Thursday, February 26, 2009

Super Spelling and Slumdog

I watched the Oscars on Sunday night, and was very pleased to see Slumdog Millionaire formally recognized for the brilliantly conceived and executed work that it is. There were many really good films this past year, but this one accomplished many things. It told a great love story, combined it with a rags-to-riches tale that would have made Horatio Alger and Charles Dickens proud, and displayed for the world both sides of the paradoxical culture and society that is India today.

One other thing I saw over this past weekend was also pretty exciting and maybe personally gratifying in a small way. Lindsay Gnesios of East Middle School won the Mesa County Spelling Bee, and will represent our area in the state bee in Denver next month.

I remembered Lindsay as a somewhat precocious and articulate fifth grader when her class participated in the Words program two years ago. She picked a good word, MONOCHROMATIC, and wrote a great sentence to back it up. I put Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue" behind it, and it turned out rather well.

I'm happy that Lindsay has found joy and a gift in the printed and spoken word. Best wishes to her, and to all of the spellers headed to Denver.

Call Before You Dig...

Today's compromise of a Bresnan Communications fiber optic cable along Patterson Road in Grand Junction did more than just inconvenience a lot of people. It illustrated some potential vulnerabilities in our telecom infrastructure that may have to be addressed.

I got the first clue about a problem when listening to the scanner this morning, and hearing the Grand Junction High School office advise someone that all of their computers were down. I was then checking the TV channels, and noticed that the CBS and Fox channels (KREX and KFQX) were black, as well as Channel 16. Since these stations have largely transitioned to digital broadcasting, the likely majority of cable subscribers were likely unprepared and unable to tune their TV's to the over-the-air signal.

When I first read about the problem on the Sentinel's website, I put these together (KREX is still in the WCCC building, operated in part by District 51), and when I heard that it was the crew working on burying the Independent Ranchmen's Ditch along Patterson, the reported scope of the outage started to make more sense.

KJCT reported that an equipment operator had cut a cable containing 96 strands of fiber. The proximity of this cable to Bresnan's local headquarters may have contributed to the widespread scope of the outage, although my section of downtown did not appear to be affected.

School District 51 goes through Bresnan to support a significant portion of its' data and telecommunications networks, which explains the problems spread out across so many schools that were likely cut off from their database servers or phone switches by the cable cut.

Bresnan's responsiveness to the outage appeared to be effective and impressive, even if it did occur during the business day in close proximity to their offices. This was of particular concern because of Bresnan's position as a provider of local phone services, particularly 9-1-1 service, that were unavailable due to the fiber cut.

The word got out quickly via the media so that people with a service interruption could prepare to use another way to contact help if needed. This differs from Bresnan outages for scheduled maintenance, which have occurred in the middle of the night with no notice to customers at all.

This is not the first time that construction in the Patterson Road area has caused something like this. When 25 1/2 Road south of Patterson was re-constructed several years ago, a Qwest fiber cable was broken, resulting in interruption of phone and data services to the immediate area, including the fire station there.

One has to wonder how these kinds of things happen despite the requirements and resources in place to have buried utilities located before digging. One thing lacking from the broadcast media coverage was any attempt to interview the contractor responsible for the broken cable. I wonder why...

This doesn't happen very often, but when it does it definitely tends to create some widespread inconveniences, with the potential for some serious problems to develop if the root cause is more difficult to rectify than this one. When they say call before you dig, they mean it.

I believe that Bresnan takes its' responsibilities to the community seriously. I also hope that the contingencies and plans to address a catastrophic failure of their infrastructure (whether by an intentional act or not) are well established and reviewed regularly. There is a significant amount of the population in our area that trusts them to maintain the bulk of their connections to the outside world, 24 hours a day.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Saturday Spinfest

I didn't get to phone in to Mesa County's first telephone town meeting on Saturday, but from Mike Wiggins' excellent account in the Sentinel I read some statements that had me scratching my head. For example:

(County Commissioner Craig) Meis responded by saying county residents can enjoy both a high quality of life and the economic development that comes from drilling. He said the industry slowdown will give the county time to catch up and plan for further development if and when drilling ramps up again.

I'm not sure I see the direct connection between energy development and a higher quality of life. Perhaps it's a mathematical figure based on the total amount of particle board and stucco used in a calendar year, divided by the number of white 4-wheel drive dually pickups registered in the county. Maybe it's the time of one's daily commute, multiplied by the cost of operating your vehicle.

