With all the emphasis on tourism and events to draw tourists to our area, some things are just taken for granted.

Dear Editor,

With all the emphasis on tourism and events to draw tourists to our area, some things are just taken for granted.  This summer, once again, was a banner season for those who thrive on the tourist trade.  We at Happy Ours Kayak & Bike Outpost, after 13 years of doing business in Gulf County, have learned that those summer months are crucial to our survival.  This season we had a tremendous amount of rainfall, creating ideal breeding conditions, but the familiar hum of the mosquito truck making its nightly rounds assured us a bug free morning.

Let me backtrack about 10 years when we literally met our customers at their cars with a can of OFF so they could rent a kayak and escape the mosquitos in the safety of St. Joseph Bay.  Imagine the effect on bed taxes if we had to hand out bug suits along with keys to the rental homes when visitors checked in.  I dare not even mention the risk of illness from mosquito-borne disease.

Each time Mosquito Control sprays our area, I make a note on my calendar.  They are so diligent compared to the old days that I hear them spraying even during the dry periods.  So I called one day to ask why they sprayed when there was no rain.  Mark Cothran answered my question succinctly when he said, “We have traps at Dead Man’s Curve about one-half mile from you and they are full so we’re taking action.” 

Wow!  I was impressed.  Not only were they taking preventative measures, I got a straight forward and simple response.  It reminded me of what the great baseball player Willie Mays said when they asked him why he was so good.  He replied, “They throw the ball.  I hit it.  They hit the ball.  I catch it.” 

The purpose of this letter is to give praise to the Gulf County Mosquito Control for advances made by their research, technology, and hard work.  I’m sure their funding has been cut like most other public projects, but they still get the job done.  Just imagine what they could do about biting flies if given the responsibility.  So next time you are sitting at the Scallop Festival or watching the sunset from your outdoor balcony or waiting for a table at the Raw Bar, take note of the absence of mosquitos that would normally drive you away.  Even with all the rains of this summer, we can thank someone who was out there “throwing the ball” and hitting it . . . with a big fly swatter.

Thank you Gulf County Mosquito Control,

Dan VanVleet

Happy Ours