Mosquito spraying remains likely, but indefinite

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KATHARINE GRAYSON

The Des Plaines Valley Mosquito Abatement District may spray Oak Park again with pesticides to ward off mosquitos carrying the West Nile virus either tomorrow or Friday, according to Paul Geery, assistant director of the abatement district .
Although several community members and some Village of Oak Park trustees have disagreed with the decision-making process leading up to last month's round of fogging, the village will continue to base their determination on the recommendations of the abatement district and the Oak Park Health Department, said David Powers, communications director for the Village of Oak Park.
Trustee Galen Gockel, one of the village officials who argues that trustees should have been consulted before the decision to spray was made, said he does not think there is much hope that the process will be changed before the next fogging. 
"I think it would be an uphill fight," he said. "The dominant feeling within the board is that the abatement district and the health department should make the decision. Even if the process had been different, the final outcome might have been the same."
Gockel does not have a strong opinion on whether or not the spraying is necessary.
"It's very much an open question," he said. "I don't know if it's clear one way or the other whether it's needed."
Trustee Gus Kostopulos, who stated that he is against the spraying, also said he thinks the efforts of some trustees to get involved in the process will likely fail.
He added that a presentation made by the Health Department did not convince him that the measure was necessary.
"We should have a thorough discussion about the implications [spraying] would have on younger people and our environment," he said. "It is not clear which is worse--the mosquitos or the chemicals."
Powers said that spraying might not take place if temperatures drop. He added that it is difficult for the village to adequately warn the community in advance about spraying, largely because the decision is generally made based on constantly shifting environmental factors.
He said a notice would be posted on the village's website, and anyone who is concerned with the pesticide fogging should contact the Mosquito Abatement District at 447-1765.

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