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Mercer Island Reporter
Mercer Island, Washington
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August 5, 1981     Mercer Island Reporter
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August 5, 1981
 

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MERCER ISLAND REPORTER, Wednesday, August 5, Page A4 , Summer population explosion always up to scratch I have good news for animal haters. In recent weeks, some of you have suffered greatly. Many of you have had to sit silently through stories about sick cats, lost ducklings, romantic robins and injured raccoons. Sorry about that. For some reason, almost every column I've written lately has been about either cute animals, people who love cute animals or cute people who act a bit like an- imals. But you can relax now. Today, I bring tidings of good cheer to those of you who think it perfectly acceptable to have dog bones buried in a backyard -- as long as the dog is still attached. I bring a moment of joy into the lives of those of you who believe that the only good cat is an unca- tegorically dead cat. And I give comfort to all of you who argue that pet owners must surely be crazy or dement- ed or both. You see, today's story is not about pets -- but pests. It's about the most embarrassing kind of pest you can have in a house. (With the possible exception of a vacuumcleaner salesperson.) It's about the kind of pest that -- oh, I don't know if 1 can go on. Dare I admit this? Yes. I must. We have fleas in our house. There. It's out. Now everyone knows. I will probably become a social outcast. No one will come visiting. I'll be barred from the office. Barred from restaurants. Barred from bars. I suppose I should have been prepared for this. It happens every summer. Everything is going along fine and then one day we'll notice that one of the cats is beginning to scratch like a nudist in a poison ivy patch. Then the other cat starts scratching. And then I start scratching. Karen rarely seems bothered by this invasion of hungry mites. Other than an occasional itch. she never has problems. I. on the other hand, am not usually so lucky. I have always considered my- self a man of good taste -- ann apparently so do the fleas be- cause I spend my days trying to Joka tm , dissuade them from gnawing off my ankles. So far, reason has not prevailed. Don't for a moment be misled, by those TV commercials in which the announcer talks about "flea infestation" as if your poor pet were suffering from some horrible social disease-- like bad breath -- and none of the other dogs and cats in the neighbor- hood will play with him. On the contrary, your pet has it easy. All he has to do to escape most of the fleas is to go outside. Most of the fleas will stay in the house with you while he sleeps on the porch. Indeed, getting rid of the fleas that do stay on your cat is fairly easy. All we've had to do to re- lieve our cats of the problem is subject them to massive doses of flea spray, deck them out in new flea collars, brush them and gen- erally treat them like some sort of pampered Egyptian cat gods. No, the one who really suffers is not the pet but the pet owner. And there is really only one way to relieve that suffering. Use a flea bomb. In our case, we opted for three small bombs placed strategical- ly through the house. We put away all the food. Covered all the plates and utensils. And then set them off and got the heck out of there. Three hours later, we came back and aired out the house, greatly relieved that we were safe once again. I sincerely hoped the little buggers would rest in peace. Two hours later, I started scratching again. What we finally figured out was that the mist from the flea bomb hadn't been able to pene- trate the fibers of our carpet in the living room and dining room. The rest of the house was flea- free. But every time I even walked through one of those rooms I ended up with red ankles. ,nts wage o By NANCY GOULD else, it's a losing battle," said Dr. and the suppliers of flea bombs, room fogger for $7 which is adver- Harry Dmgwall. The animal then powders, collars and rinses,tised to cover 1,500 square feet and Armies of them have multiplied comes into contact with another For those who have tried using kill adult fleas and their larvae as and marched throughout my home animal carrier, the lawn or the room foggers, which contain vari- well. Hardware store loggers for and other Island residences too, carpet where fleas breed and lar- ous pesUcides, and have triedas low as $4 say nothing about kill- according to reports from local vae hatch every seven to 14 days. "dipping" or powdering their ani- ing the eggs and larvae. veterinarians. But if you treat every resident mals weekly and still have made Fleas, that is. Those pesky bug- dog and cat on a weekly basis after no dent m the fight against fleas, After use of these stronger pes- gers have turned my rugs infofumigating the house, there's a oue eastsldeexterminatorhas an- ticides, humans and animals must "living carpets," jumping on and chance to keep the flea population other answer, not enter the treated premises for off my three cats and carrying under check until the cold weather For approximately $60 a three- approximately three to five hours. along the parasites that reside in November begins to retard their bedroom rambler can he treated Food must be stowed away where within the bugs. proliferation, with a larvae-killing pesticide it cannot he contaminated. Three local veterinary clinics Last year's milder-than-usual guaranteed to keep the fleas at bay The veterinarians suggest ev- , have offered attack strategies, winter never thwarted the cycle, for 90 days (as long as the pets are eryone check their pets for fleas, They say