Every year, the Onondaga County Department of Health begins surveillance and control of the mosquito population in May. They monitor more than 20 traps across the county, testing mosquitoes for West Nile and EEE. EEE was identified in the Cicero Wildlife Management area in early July which prompted an aerial spraying on July 22 after obtaining the necessary approval from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. This helped to reduce the mosquito count, but with the recent wet-weather, additional spraying throughout the neighborhoods surrounding the management area was authorized and the truck spraying occurred Aug. 17. This will continue to be monitored by the department of health.
Yes, it’s that time again: time for mosquito spraying and time to keep ourselves protected from mosquito bites. Our community is a great place to live, but we do need to be diligent about mosquito protection. We all know the basics, but as vice chair of the county legislature’s Health Committee, one of my accountabilities is to keep you fully apprised of county efforts to minimize our exposure to mosquitoes and of current preventatives against mosquito bites.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a plan to clean up contaminated soil and sediment at the Lower Ley Creek area of the Onondaga Lake Superfund Site located in the town of Salina. Discharges from nearby industries and a landfill have contaminated the soil and sediment with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other hazardous substances. PCBs are potentially cancer-causing chemicals that can build up in the tissue of fish and other wildlife and pose a threat to people who eat them. The EPA proposal calls for a combination of excavation, capping and disposal of contaminated soil and sediment.
Onondaga County Interim Commissioner of Health Michelle Mignano announced that the New York State Department of Health’s laboratory has reported finding evidence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a mosquito pool. The mosquito pool was collected on July 10 at our Taft Road trap site located at East Taft Road (near the Totman Road intersection). Due to this finding and the recent high mosquito count, aerial spraying of the Cicero Swamp and immediate surrounding areas will be done between the hours of 6 and 9 p.m. Tuesday, July 22, weather permitting. Residents in the spray areas will be notified through the media and through the emergency notification system.
With summer in full swing, many residents will be looking to public beaches to keep cool. But what happens when the beaches are closed? It’s a problem we’ve seen several times over the last couple of years at Oneida Shores in Brewerton, as well as other beaches along Oneida Lake. The park was closed to swimmers late last month by the Onondaga County Department of Health because E. coli bacteria had been found in unacceptable levels during routine sampling.
Lawmakers, local groups deal with invasive species that pose threats to environment, infrastructure
Several new threatening invasive species have emerged in Central New York within the past 10 years that have caused lawmakers, government agencies and private groups to take action. These include emerald ash borers, milfoil, hydrilla and wild boars.
Recently, Ms. Linda Young wrote in regarding feral cats in the town of Salina. While informative, it was one-sided, and the reader deserves a view of the other side. Ms. Young praises the woman who “took action” against the feral cat population and began to neuter them and adopt out those she could. What was not mentioned is that this woman also has been feeding the feral cats for the past 10 years, beginning with a female and a litter of kittens with others drawn into the area yearly. Advocates claim trap-neuter-return (TNR) keeps new kittens from being born, leading to an eventual elimination of the colony as members die off naturally. If true, the original colony should have died off, leaving us feral cat-free. The fact is if TNR worked, there would have been no opportunity for an additional 32 cats to come around needing to be neutered. Ms. Young’s claim that TNR took this colony from 32 to seven cats is false; this colony started with an initial litter, and over 10 years, up to 32 cats showed up at the food bowl spontaneously. All but seven were relocated — and of those remaining (and we’ve seen far more than seven), not all have successfully been neutered and vaccinated, which means we still have disease-carrying breeding cats present. While TNR advocates tout studies that cats are territorial and will chase other cats away, just as many studies show that a ready food source overrides this and simply attracts more cats. TNR advocates also claim that trapping and removing feral cats doesn’t solve the problem as it produces a “vacuum effect” in which new cats move in and replace those removed. However, just as many studies show this only occurs if food continues to be provided.
The town of Cicero won’t be holding a farmers market at Drivers Village — or anywhere else — this summer. According to organizer Julie Raddell, not enough vendors registered to sell at this year’s market, forcing its cancellation. “Unfortunately, too few vendors registered in advance for stall spaces at the market,” Raddell said. “We received plenty of calls from interested vendors, but without their actual reservation, I couldn’t take the risk that they would consistently show up and pay for a space.”
The town of Clay is preparing for its second season of Project Green, its 60-plot community garden located off Black Creek Road. Plot reservations are due to the town by March 28.
State Sen. David Valesky (D-Oneida) has signed on as a co-sponsor to legislation introduced in the last legislative session that will allow those charged with animal abuse or neglect to be charged with a felony under New York State Penal Law. Currently, crimes against companion animals are legislated under New York State Agriculture and Markets Law.
Vegetable stands and farmer’s markets are full of delicious fresh from the field foods — a sign the summer growing season is well under way. But when the bounty is bigger than a family’s appetite, what can be done to save your harvest from spoiling? Find your mother’s or grandmother’s old Ball canning jars and prepare yourself to be schooled during the area’s first-ever iCan event Saturday Aug. 11, at the Liverpool Community Church, which focuses on the art of home food preservation.
Looking for a different kind of summer camp experience for your kids this summer? Look no further than REACH CNY’s Camp Green Teen, a day camp for 10- to 15-year-olds based at Liverpool Community Church. The camp is aimed at helping teens make healthy decisions for themselves and their surroundings and making them aware of the many unique facets of the Central New York environment, according to program coordinator Christina Mills. The camp’s activities are almost too numerous to mention. They range from a visit to the Onondaga Lake restoration site to fishing to an egg drop to a zipline and ropes course to discussions about healthy eating and local food. “We’re doing so much,” Mills said. “It’s all about having fun and learning, too. We’re going to be doing very active learning.”
The Cicero Farmers Market at Drivers Village kicked off its inaugural season Tuesday, June 5, and it was a rousing success, according to director Julie Raddell. “We definitely had a few hundred people,” Raddell said. “We had a steady stream of customers all day. They started coming as we started setting up, and they kept coming all the way until the time we closed down.”
Residents of New York can receive 10 flowering trees by joining the Arbor Day Foundation any time during January.
What's in the Box?
On a hot, summer day there is nothing more satisfying than biting into a sun-ripened, thirst-quenching melon.