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Friday, May 6, 2016

Wrapping up one hot summer

Friday, July 27, 2012

Declan is scheduled to return from his "great adventure" this weekend, which has me scrambling to get my list of summer projects completed. It is inevitable that in a few weeks I will regret, in some fashion, not taking better advantage of my "kid-free" time. Hindsight is of course 20/20, as they say.

As I drove past the bustling construction activity at our soon-to-be new Municipal Facility on West Fifth Street this morning, I wondered if there would be anything that city staff would miss from their current facilities once they relocated to the new building.

I doubt the administrative department will miss the "togetherness" of the cubicle farm they occupy. The city clerk has already expressed her excitement for having windows and a view of some sort at the new offices. I can only see that becoming a problem if budgeting problems developed that prevented the purchase of window blinds, but I doubt even that scenario would leave anyone longing for the subterranean office space at Memorial Auditorium.

Maybe our city firemen who are on a 24-hour shift will miss being lulled to sleep by the sound of colliding train cars a mere 100 feet away. Emergency personnel will certainly be less concerned that the overhead door will fail to open yet again, as they attempt to scramble an ambulance to a call.

The police department is not likely to miss the fresh air they received as they walked interviewees around the outside of the building to access the interview room. They will probably also be glad to have a bathroom that doesn't require secure entry into a jail area to access, although they will need to find another way of getting in electrical training that the building's breaker system provided by regularly failing.

While I couldn't come up with many reasons that city employees would have to miss their existing facilities, I personally am certain to be saddened by the loss of the multi-use lobby at the police station.

The lobby has served as the victim, informant and news reporter waiting area on most occasions, in addition to being the secondary interrogation room. This has made for some uncomfortable moments, but of course for some entertaining ones as well. I remember collecting accident reports one day when a slightly hyperactive young man in his early thirties was waiting for a police officer to come speak with him.

As I sat at the table busily pulling information from a stack of accident reports, he leaned over and quietly said to me, with an air of excitement he apparently could not contain, "I am going to be a confidential informant."

I almost responded with, "You may want to think about trying to keep that confidential."

After all, I was a news reporter, which is probably the last person you want share anything with that you're trying to keep quiet. I contained myself though and simply replied with "Really, very cool."

He proceeded to tell me about all the local drug dens he was going to expose to the police department and all the chaos that would ensue. The information was entertaining, but ended up being of little use from a news standpoint. I kept my eye out for a rash of drug busts to follow but saw nothing out of the norm.

The new Municipal Facility will unfortunately have plenty of rooms for potential police department interviewees to wait in private, meaning it will be much less entertaining for me to collect my accident reports, something I for one am certain to miss.

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Bruce Baker
Dinner with Declan