Researchers begin testing mosquitoes for West Nile virus

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Jun 302009
 
Authors: Madeline Novey

The first mosquito testing positive for the West Nile virus was trapped in Larimer County June 5, making it the earliest in annual spring comparisons by about three weeks, officials said last week.

Both city and mosquito control officials agreed the mosquito was most likely an overwintering female – an infected mosquito that survived the winter as a larva and developed into an adult in the spring – but said it is too early to determine how this year’s West Nile season will be.

“It’s quite obviously too early to say how the season will be,” said Jessica Schurich, the operations

manager for the City of Fort Collins and Loveland, saying experts are not sure if the early trapping is an indicator for high numbers of mosquitoes.

West Nile virus, historically occurring in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, is contracted by adult mosquitoes and transferred to humans when a female bites an animal or human.

West Nile is a seasonal epidemic running from summer to fall in North America, according to the Center for Disease Control, and only an estimated one in 150 people infected with the virus will contract a severe illness –/high fever, tremors, coma, muscle weakness and paralysis.

However, four out of five people, or 80 percent, who contract it show no symptoms.

Though Mosquito Control has not trapped additional infected mosquitoes since June 5, Schurich said they are seeing elevated numbers of “Culex pipiens” larva, one of two species of mosquito that carries the West Nile virus, in waters across the city. “Culex tarsalis” also transmits the virus.

Since mosquitoes are drawn to bodies of standing water – marshes, puddles, irrigation pastures and plant pots, among others – recent rains and increased spring moisture are possible factors of the larval increase. The next few weeks of testing by Mosquito Control will better determine the numbers of infected mosquitoes, Schurich said.

When Mosquito Control finds the larvae in standing water, it treats the water with an environmentally friendly insecticide to kill them, said Mike Calhoon, crew chief with the Parks Division of the City of Fort Collins.

This is part of the “West Nile mitigation business,” Calhoon said of the effort to prevent the mosquitoes from reaching adulthood when they (only the females) are able to bite and transfer the virus to humans and animals.

“Our hope is to beat them out of the water,” he said.

In addition to testing local waters and killing larva, Mosquito Control set 43 adult mosquito traps weekly across Fort Collins, placing the last 10 in the southwest corner of the city Friday night. It was in these traps the mosquito testing positive for West Nile was captured and tested by CSU researchers.

For the last five years, the CDC tested the trapped mosquitoes as part of a national study on the rates of infection of mosquito-borne illnesses. The city this year is paying a group of CSU researchers to complete the testing.

If the number of infected adult mosquitoes in the city were to rise, Calhoon said an advisory panel would review the need to spray insecticides into the air. After a series of recommendations, the city manager would make the final choice.

“We don’t have any plans of what people call ‘fogging,'” he said. “We would only do that after the county Health Department makes that decision to spray aduclticide,” the insecticide designed to kill adult mosquitoes.

Experts agree the best form of combat is prevention and education.

A Mosquito Control employee is sent out to city events, most recently to evening softball games in the city and to the Irish Festival. They advise people on how to avoid bites, including wearing a long sleeve shirt and pants and using bug sprays outside. Calhoon said Mosquito Control, too, will go to people’s home to test and treat standing water.

After the recent rains, Schurich said residents should dump out sources of standing water to prevent further mosquito populations from developing.

Approaching July and August, when doctors traditionally see cases of West Nile, the most “important thing students or anyone can do is avoid mosquito bites,” said Lisa Duggan, the infection control nurse for the CSU Health Network.

Staying in places that are well screened and using insect repellent, especially in the evenings, is imperative, she added.

People who think they might have West Nile should go to Hartshorn Health Services on campus to get tested. And while West Nile shares symptoms with other diseases –/fever, rash and headaches –/Duggan said she encourages students to get tested for the virus.

News Managing Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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Yays and Nays

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Jun 302009
 
Authors:

Yay | to having a university-wide holiday on Friday. But then again, who really attends a Friday class when the Ramskellar is clearly open.

Nay | to trees falling on cars in the Oval. What’s next, tornadoes coming from the west?

Yay | to the Fourth of July and the fireworks that come along with it. But beware kids, fireworks can be dangerous. Just ask the South Park guys about snakes.

Nay | to four celebrity deaths this week. I mean seriously, give us fans a break. MJ, Farrah, Ed and Billy will be missed.

Yay | to ultra scam artist Bernie Madoff getting 150 years in prison. Oh hey Bernie, how good is your $65 billion now that you have a 10 by 10-foot cell?

Nay | to the West Nile Virus still being a pest to humans. This is just more evidence that mosquitoes are useless creatures.

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Our View: Prosecution off to a good start

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Jun 302009
 
Authors: Collegian Editorial Board

As the saying goes, it’s time to, “stop the looting, and start prosecuting.”

