Summer has surely started now with school out last week and the temperatures in the 90s and approaching 100 most every day. The City swimming pool is full of kids cooling off and is available several times a week for adult swimming as well. If you need to know the hours of operation at the pool check my article last week, or call the City office at 347-6449 for specific information. The City crews are busy working on several projects such as preparing the streets for the top-coat paving later in the summer and cleaning up the park for the Rodeo and other summer activities out there. We are also working to prepare the sewer plant for the construction we are planning to start in the next couple of months, and Recycling and Animal Control are both working hard just to keep up with the increases in activity that come every year at this time.
We are all grateful for the needed rains that we have received during this spring, and the City water supply is currently in good shape, but I would urge everyone to realize the continuing need to be aware of and maintain the water conservation habits that have been so important during the dry years we have had. We do not anticipate any water restrictions for the next several weeks, but if the hot dry times set in again we will all be glad for every drop of water we have conserved and can count on at a later time. Also with the rains, if you have some areas of standing water that you cannot drain, we will all suffer soon from a horde of mosquitoes coming out each evening, unless the habitat for them to hatch is treated. The City offices still have some mosquito “Dunks” that we are providing our citizens to drop in standing water that will prevent them from hatching, so stop by and ask for some if you see a problem. The City will also consider spraying again later in the summer in areas that are prime mosquito habitat, such as the park or the sewer plant, and also along some of the creeks though town. We will give you more information when that becomes necessary.
Mason has another issue that has come up recently with the annual increases in cases of Rabies found in the area, including a cow with a particular strain of rabies that is of special concern that was discovered at the Concho/McCulloch county line very near Mason. The Department of Health Services has informed us that they will be treating Mason County with an oral Rabies vaccination that will be spread throughout the county and within the City of Mason. This will involve the spreading of packets of baited vaccine throughout the county via aircraft drop and the placing of packets within the City limits in areas of “wilderness” where wild animals might travel. The goal is to provide a vaccination to wildlife, but will not harm pets or livestock if consumed by them. This particular strain of fox variant rabies is most concerning in its transmission amoung foxes, coyotes, bobcats, raccoons, feral and free ranging cats and dogs and livestock, and that is the population that is targeted.
The additional concern is that if you discover a sick-acting animal in the area, we strongly recommend you contact appropriate personnel such as Animal Control, Sheriff’s Department or Game Warden to have the animal destroyed and tested. If you cannot contact an appropriate person, it is asked that the animal be humanely destroyed and held in a cool or frozen manner, and that you notify the authorities for later testing. We ask that all safety and care be used when attempting to deal with suspected animals, and please remember to always wear latex or leather gloves when handling dead animals. If you have concerns regarding a human or domestic animal having been bitten, scratched or otherwise possibly exposed to rabies by another animal, of if you have any other questions about possible exposure, please contact the Texas Department of State Health Services through Dr. Ken Waldrupat at 915-834-7782 or Kathy Parker at 432-571-4118. And as always, we will be glad to try and help you if you call the City offices at 347-6449.
This rabies issue is a new and developing situation that may change as it continues. I will try to keep you abreast of any changes and will let you know of any problems that arise locally with the possible spread of rabies. Each year at this time we start having concerns, but this is a particular problem because of the numerous cases in recent years and the specific strain than has been identified this spring close to Mason. We will continue to do all we can to keep our community safe, and appreciate every assistance that you can provide as we deal with this and every other issue. Together we are stronger and together we can make Mason the best hometown in Texas.
Your friend and neighbor, Brent Hinckley