West Nile Virus Returns to Shasta County

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I’m just getting caught up after enjoying a few days of relaxation in the spectacular Puget Sound region. Although I love hot weather, I have to admit that the foggy, 55-degree mornings provided a pretty nice change.

While I was away, public health officials confirmed that a dead house finch found in Redding on July 15 tested positive for West Nile virus. There’s certainly no need to panic, but it is a good idea to minimize your exposure to mosquitoes, which can transmit the virus. Although the virus has claimed 95 people in California since 2004, many infected people show no symptoms at all.

Shasta County Public Health Officer Andrew Deckert said, “West Nile Virus disease is uncommon, but if you have symptoms, including high fever, severe headache and stiff neck, contact your health care provider immediately. We need to put West Nile virus prevention into our everyday routine.”

West Nile virus was detected every year in Shasta County from 2004 through 2008, but not last year. The Shasta County West Nile Virus Task Force recommends draining any standing water around your house to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs, and wearing insect repellant and long sleeves and pants when you are outside, especially during dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.

To learn more, check the California Department of Public Health’s West Nile virus website, or contact the Shasta County West Nile Virus task force at 365-3768. http://www.westnile.ca.gov/

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• Tonight (as in Tuesday night, August 3) is National Night Out, which is sort of the country’s official block party night. It’s a very big deal in some Redding and Anderson neighborhoods, which prepare food and beverage spreads, organize games and offer other fun activities. The concept is sort of an extension of neighborhood watch programs, so the police departments of both cities are quite involved. Wander down the street after work, and you just might meet some new friends.

• The Cascade Theatre kicks off its seventh season since reopening with tonight’s Pat Benatar show. Like my colleague Jim Dyar, I was not overly impressed when this show was announced. Still, I’m very happy to report the show is sold out – exactly as Jim predicted two months ago. So who cares about my musical tastes?!!

• The state Department of Fish and Game, the Bureau of Land Management and the Tehama County Sheriff’s Office closed down a large marijuana growing operation in the Tehama Wildlife Area near Paynes Creeks last week. Authorities confiscated 8,000 marijuana plants and two pistols, and they arrested a Mexican national. A second suspect escaped. The DFG began surveillance of the area after a deer hunter reported an abandoned marijuana garden in the Antelope Creek drainage last fall. Authorities watched as armed growers returning in the spring and ran a sophisticated operation featuring an irrigation system that could deliver fertilizer and pesticides. The bust occurred as growers were evidently getting ready for harvest. I have to admit, these remote marijuana gardens on public lands scare me far more than any mountain lion.

shigley-mugshotPaul Shigley is senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a frequent contributor to Planning magazine and back from summer vacation. He lives in Centerville. Paul Shigley may be reached at pauls.anewscafe@gmail.com.

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has been a professional journalist since 1987. For 12 years, he served as editor or senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a statewide trade publication for land use planners, real estate development professionals and attorneys. Prior to that, he worked as a reporter or editor at newspapers in Redding, Grass Valley, Napa and Calistoga. Shigley's work also has appeared in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Planning magazine, Governing magazine, California Law Week, National Speed Sport News and elsewhere. In addition, he is co-author of Guide to California Planning, a college text and reference book, and is currently working on a book for the American Planning Association about the Bay Delta and California water resources. A graduate of California State University, Sacramento, Shigley has contributed to A News Cafe since 2009. He and his wife, Dana, live in western Shasta County.
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