NORTH ANDOVER — According to the town website, the moderate threat of mosquito virus Eastern Equine Encephalitis — or 'EEE' for short — in the community has prompted officials to cancel the town's block party and remembrance of the Columbia gas disaster last year.
A year ago, Columbia Gas' over pressurized lines caused fires, injury, displacement, and even death in the Merrimack Valley. Several businesses closed while lines were fixed by the company, effecting income.
Scheduled for Sept. 13, the block party would have paired local first responders, neighbors and merchants, with food, drink and entertainment, in an effort to support local businesses affected by the gas disaster, according to the online flyer.
On Sept. 5, a letter on the town's website indicated that the event had been canceled due to factors like positive tests of EEE being present in the neighboring communities of Methuen, Andover, and Boxford, and the Board of Health's recommendation to avoid activities that take place outdoors during times when mosquitoes are most active.
Residents and merchants are still encouraged to partake in the Fall Festival however, which is scheduled on Saturday, Sept. 21 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Town Common. That event will include activities like the presence of public safety vehicles, pumpkin decorating, games, pony rides, and other family events.
Calls to the Rock the Block contact person Jon Bonanno were not returned by press time.