THE EDITOR'S POINT OF VIEW
Tim Broome's place in
history: delivering one of life's essentials
I first saw Tim Broome in action back in the mid-1970s
when I started covering monthly meetings of Johnston's
County Commissioners for The Smithfield Herald. He
was a young engineer employed by Ragsdale Engineers of
Smithfield, and County Government was moving big time into
the water-line business.
In those days, the only major incentive at local
government's disposal in recruiting new industry was to
provide access to treated public water. That's what the
County Commissioners did to secure big-name employers like
Cutter Labs at Clayton (today's Grifols plant), E.R.
Squibb at Kenly (closed by merger many years ago),
Chicopee at Benson (known today as Polymer Group), and
others in between.
Ragsdale Engineers, led by Tom Moore (who later served as
a commissioner), was the "go to" company when the county
needed plans to put those pipes in place to link those
outlying industrial plants with Smithfield's water plant
(the only provider in Johnston at the time). More often
than not, Tim Broome was the bright young man who
presented those designs to the County Commissioners, and
he did it in a way all us non-engineers could understand.
It was fascinating stuff for this up-and-coming newspaper
Fast forward to the late 1980s and early 1990s, when
County Government under the leadership of Commissioners'
Chairman Norman Denning organized rural communities as
customer-funded districts to build pipelines connecting to
the system that grew out of those earlier industrial
projects. Rural folks jumped at the opportunity to hook
onto a public water supply and abandon their unreliable,
and sometimes contaminated, individual groundwater wells.
As County Manager Rick Hester recalled this week, Tim
Broome was a big part of the engineering work that built
those rural connections. Mr. Hester should know, for as
assistant county manager at the time one of his major
assignments was to help organize those rural water
districts. "Tim Broome wast the backbone of that system,"
Mr. Hester said Monday as the County Commissioners named
the county's water-treatment plant near Wilson's Mills in
memory of Tim Broome.
A fitting thing that is to cement his legacy.
Raising speed limits:
what's the point?
I read this week that the N.C. Department of
Transportation has raised the posted speed limit on a
section of Highway 70 between Clayton and Princeton from
55 mph to 60. Now that the highway west of Clayton and
east of Princeton has 70-mph zones, guess they figure
folks aren't going to slow down that much anyway so why
not let them speed through Johnston only 10 or 15 mph
above the posted limit rather than 15 or 20.
The way folks are driving these days, NCDOT and
departments in other states, too, might as well take down
all the speed-limit signs and save the expense of
maintenance and replacement.
I saw an editorial cartoon some years ago with a sign that
read "SPEED LIMIT 55" followed by a tag line "Just A
Suggestion." Funny? Not really. I think it's another
sad piece of commentary on our times.
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