Thomaston patience ‘thin’

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 17, 2003

“This is our home," Gayle Etheridge, a member of the Thomaston town council said of her town. "This is where our lives are invested. This is where we’re invested &045; no matter how big or how small."

A public meeting was held Monday evening in the old Marengo County High School building to discuss problems controlling mosquitoes and the need for a water and sewer system in Thomaston.

Approximately 35 residents attended the meeting. Etheridge said the attendance was indicative of the concern residents had for their town.

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Representatives from the state Health Department and the offices of Congressman Artur Davis were on hand to address citizens and answer questions.

Sylvan Muschler, county Emergency Management Agency director, also attended.

No promises of funding were made from Davis’ office, but Powell said Thomaston residents have "our heart and our ear."

Audrey Haskins, from Congressman Davis’ Demopolis office, addressed the crowd and said the staff of the congressman and the Thomaston town council had identified the water and sewer problem as the top priority.

Haskins said the Thomaston residents will have to be understanding along with the patience. "Water and sewer systems are exceptionally expensive," she said. "Yes, there are grants and funding that are available to help you, but in the end, the costs still rest with the people. Once you get a water system in place, once you get a functioning sewer system in place, your water bill will increase."

Haskins also asked the citizens to have patience with their elected officials. "Everything is not their fault. They can only do so many things for the good of the people."

Tammy Maul said that Congressman Davis did not have discretionary funds available like state representatives and senators. However, "from the congressional aspect, we can identify funding sources for grants," she said. "You have our support any way that we can identify funding for this project."

Parrish Pugh from the Health Department, who is also the chairman of the Thomaston Water Board, began the meeting with information about controlling mosquito breeding.

Pugh said large bug spraying was not as effective – more of "a quick fix" – except for eliminating insects for a specific event like a ball game or Thomaston’s Rural Fun Day. He stressed the need for prevention, eliminating standing water from receptacles such as old buckets and tires, keeping grass cut and placing larva side wafers in water to stop mosquito breeding.

The use of protective long sleeve clothing and DEET insect repellent was also discussed.

Pugh also asked the resident to look for dead birds that might have been affected by West Nile Virus. "If you find a dead bird that is a Blue Jay, a crow or a bird of prey such as a hawk or owl…those seem to be the…species that are indicators that we have an active virus in the area," Pugh said. "If you find any one of those, call your local health department."