28 January 2009

Snowy Humpday Happenings...
My Dad used to have a saying that pretty much defined days like this:
"If it's not ONE damn thing...it's ANOTHER".
And that sums up today in SO many ways, not the least of which is (what else?) the WEATHER.
Fort Wayne is once again hit with an appreciable snow storm, courtesy of Mother Nature.
Don't expect plow truck on the roads until the storm slows (or stops), and definitely DO NOT expect salt to be placed down, because with all this constant low temps, salt is pretty much ineffective (even IF you add beet juice).
And those of you that DO give a damn and decide to clean off your sidewalks and/or driveways, be advised to TAKE IT EASY.
Heart attacks become more prevalent when people are shoveling.
Perhaps that's WHY my "neighbors" will never have a heart attack while cleaning off THEIR sidewalks....they NEVER DO.
But I CAN rest assured that those hot pork rinds WILL do them in (unless they succumb to "lead poisoning" first, if you know what I mean). Still, in spite of the inclement conditions, the news stories (along with the people that cause them) never stop coming.
So get out the parkas, lace up the mukluks, and hitch up the sled teams.
--Item: More school kids mugged by thugs at bus stops.
(From the INDY STAR)
((The attack on 13- and 14-year-old brothers near their school bus stop at Forest Manor Avenue and 21st Street on Tuesday marks the fifth such incident in less than a week on the city's Eastside.
Thursday, at least four students were victimized at four separate bus stops near 42nd Street and Arlington Avenue, about four miles from where Tuesday's attack reportedly occurred.
"It just enrages you," said Pam Griffin, who lives a few houses away from the bus stop and has a granddaughter who lives in the neighborhood. "It makes you so angry to know that your children aren't even safe when they're waiting on their bus."
Police said there is no evidence to link Tuesday's incident to the series of robberies last week, which happened within a 25-minute span. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Deputy Chief William Benjamin also said there were some inconsistencies in the latest report but that the incident would remain under investigation.
In Tuesday's incident, the brothers, students at Marshall Community High School, told police that a man got out of a van near their bus stop and threatened them with a handgun.
According to police, the man took the 14-year-old's MP3 player and demanded money.
When the 14-year-old said he had no money, the robber hit him on the head with the gun and got back into the van, which another man drove away. .
After last week's incidents, IMPD increased patrols and neighborhood reserve officers across its districts. The department also added undercover officers
in the areas of the attacks."It's a really frightening problem for citizens that live in this county," Benjamin said.
"We need to be proactive."
Two people have been cleared as suspects in last week's robberies, but Benjamin said police are pushing on with the investigation by taking tips, re interviewing witnesses, checking for stolen items -- MP3 players and cell phones -- that could have been pawned and scanning the phones' call histories.
Benjamin said the department also would share safety tips through an e-mail network of concerned citizens, and encourage parents and neighborhood residents to play a role in the safety of students.
"If every parent saw (that) their child could get on that bus safely, this wouldn't happen again," Benjamin said.
Jeffery C. White, principal at Marshall, said he planned to contact volunteers and parents and encourage them to monitor bus stops in their neighborhoods, steps similar to those taken after the rape of a student at the school near a bus stop in 2007.
Indianapolis Public Schools police will work with city police and with other school districts on the situation, said IPS Police Chief Steve Garner, and will have IPS officers patrolling bus stops in the mornings.
"It's an all-time low for our community," said IPS Superintendent Eugene White. "When you start taking advantage of defenseless children in the dark, it's frightening."Leaders at the KIPP Charter School, which most students involved in last week's robberies attend, announced Tuesday that they will hold a school-wide meeting Thursday to address concerns about the incidents.
Church leaders and residents near Tuesday's reported incident said the attack adds to their worries.
"I'm surprised that somebody would even try it again," said the Rev. Charles J. Ellis Jr., executive director of the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition, a group that addresses community violence and other issues. "It's an assault on our innocence and those who would be the easiest targets in our society."Ellis said his group is encouraging people to report suspected crimes to police and
advocating that neighbors in the area remain vigilant.

