Ore. smokejumpers skydive into illegal pot garden


A team of smokejumpers parachuting into a fire in the mountains of Southern Oregon landed in an illegal marijuana garden being prepared for growing season.

The six smokejumpers from a base in Redmond found the site last Monday evening, when there was a rash of lightning strikes.

Jackson County sheriff’s spokeswoman Andrea Carlson says the smokejumpers notified authorities, who hiked into the remote site in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

They seized two guns and more than 1,000 small pot plants.

Carlson says the site near the community of Applegate was being cultivated by growers for Mexican drug gangs, and it’s been used before. She says the smokejumpers saw some people but weren’t sure whether they were pot growers, so no one was arrested.

The smokejumpers extinguished the fire after it burned less than an acre.

9 get to attend W. Pa. prom despite vaccine issue


Nine students in a western Pennsylvania school district who were told they couldn’t attend their prom because they hadn’t been vaccinated for chickenpox were able to attend after all.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health notified the Norwin School District that a student had the highly contagious virus, prompting school officials to pull student immunization records.

They said 33 students hadn’t had the vaccine and nine had registered for the prom.

But a health department representative said Friday that the district had miscalculated the dates. The nine were contacted Friday morning and told they could attend prom after all.

But the students identified for exclusion still could have a problem with graduation, which falls within the eight- to 21-day after exposure that students are to be excluded from classes and activities.

A student can be readmitted to school if he or she has a blood test proving immunity to chickenpox or received a chickenpox vaccine before or on Sunday, officials said. Administrators are working on a plan to ensure that students who choose to remain excluded will be able to complete requirements for the school year, officials said.

The Department of Health says on its website that parents may opt out of vaccinations for religious or medical reasons, but those students may be barred if there’s an outbreak.

Associated Press

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