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The second-day story, with your help. Call Gazette reporter Adam Belz at (319) 398-8273 or e-mail him: adam.belz@gazcomm.com

Radio tower work to begin this afternoon

There’s a forested rise west of Walker called Spencer’s Grove.

The elevation is somewhere around 950 feet above sea level. That’s about 100 feet higher than Waterloo, 150 feet higher than Cedar Rapids and 300 feet higher than Iowa City.

The elevation, as well as the remoteness from airports and rivers that pilots use for sight navigation, make the spot perfect for broadcasting towers for TV and radio.

Three silent 2,000-foot towers stand there, halfway between the Wapsipinicon and Cedar Rivers, just across the line in Buchanan County. Each tower has its own hill, and each begins to blink red lights each night as dusk slides in from the east.

“You want to be as tall as you can to get the most coverage,” said Wayne Jarvis, the director of network operations for Iowa Public Radio.

Iowa Public Radio’s KUNI 90.9 FM transmits from the KCRG tower, the one furthest north, only a mile or two from Highway 150. The transmission line running up the tower failed Monday, and crews have yet to start working on the tower. WSUI 910 AM in Iowa City broadcasts the same daytime schedule as KUNI.

The problem is about 1,000 feet up the tower, Jarvis said, and a special crew had to be called in from out of state.

“Our tower crew ran into some weather difficulties and a truck broke down,” Jarvis said.

He expects work to begin this afternoon.

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Get on the train, folks

Yesterday was a slow day on County Supervision (i.e., no new content), because I had to fill in on the night cops beat and babysit the police scanner all night. But at least two things worth mentioning happened, and they both fit in nicely with the point I will now try to make.

First, District 4 Supervisor Brent Oleson blogged about Wednesday morning’s supervisors meeting. He thinks the taxpayer will get slammed if all the county’s legislative wishes are granted, and you can read his take on the meeting here. I will try to get the minutes posted today.

Second, KCRG-TV9’s Claire Kellett did a Wednesday story explaining Twitter to the good people of Eastern Iowa. Twitter is a website where anyone can publish what he or she is doing, moment by moment, for anyone to see. It’s a cross between a blog and a Facebook status update. It really is a useful way to stay on top of what’s going on. Kellett interviewed District 3 Supervisor Ben Rogers, who said “I’m going to use it to broadcast meetings I am going to, and discussions that were had that deal with county business, because I really like to get the feedback.”

Here at County Supervision, we’ve been following Twitter for a few months, and we’ve got Twitter feeds posted on the right hand column of this blog not only for Rogers, but also for Oleson and Linn County Auditor Joel Miller, who’s been on Twitter for longer than anyone in county government (Is he still in Germany, or what?).

Here’s the point of all this: If you care about Linn County government, and you have something to say, you should get involved in the online discussion.

I’ve been quietly lobbying several people to start blogs, and my success has been comparable to that of a human head forcefully confronting a brick wall. But I will persist. Blogs and Twitter are simple, free ways to articulate viewpoints and communicate with large numbers of people. If you are an elected official, they are tools to help you communicate with constituents and be transparent — about discussions and decisions. WordPress and Blogger are good, simple places to start a blog. Twitter is even easier.

There’s no reason Oleson should be the only supervisor blogging, that Rogers, Oleson and Miller should be the only elected officials tweeting, or that I should be the only private citizen writing about county government. Get on the train. And contact me any time to discuss this. I’m at adam.belz@gazcomm.com or (319) 398-8273.

More news coming later today.

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RSS Linn County Auditor on Twitter

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RSS Brent Oleson on Twitter

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RSS Ben Rogers on Twitter

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RSS Chuck Grassley on Twitter

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RSS Adam Belz on Twitter

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