Archive for Thursday, September 14, 2006

Thankfully, fall is finally in the air

September 14, 2006

Like so many people I've talked to recently, the sentiment seems to be "where did the summer go?"

I know I'd sure like to know. It seems like it just started and it's over. It's so over that, gulp, we're staring at the Maple Leaf Festival just around the corner. Say it ain't so. Please.

Reluctantly, I have to admit it's part of an on-going phenomenon that appears to be entrenched -- yes, that's getting old. As the years go by, they tend to race faster and faster. The past two years have certainly just flown by.

For me, I know that has a lot to do with another Baldwin phenomenon, one that has conspired -- along with a lack of space -- to keep Around Town off the Forum page for, well, I'm afraid to say, a month or more. That's the incredible string of news that's been camped over the community for almost two years.

I've never seen a stretch like it. Just hitting the highlights -- or, really, lowlights, if you will -- you quickly come up with a list that's ugly. Of course, topping the list is the first murder in Baldwin in decades. Doesn't get much worse than that.

But, we've had plenty of other thrills. Immediately popping to mind is the school district's $300,000 shortfall. Oh, my, nice. How about a threatened water supply and boil advisory back in January because the system failed and our water towers went dangerously low? Or, did you forget that one?

We've had a fire where the Douglas County dispatch wrongly identified as a Lawrence fire instead of Baldwin fire, costing precious time for fire fighters to arrive. When they did, the fire hydrant didn't work. What should have been a basically harmless candle burns curtains fire quickly extinguished and not much harm done, instead resulted in the total loss of a long-time family home.

Then, of course, we can't forget our civics lesson. That occurred when after lengthy debate at several Baldwin City Council meetings, an ordinance was passed by a close 3-2 vote to allow the Sunday sale of packaged alcohol. As promised, the opposition put a protest petition together and forced it to a vote. Because of the timing, that vote came Dec. 22 and the measure passed by another slim margin, 200-181.

And, yes, the list goes on and on. Those are only a few of the examples of what's been a crazy news year in Baldwin. Well, really, it's been a two-year spell. Of course, it hasn't all been bad news. We've had a new president installed at Baker University, Patricia Long, and a new superintendent of schools hired, Paul Dorathy. Both of those replacements came in amongst a lot of interest.

The spate of news is certainly one of the reasons time has flown by for me. And, when the cooler temperatures started filtering in last week, it made it obvious that summer had disappeared -- especially that awful stretch of 100-degree heat that made everyone so miserable.

I was remarking to Signal office manager Karen Wooge how wonderful the cooler weather was. Her answer was right on the money -- we earned it.

No, summer is gone. I don't know where it went. But, remembering those scorching temperatures, I really don't care. Fall is in the air and I love it.

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