Perhaps quality of life can't be derived from balance sheets, employment figures, the consumer price index, or the S & P 500.

Perhaps that quality is derived from knowing we are loved, and being able to love and care for others. Does that love emerge from material wealth? I don't think so.

Perhaps in the wake of the inevitable adjustments that have occurred in the wake of the greed and mismanagement in the world's credit markets, some people are becoming more inclined to take stock in those intangibles that truly define quality of life.

Perhaps the economic adjustments that have resulted in limited credit availability and reduced market prices for energy (the real reasons behind the downsizing) will result in greater acceptance of simpler living. If that happens, I feel bad for Craig Meis and those like him.
“If it were any other sector pulling back hundreds of millions of dollars, the leadership of this state would be sitting down saying, ‘How can we keep you here? What can we do to keep you here?’ ” (State Senator Josh) Penry said. “But that’s not happening in this case. It’s making a grim situation only worse.” The senator said he is confident that, in the long term, there will be “a growing bipartisan recognition that we’ve got to fix these rules.”
Any other sector of industry wouldn't be leaving the raw materials of its' business behind. The energy sector has no choice. The reason they are scaling down is because the price they stand to get for those materials has dropped to the point where it is no longer profitable. The almighty marketplace has determined this.

Growing up in the shadow of the steel industry in the 60's and 70's, I got to see the direct effects of steel production on my neighborhood. I later watched those effects diminish as tighter controls on emissions drastically improved air quality. When the bulk of the steel industry went away in the late 70's, market conditions were the primary cause.

The rule changes are in response to several years of energy activity without the rules. When energy prices and credit availability recover sufficiently, the drilling will ramp up again because the energy is still here. However, it will be extracted under conditions that will help to protect those intangible features that provide Coloradans with an exceptional quality of life.
In response to a question about alternative energy production, Meis said it’s important for other areas of the country to step up and provide energy, whether it be extracted minerals or alternative forms such as wind and solar power.
“I don’t want to be the only place supplying energy for the country,” he said. “Just because Martha’s Vineyard doesn’t want to see windmills in their backyard doesn’t mean we need to be drilling here in our backyard (alone).”
Fortunately, there are several entrepreneurs in the Grand Junction area, who along with many property owners have sufficient vision to leverage our preponderance of sunny days with solar power solutions for residential and business properties. This is an example of thinking globally and acting locally.

Also, I'm wondering if Mr. Meis has ever been to Cape Cod and the Islands. If he hasn't, then he knows not what he's talking about. If he has, then he needs to be reading up on the issue. If he wants to see windmills, Nebraska and Iowa are a lot closer anyway.

Not every participant was pleased with the tenor of the discussion that leaned in favor of the energy industry. Rowland, who acted as the moderator, indicated about halfway through the meeting that one person wanted to know if the commissioners had “given thought to having anyone on the panel with a differing opinion.”

Rowland responded by saying the meeting wasn’t intended to serve as a pro-and-con discussion of the industry, but rather as a forum for people to ask questions.

Well, they organized it, and I suppose they can invite who they want. It's still disingenuous to utilize cutting edge technology to link the community in such an innovative manner, and then try to structure the message and the participants to allow for criticism of people and ideas that have no representation, no way to defend themselves.

If, as Commissioner Rowland says, the forums are intended for people to ask questions, then the people should have the opportunity to ask them of stakeholders on all sides of an issue. Fair and balanced, right?

I'm interested in these electronic town meetings, and will probably participate in at least one over the next few months. I would hope that the commissioners will not attempt to stack the newer forums with like-minded advocates for the position espoused, in hopes of spinning the message unchallenged.

Have a good week ahead.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Farewell, Mike Saccone

Daily Sentinel political reporter Mike Saccone is ending his all-too-short tenure on the Western Slope to take a job with Colorado Attorney General John Suthers.

I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Mike on several occasions. His expertise in reporting on political issues was something that the area really needed and benefited from.

Mike, I don't have much to say except that we as a community will miss your acumen on politics at all levels, combined with a reporter's insight and determination to get the information right, and get it into print.

While I have some concerns about you going to work for a conservative Republican Attorney General, after your predecessor left to become the designated apologist/spinmeister for COGA, I have nothing but good wishes for your personal and professional success.

As the Communications Director, it's probably a good bet that you will end up being the public face of the AG's office more often than not. Should a Press Secretary role be something that you find attractive for your future career path, my hope would be that you follow the example set by Bill Moyers, as opposed to say, Ari Fleischer.

Of course, an lot of this depends as much on who you work for as anything else. I do think that your taste in suits will help your chances, though.

Godspeed, Mike, and may fortune favor you in all your endeavors. Enjoy the Front Range.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Support Your Local Dispatchers

Two Sundays ago, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel printed as its' Page One story an overview of the challenges facing the Grand Junction Regional Communication Center (GJRCC) in trying to recruit and retain personnel.

The week prior I was contacted by reporter Mike Wiggins, and we met to talk about the challenges faced by today's communications professionals. Even with some stark differences and varying challenges, I couldn't help thinking that this was familiar territory being traversed anew.

In 1995, GJRCC began a national recruitment for Supervisors. This followed a large exodus of employees in 1994, along with another Sunday Page One story in the Sentinel on the staffing crisis, and a consultant's study that determined that a first tier of management 24 hours a day was needed to provide operational oversight and continuity.

It was felt that more responsive management and problem-solving would improve working conditions, and thereby employee retention. I was one of five supervisors hired as part of that recruitment. The challenges and rewards of relocating to Colorado and doing the job were significant.

The staff of GJRCC is highly skilled, and performs their appointed tasks in an admirable manner under very stressful conditions. I cannot see fit to level criticism at any member of the Comm Center staff. This does not extend to the Grand Junction Police Department, or City administration.

I know this is a lot to read, and if you're interested, read on. If you just want to know the gist of what I'm getting at, here are some bullet points for you:
  1. The issues surrounding staff retention extend well beyond the recruitment, hiring, and training process. It goes into the realm of the organizational structure and operating processes and policies of the agencies that use GJRCC, as well as the nature and service provision of other government agencies.

  2. Stakeholders in the future of this essential community public safety resource need to suspend disbelief when it comes to the future of the center, and begin to brainstorm ideas for the future structure, administration, and functional location of GJRCC and the Grand Junction Emergency Telephone Service Authority. Nothing should be off the table at the start.

  3. The community at large has a significant stake in the success of its' public safety agencies. There are many things that can be done, and issues that can be advocated for, that can go a long way toward improving both our collective quality of life and the work environment of our public safety professionals.
In response to the community's growth, the center has needed to hire more people to do the job. Some new employees find that they can't handle the job, or decide they don't like it, and 'wash out' or leave shortly after starting. Legacy employees find other paths for their career, or their lives change significantly in a way that requires a change or adjustment. Either way, they move on. I'm one of those people.

It's not my intent to generate some grand expose' or indictment of the GJRCC management team, insofar as I share in the responsibility for some of these conditions that have resulted in the latest staffing shortfall. I do intend to illustrate some of the ways that best practices could be applied to the existing workplace environment, with the hope of optimizing efficiency and minimizing the unnecessary stress that often creeps into a complex and high-energy work environment such as this one.

As those of you who read my post from November already know, I like to divide these kinds of issues into the three components of a best practice; Technology, Processes, and People. I found a possible example from the Feb. 1 story:

"During the busiest times on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, the call volume can rise to the point where officers wait 20 to 30 minutes for a response after they ask dispatchers to check a license plate or a driver’s name through a computer database with information about stolen vehicles or arrest warrants.

That can compromise officer safety, according to Deputy Police Chief Troy Smith, who said some officers don’t even attempt to check for stolen vehicles or wanted subjects during times they know the dispatch center is swamped."
The City and County have spent thousands of dollars on computers, infrastructure, and software to provide a mobile data network for law enforcement officers in the field. This network is designed to provide access to, among other things, the same criminal and vehicle databases that the dispatchers use.

Assuring that this mobile data system is fully operational (technology), that field personnel are properly trained in its' use (people), and are required to use it when they can safely do so instead of relying on dispatchers (processes), may help reduce the workload and multi-tasking burden that dispatchers at times face unnecessarily.

