City Corner column: Plan a block party for National Night Out

I would like to host a neighborhood block party this year during National Night Out. Would you provide some details about hosting a party and who I should contact to register my block party?

Absolutely. The Victoria Police Department invites the neighborhoods throughout the community to participate in the National Night Out program, and we are happy that you are interested in hosting a party. National Night Out is held in neighborhoods all over the country to heighten community awareness about drug and crime prevention programs, and to strengthen police-community relations.

This year's National Night Out will be Oct. 2. Now is the time to network with your neighbors and help plan activities and locations for National Night Out block parties and festivities. If you've had a party, we hope you participate again this year. If this is your first year to participate, the Police Department's Crime Prevention Unit is available to help make your neighborhood block party a success. The deadline to register your neighborhood block party is 5 p.m. Sept. 19. Please call the Crime Prevention office at 361-485-3808 to register and assure that local police officers, firefighters and City officials stop by your party on National Night Out.

The Victoria Police Department also invites the community to the Annual National Night Out Kickoff Party from noon to 3 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Victoria Mall.

There will be booths and live entertainment from various community groups. Businesses and organizations who would like a booth space can call 485-3808.

There have been some startling reports in the news lately about the growing number of reported cases of West Nile virus in Texas. Can you provide some tips to protect ourselves against contracting West Nile virus?

Preventing mosquito bites is the best way to reduce the risk of getting West Nile virus. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, remember the "Four Ds":

DEET - Use insect repellents containing DEET on both clothing and skin.

Dress - Dress in long sleeves and long pants when you are outside.

Dusk and dawn - Stay indoors at dusk and dawn, times when infected mosquitoes are most active.

Drain - Drain standing water in your yard and neighborhood; old tires, flowerpots and clogged rain gutters - mosquitoes like to breed in these areas.

Most people infected with West Nile virus rarely have any symptoms. Twenty percent of infected people experience mild symptoms, such as headache, fatigue, swollen lymph glands and occasionally a skin rash on the trunk of the body.

Only about one in every 150 people infected with West Nile virus will have severe symptoms, including headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsion, muscle weakness and paralysis.

For more information, visit dshs.state.tx.us/idcu/disease/arboviral/westnile/

Do you have a question about the City of Victoria? Please submit your questions and comments about any city department to Jennifer Sourdellia in the Communications/Public Information Office by emailing jsourdellia@victoriatx.org or mail to P.O. Box 1758, Victoria, TX 77902.