Sunday, August 18, 2019
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Harpersfield Covered Bridge Metropark
Harpersfield Township, Ashtabula County, Ohio

What can I say? There was quite a bit of storm activity this morning. I got woke up earlier than normal for a Sunday morning. The UPS units wound up screaming this morning as the electricity kept flickering in and out until it totally went out. Power was eventually restored but we wound up with fairly large tree limbs downed in three places on my street.

It was a bit of a battle to get to church this morning. When I called the city government to report limbs being down I got yelled at and hung up on. This was another sterling example of fine customer service from the same city government that suffered computer problems that prevented them from billing for sewer and refuse services for seven months which resulted in balloon bills for residents.

Limbs were still down in areas blocking roads. Roads were not exactly the most clear. I got to church late. The other gentleman assisting in presiding over communion barely got there in time to assist me in table duties.

I went home and roads were slightly clearer. My father has been exhibiting his luthier works at the Music Along The River festival here this weekend. It was another battle trying to work my way down here to the park. Cellular connectivity is gone which is why this blog post is being written in a detached fashion.

Is local infrastructure fairly brittle? Today has been yet another example of that. The only reason people muddle through with this is that people choose to muddle through it. We don’t choose success. We choose failure.

That’s why I end up discouraged in thinking about undertaking any projects locally. The locals don’t want things to change. They like life the way it is.

For now I get to back up Dad here at the festival. Attendance is down. Up against Blue Sky Folk Fest in Willoughby and the D Day reenactment in Conneaut competition has been tight for attention.

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Monday, August 19, 2019
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At Erie Looking Productions
Ashtabula County, Ohio

Operationally weather continued to be a mess. AT&T did not have much success with cellular service covering that part of Harpersfield. Coming to “periscope depth” meant running from the park to the closest supermarket about four miles away to be able to catch a cell signal. The event was not one where FireChat would likely have been prevalent. Drums from a drum circle were more readily available, though.

Utilities have not fared well. This is partly why I insisted we shift off Spectrum for television service to DirecTV as well as putting the two HDHomeRun boxes in the garage tied to aerials. Those are all tied to backup power and the television inside the house is tied to backup power. We can still keep that link to the outside world running. Spectrum and its predecessor Time Warner Cable have had a bad habit in the local market of not having the local cable headend on any backup power so when there is a widespread outage both Internet service and television service disappear. For people in an exurban/rural area that’s frankly quite isolating let alone frustrating.

The breakers keep getting tripped on the UPS units that are scattered liberally around the house. Thankfully I was still able to participate in the SDF.org Amateur Radio Club net via Echolink and the net audio is currently available for download. My after-net activities have revolved around consolidating chargers and boosting preparedness. More storms are set to come through and they’re not going to be any nicer than the last bunch.

What grinds my gears about this incident is that the public works staff from the city government did a terrible job in cleaning up the tree limbs that fell into the roadways that closed blockages. Since it happened to be a Sunday and overtime was involved no work was done to actually cut up the limbs and haul them away for disposal. All that was done was city crews hauled the limbs out of the road, dumped them in the yard(s) of the appropriate resident(s), put up caution tape, and then moved on. If I weren’t blocked by the Hatch Act I would seriously be looking at challenging the local elected municipal chief executive at the upcoming election because this is just getting ridiculous. Apparently the garbage trucks are broke down as the most recent garbage pick-up was done by a smaller utility dump truck that was pulling a trailer behind it. We’re slipping from mediocre to laughingstock far too readily.

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