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The wire is dead

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It finally happened. The cable was cut, and the satellite was tossed from the roof of the News-Telegram building.

The Associated Press wire is dead, and I was there to witness it. I guess in a way I was witnessing history on Monday, May 10. The News-Telegram had been using that satellite for all their Associated Press stories for the past 20 years.

I have to say it didn’t go down without a fight or maybe to phrase it in my co-workers’ words as a “hilarious struggle.”

With it being a Monday it was our photographer Luis’ day off. So with the Associated Press exchange technician Peter Williams at the door, I donned my camera to observe. Williams has been with the Associated Press for 30 years. He has seen the news world change with the times.

Williams disconnects the wires inside the building before exiting. To make the transition complete, he needed to climb onto the roof of the building.

But don’t leave now; this is where this story makes an interesting turn.

The ladder he carries with him lacks the height to reach the roof. My co-worker Davy Moseley went into action locating a ladder from in the back of the printing office. Moseley, who has been with Echo Publishing Co., over 10 years, also serves the corporation as its MIS Manager/Webmaster. He was overseeing this transition with glee, I might add. As he noted the satellite had often created more problems for him.

With the semi-stable ladder in place the AP technician went to work removing the necessary debris to disconnect the satellite from its current home. Once freed it only took one toss to send it to its final resting place on the ground below. With a thump, it was over.

Well, it wasn’t completely over – I am guessing while on the roof, Williams made a personal discovery and it wasn’t in admiration for the Sulphur Springs skyline. Seems he was slightly fearful of heights – or maybe it was the combination of the rain gutter obstacle with the bit wobbly ladder. After an exchange of very confused looks on the ground, he finally worked his way slowly down. I am pretty sure it took the technician longer to get up the nerve to climb back down the ladder than it took for the entire process. How a 30-year veteran that has worked with satellites has difficulties with rooftops or why he had a job that required him to climb any great heights, I have yet to figure out. But I’m not judging. I’m almost 6-foot tall and don’t really care for heights myself.

Just glad it all ended – and without any liability lawsuits. Yes, that last phrase was a joke!

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