***Editor's Note: Below are comments received following the August 28-29, 2010 edition of the program...
After John’s comment last week I almost did write this, but I felt it too important. Most cell towers do NOT have backup generators, they have 2-4 hours of battery backup in case of power failure. Thus in a prolonged power outage cell phones become useless. This is important as the public feels that in an emergency their cell phone will be there. Whereas wire line central offices are required by the FCC to have generator backup. I know this from working in the industry for a number of years. Further, the towers without generator backup are mainly in rural areas that are less profitable due to the lack of population.
Grindstone Island, New York
When you reported on the 911 tax this morning it reminded me of something my 89 year old World War II Navy Vet told about phone on a cd made for the Library of Congress report of veterans a couple of year ago. I am 24 years younger than him having been born toward the end of the war in May of 1945. I also have 3 other brothers who served in WWII.
The story is that he told the reporter that the old wall crank phones had a feature that today's modern phone system and the cell phones do not have. It seems that not long after he was married he was sent out to sea on what he thought was a long cruise. Four months later he was back in New York just after the first of the year and called his wife back in western Illinois late that night.
She was a teacher in a one room school house and when he called she said I cannot come because school is in session. The next morning one of the school board members showed up at school with his kids and ask if she planned to go see that sailor. She said "I cannot go because school is in session."
The school board member said well school is on vacation until you get back. The party line was effective for spreading the news. My brother James Robert Whitson and his wife Genevieve live in Champaign, Illinois now.
John, your comments on school consolidation were right on target. I really enjoy your comments, and have for years. Keep up the good work.
***Editor's Note - below is a transcript of John's commentary on school consolidation:
MY COMMUNITY HAS LONG HAD SMALL LOCAL SCHOOLS. FOR EXAMPLE, BACK IN THE DAWN OF TIME, I GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL IN A CLASS OF ELEVEN. WHICH MEANS I GRADUATED SECOND IN MY CLASS AND DIDN'T MAKE THE UPPER TEN PERCENT.
BUT DEMOGRAPHIC AND ECONOMIC FORCES MAY BE FINALLY BRINGING RATIONALIZATION TO THE SMALL SCHOOLS IN ILLINOIS AND OTHER RURAL STATES. SCHOOL CLOSURES ARE STRONGLY RESISTED BY SMALL TOWNS AS A PRECURSOR OF DECLINE, AND HEROIC MEASURES ARE EMBRACED TO SAVE THEM. TOO MANY MEMORIES - HAPPY ONES, FOR THE MOST PART - ARE LINKED TO THOSE OLD BRICK STRUCTURES FOR RESIDENTS TO LET THEM CLOSE.
BUT AFTER THE TAX BURDEN SOARS, AND THE BASKETBALL TEAM STRUGGLES, WE RELUCTANTLY BEGIN LOOKING FOR OTHER SOLUTIONS. IN AREAS LIKE MINE THAT CONTINUE TO LOSE POPULATION, AND WITH DECREASING FAMILY SIZES, THAT REALITY CAN ARRIVE ABRUPTLY. ADDING IN THE 120-BILLION DOLLAR COLLECTIVE STATE DEFICIT, CHOICES SOON DWINDLE.
THIS WOULD SEEM TO BE ONE OF THOSE ISSUES WE HAVE TO BE FORCED TO CONFRONT BY STARK EMERGENCY. WHAT I HAVE LEARNED FROM WATCHING THIS PROCESS IN OTHER COMMUNITIES IS THIS WOUND NEVER FULLY HEALS. COMMUNITIES JUST OUTLIVE THE MEMORY OF WHAT SCHOOL USED TO BE. YESTERDAY'S SCHOOLS WOULD NOT SERVE TOMORROW'S STUDENTS, ANYWAY. SO SOMETIMES BEING TRUE TO YOUR SCHOOL COMES SECOND TO BEING TRUE TO YOUR CHILDREN'S FUTURE.