MONTOUR, Idaho -- A massive mosquito problem is driving a community to take action in Gem County.
Many people in Montour and Sweet are desperate to get into the county's mosquito abatement program, but they have so far been unsuccessful. On Tuesday night, they reorganized at a community meeting in a local restaurant.
We're just calling anybody and everybody that can try to help us, said Linda Lowe, who helped organize the meeting.
Decades ago, the towns opted out of the county's mosquito abatement program for agricultural reasons. The population, land use and technology has changed, and now many in the town want back in because of what has turned into a big mosquito problem.
You can't have a normal life out here, Lowe said. It's just a horrible, horrible situation to be captive in your home.
People in Montour have tried petitions three times in the last decade. The most recent was rejected in June.
We don't know the right way. We've tried several ways. We just haven't gotten any help until tonight, Lowe said.
At the community meeting, different county officials came to give information and listen to concerns. The county's mosquito abatement director talked through the rules and explained the most recent petition didn't have enough valid signatures to get a vote and also didn't include the right parts of town for where people really want sprayed.
The meeting was packed with people ready to do or sign anything that would change the situation.
If you don't spray every day, you can't go outside, George Brajkovich said.
Brajkovich has been collecting mosquitoes on his property. He brought a jar of mosquitoes to the meeting to illustrate the problem on his property.
I got one cup of mosquitoes from 48 hours, Brajkovich said. I don't know how many thousands are in there, but there's a lot. It's a full cup of them from two days.
It's very serious. We've had deaths of people. We've had deaths of animals. The mosquitoes are so bad, and they're getting worse, Lowe said.
Lowe's neighbor Margie Kulberg knows the danger and seriousness of the problem more than most. She lost her husband to West Nile virus last year.
Knowing that you could get bit and it does scare you. Every time you're lashing one away, you don't know if that's the one that's carrying something, Kulberg said.
Kulberg is one who's been circulating the petitions and one who hopes their meeting will finally help organize plans for the short-term and long-term.
It's an epidemic here, really. It's just a swarm at your window, at your door. And of course, I'm scared, Kulberg said.
While people work on a permanent fix, they're also working on an emergency solution that could go into effect now. For that, they're reaching out to Lieutenant Governor Brad Little and Senator Risch.
Ultimately, if Montour wants in to the existing district, the people already living in the district need to vote the town into the taxing district. The alternative would be commissioners pulling the town in without a petitioned vote.