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posted: 3/14/2014 12:01 AM

Some states don't follow daylight-saving time

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Federal law allows states to eschew changes in moving their clocks ahead as spring begins or setting them back in the fall.

Q. My wife and I grew up on the East Coast, but retired to Arizona in January. We were surprised last week when one of our new neighbors said daylight-saving time doesn't apply here, so we don't have to move our clocks up by one hour when it begins. How is this possible? Doesn't every American have to follow the rule that requires us to "spring forward" an hour in March and "fall back" an hour in the fall?

A. No. When President Lyndon Johnson signed the Uniform Time Act in 1966, the bill included a clause that allows states to "opt out" of the program. Sun-drenched Arizona (except in sovereign Navajo Indian Territories) and also Hawaii declined to adopt the new plan. So did American Samoa, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Supporters of the daylight-saving time program, which suggests that clocks be moved forward by an hour in the spring and then moved back in the fall, say it helps to save energy, allows folks to enjoy an extra 60 minutes of light after they get home from work, and many other benefits.

Opponents, some of them small farmers but mostly huge agricultural companies, say changing the time twice a year is disruptive: They complain it further complicates their growing and harvesting schedule, as well as distribution of the goods or services they provide.

Agree with daylight-saving time or not, the date is a handy reminder to replace the batteries you might have in your home's smoke detectors and similar security-related devices. Many batteries that are purchased at local retail stores have a "useful life" of only six months or a year. Replacing them each time you have to readjust your clock is a good safety idea.

Q. My husband and I were interested in your recent column about how homeowners could deal with a neighbor's "wandering pooch" that regularly invades their property. But we are in a different situation, because we live in a development with a community pool and our neighbor lets her German Shepherd swim in it. Disgusting! We have complained to both the dog's owner and our homeowners association, but both say we're powerless to stop the dog's regular swims because there's nothing in our HOA's rules that prevent it. What can we do?

A. Yecch, what a nasty problem. Fortunately, you have a few alternatives to help resolve this case of the "Swimming Shepherd," which sounds like a very bad title for one of the Hardy Boys novels I used to read when I was young.

First, approach the HOA's board of directors and ask that it pass a measure that dogs and all other animals be banned from the community pool and nearby areas. A key reason why the HOA should act quickly is it would likely be held financially responsible for any injuries or damage a pet causes in the pool area, whether it's a dog that bites a swimmer's leg or a cat that scratches up someone's chaise lounge.

Another option would be to contact your local health department. Several cities and counties have strict ordinances about pools and pets, and few allow a dog or other animal to swim in a pool or other "body of water" that's shared by the public.

Pet owners who ignore such laws can be fined, and may even have their beloved four-legged friend sent to the local animal shelter. No responsible owner would let that happen, even if it means Rover could no longer splash about in a community-shared pool.

Q. My husband and I would like to form the type of basic living trust you often recommend so that our home and other assets can pass quickly to our heirs instead of getting hung up in probate court and piling up a bunch of attorney fees. But would we have to create two separate trusts, one for me and one for him?

A. No, you and your spouse need to create only one inexpensive trust. The two of you would form the trust as "co-trustees," which would allow both of you to control your jointly owned property while you both are alive. When one dies, his or her half-interest automatically would pass to the other.

When the survivor eventually dies, the home and other property that was placed in the trust will then quickly pass to your heirs without forcing them to go through long and costly probate proceedings.

Real estate trivia: Household batteries should be stored in a cool, dry place at room temperature, battery-manufacturing giant Energizer says. Despite widespread belief, putting them in a refrigerator or freezer won't make them last any longer.

• For the booklet "Straight Talk About Living Trusts," send $4 and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to David Myers/Trust, P.O. Box 4405, Culver City, CA 90231-4405.

© 2014, Cowles Syndicate Inc.

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