extermination calls for so this summer and fall flea infes- treated too.) It is also recom- even if the animals are not continued vigilance and more than tations are rampant. The height of mended to treat your vacuum scratching. They say that if the one approach, with battle on two flea season is October and its cleaner with a flea-killing agent so pets become flea-resistant after fronts: the animals, and then the lowest ebb is March. There is no flea eggs aren't recycled through- treatment, fleas bred in carpets rugs andfurniture, hope they will disappear before out the house by the vacuum might choose humans as their "If you treat your dogs and cats November without a concerted ef- blower, hosts, so an all-around campaign for flea infestation and do nothing fort, agree the vets, exterminators One local veterinarian offers a is needed. It was too much. I felt as if I your home -- there's FLEAS little more than a painful memo- haps we can concentrate on the were stuck in some kind of of II!!! Rated PG." ry. really important things in life- cheap horror movie. At times I Things were rapidly getting We are having our carpets like doing battle with legions of thought I could even hear the om- out of hand. I was losing my per- professionally cleaned. We plan killer slugs which are ravishing inous background music and the spective, not to mention my to flea-bomb our house with con- our neighborhood. You see, slug sinister tones of an announcer ankles. We had to do something. I siderably larger bombs --- possi- bait doesn't stop them. And, late- giving voice to my worst fears: was beginning to feel silly walk- bly using a small nuclear device ly, I've begun having these "In all the world, could there ing around with a flea collar as a trigger. And, if all else fails, nightmares about them really be only one killer flea in- strapped to each leg. we are going to send our cats out "Just when you thought it was festation? Now, just when you By the time you read this, the to be dryeleaned, safe to go back out into your thought it was safe to go hack in great flea war will be, it is hoped, With that out of the way, per- yard " Multi-family housing I should like to commend Jo Scalzo (Mercer Island Reporter, july 22) for putting into words a feeling which I have harbored for a long time. It is that the political leaders of our Island have been too much oriented toward "growth," and the result has been to make the Island a much less desirable place in which to live. The seemingly endless con- struction of condominiums and apartment buildings continues. Standing in the shopping center and looking up, one is almost in- timidated by the huge condomin- ium buildings enclosing the een- ter on two sides. Perhaps the question should be EDITORIAL COMMENT: You did it, Islanders, and we're proud of you! Last week's editorial calling for candidates brought enough response to ensure races in all but one of the city and school offices open to contest this fall. Thirteen is a lucky number for Mercer Island -- it's the number of candidates who will compete for five city and school board elective offices, plus the one position open on the East Mercer Sewer District. Only with competition for elective office can we be treated to an airing of issues. Regardless of how well our incumbents are doing, an election gives them an opportu- nity to explain and defend their actions. To those who filed, we say congratulations on your pub- lic spirit. Local officials serve with little or no pay, in an obscure corner of a metropolitan area where public ser- vice provides little exposure. Among a population noted for its achievements in business, the professions, arts and recreation, public office can hardly be considered a pres- tigious plum. It's there just for those who honestly believe they can make a contribution to their community So welcome to a race, all you 13. While we might not agree with some of you. we applaud your motives in run- ning. Good luck. PEGGY REYNOLDS MERCER ISLAND P.O. Box38 2737 77thSE. Mercer Island. WA 98040 232-1215 Ptddlshed 6b limes a year, w~eklv ~th special msues added, and second class postage at IVk~rcer Island. Washington. 98040 Home dehvery $1 75 too $ I0.50 6 mos $21.00 year. Mail subscripeon $12,00- 6 months $24 year PEGGY REYNOLDS. Publisher and Editorial Director FRED HOFF LA VONNE EKREN TERESA WIPPEL Buan~m Manager ~ng Man~ger News Ed,tor NEWS: Virginia Smyth, Nancy Gould. Laune McHale. Bob Ogle DISPLAY ADVERTISING: C J Wright, Ruth Nielsen. Gail Peterson. Nickl Bum C~: SaUy York GENERAL BUSINESS: Sharon Hall PHOTOGRAPHER: Dave E.kren ARTISTS: Sharon Rasmu~Rn, Andrea LoOg CIRCULATI(~: ~/Her~rlckson, Jan Lind DEADLINES DI~ adverl~ng requiring proof. Noon Thursday L~, Spects, Arts and Special Sections. 5 p m Thuniday Genmal Pages, Nocm Fmiay C~FIED ADVERTISING: Noon Monday ~ :J~* ~ NEWS: O~ Announcements, I0 a.m "~ri" W~y too* Spoex Noon Thursday L4gmn To Thc EdNoe. Noon Friday ~ 339-6920 not serve asked, "What effect do these condominiums and the people who tome here to occupy them have on the community?" As to who benefits: the developer makes his profit, the businesses m the center have more custom- ers, and the City of Mercer Is- land collects more taxes (al- though since the city manager has stated m the past that legal constraints prevent the city from collecting sufficient taxes per eapita to pay for its services, this may'he a doubtful benefit). The problems caused, or at least augmented, by high-dGmsity population are considerable. A heavy burden has been thrown on our police and fire departments and on the water and sewer peo- ple. Crime here has increased markedly (see any issue of the Reporter) to a point where many people hesitate to leave their homes for any length of time. We pay extra for our insurance