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Looking Back: A review of August news from the last 50 years

In this monthly series, we republish a few of the headlines from our August editions 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 years ago.

1972

US Consulate no longer the mailman

All North American tourists or residents of Guadalajara are reminded that the U.S. Consulate General will no longer be able to receive and distribute mail as of August 30. The service has been discontinued because of a lack of facilities and the growing volume of mail.

After August 30, all mail received will be sent to the central Post Office for general delivery. To avoid any interruption of mail service, the Consulate advises that all persons who have been receiving mail advise their correspondents of a change of address. The address for general delivery is: Lista de Correos, Administracion de Correos 1, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.

1982

40% of gas pumps cheat motorists

Forty percent of the gasoline pumps in Guadalajara and the state of Jalisco are pumping less gasoline than indicated on the pump, according to the  federal delegate from the Secretariat of Commerce (SeCom).

Inspectors are currently verifying the 2,052 pumps in 131 stations in Jalisco.

The inspections have found that four out of 10 pumps are calibrated incorrectly, but not one pump was found to be issuing more gasoline than indicated on the pump.

The chief SeCom inspector said that the pumps would be corrected as soon as possible and that the amount of the fraud would be returned to the consumer ... somehow!

1992

Rodents outnumber humans 7 to 1 in GDL

Guadalajara’s burgeoning population of around 4.5 million has long since been overtaken by that far more efficient mammalian reproductive machine — the rat.

Guadalajara’s rat packs hit the town at night. As dusk falls, the rodents scurry up out of their habitat in the city’s sewers and begin their nightly search for food. It is underground that they can find the necessary protection, humidity and temperature to survive and reproduce.

Unthinking citizens make it easy for rats to live like kings in Guadalajara. Each day 350 tons of uncollected garbage is left rotting on city streets. In the evenings it is a common sight to see rats scavenging through the garbage left on street corners, vacant lots, and outside restaurants — even exclusive ones. Man provides them with everything they need to survive.

Even large rats can squeeze themselves through tiny openings and are excellent athletes. If your yard is surrounded by a high concrete wall rats often can nimbly scurry over them or will get in through the drains — even if pipes are only an inch wide. Their climbing, creeping and jumping abilities seem unsurpassed by any similar-sized rodent.

Damage caused by rats in Guadalajara run into millions of pesos each year. It is estimated that 60 percent of traffic light malfunction in the city is caused by rats gnawing apart underground cables.

City authorities are unsure how to deal with the growing rat problem. Chemically treating the sewers with poison has been ruled out because this will increase pollution of those rivers into which the sewage currently flows.

Normal cockroach fumigations may keep rats at bay for a short while, but will not destroy them, say experts in rodent control.

Following simple hygiene procedures — such as covering all perishable garbage — is probably the most effective way of keeping the rodents away. Putting wire grills over drainage openings also helps. Those who balk at setting out traps might prefer to use an old-fashioned — but tried and proven — method of keeping out the rats. Go out and buy a cat.

2002

Motorists see traffic cops filling pothole

Three Transito officials took their mandate of keeping traffic flowing efficiently to unheard of levels when they filled potholes for a few hours at a busy intersection near Guadalajara’s new bus station.

“We saw that traffic flow was being slowed down because of potholes,” traffic official Marucio Luna told reporters, “so we got a shovel and a wheel barrow and started filling them.”

The three officers obtained the asphalt and tools from laborers working on a nearby overpass.

The action not only surprised motorists, but the officers’ boss, Jalisco Secretary of Transportation (SVT) Manuel Verdin. The SVT chief said he hoped to give the officials a special recognition for their outstanding actions.

But don’t expect traffic cops all over the city to wipe out Guadalajara’s prolific pothole problem.

“For the meantime, we’re not going to fill in more potholes, everything’s fine [at the intersection],” said Luna. “Now it’s time to wait for the city to do its part.”

2012

Lakeside couple survives crash with cement truck

A Chapala lawyer and his wife gained an unexpected new lease on life after miraculously surviving a horrific highway collision on Monday, August 20 at the turn-off to the Libramiento bypass located in front of Walmart.

Sergio Macias Aldana was at the wheel of a 2008 Toyota Yaris sedan waiting for a green arrow signal to turn left, with his spouse beside him in the front passenger seat. Out of the corner of his eye he suddenly caught sight of a concrete mixer truck barreling down the bypass toward the intersection.

“I saw the truck coming down the road really fast. It began to bounce up and down as if approached the traffic light, skidding and tipping over towards us as it careened around the corner,” Macias told the Reporter in a brief interview at the scene. “I thought, this is it, we’re going to die,” he said, recalling how he braced for a fatal blow.

The cement mixer flipped over, landing on top of the car, just behind the driver’s seat. Amazingly, Macias suffered no visible physical injury other than a minor nick on his chin.

The incident was the third in a series of similar cargo truck accidents reported at the same spot in the last eight weeks.

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