Volume 8, Number 1 - March 27, 2008
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Council Asked To Ensure Public Awareness Of Ozone Alerts
Several Pinedale residents met with the Pinedale Town Council on Monday to discuss the recent outbreak of ozone warnings for the county that began last month and continued through Sunday and Monday.
Five ozone alerts have been issued in the last 30 days, according to the Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ )Wyoming Visibility Monitoring Network. “Ozone is an air pollutant produced from human-caused emissions that reacts in sunlight. High concentrations of ozone can cause inflammation and irritation of the respiratory tract, particularly during heavy physical activity. Breathing ozone can trigger a variety of health problems including chest pain, coughing, throat irritation, and congestion. It can worsen bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma. Groundlevel ozone also can reduce lung function and inflame the linings of the lungs. Repeated exposure may permanently scar lung tissue.”
When an ozone alert is issued, it is an advisement that people, particularly children, the elderly and individuals with respiratory problems reduce their outdoor activities.
For these reasons, locals Les Margo and John Fogerty addressed the council on the effects and awareness of the problems throughout town.
“Mainly I had some questions and want to throw some ideas out there on the air quality,” Fogerty said. “It’s hard to tell what direction this is going in.”
According to Fogerty, he spoke with a mother of two children recently who did not even realize the ozone alerts had been issued. With two small children, Fogerty said he felt it was particularly important she and others know what is happening as not everyone in the county keeps up with the local media.
“There are some that are still in the dark about this,” he added.
Fogerty asked the council to send out a mailer, possibly with the next water bills, to let people who might not read newspapers or listen to the radio know about the ozone conditions that arise.
“This is life-altering stuff,” Fogerty said. “Just say, ‘Be aware of it.’ ”
Margo spoke briefly in regard to the fact that high ozone levels are making her dog blind.
“I’m worried about the small children, also,” she said. “Because they are low to the ground like my dog.”
Another worry broached by both Fogerty and Mayor’s Assistant Lauren McKeever was the lack of available data from the DEQ’s Pinedale area ozone and particulate monitors.
According to McKeever, DEQ also stated that the current ozone conditions were more than likely locally formed and additional studies are planned for the next three years.
In other town news:
• Animal Control Officer July Early reported catching eight dogs for the month of March; three were claimed and two were adopted. Three are still at the shelter.
• Ron Hanson of Public Works requested a motion to approve the purchase of sodium silicate for the water system. Since it is already in the Public Works budget, a purchase of no more than $25,000 was approved. Hanson also stated the town is looking into brown and white reflective street signs.
• Councilman Gary Hueck asked Hanson if the two-year bond for contractors could be decreased to one year due to hardships voiced by contractors.
“There are some places where it hasn’t really settled for two years,” Hanson said. “ I think we better keep with two years.”
• Council approved entering into a contract with WLC Engineering at the request of Town Engineer Eugene Ninnie for contract writing to receive funding for capital improvements from the State Loan and Investment Board (SLIB).
“I really think that is one place we need to go after it and really need somebody who knows the SLIB board,” Councilwoman Nylla Kunard said when casting her vote in support of the action.
• The council unanimously approved Stantech to dredge the town sewer pit due to an accumulation of sludge.
• Council requested additional time to consider entering into a contract for a comprehensive town GIS and a Wyoming Association of Municipalities (WAM) WCCA loan for the upcoming energy audit. According to Ninnie, the loan would be a 10-year note at 0 percent interest.
• Planning and Zoning brought in $4,568 during the month for permits and water and meter monies. Megan Jacquet stated there will be 10 items on the April agenda including a motel request, a hotel request and plat reviews.
• McKeever advised the town the “state does not prevent (evaporation pits) on private or state lands,” meaning there is no limit on how close to town these facilities can be.
• Town Municipal Officer Jennifer Gocke reported giving 14 citations for February, mostly for parking by yellow curbs.
• Liquor licenses were renewed for local business with Bottoms Up Brewery’s renewal being contingent on verification of production to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade
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