Afternoon Update: 1:30 p.m.
The Lexington Police Department's annual October Open House and Auction isn't happening this year. Dang. The Open House is always a good chance to see how the station operates and, of course, the auction is way too much fun.
But there's no grant money to hold the events. "We don't have it," Capt. Joseph O'Leary said Thursday morning. "The state has pulled back."
There aren't enough officers either: Police at the station for the open house and auction, and on regular beats. The department has authorization for 47 police officers, but with retirements has only 41 on the roster.
Factor in one injury, a National Guard police officer called to Afghanistan, two new officers who are in the police academy and two more scheduled to start Monday, and you have a force that's running well below 40.
The Open House and Auction seem a bit frivolous when you look at O'Leary's numbers. But both are popular, and O'Leary is hoping something changes. "I have a blast doing it," he said, speaking about the auction, which he was auctioneer for last year. ( I have a blast going.)
Admittedly, I started going to cover a story and ended up returning every year because it was so much fun – and I bought a one-of-a-kind bracelet that's still a favorite. (I always worry that someday someone will say, "Hmmm, I had a bracelet like that once.)
There were always about 10 small bags filled with jewelry. Most were broken watches, bracelets without clasps, or other tourist trinkets lost on the Battle Green or confiscated in an arrest. Once I thought I saw one of my old silver earrings. (Nope, not mine.)
There are always more than a few keg tap dispensers found in remote wooded areas. Kids sometimes hold beer parties in what they think are unreachable locations. (Certainly not our kids!) The teens run and take the keg with them, leaving the expensive dispenser, one that requires a hefty deposit, behind.
A few years ago I recall a glut of disposable razors. It seems they were the hot item that year and so small they were routinely stolen from stores.
Bicycles (lots and lots of bicycles) are popular and last on the auctioneer's block. Some were locked to a lonely pole and left behind and some were stolen. Either way, they sell and all the money always goes to back into the town's general fund.
"The thing that surprised me was ink jet cartridges," O'Leary said of the off-brand surplus he had one year. (Yes, I remember that well.)
He thought, "I'm never going to get rid of these."
He was wrong. "They sold like hot cakes. People were buying five and six at time."
If there's a last minute change and the auction and open house is scheduled, O'Leary said he'll notify everyone.
Morning Post: 5:45 a.m.
Don't Spill Anything on the Books…
If you enjoy wine and champagne, beer and books, make sure you're at Cary Memorial Library for the Grapes, Grains & Bubbles event on Saturday, Oct. 23 from 7 to 9 p.m., organized by the Cary Memorial Library Foundation to benefit the library.
Berman's Wine & Spirits, Busa Wine & Spirits, Nikki's Liquors and Element Brewing Company will provide the bubbly – in all forms. Don't sip too much or you'll miss the raffle and silent auction.
The gift baskets from our local stores sounds wonderful, but the Bruins and Celtics tickets are even more impressive. And the prize of a two-hour tasting tour of Turtle Creek Winery in Lincoln sounds best of all.
Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door, and proceeds do benefits the stacks at Cary Memorial Library. So, it's tax deductible, and all for a good cause.
Tickets are available at the library's administrative offices on the third floor; Berman's Wine and Spirits, and Wales Copy Center. For more information call 781-862-6288 x324.
I have more information on the annual Temple Isaiah Sisterhood Rummage & Boutique Shop Sale. Yes, it's slated for Nov. 1, 2 and 3, but donations are needed. The drop off date is Oct. 31 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the temple.