Dorsett urges town to take steps to address river algae problem

MEEKER I The first regular board of trustees meeting for the Town of Meeker was held Wednesday, July 5.
Meeker School Superintendent Chris Selle addressed the trustees during public comments to clarify issues about how taxes related to marijuana sales impact public schools.

“A lot of the perception was that money was going to go to schools. Our school district has not received a penny of marijuana tax money,” Selle said. “It was never intended, no matter how it was presented at the ballot box, for working revenue for the schools. In terms of finance it doesn’t do anything for us locally.” (For further details, please see Selle’s guest column on page 4A of this week’s Herald Times.)
Dr. Bob Dorsett also spoke to the trustees during the public comment period, bringing up three points for the board to consider or be aware of.
Regarding the annual aerial spraying for mosquitoes, Dorsett told the board, “Aerial spraying for mosquitoes is only marginally effective and causes harmful effects on beneficial insects and other creatures up the food chain.”
Before the aerial spraying, he laid out a “control sheet” which had about a half dozen living insects. After the spraying, he found 160 deceased insects, only one of which was a mosquito. Dorsett said he hopes the town might work toward habitat control and eduction instead of the aerial spraying program.
Dorsett also told the board he is seeing trouble with algae in the White River again.
“The river is turning to slime again with the algae bloom, for the third year in a row. It’s a sign that the river is not healthy,” he said. “It endangers other aquatic wildlife, and if unchecked could affect the town’s water supply.”
Dorsett added that there are a “clearly” a few specific sources of pollution that can and should be addressed.
“I hope the town will contact the property owners. Once a bloom like this gets started it’s really hard to control.”
Additionally, Dorsett notified the board that he has submitted a draft referendum for the November ballot to see if voters approve of the Meeker Adventure Center, a project which Dorsett has been vocally opposed to since the beginning.
“I think it should be debated and voted upon,” he said.
In other business, the board approved a special event liquor license for Meeker Days on July 15 from 3-9 p.m, discussed signage, and heard from Meeker Chief of Police Phil Stubblefield about the long Fourth of July weekend and Range Call events.
“It was pretty quiet,” Stubblefield said. The police department reported arrests for a burglary “smash and grab” at Ol’ Crows Beer and Beverage, a sexual assault warrant and a man shooting numerous rounds of 30-06 caliber bullets into the air during the fireworks display.