No ACs in the schools and an old man laying in a ditch

sweetannie4u(midOK_z6b/7a)August 2, 2011

Public school started for many towns and cities here in Oklahoma today. There were already reports of AC failures or insufficient ACs for a number of classrooms and schools. Several had no ACs at all! How can they force children to start school and not provide adequate cooling for EVERY classroom? I wouldn't send my kids to school if they didn't provide ACs in this extreme heat! Good grief! I saw on the news tonight that funds may not be available for "some schools" to receive $$ for ACs. It would go to the areas where there were higher numbers of classrooms first. So, the smaller town schools and little country schools can just suffer, I suppose. Are they trying to kill our children??? Talk about child abuse or manslaughter. Makes me so angry. Such stupidity or indifference! Take your pick. Either fits!

I found an old man laying in the grader ditch today at 1:30 p.m. It was 106 degrees and climbing. He was fully clothed and laying on what looked like some coats. He was in the part-shade, but it was brutallu hot, even so. He was a very thin, white-haired old man. I couldn't tell if he was asleep or dead! I stopped at that town's local gas station-convenience store and told the lady inside that she needed to notify the police. She didn't seem to be alarmed about it all. Well, one of the cops was standing right beside me. They both hummed and hawed about it and who it might be and finally concluded that it was the local homeless man, "Old Ed". They must have asked me a dozen times where it was I saw him. Meanwhile, the old man may be dying for all we knew. "Oh, that must be old Ed", she remarked to me at last. "He's a homeless man". I told her I didn't care who he was. No one should have to be out in this heat! It was too hot for him to be sleeping in a ditch when it was that hot! They discussed it and I pressed it. Several people came in to the store and began asking me for the details out of curiosity more than alarm, but finally someone went to go see about him. He was followed by another guy in a truck and then two more people in the store went. One woman left her two little girls in the store and went to go see. :0

One man came in and said he just came by there and he didn't see "no man anywhere". How could he not see a man laying along side the road in broad daylight?

I asked the clerk if anyone took water to himz. No. No one took any water with them. I told the lady at the register that I would buy the water for him, but she said they would handle it. I told her to just add it to my total, but she dismissed it. I said someone needed to get him inside...somewhere and right now! I don't know what happened after that, but when I drove back by a few minutes later, he was gone and there weren't any cars or trucks there either. Poor old man.

I hope he was okay and that they will take care of him.

Sorry about going on and on about these things. It is just so upsetting.

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freezengirl(3aMN and 5AK)

Dear Annie,
I don't blame you for being so upset. "what so ever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me". Seems to me in these trying, sad times for so many in our country, we would all do well to remind ourselves of that.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 2:47AM
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thinman(Z5 MI)

I'm surprised that school starts so early in your neck of the woods AND that there would even be a possibility that the kids would have no AC. Up here we still have a month to go before school starts, and most schools don't have AC. In the classroom we sometimes suffer a bit in early fall or late spring, but we don't see anything like the 90s or 100s that you all get. That's almost criminal to make anyone be in a stifling classroom like that. Boo, hiss.

And speaking of criminal, ignoring the poor old guy in the ditch sounds horrible. I hope someone got him into someplace cool.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 11:24AM
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Merilia(8 PNW)

When engineering a larger building like a school, the HVAC system is an integral consideration. While it's true that humans have survived in all climates before the invention of air conditioning, it is insane to put children into a modern school building in high temperatures without it. In the past, if you made a large building it was made of stone and had high ceilings, and the windows and corridors were designed for optimal airflow. What they're doing is simply abusive.

Isn't it a bit early to be going back to school now, anyway? Here fall classes don't start for another month. I feel like an easy budget-friendly solution would be to start the school year a bit later in the year so that they spend less time in school in these hot temperatures, and extend classes later in the year in spring.

I'm sorry to hear about the callous attitude that those people had!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 11:30AM
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Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden

"what so ever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me". Very well reminded, freezengirl! I am still surprised by the lack of compassion in such a beautful world of beautiful people. Bless your heart Annie. You did right by the powers that be. :)

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 11:51AM
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Normally, school starts here the second week in August and lets out the third week in May. Always too hot in normal years, but starting two weeks earlier THIS YEAR of all years??! It is definitely criminal stupidity in my mind! Ridiculous! In California, we started the first working day after Labor Day weekend and let out on June 14th, Flag Day, or the closest Friday to that. Suggestions fall on dead ears here, especially from "furreners" like me. They don't take kindly to having people from California or ANY OTHER STATE try to come in here and change the way they do things. Need I say more?

