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Quick takes

“I believe you can have two on a truck instead of three on a truck”: The words of Mayor Fred Costello of Ormond Beach, Florida. “Millions, it would save,” according to the mayor. That’s dollars, not lives. He points out there were more than 6,000 calls in 2006, but only 32 structure fires. The firefighters, as you might imagine, have a different perspective.  Watch the story. Read the story.

Firefighter muzzled at council meeting: A very interesting story from Elyria, Ohio when the lieutenant in charge of the fire department dive team began speaking about a tragic incident over the weekend where a 13-year-old boy fell into the Black River. Shortly after saying, “As a city, we could have done a better job”, Lt. Rick Thrasher was cut off on the advice of a city lawyer. Thrasher apparently believes cuts in staffing have impacted the team’s readiness and training. Read the story.

Speaking of muzzling, I don’t like to kill comments: The comments on this blog bring a lot comments to me. I catch a lot of grief from friends, enemies and strangers for allowing comments, allowing anonymous comments, allowing personal attacks and allowing crude language. I see everyone’s point on this and it is an issue I wrestle with daily.

There have been almost 12,000 comments posted on this site since the start of in May of 2007. I moderate each one. The decision to have comments comes from the policy of the company I work for and is similar to the policy of many other news organizations. I have yet to see one of these news sites do a real good job of preventing any and all of the previously mentioned problems. It comes with the Internet. Even if you have people register, the same issues are still there (do you think they all give their real identities?).

The approval or disapproval of these comments is a judgment call by me. But I have guidelines to take as much of my personal opinion out of it as I can. Obviously, the guidelines don’t cover everything.

Most of the rejections come because of language. This blog is run by a TV station. Forget the four letter words. Your opinion on something, someone, or some issue we have covered is fine. If you want to be the reporter and unearth new facts you have discovered feel free to send them to me for further investigation. If you want them published right away, get your own blog. If you must, even though I don’t like it, you can tell us your opinion that Chief Ajax is a jerk. It won’t get through when you write that Chief Ajax is a child predator when there are no such charges against him. Also, I don’t edit comments. It is  either accept or reject.

Now, a message to “Frank”, who wrote a very long comment last night criticizing me for allowing a frequent commenter to keep commenting. The only reason your post was killed is because you added some of your own reporting. I didn’t want you to think it was axed because you were critical of me and the blog’s policies. That is never a problem. I am fair game.

Finally on this subject, a message to all. I know many of you won’t listen, but be nice. Deal with the facts. Try to discuss the issues and not the personalities. I am not so naive to think what I am asking is likely to happen. I just wanted to make another effort, because when you do stick to the issues, it can make for some interesting reading.  And for those who are offended by the opinions in the comments section, just read what I write and forget the comments. If you are offended by what I write, then write a comment (just don’t read it). Thank you. 

Not the way to start a fire service career and not the way to end one: In Papillion, Nebraska, Chief Bill Bowes became suspicious after a small group of the 300 people who took the written test to be part of the city’s new career fire department did extremely well. Too well. Officials have determined they were given the answers by two current employees. At a cost of $25,000, Papillion is giving a new test. Some people won’t be allowed to take that test. The fate of the people who provided the inside information isn’t known. Read the story. Watch the story.

Too drunk to drive fire equipment claim being probed: Do you remember the story last week of a former firefighter making claims that members of Pennsylvania’s Towamencin Volunteer Fire Company were responding on calls inebriated? Well, the official investigation begins this week. Read the details.

Video of apartment fire and mayday: Everyone got out okay in this one from Shrewsbury, Missouri. Click here.

Video of mall fire in Colorado: An almost 100 year-old building that became a shopping mall burned on Monday in Estes Park. Watch the video.

Where do you stand on H1N1?: A lot of stories are cropping up about fire and EMS folks who aren’t interested in getting the H1N1 vaccine. Janet Wilmoth at takes a closer look.

Volunteer and get a college education: The Louisiana State Firemen’s Association now has almost $1 million in FEMA money to help volunteers pay for college education. Read the story.

From firefighter to luthier: That’s a person who makes stringed instruments (I didn’t know either). A retired Vista, California firefighter is making a name for himself as a violin maker. The name isn’t Stradivari. It’s Gravlin. Read his story.

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