That's what Bruce Jacobs intends to do. He's a leader in the Forest Manor Park neighborhood
group and lives near the bus stop where Tuesday's incident was reported.
"Everybody's on edge, and people are watching out for people," Jacobs said. "This is something else to add to the list of things to watch out for."))
--Item: John Updike passes away.
(From the NY Daily News)
((John Updike, the Pulitzer Prize winning author, who gave prominent voice to the angst of white men and the changes in sexual mores in post war America died Tuesday at 76.
His publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, announced that Updike, who lived in Beverly Farms, Mass., died of lung cancer.
Updike’s best-selling novels about Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom are often considered the quintessential portrait of the American male in the late 20th century.
In addition to his fiction, Updike wrote literary essays, poetry and art criticism as well as children’s books. For much of his career he turned out a book a year.
In addition to the four novels in the Rabbit series (two of which won Pulitzer Prizes),he wrote three novels about a blocked Jewish writer named Bech, starting with "Bech, A Book."
Updike’s first runaway bestseller was the 1968 "Couples," a look at the new, uninhibited sexuality of suburban America. His fiction ranged far beyond the
contemporary middle class life of his best known novels though.
He wrote about post-colonial Africa in "The Coup" (1978), the Tristan myth in the 1994 "Brazil" and the failed presidency of his fellow Pennsylvanian James Buchanan in the 1974 play "Buchanan Dying" and the 1992 novel "Memoirs of the Ford Administration."
His last novel to win widespread acclaim was his "prequel" to "Hamlet," the 2000 "Gertrude and Claudius."
John Hoyer Updike was born March 18, 1932 in the northeastern Pennsylvania town of Reading. He spent most of his early years in nearby Shillington. His mother, who had wanted to be a writer herself, encouraged her son to write.
Updike applied to Harvard because he wanted to write for its humor magazine, the Harvard Lampoon.
He received a full scholarship and, as a senior, was president of the Lampoon, to which he had initially contributed cartoons.
During that academic year in England with his first wife, Mary Pennington, 1954-55, their first daughter was born. While there he also met E.B. and Katharine White, influential figures at The New Yorker, in whose pages he had already published a poem and a short story.
The Whites encouraged him to apply for a staff position, which he received.
On returning to the States, he spent two years in New York, working as a staff writer at The New Yorker. On the birth of a son, in 1957, he decided to forego a steady salary, work on fiction full time and move his family to Massachusetts.
His fictions and reviews have frequently appeared in the magazine over the years.
He settled in Ipswich, which became the model for the town in "Couples."
He lived there until 1974, when he separated from his wife and moved to Boston, where he taught at Boston University. In 1977 he married Martha Ruggles Bernhard.
Two of his novels were turned into movies -- "Rabbit, Run," which starred James Caan, and the 1984 "The Witches of Eastwick," which starred Jack Nicholson, Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Most recently he published a sequel "The Widows of Eastwick."
He received the National Medal of Art from President George H.W. Bush in 1989 and the National Medal for the Humanities from President George W. Bush in 2003.
Very few writers have received both these awards.))
Some Updike quotes:
--To be President of the United States, sir, is to act as advocate for a blind, venomous, and ungrateful client.
--The essential support and encouragement comes from within, arising out of the mad notion that your society needs to know what only you can tell it.
--Government is either organized benevolence or organized madness; its peculiar magnitude permits no shading.
--Americans have been conditioned to respect newness, whatever it costs them.
--A leader is one who, out of madness or goodness, volunteers to take upon himself the woe of the people. There are few men so foolish, hence the erratic quality of leadership in the world.

--City Council "Stuff":
Last night's council meeting had a very good presentation by Cindy Joyner, head of Neighborhood Code Enforcement regarding BUSINESSES adherence to ordinances. Basically, there are new ordinances that will be considered for admission into the city code book, which will allow better accountability and enforcement for businesses and their properties.
Let's face it...you go down a nice street, and you see some hole-in-the-wall business with weeds coming up thought he cracks, peeling paint, and perhaps an otherwise dilapidated appearance. Well, these new ordinances are designed to STOP that.
NCE is pretty much bringing businesses up to speed and on par with residential codes.
Certain business corridors (Broadway and Wells) will certainly benefit from this, as will the S/W corridor from the FWIA (airport).
I mean, you really don't want to fly into this city, and have to see nasty-looking, blighted areas as you make your way into town, do you?
Now, NCE says they can do this without hiring more officers.
NCE has already seen weed violations rise by 1000 (last year) from the previous year (2007), and they also say they're not really "complaint-driven", but I'd have to say in areas like MINE, complaints usually go a LONG way to get people to ante up and get shit fixed.
People in MY part of town tend to ignore authority (codes, ordinances and laws), so from time to time, *I* have to drop some dimes to assist in getting these people "motivated".
That's the ONLY reason my area doesn't look WORSE than it already is.
I say this over and over, but folks around here don't give a damn. They rent, and renters aren't what they USED to be. They're getting damn near everything for free, so why bother to lift a rake, shovel, or paintbrush anyway, right?
Lazy IS...as Lazy DOES, no doubt. It's all about entertainment anyway.
--Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't suggest you read some of NKRUMAH STEWARD'S essays and articles.
Hell, go buy his book: Sometimes When You Pursue the Beast, It Eats You.
He's a brilliant writer with his fingers FIRMLY on the pulse of America.
He'll make you angry, he'll make you laugh, but he WILL make you THINK. That never did ANYONE any harm, last time I checked.
And... (imho) he'd make a DAMN FINE neighbor!
Stay warm (hot chocolate anyone?), don't venture out unless absolutely necessary (the police and fire departments have enough to deal with), don't use the stove/oven as a heating supplement, and take it SLOW when shoveling (unless you live on the south side, in which case, stay in bed until NOON, because drug dealers like to sleep in too).


