Michigan: Phone officials stumped on why service that gives correct time is not working

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Michigan: Phone officials stumped on why service that gives correct time is not working

Saturday, May 20, 2000

By Dave Murray

The Grand Rapids Press

Don't blame your friend if she is a little late -- or even early -- for your lunch meeting.

Schedules for some West Michigan residents might have been thrown awry since the handy phone number people call for the correct time went out of service.

Apparently the number -- (616) 459-1212 -- hasn't been working for about three weeks, and even the people at the telephone company aren't sure what is wrong.

Dialing the same number with the 517, 313 or 231 area codes doesn't work, either.

Amy Wood, an Ameritech spokeswoman, said she looked into the problem all day Friday and couldn't find out why the line just rings and rings.

"It's not Ameritech service," she said. "We can't do anything about it, and our listings just say that it is a business account. And no one seems to know why that particular line isn't working at this time."

Wood said the time line typically is sponsored by different companies in different cities as a public service, and sometimes companies decide they don't want to participate and there is an interruption until a new sponsor is found.

But she can't say for sure that's what happened here.

Directory assistance operators said they have been flooded with people who need to know the time to the exact second.

"We've had people calling all day, every day for about the last three weeks asking what's happened to the number," said Vivian, a Lansing-based operator who said she is not allowed to give out her last name.

Vivian said she typically tries to help the callers by glancing at her own watch.

"I tell them what time I have, if that's any help," she said. "It's the best I can do."


-- Carl Jenkins (Somewherepress@aol.com), May 20, 2000

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