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If news is a stream, this is The Trickle

August 29, 2008 - Brian Ferry
Sometimes, in my line of work, you come across something that is fun and interesting, but just not quite right for publication in the daily newspaper.

And I'm not just talking vulgarity.

An email that showed up in my inbox recently contained these words: "Remember that the laboratory does not like maggots."

Meetings of the Warren County Board of School Directors are not hours of bland. Well, not all the time. During a recent meeting, an administrator owned up to forgetting to add something to the board's agenda. "That would be my mistake - first two weeks on the job," she said. The board, her boss, was amused. "Fired," one board member said. She got to keep her job. "Kidding," the board member later clarified.

And, not everyone who addresses the board is 100% serious about it. An administrator making some requests of and presentations to the board at a recent meeting came to the podium twice. The second time he spoke about a grant for the Student Assistance Program. Dealing with federal dollars, grants, and important programs was a relief compared to his earlier task. "I don’t think this is a controversial as ice machines.”

The sign at Warren Area High School and Warren Area Elementary Center proclaims: "A place where parents send their very best efforts." Hmmm.

A sugar maple in the front lawn of Warren's First United Methodist Church will soon be laid to rest. The alien-looking fungus has been removed, but the decay within that allowed the fungus to grow is abundant. According to the city's arborist, the tree is past the threshold at which it must be cut down.

While introducing a guest speaker at the Chautauqua Institution's amphitheater, the institution's president got a chance to thank some of the groups that keep productions there running smoothly. He stood at the microphone and thanked the video folks, and the maintenance crew. With another few seconds before the keynote speaker was available, he thanked one more group... "...nk y... ...ou... dep...ent." "That's a joke," he explained. The mic was working fine a moment later when he repeated, "Thank you, sound engineering department."

While going over the county's bills for the month of July, the county's fiscal director listed the most costly items for the commissioners. One item - $14,000 to the Warren Times Observer for advertising - got their attention. It also earned the reporter in attendance some ribbing. Then, the commissioners brought up a frightening thought. If the state changes the rules about the advertising of public notices (including big things like sheriff's sale lists) newspapers, including my employer, will lose significant sources of revenue.

I almost forgot: at least several days of my life were lost on Friday. As I yanked open the door to the Warren City Fire Department's communications office, I heard the most ferocious, I'm-going-to-rip-your-throat-clean-out-right-now, instant death bark I have ever heard. A moment later, the communications officer and the person in the office talking to her had secured the vicious man-eater. And I could feel my heart beating again. Turns out Akyra, the 115-pound akita that threatened to kill me in an instant, is a big teddy-bear. He just happens to have a very serious bark.


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