Letter to the Editor: Complaint about spraying notification

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To the editor:

The purpose of this letter is not to add to the debate of whether aerial spraying in Hopkinton was justified. However, in the interest of full disclosure, I question the reasoning behind introducing a toxin to all of Hopkinton (including watershed areas) in the face of only four cases of EEE in all of Massachusetts, and none in Hopkinton. In addition, why so late in the season when nighttime temperatures go down into the 50s and mosquitos leave us for the colder months? That discussion will have to wait until next year.

In any event, my complaint today is with the complete failure of the officials of this town to notify the residents of Hopkinton. In the past, we received notice of scheduled spraying (and when it involved ground spraying we could opt out simply by putting up paper plates on the edge of our properties with the words “no spray.”) This year, with aerial spraying and, therefore, no ability to opt out, we received no notice whatsoever. (In addition to putting up the plates, a form filed with the state was a futile gesture.) When my wife called various officials in town hall, she received no information or incorrect information.

How many of our residents don’t even know that spraying occurred August 26 and 27? Some notice would have allowed us to cover or shelter vegetable and other plants, pets and livestock, and close windows to protect ourselves. (I guess there are no more organic gardens in all of Hopkinton. We have lived in Hopkinton for over 37 years and have never used herbicides or pesticides on our property — until now.)

Every member of the Board of Selectmen, Board of Health and the Town Manager should resign or be fired. The first obligation of government is to protect us, or at least give us the tools to protect ourselves. All officials of the Town of Hopkinton have failed miserably in this duty. Shame on you all.

 

— Jeffrey Auerhahn, Hopkinton