As for that poor old man...I am still upset by it. The only two people who showed any compassion were the two little girls left in the store by their mother. They followed me around in the store asking me endless questions and sighing softly, "Poor old man." (I wouldn't have left my babies alone in a store like that, for gosh sakes! They looked to be all of maybe 6 and 7 yrs. old. Very pretty and such cute little brown-sugar cookies. I wanted to take them home with me! Not a good idea lady, leaving them alone in that store like that!).

I buy gas over there, so I'll see what I can find out on the next trip over. It is in a little town about 9 miles from here. I drive over there instead of buying from the local "Git'N'Go" in our town for various reasons.

The stupidity is rampant and contagious. Not surprising that Oklahoma was the first state to almost unanimously vote for adding a new law to our state constitution forbidding Sharea Law (sp?). Doh! They might want to just try reading the Constitution of the United States of America - the little part about the separation of Church and State??? Hello!!! (I'm so embarrassed to even live here!)


    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 12:57PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

We are on the same school schedule as Oklahoma. It's the old "planting schedule". Kids planted as soon as school was out, and went to school during heat of summer and then where out for a month during fall harvest. We're still somewhat following old schedules (no month out now!). It is surely hot at schools but where were the children when they were not in school this summer? Where they at daycamps and other hot places, outside while parents worked? If parents must work and there are no programs for kids to attend then anyone not in school would either be home alone or parents may have to quit jobs. This is why the schools are trying to open. And if they don't have school now, they must stay later in the spring, and this creates problems for everyone including teachers. We have had so many problems here with this sort af thing and nobody seems prepared for the variances in a school year.
You are absolutely right about the old man. Although so many homeless people are used to surviving in weather extremes and are often more able to cope then we are (I'm talking people who express desire to not live within walls). However, in general people can be heartless to those who are less fortunate, who make choices or are in situation we can not relate to, and who live marginalized by all kinds of issues. Thank-you for caring Annie.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 1:28PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Mechanical breakdowns are unfortunate. Definitely miserable without a/c in this part of the country. I feel for the kids/families who don't even have it at home.

Nice that you spoke up for the homeless man. Maybe carry a few bottles of water and snacks for the next time he crosses your path.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 2:03PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Poor kids, I can't take it in the 80's never mind over 100.

As to the old gentleman, I have a saying 'What Goes Around Comes Around' and I firmly believe it. Many years ago now on a cold dark winter (freezing) night, as we were driving down the road into town I happened to see what I thought was a person lying in the ditch along side the road, I made DH stop and back up, yes there was a man lying in the ditch. DH thought it was probably a drunk, we jumped out and went over to see if he needed help, I called out to him, he stirred and held up his hand. We helped him up and no he wasn't a drunk, he was a very elderly gentleman, very disoriented, suspicious and also very scared. I tried to find out where he lived so we could take him home, he couldn't tell me. I finally got him into our truck and we took him up to the police station, it took a bit to get him inside but finally. We left him with a very caring young RCMP officer who found out he had wandered away from a senior's care home quite aways from where we found him.
Think twice before passing by someone who may need help. We all might be sitting comfortable in our homes right now, things can change and not alway for the better. I'd hate to think people would pass me by if I was ever unfortunate enough to end up like this old gentleman did. He would have been a goner if someone hadn't found him. Even if he had been a drunk (any age) we would have at least reported the man's condition to the RCMP, they would have picked him up, he would have ended up in the drunk tank but at least he wouldn't freeze to death.
Thank you Annie for being such a caring person, I wish more were like you.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 3:57PM
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Annie,Calif has changed a lot since you lived here.My GGK'S go back to school on the 15th of this month,they live up in Turlock and Waterford Ca,northern part of the state,about 2 hrs or so from Sacramnto.The kids here in go back before the end of august as well.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 4:23PM
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When we lived in August, GA, I remember that an old man who daily walked to a store a few miles from his house died during a heat wave. His family had tried to stop him from walking, but he said he did it every day and went anyway. Somebody found him by the road overheated and he soon died of heat stroke. You did the right thing stopping to try to help that man!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 8:14AM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

Annie, does OK build in "heat" days to their calendar year for school closings? That may be a stupid question. Like here we have snow days. I couldn't imagine kids even attempting to be comfortable let alone learn in that kind of environment.

