West Nile detected in Jackson County
MEDFORD — The West Nile Virus has been detected in mosquitoes collected a week ago northeast of Central Point.
This is the third consecutive year and seventh year since 2005 that the virus has been detected in Jackson County.
The presence of the virus was confirmed by the Oregon State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Corvallis, according to a press release from Jackson County Health and Human Services.
The county’s Vector Control District sets 32 adult mosquito traps baited with dry ice throughout the county weekly. Specimens are then divided by species, pooled into groups of 10-50, and sent to the OSU lab for testing, the release said.
The Vector Control District plans to increase surveillance because of the findings, and officials are asking for the public’s help. Anyone who notices sick or dead birds such as crows, ravens, jays and robins should call 541-826-2199 so biologists can pick them up for testing.
Drowning inspires life vest program
GRANTS PASS — The drowning death of 7-year-old Dakota Vincent near Baker Park last week has sparked a movement to install shacks at popular spots along the river where anyone could borrow a life vest free of charge and wear it while swimming or boating.
The Grants Pass Active Club, the nonprofit group that organizes Boatnik every year, has stepped forward to spearhead the project, and is collaborating with Umpqua Bank to collect donations of money and life jackets.
Dakota had gone to Baker Park with his 5-year-old sister and 19-year-old half-sister to cool off in the river the night of July 30, after spending the day settling into their new home in Wimer after a big move. The family had lived for years outside of Reno but decided to move back to the Rogue Valley, and arrived in town early that morning.
The older sister turned away from the two children briefly, and when she looked back, both were all the way in the water. She went in after them, and she and the 5-year-old were pulled from the water by a firefighter and a bystander. The boy’s body was not found until the next morning.
Few candidates for Grants Pass council
GRANTS PASS — With less than three weeks remaining before the filing deadline, only three people have filed for the four seats that will be on the November ballot.
The Ward 1 seat is wide open at this point, with no applicants as of Thursday. Incumbent Dennis Webber has said he does not plan to run again, but he hasn't ruled it out.
In Ward 2, incumbent Rick Riker has filed to keep his seat. However, to date he has no opponent.
Ward 3 also has a candidate — one candidate. Former Daily Courier Editor Dennis Roler is making his first foray into politics by filing for that seat. He has been endorsed by Jim Williams, the incumbent who was elected in 2010 and who has chose not to run again.
The only potential competition at this point appears to be for the Ward 4 seat, where incumbent Jim Goodwin is now saying he's undecided about seeking reelection.
The only applicant so far is Ron Schutz, who has made several unsuccessful runs at elected office, including House District 3 in May and City Council in 2006 and 2008.