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The day the roof caved in

March 27, 2012

March 28, 2002, edition

    Those of us who were here 10 years ago today haven't forgotten it. In fact, 10 years later, the memories remain quite vivid.
    Most of us heard a loud cracking noise on that Tuesday, March 27, of 2002 and there were jokes about newsprint rolling across the upstairs, even though we long ago lost our printing press. Someone even said something about the roof.
    Moments later, there was another loud crack and, almost instantly, Rick Kreps, publisher at the time, came hurrying through the office telling everyone to get out, to evacuate, as the roof was caving in.
    There were no more jokes. The seriousness of the situation was written all over Rick's face. A wet, early-spring snow lying atop an old, flat roof brought down a portion of the roof at the front (southwest corner) of the building.
    That day and the next three were about as bizarre as one could ever imagine.
    Perhaps Friday was the most bizarre of all. That was the day a constant, heavy rain burst through the protective covering over the damaged portion of the roof. Imagine a giant "baggie" filling up with water, sagging more and more until the weight finally breaks the baggie and water comes pouring out.
    Water was rushing down some of the walls. By this time we were working in the back half of the building, where the roof was still okay. Now, though, water was pouring into that area. Everyone began heading for the back door — many of us carrying computers. The fire department was here in a flash, but the presence of the firefighters made the whole thing even more surreal.
    That night, thanks to the late Tom Macklin, we hooked up the computers in the rear of Macklin's garage on First St. Working around a grease pit (Don't fall into that thing!") and some vehicles, feeling the chill of the air, we got out Saturday's edition.
    Frankly, that was a proud moment for us, We never did miss a publication date.
    The trying times were far from over for in the weeks and months ahead the newspaper staff worked out of cramped temporary quarters. But we always "got it out," that next edition.

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