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Doug French’s Hen Island

What City of Rye Mayor Doug French and City Manager Scott Pickup will not tell the public, we will…

Westchester County officials informed the City of Rye that New York State Laboratory test results from larva drawn from samples on Rye’s Hen Island indicate high concentrations of West Nile Virus (WNV) carrying mosquitoes being hatched in Rye. In fact, of 16 sites found county-wide as testing positive for WNV – fully 6 of those 16 are in Rye (over 35%). Yet to date, no public health warnings disclosing the presence of WNV have been issued to the public by Mayor French or any other Rye Official.
This is gross governmental negligence where public safety is concerned. But we also know that Hen Island is a special case in Rye where the city and the county administration has refused to enforce current health, building and safety codes that would immediately curb the breeding of millions of mosquitoes annually on the Island.

What the County of Westchester, Rye and Mayor French want unacknowledged is that it still quietly permits Hen Island to store more than 33 thousand gallons of untreated stagnant bird feces infected rainwater collected from cottage rooftops for use inside cottages for showering, dish washing and other domestic uses. Unfortunately it is physically impossible to prevent natural contaminants, (including egg laying mosquitoes) from entering these makeshift rain capture systems.

Every summer day, hundreds of unsuspecting children, parents and grandparents all, boat, swim, sail and play at camps and clubs on Milton Point and throughout Rye. Shenorock and Coveleigh Shore Club, American Yacht Club, the Rye Nature Center, The Rye Golf Club and the Green Haven home-owners association beach are all located less than a 1/2 mile from Hen Island. Mosquitoes typically travel up to 5 miles from their breeding grounds depending on wind speeds and wind direction.

Hen Island is located at the mouths of Mamaroneck’s and Rye’s harbors and it is municipally regulated by the City of Rye and the County of Westchester. Last month Westchester reported the first positive test results confirming WNV countywide were found in Mamaroneck. A few days later, test samples pulled from Hen Island revealed WNV infected mosquito larva on the Island and shortly thereafter 3 reported human cases were discovered. Two of the cases were located less than one half mile from Hen Island.

For over 60 years Rye has permitted the 34 cottage home’s on Hen Island to ignore local, state and federal health laws requiring residents to be connected to either potable municipal water sources (already available to the island) or to approved water wells they could drill. Hen Island remains exempt from these regulations despite its shorelines being only 450 feet away from Rye’s wealthy Green-Haven and Milton Point sections where a single family home was recently listed for sale for over $12 million dollars.

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Doug French
Douglas French is former president of the Mises Institute, author of Early Speculative Bubbles & Increases in the Money Supply, and author of Walk Away: The Rise and Fall of the Home-Ownership Myth. He received his master's degree in economics from UNLV, studying under both Professor Murray Rothbard and Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe.
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