When the lights went out…

McGregor Library, closed library facility in H...

Closed Library in Highland Park

Question? “Where were you when the lights went out?”

Answer: “In the dark.”

Yes, the joke was funny when you were 8 or 9, but not so funny for the folks in Highland Park, Michigan.

Unable to pay bill, Mich. city turns off lights

By Corey Williams,
November 3, 2011

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich.   – As the sun dips below the rooftops each evening, parts of the Detroit enclave of Highland Park turn to pitch black. The only illumination comes from a few streetlights at the end of the block or from glowing yellow yard globes.

It wasn’t always this way. But when the debt-ridden community could no longer afford its monthly electric bill, elected officials not only turned off 1,000 streetlights. They had them ripped out – bulbs, poles and all. Now nightfall cloaks most neighborhoods in inky darkness.

We had a great laugh at the expense of our friends and relatives back in the early 1980s as people left Michigan, headed for Texas. We left in droves, the joke we shared as we drove away…

“Would the last one to leave, please turn out the lights?”

This was something we could never have foreseen from an 80’s perspective. The people stayed but the lights died out. I just wonder how many families in that community sit in the dark as well? More and more Americans are finding it tougher and tougher to keep the heat and lights on.


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