A little more than a year ago I took the reins of this small but influential column from Tom Price.
During my time at the helm of Tip List, I've learned that a phone call to the right person can get a lot done.
With that in mind, hopefully I've been able to fix a few of the things broken in Merced County. From crumbling roads to crumbling neighborhoods, I made it my mission to track down and fix the things around us that do not work.
Here are brief highlights of the column's accomplishments:
The column got graffiti cleaned up, replaced old power poles and even got messy yards scrubbed down. In addition to the weekly fixes, the column awarded a blight contest winner to the owner of an abandoned mini-mart and even got the county to start the proceedings to tear down a house in Planada that's been used by vagrants as a flop house.
The last item for me and this column is neither a bang nor a whimper. Wherever it ranks on the scale of Tip List columns past, I'm sure it's important to the person who called it in.
Drum roll, please...
There's a 30,000-gallon propane tank in Le Grand. It needs a paint job. The bullet-shaped tank is located at Ipsen Road and Santa Fe Avenue. Its underbelly is covered in the crude scribblings of some lousy graffiti artists. It resembles a whale that had been attacked by a gaggle of kindergartners wielding crayons.
Tipster Pat Fortin of Le Grand wrote in about the tank, complaining that its underbelly covered in graffiti constituted an eyesore.
I called AmeriGas representative Kim Hicks, a sales service manager for AmeriGas in Merced County, to find out if anything could be done. Hicks said the company paints over graffiti when its officials find out about it. But that doesn't seem to make a difference.
"Every time we go out and paint it, it gets painted again," she said.
Meantime, it's being moved, she said. But she didn't know when that would happen.
She said she hasn't had anyone report to her about any new graffiti, but she plans to send someone out there to paint it now. In the last year-and-a-half, only one person has reported graffiti, said Hicks.
Call AmeriGas at (209) 726-0672 if you see graffiti on any of its property. Ask for Kim Hicks.
What is wrong: An AmeriGas propane tank in Le Grand is covered in graffiti.
Who is responsible: The graffiti writers.
This will be the last Tip List column by me. Next week, look for new Tip List columnist Danielle Gaines.
Tip off the tip list!
If you see something broken or in need of repair in your neighborhood, call the Sun-Star Tip List reporter, Danielle Gaines, with your tips at (209) 385-2477 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.