Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Fancy-Schmancy West Hills Wins Exclusive Distribution Rights to West Nile Virus

By Hillary Royer, Quilt staff. 


A sign attached to a telephone pole on Covello Street near Asman Avenue, in West Hills’ fragrant Asmello neighborhood, confirms the presence of West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes in the area — and residents there couldn’t be prouder. 

West Nile's Not Just A River In
 West Egypt:  
The sign proclaiming
the disease's presence in West Hills.
“We fought hard for the privilege of being the first community in the area to have West Nile virus, and it’s paid off,” beamed West Hills Exclusive Neighborhood Council president Bob Rawlins at a recent press conference / frou-frou outdoor champagne brunch. “West Hills is, as always, the trend-setter for the San Fernando Valley.”

Through a dedicated program of over-watering lawns so they're at their greenest, keeping decorative bird baths filled to capacity, and making sure the fish in backyard koi ponds are well-fed so they’re not tempted to eat mosquito larva, tony West Hills has managed to lure the West Nile virus-carrying mosquito to the area and allow it to get a foothold before it spreads out to neighboring communities.

“We do have exclusive distribution rights to these mosquitoes — eh, that is, until such time that they multiply and fly out to other places. But let it be known: We had them first. West Hills: First with West Nile, ha ha!” Rawlins chuckles as he slaps at an insect on his arm. “Little bugger. Oh man, this headache’s only getting worse. I think I need to sit down.”

Pierce College Winnetka professor of epidemiology Dr. Morris Detzer was stunned to hear the news “West Hills? Really? With all the discarded tires full of standing water and broken toilets on the curb along Valerio in Canoga Park? With the all but stagnant LA River in Canoga Park?! West Hills! Huh, I’ll be damned.”

The Bet's 'Off!' Beloved public figures Bob Blumenfield and Mitchell
Englander,  both well-known for their public service & senses of humor.
Photos: Bob — blumenfield.lacity.org; Mitch — Ssaporito/Wikipedia.
LA City Council member Bob Blumenfield, whose district includes Canoga Park, reportedly took the news in stride despite losing a bet. “He had a friendly wager with [West Hills’ LA City Council representative] Mitch Englander,” laughs an aide to the councilman. “I can confirm that he has paid in full and we have delivered one can of Off! to Mr. Englander’s office with our best wishes.”

West Hills dress shop owner Gretchen Biery in the
West Hills dress shop she owns.   Photo: G. Biery
West Hills business owner and resident Gretchen Biery is thrilled by the news but not surprised. “I’m delighted. The rest of the Valley looks to West Hills for guidance and leadership in these matters. It makes sense we should get West Nile first. My father who grew up here was stationed in the South Pacific during World War II. Did you know he was the first one in his platoon to get malaria? Apparently mosquitoes know good breeding when they see it.

“We’re on track to be first with the Zika virus, too. My neighbor’s housekeeper’s from El Salvador and she’s going back there to see family next month,” Biery says as she smacks a pest on the side of her neck. “So there’s a good chance she’ll bring it back with her. Technically, the woman lives in Canoga Park, but she works here in West Hills, so if she starts showing symptoms, they’re going to put a cot in the laundry room for her so she can stay there until we get a confirmed diagnosis. We'll have our fingers crossed! Ooh...eh...anyone else feeling dizzy?”

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