Where does the concept of traffic keeping to the “right” side of the street originate?

Where does the concept of traffic keeping to the “right” side of the street originate?

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In any nation that has cars, there are well-understood rules about how to operate them. If a road is shared by traffic going both ways, everyone will, by law and convention, stick to either the right or the left side of the road from their perspective, to facilitate safe movement of traffic.

How old is this idea of traffic staying to the "right" (i.e. designated) side of the street? Does it predate the automobile? Certainly it would be a useful convention for horse-drawn carriages for the same reasons it is for cars.

Conventions for driving on one side of the road go back to at least the Roman Empire:

In late 1998, the remains of a Roman quarry was discovered at Blunsdon Ridge, near Swindon, England. It is one of the largest and best-preserved Roman quarries known. Ruts in the road leading to this quarry are much deeper on one side of the road than on the other. If it can be assumed that the side of the road with deeper ruts was the side used by loaded carts leaving the quarry, while the side with shallow ruts indicates empty carts arriving, then we can conclude that at this particular location, at least, the Romans drove on the left. (source)

There are various theories about why one side of the road was preferred to the other, often based on the handedness of riders or the side of the body on which travelers wore swords:

In the Middle Ages you kept to the left for the simple reason that you never knew who you'd meet on the road in those days. You wanted to make sure that a stranger passed on the right so you could go for your sword in case he proved unfriendly.

This custom was given official sanction in 1300 AD, when Pope Boniface VIII invented the modern science of traffic control by declaring that pilgrims headed to Rome should keep left. (source)

More here.

Whoopi Goldberg's Tragic Real-Life Story

Is there anything Whoopi Goldberg (née Caryn Elaine Johnson) can't do? From stand-up comedy to acting, hosting, and fashion designing, this multi-talented force to be reckoned with has been setting the industry ablaze for decades. After her breakout film role as Celie in The Color Purple, Goldberg has since gone on to scoop up multiple Emmy, Tony awards, and Oscars. Life is sweet for the New York native . or so we thought.

With Variety estimating in 2016 that she was earning $5 to $6 million per season as a co-host of The View, Goldberg can surely buy anything and everything that she wants. But money can't erase the memories and experiences from her tragic past. Before becoming a household name, she endured enough harrowing circumstances that it's surprising Hollywood hasn't attempted to make a biopic about her. This is Whoopi Goldberg's tragic real-life story.


Winchester began as a Roman town. It was built around 70 AD. The Romans called the new town Venta Belgarum which means the capital of the Belgares (who were the local Celtic tribe before the Roman conquest). Roman Winchester was made a civitas or regional capital.

Roman Winchester was built with its streets laid out in a grid pattern. In the middle of the town was the forum. This was a marketplace lined with shops and public buildings. An important building in Roman Winchester was the public baths. Romans went to the baths not just to get clean but also to socialize. There were also temples in Winchester.

At first, the buildings in Winchester were made of wood but by the third century, some were replaced with brick and stone. Wealthy people in Winchester lived in splendid houses with glass windows, mosaic floors, and walls painted with murals. However the poor lived in simple wooden houses.

At first, Winchester was protected by a ditch and an earth rampart, probably with a wooden palisade on top. However, at the beginning of the 3rd century, Winchester was given stone walls. Winchester now covered 144 acres, which made it the 5th largest town in Roman Britain. There were also suburbs outside the walls. However, like other Roman towns, Winchester declined in the 4th century.

The last Roman soldier left Britain in 407. Town life then broke down. Winchester seems to have been abandoned. When the Saxons arrived in the 6th century a small number of them may have lived in wooden huts within the walls and farmed the land outside. However, Winchester ceased to be a town.

The Saxons called a Roman settlement a caester and they called Venta Belgarum, Venta Caester. In time this was changed to Wintancaester and eventually became corrupted to Winchester.

From 597 monks from Rome began the task of converting Southern England to Christianity. In the mid 7th century a Minster church called the Old Minister was built inside the Roman walls of Winchester. (A Minster church is one with a monastery attached). It was later known as the Old Minster.

In 676 the Bishop of Wessex moved his seat to Winchester and the Old Minster became a cathedral.

In the 9th-century Alfred the Great revived the old Roman town. To defend his kingdom he formed a network of fortified places where men could gather to fight the Danes whenever necessary. Alfred often repaired and revived old Roman towns for this purpose. Winchester was rebuilt with the streets laid out in a grid pattern and people were encouraged to come and live there. Soon Saxon Winchester was flourishing.

