June 29, 2017

Weekly Pages: June 29

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Colfax School Board approves teacher hirings, curriculum changes

By Garth Meyer Gazette Reporter Colfax School Board met Monday night and approved new curriculum additions, hiring of two teachers and the Jennings Elementary annual fall trip to Camp Grizzly. At the start of the meeting, Superintendent Jerry Pugh introduced English/Language Arts teacher Kelli Cox who will come to Colfax after six years at Lincoln Middle School in Pullman. Pugh also reported Michael Heitstuman of Pasco will be the district’s new agriculture teacher, replacing Rainey McKiernan, who submitted her resignation in May. Heitstuman will be introduced at the next Colfax school board meeting July 24. Brenda Kneeshaw, the Colfax curriculum coach, spoke to the board about proposed additions to curriculum. She said in 2015 the district adopted a Glencoe/McGraw-Hill sixth-grade math pilot for one year, then added a second year for the Washington state Common Core program. She reported that test scores showed the students were doing well with it. In order for the district to renew its site licenses, it will now need to pay $556, Kneeshaw said. Site licenses refer to access to the digital materials used as part of the curriculum. The new licenses would add the program’s course two and course three for seventh and eighth grade. For high school Spanish Level I and Level II, teacher Stacy Aune chose a program which Kneeshaw said would cost $9,902 for textbooks, materials and a six-year site license. The cost for each of the above could drop due to the opportunity to ship from a distribution center in Portland, Ore. Finally, Kneeshaw presented the state Common-Core based English-Language Arts program which would cost an estimated $7,100 per grade, including textbooks, professional development webinars and more. Kneeshaw has negotiated with representatives of the companies for better prices. Boardmember Terry Huber moved to approve the curriculum adoption, and Robert Smith seconded the motion. It passed with a unanimous vote. Also, the board approved the annual sixth-grade overnight trip to Camp Grizzly near Laird Park in Idaho for Sept. 13-15. McKiernan was given notice May 9 that the district would not renew her contract. An appeal process followed, during which she submitted her resignation, effective at the end of the school year.

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Tick surveillance helps identify disease potential in county

tick pic Ticks collected from humans can be sent to the state DOH to be identified for disease monitoring. By Jana Mathia Gazette Reporter When most people pick a tick off their body, the initial reaction is to make it suffer a quick and untimely death. But Whitman County health officials would rather those ticks be bottled and dropped off to assist in the state’s tick surveillance program which monitors tick species to determine the risk of tick-borne diseases. According to the Department of Health, different ticks transmit different diseases. Therefore, by identifying the species of tick, the state can be aware of what potential disease could result in that area from tick bites. The ticks are not tested for disease, just identified by species. The Whitman County Public Health office has small plastic jars residents can use to contain ticks should they find one. The jars are about one-quarter filled with rubbing alcohol to preserve the specimen. Once a tick is collected, the jar is returned to the health department where it is forwarded to the state for identification. Anyone wanting to participate in the program can contact Troy Henderson, public health director, at the county health department. Henderson stressed that the ticks collected should come off a human body and not from animals. “It’s important that they’re not on a dog,” he said. Ticks do not have to be imbedded in a host. A tick still roaming on a body can be collected. There are seven diseases the state lists that local ticks could be carrying. While Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in the U.S., it is rare in Washington. Three or less cases per year are reported in the state from ticks living in forested or brushy areas of western Washington. Up to 12 cases of tick-borne Relapsing Fever are reported each year in the state. Most people become infected while staying in rural, mountainous cabins in eastern Washington as the ticks transmit the disease from rodents. Washington only reports three or fewer cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever each year, yet some are infected outside the state. Ticks carrying the bacteria that cause it are especially common in eastern Washington. Tick paralysis can lead to death if the offending tick is not removed within 24 to 48 hours. From 1990 to 2011, there were only 12 cases reported in the state. Ticks associated with tick paralysis live in forested and brushy areas or along edges between open grassy areas and woods. Each year one to 10 cases of Tularemia are reported in Washington, yet only some are from tick bites and some picked up in other states. The carrier ticks are found throughout the state. Anaplasmosis is another tick-borne disease the state monitors. While no human cases have been reported in Washington, numerous dogs have been diagnosed with it. To date, tick-surveillance has not identified any Babesiosis-positive ticks in Washington state, but the disease is on the list. Henderson said the program has been going on for years and he would like to see more participation from county residents, especially those in the northern part of the county. Some disease-carrying tick species have been identified in the Turnbull area in Spokane County. Since the program’s beginning in 2010, the state has collected more than 10,700 ticks. In 2016, Whitman County tested positive for non-pathogenic Rickettsia which does not harm humans.

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Above, Pampa Pond, located on Highway 26 near LaCrosse, is a long-time favorite youth fishing locale. Below, Lasz Pond in Garfield is specifically designated as a fishing location for children 14 and younger.

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A second Independence Day?

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