Security Beefed Up At Cedar Rapids Public Library

Top Headlines


Grin Slowly Spreads Across Mom’s Face As Meal Revealed To Contain Healthy Ingredients

‘The Mashed Potatoes Are Actually Made With Cauliflower,’ She Announces

VERONA, WI—Having waited until everyone at the table had finished their dinner Monday, a knowing grin reportedly spread across local mother Angela Hopkins’ face as she announced to her family that the mashed potatoes had in fact been made using cauliflower as a healthier alternative.

Sudden Death Of Aunt Creates Rupture In Family Gossip Pipeline

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA—Grieving family members of local aunt Laurie Shelton confirmed Monday that the 48-year-old woman’s unexpected death had caused a major breach in their gossip pipeline, suddenly disrupting access to the latest dirt on all their relatives.

Man Really Letting No One Have It During Exit Interview

SPRINGFIELD, MA—Keeping his voice at a measured volume and holding everything back, departing employee David Hughes was really letting no one have it during his exit interview Monday, sources at local accounting firm Grier and Associates confirmed.

Conceptual Genius Goes As Self For Halloween

‘He Himself Is The Costume,’ Say Amazed Onlookers

SHERMAN OAKS, CA—Brilliantly subverting the very idea of a costume, conceptual genius Mark Richards, 27, reportedly stunned his fellow partygoers Friday when he announced that he had dressed as himself for Halloween.

No One In Gym Class Volleyball Game Willing To Set Ball

LITTLE ELM, TX—With neither team having completed more than two hits during a rally before sending the ball back over the net, sources confirmed Wednesday that no one in Jefferson High School’s third-period gym class was willing to set during a volleyball game.

Impressive New Hire Figures Out Bare Minimum Of Work Job Requires On First Day

MILWAUKEE—Marveling at his extraordinary ability to learn the ropes at the technology firm and quickly fit right in with the rest of his colleagues, sources at Starpoint Solutions confirmed Thursday that impressive new hire Eric Myers has already figured out the bare minimum of work his job requires on the very first day.

45-Minute Phone Call To Credit Card Company Goes Great

FORT WAYNE, IN—Grinning with contentment as he reminisced about the call he placed earlier in the day, 31-year-old accountant Greg Schulhoff told reporters Thursday that his 45-minute phone call with MasterCard regarding late payment fees went “really great.”

Mom Keeping Tabs On Coyote Situation

WAYZATA, MN—Regularly updating her husband and children on the frequency and location of sightings around the neighborhood, local mother Dana Salisbury continued to keep close tabs on the coyote situation this week, sources confirmed.

Teen Coming Out Of Shell Giving Bully Lots Of New Material To Work With

SCOTTSDALE, AZ—Claiming he “hit the jackpot” when his victim began displaying an increased level of confidence and expressing his personal interests, local bully David Macomber told reporters Tuesday that he has had loads of new material to work with since 14-year-old Andrew Reid started coming out of his shell several weeks ago.

Boss Able To Seamlessly Blend Constructive Criticism With Personal Attacks

SAN JOSE, CA—Marveling at the ease and deftness with which he communicates the two messages simultaneously, employees at local advertising firm Wavelength Solutions told reporters Tuesday that their supervisor Eric Crowell has a unique ability to seamlessly blend constructive criticism with cutting personal attacks.

Neighborhood Starting To Get Too Safe For Family To Afford

CHICAGO—Explaining that the sense of unease she felt walking to and from her home had declined markedly over the years, Humboldt Park resident Kirsten Healy expressed her disappointment to reporters Thursday that her neighborhood was becoming too safe for her family to afford.

Area Dad Informs Busboy He’s Ready To Order

NASHUA, NH—Raising his arm into the air while leaning outward from the table in a bid to command attention from the other side of the restaurant, area father Walter Bierko called over a busboy at DiCapri’s Italian Eatery to inform him that he was ready to order, sources reported Wednesday.

Winning Argument With Aging Parents Less Satisfying Than It Once Was

CINCINNATI—After firmly telling them that she was okay paying city prices and that she would not move back to her hometown just because it was cheaper, local woman Ellen Wallace, 40, confirmed Thursday that winning an argument with her parents has become much less satisfying as they have gotten older.

Rescuers Heroically Help Beached Garbage Back Into Ocean

ATLANTIC BEACH, NC—In what many described as an inspiring display of selflessness and teamwork, a group of rescuers heroically saved a beached mound of garbage by helping the stranded trash back into the ocean, eyewitnesses reported Thursday.

Man Races Against Time To Take Out Trash Bag With Widening Puncture

RIO RANCHO, NM—His pace steadily quickening as he rounded the corner out of his kitchen and made a beeline for the front door, local man Henry Parnasse reportedly found himself locked in a race against time Wednesday morning to take out a trash bag with a widening hole in its side.

Man Pushed Off Plate Of Chicken Wings By Larger Male

WARMINSTER, PA—Looking on as the intense display of aggressive behavior played out over several minutes, sources at Flannigan’s Bar & Grill confirmed Thursday that local man Pete Samuelson was pushed off a plate of buffalo wings by a much larger alpha male.

Grandma Guts It Out Through Lunch On Sunny Patio

MALVERN, PA—Making the audacious decision to dine outdoors with her family despite a noticeable lack of umbrellas or awnings, grandmother Diane McGilvery, 83, reportedly gutted it out through lunch Friday on the sunny patio of a local restaurant.

