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Jumping into Fayette pool

Sorry, I’m posting this late, but life kinda caught up to me. I had a fun shift on Wednesday covering the Fayette city pool. It’s an extremely old, above-ground pool built in 1936 in serious need of renovations. I came in with a few other ideas, none of which were particularly interesting to me (1. Marshall school district’s search for new elementary school site, and 2. heavy rain’s impact on local wineries). Jen liked the pool idea since it was going to be unmercifully hot, and I agreed. It sounded like a fun/interesting story we hadn’t covered before. So, I made a few calls to Fayette City Hall and, as is the case when doing stories outside of Columbia/Jefferson City, the people were much more helpful and willing to talk on-camera.

(Tangent warning): Wednesday was an absurdly busy day for reporters – it seemed packed with B2 people, VO patrollers, and such, so all of the KOMU Scions were taken by the time I was ready to leave. I got the idea to wrangle up the KOMU Ford Escape, and I managed to get the keys to it from Stacey, so I was excited to finally take it out for a spin. It’s like the forbidden fruit of KOMU cars – everyone seems to want to take it for a story, but it’s kept in the bullpen for use ONLY when necessary. Wednesday was my day, thankfully.

My thoughts on its driving performance: I liked sitting higher up than in the Scions. Definitely a little easier to see everything ahead and in general it had less blind spots than the stupid XBs. I think the fact it’s a Ford helps our street cred when I drive into little towns I’m prone to cover stories in – honestly, I think people look at the Scions and say “What the hell is that?” They’re way too edgy, “cool”, and attention-seeking for my taste. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to have station vehicles we can use, but if I had a choice I’d take the Escape. It felt a little more masculine and macho than the Scion.

Anyway, back to its performance. It reminded me a lot of my old Ford Focus…it had a very heavy gas pedal and a similar 4-cylinder engine. It was somewhat underpowered because anytime I wanted to pass or accelerate on i-70 it would downshift and strain to speed up. I’m not sure about its gas mileage but fueleconomy.gov says it’s worse than the Scions, which is disappointing. Makes sense though because it was made in 2006, just before Ford started getting its act together about gas mileage. I liked the back window that opens up, so I don’t have to swing open the entire back door to get gear out. Otherwise, it was a fun experience to take a different car, hopefully I can do it again sometime.

Anyway, back to the reporting shift. I arrived in Fayette and stopped at the pool first. I got lucky and found Jake Hendrix, the maintenance guy I spoke with on-camera, and he let me into the facility. I shot some video of the inside, where things would need work, and on the upper level, where the actual pool is. Then, I went to Fayette City hall to talk with the City Administrator. She was helpful and I managed to get some good soundbites. After that, I went back to the pool, since I was told lifeguards would be there. I spoke with the main lifeguard there, and shot a little more video around the pool. Then, I tried to shoot a standup showing the plaque dedicating the pool to WW1 veterans. I did it and I was happy with it, but it had to be 100 degrees inside the little room with the plaque. I was sweating buckets and even with my best attempts to wipe it off with a lone towel I found on the floor, I still looked funny. After I snagged some lunch at “240 Culinary” in Fayette (very good – I highly recommend it!) I headed back to Columbia.

I had a vo/sot for the 5, a package for the 6, and a vo/sot for the 10. I experienced no problems whatsoever once I got back to the station. I even stuck around for a little while after I was finished to experience some of the severe weather craziness at the station – always a good time to hear angry callers upset about not being able to watch “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me out of Here!” It also felt safer to be at the station, surrounded by weather info, than in my apartment, on the top floor of its building. This was also the night the woman died in Finger Lakes Park from being struck by lightning, so the skies were pretty insane-looking.

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