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In brief: West Nile virus detected in Panhandle

For the first time mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus have been found in the Idaho Panhandle. The insects were collected July 19 in a trap in Boundary County.

Because the virus has been advancing northward, it’s a good bet all five North Idaho counties now have mosquitoes carrying West Nile, said Dave Hylsky, epidemiologist with the Panhandle Health District.

Residents are advised to avoid mosquitoes, particularly between dusk and dawn, and apply insect repellent on skin and clothing when outdoors.

Homeowners should drain toys, trays or pots with standing water outdoors; change birdbaths and static decorative ponds weekly; and replace torn window screens, health officials say.

Symptoms of infection often include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. The virus can cause severe illness, especially in people over age 50.

West Nile also can cause severe illness in horses and certain species of birds, and horses can be vaccinated.

The virus cannot be spread from person to person through casual contact. No human vaccine exists.

Three arrested at park for fire, gun

Three men were arrested Saturday in a Spokane County public park after allegedly building an illegal campfire and target shooting with a handgun reported stolen out of Las Vegas.

A homeowner near McLellan Conservation Area in Nine Mile Falls called the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office to report gunfire and smoke. Jason T. Presha, Carl Jefferson-Wright and Kevin J. Mack were found at the campsite, and Presha initially denied there was a gun at the camp, according to court documents. He later admitted to firing the gun and filming the shooting with his cellphone.

Deputies found the .40-caliber handgun wrapped in a sweatshirt and learned it had been reported stolen in Las Vegas, according to court documents.

Mack faces counts of possession of a stolen firearm, violating fire codes and shooting in a prohibited area. Presha and Jefferson-Wright face additional counts of obstruction.

Property damage might get tax relief

In the wake of severe weather and wildfires in Spokane County, officials are reminding homeowners they can report property damage from natural disasters to the county assessor’s office to seek tax relief.

Vickie Horton, county assessor, said on Monday that typically the burden to report property damage is on the homeowner. She said she had personally visited some affected areas, including a mobile home park that was largely destroyed last week by thunderstorms.

Property owners can find an application form on the assessor’s website or can call (509) 477-3698 for more information.

Hourslong standoff ends peacefully

A 27-year-old Spokane man was arrested early Monday after an hourslong armed standoff involving a woman and two young children, police said.

Jesse L. Hayden was booked into Spokane County Jail just after 6:30 a.m. Monday, facing two counts of second-degree domestic violence assault. Officers were initially called around 10:45 p.m. Sunday to a home in the 2400 block of West 14th Avenue, where witnesses reported Hayden assaulting a woman and pointing a gun at people outside, according to a news release.

Negotiators spoke with Hayden throughout the night, police said, and around 5 a.m. the woman left the home. Hayden came out on the porch with one of the children and surrendered without incident shortly thereafter, police said. A gun matching the one described by witnesses was found inside the house.


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