In 901 Alfred’s successor founded a second Minster church in Winchester, called the New Minster. In 903 Alfred’s widow founded a nunnery known as the Nunnaminster. (It was later called St Mary’s Abbey). Later in the 10th century, the monastery attached to the Old Minster church was reformed and became St Swithun’s Priory.

In the 10th century the New Minster, St Swithun’s Priory, and the Nunnaminster were centers of art and learning. They were famous for their illuminated manuscripts (decorated books), jewelry, embroidery, and metalwork.

From the 10th century there was a mint in the town. Winchester may have had a population of about 8,000 and there were suburbs outside Westgate and Northgate. There was also a Royal Palace in Winchester. It was probably built in the early 10th century.


William the Conqueror rebuilt the Royal Palace in Winchester. The new palace was twice the size of the old Saxon palace. William also built a castle in the west of Winchester. Sixty houses were demolished to make way for it. At first, it was made of wood but in the early 12th century it was rebuilt in stone.

After 1079 the Normans demolished the Old Minster Cathedral and built a new cathedral on the site. Early in the 12th century the Nunnaminster (St Mary’s Abbey) was rebuilt. The New Minster monastery was moved to a new site north of Winchester. It became known as Hyde Abbey.

In the Middle Ages, the church ran the only ‘hospitals’. In 1136 the Hospital of St Cross was built in Winchester. Wolvesey Castle, the Bishop’s residence was built early in the 12th century.

In the 13th century, the friars arrived in Winchester. Medieval Friars were like monks except instead of withdrawing from the world they went out into the world to help the poor and the sick and to preach. The Dominican friars (known as black friars because of their black costumes) arrived about 1230 and lived in a building between the Itchen and Busket Street. Franciscan friars (called grey friars) arrived in Winchester about 1230 and lived near Eastgate. Carmelite friars followed them in about 1278. They lived near St. Michael’s church. Augustinian friars arrived in Winchester about the same time as the Carmelites nand lived near Southgate.

Between 1135 and 1154 there was a civil war in England between Stephen and Matilda. In 1141 a battle was fought in Winchester, which became known as the rout of Winchester. The bishop of Winchester fell out with Matilda and his men took refuge in Wolveseyncastle. Matilda’s army then occupied the town of Winchester and laid siege to the castle.

However, Stephen’s army surrounded Winchester. So there was the strange situation of an army in Wolvesey Castle, under siege from an army in the town, under siege from another army outside the walls! Matilda’s army eventually decided to fight their way out of Winchester and went out through the town gates. But during the fighting parts of the town were set alight and burned.

More trouble followed in 1264 when there was a civil war between the king and his barons led by Simon De Montfort. The people of Winchester supported the king but the monks in the town supported De Montfort. In 1264 they came to blows when the townspeople found out the monks were planning to let De Montfort’s men into the town through the Kings gate. The townspeople killed several monks and set fire to the Canon gate. The flames spread to the Kings gate and its adjoining houses.The next year, 1265, De Montfort’s men captured Winchester. They pillaged shops and killed many Jews.

In the 13th century, Winchester castle was rebuilt and ‘modernized’. The square keep was replaced with a round one. In 1236 panes of glass were installed in the windows. (Glass windows were the height of luxury in those days and few people could afford them).

In the Middle Ages the main industry in Winchester was making wool cloth. First, the raw wool was cleaned and thickened by pounding it with a mixture of water and clay called fullers earth. The wool was pounded by wooden hammers worked by watermills. When the wool dried it was dyed.

There were also many weavers, dyers, tailors and drapers in Winchester as well as butchers, grocers, carpenters, tilers, nblacksmiths, shoemakers and goldsmiths.

In Winchester, there were weekly markets. There was also an annual fair. In the Middle Ages fairs were like markets but people were held only once a year. People came from all over Hampshire to buy and sell at a Winchester fair. The Winchester fair began on the feast of St Giles at the end of August and lasted for 16 days. The fair was held on a hill east of the town which became known as St Giles Hill.

By 1200 Winchester had a mayor. However, Winchester declined during the 12th and 13th centuries as London grew bigger and became the new capital. In the mid 13th century the royal mint was moved from Winchester to London.

In 1348-49 disaster struck Winchester. The Black Death may have killed half of the population of the town. The plague returned to Winchester in 1361 then again, at intervals, for centuries.

In the 15th century, Buttercross was built in the High Street.

However in the 15th century Winchesterndeclined. The cloth industry faced increasing competition from other towns. The population of Winchester may have fallen to about 4,000 by 1500.

By the 16th century, Winchester had dwindled to being a not very important town. In 1518 the number of annual fairs was increased to 3 to try and stimulate trade but with little success.

