PAGE 1 AUGUST 21 2014 VECTOR CONTROL ROUTINELY SPRAYS LW FLOOD CONTROL CHANNEL by Ruth Osborn Golden Rain News Floods or bugs, Leisure World residents have little to worry about when it comes to the 50-year-old flood control channel bisecting the community. The channel was built to protect residents against flood, and Orange County Vector District rolls in every 7-14 days to protect residents against mosquito infestation.
The culvert is a perfect place for mosquitos to breed, which increases the risk of spreading West Nile Virus (WNV).
WNV, a mosquito-borne disease originally found in Africa, is on the rise in Orange County, but there have been no cases of infection reported in Seal Beach.
That’s thanks to men like Jhaaman Welton and Adrian Velazquez of Orange County Vector Control. They regularly come to Leisure World to spray the mile-long channel with Bti, or bacillus thuringiensis, a bacterium found naturally in soils. Since 1982, it has been successfully used worldwide as a biological pest control agent to combat mosquitoes.
On a recent Thursday, Welton and Velazquez pulled on wading boots, respirator masks and gloves. They unlocked the gate on the chainlink fence and descended into the concrete culvert. As Welton used a net to check for mosquito larvae, Velazquez shouldered the 50-pound motorized backpack filled with Bti. Mosquitoes are largely aquatic with most of their development occurring in or near stagnant water.
Welton samples the stagnant water at the head of the culvert near the Main Gate while Velazquez starts the slow walk down-channel, spraying as he goes. At the halfway point, Welton takes over the pack, and finishes the job. It’s hot work. It takes about 40 minutes to spray the entire length of the LW channel, one of about nine channel sections serviced every day in this area of Orange Couny, according to Michael DuBose, vector control inspector. The county maintains a total 60 flood channels, covering 331 miles and 747 acres.
Mosquitoes can develop from egg to adult in a week, hence the frequent spraying schedule, which has thus far prevented infestations. No mosquito samples or birds have tested positive for WNV in Leisure World this year, according to the latest OC Vector Control map.
As of Aug. 12, there have been 11 human infections, 139 positive dead birds and 180 positive mosquito samples in Orange County, with most of the positive specimens found in Santa Ana. Two infected dead birds were reported in Los Alamitos, the closest occurrences to Leisure World.
Vector Control has reported human infections in Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Santa Ana, Orange and Laguna Niguel.
Since 1999, when WNV was detected in the eastern United States, it has spread across the United States and is well established in most states, including California.
Most people infected with WNV don’t experience symptoms or only minor ones, such as fever and mild headache, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, some people who become infected develop a life-threatening illness that includes inflammation of the brain.
Mild signs and symptoms of a WNV infection generally go away on their own. But severe reactions—such as severe headache, fever, disorientation or weakness—require attention.
People can protect themselves by using mosquito repellent and wearing clothing that covers the skin. Drain standing water to prevent mosquito infestation.
COYOTES MAKE A STAND
by Ruth Osborn
Golden Rain News
Madelaine Pino was out walking Snowflake, a 6-pound white poodle, at about 9:30 on a sunny bright Monday. She didn’t venture far, just to greenbelt near her home. Snowflake was several feet out on her leash, and Pino was talking to her son on a cellphone when—seemingly from nowhere—a coyote bit Snowflake on the head. The dog screamed, and so did Pino. She dropped her phone, as she struggled to reel in the leash.
“But I lost control of it. I was trying to get Snowflake away, but the coyote was pulling,” said Pino, 83, a small woman who stands about 5 feet tall. Her screams caused Mary Ruth Greer of Mutual 11 to come running. “She was yelling, clapping and stomping,” said Pino, “and the coyote ran.” But when Greer backed off, the coyote stopped. It took several tries to scare away the animal for good.
The coyote ran toward Mutual 15 where it was spotted resting in a greenbelt near 1941 McKinny Way. It got up and ran away when people walked toward it.
LW Security got a second report of a dog being bitten by a coyote about a half hour later. That dog and Snowflake were taken to the vet, and both are expected to recover, according to LW Security Watch Cmdr. Larry Campbell.
There are unconfirmed reports that a coyotes made off with a dog from Mutual 4 on Aug. 15 and one from Mutual 6 on Aug. 18.
Security took 90 reports of coyote sightings in Leisure World between Aug. 2 and Aug. 13. The coyotes range all over Leisure World at all times of the day, with Mutual 16 as the lone sector with no reported sightings. Most of the reports, 15, came from Mutual 2, followed by Mutual 5 with 12 and Mutual 6 with 10.
Coyote sightings in Old Town and Surfside are also on the rise. In response, the Seal Beach City Council had an educational outreach Aug. 11 on how to manage the urban invasion.
Experts say coyotes are predators that help keep the wetlands in balance, but they also feed on pets and their food. It’s important to haze coyotes, like Greer did to save Snowflake. Hazing is a method that uses deterrents to move animals out of an area. People should shout, stamp their feet, clap their hands and make themselves look large. Never run from a coyote, which can reach speeds of 40 miles an hour. Hazing asserts dominance over them.
Pino was at that city council meeting Aug. 11 and told the council that she didn’t think that seniors would be able to manage hazing.
In an ironic case of life imitating conjecture, Pino found herself in the exact position she feared Aug. 18.
