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Eradicating an invasive grass; how your stimulus dollars are being spent

Millions of stimulus dollars are pouring into the Port City. Projects are getting underway and people are receiving much-needed aid. But you may be surprised where some of the money is going and how many jobs it's really creating.
/ Source: WPMI-TV

(MOBILE, Ala.) Nov. 16 - Millions of stimulus dollars are pouring into the Port City. Projects are getting underway and people are receiving much-needed aid. But you may be surprised where some of the money is going and how many jobs it's really creating. Even on a breath-taking Fall afternoon, the government says a silent epidemic is taking place in fields all across South Alabama. It's becoming a real problem. It invades our native species and takes over, said Kenneth Leslie with the Alabama Forestry Commission. So what is this unlikely foe? It's called cogongrass, and the government is about to spend $6 million of your tax dollars to help eradicate it. It's going to take a great deal more than that amount to eradicate it. We're just trying to get a hold of it and keep it from spreading further north, said Leslie. A lot of money for a problem, many didn't even know existed. Have you ever heard of cogongrass? asked Ramey. No, replied Sharon Smith. The highly flammable and invasive grass is not the only thing stimulus money is being spent on in our area. It's replacing a bridge and paying for a turning basin at the south end of Mobile River so larger ships can come to the Port City. We're building a fire station as a result of stimulus money. That's going to create jobs. That's going to create income for our local companies. We think its working. We think something was needed, said Mobile Mayor Sam Jones. While the stimulus money might be going to some much-needed projects, if you're expecting it to create thousands of jobs... think again. We found in the 36603 zip code $4.6 million has been spent, but only 11.9 jobs have been created. In the 36609 zip code, $6.8 million was spent creating 32 jobs. The mayor says he's never seen a perfect government program but adds this one comes at a crucial time. The stimulus has had a positive impact on some critical needs in our community, said Jones. Even if those needs aren't well-known.

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