Friday, June 22, 2007

A New Look!

My mom has already emailed, informing me she likes the new "look" of my blog, however, she misses the pictures that used to be on here.

Don't worry mom, and other faithful blog readers, pictures will be coming! Also, this thing will likely be filled with YouTube video soon enough.

Just wanted to send out a quick update. My blog should start coming to life over the next few weeks; but not next week - it's VACATION TIME!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Wrong Number!

You can reach me at:

"SkyTracker7 Weather Department, this is Jay, how may I help you?" This is the normal greeting you'll get from us if you call the weather set. Recently, we've been playing the role of meteorologist and police dispatcher, thanks to a misprint in some of the 2007 Roanoke phone books. First off, the correct Roanoke County non-emergency police line is 562-3265; however, the new phone books have the first three digit local exchange number incorrect. The book lists a very similar number as the non-emergency line - that's actually the weather set line!
This past weekend I must have answered 10 or 12 calls that were meant for the police. I know one thing, I'm glad I'm not a dispatcher. Some of these calls are nuts! For example, the other day the phone rang (at 4:00am) and I answered it with the greeting above. The (very intoxicated) caller said, "Yeah, one of your dogs bit me four years ago and I want to talk to an investigator about it now!" I told him that he'd dialed NEWS7, and not the police department. Mistake. He said, "This is NEWS7? We'll, since I have you on the phone I need you to send a reporter out here now and get this on the news!" I tried to laugh it off, as you could hear what sounded like beer bottles clanking around in the background. I told the caller I was actually in the weather department, at which point he started using profanity; so I just hung up.
On the other hand, some of these callers are sincerely mad, concerned, or even scared. One woman was crying. One caller was a realtor checking on the security of a neighborhood for a client. Most are reporting suspicious activity. I thought drunks ran from police, but apparently a lot actually call them! I imagine we're only getting a very small percentage of the calls police recieve, but this phone book flaw certainly makes you respect the job of dispatchers.
Hope you're having a great week! Summer begins Thursday! --Jay
***NOTE*** After posting this blog, I noticed Chief Meteorologist Robin Reed made a very similar entry. He actually emailed one of his contacts at the Roanoke Times. He's included his email to that reporter for you to read if you'd like. Robin's blog entry titled "Get the number right" from Monday, June 11.