Anonymous said...

The snow has brought out another buck passer in the FW government. Since someone still has my email blocked on all of his accounts, including yahoo, I thought I would post this. To preface this, I am an FWCS employee, and I know for a fact they consult road crews as to whether necessary routes will be plowed, etc. Either FWCS dropped the ball on this one (along with every other district in the county which is doubtful) or the street department needs to prioritize school bus routes. Here is a copy of my letter to Greg Baumgartner and his reply to me:

Mr. Baumgartner-

I was shocked that the side streets in my neighborhood were not plowed at all, given the fact that schools were running on time. There is a big difference between driving kids to school on unplowed streets with an inch or two of snow and driving on 5-6 inches of uncompacted snow. The specific area I am talking about that needs to be plowed is the area between McKinnie and Pettit and Lafayette and Hanna.

There is a school bus that goes through Sherwood Terrace in that area, making a stop at Sherwood and Hanna at around 7:10, and there is a school bus that goes south along Monroe at about that time. I believe their stop is Monroe and Pettit around 7:15. That bus' trip is further complicated by the fact that the East side of Monroe between Senate and McKinnie is blocked by tree branches that are still in the road. I also know there is a school bus that goes West on Maple Grove sometime around 3:30 or later. There might be an MLK bus which also uses that street too, although I think those students have moved out of the area. I also see Roanoke Baptist School/Church bus in the area in the afternoons also. I am appalled that bus routes were not plowed for our safety and the children's safety today.

If you know side streets are still untravellable and bus routes not plowed, why was FWCS and other area schools not told this to allow extra time to get those plowed before sending students, staff and parents on a dangerous journey this morning. I did notice the side streets of Glencairn, Inwood, and Fairlawn up by Snider did have a plow come through. Why can't the South Side bus routes get the same?

There is another dusting of snow coming tonight, up to an inch. I hope you can at least send the blades through that area by then so tomorrow's drive will not be worse. I don't expect salt on side streets, but side streets should be plowed before clearing traffic situations after this much snow.

Here is his buck passing, how dare you complain reply. At least he did get back with me quickly. At least I know the afternoon buses will be able to get around safely also.

Our goal/policy is to have all the residentials plowed 48 hours after the snow stops falling. The snow stopped falling at 10:00 yesterday morning, so it hasn’t been 24 hours as of yet and we have ¾ of the streets done. We don’t give preference to any particular part of the city and it is unfair for anyone to think so without knowing how we operate. There are areas all over town that have not been plowed and all will be by the end of our first shift today, well ahead of our goal. I don’t have any control of what the school systems do and if you have a problem with them, I suggest you call them.

Bob G. said...

Yepper, I live along those routes, and the conditions (today) are simply deplorable!
And I used to DRIVE in this for a living!
I've seen FRONT-wheel drive vehicles have a difficult time, as well as FOUR-wheel drives.
THAT ALONE should say something to someone, somewhere.

And while it's fine and dandy to make sure the MAIN arteries are clear, the FWCS STILL has a responsibility to make sure AS MUCH of it's routes are AS CLEAR as is possible, unless the school system wants to postpone opening or call the whole day off.

All too often those in nice neighborhoods with WIDE streets get the clean end of the stick, while those of us in the "blighted" areas of town get the OTHER end.

Then again, many in those neighborhoods have independent people who PLOW the streets clear for them...everyone pitches in financially, and gets it done (screw waiting for the city, as they would say). And to that end, I applaud them.
No one wants to do that HERE (S/E side), obviously.

I suppose if the FWCS didn't bus kids clear ACROSS TOWN, the whole problem would be rendered elementary.

That doesn't get the city off any hook, however.
Doesn't make for good "customer service, if that's what the CITY wishes to exude, does it?

Thanks for the comment and some very keen observations!


BR said...

Here is a response to an email that was set to Wendy Robinson a few years ago....

I forwarded your email to our Director of Facilities and received the following answer:
"Unfortunately our problems were created by the City plowing crews. We had everything cleaned but the City came through once again and covered up sidewalks and entrance areas. We are going to take away some of the snow that is piled high in front of ******* ***** and touch up any other areas that are questionable."
We are working our best to get the area cleared.

Barb Trout
Fort Wayne Community Schools
Superintendent's Office

This was really passing the buck. The Street Dept. had nothing to do with this. There were large piles of snow from the parking lot blocking the sidewalks. The students had to walk in the street. Also the sidewalks around the schools were not cleaned making the students have to walk in the streets. This was a FWCS problem, not the Street Dept. Maybe it's time to visit a few schools with a video camera and see what's going on. Post it on Youtube.

Bob G. said...

I wouldn't mind ALL the buck passing...but it's OUR bucks that asre BEING PASSED...and not to the best results, right?

I like the youtube idea...
Just wish I had a video cam.

Be interesting to see how it's handled on a school-by-school basis.
Wonder if some schools do better than others with snow removal, and WHY that happens.