West Nile virus
I am writing in response to the article in the July 10 issue regarding the flooding in PebbleCreek due to the Bullard Wash. I live on the Eagle’s Nest side of PebbleCreek, less than one street away from the Bullard Wash. I donated blood at the local Vitalant blood center on the third week of June. Two days after donation I was informed by Vitalant that my blood donation tested positive for the West Nile virus. I had no symptoms of exposure then and nothing since. Nonetheless, my case was referred to the Maricopa County Health Department and I have since appeared on a segment of ABC Channel 15 evening news.
I highly suspect that my exposure to West Nile virus came from mosquitoes associated with the Bullard Wash. Water has been flowing in the wash intermittently since some time in May. The area seems to never completely dry up. When water isn’t flowing, it sits in small pools. Since the area is always wet, the vegetation in the wash has become very lush, and it can’t be mowed because the ground has become like a marsh.
My exposure to West Nile virus was apparently typical of about 80% of persons infected. No symptoms. However, exposure can possibly be very serious for the other 20% of those exposed. Had I not given blood, I would have never known that I had been exposed. I just wonder how many residents on the Eagle’s Nest side of PebbleCreek may have acquired the West Nile virus and have no earthly idea that they were exposed.
Bullard Wash flooding solutions needed
I read with interest Andrea Estrada’s July 10 article about flooding in PebbleCreek. My home backs up to the golf course, which is traversed by both flowing and standing water. Because the ground is saturated, maintenance cannot cut the grass; the heavy growth slows the flow and traps water, which becomes stagnant — a perfect, algae-covered place for breeding mosquitoes. The Maricopa County Department of Health confirms that as of June there have been 27 cases of West Nile virus so far in 2019, just in the county. This time last year, there was only one. Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director for disease control, warns that we will see more cases than in the last five years. I’m mighty uncomfortable that my backyard may be a source of the problem.
During Estrada’s interview, our general manager, Bill Barnard stated, “…we had 38 days in 2018 when the wash was running. That’s 38 days out of 365.” Since January 2019, water has been over the road for 42 days, and we have five months to go.
Barnard also claimed that standing water is treated with larvicide. When challenged that the infestation persists, he said that frequent rains wash away the chemicals. Until our present monsoons, PebbleCreek had gone without rain since early May.
Barnard said, “I can’t stop the water,” but Bullard Wash’s floodway designation is for floodwater, not other source water that is allowed to be discharged in violation of state-mandated conservation and agricultural best management practices provisions.
Dr. Sunenshine says algae can be dangerous. Barnard recently recommended that people not walk in the road water. His solution? He placed signs near the water saying “slippery road.” That hardly addresses the threat. The signs should say “danger.”
Barnard’s closing words tell it all: “That (proposed solutions) will be at a cost to all of the members of the HOA. That will be a decision that our board will have to make — as to whether that cost is feasible for the 38 days of the year that it affects our homeowners.” We residents are aware of the cost in dollars, but we are also acutely aware of the cost in reduced property values, in hardship for residents who depend on golf carts for transportation and in health threats not only to PebbleCreek residents but to the surrounding area. We are worried, angry and frustrated. We want our manager to work for us. We don’t want cavalier references to “inconvenience;” we want a sound, workable, timely solution.
The causes of
Well, it’s happened again — mass shootings in Gilroy, Dayton and El Paso. These tragic events get our attention, of course, but sometimes we ignore the awful fact that 1,000 people are murdered by gunfire each month in the United States. No other advanced country has a murder rate like that. What can we do about it?
For starters, we have more guns per capita than any other advanced country. Maybe having so many guns on our streets is part of the problem, not part of the solution.
Stunning fact: civilians have more rapid-fire, assault-type weapons than our military does. There is no justifiable reason to have weapons of war in civilian hands. They are the weapon of choice for mass shooters who want to kill many people quickly. The Supreme Court has said there is no Second Amendment right for people to have these kinds of firearms. They should be strictly regulated as machine guns are. People will still have hundreds of millions of guns for self-defense, hunting or sport.
Mass shootings have increased in recent years. Why? We have had violent video games, poor parenting, poverty, the internet, etc., for many years. What has changed are the messages from President Trump that embolden in our society the hateful and deranged people who interpret his comments as a license or a duty to take deadly action against Latinos, Muslims, Jews and others.
For example, after a neo-Nazi rally, Trump said there are “fine people on both sides.” He described Mexican immigrants as “their worst people, murderers and rapists.” He speaks of an “invasion of our country” at our southern border. No wonder white nationalists see him as being an ally — he is speaking their language. We need a different message from this president.
Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough. Let’s do something that might make a difference.
Do your part to prevent mass shootings
I was born in 1940, so I have seen many changes in my lifetime. Not until about 20 years ago did we begin to see the mass shootings that have become more commonplace that we ever thought would happen. Columbine was a shock to everyone.
So, what has changed so drastically in the past 80 years? Well… Of course, much has, but we want to focus on the possibilities of what has caused all these mass shootings.
• Movies used to be musicals, love stories, cowboys and cartoons.
