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Pelted by nuts; and a school update

I was standing there admiring our newest acquisition — a Weber grill from Hite Hardware. It was nice and shiny and replaces an older one that was blown over and broken in a recent wind storm.
As I was admiring the new shiny toy, it happened. A nut bounced off my head and onto the grill. My son Andrew was in stitches.
It wasn’t that funny!
Where’s my helmet?
It’s not the first time it has happened, and it wasn’t the last … that day.
A bit later, we were testing the grill with hamburgers. Without my helmet, I opted to grill one-handed. One hand on the spatula, and the other covering my noggin. Sure enough, a nut from about 20 feet up fell right onto the back of my covering hand. It stung a bit, but it was better than the one that bounced off my head.
All the while I was grilling, squirrels in the overhead branches were peeling and eating the nuts off the trees, shucking the shells in my direction. The nuts and shells were everywhere, and I had just cleaned the same area.
I always vow to get even, but I know it is a false threat. The dang buck-toothed vermin have more ammo in their arsenal than I do.
Back to the drawing board, with a more urgent need to find that helmet.
*****
Changing topics, one question I hear a lot is what’s going on at the school construction site? Folks, I’m retired, remember?
But curiosity got the better of me, so I called Michelle Sander, GSL business manager. I told her people have asked me, so I called her.
“Why don’t they call me?” she replied. I had no good answer to that.
In a nutshell, the $25 million to $26 million addition-remodeling project at GSL has been hampered by state permits, or lack of permits, extensive infrastructure work and the rains.
Sander said the state approvals have been running about six weeks behind on all the school projects around the state, and not just GSL’s project. Why? Not enough state personnel to cover them all, Sander said.
Often the GSL project gets partial permits for some of the work, and then halts until the final approval. “It’s frustrating,” she added.
While the public only sees mounds of dirt being moved back and forth, Sander said a lot of infrastructure work is being done, including the replacement of the boilers in both the Lincoln Junior High and high school buildings. The new boilers should be up and running by mid October.
Another issue is connecting the buildings, which have different elevations, she said.
Foundation block laying was supposed to start last week and the pre-cast walls were scheduled to go up this week, but that, too, may be delayed. Sander said when the 165-foot crane is on site, the walls will be going up shortly thereafter.
Asked about staying in the Helen Baker Elementary School longer than this school year, Sander admitted that may happen. “At least we have a place to stay,” she added, because the building has not been sold.
As to the replaced eight-inch sewer line north and east of the high school property needed to address drainage issues, Sander said that has not been completed yet, but all the permits finally have been obtained. Now the area is too wet.
As to the city’s plans to shut off the back flow of water between the city and school holding ponds near Pryor Avenue, Sander said the city’s plan is not helpful.
Nor is the city’s plans to charge the school district hefty water access (WAC) and sewer access (SAC) fees for the project.
WAC/SAC are generally charged for new developments. Apparently, the “spitting war” between the city and school district continues. Last I heard, both sides are dealing with our tax dollars.
Rich Glennie was the editor of The Chronicle for 23 years. He retired Aug. 1, 2014, but still plans to submit an occasional column.