After the attack, Security Officer Pat Werner advised Pino to carry pepper spray, a stick or a whistle.
“If I had to walk around with all that,” said Pino, “I couldn’t do it.” When the coyote bit Snowflake, it happened so fast that Pino was overwhelmed. The leash cut into her wrist, rendering her immobile. Greer heard the dog crying in distress and ran out of her mother’s nearby house, yelling and stamping her feet. She picked up the dog and handed it to a traumatized Pino and again charged the coyote who stopped nearby.
Greer, a new resident from Utah, said she went home and bought air horns from Amazon.com in case of a future encounter.
Dogs must be on leashes no longer than six feet, according to Leisure World policy. Longer leashes put dogs at risk. Dogs must be leashed at all times in LW, even if the resident is just sitting outside with a dog.
It’s believed that prolonged drought, massive freeway construction that removed huge expanses of urban wildlife habitat and readily available food have drawn coyotes to Seal Beach and surrounding cities. The animals use the flood control channels to roam the region.
“This is the time of year the new coyote cubs are learning to hunt and so we need to be on extra alert as they are traveling in packs at times rather than individually,” said Mayor Ellery Deaton, who distributed a newsletter to her constituents about the issue.
Seal Beach and Leisure World Security—using resident reports— are working with Animal Control to map and track groups of coyotes. City staff is working with the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station to make sure fences are kept mended.
To report a fence that needs mending, call Sean Crumby, public works director, at 431-2527, ext. 1318.
IRS SCAMMERS IN LW
by Jim Breen
Golden Rain News
If the Microsoft Tech Support scam is the No. 1 nusiance in Leisure World, a solid runner-up has stepped forward. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ploy is claiming thousands of victims across the country and was attempted in Leisure World twice last week.
Willie Schertzing, a lady from Mutual 1, stopped by The News visibly shaken after receiving a threatening, abusive call from a man claiming to be from the IRS.
A stern message and warning was left on the first call threatening an arrest warrant if back taxes were not paid immediately.
She got a live person on the second call made to her home.
“He had a muffled voice and said he was from the IRS and that I was in trouble over past-due taxes,” said Schertzing. “He was angry and said they might have to take my house unless we pay $2,100 right away,” she said. She refused, then told him she contacted Seal Beach police, who confirmed the call was a scam. The man hung up on the spot.
Schertzing alertly took down the number of the scammer, who was calling from Seattle, Washington.
Giuseppe DiPrima, a non-resident, reported an identical call made last week to his parents, Frank and Paola of Mutual 5.
The voice on the recorded message told Mrs. DiPrima they had a debt to settle but cut off after the man said to call back to resolve the matter.
That same day, the IRS reported 90,000 complaints filed across the U.S. this year. Approximately 1,100 victims lost a combined $5 million.
Most scam calls can be avoided when consumers register their telephone numbers on the Do Not Call list. Calling 1-888-388-1222 immediately registers them by virtune of the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Registration usually means a dramatic decrease in unwanted calls. Telemarketers are bound by federal law to keep the list and are forbidden to call numbers on it for 10 years.
Most telemarketers observe it. If not, their phone number can be turned over to the Federal Trade Commission. After a second call is made to the consumers or companies listed, the intended victims are in line for $500 by reporting the caller’s number on the Federal Trade Commision (FTC) website: www.complaints.donotcall.gov
“Taxpayers’ first contact with the IRS will be via official correspondence through the mail, not from angry, threatening calls from people. That’s not how we operate” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
If called, hang up immediately and go to ftc.gov to report it. Go to “FTC Complaint Assistant” and add “IRS telephone scam” to the comments line.
Have you been the victim of a scam attempt? Send the details to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 431-6586, ext. 387, Wednesday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
RAT PACK AT AMPHITHEATER TONIGHT
The Golden Rain Foundation presents The Rat Pack at 8 p.m. on Aug. 21 on the Amphitheater stage. Shareholders and their guests are invited to the complimentary summer entertainment program that will continue through Sept. 15. Shows will begin at 7:30 p.m. starting in September.
Minibus transportation, including the handicap access bus, is available to and from shows.
The Rat Pack
“Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show” features the music of unforgettable entertainers Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Joey Bishop. This Rat Pack has the look, the music and the attitude of the original.
Hackett as Bishop is the creator of this Rat Pack revival with Tom Wallek as Martin, Louie Velez as Davis Jr. and Danny Grewen as Sinatra.
“There are several Rat Pack shows out there, but if you’re looking for authenticity instead of imitation, Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show is the one to see,” wrote a reviewer with the Telegram and Gazette in Worcester, MA. “As Joey Bishop, Sandy Hackett was the glue that held the show together. His hilarious stand-up routine had the crowd in stitches!”
Hackett’s personal connection to these iconic legends has allowed him to tell this story unlike any other producer or performer. Sandy’s father, legendary comedian Buddy Hackett, was best friends with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Joey Bishop – and together, they all made history.
Chosen personally by “Uncle Joey” (Bishop), only Sandy Hackett can bring to life that magical moment in time. Sandy, with his producing partner Lisa Dawn Miller, have created an authentic theatrical production based on the musical and comedic legacy of the Rat Pack.
“Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show” is the most successful live theatrical production of its kind, touring throughout the U.S. in hundreds of performing arts theaters to critical acclaim.
Hackett is a veteran writer, producer, film and TV actor.