Tuesday, June 25, 2024 Jun 25, 2024
87° F Dallas, TX



Q. My husband recently saw a rat in the alley behind our house. Is there a city-run department that is
responsible for taking care of this? R.T., Dallas.

A. Many major cities across the country have rat control forces within their animal control departments.
Unfortunately, Dallas is not one of those cities. According to Don McLain, supervisor of vector control for the City
of Dallas, extermination of rats is now up to individual owners and tenants since the city’s federally funded
extermination program was disbanded in October 1981. If a rat is sighted, McLain suggests that the homeowner or
tenant get rid of the rat’s food source (most rats are fed by spillage around garbage cans, by pet food or by food
that is left out), close all openings to the house and set traps. For those who are afraid of rats (who isn’t?),
McLain says there is little reason for worry; rats are nocturnal animals. Sweet dreams!

Q. I’ve heard that there are special camps available for kids who want to learn about computers. Is there a
camp like this available in Dallas? E.D., Mes-quite.

A. This summer, for the first time, two computer camps will be offered in the area. One camp is offered at
The Hockaday School, with several different sessions for students from 9 to 18 years old, and one adult session. The
program is organized by Mel Ray, vice chancellor of data processing at Duke University. He has also trained the
camp’s staff. According to Ray, 10-year-old students will be able to cover an entire semester’s worth of a college
freshman computer course in one two-week session.

Aside from the Hockaday program, the Selwyn School in Denton is also offering summer computer camps. Selwyn camps
are sponsored by Computer Camps International and will offer programs for students from 9 to 17 years old. Dr. James
Poirot of North Texas State University is heading the program, with assistance from computer students from the

Q. I’ve been wondering about the cranes that adorn the top stories of skyscrapers under construction
everywhere. How do they get taller along with the buildings? Who developed them and when? J.N., Fort Worth.

A. The cranes you refer to are called tower cranes. They were developed in Europe about 25 years ago and are
still all built there, according to Jim Corns, service manager for the Moody-Day Company in Dallas. They’ve been in
use in the United States for about 10 years.

The base of these cranes rests several floors below the story of the building under construction. As the building
grows, a movable hydraulic apparatus pulls the crane up after it, and the holes where the crane poked through the
lower floors are filled in.

When the building is finished, a crane on the ground lowers the apparatus.

Q. Is D/FW airport the largest airport in the world? H.G., Dallas.

A. When D/FW airport was completed in 1974, the 17,500-acre facility was the largest in the world. In October
1975, however, 88,000-acre Mirabel Airport was completed near Montreal, Canada, which knocked D/FW out of the number
one slot. Since then, there has been a dispute; some people (probably Texans) are saying that only 17,000 acres of
that land in Canada is actually used for airport functions, thus making D/FW the largest airport. Meanwhile,
however, Jedda airport was completed in Saudi Arabia. Although no official figures are available, the airport
facilities are approximately twice the size of D/FW.

Q. Whatever happened to John Schoellkopf, who ran for mayor against Wes Wise in 1975? L.B., Richardson.

A. Though Schoellkopf never became the mayor of Dallas, he’s been the blueberry baron of Athens, Texas, for
about two years. Schoellkopf, his wife and three of his four children have been living on their farm raising
blueberries and enjoying the sweet life. This summer, though, the Schoell-kopfs are slowly migrating back to their
home in Greenway Parks so the children can attend school. What will Dad do while the kids are in school? He’ll
continue his blueberry farming, work on local investments and take care of his business on the board of the Texas
State Fair.