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Take time to enjoy Daylight Saving Time tonight

By: Editor's column
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I always eagerly look forward to the beginning of daylight saving time, signifying that spring is here.

And I always assumed that daylight saving time is just another seasonal occurrence that doesn’t need any explanation after existing for decades.

So I was surprised to Google daylight savings time Saturday and see umpteen entries about everything you need to know about this annual occurrence, along with numerous Daylight Saving Time 2017 Guides.

The concept is not new. Daylight saving was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin when he was an American delegate in Paris in 1784. If everyone got up and went to bed earlier, the Wall Street Journal quoted the statesman and founding father, many candles would be saved.

The United States, in 1916, followed Germany, England and then France during World War 1 in using daylight-saving time to conserve fuel and provide more usable hours of daylight, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The U.S.’s Uniform Time Act of 1966, signed by President Lyndon Johnson  established Daylight Saving Time as happening the last Sunday of April through the last Sunday of October. Daylight Saving Time is practiced in all states, except Arizona where temperatures can reach 115 degrees, and Hawaii, which has plenty of sunshine during the day.

The more I Googled this weekend about the time change, however, the more I saw that many residents throughout the United States are not as enchanted with last Sunday’s annual time change that indicates spring is around the corner.

State Assemblyman Kansen Chu, who represents the cities of Santa Clara, Milpitas, Newark and portions of Fremont and San Jose, is trying to eliminate daylight saving time in California. Last year, he said that the fuel and electricity savings of the time switch really do not materialize in our modern world. Chu is currently sponsoring Assembly Bill 807, which would allow voters to eliminate this practice.

With no offense to Chu and even if today’s lights and air conditioning are more efficient, I still prefer Daylight Saving Time.

The start of daylight saving time reminds me of the December holidays. That’s because strangers seem to smile more and neighbors are friendlier.

It’s easy to be happy when we’re enjoying the outdoors, whether walking our dogs or with friends, sitting outside and saying hi to neighbors, or playing tennis or shooting baskets.

And I like this time of year when it stays lighter because it’s easier to be outside after working all day. I can now walk Rocko at 7 or 8 p.m. and have plenty of natural light (with no need for flashlights). An added bonus is the pavement cools down so it’s safer for my dog’s paws.

The National Institute of Health had it right last Friday when it twittered: “Don’t forget that Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday! You’ll sacrifice an hour of sleep but enjoy extended evening daylight for months.”

As a coincidence, with Sunday’s clock springing forward, the weather has been balmy. How can anybody be inside when the weather is so welcoming and what makes California such a desirable destination.

The U.S. Department of Transportation oversees the observance of Daylight Saving Time and cites three benefits, according to its website:

·       *   It saves energy. During Daylight Saving Time, the sun sets one hour later so the need to use electricity for household lighting and appliances is reduced.

        * It saves lives and prevents traffic injuries. During Daylight Saving Time, more people travel to and from school and work and complete errands during the daylight.

        *  It reduces crime. During Daylight Saving Time, more people are out conducting their affairs during the daylight rather than at night, when more crime occurs.

I am excited that Daylight Saving Time started Sunday, not necessarily for the Department of Transportation’s reasons but because it’s fun to be outside.

I’d rather be walking on a trail or talking to neighbors outside than sitting on my couch watching TV.

It’s a different story Nov. 6, when we change back to Standard Time. The nights seem darker in the winter and I turn on more house lights than I probably should.

But for now, I have eight glorious months to play outside.

And I’m just thrilled to soak up the extra rays.