West Nile hits home
The first Butte County resident to be diagnosed with West Nile virus is a woman who didn’t know she had the illness until she donated blood last week. Routine screening revealed she’d been infected. So far this year, 20 people statewide have been diagnosed with West Nile, as have eight horses. Five of the six counties neighboring Butte have also reported the presence of the virus this year. The good news is that nobody has died. Last year, one person and one horse died from the virus in Butte County.

Doolittle dinged again
News media have been tracking the financial relations between Rep. John Doolittle—whose 4th District includes the Oroville area—and disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff for months, and last week the Sacramento Bee tied the two men even closer together. In a Saturday (Aug. 5) piece by David Whitney of its Washington bureau, the Bee reported that Doolittle had accepted $14,000 in campaign contributions from Abramoff in 1999. At the time, Doolittle was working on Abramoff’s behalf to secure a lucrative lobbying contract with the commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and at one point he assisted Abramoff’s efforts to route federal money to the islands and defend its garment industry.

Doolittle told the Bee his efforts had nothing to do with Abramoff and were strictly to aid the struggling U.S. commonwealth.

Lassen Park turns 90
If you’re planning to spend some time in Lassen Volcanic National Park this summer, it might add to the fun to know that Wednesday (Aug. 9) was its 90th anniversary. The park was established in 1916 just one week prior to the establishment of the National Park Service. Earlier efforts in 1912 and 1913 to create the Peter Lassen National Park had failed, but eruptions of Lassen Peak in 1914 and ’15 and B. F. Loomis’ historic photos of them encouraged Congress to create the park.

Living with lions
Hunting groups have long argued that allowing them to hunt mountain lions would reduce attacks on people and livestock. Turns out they’re wrong about that.

A study released Monday (Aug. 7) by the Mountain Lion Foundation found no evidence to support allowing sport hunting. The study compared the relative numbers of mountain lion attacks on people and livestock in states with mountain lion sport hunting to the number of attacks in California, a state without mountain lion hunting. The study found there were fewer attacks in California than in many states where hunting is allowed, relative to the number of people, livestock and square miles of lion habitat.

The full study can be found online at