Time again for a whirl around a week's worth of news ....
When it comes to disease vectors, northern Arizona seems to have drawn more than its fair share. There are field mice carrying hantavirus, prairie dogs infected the plague and mosquitoes buzzing with West Nile virus.
Unfortunately for humans, modern science has not discovered a way to "vaccinate" those carrier species, so the best medicine is to put as much distance between them and you as possible.
When it comes to rabies, scientists have found not only a vaccine but one that is edible by at least one local carrier species, gray foxes. The trick, though, is to get them to eat the vaccine before they pick up the disease and start attacking people, as happened in Flagstaff two years ago.
To that end, county and federal health workers will be distributing by air and by ground in the next two weeks little plastic packets coated in fish oil. They are supposed to be eaten by foxes, but most any animal is likely to find them irresistible.
Thus, the two-week quarantine on domestic pets that started Monday and stretches from Williams eastward through Flagstaff and beyond to Winona and Munds Park.
Because dogs are already subject to a leash law, the quarantine will affect mainly cats, which are normally allowed by some owners to roam. During previous quarantines, no cat owner was ever cited for a roaming Tabby, even though some were caught in box traps meant for skunks -- it seems the edible vaccine doesn't work on them, so they have to be hand-vaccinated. But please, cat owners, try a leash and walk your feline for the next two weeks -- we all have enough to worry about without wondering whether the next fox we see will try to sink its fangs into our leg instead of scampering back to its den.
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While we're talking about safety, let's not forget to mention kids, too.
Believe it or not, classes have actually started in Sunnyside at Killip School as well as in Leupp. That means students will be out en masse in those neighborhoods early in the morning and in midafternoon, and some will be on bicycles.
The bulk of the area's students don't go back to class for another two weeks, but it's not too soon to ask drivers to start paying closer attention when they see a young pedestrian approaching a corner, whether on foot or on a bike. In fact, drivers near schools should take extra time to look both ways at any stop sign, regardless of what they see on sidewalks or in bike lanes.
The main danger is from drivers making right-hand turns who focus on oncoming traffic to their left without looking one more time to their right. Small children in particular can disappear quickly from view in front of big, tall trucks, so if you are pulling out into traffic give yourself enough time to do so slowly. We had a big scare last year near Sechrist School, and no one wants to be part of a tragic accident that can be avoided by being in a little less hurry and little more vigilant at intersections.
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Finally, it was gratifying to learn of such an outpouring of community support for the family of Christian Watson after the 5-year-old's accidental death.
The death of a child is never easy to accept, and the days immediately afterward are among the toughest any parent will ever have to endure. From work colleagues to pre-school classmates to store clerks, the support for a family already under siege by the floodwaters in Timberline was impressive. To learn more about the Christian Watson Memorial Fund, go to www.gofundme.com/6gp2s.