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West Nile virus claims life of Ed Marston

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Ed and Betsy Marston ride the Democratic Party float during the 2017 Paonia Cherry Days parade. Ed Marston died Friday, Aug. 31, from complications of West Nile virus. Photo by Tamie Meck

A memorial service for longtime Paonia resident Ed Marston will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, at Delicious Orchards, 29126 Highway 133.

Marston, 78, was well known in the North Fork and beyond as an environmental journalist and political organizer. He and his wife, Betsy, and their children, Wendy and David, moved to Paonia in 1974 where Ed and Betsy started the North Fork Times weekly newspaper. They sold it in 1980.

In 1982 they founded an environmental paper, Western Colorado Report, which was folded into the High Country News, an existing publication covering environmental issues across the western United States. Marston was publisher of the High Country News from 1983-2002, during which time he and the publication received numerous national and regional awards.

He also served 18 years on the board of Delta-Montrose Electric Association, as well as on the boards of Delta County Economic Development, Paonia Chamber of Commerce, Solar Energy International and the Blue Sage Art Center. He also renovated a derelict building, turning the Harvester Building into an active business space in downtown Paonia.

In 2008 Ed and Betsy were named "Champions of the Rockies" by Colorado College.

Marston died early last Friday morning at St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction from complications of West Nile Virus.

In a press release issued Aug. 31, the Delta County Department of Health is reporting two human cases of West Nile virus in Delta County. These cases are residents from the North Fork region of the county.

  • The first case, age 50-59 was diagnosed on August 23rd and is recovering from West Nile virus uncomplicated fever.
  • The second case, age 70-79 was diagnosed on August 30th and has resulted in loss of life related to West Nile virus infection

"West Nile Virus can be a serious illness and residents should understand the health risks associated with this virus," said Delta County Environmental Health Director Ken Nordstrom in the release. "August through September are when most human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Colorado."

According to health officials, most people bitten by a mosquito infected with the virus show no symptoms; however, some may develop symptoms 3-15 days after being bit. About one in five infected persons will have mild illness with fever, and about one in 150 will become severely ill. Physicians are urged to test patients for the West Nile virus if they show signs of fever, altered mental status, suspected meningitis or encephalitis, or sudden painless paralysis in the absence of stroke during summer months.

The Delta County Health Department urges residents to take preventative measures against the West Nile Virus. The following prevention tips are encouraged:

* Drain standing water on property.

* Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn when mosquito activity is high.

* Dress in long sleeves and pants during dusk and dawn and in areas where mosquitoes are active.

* DEET is an effective ingredient to look for in bug repellent.

For more information visit www.fightthebitecolorado.com or call 1-877-462-2911.

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North Fork
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Death, Paonia, West Nile
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