Annette, your story about the elderly gentleman gave me goose bumps. My husband's great uncle wandered away from a senior home. They couldn't find him anywhere. Unfortunately, they found him not very far from the home and he had not survived. I wonder how many people may have passed him by and dismissed him as he wandered. Thank goodness for folks like you and Annie.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 7:12PM
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I was trained to give first aid and I would encourage anyone to take the course because it's a good thing. I was just surprised that no one called 911. The Emergency Response unit should be able to respond within 10 minutes of a call and determine if the person was in danger or not.

That 10 minutes is critical. A brain cannot survive without oxygen past 10 minutes. Past 10, damage and possible death. So if a person has a heart attack or a stroke, every second counts. In the case of a stroke, there is a crucial medication that can be only administered at the hospital and within an hour (possibly 2 but that needs to be verified) With this medication the patient can actually come away without the severe effects of a stroke. Past this crucial period, the medication no longer can be applied.

Although our instinct would be to give water in such as situation, it's actually not a good thing. Often people in a health crisis can choke on water or may need to be operated on and their stomach must be empty because they can drown in their own fluids.

One can approach the person in need to determine if he/she is in crisis. We ask such questions as, are you in pain and where? Get them to sit on the ground if they happen to be sitted on achair or a bench. get them to lay down or sit -- which ever feels comfortable for them. Are they on medication or some other intoxicants? Can they talk? Do they sound coherent? Ask if they have any preexisting health issues? Are they diabetic? (Is so, maybe they need orange juice to stabilize themselves) Look for signs of injury. If it's a heat stroke, wrap a cool wet towel around the neck and head. Look for signs of shock. These are questions that the 911 operator will ask and therefore getting this information is critical.

Having said all this, I work in the city and have encountered many homeless people who are just passed out due to imbibing alcohol or other substance. You have to be aware that many homeless do carry diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis or even HIV. One has to be careful first to take precaution when attending to these folks. You can observe and not touch the individual while calling 911.

Of course even if the person isn't in danger and used to the heat, one still has to ask if he is okay. It is only when it's clear he is out of danger, that you can provide fluids. Maybe guide him to a homeless shelter. Is there a homeless shelter nearby? A Salvation Army? Can he not go to them? give him money to get to the area.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 8:54PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Ianna brings up some good points, especially in today's society. When we tried to help the old gentleman it was a long time ago. We didn't have 911 back then, drugs were just coming on the scene, HIV, STDS, aids, hepatitis and.... were just not things we had to worry about, not like today. It really is a sad state of affairs, today's society.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 9:28PM
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First, let me thank everyone for their contribution to this topic. In these trying times, with so many people homeless and with the crazy weather we are having, we need to ALL be our brother's keeper. "Except for the grace of God, there go I" definitely applies, even if you don't believe in God.

Secondly, this is a very rural area. Towns are scattered and small (less than 1,000 people in most). There are only 285 people within the city limits in the town nearest us. When I called it a hamlet in the past, I meant a hamlet! Three churches, a city hall-library combo, a convenience store-gas station, a post office and that's it. We used to have a feed store, but he closed down this spring. There's a tire repair shop there now. The local school closed in the 70s and combined with another town's school system 12 miles away in another county. Until this past year, we didn't even have a police station or a building to house our fire department's pumper trucks. Lots of bean suppers, weeny roasts, and chili cookouts helped us raise the money to finally get our little building. We are all so proud of it too. The president's stimulus package gave us sidewalks downtown. We didn't have any before. That is so nice, especially for children, the elderly, and the disabled.

The little town where I saw the man laying in the ditch is more of a village. It has a thriving school system and a Senior Citizen meeting place and a new home-style cafe, plus the Convenience store-gas station-laundry mat combo. I think it has at least a a thousand residents, but taking in all the rural folks, that could double the population. There is no Salvation Army, Homeless Shelter or any other services to help the homeless or poor. The only town around that is big enough to support a homeless shelter in Stillwater, and it is abt. 30 miles from there. They only have one that I know of and it is full to capacity and has been for several years. There is a long waiting list. Sad situation.

Thirdly - All the fire departments are volunteer with pumper trucks. All the little towns within a 60 mile radius or maybe more, come to one another's aid when there are fires or natural disasters. The nearest town of any size with Ambulance services is Chandler, the county seat, about 14 miles away. They are fast to come though, when you call. I have called them for my dad a couple of times. Such nice young men and so tender with my Papa and helpful.

