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Kroger raises quarterly dividend by 12%

BY Michael Johnsen

CINCINNATI — Kroger on Thursday raised the quarterly dividend by 12%, to 18.5 cents per share, to be paid on Dec. 1 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on Nov. 14.
 
"This increase reflects our board of directors' confidence that Kroger's accelerated growth plan will both enhance our 'Customer 1st' strategy and deliver long-term growth investors can count on," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger CEO. "Kroger has returned more than $10 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases since we reinstated dividends in 2006."
 
Kroger has delivered double-digit compound growth in its dividend since it was reinstated in 2006. The company continues to expect an increasing dividend over time. 
 
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CDC: Not enough adults are getting their flu shots

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Influenza vaccination coverage estimates show an encouraging upward trend overall, but coverage among healthy adults ages 18 years to 64 years has yet to top 40%, according to new data announced at a news conference held today by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.
 
Studies show adults may not seek vaccination because they think influenza poses no risk to them, but public health officials point out that flu hit the 18- to 64-year-old age group hard last season, with the highest flu-related hospitalization rates in this age group since the 2009 pandemic. Officials also highlighted that in addition to protecting healthy adults, vaccination would also make them less likely to spread influenza to others around them, including co-workers, young children and older parents.
 
In total, 46.2% of the entire U.S. population ages 6 months and older was vaccinated during the 2013-14 season (up 1.2 percentage points for the country), reported Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Coverage was highest among children younger than 5 years old (70.4%) and adults ages 65 years and older (65%).
 
There was an increase in coverage among school-aged children, up three percentage points to 55.3% among children 5 years to 17 years old. Influenza vaccination coverage in pregnant women has increased from the very low coverage seen prior to the 2009 influenza pandemic, which was often less than 15%, and has remained steady over the past two years at about 50%. In contrast to these estimates, the vaccination rate for healthy adults 18 years to 64 years old is 33.9%.
 
“It is encouraging that over the past few years more people are getting their flu vaccine, but we need to encourage more young and middle-aged adults to get vaccinated because they also can suffer serious consequences from the flu,” Frieden said. “Vaccination is the single most important step everyone 6 months of age and older can take to protect themselves and their families against influenza.”
 
This season’s vaccines protect against the three or four influenza viruses research suggests are most likely to spread during the upcoming season: A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus; A/Texas/50/2012 (H3N2) virus; B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like virus and a second B virus – B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus – in quadrivalent vaccines. There are 77 million quadrivalent doses available this year, Frieden said. 
 
While vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza, CDC outlined its three-step approach to fighting the flu. In addition to getting vaccinated, CDC urged everyday preventive actions, such as avoiding close contact with sick people, covering coughs and sneezes and regular handwashing. For those who do get infected, the CDC recommends appropriate use of antiviral drugs in adults and children when prescribed by a healthcare professional as a second line of defense against the flu. Antivirals, oseltamivir or zanamivir, can treat influenza illness and reduce the risk of serious influenza complications. 
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DenTek ‘Tooth Fairies’ embark on nationwide college tour to promote good oral hygiene

BY Antoinette Alexander

 

MARYVILLE, Tenn. — Oral care company DenTek is giving college students nationwide the opportunity to walk down memory lane when they receive a visit from the tooth fairy this fall. In support of its third annual Tooth Fairy Tour, DenTek is sending out a team of Tooth Fairies to continue to promote good oral hygiene amongst college students.

Starting Thursday, a team of DenTek Tooth Fairies will set out on a nationwide college tour, visiting millions of students on more than 40 different campuses. The DenTek Tooth Fairy teams will be handing out floss pick samples on each campus and encouraging students to enter the “#GoFlossYourSelfie” Instagram contest.

In order to enter the contest, students will need to take a “selfie” with their DenTek product and upload the picture to Instagram with the hashtag #GoFlossYourSelfie, as well as their school’s hashtag. The students also have to follow DenTek on Instagram to be entered to win. DenTek will award the winner from each college with a $100 Visa gift card. Plus, there will be additional prizes for students that take a selfie on the spot and show it to a tooth fairy team member.

In recent years, it has been found that more than two-thirds of college students suffer from oral diseases. Dental professionals agree that the most common causes for these oral diseases are diet and lifestyle.

 “DenTek wants to help college students clean and protect their smiles and will send its tooth fairies out to campuses nationwide for the third annual Tooth Fairy Tour to remind students to floss the teeth they want to keep” stated Rachel Scharfman, DenTek brand director. “Our tooth fairies are excited to reinforce the importance of developing good oral health habits and hand out floss picks and coupons at each stop along the way.”    

In addition to college campus stops, the tooth fairy teams will also be stopping by the tailgates of some of the biggest football rivalries in the nation.
 

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