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Be prepared for safe outdoor fun this season

POSTED June 22, 2011 12:36 p.m.

City crews will hit the streets again tonight in the continuing war on bugs and according to Public Works Department Secretary Laurie Bard that battle will continue next week, too, because it’s not long before we can expect a lot of local residents to plan to spend extra time outdoors over the Fourth of July weekend.
Bard said the mosquito fogging is an important part of getting ready. “This is to get the mosquitoes  under control for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.”
On both of the Thursdays, she added, it’s a good idea for people to take precautions.
It’s recommended that people with breathing problems stay in and keep their windows closed.
There is no risk to those people after the fogger has passed, because the chemicals used today have no residual affect. That means that they won’t pose a risk to children or pets who go out after the spraying.
But it also means that the spray has to come into direct contact with a mosquito to kill it, as opposed to the chemical that was used years ago that left a killing dose behind on grass and bushes. The fogger operator will judge the wind direction and cover every other block, allowing the fog to drift for one block.
Mosquitoes are a nuisance for outdoor activities this time of year, but they are far from the only risk that will be faced in a busy summer event.
Another involves how we handle food, and doing that wrong ends up getting a lot of people sick during this season, according to information from Kansas State University Research and Extension.
Some tips that KSU Extension recommends include:
• Keep meat cold until ready to grill. Do not leave it out at room temperature.
• Precooked meats can still be grilled to add authentic flavor and shorten grilling time.
• If starting with frozen products, thaw in the refrigerator or microwave. Grill immediately after thawing in the microwave.
• Do not use the same platter or utensils to handle raw and cooked meat products.
• Use a meat thermometer to check internal temperatures. Ground meat should be 160 degrees F; poultry, 180 degrees F; poultry breasts, 170 degrees F; pork, 160 degrees F; and steaks, 145 degrees F.
• Once taken from the grill, keep the meat hot in a warming tray or slow cooker, until it is served.
• Put any left overs in the refrigerator immediately. Discard anything left out more than two hours.
• Marinades enhance flavors, tenderize and keep foods moist. But if you plan to use the remaining marinade later as a table sauce, it must be boiled for at least three minutes to eliminate bacteria.

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