- Written by From AOL News
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From AOL.com News
As the warm summer months draw dangerously near, experts have started warning the public about a tick-borne virus on the rise that can
have much deadlier consequences than Lyme disease.
The Powassan virus (POW) is a rare but serious disease that can be spread to humans by infected ticks quickly after the initial bite.
For comparison, while it takes a tick carrying Lyme disease nearly 24 hours to pass the infection on to a human host, a tick with POW can transfer the virus in as little as 15 minutes.
Once a human has contracted the disease, POW can cause severe inflammation of the brain and the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord.
Due to the severe neurological impact of the disease, about 10 percent of all POW cases are fatal, with about 50 percent of cases resulting in permanent brain damage.
According to the CDC, only 75 cases of POW have been reported in the United States over the past 10 years, with most occurring in the northeastern and Great Lakes regions of the United States during the late spring, early summer and mid-fall when ticks are most active.
Although that may seem like a pretty limited scope, experts remain on high alert, considering summer 2017 has already been declared an especially bad season for ticks due to the mild winter and growing deer and mice populations.
"The bottom line is that we should be very scared of it because nobody is safe from it," said Dr. Jennifer Lyons, chief of the division of neurological and inflammatory diseases at the Brigham and Women's Hospital.
As there is currently no vaccine or cure for POW, the CDC recommends taking preventative measures to avoid contracting the potentially deadly virus, such as avoiding wooded and bushy areas and using insect repellent.
It also recommends conducting full-body tick checks after returning from such areas, and trying to remove any ticks immediately before they have a chance to bite..
- Written by Patricia Hutchison
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Walkingstic-Stl with her group.
The forecast of a rainy day didn’t keep a dozen SLAGA members from volunteering their time to go to Dardenne Prairie to teach American Heritage Girls (AHG) Troop MO3130 about geocaching. March 25, 2017 was expected to be soggy at best and stormy at worst, with the heaviest rain supposed to hit between one and three p.m. – at the exact time of the AHG Father/Daughter event.
Sharon Samson of the AHG contacted SLAGA in January to request assistance in teaching geocaching to their troop so they could earn their badges. Several SLAGA members had previous experience in doing this with other organizations, but this one would be the largest class size our group has taken on for a single session, with the event being open to about 80 girls and their dads.
After extensive communication between SLAGA and AHG, How-D reached out to several seasoned geocaching trainers to request help. In all, a dozen SLAGA members volunteered their time and efforts, contributing to a successful event.
While the main focus was centered on geocaching in the field, there were also two lectures for those who needed to fulfill additional requirements for their badges. Eravau spoke about geocache publication, while Jamrok Shake answered questions about her job with the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.
Most of the caches were typical traditionals, with the students simply able to follow their GPS units to the coordinates and hunt for the container, but there were also a multi and a puzzle cache, both of which proved popular. TerriBikes+ created a Bible-based puzzle that led those who solved it to a micro on a fence. Two of the cache containers were large ones with SWAG, some provided by AHG and some donated by TerriBikes+. To expedite matters, instead of having the finders sign logsheets, each cache contained a three-letter code which the girls recorded on a sheet of paper, then turned in for SWAG at the end of the event.
Several of the dads brought along their own GPSes, which allowed the students to see the variety of types available, but each got to handle and use the SLAGA-provided units. Many of the girls picked up on how to use them quickly. In the case of Spiritwolf922’s group of five students, each was able to be the GPS handler three times. By the second round, they were already confident enough to go through the steps of searching for the next cache and setting up the compass to lead them to it. During the session outside, the instructors were able to give more information than was covered in the lecture portion, including CITO demonstration and answering all manner of pop-up questions.
The rains had held off until about three o’clock, at which time it poured for about ten minutes, causing groups that were still in the field to flee back indoors. By then, the event was winding down and the girls and their dads were packing up their things, visiting with the troop leaders or asking more questions of the SLAGA members. Both groups agreed that the event was a success.
Thanks to the following SLAGA members who took on this challenge: How-D, eravau, JamrokShake, walkingstic-stl, nan-d1955, GeoConformity, buffettmo, 2_cats, Mixed Breed, Aunt Dot, TerriBikes+ and Spiritwolf922.
Where can it be?
TerriBikes+ observing her group making the find.
What's the code?
Their first LPC!
It's starting to get cloudy again.
- Written by SLAGA
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Confluence Trash Bash
Saturday, March 18, 2017 8:00am til 1:00pm
Confluence Trash Bash is the annual clean-up in North St Louis and North St Louis County.
