Merrillville aims to get a jump on rain
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent August 28, 2012 9:12PM
Updated: September 30, 2012 6:25AM
MERRILLVILE — Worried that the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac could cause a repeat of the 2008 floods in the region, council members Tuesday called for preventive action.
Councilman Tom Goralczyk, D-4th, asked Public Works director Bruce Spires to ensure that all the ditches in town are clean of debris and that Spires compile a list of employees willing to work overtime if needed over the weekend, when rains from the hurricane are expected to arrive.
“I don’t want a repeat of 2008,” Goralczyk said, referring to the flooding throughout Northwest Indiana that forced people out of their homes and closed roads.
Spires said he will check on the ditches this week. He added there are some employees who want the overtime if available.
Councilwoman Carol Miano, D-3rd, expressed concern with mosquitoes and the possibility that some residents could contract West Nile Virus, a problem that could be exacerbated by heavy rains.
Miano said she has been receiving phone calls from residents in her ward who live along Turkey Creek who are concerned about mosquitoes. She asked Spires what his plans are for spraying the insects.
But Spires and others suggested there might be more effective means for controlling mosquitoes and preventing the potentially deadly disease.
“I could spray, but the mosquito population has been so light, I don’t know if it will help. It might be best for people to apply mosquito spray on themselves,” Spires said.
Councilman Ron Widing, D-7th, said mosquito abatement works better than spraying, and Matt Lake, executive director of the town’s Stormwater Management, said there are measures residents could take such as not having standing water in their yards.
In other matters, Miano said she has been in touch with the Lake County Criminal Courts about having some prisoners —none of whom are sex offenders or violent criminals — doing some cleanup work around town.
Also, Lake said he is looking to establish a management plan for Bon Aire Lake that would include input from residents.
He said the lake has already been treated for algae and all the working fountains in the lake are operating.
“This will be more of a collaboration (among residents and the town),” Lake said of the plan.