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December 21, 1994

I firmly believe that you shouldn't fix something that isn't broken. Here are a few observations of some things that could stand fixing, however.

Vehicles are being parked every weekday on sidewalks around the south and east edges of the high school parking lot at Eighth and Elm. The same thing occurs when there are night events in the auditorium. Some of the problem on the south side is caused by the fact that movable curbs there are placed too close to the walk, so that oversized bumpers on today's cars hang 'way out and thus make it difficult if not impossible for pedestrians to get by. On the east side, however, car and pickup owners simply use the sidewalk for parking space. That's not being fair to people trying to use the walkways.

Motorists pay little or no attention to warning signs downtown and continue to make U-turns on streets around the square. I used to think the scofflaws were just out-of-towners who didn't know better. Now I know better. I have seen the enemy and it are us.

Pedestrians who walk against the lights and those who walk in the street with their backsides toward the traffic are asking for trouble, if not painful injuries. A motorist may not be courteous enough to yield to them one day, and broken bones may well then result. Wait for the green light if there's a traffic signal, or if walking for exercise, be sure to walk facing traffic. Life and limb are at stake.

And please, city administration, don't abandon the downtown traffic lights. They surely are better than those battered barrels now dragged out whenever one of the lights malfunctions. Other towns undoubtedly have repair problems with their traffic lights. Are theirs out of service as long as ours?

I keep hearing about an impending disaster involving some ancient but vital county records stored in the courthouse basement, next to a boiler. Lack of shelves, threat of further water damage, and an environmental condition that is very incompatible with long-term paper storage threatens the old leather-bound books stashed down there. Does this mean that some special financial assistance is needed? Are we going to lose some valuable documents unless swift action is taken? Or is the loss already beyond salvation?

A floodlight on the front of one downtown business shines brightly in the eyes of oncoming drivers at night. Have you noticed this? Tilting the light just slightly probably would remedy the situation.

The new low water bridge constructed several months ago on Parklane Drive between North and South Brookwood now has striped vertical reflectors at each end but no side railings to help guide motorists across at night. The bridge is at the midway point of a dogleg bend in the street. Does this look like an accident just waiting to happen? Some motorist unfamiliar with the bend may go off the side one night. And if it happens, remember that you read it here first!

I'm not even going to mention potholes. It's the wrong time of year to patch them anyway. Besides, we'll have a whole new crop when the annual winter storm damage is surveyed next spring. That's enough complaining for today. Make makes me feel like Ebenezer Scrooge. Humbug!