Friday, August 15, 2014


Volunteers repair Sunbeam bathhouse
    For five days in late June and early July, nine retired smokejumpers and one project team leader from the Sawtooth National Forest work center in Stanley renovated the Sunbeam hot springs and
the Sunbeam overlook.
    The hot springs bathhouse was built in 1939 as a part of a Civilian Conservation Corps program. The bathhouse does not contain the hot pools themselves, which are along the edge of the river, but rather serves as a changing room and has restrooms.
    The volunteer crew ranged in age from Robin Embry, who in her mid-50s was the first woman to retire as a smokejumper, to five members in their 70s and three in their 80s.
    The Sawtooth Society provided the financial support. The organization selected its 2014 projects in the Stanley area from a list suggested by the Forest Service.
    The renovation included painting the building’s trim and roof, repairing walking paths and painting metal guardrails. A major part of the project was to repair two stone stairways that lead from the parking lots to the bathhouse, as well as make other masonry repairs.
    The team also refurbished the Sunbeam Dam overlook, upstream from the hot springs, replacing the log rail fence poles and updating the masonry work.

Blaine woman contracts West Nile
    A Blaine County woman in her early 20s is recovering at home after testing positive for West Nile virus, according to representatives from the South Central Idaho Public Health District. She is the first person so far this year infected in the south-central portion of Idaho.
    The virus is transmitted through mosquito bites and symptoms occur within two to 14 days after the bite occurs. Symptoms include fever, headaches, body aches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, eye pain and sometimes swollen lymph glands. In more serious cases, the disease affects the central nervous system.
    Only one in five people show symptoms. The disease generally peaks in mid-August to early September, according to the public health district.
    People can take precautions to avoid bites from infected mosquitoes, including draining stagnant water around their house and covering themselves when outdoors.  

Whooping cough cases surge
    Nearly twice as many cases of whooping cough have been reported in Idaho this year, compared to 2012 and 2013 case rates. Idaho public health officials are concerned about a significant increase over the past three years, especially now that the 2014-2015 school year will be starting in Idaho in the next few weeks.
    In January through July of this year, 241 cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, have been reported to public health officials, compared with 122 cases reported during the same time last year and 129 in 2012. It’s particularly dangerous for babies. One Idaho infant has died this year because of pertussis.
    Rates of pertussis this year are highest among Idaho children ages 5 to 17. These children and adolescents can unknowingly spread the infection to their younger siblings, relatives, and contacts in daycares and schools.
    “The best way to protect children and infants from pertussis is to get vaccinated so you are protected, and then you drastically reduce the risk of passing it on to extremely vulnerable infants,” said Mitch Scoggins, program manager for the Idaho Immunization Program.

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