All are welcome, no experience required! Individual volunteers, civic groups and youth organizations are encouraged to attend.
|Please dress appropriately for working outside and current weather conditions. Be prepared to get wet and muddy.||Click to view flyer|
- Written by Patricia Hutchison
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Continuing in its tradition of educating new geocachers, SLAGA VP How-D, with the help of other SLAGA members, introduced Cub Scout Pack 499 to the activity on Saturday, February 4, 2017.
In late November, 2016, Den Leader Larry Willick contacted SLAGA to request a class in geocaching for his Cub Scout Pack. Six scouts and their parents attended the class, held at the Grand Glaize branch of the St. Louis County Library in Manchester, MO. How-D (Bill Lange) spoke to the students for about an hour, covering the basics while illustrating his commentary with samples of cache containers and trackable items.
GPS units were distributed to Pack members and parents alike, so that everyone could have a hands-on experience. After a brief demonstration with the units, Walkingstic-stl (Nancy Gelb) and GeoConformity (Rick Rouse) led the class into the library’s parking lot, where there happened to be a published cache – SLCL: The Hobbit 5 – Riddles in the Dark (GC4KR92) – on site. The Pack followed their GPSes to the cache pretty quickly, where they made the grab and signed in, while checking out the contents of the container. After replacing the cache for the next seeker to find, How-D used the picking up of the trash in the area to demonstrate the geocaching practice of CITO. Then the group moved to Queeny Park where they hunted both temporary and permanent caches. The students were able to not just sign in on the logs, but could trade items from their swag bags as well. The activity proved to be very popular with the Cub Scouts.
Cub Scout Pack 499 in the field.
As the class ended, several of the attendees indicated that they would be interested in doing more geocaching in the future. All were encouraged to check out the SLAGA website for more information and to become involved in geocaching by attending upcoming events.
Groups interested in learning more or requesting classes should contact SLAGA. Because training sessions are led by volunteers, it is best to submit inquiries as soon as possible to ensure someone is available during the timeframe requested.
- Written by Korriaan
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- Written by Patricia Hutchison
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The holidays that bookend the close of one year and the beginning of the next have come and gone, but not without some fanfare from the SLAGA family.
Beginning with the Twelve Days of Cachemas on December 13, SLAGA celebrated with new caches and several events. Twelve lucky (and persistent) geocachers obtained not only smileys but the coveted annual Cachemas ornament, created by L Frank. The bonus cache, released on Christmas Day, was FTFed by SWASeeker. Congratulations to all who braved the cold, venturing out before sunrise in some cases.
In the middle of the Cachemas fever, Nan-D1955 hosted the SLAGA Christmas Party at Kirkwood Station Restaurant on December 17. In spite of freezing temperatures and icy conditions, about thirty-five party animals showed up, bearing canned goods and toys to be donated to charity. Nan collected ninety-one cans of food for Circle of Concern in Valley Park, while Spiritwolf922 carted out four large bags of gifts for Toys for Kids.
On Christmas Day, for the fourth year in a row, Strider and Crowesfeat30 hosted Cachemas Day with Friends at the Hibachi Grill Supreme Buffet in Ballwin, with about eighteen cachers logging for their Attended smileys.
Team_State brought the celebration to a close with two same-day events: SLAGA New Years Brunch and SLAGA New Years Day Hike 2017. The group effectively took over the Eureka Culver’s restaurant with over thirty attendees, filling the main dining area. The hike drew a few more with nearly forty Attended logs posted.
The hike consisted of two teams – Strider’s and L Frank’s – hiking in opposite directions on the loop trail (which wasn’t nearly as flat as advertised), picking up the few ‘resident caches’, but also collecting twenty-two temporary caches which contained two Scrabble-style letters in each, intended to spell out a secret message at the end. L Frank’s team arrived at the parking lot first, but Spiritwolf922 made everybody wait until all the hikers had returned before she opened her gallon-sized bag of homemade chocolate chip cookies to share.
Both New Year’s Day events were great successes, with the weather cooperating beautifully. What was expected to be gray and chilly turned out to be sunny and upper forties, allowing many of the hikers to leave their heavier coats in their cars.
The holidays may have come to an end, but there are still many SLAGA events yet to come in 2017, including two in January: The Ninth Annual Slurpin’ Soup and Watchin’ Eagles (GC6XK93) in the Village of the Blue Rose, between Clarksville and Louisiana, MO; and The SLAGA Winter Potluck & Cabin Fever – 2017 (GC6X1ZQ), in The Pavilion at Lemay, in Jefferson Barracks Park, St. Louis County, MO. Be sure to check out the upcoming events in the panel on the right side of the screen on the SLAGA.org webpage.
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