Pin It
Favorite

Watchdogs and Fungus 

A new Spokane Riverkeeper takes the reins; plus, a lethal fungus appears in the Northwest.

click to enlarge Bart Mihailovich
  • Bart Mihailovich

Meet the New Riverkeeper

Bart Mihailovich, best known for his Spokesman-Review blog Down to Earth, has been selected as the next Spokane Riverkeeper.

Mihailovich will replace Rick Eichstaedt, who became the first Riverkeeper last year. Eichstaedt will remain in the organization to provide legal advice.

“Frankly, we’re doing more and more and it was getting to be too much for one person to handle,” Eichstaedt says in a statement. “Part of my new job will be dealing with the legal side of it, and part of Bart’s will be working with volunteers getting samples and getting the good data to support the legal side of that effort.”

Mihailovich, who will move away from Down to Earth and begin his new job in August, says he made no bones about his interest in the job when he interviewed earlier this year. “They always tell you not to show your emotions too much,” he says in a statement. “But I sort of bucked that conventional wisdom. I wore it on my sleeve, about how much I really wanted this job, and how much I really wanted to do this.” (Nicholas Deshais)

Fungus Among Us

It’s sickened at least 60 people in the Pacific Northwest and killed at least 15. And yet Cryptococcus gattii is still on the loose.

A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control indicates that the lethal fungus, which is more common in Australia, northern Africa and the Mediterranean, has infiltrated the Northwest as global temperatures have risen. Fifteen of the reported U.S. cases have been in Washington, while only one of them was from Idaho. The rest come mainly from California and Oregon, though the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control has also recorded 272 cases since 1999.

Inhaling the fungus, which lives on the ground and on the bark of certain trees, can create infections that affect the lungs and nervous system. Early symptoms include a prolonged cough, shortness of breath, headache, fever and the occasional stiff neck, according to one of the report’s authors.

That author, Julie Harris of the CDC’s National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Diseases, tells U.S. News, however, that there’s no cause for hysteria. “C. gattii is still rare so we don’t want people to panic or to misunderstand the risk of infection,” she says.

In fact, many of the people who have either been sickened or killed by the fungus over the last six years have had pre-existing illnesses, including HIV, which could have made them more susceptible.  “But it is serious,” Harris adds. (Joel Smith)

  • Pin It

Speaking of Environment, spokane River

  • Train Tax?
  • Train Tax?

    Spokane voters will consider fines on oil and coal trains on November's ballot
    • Jul 28, 2016
  • Cause For Alarm
  • Cause For Alarm

    Residents of a remote part of Stevens County say something is making them sick, but no one is sure exactly what it is
    • Jun 30, 2016
  • Beneath the Surface
  • Beneath the Surface

    Will changing conditions in Lake Coeur d'Alene stir up its toxic history?
    • Jun 16, 2016
  • More »

Latest in News

  • In Defense of Refugees
  • In Defense of Refugees

    In the aftermath of the presidential election, local residents seek ways to love and support their refugee friends
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • No License to Kill
  • No License to Kill

    Task force says officers should be held responsible for police shootings; plus, state auditor clears Spokane Valley firing of city manager
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Trumped-up Education
  • Trumped-up Education

    Could the President-elect's support of school choice trickle down to Spokane?
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
RALLY

RALLY @ Washington Cracker Co. Building

Tue., Dec. 6, 6-8 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Joel Smith

More by Nicholas Deshais

  • Rehab Reality
  • Rehab Reality

    Toys are stacked on the front porch of the Isabella House, but the kids are nowhere to be seen. Inside the front door and behind a red, velvety curtain in the imposing 113-year-old house on the edge of Coeur d’Alene Park in Browne’s Addition, their playroom is also abandoned.
    • Jun 3, 2013
  • Studying Spokane
  • Studying Spokane

    One third-year med student relishes his time at UW East
    • Apr 2, 2013
  • Ever Ready
  • Ever Ready

    What happens after you dial 911?
    • Apr 2, 2013
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Unfinished Business

    Isaiah Wall wants to get his life on track. But first, he's gotta buy drugs for the police
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • This Isn't Normal

    America has gone down this road before, and it's a dead end
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


green zone


marijuana


trail mix


election 2016


Readers also liked…

  • Patrolling While Black
  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015
  • Our Republic
  • Our Republic

    Not just another small town heroin tragedy
    • Jun 23, 2016

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation