Wednesday, August 24, 2011

24 AUG 11: A Case of the Shakes

OK, you sign-seekers - the ones who think an earthquake rattling the U.S. capital is a deep message aimed at our country and President. Tuesday's quake was the strongest one in Washington since 1897. Within a year of that quake, the U.S. was at war -- but we beat Spain then. Why couldn't we take over Cuba a second time?

Some people in our area insist they felt a bit of Tuesday's 5.8 magnitude earthquake, even though it was centered in Virginia. One woman told WXTX a lamp shook in her Phenix City office for several seconds. Maybe it was from the quake. But I'm wondering if any 350-pound people were walking through her building.

Then there was the young man in Columbus who said his third-floor bedroom shook - and at first he blamed it on his brother. If his mother walked in the front door while he jumped up and down on that staircase....

But I didn't feel anything unusual Tuesday at the time of the Virginia earthquake -- and I happened to be on the second floor of a building at the time. There was no swaying, like a White House camera went through. Of course, that happens in Columbus several times a year - when the Government Center "skycam" is shown on a windy day.

There's one place in Columbus which could settle the earthquake issue. The Space Science Center has a device which monitors quakes and creates seismographs. I'm not sure many grade school children have the inexpensive alternative to that anymore. It went out of.... oh wait....

But geologist Neal Garner at the Space Science Center admitted he couldn't confirm if waves of the Virginia earthquake reached Columbus. Perhaps that's because the center's "real-time seismometer" apparently has been frozen in time for two weeks. Did one of those summer camp rocket launches go terribly wrong?

A local pastor I know is such an earthquake and prophecy buff, he sometimes recites a rundown of recent tremors during worship services. He noted one day a fault line runs right down the Chattahoochee River. Take that, you skeptics -- downtown whitewater rafting could be more thrilling than you think.

But it turns out the pastor's comment was a little misleading. The Brevard Fault Zone does follow the Chattahoochee River -- but from Heard County northeast to the Toccoa area. So the renovation of the 14th Street Pedestrian Bridge won't require reinforcements for block parties after all.

The only memorable earthquake I've encountered in Columbus came in the spring of 2003. It occurred around 5:00 a.m., as I prepared a morning TV newscast. I felt only one slight rumble under my shoes - but it woke up so many people that the newsroom telephones had visible aftershocks.

The morning production crew was in the newsroom with me, and I pleaded with them to answer phones and take information. But they sat motionless, doing nothing. The only thing which could have shaken these people to their feet was an offer of free coffee.

I answered as many phone calls as I could -- explaining so many people were calling the TV station to ask what happened, I couldn't make any phone calls out to determine what happened. Only one thing could have made that early morning worse. But thankfully, NASCAR doesn't have races at 5:00 a.m.

One of the news anchors finally was able to verify there was an earthquake. She did it by calling Columbus Police. I admittedly wouldn't have thought of calling that number - but long-time officers would be used to dealing with "rumbles."

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E-MAIL UPDATE: The firebugs are still out in Lee County. Or at least they're talking as if that's where they are....

Jus because some use the excuse of a lower ISO rating that everyone is suppose to jump on board in support of the Fire fee Increase in Lee County, Al is just plain wrong

It will take way more than just a Fire fee Increase that lower a departments ISO, Some may never see a Lower Rating, Some do not care on lowering it, Some still have the same people in charge for way too long, Most have the Same Rating that was issued to them from when the Departments were formed way back when.

Not all Insurance Company's give credit for a Fire Department ISO rating, They go by the Zip Code only - People Please Call or go by your Insurance Company and make them produce a copy of it for you, all of them have it.

This Lee County, Al Fire fee increase is important - because Russell Co, Al Volunteer Fire Departments are now trying to do the same thing now, The addiction of Greed is spreading.

The Fire Departments will remain - They might have others running them which might be a good thing or not, but , they will be there

I believe the Beans need to be spilled on all

There's actually a company called ISO which does the ratings of fire departments and cities. A copy of its "Fire Suppression Rating Schedule" can be yours - if you're willing to pay 55 dollars for it. And if you're not interested in paying a 75-dollar fee for the firefighters themselves, this seems a little out of the question.

I discovered Tuesday night ISO's fire ratings are not based completely on the firefighters. Forty percent of the score is based on a city's water supply. So for all we know, you might be able to lower your fire insurance bill by stocking up on cases of Callaway Blue.

Another mysterious phone call came Tuesday on the "Friendship fire fee flap." It directed us to a bill approved by the Alabama Legislature this year, authorizing an upcoming referendum on the Lee County 75-dollar fee. Trouble is, the legislature's website already has removed all 2011 bills to make way for next year's session. When they say the fiscal year begins 1 July, they mean it.

We have one other e-mail on a couple of different topics, but I'm going to hold that for another day. Let's see what else flared up Tuesday....

+ Crimestoppers offered a reward to arrest a woman who walked into a laundromat on Buena Vista Road -- and smashed the windows on several dryers. I'm certainly not in favor of this behavior. But this is the "crime of the week" for a Crimestoppers report, maybe Columbus really has become a safer place.

(C'mon, lady - if you want "air-dried" clothing, there's a better way to get it. Invest a little money in clothes pins....)

+ Online reports indicated WTVM will add a new digital channel in late September called "Bounce TV." It's not yet clear if this network will replace Weather Now - or if the two channels will be combined on days when the temperature bounces up and down.

+ Columbus Technical College opened its fall semester, with administrators expecting record enrollment. If they really had some vision, they'd start a hotel-motel training program - and show those Columbus State students at the Holiday Inn what a REAL college education is about.

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