medium. For example, “the color that you see in the snowman is made from the spores,” hardy reproductive forms of fungi used for dispersal, Mounaud explained.

To coax the fungi to create spores, Mounaud used a nutrient-poor growth medium. “When you give them a starved condition, the fungi really want to produce their spores because they feel they’re in an environment where they need to survive,” she said.

Click here to see more festive mold or visit Stephanie Mounaud’s blog.