SANDOWN, N.H.

Town plans mosquito spray after encephalitis confirmed

Eastern equine encephalitis has been found in a mosquito batch in New Hampshire, for the first time since an animal tested positive for the disease in 2010.

The Eagle Tribune reports that the town of Sandown plans to spray for mosquitoes on Sunday evening.

Gov. John Lynch on Friday declared that a public health threat exists in nearly four dozen New Hampshire communities where mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile virus.

The declaration allows the communities to take measures, including spraying, to decrease the threat to public health.

Last week, New Hampshire officials reported the first human case of West Nile virus in two years. Health officials said the Manchester adult was recovering from the virus.

CHATHAM, Mass.

Shark reports prompt closing of ocean-facing beaches

Officials in Chatham have closed all eastern, open ocean-facing beaches because of increased reports from fishermen of sharks nearby.

The closings Wednesday affect beaches from the Orleans-Chatham town line south along Nauset Beach to Monomy. They are in effect until further notice.

Other public beaches remain open in the town.

Swimmers are warned to keep aware of their surroundings, and stay at least 300 feet from seals.

Sightings of sharks, including great whites, have increased off Cape Cod in recent years along with an increase in the population of seals, which sharks feed on.

In July, a man was bitten on his legs by a great white shark while swimming off Ballston Beach in Truro, north of Chatham.

PROVIDENCE, R.I.

Vote on gay marriage still appears to be up in the air

Prospects for gay marriage in Rhode Island remain murky as the Speaker of the House restates his desire to vote on the issue even as the Senate president remains silent.

House Speaker Gordon Fox said Wednesday that should he retain his position after this year’s election he plans to schedule a vote early in next year’s legislative session. Fox dropped gay marriage legislation last year after it became apparent it wouldn’t pass the Senate.

Gay marriage advocates hope the fall elections change the Senate’s makeup. Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed declined to say Wednesday if she would allow a vote on gay marriage. The Newport Democrat is an opponent.

Rhode Island now authorizes civil unions for same-sex couples.

Gay marriage is legal in six states including neighboring Connecticut and Massachusetts.