GIVE ICE SKATING RINK ANOTHER WINTER'S TRY

February 19, 2002 11:00 pm

A wonderful partnership between the city and a service club brought an ice skating rink to Riverside Park in north La Grande this winter.

Unfortunately one little detail, called the weather, did not cooperate. It takes a sustained cold front to make water freeze to such a point that a pool will hold skaters. And the rink, at Riversides pavilion, was installed a little bit too late in the season.

The liner, paid for through a $2,000 contribution from the La Grande Lions Club, arrived Feb. 1. By then, the winters cold snap, which started in early December, was starting to wane.

The open-air pavilion is a good place for a rink. The Lions are to be commended for working closely with the city on the project.

Unfortunately, the debut of the rink this month was marred by vandalism. According to the citys parks department, vandals broke the ice before it had a chance to set. They also tossed 6-foot plywood boards onto the water. The boards froze to the surface.

The vandalism problem could be fairly easy to correct. A video camera could be mounted in a protected cage high above the rink, sending its images to a cassette recorder in a nearby building. The presence of the camera would go a long way to prevent vandalism. The problem of warm daytime temperatures, causing the ice to thaw, is not as easy to address.

The city needs to give the rink an honest try in 2002-03, and record the number of days it is used by skaters. A refrigeration unit could be installed if Mother Nature does not cooperate, but that would be an expensive project. The Lions would have to roll up their sleeves and do some serious fund-raising to accomplish that one. Perhaps other service clubs could help with the effort.

WATCH CLOCK TONIGHT

All right you time buffs, heres one for you. Pause for a moment at 8 tonight to prepare to observe something interesting.

An historic moment in time is about to occur.

As the clock ticks over from 8:01 to 8:02 this evening, time will, for 60 seconds only, read in perfect symmetry: 2002, 2002, 2002, or to be more precise, 20:02 on 20/02 (the 20th of February), 2002.

AN E-MAIL is making the rounds that mistakenly says the last day the event occurred was on Jan. 10, 1001, and will never happen again.

Actually, it happened in the year 1111 and will again in 2112. It will not happen on March, 30, 3003, however. The clock only goes up to 23:59, preventing the palindrome minute from occurring 1,001 years from now.

Todays event will never have the same poignancy as the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, which marks Armistice Day, but it is a rare historical moment.

Raise a toast and enjoy the moment while you can.