It's amazing the way some things change dramatically and some things simply keep coming around and around.

Technology seems to be the exception. Contrary to what many folks tell me, I do not want to go back to the pre-computer days.

I remember walking from campus to the downtown office supply store to buy a typewriter. then I lugged it back to campus on that hot afternoon in late August. I don't miss my Smith Corona portable.

I don't miss my next typewriter, either. It was a Smith Corona, also, but I had graduated college and had moved up to an electric typewriter (with a cartridge ribbon that you inserted into the side of the case. That way you could change ribbons with no mess.)

I like my laptops, thank you.

But some things never change.

Take the latest debate over false alarms. Police and fire departments are called out because someone's alarm system acts up. Or, maybe a bird gets into the house and sets off the alarm. That actually happened here not long ago.

'INTRUDER ALERT! INTRUDER ALERT!"

The poor bird must have had a coronary when the police arrived!

But this is not new.

In the mid-1970s, I sat in a city council meeting in Lincoln, Ill. I was a much younger reporter then and I still remember parts of the debate about false alarms.

One councilman suggested a $50 fine for each time a fire truck rolled to a fasle alarm. ("That'll show 'em!")

Forty years ago $50 was real money compared to today.

But, nothing was done about the problem.

I had to chuckle Monday night when the Crawfordsville City Council took up the alarming trend of false calls for service after the matter had been tabled more than once.

For some reason, the council members did not receive all the sheets containing the proposed ordinance. Secretarial error? Fate? Was Somebody chiming in on the matter?

I agree with those who say property owners should have a couple warnings and then BAM- a $500 fine if they don't get the alarm problem fixed. That'll show 'em!

But seriously, do we really want our police and fire men and women repeatedly running to someone's house or to a business simply because the owner doesn't bother to get the equipment fixed?

Make the fine $500 or $5,000 -- the fine will only work if it is high enough to be taken seriously.

Like $5 parking fines. Now that's a deterrent!



Frank Phillips is the Editor of The Paper of Montgomery County.