Parents Formally Announce Transfer Of Expectations To Second Child

GRAND JUNCTION, CO—Explaining that the adjustment made the most practical sense for all parties involved, local parents Beth and Ryan Morgan held a press conference Friday morning to announce the official transfer of expectations from their oldest child, Jeremy, to his younger sibling, Angie.

Motorcyclist Salvaged For Parts

SIOUX FALLS, SD—Following a multiple-vehicle accident on Interstate 90 that temporarily halted traffic in both directions, sources reported Friday that a motorcyclist involved in the crash was hauled off and salvaged for parts.

Detective Not Sure He Was Close Enough To Partner To Endlessly Pursue Killer

DETROIT—After his partner of three years was gunned down last week while the pair were on duty, Detective David Killian of the Detroit Police Department’s Major Case Squad told reporters Wednesday he was unsure whether he had been close enough to his murdered colleague to single-mindedly pursue the killer for as long as it takes.

Man Pretty Cocky Since Beating Cancer

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL—Whether he’s bragging about his newfound appreciation for life or arrogantly refusing to take anything for granted, local man Daniel Oretsky, 38, has been acting insufferably cocky since winning his two-year battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, sources confirmed Tuesday.
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage


  • Father Apologizes For Taking Out Anger On Wrong Son

    ELIZABETH, NJ—Moments after losing his composure with an unwarranted emotional outburst, local father David Kessler reportedly apologized to his son Christopher Thursday for erroneously taking out his anger on him and not his older brother Peter.


Security Beefed Up At Cedar Rapids Public Library

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA—In the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the Cedar Rapids Public Library is undertaking steps to tighten security, library officials announced Monday.

"As caretakers of the most prominent public building in the second largest city in Iowa, this library can no longer afford to take chances," library director Glenda Quarles said. "Due to our limited budget, we can't devote the kind of resources and manpower to security that, say, the Library of Congress can. But because of our high profile and easy access, we feel a strong responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of those members of the public who visit and use us."

Quarles said that on the day of the attacks, she ordered the library closed. The following day, she called a special meeting with department heads and library-board members to discuss what changes needed to be implemented to help prevent an act of violence from happening there.

The first move, Quarles said, was to upgrade the library's 11-year-old security system. The current system consists of an entrance alarm armed after closing, an anti-theft detector located in the exit aisle, and three surveillance mirrors mounted in various corners of the library. Quarles said that a new, "far more advanced system" will be installed by the end of October at a cost of $71,000.

The library also plans to hire a part-time security guard. Marlin Pendergast, 44, of Per-Mar Security, will divide his time between the library and Applegate Mall, where he patrols the food court every weekday afternoon.

"Last week, one of the commentators on TV said a very smart thing: He said that the CIA made a mistake in recent years by relying too much on technology and moving away from human counterintelligence," library-board president Mary Beth Dutler said. "That's why, while an improved security system is important, it's still vital to have an actual person there to keep an eye on things. Marlin will be able to see things a camera simply can't."

Library employees, Quarles said, are also being asked to increase their on-the-job alertness, as they are "on the front line of library security."

"I've told my staff to keep their eyes and ears open for any suspicious behavior, and to not hesitate to report it to me, no matter how trivial it may initially appear," Quarles said. "They really are our best defense."

As an added security measure, the overnight book-depository box will be permanently sealed.

"I know this may inconvenience some of our patrons who want to return materials after hours, but we just can't take any chances," Quarles said. "Pranksters slip things like gum wrappers and lollipop sticks through the outside drop slot all the time. It doesn't take too much imagination to envision someone inserting a small bomb with a timed detonator in there. It's unthinkable, but these days we have to consider the unthinkable."

During the Sept. 12 meeting, library officials took a walk around the library, examining its current state of security. They were appalled by what they found.

Reference librarian Joanne Paul.

"Even though they'd been up for years, no one ever really looked at the surveillance mirrors," said reference-desk librarian Joanne Paul. "But as we were walking around the place, I realized that the mirror in the corner closest to the reference section wasn't even angled correctly. I could see the tops of the shelves and part of the ceiling, but nothing else. I'd never noticed it before, but what's the use of having the mirror if you can't see people who are up to no good?"

Quarles said that the library's locks will also be changed, as key accountability has grown "a little lax" in recent years.

"There are several former employees who never surrendered their keys upon quitting, and since we unfortunately have a locksmith down the street who's willing to overlook the 'do not copy' imprint on our master set, a lot of illicit key copies are floating around out there," Quarles said. "I take the blame for that one. Well, after we get the locks changed, only senior staffers will possess keys. Absolutely no exceptions. This is the 21st century now. Things have changed."

A number of the new security measures will directly affect the public: It will now become more difficult to obtain a library card, requiring a birth certificate and two forms of photo ID. The daily children's story hour has been shortened to 20 minutes. And while the library has always officially had a no-loitering rule on the books, it will now be strictly enforced.

Cedar Rapids residents are praising the security upgrade as a necessary response to the events on the East Coast.

"Some people might consider the prospect of metal detectors and three forms of ID for library cards a bit extreme, but we're living in a whole new world," longtime resident Frank Gonitz said. "The way I figure, if you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide, right?"

"I can't believe just three weeks ago, I was naïve enough to believe that a library was a safe sanctuary for quiet reading and contemplative study," said Melinda Wallach, 52. "Maybe one day, things will return to normal. But I think the lesson here is, if it can happen at the Pentagon, it can happen anywhere."