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Later light will lead to changes in business

Hours before the sun rises and morning commuters fill the streets of Spokane, the baristas of Jitterz Java are busy brewing coffee.

Starting at 4 a.m., customers line up at the stand’s two drive-thru lanes off Northwest Boulevard in Spokane.

Heather Percy, a barista at Jitterz since April, wasn’t thrilled to hear about a provision of the federal energy bill that extends daylight-saving time by a month.

“I can’t wake up, honestly, when it’s not light out,” she said.

Approved Friday by the Senate as part of the $14.5 billion energy bill intended to bolster energy resources in the United States, daylight-saving time will be extended starting in 2007. It will stretch from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November; it currently runs from April to October.

Alan Jenkins, general manager of Sun Dance Golf Course in Nine Mile Falls, said the switch is a bonus.

“It’ll help out being lighter later in the day,” he said. “It’s cold in the morning in March and November anyway, so people don’t want to play then.” Plus, in the late fall and early spring, frost can be too heavy to open the course in the morning.

The extended daylight-saving time will allow the course to stay open later, and the course and its restaurant and lounge will adjust their hours to take advantage of more afternoon playing time.

Nationally, the airline industry, farming organizations and the PTA have spoken out against the extension, citing cost and safety concerns, but local groups haven’t followed suit.

Todd Woodard, director of marketing and public relations for Spokane International Airport, said passengers out of Spokane likely won’t run into scheduling difficulties because the airport sees relatively few international flights, which will be most affected by the change.

Jim Davis, president of the Washington Farmers Union, said area farmers are focused on weather and fire danger, not on the extension in daylight-saving time. And Patty Weiser, vice president of the Washington state PTA, said the organization probably won’t take a stance on daylight-saving time, even though the national PTA has said darker morning hours would be unsafe for schoolchildren.

“There are other issues that are foremost in our mind,” Weiser said.

Terren Roloff, community relations director for School District 81, said there are no plans to change school schedules. Staggered bus schedules that put elementary students last prevent younger children from standing in the dark, she said.

Marilynne McKell walks her two dogs along a trail near the Spokane River in Northwest Spokane early every morning. She said she won’t take her walk as early when it’s darker in the morning, because she’s concerned about safety. She added that she considers daylight-saving time an annoyance.

“It has no positive effect for me – just more hassle in life,” she said. “I guess if it helps the economy, it’s fine. It’s not all about me.”

Sheila Danzig, who lives in Weston, Fla., posts information about the dangers of daylight-saving time on her Web site, www.standardtime.com. She has always disliked changing her clocks twice a year, and eight years ago, decided to start a site devoted to ending time changes.

“You can’t save daylight, you can only move it,” she said.

Danzig said she’s received 15,000 responses from people around the nation, most of them complaints about the inconvenience of changing clocks. She said she doesn’t see the energy savings, estimated by sponsors of the amendment to be $180 million a year, as worth the trouble.

“People are going around sleep deprived and disoriented every time it happens,” she said. “We’ve got an internal clock, and I don’t know why we need to change that.”


 

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