In my November post about the Public Safety Initiative, I identified several focus areas that I believe are critical to achieving a best practice in the eventual expansion of our public safety infrastructure. Communications is no small part of that. Some of these areas that apply specifically to improving the work environment at GJRCC are:

Regionalization / Consolidation - GJRCC functions at a higher level of overall efficiency because of its' county-wide scope of operations. However, the idiosyncratic nature of multiple independent agencies creates additional stress on regionally-based personnel. A dispatcher forced to remember how an animal complaint or runaway report is handled in Grand Junction vs. Clifton vs. Fruita vs. Palisade, because they may all be handled differently, is going to have an increased stress level in comparison to processing those calls the same way for everyone.

Better yet, having one metropolitan police department across the Grand Valley would appear to make enormous sense from a fiscal and operational standpoint, regardless of obstacles such as politics, parochialism, and hubris that stand in the way of even a meaningful discussion. There needs to be some meaningful discussion about resource sharing and modifying operating processes (especially in this economy) before any more buildings get built.

If Police Chief Bill Gardner was serious when he told City Council “We cannot continue to do what we’re doing”, then he's smart enough to realize that statement also applies to a lot more than just the Communication Center.

Annexation Reform - A more common sense method of annexing territory into the City will serve to reduce the stress involved in determining jurisdiction. For example, not having to worry about whether or not the crime occurred in the victim's backyard or on the canal road behind it, because the yard is in the City but the canal is not. Seriously.

Emergency Management - Critical incidents may be unpredictable, but the manner in which they are responded to shouldn't be. Since 9/11, one thing that FEMA has done a lot of work on is the National Incident Management System (NIMS). This comprehensive framework for managing emergency operations includes the Incident Command System (ICS), which FEMA describes as follows:
"ICS is flexible and can be used for incidents of any type, scope, and complexity. ICS allows its users to adopt an integrated organizational structure to match the complexities and demands of single or multiple incidents."
Many good dispatchers get that way by learning to anticipate the needs of the resources they are coordinating, and planning the notification of additional resources or other related tasks in advance of the actual request. Consistent use of ICS by public safety responders allows for the anticipation of resource needs according to a plan, and allows dispatchers to function in a much more informed, empowered, and efficient way.

Those public safety agencies that are tacitly resistant to integrating NIMS/ICS into their routine daily operations make a dispatcher's job more difficult. Given the national focus on better coordination and accountability of emergency resources, this resistance is becoming all the more indefensible.

Human Resources - In the January 19 Sentinel, another Mike Wiggins story detailed what each City department was trimming back from their planned expenditures after a spending freeze was imposed by City Manager Laurie Kadrich. The Police Department's tally included:
"..held off on hiring another dispatch center supervisor (emphasis mine), an investigations sergeant and a corporal to work in professional standards and
From 1995 until 2007, the number of dispatcher positions at GJRCC increased at a slow but steady pace, but the number of Supervisors remained constant. This steadily widening span of control was a cause of concern for myself and some of my colleagues.

According to a national call center consulting firm, span of control should be evaluated when:

· Quality monitoring needs to be improved.
· Supervisors are stressed due to workload.
· Agent turnover is increasing or too high.
· Budget cuts are needed.
· Changes in the company’s organization.

I'm hopeful that among the 15 proposed new positions are sufficient supervisory staff to maintain an acceptable span of control. Critical along with those providing operational direction and supervisory oversight are those legacy employees who function as training officers. Their experience, patience, and ability to document progress and provide effective feedback to new trainees is invaluable.

New Technology and Infrastructure - As if those attempting to deal with the current staffing issues didn't have enough on their plate, there's the pressing need for a new communications center facility. With the Public Safety Initiative headed back to the drawing board, it seems an opportune time to revisit exactly how to make that happen from a regional perspective, as opposed to a 'City-centric' view.

The Fall 2008 newsletter of the Academy of Architecture for Justice included an article on 9-1-1 Center design, which offered the following:
"In Will County, Ill., the design team undertook an extensive process to select appropriate sites within the entire county. The two-pronged approach involved eliminating all areas deemed less suited because of natural hazards (such as flood plains or wetlands) or man made hazards (such as major roads, pipelines, or nuclear power plants), followed by a nomination process of available sites in strategic zones of the county. All sites were subsequently ranked and recommended to the Emergency Telephone System Board."
With the current and planned future sites for a new Comm Center located in an urban core area, between two major transportation routes and a quarter-mile from a major rail corridor, perhaps this is the time to begin a careful reconsideration of where to locate a critical facility such as this.

