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Don't Rush Me


This weekend, 'spring forward' or else!


Daylight Savings Time is earlier than ever



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March 09, 2011 - It may seem abrupt or too good to be true, but the start of "summertime" will be here this weekend. It seems a rather stark contrast to this week's forecast, issued by the National Weather folks out in White Lake. Here's what I see leading up to springing forward into Daylight Savings Time, Sunday at 2 a.m.

Wintry Mix.

Rain & Snow.

Snow.

Lows in the mid 20s.

Of course, Sunday it's 'sposed to be sunny and 40, so maybe they're onto something.

For those older folks like me, springing forward in March seems early. It was always an April thing. One of the President Bushs signed into law making it earlier. It's moot to me as we all only get 24 hours a day to do good, no matter what the law says.

One reason I love the internet is I can ask questions and get quick answers. And, just like when folks ask me a question and I give a quick answer, it is understood said quick answer may or may not be correct.

So, I did a little internet "research" (I think the key word there was, little) and here are some things I found about Standard Time and Daylight Savings Time.

Blame Ben

According to legend, the idea of daylight savings time was conceived by America's first and foremost brainiac, Benjamin Franklin. This legend was verified for me at the website, www.webexhibits.com. The idea came to Ben (and I quote), "during his sojourn as an American delegate in Paris in 1784, in an essay, An Economical Project . . ."

I have checked, and yes, this is after he flew his kite during a lightning storm, by about 30 years.

Big 'oops' in Indiana

Up until 2005, only about 16 percent of the counties in Indiana observed Daylight Savings Time. A state comprised of stubborn, rebellious spirits, Indianians are nonetheless, frugal. The state made the switch to Daylight Savings Time after being convinced by doing so, they would save (collectively) $7 million in electricity costs each year.

And, here is what's interesting to me (again I will quote the Exhibit website), "Now that Indiana has made the switch, however, researchers have found the opposite to be the case. Scientists from the University of California, Santa Barbara, compared energy usage over the course of three years in Indiana counties that switched from year-round Standard Time to DST. They found that Indianians actually spent $8.6 million more each year because of Daylight Saving Time."

The reason, when the first study saying folks would save money on electricity was conducted (40 years earlier), most folks didn't have air conditioning in their homes. Not, to mention population increases. Oops.

And, in Michigan . . .

Prior to November 18, 1883, the time of day was a local matter -- based on the sun, a big central clock maintained by the town jeweler, or the predominant local church. There were no time zones. Time zones came with the advent of the railroading industry.

Here is Detroit's take on the whole thing (again, according to the quick answer I got on the internet).

"Detroit kept local time until 1900, when the City Council decreed that clocks should be put back 28 minutes to Central Standard Time. Half the city obeyed, while half refused. After considerable debate, the decision was rescinded and the city reverted to sun time.

"A derisive offer to erect a sundial in front of the city hall was referred to the Committee on Sewers. Then, in 1905, Central Standard Time was adopted by city vote."

I was heartened to see, historically, Detroit City Council was ahead of the curve on all matters local 100 years ago, as they are today.

Run, don't walk

And, one last thing about Daylight Savings Time, "A 2001 study by researchers at the University of Michigan, found that 65 pedestrians were killed by car crashes in the week before DST ended, and 227 pedestrians were killed in the week following the end of DST."

In other words, if you are walking, stay off the roads for the next two weeks until drivers can adjust to the time change.

Send comments to Don@shermanpublications.org

Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: don@dontrushmedon.com
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