Convicted mastermind Bernie Madoff was sentenced Monday to 150 years in jail, the maximum sentence, for his role in defrauding investors of roughly $13 billion.

While Madoff, already an aged man, could have been given a shorter sentence, giving Madoff the maximum uses him as an example of what happens to those who commit fraud.

Recently, the enforcement agencies of the government have done a poor job stopping financial crimes.

Even when they do catch a bad apple such as Joseph Nacchio, who led a $3 billion case of fraud at Denver’s Qwest Communications, the sentences — six years for Nacchio — have been light.

While we applaud the judge’s tough line with Madoff, we hope this just is the tip of the iceberg.

The Securities and Exchange Committee was given the task of stopping financial fraud, yet numerous companies have committed massive fraud such as Enron, Global Crossing and Qwest this decade alone.

Madoff isn’t the only perpetrator; Allen Stanford is being tried for allegedly stealing $7 billion from his investors as well.

As the recession drags on, even more fraud will come to light. Sentencing Madoff is the first step, but more must be done.

During the Great Depression, the Pecora Commission was formed to investigate the crash of 1929. It found widespread abuses throughout the financial system and was the impetus for improved legislation that prevented the repeat of the abuses that caused the Great Depression. Until now.

Was there fraud involved in the subprime industry fiasco that led to the collapses of AIG, Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae, Countrywide Mortgage and others? We think so. Should their executives be in jail? Quite possibly.

Punishing Madoff is merely the beginning. We must continue to probe into the causes of our financial mess.

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Fourth of July celebration threatened

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Jun 302009
 
Authors: Ian Bezek

You should feel guilty. Our city government is running short on funds, and you, the residents, aren’t doing enough to support our community.

Times have gotten so dire that the city has been forced to fire employees, shrink programs for the poor, stop City Park renovations and even slash funding for the annual Fourth of July fireworks celebration.

If we listen to the cries coming from the Fort Collins City Council, we should be handing over our wallets now to save the city from imminent ruin. According to them, we can’t even afford a Fourth of July celebration.

Government officials, despite Mayor Doug Hutchinson’s pledge to not attempt to raise taxes this year, have already floated ideas such as a transit fee on utility bills and an increase in the sales tax.

The financial imbroglio has culminated in the city’s refusal to pay for the costs associated with Fort Collins’ annual Fourth of July celebration, which, no thanks to city government, will occur this Saturday.

While the $10,000 needed for the celebration doesn’t sound like much, Hutchinson already said that draconian measures such as entirely shutting down Transfort or closing the Lincoln Center wouldn’t balance the city’s books.

Is the situation really that dire? It is indeed true that the city of Fort Collins has seen its financial situation deteriorate as the recession deepens.

Sales tax revenue is down, transportation revenue such as vehicle licenses is sinking and certain costs, such as asphalt, are rising as a consequence of higher oil prices. The city is facing a cash crunch.

However, unlike the state of California, our budget is not on the brink of collapse.

The city government is merely scaring the citizenry in an attempt to push through tax increases. Changes to the tax code aren’t necessarily bad, but it is preposterous to think that any time the mayor and city council put on their puppy dog faces and come begging for a tax increase that we have to vote yes.

While I’m no accountant, I think that together we can take a look at the problem – in this case a lack of money for our Fourth of July celebration – and see if we really need to authorize a tax increase.

According to Fort Collins Coloradoan, “Festivities marking Independence Day will be a bit different this year in Fort Collins because of city budget cuts.”

It goes on to explain that the city won’t foot the bill for entertainment before the fireworks such as bringing in the Fort Collins Symphony. (The Poudre Valley Health System agreed to pitch in for the fireworks display.)

City official Marty HefferProxy-Connection: keep-alive

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n explained that this move would save the city $10,000. Are there any better ways we could come up with the cash?

Perhaps I’ve found the answer. According to the Denver Post, the City of Fort Collins spent $9,600 to send city officials to Vail this year.

The Denver Post reported that, “At a time of layoffs, furloughs and budget cuts in Colorado municipal governments, about 600 officials from towns large and small have convened at a Vail resort for three days of taxpayer-funded networking and seminars interspersed with parties and golf.”

A little rest and relaxation for the officials, eh? Glendale City Council member LuVerne Davenport said that when they weren’t in seminars, “we goofed off.”

So, Fort Collins spends nearly $10,000 to send city officials to play golf, party and goof off in Vail but they can’t pay a symphony to come out for Fourth of July? I’d be offended except that I’m in a celebratory mood; Independence Day is near, and there’s hardly anything more American than wasting taxpayer’s money.