• Games were board or card. You played with friends and family, face to face.
• Music was love songs, country/hillbilly or kids.
• Books were history, historical fiction, school, biographies, etc. Oh, and what ever happened to Mother Goose nursery rhymes?
• Telephones were hardwired in the middle of the house, one per household (if you were lucky).
• Television (again, if you were lucky enough to have one) had cowboy shows where the bad guy wore a black hat and always got killed, comedy shows, kids’ shows and musical shows.
• Guns: almost everyone had at least one and all members of the household knew how and when to use them and where they were. They were rarely used, and mostly for target practice.
• Church: nearly everyone attended church of one denomination or another. Sunday morning would find most people in your neighborhood leaving for church. Does attending church make you a good or bad person? No more than standing in your garage makes you a car. However, I believe most faiths instill at least a modicum of values in people.
Most business prior to 1950 or so was done with a handshake. Now, huge contracts keep lawyers raking in the big bucks.
Can we blame any one or even two of these things? No, of course not. Can we blame all of these things? No, of course not. Millions of people go to the movies, play video games, listen to modern music, have cellphones, watch television and have guns. Please notice I left out reading because I believe fewer people than ever are reading today. They never do anything worse than raise their voice in anger or blurt out some vulgar language.
Everyone wants to do something, so what is to blame? The government? Guns? Society? The president? Those running or now holding office? Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse? Everyone has a different opinion of what that something should be. After all, we need to place the blame somewhere, don’t we?
My opinion is that the subtle changes in morals, values and what society considers right are to blame. Can we go back to where we were? No, we can’t put the genie back in the bottle. But things can change for the better, if we, as a society, want them to.
We can stop calling right “wrong” and wrong “right.” I could give many examples, but I will let each person figure that out on their own. We can start instilling morals and values in our children again. That means that when they get in trouble at school, they are also in trouble at home. It means that they need discipline and parents need to stick to what they say and mete out the appropriate punishment.
It’s up to each of us to do our part. I think of the grandmother, who, just about the time these tragedies were taking place, turned in her grandson because she feared he had some mental health issues and might harm himself and/or others.
The government, on any level, can do nothing to stop these incidents. Each person must pledge to live as morally as they can and help others near them do the same.
The only ones to blame are the shooters themselves! That might be hard to swallow, because it still leaves us scratching our heads on how to prevent the next one. All each of us can do is try to live as God wants us to and help others near us do the same.
rescind Nike support
Attention, Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord:
Here is a challenge for you and our city council.
I believe the city of Goodyear’s councilmembers owe the people of this city an explanation for the decision to do business with Nike. Goodyear considers itself an all-American city and has now decided to do business with a company even our own state governor recognized as a bad idea.
Please provide the citizens of this city with answers to the following:
• What is the amount of any tax breaks Nike received?
• What benefits will the city receive in exchange for Nike coming to our community?
• Will Nike pay into the school tax structure?
• What type of pay scale(s) can workers expect?
• Do you anticipate those workers will be residents of Goodyear, thereby, spending those dollars within the city?
Goodyear is located 6 miles from Luke Air Force Base and is home to many veterans. How do you think they feel? There is nothing about Nike that can be considered “American.” A very brief search regarding Nike’s manufacturing strategy will demonstrate whom they care about. Certainly not the manufacturing companies they contract with nor how those employees are treated and compensated in the various countries around the world. Moreover, I will not even touch on child labor issues. We may not have slavery here in America, but we support it in other countries by buying products from companies like Nike.
I, for one, will never purchase a Nike product again. I am very disappointed with the council’s decision to bring this company to our all-American city.
Surprise medical bills!
I read Kurt Diaz’ July 24 letter on “surprise medical bills.” I underwent surgery on January 24, 2007, to remove a benign cyst on the right side of my neck. My doctor and the hospital were “in network.”
About a month later, I received a bill from the hospital for $1,800. I thought, “This is a mistake,” and decided to disregard it. A month later, here comes another bill from the hospital. I called the billing office and they told me my Blue Cross medical insurance number was “not valid.” I gave the customer service representative the complete 16-digit number on my ID card.
Here we go again: Another month later I received another bill from the hospital for the full amount. And if I don’t pay this bill by the due date, I will be placed in collection. I checked the ID number on my BCBS card and compared it to the ID number printed on my statement — someone had miss-keyed my ID number. I called the phone number on my statement to contact the medical billing department. I even sent a photostat of my bill and my medical insurance ID number in clear print. They re-submitted my claim and this issue was resolved.
This is a simple problem. It’s downright frustrating that, apart from clerical errors, you have to deal with medical staff that is “out of network.” Why did medical care become so difficult? I started to see this trend when medical insurance companies did not approve the medication your doctor prescribed for you and then substituted the brand name for a generic equivalent. There is also malpractice insurance (one reason some doctors quit their profession). While some claims may be valid, other (patients) see the opportunity to get “rich” overnight. The phony malpractice cases can be ruled out by a second or third opinion.
We need medical reform in this country to bring back quality medical care for our citizens. We shouldn’t have to go into debt for going to the hospital or having to buy our prescriptions.