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Rhinehart hosts summit on Pest management

County starts new program D.E.C.I.D.E.

Last week county legislator James Rhinehart organized a summit in Skaneateles in regards to pesticides and the watershed. His idea was to bring people of unlike minds together to listen to each other's points of view.

He was playing a card from the late Janet Besse's hand. She had organized an April pesticides awareness week in Skaneateles under Rhinehart's tenure as mayor. This included a symposium on the subject that was held at the high school one evening during that week.

Rhinehart sits on the county's soil and conservation board. He said there is a young lady who goes around and checks levels of pesticides in the Skaneateles watershed's soils.

"We have made some progress," Rhinehart said, "thanks to Janet (Besse), Bob Liegel and John May."

Liegel and May both members of Tri-County Lakes were in attendance at the summitt. There were other representatives from Tri-County, as well as Amy Samuels a watershed educator from Cornell Cooperative Extension, Terry Ettinger a landscaper and educator and Rick Kier representing the Lawn Care Professionals Association of CNY.

Kier said lawncare pros are regulated by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the federal environmental protection agency. For example, lawncare providers can get fined if they accidentally spray on your lawn when they are handling a job next door.

When it comes to pesticides, a municipality doesn't have control, although the counties were allowed to opt in a few years ago -- when Onondaga County studied the neighbor notification law Rhinehart said.

"I believed that there was no regulation and that just is not the case," Rhinehart said.

Who is to blame?

Kier's point was simply this: the biggest problem is not the trained professional. Instead, it is the typical homeowner.

He is concerned that homeowners are seeing something unusual in their yards, so they run right out and buy something.

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