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Jonathan Kraut: Signs of spring

Posted: April 2, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: April 2, 2013 2:00 a.m.

As warmer weather approaches, there are some tips that I might offer to help you save your hard-earned money, precious resources, and make your home and family safer.

First, don’t leave your garage doors or exterior doors to the outside open, even by a crack, as snakes make their way out of the sun in the afternoon or into a warmer environment at night. Especially baby rattlers, whose venom is extremely deadly and who are not old enough to develop rattles to warn you, are a big concern.

How do we know the warm weather brings out snakes? Just look at how many candidates there are for Santa Clarita City Council so far. I think the count will eventually hit around 15 folks running for three council seats.

The election is still a year away, but warm weather has a way of soliciting all kinds of creatures, both good and bad.

Like I said, don’t leave any exterior opening ajar even by a crack- you might find a candidate in your family room or loitering in your garage.

The second concern is determining which snake is a friend and which viper might deliver poison. To be safe, treat all serpents as though they are deadly unless you know more about their true nature.

Al Ferdman, Diane Trautman, Gloria Mercado-Fortine and Maria Gutzeit have proven to be not only safe to handle, but have often been very helpful in keeping the garden clear of unwanted vermin.

Over the next year, the best way to know who is who is to read their past articles, meet with them in person, and determine for yourself who should be welcomed into your home and who should be treated as a pest.

Third, reset your water sprinklers, lower your water heater thermostat, and put up window shades where the sun hits your windows in the later afternoon.

Saving money while helping preserve resources for others is not only wise and neighborly, but in part compensates for the excesses of our local utilities.

Have you noticed how the water company unleashes thousands of gallons of water every few months cleaning fire hydrant lines? They blow off more water in 10 minutes than my household uses in a week.

Because of water conservation, and especially with virtually no significant rainfall this year, do what we do — place 5 gallon plastic buckets under the shower hose to catch cold water until the hot water emerges.

Even though we only conserve about 5-10 gallons a day, this process helps the garden and compensates in part for the wasted resources the water company warns us to avoid.

Fourth, collect business cards and fliers left on your door, your unsolicited ads and junk mail, political hit pieces, and especially government notices about paper reduction policies.

These can be deposited in your recycling bin, separated by hand at our recycling centers, and sent to Asia for shredding and reprocessing. The EPA has made recycling of paper so restrictive that we actually have to ship our trash to Asia where it can be recycled and then shipped back to the U.S., good as new. Do your part to keep this trans-Asiatic exchange alive.

Fifth, avoid answering your phone between 9 and 11 a.m. and between 5 and 7 p.m. unless you recognize the number on caller ID. Try to avoid the temptation, especially if caller ID lists a toll-free or blocked number.

These calls are undoubtedly from telemarketers testing to see if our Do Not Call lists work or from overseas scammers pretending to be from your bank. You know your bank never calls you unless they offer an unneeded service which is free for the first 30 days.

You are going to need the phone lines open just in case you need to report a snake on the premises.

Finally, do not reply to emails from an Amir, African Prince, a wealthy benefactor, daughter of a famous scientist, or a lottery notification for a lottery which you did not enter.

You are going to need to preserve your savings to pay higher utility bills, supplemental taxes, one-time environmental surcharges, and redevelopment fees should any venomous snakes ultimately win office.

Jonathan Kraut serves in the Democratic Party of the SCV, on the SCV Human Relations Forum, and SCV Interfaith Council. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal or other organizations.


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