Storm Q keeping 'them' very busy indeed

So, can I come out? Did we survive? By the time you pick this up to read it, Winter Storm Q — that's right, they name it Q, just plain Q, not Quincy or Quinton or Queenie, just Q — should have struck here and moved on. As this is written, all that's happened is a slight covering of the ground. But everyone says the worst is yet to come and over a foot of snow should be blanketing everything. Who knows, it may be so bad you can't even get Friday's paper until Monday. You'll have the ability to look back at what happened; I'm still trying to look into the future.

It can be an educated look into the future, though. With advancing technology at the fingertips of the weather professionals, and hundreds of different avenues to find out what they say, one has a pretty good idea what is to come.

Between the Internet and apps on our phones and media outlets galore and people just dying to share what they've learned, it's hard not to know what's coming. "They" are telling us. Who "they" are can be debatable, but everyone is citing "they." We want to attribute our knowledge, but it's the faceless "they" who gets credit.

The last day before this latest storm was to hit, that's all people at work were talking about. It was, "They say this is going to happen," or "I heard they changed their minds on snowfall amounts," or "They say this is closed or that road is icy or this store is out of milk." If they are just a couple of people, then they've been pretty busy with all these updates.

And we really trust them. Once they say a lot of snow is coming, the cancellations start rolling in. Days in advance even, plans are being changed because — you got it — "They said so."

Of course, once in a great while, just so Mother Nature can prove who's boss, they can be wrong. I hope that wasn't the case this time. I'm so prepared to work from home for at least a day because they told me I should, I'll sure be bummed if I'm on the road instead.

Free advice

Here's an unsolicited idea (since it's more fun to share it here than to actually serve on a committee or anything). This goes out to those who will be conducting a study to see if Hastings needs to build a new convention center. There are plenty of angles this could go and, of course, the better ones might be those that don't involve too many tax dollars to get it done.

Regardless of who ultimately gets it done, let's just say the study concludes that, yes, it should be done. Here's my idea: Build it on to the east side of the city auditorium. Down side is you'd lose some green space right in the middle of town. Upsides — you could tie it in with the small arena-like setting of the auditorium. Large group meetings could start out there and break into smaller sections in adjacent meeting rooms. We've already seen that local caterers can get a large number of meals served on site. Or, if your meeting at the convention center just calls for an "everyone is on your own" lunch break, downtown offers a number of places to eat within easy walking distance. On top of all that, there's plenty of paved parking available.

I'm not unequivocally saying there is a need for another convention center here; that's up to the feasibility study to decide. And there are surely other potential locations, as well. I'm just saying this is one idea. Kick it around if you want to.

Gas Guzzling

I saw in notes from Tribland this week that there was another report of someone driving away from a local gas station without paying for their gas. In this case, the purloined fuel was worth $19 and some change.

Here's my tip to law enforcement: Look for someone putting gas in a snow blower. Or at least for a criminal who didn't have far to go. Nineteen dollars worth? At today's prices? They didn't get very much.

Russ Batenhorst

Don't expect to detect a common topic or theme in Russ Batenhorst's weekly column in the Hastings Tribune. Usually it's whatever slice-of-life observation pops into his head just in time to make the deadline for it to appear each Friday.

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