Swatting through the clouds

To the gazillions of mosquitoes in the Central Alberta region waging an itchy and scratchy war against those who dare venture outside. May the swat be with you.

Dart…

To the gazillions of mosquitoes in the Central Alberta region waging an itchy and scratchy war against those who dare venture outside.

May the swat be with you.

These winged kamikaze pests are disrupting outdoor activities in major proportions, to say the least. Golfers are doing more swatting than swinging the clubs; gardeners are being chased indoors by small tornadoes of skeeters; a traditional pleasant summer walk along the Red Deer trail systems has turned into a battle zone; and campers are diving into their protective bomb shelters of holiday trailers and tents.

Insect repellent containers are being emptied, to no avail, to fend off the occupation. One stands a better chance dousing a 1,000-acre wildfire with a hand-held fire extinguisher than to beat the skeeters with repellents.

It’s been suggested these minute warriors attacking Red Deer residents are flying in undetected, below radar level, from surrounding rural areas since the city has an award-winning mosquito-control program.

Not the case. Rural residents are digging battle trenches as well.

All kidding aside, the topic of conversation of late has been the mosquito infestation. Usually at this time of the year the subject for discussion is the weather.

July’s soaking cloudbursts at first had tongues wagging about crappy weather. In its wake, July left behind plenty of standing water that only ducks dream of, creating an ideal environment for mosquitoes to thrive in epic proportions.

Aside from taking a daily bath in Deet (not recommended), the major chemical component of most commercial insect repellents, the only way to approach this invasion is to learn to live with it.

And smile every time you smack a mosquito drilling into your arm knowing you’re making a difference in putting a dent in the population, likely numbering in the multi-billions.

Or, take comfort in the fact that deep-freeze weather is just around the corner.

That’ll wipe out those little buggers.

Bouquet…

To the County of Ponoka, for its progressive move to provide high-speed Internet to its rural residents.

While urban dwellers take such a luxury for granted, many in the country have had to contend with what is called a dial-up service through their telephone companies.

Dial-up is slower than molasses in January. Users attempting to download big files might as well take the weekend off before the task is completed.

Rural residents rely heavily on the Internet. It’s puzzling that, as demand for fast-paced Internet service rises, the needs of rural areas have hardly been addressed.

Ponoka County, with the aid of provincial funding, plans to erect seven communication towers that will deliver the high-speed service. It’s expected that all rural residents will have access to high-speed Internet by the end of September.

“The fact is high-speed Internet has become a utility for most people,” said Charlie Cutforth, Ponoka county chief administrative officer.

Rural residents don’t have access to cable installations that deliver high-speed Internet to urban dwellers.

It’s a matter of economics for cable companies to shy away from the rural areas.

That’s where the provincial government should step in and offer cash incentives to encourage other counties to follow Ponoka County’s example.

Urban taxpayers may cry the blues over having to subsidize rural dwellers. But the country folks pay the same taxes that are subsidizing urban incentives.

Rick Zemanek is an Advocate editor.

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