be- In another week or so, the Fairy Princess and her Prince Charm- mg will he back in their castle to take up housekeeping. Of the royal sort, that is. The Princess will pack away her $8,000 ivory silk taffeta gown with the 25-foot tram, and the staff of servants will help the couple in- ventory the more than 3,000 wed- ding gifts to fill their two resi- dences. The first morning home, Pnn- cess Diana and Prince Charles wiU take their cups of breakfast tea out in the garden while they read The London Times' accounts of their latest public appearances -- and probably flush at the candid taken when they were unaware the camera's eye was upon them. "Good morning, Ma'am," Pnn- cess Diana's seeretary will greet her. "Here's today's schedule And here are the things to be signed today. Your lady in waiting wiU run your hath and you'll find your garments laid upon your bed by 9 a.m. Have a nice day M'Lady." Prince Charles will quaff a few more gulps of his tea and dash off to Buckingham Palace for a brief- ing with his morn, the Queen Then the 20-year-old princess h/r the first time wiIJ survey her king- dom, castles, crown jewels and all the stately tradition and offices of her new life. And suddenly, she will bare to face her world of "verbotens." Most of the pastimes for which the 20-year-old has developed a haw kering will be on that list Hadthe Prince chosen a Mercer [onc 9-range interests of Islanders cause our fire protection is not of the best. The shopping center has become so congested at peak hours that driving through it is nearly as thrilling as crossing the floating bridge at rush hour. The people on our city council and planning commission who have stood for naoderation m growth, and who have had a con- cern for maintaining the desir- ability of the Island as a place to live, have been in the minority. Two of them, Gordon Rasmussen and Bill Stewart, have decided to call it quits. They, along with Jim Horn, have in my opinion exhib- ited a real desire to keep the at- mosphere of the Island similar to what it was in the past. It is sad to see them referred to editorially by the Reporter as "amateurs," and the suggestion made that they "hang up their shoes." In view of what our **professionals" have done or at least permitted, perhaps a few dedicated ama- ETC. wishing to pull on her jeans and phone some friends to go shopping at the Pike Place Market. Or "do" the back-to-school department store sales. Or just have lunch at the local dell, or spend a day on Lake Washington. All of which would be outra- geously taboo for a princess. Neither could she go horseback riding through Pioneer Park, without being accompanied by hordes of royal guards. (Which would send Parks Director Gary Feroglia mto conniption fits as the trail is too fragile for such romps.) Nor could she camp out on Hoods Canal and dig clams at low tide and then feast on them over a campfire, in an intimate supper with her man. She couldn't ride a city bus or a ferry on the spur of the moment. Scheduling royal yachts and trams will he more the norm. Neither Island gift, his Princess could be would impromptu picnics at Lather Burbank Park, a Saturday of skiing at Mt. Rainier or a pickup game of softball at Homestead Field be thinkable. Even binckber- ry picking along the roadside to make pies and jam would require bodyguards and an appointment in the royal kitchen. tents might be a welcome change. Currently being considered, along with a new 80-refit cemlo- minim, is a proposal to legalize "granny flats," (bm'eaueratesc for a rental apartment in a pri- vate home). One need scarcely comment on what effect the pro- liferatiou of such units might have on a neighborhood of sin- gle-family rnsidonees. I believe that the long-range m- terest of the Island is not well served by continuing to increase the population density through the use of multi-family units. T ere has never yet been a case where more people has meant fewer problems. One hopes that our city council, mayor, city manager and planmng commis- sion will ask themselves whose interest is really being served. Golden J. Riley Thanks for support To our friends and neighbors: I have been completely over- whelmed by your unforgettable kindness and amazing generosi- ty to our children and myself since Mike died on Mount Rain- ier, and we thank you most sin- cerely. It will be with very mixed feel- ing that we leave here on August 18. Mike, our children and I were very happy here and your untir- ing help through the last terrible six weeks enabled me to carry on. Brenda Watts and three children 1 Harthall Cottages. Harthall Lane, Pimlico, Hemel Hempstead, Hartfortshire, England Princess Diana no longer will go museum or antique browsing -- instead she will own them. And the princess relinquishes another thing, which Mercer Is- land commoners might find nearly debilitating: her right to be out- spoken. The princess won't he re- turning unsatiMactory goods to stores with a "han'umph." Nor will she be able to shelve her lady- like demeanor to give a scoundrel a piece of her mmd. In fact, at many of the 1,000 royal appearances each year the princess won't speak at all, leav- ing most of the conversation to her prlnce hehind whom she is sup- posed to keep a one-step distance on state occasions. It's a fairy tale world, all right. On another island an ocean away. It's fun to peek into the splen- dorous regal ceremonies, as we did at last week's royal wedding. But it's unlikely the independent, free-wheeling Mercer Island fe- male would welcome a role-switch with Princess Diana. At least not for the days' events scheduled after breakfast tea. Our wash-and-wear lifestyles, replete with simple pleasures and spontaneity, simply would lose vi- tality in the showcase world of the tightly-reined crowned family. I!