Anthrax threats are taxing to local emergency workers

Trumbull County 911 has received 44 calls about suspicious mail since Monday.
WARREN -- Emergency officials have been bombarded with calls about suspicious packages since last week, when reports began surfacing that anthrax was sent through the mail.
Brookfield firefighters were investigating a report this morning of a powdery substance at Brookfield High School. No further information was available at press time.
Since Friday, the Trumbull County Hazardous Materials Response Team has been called to collect 30 letters and packages that recipients deemed suspicious.
Fielding calls: Since Monday, Trumbull County 911 has received 44 calls about suspicious mail.
None of the packages contained biological agents.
"People are worried," said Tim Gladis, director of Trumbull County 911.
"We even received numerous calls Saturday about lady bugs. Some people thought that the lady bugs may have something to do with some type of attack ... dropped from an airplane.
"None of that is true."
Gladis said he was told the Brookfield substance looked like flour.
Gladis said the 911 center also received calls about envelopes that were placed on parked cars by a cleaning company that wanted to advertise.
"We have received no credible threats at this point," Gladis said.
The hazardous materials team has been scrambling to keep up with the avalanche, said Linda Beil, director of the Trumbull County Emergency Management Agency.
The head of the Haz-Mat team spent four hours Sunday collecting the packages from addresses across the county.
The task took 12 hours Monday.
Characteristic: Some of the letters deemed suspicious lacked return addresses or had the recipient's name misspelled. "Any little thing, and they call us," Beil said.
Starting today, suspicious packages will be wrapped in plastic by police and taken to the Warren Police Department's Palmyra Road substation, where the Haz-Mat team will pick them up daily.
The ones judged possibly dangerous will be flown to Columbus by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Beil said that people who receive a package that feels spongy or is leaking powder should immediately put it in a plastic bag and wash their hands before calling 911.
As a precautionary measure, workers at the Trumbull County Board of Elections, the city of Warren and the post office have begun wearing gloves.
Some county workers are refusing to open mail, Beil said.