In 1538 Henry VIII closed the St Mary’s Abbey (Nunnaminster), Hyde Abbey, and St Swithun’s Priory. He also closed the friaries in Winchester. All the land owned by these establishments was sold and their buildings were ‘cannibalised’ to provide materials for new ones. However, the hospital of St John Cross continued to function.

In 1554 Queen Mary married King Philip of Spain in Winchester.

During the 16th century there was a problem of unemployment as the population of England rose and there weren’t enough jobs for everyone. In 1579 Winchester council opened a house of correction where the unemployed or ‘rogues’ and ‘sturdy vagabonds’ were to be housed and taught a trade like hat making or glove making. The experiment failed because existing craftsmen resented this new competition.

Plague continued to break out in Winchester during the 17th century. It struck Winchester in 1603 and again in 1625. The last outbreak of the plague in Winchester was in 1665-66. Meanwhile, in 1607 Peter Symonds opened an almshouse in Winchester.

In 1642 civil war began between King and Parliament. During the civil war, Winchester changed hands several times. Most of the people in Winchester supported the king and at first royalist soldiers occupied the town.

However, at the end of 1642 parliamentary soldiers attacked and quickly captured Winchester. The town council paid the parliamentary soldiers 1,000 pounds in return for an agreement that they would not loot the town but some soldiers did so anyway. They also vandalized the cathedral. The parliamentary soldiers then moved on leaving Winchester undefended.

In November 1643 a royalist army occupied Winchester. In March 1644 they went out to fight the parliamentarians at Cheriton Down in Hampshire and were defeated. The royalists abandoned Winchester town but left a garrison to man the castle. The parliamentarians took Winchester town again but made no attempt to capture the castle. Once again the parliamentary army moved on leaving Winchester undefended. Then, finally, in September 1645, Oliver Cromwell led an army that occupied Winchester town and, a few days later, took the castle.

In 1649 the members of the town council were removed from their posts because they supported the king. In 1651 Cromwell’s men destroyed Winchester castle to prevent it from ever falling into royalist’s hands again. Only the great hall remained.

King Charles II 1660-1685 often visited Winchester and was fond of the town. He decided to build a royal palace in Winchester, but this building was never finished and after his death, his idea was abandoned. Wolvesey Castle, the bishop’s old residence, was now in ruins and was replaced by a palace in the late 17th century.

During the 18th century, much of Winchester was rebuilt. Many Georgian houses were built and some old houses were given a Georgian facade. Otherwise, Winchester changed little. The population was about 4,000 early in the 18th century and was still less than 6,000 in 1800. Winchester was a quiet market town and had declined a long way from when it was the capital of England.

In 1724 Daniel Defoe wrote that Winchester was a ‘place of no trade, no manufacture, no navigation’. On the other hand ‘here is a great deal of good company the abundance of gentry being in the neighborhood, it adds to the sociableness of the place. The clergy here are generally speaking very rich and numerous’. In 1755 Horace Walpole called Winchester ‘a paltry town and small’.

However, there were some improvements in Winchester. The Guildhall was rebuilt in 1711. The Royal Hampshire County Hospital opened in 1736. A theatre opened in Jewry Street in 1785.

In 1771 a body of men called the Paving Commissioners was formed with powers to pave and light the streets with oil lamps. In the 18th century North, East, and Southgate were demolished to make it easier for traffic to enter and exit Winchester town centre. City Mill was built in 1744.


Jane Austen died in Winchester in 1817.

A Corn Exchange, where grain was bought and sold opened in 1838 (this building is now the library). Winchester prison was built in 1846-49. In 1857 a Market Hall was built where fruit and vegetables were sold.

The first museum opened in 1847. A new guildhall opened in 1873. An art school and public library were added to the building in 1880. The Royal Hampshire County Hospital was moved to its present site in 1868.

In 1840 a teacher training college opened in Winchester (later King Alfred’s College). In 1847 Winchester gained gas street lighting. In n1855 a water company was formed and the next year the first piped water flowed through the town.

But there were no drains or sewers in Winchester until the 1870s. A pumping station began operating in Garnier Street in 1878 but it was some years before all houses were connected to a sewer.

Prosperity returned to Winchester in the 19th century. This was largely because of the railway, which reached Winchester in 1840. This made it possible for tourists to travel easily to Winchester. The railway also encouraged new industries to move to the town.

The population of Winchester grew rapidly. From less than 6,000 people in 1801, it rose to over 13,000 in 1851 and over 17,000 in 1891. In 1898 Westgate was made into a museum.


