Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving Weekend 2007

It's been over a month since I last wrote anything. Tough times and issues abound, but nothing insurmountable with the help of friends, family, and the grace and mercy of God's love to help see the way through my own shortcomings, and to pardon those of others.

We did the turkey on the grill for the first time this year. It was very good. My mother is a whiz at these things, and her organizational and other skills when it comes to cooking, etc. are formidable.

We did a little bit of furniture shopping on Friday, but in general were able to avoid the throngs out for the high holy day of the First Church of My Stuff.

Evan is enjoying his extended vacation while work continues at Grand Junction High School.
He goes to WCCC, so he still has classes there. While I sympathize with the staff and maintenance personnel involved in the repairs, I have to scratch my head about the alleged lack of modern, commonplace systems that could have minimized the catastrophic damage that occurred to the school and its' infrastructure, not to mention the continuity of education. Ralph D'Andrea and some of his readership wondered the same thing.

News Media reporting of this incident has been pretty good, despite Jeff Kirtland retaining his title as the most taciturn Public Information Officer I've ever seen. Witness this reported exchange with Emily Anderson of the Free Press:
Kirtland said the break was the result of natural stress on
aging parts.

"Parts give," Kirtland said.

Kirtland said the break came in an integral mechanical part located under the water tank.

"If you don't want something to give, this is the thing you don't want to give," he said.
Granted, this is a 50 year old building with infrastructure that is clearly aging, but still working and serviceable. I hope that the media will pick up on this angle and start asking questions, perhaps not to the Principal, or the Superintendent, but the Maintenance Director, who has yet to be heard from in any forum that I've seen.

Questions I would ask include "Are there leak detection systems with automated notification contingencies in any District 51 facility?" and if not, "Why Not?".

If this is the case, and if in response to this event the District is forced (hopefully by their insurance carrier) to retrofit these detection systems at an increased cost over had they been a planned expenditure, then this will be another classic example of the District knowing the price of everything, but the value of very little.

If you need another example, drive past a few school facilities during spring and summer. Even with all of the public emphasis on watering and sprinkling during non-peak hours, it's not hard to find a massive school sprinkler system spraying away at 2:00 in the afternoon.

The most recent reporting in today's Sentinel has teachers reporting next week to attempt to "
boil down the last weeks of school into absolute essentials", according to GJHS' first-year Principal, Jon Bilbo. I still have to wonder how much torment he's taken over his career from teenage fans of Tolkien. Lucky for him he's a pretty tall and imposing figure, more like Gandalf. Pretty much a straight shooter as well. No complaints from this corner so far. We'll see how this condensation of schoolwork goes.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'm hopeful for a swift and successful resolution of the immediate problems, as well as the granting of foresight and strength of will to those responsible for these facilities, so that they may see the need and benefit of modern technology and take the necessary steps to see it utilized, to the benefit of those who use the facility, those who maintain it, and those of us who help to pay for it all.

May this weekend be the start of many blessings for you this holiday season.

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