Editorials Editor Ian Bezek is a senior economics major. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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Mr. Michael Jackson, you rocked my world

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Jun 302009
 
Authors: Erik Myers

After a week of watching music videos and deep thinking, I’ve come to realize that it’s OK for me to feel sad over the passing of Michael Jackson. As a member of Generation Y, my MJ experience barely spans two decades — most of that is time in which I’ve only known “bad” Michael: the degenerating celebrity who lived with a bevy of problems, most of which stemmed from his explicit love of children and all things childhood.

But as a wide-eyed child of the early-early nineties, I also witnessed the tail end of “good” Michael. How gorgeous it was. For me, age 4, he was a creamy-faced god. His music, so earnestly catchy and perfect, captivated me to hunger after impossible dreams. I remember secretly preparing dance routines to each and every song on Dangerous, hoping that through some unexpected turn of events, it would earn me a day — or, lord willing, a night! — at Neverland Ranch.

I wasn’t alone in my fanaticism. Ask around; it’s frankly bizarre how many 20-somethings remember the worldwide premiere of the “Black or White” music video. Back then, kids who didn’t like the song (or didn’t at least respect the piety of the Thriller singles) were considered stupid.

The playground theory I remember went like this: MJ was the reason behind every single worthwhile musician of the time. For example, “Billie Jean” had rolled out the carpet for the street-slick vocal stylings of Paula Abdul, whereas “Beat It” had a significant-yet-unspoken role in the music of Guns n’ Roses. I still don’t consider that much of a stretch.

Of course, it wasn’t meant to last. After much mental digging (and guidance from Wikipedia), I’ve pinpointed the moment when “good” Michael became “bad” Michael: Dec. 22, 1993 — the date when the King of Pop released a royal video decree regarding his first sex abuse accusation.

Watching the video, I realized for the first time how alien he looked, how effeminate his speaking voice was. This was not good. When he shared the details of his police-ordered photo spread, dropping the words “penis” and “buttocks,” I should’ve known it was over. From that point on, acknowledging any appreciation for my favorite musician of all time would wreck my status among my peers.

For a child, the best music in the world can’t stack up against social acceptance. I put my devotion aside entirely, not even attempting to enjoy it secretly.

I felt more comfortable with my decision as time went on. As I grew older, Jackson grew weirder: his Proxy-Connection: keep-alive

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session with children still blatant, his skin peeling and his mind apparently disconnected from reality.

With the news of his death, I find myself reaching back into the past, spending hours upon hours listening to his music. All of that backed-up passion has come pouring out, and it feels great. I realize now I never should’ve turned away from him.

The man was a tragic figure. As a childhood victim of abuse and exploitation, he unknowingly perpetuated the cycle. Even if he was innocent of any wrongdoing, he invited impressionable children into his messy personal life. The two kids unlucky enough to get drawn into actual court cases will be the worst off. It’s hard to imagine those kids ever fully growing into emotionally stable adults.

Nonetheless, I doubt Michael knew he was causing harm. He had a genuine air to him despite living a rock star story never before told. He sang about his desire for a better world, and he put his money where his mouth was by putting into motion numerous charities and scholarship foundations.

Therefore, it’s OK to be sad over his death. No human is without problems. Despite an outward appearance that suggested otherwise, Jackson was very much that.

Erik Myers is a senior technical journalism major. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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What the Duck?

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Jun 302009
 
Authors: Aaron Johnson

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Baldo

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Jun 302009
 
Authors: Carlos Castellanos

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LIfe on the Edge

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Jun 302009
 
Authors: Dave Anderson

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Aisle 9

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Jun 302009
 
Authors: Jenna Allen

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UCLA running back comes to CSU

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Jun 232009
 
Authors: Matt L. Stephens

The CSU football team will be getting a solid addition to their team this summer as UCLA redshirt sophomore running back Raymond Carter has decided to transfer to CSU.

At 6 feet, 210 pounds, Carter played in seven games for the Bruins during the 2008 season, recording 29 yards on 25 carries and a touchdown.

When he graduated from Los Angeles’ Crenshaw High School in 2007 —— the same Crenshaw Cougar class that produced current CSU safety Elijah-Blu Smith – he was ranked the No. 3 all-purpose back in the country by Rivals.com.

During his junior and senior seasons combined he rushed for over 3,000 yards, earning him scholarship offers from UCLA, USC, UC-Berkeley and Arizona. He even has his own fan site: RaymondCarter.org.

“I just want to let the fans know that I’m excited to join the family at Colorado State and I’m going to do my best to make this program to be how they used to be when they were a top 25 team every year,” Carter told GoldandGreenNews.com on Friday. “I’m just ready to get started and showcase my skills and help the team out so they can be the best they can be. We can win a conference championship and maybe get that BCS bowl bid.”

Due to NCAA regulations regarding transfers, Carter will have to sit out the 2009 season, but will have two years of eligibility remaining starting the 2010 season when the Rams open their schedule by playing host to CU-Boulder.

Sports Editor Matt L. Stephens can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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