Fourthly - I was in my husband's car that day. His AC is out, so it was probably 120 degrees in my car, even with the windows down. Keeping water or food was no option. Also, I had accidentally left my cell phone at home that day for some reason, I NEVER do that! If I would have had my cell, I would just have pulled over there and called 911 and waited for them to come help. However, I was already feeling sick myself, so quickly drove to the convenience store to seek help for him and get something to drink for myself!

* I will remember that info about not giving fluids or food. Thank you! I didn't know that and I used to be a trained nurses aid! Just common-sensical though. Doh, on my part!

These days, it isn't wise for a person, especially a woman alone, to stop and help someone. I have heard of people being ambushed in a sucker-trap set up to rob people and do they harm, and even of people being attacked when trying to help someone, but sometimes you just feel you have to do something! There were shade trees higher up on the bank and maybe when he laid down there he was in the shade, but he wasn't when I drove by.

And lastly, as for the school situation - We have snow days here, too, bt no "Heat days". This year they started schools early, but the new governor and majority party in the state Congress decided they needed to cut back on expenditures, so they decided one area they could cut costs was to eliminate buses for city or town kids. Kids who live within a mile of school will no longer be provided with bus services. (I don't know if this applies to handicapped or special needs children or not). So those kids have to walk to and from school in this heat, (or rain, tornado, floods, snow or ice) for the first time probably in their lives. Also, think of the little ones who have no other way to get to school or kids who have no one to walk with to school. What will happen to them? A lot of parents are really upset over the whole situation, as they should be. Those children could end up as prey to the crazies, if not merely the victims of the weather, especially right now.
That's why I said earlier that it was a case of indifference or stupidity or BOTH!
They did not plan ahead for these things before they changed the laws. It just makes me so angry!

When I was a little girl, buses only ran for the country kids. In California, I rode the bus to school as we lived out in the country, but when we moved back here, we lived in town, so I walked, come rain, shine or snow. We didn't have snow days either. It was awful sometimes. (I actually fell through a snowbank once and had an older boy not seen it and pulled me out, I might have frozen to death.) But, for the most part, kids back then played outside - all the time! We were used to walking everywhere we went and being out in all kinds of weather. Not so with children today. Most parents are afraid to let their kids run all over the neighborhood and town like we used to do. We roamed the hills and dales and mother never worried about us. We all played together outside until dark every night. She had to call us to come in. But it isn't safe anymore. Too many crazies! Cars go faster now too, and frankly, neighbor people and people in general don't watch out for one another's children like they used to do. Everyone is in their own little world.

Those who have their own vehicles and women who don't have to work out of their homes can manage to drive their kids to school - they probably already do anyway. But the poor and the working poor probably don't have that option. Riding the school bus was the only way for their kids to get to school safely. It's cruel to do that to the poorest of the poor people. Just plain cruel and calloused.


    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 4:31AM
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I can understand now your frustration. Yours is a very small town and reliant on local help. however that local help was unwilling to do anything made it so much more heartless. I guess this is the reason why it's even more critical for people to learn first aid. I would encourage those to learn. You can apply it to your own family if in need.

OH -- one thing to tell all about using cell phones or even VOIP or Magic jack or any similar devices when phoning 911... Always tell the operator your precise location. This is because these devices will mislead the operators and send the response unit to the incorrect area. For example your cell phone will reflect your billing address. Or your VOIP may show an out of state location.. There was a case of 2 teenagers, high on some intoxicants who got lost during a severe snow storm. They kept phoning for assistance using their cell phone but they just couldn't be located until too late.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 10:18AM
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Thanks ianna.
I've used my cell enroute before and they knew exactly where I was! I was following a car that was going very slowly and weaving all over the road, so I called 911. As it turned out, the car was headed for my town, so I was able to follow it, staying way back, until the sheriff's department showed up and intercepted him just outside of town. They asked me to stay on the phone the whole while. That was kinda cool. I was afraid he was going to cause a wreck with an oncoming vehicle.

But we also have a state code you can call for emergencies on the highway. I think it is 411, although I have never had to use it.

Yes, exact locations are important. Give highway mile marker numbers or street sign names, and check your odometer to gauge how far it is from where the emergency is from the town or an intersection, etc., depending upon where you are at.

ianna, the incident didn't happen in my town, but in the next little town about 10 miles from here. Even though my town is VERY tiny, you get fast results for help here, no matter what the situation. Everyone here tries to help one another.

Thanks for all the info. As a nurses aid, I did get CPR training and it is very helpful. They also changed some of the CPR techniques, so it's important to stay abreast on upgrades for first aid, too.

Have a nice day everyone.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 2:57PM
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