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Buzzards DID foretell water misery for Gladewater!

Earlier this week, did you laugh at our juvenile superstitions over buzzards roosting atop the Gladewater, Texas water tower? Did you scoff at our contention that this was an unsettling, bad sign?

Well, look at this, left-brainers, we were right! The Feb. 26, 2009 news-journal.com reports the “breaking news” that LINE BREAKS LEAVE GLADEWATER WATERLESS.

The city of Gladewater was without water most of Wednesday after two breaks to a main water line in less than 24 hours.

The broken line was about 50 years old and connected the water plant to the Gay Avenue water tower, City Manager Jay Stokes said.

Due to the original break, Gladewater students didn’t begin classes until 10 a.m. Wednesday. After the second, the schools dismissed at 1:30 p.m.

“We had bottled water available for the students to drink, but there were health concerns involving the inability to use restroom facilities, so we dismissed early,” Superintendent J.P. Richardson said.
Schools will operate on a regular schedule today if the water problem has been resolved, he said.

City residences and businesses also were without water Wednesday.

“This is not a good position to be in,” Stokes said

“If we had a fire without adequate water pressure, it could be difficult to bring it under control. It’s also just uncomfortable and difficult for people to go about their daily business if they don’t have access to water in their homes and place of employment.”

Town is abuzz about water tower buzzards

It appears as if a sequel to Hitchcock’s The Birds is shooting on location atop the Gladewater, Texas water supply! Of course, buzzards and vultures have been spooking mankind for eons; from Disney cartoons to classic literature, they frequently portend dying and death. So naturally, city leaders are worried that, “if the birds remain on the tower, their droppings will ruin the paint, which would cost about $80,000 to reapply.”

From the Friday, February 20, 2009 news-journal.com,

City Manager Jay Stokes discussed buzzards — the ones roosting on the water tower — Thursday with the City Council. Stokes said he has had numerous complaints from residents about the birds and has counted up to 80 of them on the tower at one time.

The city had a problem with the buzzards several years ago and eliminated them by applying for a permit and shooting them, Stokes said. If the birds remain on the tower, their droppings will ruin the paint, which would cost about $80,000 to reapply, he said. It’s also possible the birds could damage telecommunications equipment on the tower, Stokes added.

“I’m open to any and all suggestions from council members or others in the community about how to deal with this,” Stokes said. “The main thing to emphasize is that we don’t want to spend money on a temporary solution. We need to find something that will keep them away.

Stokes asked the council if anything was off limits as far as considering ways to deal with the problem. Councilman Scott E. Owens said Stokes should investigate all possibilities and take whatever action is necessary to eliminate the birds or get them to relocate.

“While I will try to find some sort of other solution first, we may have to be open to the option of seeking a permit to destroy the buzzards,” Stokes said. “I don’t know that there’s any way to persuade them to roost at another location.”

Anti-cultural-ignorance footnote: In many non-Western cultures, buzzards are traditionally a good omen, foretelling happy times ahead with health, luck, or wealth.