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Wednesday, 16 April 2008 01:05

Beware… The Brown Recluse

slide16.jpgExperts are warning Northern California residents to look out for the bite of the sometimes deadly brown recluse spider.  There has been some debate as to just how prevalent the recluse is in northern California. Some experts argue that the spider’s population is limited to the southeast, southern California, and Baja California. Nevertheless, the same skeptics have acknowledged the expanding web of the spider’s realm in the foothills. A number of Brown Recluse bites have been reported in Amador County. The spider’s presence beyond its natural habitat is blamed on modern transportation, in which spiders have been known to travel long distances on trucks, trains, and planes.

Recluse spiders seem to favor cardboard when dwelling in human residences, possibly because it mimics the rotting tree bark which they naturally inhabit. They also go in shoes, inside dressers, in bed sheets of infrequently used beds, behind pictures and near furnaces. The common source of human-recluse contact is during the cleaning of these spaces, when their isolated spaces suddenly are disturbed and the spider feels threatened. It is important to seek medical treatment if a brown recluse bite is suspected. Cases of brown recluse venom traveling along a limb through a vein or artery are rare, but the resulting mortification of the tissue can affect an area as large as several inches. While it is possible, and even likely, that many cases of "brown recluse bites" are indeed misidentifications of other infections, the brown recluse has justly earned its reputation.

Tuesday, 31 July 2007 00:46

Former 49er Coach Bill Walsh Dies At 75

slide20San Francisco 49ers former head coach Bill Walsh died at his Woodside home Monday morning following a long battle with leukemia, according to a Stanford University spokeswoman. Walsh announced in November 2006 he was fighting the blood cancer, which he had been diagnosed with in 2004.Walsh became a coaching icon in the 1980s, leading what had been the league's doormat 49ers to three Super Bowl championships in 1982, 1985 and 1989 and six NFC division titles. He compiled a 102-63-1 record in his 10 years at the helm. The 49ers recruited Walsh from Stanford University, where he returned to coach after hisyears - including serving as general manager - with San Francisco. He also spent three years as an NFL television analyst.
slide49A new petition for signatures to put a new ballot measure on February’s Primary election ballot may be coming to a store front near you. The subject of the proposed initiative- Eminent Domain. California Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced on Friday that the proponents of the new initiative may begin collecting petition signatures for their measure. The Attorney General has prepared the legal title and summary which is required to appear on initiative petitions.
slide36Millions of motorcycle, dune buggy, four-wheel-drive and other off-road riders here in the Golden State could see California's vehicle recreation parks shut down next year unless agreement can be reached on overhauling the state program. State law authorizes the program only until Dec 31st of this year and although no group is pushing for the eliminations of the program, conflict has developed between two groups. One group asking for more trails and parks, and the other, an environmentally concerned group that is asking for more environmental protections and policing, including provisions that the parks serve fisherman, hikers and campers.
slide9The heat wave that's hit our area, and most of California, continues today, and power officials are concerned about the electricity supply as the state continued to see triple-digit temperatures. Power managers were concerned that with people heading back to work, the demand could actually surpass the state's power supply. Thursday's demand was about 44,500- around 2500 under the anticipated 47,000. That's only about 5,000 megawatts less than the record set last year during the July heat wave, but this year there is less power available because the dry winter has meant less water to power hydroelectric generators.
slide38Senate Leader Don Perata and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez announced today that they had merged their competing health care reform proposals into one bill AB8- now, setting the stage talks between the Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Perata stated yesterday “At every step in this process, we have proved the critics wrong. We are showing that we can tackle a problem as big and complex as health care – and improve the lives of millions of Californians,” Perata said. “I look forward to finishing what we have started and delivering to the Governor meaningful health care reform.”
Sunday, 17 June 2007 23:30

DA Mike Nifong DisBarred

slide23District Attorney Mike Nifong was disbarred Saturday for his "selfish" rape prosecution of three Duke University lacrosse players - a politically motivated act, his judges said, that he inexplicably allowed to fester for months after it was clear the defendants were innocent."This matter has been a fiasco. There's no doubt about it," said F. Lane Williamson, the chairman of the three-member disciplinary committee that stripped the veteran prosecutor of his state law license. Even Nifong and his attorneys supported the decision, though the veteran prosecutor refused to admit to the end that no crime occurred at a March 2006 lacrosse team party.
slide24According to local weather watcher Jimmy Nettle our rainfall this year is less than half of what it was last year. Last year was an extremely wet year, true, but how does this year’s 20 plus inches of rain compare with an average year? According to National Weather Service statistics the average rainfall for the county is 28 inches per year. Although there are technically still two full months left in the rainfall season it is doubtful we will get another 8 inches of rain. Statewide this is the trend and now the State Department of Water resources has issued concerning statements regarding the California Water Supply. This is the lightest Sierra snow pack since 1989 according to the DWR.

slide26Tri-County Wildlife Care has just received its first baby raptor for 2007.  This 2-3 week old Great Horned Owl came in covered by a t-shirt in a large, makeshift plastic blue bowl nest after it apparently fell from its nest several times.   This baby has talons the size of fingers and claws that are one inch long.   It is able to rotate its head, clacking its beak loudly in protest at being examined for an eye and leg injury.   When fully grown, this bird will stand 22” tall and eat about 10 mice a night.   With its poor sense of smell, it is one of the very few predators who will eat skunks.   The goal of Tri County Wildlife Care is to rescue, rehabilitate & release local wildlife like this owl. The organization can be reached at (209) 547-3233 and reached by mail at P.O. Box 367, Jackson, CA 95642.



slide12The recent blasts of winter are doing some good, at least for our snow pack and water situations. This week’s snow survey conducted by the State Department of Water Resources shows that recent storms have brought our snow pack conditions closer to normal with snow depths now 78 percent to 85 percent of normal. According to DWR Hydrology Branch Chief Arthur Hinojosa the results are encouraging: “Above average precipitation in February has certainly improved our water supply outlook. Although not enough to offset a very dry January, the latest survey shows statewide average snow pack water content is nearly 65% of average to date compared with only 40% four weeks ago.” DWR Snow Surveys Chief Frank Gehrke says the current readings “put us about where we were at this time last year.”