The North Fork Mosquito Abatement District board appointed two new members at its Oct. 8 meeting. Rain Klepper and Glenn Austin were selected from a pool of five candidates.
"We are so lucky to have the problem of too many candidates," said Chuck Gille, president of NFMAD. "It's wonderful to live in a place where people care enough to get involved. All of these candidates came to the table with something the board could use. Our difficulty was to find the right balance and then to try to convince the others to stay involved."
"I believe that these two individuals will be a wonderful addition to the board," said Rosemary Bilchak, secretary. "With her medical background, Rain is already asking questions and presenting a perspective that is different from the way the rest of us think. Meanwhile, I feel that Glenn's pesticide research history will prove invaluable as we discuss the pros and cons of various products. Plus, he's got deep roots in the community and is well-respected."
In a previous life, Glenn Austin worked in agricultural chemicals performing field tests on pesticides being developed by Monsanto. In 1970, he moved to Colorado and started a fruit farm, using the chemicals that were standard at the time. However, after witnessing firsthand the health issues of chemical exposure, he started to look for ways to reduce their use. He is now committed to organic foods and runs Austin Family Farms in Paonia where he can be found espousing his mantra: "It's the soil." Glenn serves as a board member for Habitat for Humanity as well as on the Pitkin Mesa Water board, where he has been described as a "voice of calm."
"I'm just willing to do what I can to help my community," he says.
Rain Klepper has been in private chiropractic and naturopathic practice for over 30 years and has written and taught extensively in the field of biological and functional medicine. Rain has spent hundreds of hours studying infectious illness patterns in North America and Europe, focusing on Lyme disease and West Nile viral clusters over the last 10 years. She is intrigued by the complexity of mosquito management and hopes to leverage her experience with similarly complex issues to help reduce the risk of mosquito-borne illness in our valley.
Rain explains her willingness to serve on the board. "My husband and I are passionately devoted to our community. We are dedicated to research, education and communication as the methods of effective problem-solving."
Other candidates for the board included Tom Wills, Bill Brunner and John Sell.
Tom Wills is well-known for his participation in many boards, spearheading planning and zoning for the Town of Hotchkiss, writing for the Merchant Herald, and working tirelessly to promote our region, whether that be for local foods, murals, or beautification. He has already drafted a preliminary strategic plan for the district, which will be presented at the next board meeting on Nov. 12.
Bill Brunner has long been active in the mosquito district. He has previously assisted the board in researching issues of concern. For the last several years, he has given generously of his time to set traps, an essential component of the NFMAD program that provides data on adult mosquito populations. Most recently, he has been working on the transition of the old website to a new platform.
Although John Sell is a new face in the mosquito arena, he brings a background in computers that will be most beneficial to NFMAD. He currently manages the website for the North Fork Fire District, and has agreed to help NFMAD with its website and other social media.
"We are excited that each of these candidates is willing and eager to be involved in NFMAD and to contribute to the needs of the district," said Chuck Gille. "We can already tell that their participation will be a great asset to the district."blog comments powered by Disqus