Sunday, August 17, 2008

Three cheers for the chief

What's this? Len'sLens on a Sunday?

Why not? After all, I missed Friday. Actually, the reason I missed Friday was that Paul Bass in the New Haven Independent linked to my piece on the Hearst Corp. buying just about every newspaper in Fairfield County (except for the Norwalk Hour and its two weeklies) on Friday and I wanted to give people time to read that.

Before I get to the headlined piece, I am proud to announce that my synagogue, Cong. Bikur Cholim Sheveth Achim in New Haven, has a new Web site, created by my wife, Sue. 

Check it out from time to time, please. And consider BCSA if you're Jewish, Orthodox or right-wing Conservative and are looking for a warm, welcoming place to pray every morning and evening, Shabbat and holidays.

Page 2

Just as he said he would, New Haven Police Chief James Lewis sent decoys out into the streets of the city to snare men looking for love in all the wrong places. Read the New Haven Register story, complete with mug shots of the dozen. 

Lewis sent decoys out in the streets and when the would-be johns approached them, according to police, the unlucky in love were arrested and charged. Cars also were impounded.

Some people may say that prostitution is a victimless crime -- a guy who may be shy just trying to get a little without going through the whole scene. Wouldn't it be great if that's all it is?

In fact, prostitution brings a whole universe of hurt into its orbit. First, the girls and guys and the pimps who control them. Then the disease that some of them carry. This is not, as it was when I was a teen, something that can be gotten rid of by backing into a penicillin needle. These are deadly viruses and germs that some of these girls carry, and diseases that are permanent, like HIV.

Then these are the drugs. Many of the girls, and boys, are out there trying to score money for drugs, or booze, or both. If there are pimps involved, then that's another layer of nasty business. 

Finally, there's the whole scene with girls in not much clothing parading on the streets where children play and walk to the market or whatever. Then there are the johns, the ones who don't get caught, circling around the block, caring as much where they are driving as a deer in heat. And, of course, whatever they catch, they bring home.

So, Chief Lewis, you get an A+ from this quarter. Keep up the good work. And thank you.

By the way, if you missed it, you may want to read about a sweet/sad event that happened to me in the Journal-Courier of New Haven newsroom more than 30 years ago, when another police chief sent decoys into downtown New Haven to snag another generation of men who sought love for sale. A few brief minutes really stay with you over hours and years manning a newsroom desk or pounding the streets looking for stories. This one stayed with me.

And as King Solomon said thousands of years ago, there is nothing new under the sun. 

Page 3

I'm a weather nut. It drives my wife crazy.

A week ago or so, when there was a tornado warning for Fairfield County, I was glued to the television, watching mostly Channel 8. Geoff Fox did a great job, and the station stayed with the story until 7 p.m., running the ABC national news feed a half-hour late. They even held Wheel of Fortune, a decision that must have brought in a spate of complaints. They did, however, do the right thing.

I've been a weather nut for decades. I've usually been the desk person who managed weather stories at papers for which I worked, including working the two-way radio (way before cell phones) and helping to direct Janet Kipphut (now Ainsworth) and Bob Phillips in their award-winning coverage of the Tornado of 1979 in the Journal-.Courier of New Haven.  That's the storm that all but destroyed the New England Air Museum and part of Bradley International Airport. It cost three lives and hurt hundreds.

I also was assigned the local and wire weather stories to manage at The Journal-News in Westchester County, N.Y.

So, it looks like we may get the first hurricane to strike the eastern U.S. this year. It's called Fay. 

You can join in the fun on the National Weather Service hurricane page. Never mind the flashy map, go down the page to the good stuff, the advisories, the discussions and the graphics. Punch up the five-day and three-day cones and see where the forecasters think the storm will go.

Don't worry...chances are excellent the remnants of Fay will fizzle to a thunderstorm, if that, by the time it reaches here. That might be just in time to ruin next weekend, but the more one works with the weather, the more one sees that things can change in a heartbeat. Even with the most sophisticated computers, they get it wrong from time to time, so stay tuned, and check back as the storm nears land. And don't cancel the family picnic yet.

And good job to you Geoff. Again, you've proven you're not just another pretty face.

Until next time...

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