Bright & Brief
PLYMOUTH, Mass. (AP) _ The town of Plymouth has taken a step backward in communication history by hiring Stanley P. Meldrum as town crier.
In the days before television, before radio and even before daily newspapers, events of the day were shouted from the town square by the town crier. Meldrum’s job will be to don Pilgrim garb for special occasions and stroll the Plymouth waterfront shouting, ″Hear ye, hear ye,″ and describing the day’s events.
Meldrum, 72, who has had plenty of practice meeting the public by playing Santa Claus for the past eight years, was awarded the unpaid post after a town selectman saw him acting as a Pilgrim for a September ″Safety First″ event and was entranced by his performance.
A town crier was then proposed and the selectmen went for the idea ″as long as they didn’t have to pay for it,″ Meldrum said Tuesday.
Provincetown also had a town crier post until the man who held the position was fired for allegedly insulting gays.
Meldrum, a Plymouth resident for 12 years, took some public-speaking courses during a stint in the armed forces and is now retired from a career in hotel management and retail. He already has purchased his own official town crier Pilgrim uniform.
One drawback to the post: ″I guess that makes me a politician,″ he said, mournfully.
GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (AP) - If it’s true that the appearance of a house says a lot about its inhabitants, then city officials believe George Zysk’s house says too much.
Zysk, 73, has plastered the front of his two-story home with about 50 hand- painted, wooden signs expressing his opinions on city issues ranging from traffic to taxes.
City officials want the signs taken down.
″I’ll go to jail, but I’m not taking them down,″ Zysk said, adding that the city is trying to stifle his freedom of speech.
Most of the 2-foot-by-3-foot signs complain about the city’s leadership and specific projects, like the proposed expansion of the local airport.
″Whenever I thought something was unfair, I tried to let the people riding by know it,″ said Zysk, who also is known for expressing his dissatisfaction at City Council meetings and in letters to the editor. Most of the signs went up during the last year.
″Clean out City Hall - sweep out dictators Nov. 7,″ reads one of his crudely produced pre-election signs that remain up.
Last Wednesday, one day after voters elected a new mayor for the first time in eight years, city officials decided they’d seen enough.
He was notified he was in violation of the city’s sign ordinance and given until Monday to remove the signs. Because he hasn’t complied, officials said Tuesday they intend to take action.
″You can put a ‘For Sale’ sign in front of your house, and we certainly wouldn’t take issue with that or a decorative sign or one with a pleasant message,″ said Chuck Nowak, a building inspector with the city’s department of environmental and transportation services.
″But one of his signs has a revolver on it and says ‘Don’t beware of the dog; Beware of Smith & Wesson,’ and they’ve gotten progressively worse,″ Nowak said of a drawing on one sign.
Violation of the ordinance is a misdemeanor with the penalty set by a district court, city officials said. The case has gone to the city attorney, though no decision about prosecution has been made.
Nowak said the city has received several complaints about Zysk’s signs, primarily from passing motorists on the well-traveled residential street.
But a neighbor doesn’t seem to mind.
″I’m a firm believer in live and let live as long as he doesn’t hurt anybody,″ said Wayne Boes, who lives next door. ″He’s a good neighbor and he’s good to me and doesn’t bother me a bit.″