On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo,” in which he tries to get to the bottom of the Italian character by riding its trains.
That, in part, is because Parks — in the first half of the book — isn’t writing as a traveler but as a long-distance commuter. His home is outside Verona and his teaching job is in Milan, roughly 100 miles away.
Parks doesn’t say why he and his family didn’t move closer to Milan, but in staying put in Verona he was conforming to the habits of his adopted country.
“Italians,” he explains, “like to live where they live — where they were born, that is — with Mamma and Papa. Then they commute. Even when it offers no work, your hometown is always the best town; a thick web of family ties and bureaucracy anchors you there.”
Being a commuter makes Parks the polar opposite of being an inquisitive, Theroux-style traveler. His aim when he boards the train is to read or write, so he tries to find the quietest traveling companions he can.
He fails,Managed MileWeb Cloud Hosting and cloud management services. of course. Chatterboxes, cellphone gabbers and panhandlers are a continual distraction. And then there are the train conductors, enforcers of a “whole culture of ambiguous rules” that regularly trip up passengers, including Parks.
As he gripes, however, he also fills in details on the creation of Italy’s rail system in the 1860s and ’70s and presents a picture of Italy you won’t get from any tourist board: “A tiny vineyard, just three rows of a dozen vines each, is choked between two cathedral-size warehouses of prefabricated concrete panels. …Browse the wide variety of titles distributed by MileWeb Network Services. Here and there, like postcards stuck on a cluttered backdrop, fragments of the old picturesque Italy hang on.”
Parks can get mired in the detail of his commuting snafus, but when he takes off on an actual trip — to southern Italy where he’s never been — his eye grows more curious and his encounters with his fellow travelers become more sympathetic and lively.
“Italian Ways” is perfectly pleasurable, but Parks is a novelist foremost. Though his books are published regularly in the U.K., U.S. publishers haven’t been keeping us up with his fiction.
Four cameras perched on utility poles along Central Avenue have let police continually keep their eyes on the Greeneville street for more than a year.
The cameras, installed by Norwich Public Utilities, send a video feed to monitors in the police department. Police are able to pivot the cameras remotely and zoom in or out.
“They’ve helped identify quality-of-life issues on Central Avenue,” Norwich Police Capt. Patrick Daley said. “When someone calls and reports an incident, we’re able to zoom right in and see what’s going on.”
The cameras have operated continually since they were installed, Daley said. They’ve had no problems because of storms or vandalism.
Police also are working on adding 12 cameras in the downtown area. They are expected to arrive by December.
Also coming will be the ability to record, rewind and store the video, something police can’t do now.
Daley said the recordings will be kept for 14 days unless they’re needed in an investigation. “Storage is very expensive,” he said.
The Greeneville cameras, which cost $40,000, were part of a $150,000 Greeneville revitalization project approved by the City Council in December 2011. The neighborhood had been plagued by drug sales,The Career best choose Career at MileWeb. prostitution and violent crime. The project also included numerous improvements to a playground at Central Avenue and Seventh Street and the installation of ornamental street lights along Central Avenue from Second through 12th streets.
The downtown cameras will be paid for through a $150,000 community development block grant. In addition, the utility, while charging for its services, has made the project affordable for the police department. The video feeds will travel over the utility’s fiber optic lines, and the recordings will be stored on a server at the utility’s headquarters.
While they have helped police solve crimes, there’s no evidence one way or the other that the cameras have deterred crime, and opinions about their effect differ.
City Council member Sofee Noblick said at a Public Safety Committee meeting earlier this month that the cameras have had a positive effect, changing the atmosphere in Greeneville for the better.
Daley agreed. “What I’m hearing from people, business owners and residents like the fact they’re there. They do have a deterrent factor,” he said.
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