In 1901 a statue of King Alfred was erected to commemorate the 1,000th anniversary of his death. (Historians now believe Alfred actually died in 899).

In 1908 a riot occurred in Winchester. A Russian gun, captured in the Crimean war stood on Broadway. The mayor decided to remove the railings around it, which gave rise to a rumor that the gun was going to be removed. The result was a riot during which many windows were smashed.

In 1914 the first cinema opened in Winchester. A war memorial was erected in 1921. In the 1920s a council house estate was built at Stanmore. By 1939 the council had built 1,200 houses. A new bypass was built in the 1930s. It opened in 1938 and closed in 1994 when the M3 was completed.

In 1939 hundreds of schoolchildren from Portsmouth and Southampton were evacuated to Winchester (although most soon returned home). In 1940 and 1941 some people from heavily bombed Southampton slept at night in cellars and tunnels under a brewery depot in Hyde Street.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Winchester town center was redeveloped. In 1956-57 St Georges Street was widened. In 1956 the junction of Jewry Street and High Street was widened.

At the same time, parts of Lower Brook Street and Middle Brook Street were demolished and a car park was built. The inhabitants were re-housed in council houses. In 1959 a road was built around the Westgate and in the early 1960s, the county council offices were built nearby. Some of the buildings in Colebrook Street were demolished and replaced by the Wessex Hotel in 1962-64.

More council houses were built in Winchester after 1945. By 1955 about 1200 had been built. A new council estate was built on the western side of the A27 Stockbridge Road on the site of Weeke Manor farm. Council houses were also built in Highcliffe.

Many private houses were also built including ones at Harestock in the 1950s and Teg Down in the early 1960s. In 1963 the first multi-story flats in Winchester were built. Four 8 story flats were built at Winnall Manor.

Winnall industrial estate began in 1948 when Brazil’s sausages bought land from the church commissioners and relocated there from the town center. The industrial estate grew rapidly in the 1950s.

In 1966 a new Police Headquarters was built. Also in 1966 Winchester Art College moved to the present building. A new post office opened in Middle Brook Street in 1966. In 1974 the High Street was pedestrianised.

In 1986 the Royal Hampshire County Hospital was extended with the Nightingale building. In 1992 Brinton Wing was built. In 1988 River Park Leisure Centre opened. In 1989 Winchester cattle market closed. It had been going since 1588.

The army left Peninsula barracks in 1985. In the 1990’s military museums opened there, the Royal Greenjackets, the Royal Hussars, Royal Hants Regiment, the Gurkhas, and the Light Infantry.

In 1991 the Brooks Centre, a shopping mall, opened. In 1993 a new public records office opened. The same year the Cathedral Visitor’s Centre opened.


In the 21st century, Winchester continued to thrive. Winchester Discovery Centre opened in 2008. Today the population of Winchester is 45,000.

Sinter Klaas Comes to New York

St. Nicholas made his first inroads into American popular culture towards the end of the 18th century. In December 1773, and again in 1774, a New York newspaper reported that groups of Dutch families had gathered to honor the anniversary of his death.

The name Santa Claus evolved from Nick’s Dutch nickname, Sinter Klaas, a shortened form of Sint Nikolaas (Dutch for Saint Nicholas). In 1804, John Pintard, a member of the New York Historical Society, distributed woodcuts of St. Nicholas at the society’s annual meeting. The background of the engraving contains now-familiar Santa images including stockings filled with toys and fruit hung over a fireplace. In 1809, Washington Irving helped to popularize the Sinter Klaas stories when he referred to St. Nicholas as the patron saint of New York in his book, The History of New York. As his prominence grew, Sinter Klaas was described as everything from a “rascal” with a blue three-cornered hat, red waistcoat, and yellow stockings to a man wearing a broad-brimmed hat and a “huge pair of Flemish trunk hose.”

4. “Jingle Bells” wasn’t the song’s original name.

Title page of “One Horse Open Sleigh.” (Credit: Public Domain)

When the holiday ditty was first printed by a Boston music publishing house in 1857, it was released under the title “One Horse Open Sleigh.” When it was reissued two years later, the song had the more familiar title of “Jingle Bells.”

Social Stratification

Classes and Castes. The distribution of income is among the most equal in the industrialized world, although inequality rose rapidly in the 1990s. The

Symbols of Social Stratification. Many traditional markers of social class affiliation have faded in recent decades: language reform in the early 1970s discouraged the use of the formal second-person pronoun to address persons of high standing typically white-collar jobs in the office and service sectors have displaced much employment in traditionally working-class sectors such as factories and mines dress standards have become less class-differentiated and more relaxed and regional accents have been muted by a national media culture.

