In the last edition of the Herald, with one of my submissions, there was, oh, a bit of a mistake – to be as transparent as possible.
And as a preface, I’ve been a reporter in the village for some three years now, and I would like to think that I’m up on “…all things Ada.”
However, and admittedly, what I could still use work on is, well, looking ‘up,’ literally.
That is, a couple years ago I wrote a story on ONU’s use of alternative energy, including submitting several photos of the campus wind turbines. While the story ran, the wind turbine photos didn’t. And as this new school year approached, I came across the wind turbine photos and re-submitted one with a caption about ONU’s turbines, solar field, and alternative energy bent in general.
Our new editor, in turn, ran the photo of the turbine at the top of the front page.
Subsequently, one of our more discerning subscribers e-mailed the editor explaining that, uh, none of those big turbines were up any more.
My editor, in turn, asked me about the, well, minor discrepancy. Okay, okay, HUGE discrepancy, given how big those things are! Or were.
I told him not to worry, the next time I was in Ada, I’d do some “fact checking.” That is, I’d look up. And I did.
And, wouldn’t you know, those big turbines, indeed, weren’t there anymore. None of them!
This then moved the whole thing into a “Saga of the Missing Turbines” investigative paradigm. While parked on the west end of campus where the turbines used to be, I thought I could, maybe, hack into the ONU computers to find out what happened. Or maybe it would be easier just to bribe one of the administration officials to get answers. Or…
That’s when I saw “George,” not his real name. He was with the ONU maintenance crew and was doing some mowing. So, I subtly sidled up to him, and as nonchalantly as possible, asked: “What the heck happened to the wind turbines?!”
He, in turn, said he’d heard one had caught fire the year before and another, he thought, had been hit by lightning this past spring. In both cases, the electronics, apparently, were damaged extensively and the turbines were taken down, he continued.
In addition, he said he thought the third one was taken down when he was on vacation – but he wasn’t exactly sure why.
Good enough for me. Case closed, kinda.
Note: Last week I also noted that ONU’s expansive solar field had 1,800 solar panels. I did drive out there next to make sure that hadn’t been fake news as well. It hadn’t been. There they still were. Although, I didn’t stop to count all the panels to make sure the 1,800 figure was correct – because I was already late for the Wilson Football Festival.
Note 2: My editor suggested that, if, in fact, there were no turbines anymore, I might want to mention in the correction that this whole thing would be Don Quixote akin to “…tilting at (non-existent) windmills.” My wife concurred that in my case “…that would certainly be apt.”
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