LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Fire Season

On September 25, Capt. Tom Kitahata and three members of his fire crew delivered an important and well-received talk to the Will Rogers neighborhood organization on preparations for brush fire readiness.

Many questions were answered but the basic message was to leave early in the event of an evacuation order, as local roadways are likely to be congested and fire moves rapidly, and there is the potential that street signals may not be operating.

Other topics stressed were:

1. In last year’s Malibu fire, upward of 8% of the lost homes were not caused by direct fire but by flying embers that can travel 1-2 miles ahead of a blaze. Do not give them a place to ignite … keep gutters clear of debris, be sure attic vents are covered with 1/16 to 1/8” screening (not the 1/4” required in older codes), eliminate wood piles, dry leaves and other debris that can ignite, etc.

There are numerous recommendations online that help with other sensible tactics to make your home more fire resistant.

2. Maintain your property in compliance with fire department guidelines.

3. Set up a phone tree with your neighbors to keep everyone alerted in a timely fashion.

4. Be prepared that our power may be cut off preventively. Therefore have a battery-powered radio (AM 1070) or go on Twitter @readyla to have updates. Alerts can also be obtained by signing up online with NotifyLA.

Let’s all be proactive!

James Varga
Medical Director, Palisades Neurodevelopment Center


Halloween Decorations

Now that Halloween month has started, everyone will be putting up their outdoor house decorations. Great time for families, but not so for smaller wildlife when people use the spiderweb yarn in the trees and hedges outside.

I can’t tell you how many times I have rescued hummingbirds, finches, sparrows etc. that have gotten tangled up in the fake spiderweb yarn while on my walks. Some poor little birds were found dead.

The fake yarn works the same way real spider webs catch and trap insects. Only with larger prey, like birds, left to die a long, slow and horrible death in this fake yarn.

It is very difficult removing this yarn from little birds’ legs and wings. Some get so stressed that they don’t survive the removal.

Better to use this yarn inside the house away from wildlife. If you must use it, please make sure to check the area everyday for birds, bees and small animals trapped in the yarn.

Hope everyone has a safe and happy Halloween!

Mary Lee


Palisades Dogs

Often while walking in the Palisades, I’ll see dogs that remind me of ones I’ve had in the past—a round-faced Bichon, a haughty white-haired terrier, or a tan, black, beige Take a Guess. I never see one that reminds me of Frieda, but I remember her.

I didn’t want her but she needed me so I let her stay. Her sin was cowering to the ground when she heard a gunshot instead of pointing her tail in the direction of prey. She was bred and trained for a purpose, but she had other ideas.

It wasn’t love at first sight. I had a type and she wasn’t it. I wanted cute and cuddly. She was a strange mix of colors, aloof and independent. She wasn’t going to coax me with her sad eyes to take her in.

We gradually got to know each other. She loved the beach and ran back and forth along the shore, teasing and playing with the seagulls, not pointing her tail so a bullet could strike them from the sky.

She didn’t like men who wore tasseled shoes or uniforms. She let little kids pull her ears and tail, but growled at some packages I brought home.

A cozy home and lush garden were not enough for her. She liked the streets. Our neighborhood was like restaurant row for her. She would always return.

Her bark beckoned me to the front door and her bulging stomach announced her adventures. If the neighbors knew it was my dog that toppled their garbage cans, they never came calling.

When her mischievousness was over for the day, she waited patiently for me to present a lap. My thigh was a perfect fit for her chin.

So many years have passed since Frieda and I shared a space. In Frieda’s time, children rode bikes without helmets and dogs were not plus ones. Still etched in my memory are the lessons I learned from her: jump the fence and find a safe place to rest your chin.

Jann Jaskol