The one significant caste distinction is that of "Swedes" versus "immigrants," usually those from less affluent lands. This division is particularly notable in housing, as certain satellite suburbs of major cities have come to be seen as immigrant domains characterized by disorder and danger. Residents of these communities often experience a sense of exclusion, and their unemployment rates are higher. But even in the most notorious of these suburbs—Stockholm's Rinkeby—the rates of poverty and crime are relatively low.

Frequently Asked Questions

A few things needed pass a 20 question test, original $5,000.00 surety bond payable to the City of Mishawaka, certificate of liability and worker&rsquos comp insurance, pay a $125.00 fee.

If a contractor is doing the work, they need to obtain the permit. If the homeowner is doing the work, he/she can obtain the permit.

Yes unless it is an exterior inspection someone must be there to let the inspector in the home or building.

You can call between 7:30am and 9:00am to schedule for that day or any time thereafter for the next day.

Rule of thumb: don&rsquot cover anything before inspections are completed.

Depends on the type of permit, but the basic inspections include: footings, framing, electric service, rough electric, underground plumbing, rough plumbing, HVAC, and final building, plumbing, electric, and HVAC.

Painting, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, countertops, landscaping, and similar work.

To construct, enlarge, alter, repair, demolish, or replace structural elements and it is valued over $300.00.

To ensure work is done in accordance with building codes and the approved plans.

Sheds, swimming pools and garages are considered accessory structures and must be constructed in the rear half of the lot, never the front. Privacy fences cannot exceed 7 feet in height, cannot be in the front yard, and if you are on are corner lot, the fence must be 12.5 feet in from the exterior side (street side) property line. No fence over 4 feet in height may be erected in the front yard and shall have a minimum of 75% of its surface open.

To file a complaint about issues you feel may be illegal or that may violate the zoning ordinance residents may notify the Building/Community Development/Planning Department. As an example, repairing of automobiles in residential areas and some commercial and industrial areas is not permitted.

Most single family residential properties are zoned R-1 Single Family Residential. If there is a duplex or two-unit apartment, the appropriate zoning is R-2 Two Family Residential District. There are 18 different zoning districts within the City. Contact the Building/Community Development/Planning Department with specific zoning questions.

General Questions

The City does not organize the Memorial Day Parade. Please contact The American Legion at (574) 255-8319 for details.

Contact the Penn Township Assessor's Office at (574) 256-6204.

Contact the St. Joseph County Health Department at (574) 235-9750.

Contact the St. Joseph County Health Department/Vital Statistics at (574) 235-9638. If the death occurred in a county other than St. Joseph then contact the Health Department for that county.

Contact the St. Joseph County Health Department/Vital Statistics at (574) 235-9638. If the birth occurred in a county other than St. Joseph then contact the Health Department for that county.

This is actually a County service. Contact the St. Joseph County Clerk for more information at (574) 256-6330.

This is actually a County service. Contact the St. Joseph County Clerk for more information at (574) 256-6330.

This is actually a County service. Contact the St. Joseph County Clerk for more information at (574) 256-6330.

This is actually a County service. Contact the St. Joseph County Clerk for more information at (574) 256-6330.

This is actually a County service. Contact the St. Joseph County Clerk for more information at (574) 256-6330.

This is actually a County service. Contact the St. Joseph County Clerk for more information at (574) 256-6330.

Yes, there are several ways. You could check out our Calendars on this website. If you are on Facebook, you can click the "Like" button on our page to get up-to-the-minute traffic alerts and event information as well.

Use our Report a Problem feature to submit a problem ticket for numerous issues throughout the City. The appropriate department will recieve the submission and do their best to see that the issue is resolved in a timely manner.

Central Services

The leaf collection program normally begins near the end of October and will continue through November or until leaves are no longer a problem for residents. The Mishawaka Street Department will pick up leaves the day before each resident's regular trash pick-up day. Leaves and yard waste can always be bagged at set out with normal trash as well.

Residents are now billed for trash service on their Mishawaka Utility bill and will no longer receive a separate bill for trash & recycling collection from Republic Services.

Two large items such as a couch, chair, or mattress may be disposed of each week with your regular trash pick-up. The item should be placed wherever you place your regular trash for pick-up. Items containing freon, such as a refrigerator or freezer must have the freon properly removed by a refrigeration service and the certificate of removal must be provided to Allied Waste, our contract trash hauler, before they will pick such items up. Questions can be addressed to Allied Waste at (800)-888-5783. There is a nominal charge for removal of freon.

