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RELEASE: 11/8/01

CONTACT: Sharon A. Southard or Amy Collings
(609) 984-1795 or 609-292-2994


What's the buzzword? It's not mosquitoes. Rather it's the fact that 90-year-old West Orange resident Aaron H. Rappaport has been reelected for the 25th time as chairman of the state's Mosquito Control Commission.

Rappaport is no stranger to vector control. Rappaport first became involved in the important task of mosquito control in 1960 when he was appointed a member of the Essex County Mosquito Extermination Commission. There, he served 19 years--two years as president, and as treasurer for 14 years where he oversaw a budget of over $800,000. During his service, Rappaport witnessed new developments such as the use of right-hand drive vehicles to treat the over 60,000 street catch basins to control the mosquito larvae that breed there and the use of amphibious equipment to remove debris and sediment from clogged water ways such as the Passaic River.

"The Essex County Mosquito Control Commission evolved as a premier mosquito control agency earning state and national recognition which exemplifies the reputation that New Jersey still has in this science thanks to Rappaport's leadership," said State Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Shinn.

Rappaport guided the agency through several episodes of the mosquito-borne diseases such as the Eastern Equine Encephalitis outbreak of 1959 and the St. Louis Encephalitis outbreak of 1975. His experience led to an appointment to the state Mosquito Control Commission in 1976, and he was nominated chairman a year later. His 25th re-election as commission chairman occurred at the commission's annual reorganization meeting in October.

"With the exception of biologists and scientists, probably no one knows better the history of vector control than Aaron Rappaport," said Bob Kent, administrator of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Office of Mosquito Control Coordination. "He is one of the most respected and esteemed individuals in the mosquito control profession and brings a breadth of knowledge unsurpassed by others."

From the Eastern Equine Encephalitis outbreak of 1959 to the most recent infectious mosquito-borne disease, the West Nile virus, Rappaport has been involved in making sure that the state Mosquito Control Commission reacts swiftly to protect the public from mosquitoes and the threat of mosquito-borne diseases.
During his watch he oversaw the implementation of several new programs initiated by the state commission including the development of the biological control program which uses mosquito-eating fish as an all-natural control practice and the implementation of an Integrated Pest Management Strategy which has reduced the use of insecticides for mosquito control. Currently, the commission has a yearly budget of $1.2 million for the state-aid program that assists the statewide network of country mosquito control agencies in this important work.

Rappaport joined the New Jersey Mosquito Control Association, a professional society of scientists and commissioners, in 1967. He served as a long-time member of the auditing committee, a member of the executive committee, and the association's president in 1986.

A recipient of the Jesse B. Leslie award for outstanding service presented to him by the mosquito control community in 1981, Rappaport was also recognized by Rutgers University where he received the Cook College award for Meritorious Service in 1988-the only time this award was presented to a member of the mosquito control community.

Rappaport is the retired owner and president of Rappaport Oil Company in East Orange and a former Captain of the West Orange Police Reserve. He served in the Army from 1944-1946 with the Infantry where he was Chief of Classification for the Adjutant General's Department.

He has been a member of numerous civic and business organizations including Oil Heat Council, Fuel Merchant's Association, American Legion, Post 22 of West Orange, Jewish Center of West Orange, and Suburban Club of West Orange. Also, YMCA of the Oranges, Irvington Lodge, F.A.M. #251, B'nai Birth, Ezekiel Lodge, #90, Greater Newark Community Chest, the United Jewish Appeal, and the American Red Cross.

Rapport resides in West Orange with his wife, Anne, and has a daughter, Laurie Ellen, and a grand and great-grand daughter.

The state Essex Mosquito Control Commission was organized in 1914 following the discovery that mosquitoes were directly responsible for the transmission of some of the most deadly diseases. Today, the control of mosquitoes in the state is addressed at every level of government ranging from seasonal programs at the municipal and federal levels, to year-round programs administered by counties and state agency.

The state Mosquito Control Commission was established in 1956. The commission is staffed full-time by the Office of Mosquito Control Coordination which is part of the DEP. Membership on the commission includes six public members and four state officials. The Governor, with advice and consent of the Senate, appoints the public members who serve for four-year terms. The commission is responsible for the monitoring of mosquito control activities in the state. It recommends to the Governor and State Legislature changes to existing laws needed to efficiently carry on mosquito control efforts throughout the state.



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