(Denver Post) An 81-year-old Colorado rancher who waged war on mosquitoes after his wife nearly died from West Nile virus has launched a last-minute fight against going to jail this week for spraying pesticides that wafted over his neighbors' organic farm.
"This is such a bogus deal. ... It is really ridiculous," James Hopper said last week on the land in Hotchkiss he has worked for 50 years. "All I'm trying to do is protect us from the mosquitoes."
State Judge Jeff Herron sentenced Hopper to jail for two days — and fined him $7,500 — ruling that his spraying until 2015 violated a 2012 court order that protected his neighbors, vegetable growers Rosemary Bilchak and Gordon MacAlpine, who suffers from leukemia.
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The decision in western Colorado's North Fork Valley sets a precedent in protecting farmers and sensitive people from pesticides.