Community Involvement - What can we as a community do to support the efforts of these professionals to provide us with the most efficient service possible, when we need it the most?
  • Prudent Use - Yes, ma'am, the fireworks in the park are a sanctioned City event. It is not a crime in progress. You may want to contact the City Manager in the morning....Is there an emergency associated with the power outage? I'm sorry, but we don't have any control over when the power will come back on. Would you like the number of your power company?....I'm sorry, sir, as much as I understand that your daughter is afraid of the lightning and thunder, we don't have an officer available to talk to her and calm her down. Would you like our non-emergency number in case you need it later? Seriously.
  • Community Support - There's no doubt that these critical workers, and and many of their police and fire counterparts, are in need of better facilities. Participate in those community efforts to gather input, and strongly consider lending your support at the polls.
  • Community Advocacy - The abysmal state of our mental health and alcohol treatment programs results in a revolving door of Chronic Public Inebriates, the chronic mentally ill, and increased suicide attempts, most notably in places like the Monument. From system access to treatment and transport, public safety resources are misused and stretched too thin by the failure of Colorado West Mental Health to maintain their hospital status, thus requiring dispatchers to send resources to transport patients to and from local hospitals and CWMH. Additional support, funding, and understanding is needed to allow the full potential of these resources to be properly realized.
As a growing community, even in the face of recession, we face significant challenges to our quality of life by the effects of that growth. Crime, overcrowding, and depletion of insufficient resources are contributing factors to this. Examination and modification of the way we grow and allocate resources is a big factor in how public safety responds to the needs of citizens.

Those who competently serve as the first voice of help to those truly in need are themselves in need of your support and understanding. The next time you have a need to call 9-1-1, remember the work and dedication that goes into making that person a professional, who can respond to the most routine or horrific circumstances with the same level of compassion and efficiency.

That respect doesn't come easy. Nor does effective change to assure that all components of the system function with that same level of efficiency. I'm hopeful that those barriers to understanding that exist within our public safety hierarchy will fall in the face of economic and operational realities that will hopefully serve to reshape the way our layers of government interact.

Have a safe week ahead.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Stimulus Scare - A Different 'War on Wrong'

As it seems to happen so often in our unfortunate world of media and politics, the language of fear-mongering often trumps the calm, dispassionate distribution of the truth.

So it seems that my
post on Tuesday regarding the questionable assertions of Betsy McCaughey was more relevant than even I thought. As I observed then, this commentary was seemingly picked up and trumpeted by just about every news site and self-described pundit who derives sustenance from the conservative trough.

I spotted it on Drudge, then Newsmax, and then Father Limbaugh, until, in ironically Stockman-esque fashion, it "trickled down" to our own Rick Wagner, who included a reference to the report in his Sentinel column this week. Oops.

Last night
Keith Olbermann took the time to deftly break down Ms. McCaughey's assertions, as well as analyze her motivation for writing what turned out to be some very thin stuff:

Ezra Klein of The American Prospect broke things down even further, revealing Ms. McCaughey as a practitioner of this same kind of disinformation all the way back to the Clinton years. Olbermann's report went even a little deeper, finding a trail leading straight to big Pharma.
Surprise, Surprise, Sgt. Carter.

Tonight as I write this the compromise stimulus bill has passed the House and Senate, with no support from House Republicans and enough in the Senate to prevent a filibuster.
I'm not particularly thrilled with the haste at which this was pushed through. I'm also thinking that there will be sufficient time for deeper analysis, lots of praise and hand-wringing, and the occasional litigation to stop implementation of one segment or another.

Just like with the Patriot Act, and other questionable pieces of legislation enacted in haste in a time of false fear and unjustified war.

I'm also not thrilled with the seeming disconnect between Congress and the majority of the people they're elected to represent. I do believe we have a representative that is responsive to our needs, but feels he must also be responsive to the needs of his party. That's the great dichotomy between representative government and party politics, and I fear we won't be rid of it anytime soon.

For some reason I feel that the current batch of politicians in charge is the lesser of two evils, but there is a nervous level of comfort that goes along with it.