Household hazardous waste may be taken to Solid Waste Management District of St. Joseph County located at 828 Kerr St. in South Bend, IN. Hours for the facility are 8:30am-4:00pm Mon-Fri and 8:00am-12:00pm on Saturday. You can reach them with any questions at (574) 235-9971.

More information including what is acceptable and not acceptable can be found here.

Solid Waste Management District

828 Kerr St
South Bend, IN 46601
Phone: 574-235-9971
Fax: 574-235-9973

Engineering & Sewer

The Alley Paving Program provides for a 50/50 split of costs with residents for placement of 2" of bituminous pavement 10' in width. Upon request, a field inspection of each alley is conducted to determine the feasibility of paving the alley.

Property owners are responsible for the repair and maintenance of the sidewalks adjacent to their homes. The City of Mishawaka offers a Curb and Sidewalk Program, which was instituted in 1986 to encourage single-family homeowners to repair or replace the deteriorated public curb and sidewalks adjacent to their property. This program provides for a 50/50 split of the repair cost of curbs, sidewalks and drive approaches between the homeowner and the city. An estimate of cost will be given to the resident by the Engineering Department prior to any commitment for work to be completed. For more information or to enroll in this program click here.

The homeowner experiencing sewer problems is responsible for retaining a professional sewer cleaning firm to open the blockage in the line. If the line cannot be cleared, the homeowner is required to pay a $250.00 deductible and sign an authorization. Costs above the $250.00 deductible are paid from the Sewer Insurance Fund. In the event the repair cost is less than $250.00, the Sewer Maintenance Department will issue a refund of the balance to the homeowner.

Contact the Sewer Maintenance Department by phone (258-1715) to describe the sewer problem. The information requested will be your name, address, and the name of the company that could not correct your sewer problem. The homeowner is required to pay a $250.00 deductible (cash or check) at the Engineering Department, City Hall, 600 East Third Street. The invoice from the contractor paid to correct the problem is also to be brought to the Engineering Dpeartment.

Finance - City Controller

Contact the St. Joseph county Treasurer at (574) 235-9531.

Contact the Penn Township Assessor's Office at (574) 256-6204.

Contact the Penn Township Assessor's Office at (574) 256-6204.

Fire Dept. & EMS

This program is for children in 1 st , 3 rd , & 5 th grades. The Survive Alive House is an actual replica of a home. Children are taught home fire safety and emergency exit. This house uses heat & smoke simulation.

Survive Alive House is located inside the Hannah Lindahl Children&rsquos Museum at 1402 S. Main St., Mishawaka. To schedule a visit call Peggy Marker at 254-4540.

Phone the Fire Chief&rsquos Office at 247-0928 to schedule. This program is for preschool and kindergarten age children. The program teaches children about fire safety using a talking fire truck called &ldquoLittle Red&rdquo. Concepts that are discussed are:

  • Stop-Drop-Roll & Cover Your Face
  • Matches are tools, not toys
  • Use of 9-1-1
  • Home safety

At the conclusion of the program the children are taken on a tour of the fire station and they are shown the fire trucks. This program is conducted at our Station #3 located at 333 E. Douglas Road.

Each Fire Station schedules its own tours. Phone the Chief's Office at 247-0928 to obtain the correct phone number.

Fire reports are available from the Fire Chief&rsquos office at 333 E. Douglas Road, Mishawaka.The cost of a copy of the initial fire report is $3.00.

Bonfires are not considered recreational fires but are considered ceremonial fires and, as such, are not permitted without an Open Burning Permit. The fire must be attended to at all times and only natural wood can be used. Construction types of lumber or wood pallets are not approved as burning material. If the bonfire causes any health problems for residence in the neighborhood, the Fire Chief has the authority to extinguish the bonfire.

With an approved Open Burning Permit, residents can burn yard and garden waste from April 15 through May 15 and October 15 through November 15. The Applications for Opening Burning Permit can be obtained from the Fire Chief&rsquos office at 333 E. Douglas Road, Mishawaka or on our website.

Government Offices

This is actually a County service. Contact the St. Joseph County Clerk for more information at (574) 256-6330.

Law Department

The Law Department performs all legal services for the City, including legal advice to City officials, preparation and review of contracts and other legal documents, prosecution of persons accused of violating City ordinances, and representation of the City and City officials in lawsuits.

The Law Department does not provide legal advice to members of the public.

Mishawaka Utilities

In all cases, you should call before you dig. You should call 811 at least 48 hours in advance of digging. That one phone call locates all underground services free of charge to you. The call could save your life.

