News item: On its web site Wednesday, the Journal reports that snow is not melting on the fancy blue slate sidewalks on the new Marion Street because ComEd has not plugged in the heating coils. Further, intrepid reporter Marty Stempniak, reports that Village President David Pope is trying to reach “higher-ups” at ComEd to get the power turned on.

What follows may or may not be a transcript of those phone calls:

Pope: Let’s see now, I’ve got the number, 312-NO-JUICE. Surely there is a solution to this. Got to make Marion Street work.

ComEd: You’ve reached ComEd, the Midwest’s largest electrical monopoly. Your call is important to us. Listen carefully, our menu of options has recently changed to provide you with an ever greater number of baffling choices.

Pope: The heck with this. I’m just going to press “O” for the operator. By golly I’m a village president.

ComEd: This is Mona, how may I direct your call?

Pope: Thank you Mona. My name is David Pope, and I’m a village president. You see we recently invested $5 million on Marion Street, not just for today’s shoppers, but for generations of shoppers yet unborn. And, really, in a very innovative move, and quite green actually, we installed heated sidewalks to melt any precipitation. Which is counterintuitive, perhaps, in a cursory analysis in terms of environmental impact. What with fossil fuels. Still, and all ?

ComEd: I’ll connect you to Customer Service.

Pope: Now, I’m getting somewhere.

ComEd: This is Commonwealth Edison Customer Service. We strive to delight. My name is Sam. How may I be of service?

Pope: Sam, thank you. The notion of a utility delighting is so refreshing. Let me give you a little, uhmm, background. You see I’m a village president. And we have heated sidewalks, actually just on one street, Marion Street. Though, this fall we installed brick streets on four blocks in our village. But the brick streets aren’t heated. These sidewalks though, well, they should be heated and we spent $5 million to make them heated?#34;you see it is a new technology?#34;but ultimately, and, I’m a bit frustrated, even the newest technology won’t work unless we plug the heating coils into your electric grid. And so far, your organization hasn’t plugged us in. You can see the conundrum, Sam.

ComEd: I’ll connect you to installation. One moment.

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Dan Haley

Dan was one of the three founders of Wednesday Journal in 1980. He’s still here as its four flags – Wednesday Journal, Austin Weekly News, Forest Park Review and Riverside-Brookfield Landmark – make...