From Jutta: Yesterday the new rink operator drove his tractor across the community vegetable garden near the bake-oven, and squashed the service-berry bush flat. I guess he figures it’s the shortest route to dump the snow he scrapes off the ice. He left deep tractor ruts in the garden because the ground is still soft. I asked Mike Hindle, the Parks maintenance supervisor, to get some of his barriers put up so the rink operators don’t wreck the gardens. So Mike came and put some metal barriers around the garden so the rink tractor wouldn’t drive through there again. But when the new rink operator came today, he just moved the barriers out of his way and headed out that way again. I ran up to him to ask him not to drive there, but he didn’t answer, he just kept driving. I ran after him and banged on the windshield. I said, “it’s not just me who wants you to stop driving across the garden, it’s also Mike Hindle!!” He opened the tractor window and yelled down at me, “Mike Hindle!! Who the hell is Mike Hindle? Another one of your politicians? This rink has too much politics!”
He works for the City but he doesn’t even know who the supervisors are! Afterwards he told me that I owe him an apology for interfering with his job.
The new rink operator complained to the union rep and the union rep contacted management and management sent word – via the rink foreperson – that city staff don’t have to take orders from volunteers. Upside-down world! But later on Mike Hindle’s friendly maintenance foreman Gus dropped in to see Lily. She showed him the big tractor ruts, all over the garden now. He told her, “don’t worry. I’ll talk to that guy.”
When Patti (the rink guard) went outside to check on the ice this evening, someone stole the answering machine. Again! She had locked the office door but the person dove in through the inside window that looks into the change room. Patti called Tino and he said, “that’s it. I’m going to hire a security company to help us straighten this place out. There’s too much stupid business happening here.”
Tino has signed a contract with the Intelligard Security Company. They’re supposed to come within 10 minutes when we call them. The staff are telling the kids about it, to impress them with their resolve.
Rink guard notes in log book: "6.00 p.m.: skater was rude and would not stop swearing. At 6.10 I told him he had until 6.15 to change into his shoes and leave. At 6.18 I called Intelligarde. He left at 6.25 so we called Intelligarde back to cancel.”
7.00 p.m.: “6 people (4 male, 2 females) tossed checker pieces on floor. When I asked them to pick up the pieces, they were silent. I asked them to leave but they refused. Intelligarde were called and removed them from the rink house.”
Rink guard note in log book: “Rink user objected to rink schedule and argued and swore at female rink staff. Refused to leave until staff called Intelligarde. He left before they came. Later in evening 4 male and 2 female youth came into building and began to throw games around. Were told to leave and refused. Intelligarde were called and brought a dog. Escorted group out of the building. This group did not return.”
From Jutta: The fluorescent lights in the rink house make everyone look greenish during the long evening hours. But that’s about to change. Right after we took the wall out last fall, I called the manager of Home Depot to see if he might donate some track lighting to soften the light. He didn’t sound very promising, so I gave it up. But a couple of days ago I got a call from him. Home Depot is going to give gift certificates to five community groups including us. He’s giving us $1000 worth of the halogen track lights we hoped for. I got pretty weak in the knees when I heard this. He decided to give these gifts on St. Valentine’s day, so two of us went down there this morning. One of his staff had made big red valentine cards, and the manager gave a little speech in the middle of the store. The staff served us muffins and juice. It was a gentle ceremony, without big claims, and I came home with a trunk full of light fixtures and tracks. I asked Tino if the City could install them for us, but he said they haven’t got the staff nor the money. So we'll get a local electrician friend to do it.
Up to today, staff have had to ask for help from the police or Intelligarde 21 times this winter. That’s not counting all the arguments when rink staff have tried to get the kids to follow the rink rules. But despite all these struggles, or maybe because of them, the frontier atmosphere of the rink is mellowing a little. You can see it in attendance, too. There are many more people skating at the rink than last February.
For the past three weeks, the rink operator has been refusing to clean the rink more than twice even if the ice is in bad condition. He sits in the entryway of the rink house the rest of the time. In the past few weeks people got really mad at him because of his refusal. He seems to find it enjoyable to stick to his guns.