In beautiful downtown Mishawaka, at 126 N. Church Street. We are one block north of Lincolnway and one block east of Main Street, right next to the Police Station.

Other utility services are offered by separate providers. They each have their own phone numbers and application procedures. Please contact them directly to see if they provide services to your location.

We provide Electric, Water, Wastewater Treatment (sewage), and Trash Removal services.

Our customers have the ability to sign up to receive an electronic version of their statement. Please view our home page for sign-up of your e-bill. Utility bills are mailed out for those who choose not to have an e-bill at least 10 days prior to the due date. If you are unsure how much you owe or need another statement mailed please call customer service 574-258-1630.


Mishawaka Utilities is pleased to announce that you can now pay your bill online via eCheck or Credit Card.

As always, you may still use our three standard methods of payment by cash, check, money order, or credit card at our business office or by mailing in your payment with your payment stub. You also have the additional options of paying via Bank Draft from a checking or savings account using our EZ Pay.

Please be advised that payments made via eCheck or Credit Card will be posted to your accounts on the next business day. If you have any questions about our payment options, please email our Help Desk.

For your convenience, we have several payment options available:

  • Pay at our office (cash, check, or money order)
  • Send payment by mail (check or money order)
  • Automatic payments from your bank account ( EZ Pay )
  • Online payments (I nvoiceCloud ) - e-check, Visa/Mastercard, or Discover accepted. Service Fee - $3.75.
  • Online bill pay through your bank (usually a free service)
  • Call our toll-free number (866) 288-0515. e-Check, Visa/Mastercard, or Discover accepted. Service Fee - $3.75.
    • NOTE: The use of the Interactive Voice Response System (IVR) toll free number also incurs a separate Service Fee of $5.70 charged by the IVR system.

    This is a difficult question to answer. Everybody has a different lifestyle - there are really no "normal" bills. If you feel your bill may be in error, you should compare it to your bill at the same time last year. If you have done this and you still believe there may be an error, report it to us. We will make every effort to re-read your meter and inspect your service. Remember, there are many variables, like home insulation, water consumption, appliance efficiency, home/work schedules, and other considerations that make every home different.

    Several days after your regular monthly bill becomes due, we send a notice reminding you that the bill is still unpaid, and restating the due date. If this amount is still unpaid when the next month's bill is generated, your account becomes two months delinquent and will be on our disconnect list, unless you make arrangements for payment prior to our disconnect date.

    Whenever you receive a Final Notice or are charged a Penalty for late payment, that event counts as a Credit Offense. Also, if your service is disconnected for non-payment, or if your bank returns your check for insufficient funds, it is a Credit Offense. To maintain your account in good credit standing with us, you need to have no more than two Credit Offenses in the last twelve months. That credit standing is the sole deciding factor to determine the need for new or additional deposits. That also is reported to other utilities requesting information on your creditworthiness.

    The reading period is listed on your bill, along with the number of days for the billing period.

    Based on residential rates within the city and a 5/8" water meter, the minimum charge for Electric is $5.60, Wastewater is $30.10 and Water is $10.62.

    There are variables on this depending on each household and individual circumstance. We recommend that each account be paid in full every month.

    This fixed monthly charge is the basic fee for your electric service. It does not fluctuate with usage and does not include any consumption. This fee is intended to cover our costs of maintaining and keeping your customer account records active (data processing, meter reading, billing, etc.). If you have absolutely no electric consumption, the Customer Charge will be your only electric bill.

    We can make special arrangements. You must come to our office and speak with a Customer Service Representative in person. We cannot make these arrangements by phone or email.

    Each time you are billed, our computers add the current month's information and drop the thirteenth previous month's credit information. In this way, when your current 12-month account credit history shows no more than two Credit Offenses, you account status is upgraded to Good Standing.

    At this time, only for home owners who heat with electricity.

    No. Billing cycles are based on your address. View the Billing Cycle Map to figure out when your bill will be due.


    You first received the bill (blue), then a "final notice" (red), and then a second bill (blue). The second blue bill shows your amount past-due (balance forward), with a notice at the bottom of the bill stating that any previous balance must be paid immediately to avoid disconnection.

    We disconnect services in the mornings and reconnect the paid accounts after 12:30 in the afternoon. There is a processing/disconnect charge of $25 during regular business hours. The after-hours reconnect fee is an additional $70. Any amount due, including reconnect fees, must be paid with cash, money order or cashier's check. Our personnel cannot accept cash after hours. Our policy forbids the acceptance of personal checks for reconnection of services. If service is disconnected for non-payment, the reconnection of service could be subject to an after-hours charge if payment is made after 4:00 p.m.

