Township sprays residents
HEBRON - Union Township Trustees got an earful from Buckeye Lake resident Bonnie Mansfield Monday night. She told the trustees that a township employee directly sprayed her pregnant daughter and 22-monthold grandson with mosquito pesticide July 16. Mansfield said she was also sprayed with pesticide as she sat on her porch. She said the spray aggravates her and her daughter's asthma.
In a statement to the trustees, Mansfield said she ran down the township truck on foot to see what they were spraying. She said the operator, township road worker Jim Naurer, told her he didn't have any paperwork on the chemical and couldn't remember its name. He did say that he believed it was harmless. A young passenger didn't know the name of the chemical either. Naurer suggested Mansfield call the township garage in the morning to get the details.
Mansfield talked with township road worker Dave Cable the next morning. Cable holds the required commercial applicator's license for the township.
"With a strained voice," said Mansfield, she told Cable that she and her family members have asthma, which the pesticide aggravates.
According to Mansfield's statement, Cable told her the pesticide may cause skin, eye, nose, and throat irritation, but wouldn't really hurt anyone. Mansfield said the irritations definitely hurt. Cable said Mansfield and her family would not be sprayed again, adding that another resident asked that her property not be sprayed because she's concerned it kills butterflies.
Mansfield said Cable later assured her that they won't spray by her house nor her daughter's house next door. He couldn't guarantee that pesticides wouldn't drift onto their property. Mansfield asked that her family be notified by phone when the township sprays her neighborhood and asked for the 2008 spraying records.
"We literally are getting blasted," Mansfield told trustees Monday night. "He does not shut it off." She said her daughter was just walking to her house when she was sprayed. Mansfield said the township generally sprays in the early evening when many people are out and about.
Union Township records show that they have sprayed in Buckeye Lake Village seven times this year. Start times have been 6:15 p.m., 6:35 p.m., 6:48 p.m., 7:25 p.m., 7:49 p.m., 8:25 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Spraying has been finished as early as 8:38 p.m. and as late as 10:25 p.m.
"We're not just beating up mosquitoes," said Trustee John Slater, adding that the spray reduces risk from mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile virus.
Mansfield said the point is that the driver didn't know what was being sprayed, but told her it wouldn't hurt anyone. He also didn't turn off the sprayer as he drove next to her daughter and grandson.
"Most people know when the sprayer is coming and close their windows," said Trustee Jack Justice.
"When did you advertise?" asked Mansfield.
"Can't say that we have," said Justice.
"I'm at a loss," said Slater. He said the township provides the spraying service to help the community and they can't stop spraying if the neighbors want the service. "Nothing's been intentionally done."
Justice said Mansfield should tell the Village of Buckeye Lake if she wants to opt out of spraying; it's not the township's decision. "Didn't you see the truck coming?" asked Justice.
Mansfield said she has notified the village, but is still being sprayed.
Justice said she should understand that the spray floats between properties.
"I'm just letting you know, this is what your employees are doing," said Mansfield, adding that the driver had a young passenger. Justice said there's no policy against passengers. He said Naurer has been trained how to spray.
Slater said the trustees would address the problem the best they can and would provide Mansfield the records she requested.
Tuesday, the Ohio Department of Agriculture sent inspector Tim Mills to look into the situation. As of Wednesday, Slater said Mills was still in the "information gathering" stage and not divulging any information yet, but Mills met with Slater, Cable, and Mansfield on Tuesday.
Wednesday, Buckeye Lake Street Supervisor Mark Dymek said beginning July 30, mosquito spraying in the village will take place from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. - when very few people are outside - only on Wednesdays, and the spraying will be advertised. The area surrounding Mansfield's house will not be sprayed.
In other township news:
• Trustees heard a complaint from Dewmar Drive resident Dwight Smith, who said chip and seal work on his cul-de-sac was so bad it represented a safety hazard for motorcycles. "That cul-de-sac is tore up!" he said. At first there was excess gravel on top of the tar that caused his motorcycle to lose grip on the road, then the gravel was gone, leaving thick tar that was just as bad. "Gravel for motorcycles is like ice for cars," said Smith. "I don't want to have a wreck and I don't want anyone else to."
Justice said he visited the culde sac that day and the tar was beginning to settle. "It was bleeding terribly before," he said.
"The attempt is to have a firm surface," said Slater. Slippery tar is as dangerous as loose gravel.
Justice said the problem began when the contractor, the Shelly Company, ran out of gravel during the patch job. The replacement gravel wasn't the right type, so they had to patch the road again, but this meant twice as much tar as usual was applied. There was also a lot of gravel, which someone swept off, exposing the thick tar. Justice said whoever was in charge of replacing the gravel didn't do it, most likely because that person thought since the gravel was swept away it wasn't supposed to be replaced. "Sweeping the stone off sent a signal that you didn't want stone on that road," he said.
Generally, the chip and seal method works well for township roads, said Justice. Problems can happen when there's a double seal, but that's rare.
Smith said he counted 110 cracks in the road. "It's still not a good job," he said. "The majority of us would like blacktop."
Slater said asphalt would crack if not heavily used. Justice said crack seal would work, but it's unsightly. "It's a trade off," said Justice.
"We're not asking for (asphalt) immediately," said Smith.
"We will pave it eventually. You're about fifth in line for that process," said Justice, who apologized for the road getting out of control. "We had a devil of a time," he said.
Smith added there's a lot of loose gravel around several Union Township intersections. Justice said he is aware of that and would mention it to road crews. "We apologize for the whole series of events that happened out there."
• Trustees will likely place a 1.8 mill replacement fire levy on the November ballot. "It's the smart thing to do," said Justice.
• Trustees appropriated a total of $330 for magnetic signs to be placed on township vehicles that will appear in a parade at the Hartford Fair. The signs will commemorate Union Township's bicentennial and they will be reusable following the fair and following 2008.
• Trustees approved a resolution supporting a 100 percent, 15-year tax abatement for an expansion at MPW Industrial Services Group, Inc. MPW will manufacture equipment for water purification systems.
• The trustees are considering replacing a township police cruiser. Slater said the township is working with the Licking County Sheriff's Office to find a good deal.