Have a great weekend with someone you love.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stimulus Section Spin-Fest

Something I read this morning, and decided to find out more about, taught me to take Internet opinion and other information with a larger grain of salt, regardless of the purported credibility of the source.

commentary on Bloomberg Media yesterday raised the collective eyebrows of quite a few people, including myself, concerned with this country's health care system. To quote this article:

The bill’s health rules will affect “every individual in the United States”...Your medical treatments will be tracked electronically by a federal system. Having electronic medical records at your fingertips, easily transferred to a hospital, is beneficial. It will help avoid duplicate tests and errors.
But the bill goes further. One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and “guide” your doctor’s decisions. These provisions in the stimulus bill are virtually identical to what Daschle prescribed in his 2008 book, “
Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.” According to Daschle, doctors have to give up autonomy and “learn to operate less like solo practitioners.”

The article by Betsy McCaughey goes on to assert that many of these provisions in the Stimulus Bill are extensions of some of Mr. Daschle's assertions made in his book, and will marginalize health care choice and the activities of physicians.

Given the pressure that the Obama administration is placing on Congress to get this bill passed, my initial reaction to this article was "Holy Patriot Act, Batman!".

The reactionary conservative site put a lot of this under a headline that blared "Socialized Medicine". Another site got a reaction out of Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, one of the three Republican senators favoring the Stimulus, and thus a marked man. Father Coughlin reincarnated also weighed in as expected.

On the other side, a lawyer with a blog specializing in health care issues carefully dissected Ms. McCaughey's comments and found a few areas of distortion.

What to think now?

As much as I believe that government-supervised universal health care is a lesser evil than for-profit insurer-controlled health care, I'm thinking that I agree with only one assertion in Ms. McCaughey's commentary:

"On Friday, President Obama called it 'inexcusable and irresponsible' for senators to delay passing the stimulus bill. In truth, this bill needs more scrutiny."

Alas, the Senate passed their version of the bill this afternoon, so the only hope for a little sanity is in the House/Senate Conference committee. There appears to be at least one Democratic senator who is carrying a torch for common sense. Let's hope he can spread some light around.

Monday, February 09, 2009

A Weekend of Haunting Beauty

I worked all weekend, and kept pretty busy. I'm due back in a little over seven hours, but I have to get this out before turning in.

Saturday night after work I took in The Reader at the Regal Cinema. This is third of the films nominated for the Best Picture Oscar that I've seen, along with Milk and Slumdog Millionaire.
The Reader is a hauntingly beautiful film that tells a very poignant and sad story in a way that will stick with you, especially if you appreciate fine acting. Kate Winslet was incredible.

Tonight I'm watching The Quiet Man with John Wayne and a very lovely Maureen O'Hara. The film won an Oscar for cinematography, primarily for its' depiction of a very beautiful Irish countryside, all shot on location. Leslie wants very much to see Ireland someday, but for the moment she'll have to settle for the DVD I'm sending her.

Leslie is of the opinion that it is not the awards that make a great film. I'm in agreement, but it is still nice to see films like these in the running for some mainstream recognition. I need to see Slumdog again; there's so much energy and life amid location shooting in the slums of Mumbai, it takes more than one sitting to take it all in.

Speaking of awards, several months ago I sent Leslie a song from a CD by two performers who you would not expect to be together doing duets; Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. Turns out they go together like Bing Crosby and David Bowie. Seriously.

The song is beautiful, and the mainstream award show wags thought so too, by giving it the Grammy for Record of the Year tonight. It's too good not to share.

Back to work in the morning. I've been working on something else that speaks to me a lot; maybe it'll be ready soon.

Have a great week ahead.

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Please Read the Letter

Caught out running
With just a little too much to hide
Maybe baby
Everythings gonna turn out fine
Please read the letter
I mailed it to your door
It’s crazy how it all turned out
We needed so much more

Once I stood beside a well of many words
My house was full of rings and
Charms and pretty birds
Please understand me,
My walls came falling down
There’s nothing here that’s left for you
But check with lost and found

Please read the letter that I wrote
Please read the letter that I wrote
Please read the letter that I wrote

One more song
Just before we go
Remember baby,
You gotta reap just what you sow
Please read my letter
And promise me you’ll keep
The secrets and the memories
We cherish in the deep
Please read the letter
I mailed it to your door
It’s crazy how it all turned out
We needed so much more

Please read the letter that I wrote
Please read the letter that I wrote
Please read the letter that I wrote

Please read the letter
Please read the letter
Please read the letter

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Kadrich Kaption Kontest

Dean Humphrey - The Daily Sentinel

Grand Junction City Manager Laurie Kadrich is seen hard at work yesterday in an atypical work environment for her daily job routine.

