Monday, January 22, 2007

Don't Know What You've Got 'til It's Gone

City Utilities restored electricity (glorious electricity) to Casa DocLarry Saturday morning, almost exactly 180 hours (7.5 days) after it went off. The DocLarry family slept in our own beds Saturday night. The furnace ran constantly for 10 hours to bring the internal temperature back to 68 degrees.

About 13,000 customers are still without power, according to this morning's paper. I feel for them. Many have endured a longer time without electricity than we did. That includes the Chatter guy whom I spoke with earlier today. While I admire and appreciate the difficult work the utility crews continue to do, I wish City Utilities would be more forthcoming with information. I understand it may be difficult to determine exactly when power will be restored, but surely something more than "about a week" could be provided. For example, pinpoint the remaining outages and explain the difficulty in dealing with those areas.

It is frustrating to be without power. It is frustrating to watch power be restored to your neighbors two blocks away and remain without power. At least some of that frustration could be handled (and tempers controlled) if CU provided more information. And, quite frankly, the local news media need to get on the stick and start asking tougher questions. Yes, people are enduring the outage. But all is not well in the Queen City, and that story needs to be told.

Where are the dollar estimates of damage? Where are the maps detailing the power outage and damage? Where are the crime stories? Yes, the vast majority of Springfieldians are being very good. Yes, there are plenty of "angels" in our midst. But there are also bad people who have and will take advantage of this situation. That is also newsworthy.

News people should not be cheerleaders. Tell the whole story, the good and the bad. And press officials for more information. Your readers, viewers and listeners deserve nothing less.