Q: I'd like to find out if Lawrence police officers are allowed to sit in their cars and read the newspaper. On a recent Tuesday I saw a police officer stopped in his car at 14th and Massachusetts. He was there between 20 and 30 minutes, all the while reading a newspaper. I stopped to asked him what he was doing. He said was waiting for a funeral to get out, and he didn't have anything else better to do. Why couldn't he have been running radar out on Massachusetts or something else instead?
A: "Many times we do funeral escorts we're one of the few departments that still do those in this area," said police Sgt. Mark Warren. "Because of the nature of the service, it requires us to be there when the people in the funeral get ready to leave."
He said after the police department is called by the funeral home to provide an escort, officers will stand by rather than leave. "It's important that you be there and be ready to go," Warren said, adding that officers who give citations in the area may not be ready to escort the funeral motorcade when it leaves.
"In this case, the funeral may have come out at 2 instead of 1:30." Warren said officers do not demand that the funeral procession get under way as scheduled.
"As far as the officer reading the newspaper," he said, "I can't speak in this case until I talk to the officer. There are some things that the officers need to be reading, but if somebody feels one of our officers is doing something he shouldn't be doing, they can call our community relations department at 841-7210 or 832-7510, and we can explain it to them."
Q: How many trucks with plows does the city have and what has the city done with all the money for snow clearing from the past three or four winters when it's been extremely mild?
A: The city has plows on 11 trucks, said George Williams, the city's public works director.
Seven 18-ton dump trucks take care of large jobs, he said, while four - and -ton pickups take care of smaller, detail-type work along city streets, such as near tight parking areas.
Three motor graders slower than trucks and normally used to move dirt on construction projects also are used for snow removal, Williams said.
In monetary terms, there is no specific budget for snow removal, Williams said. Money not used during mild winters remains in the public works department for use on other projects.
City Manager Mike Wildgen said that after all the overtime is paid, and all the sand, salt, plows and trucks are bought, the leftover money is spent filling potholes and repairing streets.
``If it's not snowing, then we're out doing something else,'' Wildgen said.
But if snow removal requires more money than is informally set aside, Williams said, then other parts of the budget renting equipment and buying asphalt and concrete, for example get squeezed.
Q: What is the history behind the Longines clock on the south end of the fieldhouse?
A: Allen Fieldhouse's clock has outlived many of the millions of fans who have packed the building for basketball games during the past four decades.
The clock was installed by Longines soon after the fieldhouse opened in 1955, said Floyd Temple of Lawrence. He retired in July 1992 after 40 years on the KU athletic department's staff.
"It's been obsolete for a good number of years," he said.
He said the biggest hassle with the clock is that it has to be set by hand. Someone must climb 30 feet up a ladder to turn the clock's hands.
Temple couldn't persuade Longines to replace the clock with an updated model a few years ago. The athletic department wants to install a digital clock before KU's 1993-94 basketball season opens.