St. Charles Herald-Guide

Parish declares all-out war on pesky skeeters

By Shonna Riggs - December 27, 2006

Mosquitoes just about ate us all alive in 2006, but in 2007, the parish is fighting back - with high-tech computerized spraying, a new spray truck, year-round spraying and more spraying from airplanes.

Now THAT’S a plan.

Sure, the bug budget is going to double from $409,000 to $852,000.

But, hey - it’s money well spent.

The parish’s mosquito control president Wayne Machado said the increase will finance an all-out assault on insects that not only make us itch and scratch, but also carry potentially lethal diseases like the West Nile virus.

“We’re installing in our trucks a computerized spraying system that relies on a satellite-linked ‘GPS’ monitoring device for maximum effectiveness,” Machada told me.

“As the vehicle makes its rounds the computer will make sure the right amount of spray is being released.”

Twin-engine aircraft also will be used for aerial spraying in residential areas, but not over chemical plants.

Some folks might bristle over doubling the mosquito-control budget, but Machado says he looked long and hard at other parishes and their budgets before making his recommendaitons.

"We’re not spending nearly as much money as some of the other parishes,” he says.

"Iberia Parish is much smaller and their mosquito contract is for $3 million dollars - almost four times what we’re going to spend in 2007.”

Council Vice Chairman Snookie Faucheux says the cost pales before the alternative - an outbreak of mosquito-borne illness and quality of life issues.

“Our health and quality of life depend upon this type of mosquito control to prevent the possiblity of an increase in the West Nile virus,” he explains.

Here are a few things I’ll be telling you about over the next few weeks - make sure you come back to read them.

Business news:
In 2007 St. Charles Parish can look forward to national retail  businesses moving into the area, and programs are in place to help future hometown, mom-and-pop entrepeneurs get their enterprises off to a good start.
I’ll tell you more about them next week in a major feature. Be here!

Education news:

No Child Left Behind is being challenged by St. Charles Parish school board members along with other school officials from other districts nationwide.

Read how parish school board member Clarence Savoie will be working to build support for changes by taking a trip to Washington D.C.

That’s where he’ll voice his concerns about the No Child Left Behind iniative.

Got a talking point for Shonna? Write: editor@heraldguide.com