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West Nile Fight

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West Nile Fight
By: Wendy Ray

The warmer weather means mosquito season is just around the corner, and concerns are already rising on the spread of the West Nile virus. One Heartland state is taking a different approach to try and combat it this year.The Illinois Senate approved a measure that will charge an additional 50 cents to properly dispose of used tires, a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Tires piled up in a yard may just look like eyesores, but the Illinois Department of Public Health says they could be hazardous to your health because this is where mosquitoes lay their eggs. But, if you can get rid of used tires, you can reduce that health risk.

Mike Yates, a foreman with the Union County Highway Department, says the county makes an effort every year to properly discard tires, and he fears an additional 50 cent fee on used tire pickups may mean more illegal dumping. "Lots of people won't leave their tires because of that reason. I think it may cause worse problems in the country," Yates says.

Some folks in Union County agree, they shouldn't have to pay more to get rid of your tires. Lisa Bigler of Anna says, "I think that should be a service provided by the city with taxes." While Dr. Joe Miller of Anna says, "If everybody's worried about it pick up your own tires. There aren't that many lying around, there's a bunch of other stuff lying around out there."

But health department leaders say picking up tires is a big step in battling the West Nile virus. There's already concern West Nile could be an even bigger problem this year, and prevention is the one thing everyone can do to help fight it. The proposed 50 cent increase is the first step in getting more money, so the state can battle West Nile. John Bigler of Anna agrees. He says, "You don't go through tires that often. It may be a good way to defer costs and prevent some diseases."

The bill on used tires is now headed to the Illinois House. It's estimated the additional 50 cents could generate around three million dollars for the Illinois Department of Public Health.

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