Durham, NC, city Y2K meeting article

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From today's Herald-Sun (Durham, NC):

About the worst thing Durham can expect from Y2K is a few malfunctioning stoplights.

ATMs will still dispense cash. Electricity will flow. And people will still be able to tell each other their New Year's resolutions over the phone.

That was the verdict Tuesday night from representatives of the city, county, banking industry, school system, and even the Red Cross and Duke University Medical Center.Each group gathered at City Hall Tuesday to assure the public that everything should be fine, even after midnight Dec. 31.

Participants from various agencies provided no guarantees but said they felt comfortable with the preparations that have been in the works, in some cases, for five years or more.

"If I need an operation on Jan. 1. I'll go ahead and have it," said John Robbins, a spokesman for Durham Regional Hospital.

Auditors and computer experts have crawled all over computer systems in the city and county. In fact, only a few stoplights may not function as of New Year's Day, said John Pederson, assistant city manager.If that happens, there will be no school on the Monday after the New Year's holiday, said David Holdzkom, assistant superintendent.

School officials have been working on the problem for three years and believe all critical systems are ready for 2000.

"That means your permanent record is just that, kids," he said. "We've got lots of back-ups that make things well protected."

Each bank, Duke Power and GTE suggested customers with any concerns contact their local offices so preparedness information can be gathered.

The pep talk may have influenced some, but not Marion Gooding, a resident who attended the meeting to see what she should do.

"Everybody says we think we're ready," she said. "Nothing says we guarantee. So I'm preparing anyway. I'm diabetic, and if they think I'm going to be sitting in a cold house with no food and no money, they better think again."

[Usual explanation of Y2K.]

Experts recommend that, to be on the safe side, Durham residents prepare like they would for a bad storm. Bottled water, canned food, fresh batteries, a full tank of gas in the car and a small amount of cash on hand can help if the worst hits, they said.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), October 27, 1999


Does their "worst thing that could happen" sound like the very best most realistic people could hope for? I'm afraid that Durham, NC, aka the Bull City, is full of it's namesake substance.

OG, are you sure you're not too close to the local ground zero?


-- Wildweasel (vtmldm@epix.net), October 27, 1999.

We DID try to sell the house, WW! However, we're within easy walking distance of the city reservoir, which is filled by rainfall, and we have a good amount of filter capacity. There is also a creek, even closer.

There are geographic deterrents to crime in the form of open spaces, like the golf course and interstate. We are open to high-crime neighborhoods on only one side and there are several urban miles of neighborhoods and easier pickings to get through before any ne'er-do-wells could reach us.

On the down side: the city government Y2K page trills that we have three whole days of fuel for the 911 generators, and one day for the firefighters and paramedics' generators. So even emergency services aren't fully prepared for "a bad storm."

I managed to contact the GI mentioned in the article and The Hungarian and I are having brunch with her on Saturday.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), October 27, 1999.

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