Ask Ann

In addition to this column, members are welcome to post their questions in the general forum area of the APWA website at There, other members have the opportunity to post their answers directly. We also retrieve those questions with broad appeal for our new column, entitled "Ask Ann."

As I begin this column, it has been one year since APWA lost a devoted member and valued staff member, John MacMullen. Mac thoroughly enjoyed hosting the column "Glad You Asked." His wit and knowledge made it a great asset to the APWA Reporter. Many have asked for the column to be reinstated. While I can never expect to match Mac's charismatic style and wealth of background, I have agreed to offer answers to your questions. The operative note here is "to your questions." Consequently, you will need to drop me a note so I can know of your interests. You can reach me via e-mail at I'm looking forward to an enjoyable exchange of information.

Ann Daniels
Professional Development Program Manager

Art Krieger, retired Director of Public Works for the City of Pasadena, California, sent the following question: "New LED traffic signals are bright and a great service to the driving public. However, since LEDs decrease in brightness over time, when and how should an agency determine their replacement?"

Many of us in the public works arena are accustomed to dealing with "dim bulbs" on a daily basis, but to actually know how to maintain the new LED bulbs prior to their dimming is another issue. According to manufacturers of the bulbs, the best way to monitor their replacement needs is to log in the installation date, using an estimate of the hours of operation, determine the life cycle of the bulb and begin to monitor it within a hundred hours of its life expectancy. Not very scientific but that's what they suggest.

Tony Desjardins, Director of Public Works for the City of Grand Falls, New Brunswick, is asking for assistance in overcoming negative publicity. He asks: "Would anyone have examples of newspaper ads, press releases, handouts or other information that would help us re-establish the public's confidence in our utility and the quality of the water supplied?"

While we do not have this information available in our offices, I'm certain some of our members have experienced a major crisis which has caused your residents to doubt the quality of your system. If you have a public information/relations officer who has dealt with this issue, please share that information with us. Please fax or e-mail me with the information and I will share it with others.

A subscriber to one of the infoNOW Communities writes to ask: "I am subscribed to the Environment Community and receive my messages in the Digest format. They are coming all jumbled up and I'm not able to read them. What can I do to correct this?"

Dann Armstrong, Director of Information Technology for APWA, encourages all Digest users of the infoNOW Communities to use the following steps to clear up this problem: (1) Enter the specific community; (2) Proceed to the listing of options and select YOUR SETTINGS; (3) Click on Status and highlight MIME DIGEST. This process should clear up any problems.

Ask Ann...

Questions are welcome.

Please address all inquiries to:
Ann Daniels
APWA, 2345 Grand Blvd.
Suite 500
Kansas City, MO 64108-2625
Fax questions to (816) 471-0405