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From NYC to TI An Easton Man’s Job Has Ups and Downs by Dick Cooper From his workstation in the cont rol boot h overlook ing K napps Narrows, Jeff Barron waits at the beck and call ~ make that the horn blast and radio request ~ of boaters signaling for him to open the bridge over the ancient tidal water way that makes Tilghman an island. It is a vital job that combines doses of technical skill, good judgment, common sense and the patience of a Maytag repairman. Thirty to forty times a day the warning bells sound, the security gates lower and the big gray bridge raises for boats to pass between the Chesapeake Bay and the Choptank River, making the Knapps Narrows one of the busiest drawbridges in the nation. That designation is due in part to the fact that the bridge is the only one of 19 drawbridges in Maryland that opens on demand around the clock. “Other bridges are closed part of the year, some are closed overnight or during rush hour, others open on the hour and half hour, but we operate every minute of every day,” Barron says. “Also, they count lifts, not boats. This is a watermen’s community and you may lift for the

Jeff Barron at the controls of the Knapps Narrows Bridge. same boat four times a day. There is a crew boat that takes workers and tourists to Poplar Island, and I may lift the bridge 14 times a day for that one boat.” Barron is one of six tenders assigned to work shifts at Knapps Narrows. It is his second control-booth career. In a previous life he was Director of Operation for CNN’s New York City Bureau. He was originally recruited from his TV job at Channel 9 in Washington, D.C., to be part of CNN’s startup team in 1980 and direct Lou Dobbs’ Moneyline show. “I was there the first day they went 23

September 2015 ttimes web magazine  

Tidewater Times September 2015

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