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KSJD Newscast - September 2nd, 2015

  • Elderly man in San Juan County, Utah dies from the plague
  • New judge is assigned to trespassing case involving San Juan County, Utah Commissioner Phil Lyman

An elderly man in San Juan County, Utah, has died of the plague. He was the first Utah resident to be diagnosed with the flea-borne illness since 2009. San Juan Public Health Director Worthy Glover says an investigation found the man probably did contract the illness in the county on a semi-rural property where prairie dogs interact with free-roaming pets. Glover says the disease is treatable with antibiotics, but the man delayed getting treatment because his symptoms did not seem severe. According to the CDC, a total of 12 cases of human plague have been reported in seven states since April 1 of this year, including four in Colorado, two in Arizona, and two in New Mexico. Plague bacteria are commonly present on fleas carried by wild rodents including prairie dogs, rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks. Glover advises Four Corners residents to clear rodent-attracting debris from around their homes, treat pets with flea powder or collars, and use caution when dressing game during hunting season. Anyone with a persistent fever and cough should see a doctor as soon as possible because, Glover says, “it doesn’t have to be a tragedy.”
And in other news out of Utah, a new judge has been assigned to a case involving a 2014 ATV protest ride near Blanding that drew national attention. In May. San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman and Monticello resident Monte Wells were convicted of two misdemeanor charges related to the ride, which took place in Recapture Canyon on a road closed by the BLM. Lyman recently filed a motion seeking a new judge for their sentencing because U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby, who oversaw the trial, has a friend who is the legal director of a Utah environmental group. Shelby then voluntarily recused himself. The new judge, Jill Parrish, has set a status conference on September 3 in Salt Lake City. 

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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