What is she doing?


Digging a grave at Orchard Mesa Cemetery, fulfilling a pledge to do a "dirty job" if a certain amount of holiday charitable giving was accomplished by City employees.

Imaginary sources also report a simple granite marker was being prepared at nearby Snyder Memorials, bearing the inscription THE PUBLIC SAFETY INITIATIVE 2008-2008.


At the request of certain City Council members, providing a visual illustration of the shortfall in projected sales tax revenue for this fiscal year.


Assisting with the preliminary ground work for a secure facility from which to conduct City business, in the event that Bill Pitts is elected to Council in April.


Participating in the groundbreaking for a new, stand-alone Regional Communications and Emergency Operations Center. Located on an Orchard Mesa hillside, the new facility will feature state-of-the-art security with video monitoring and RFID badge access, secure interior parking, fortified construction and building ventilation systems, and emergency generator capabilities for up to three days of uninterrupted service if necessary.

The EOC will feature redundant broadband Internet connectivity, as well as the capability to communicate with emergency management officials via satellite, secure telephone, and amateur radio.

The 9-1-1 and regional dispatch operations floor will be fully windowed on three sides, with individually climate-controlled workstations and sufficient personnel and equipment space to accommodate 15 years of potential expansion.

And then I woke up....

Anyone have other ideas?

Monday, February 02, 2009

Random Thoughts from Steeler Nation

Now that I've had a chance to exhale after what was perhaps too close a call for the Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII, I thought I would throw out some thoughts that came to mind during and after the game.

Leslie and I were talking during the last minute or so; the celebration was underway shortly thereafter, with horns honking and fireworks going off in her small suburb as well as the usual bad craziness in Oakland and the South Side. My friend Steve is a Shift Commander at Allegheny County 9-1-1, and was relating to me some of the public safety preparations in place, win or lose.

Head Coach Mike Tomlin, asked after the game what he was thinking when Larry Fitzgerald scored for the Cardinals with a little over 2 minutes left, said:
"I cannot say enough about these guys and what they are willing to do for each other and for Steeler nation..I was thinking if they were going to score that it would be fast, so there was a lot of time left...Steelers football is 60 minutes...It's not gonna be pretty, you can throw style points out the window, but these guys are gonna fight to the end."
Tomlin is a man of passion, honor, and integrity; it's easy to see how he impressed the Rooney family that hired him as only the 3rd Steeler Head Coach in 40 years. There's a formula in place within the Steeler organization that allows and encourages people to excel according to their strengths, but also expects those strengths to grow and be consistently displayed..

The rewards are rich ones, but for guys like Tomlin there are intangibles at work. The material trappings, the atta-boys, the fame and media attention, all pale in comparison to having a vision in your mind for success and seeing that vision brought to fruition for the glory of your chosen profession. There's a personal angle to this that I may explore more tomorrow.

To give some props to the Cardinals, they played at the same level they did throughout the post-season. Kurt Warner steady and consistent. Larry Fitzgerald is one of the most skilled players in the NFL, and definitely the cutest. They did a fine job.

Ben Roethlisberger continues to excel as a journeyman quarterback of consistency, poise, and distinction. Some of his improvisations and responses to pressure were just magnificent. Fortunately, the Steeler offensive line was equally consistent, providing Big Ben enough time to work his magic.

James Harrison, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year who scored on an interception return that is the longest play in Super Bowl history, played his college ball at Kent State University.
Among those who played their college football there as well include Steeler legend Jack Lambert.
In Lambert-esque fashion, Harrison was penalized for a nasty personal foul in the second half.

Santonio Holmes, the game's MVP, switched to another gear for this game. I thought it interesting that the Holmes continued to handle punt returns (he returned one for a TD against San Diego on Jan. 10), but the Steelers put their larger running backs in to handle kickoffs.

It was great to see Joe Namath, the pride of Beaver Falls, walk up with the Lombardi Trophy and be met by many Steeler players who wanted to touch it before it got to the podium.

It's time for bed. Early start for work tomorrow. Enjoy your Groundhog Day.