    Your account is considered delinquent if you owe for two months' service. You will be disconnected a few days after the due date for the zone you live in. (Your zone is shown on your bill and on your Final Notice.) You can call our office to determine your exact disconnect day and to make the arrangements to avoid disconnection.

    We generally disconnect for non-payment immediately after the due date, Monday through Friday. You will need to call our office for the exact date.

    New Service

    By law, it is based upon a two month bill.

    Water service is installed by appointment only. Electric crews are booked at the start of each day. Although we can sometimes get electric installed by the next day after your request, you should try to contact our office and give us three days' notice for any new service whenever possible.

    For all new service, you do need to come into our office located at 126 N Church Street, Mishawaka, Indiana.

    Usually we keep it on your account to pay your last bill when you terminate service. However, if you are in good credit standing after twelve (12) months and you request it, we will apply the deposit to your account current bill.

    A valid driver's license or other photo ID and a copy of your lease, if you are renting.

    If you don't have a recent credit letter from another utility company, or a recent, good history with us at another location, then, yes, you do. Please contact our office at (574) 258-1630 or email us for inquiries regarding deposits.

    Special arrangements can occasionally be made. We ask that you please come in and talk to us about it.

    Yes. Most water meters are inside the home. We must get in to read your meter and check its installation. This is for your protection, as leaks are sometimes discovered at this point.

    Yes, we can debit or charge your deposit amount to a Visa, MasterCard, or Discover when paying in our Business Office.


    There are several things to check: Has someone accidentally turned the main water valve off? If it's wintertime, have you checked for frozen pipes? Have you checked with your neighbors to see if they have water? There may be a water main break that hasn't been reported.

    We are responsible for the main water line all the way to the curb stop. The customer is responsible from the curb stop to the residence and all the problems that originate from there. We do service the water meter that is located at the residence.

    In the summer. Check with our Business Office to ensure that you are within the 6-month summer billing cycle to take advantage of the lower Wastewater charges.

    Neither The City of Mishawaka nor Mishawaka Utilities send out a Water Line Insurance pamphlet nor, do we promote water line insurance. We have found that many customers have recently received a one-page pamphlet in the mail regarding water line insurance. Any agreement that you sign is independent from the City of Mishawaka and Utilities Division, and therefore will be between you and the company offering the insurance.

    NO. This practice can actually be a public health hazard and is therefore strictly prohibited.

    This charge is for processing wastewater at our treatment plant. This is not a metered service. The charge is based upon water consumption. If your water bill is high, your wastewater bill will be also.

    In periods of high rainfall and flooding, some sewers that carry combined sanitary and storm flows can be filled to capacity. In such an event, we suggest a call to the Sewer Maintenance Department at 258-1715 for assessment of the problem.

    Otherwise, you will want to have your sewer lateral checked by an independent contractor. Sewer latrerals (the portion from your home to the street) can collapse or fill with roots and debris. Your lateral may need cleaning. If repair is in order, the Sewer Maintenance Department can tell you how to file an insurance claim with the City.

    Information regarding the Sewer Insurance Program can be found on this website. If you need additional information or have additional questions please contact the Engineering Department.

    Parks & Recreation

    Generally the Park Restrooms are subject to change when we open them for the season and when we close them down in the fall. The hours that we open and then again close them daily will alter a bit from day to day as well. However, we generally open the restrooms for the season in and around mid April through mid October. As for the restrooms on a daily basis, the park staff begins their route at 7am and all restrooms should be open no later than 9am. We try to get them closed up just before dark, and that varies from month to month when they are open for the season.

    Reservations must be made through the Parks & Recreation administrative office, 904 N. Main Street., Mishawaka, IN 46545, PH. (574) 258-1664. Facilities are considered rented when the appropriate fee has been paid, a waiver of liability signed and a permit obtained.

    • Outdoor shelters are comprised of picnic tables housed under a supported roof. While some smaller shelters have public restrooms attached to the shelters, these restrooms are for the entire public and are not included with a paid rental.
    • Wedding garden rentals have specific areas, i.e., the gazebo at Kate&rsquos Garden, the Rock Garden at Battell, or the Tea House and/or Red Bridge at Shiojiri Niwa. Renting a wedding garden will permit you to use the designated location for a specific 2-hour time slot without another wedding being scheduled at the same time.
    • The Mishawaka Parks and Recreation Department does not rent or provide chairs, equipment, sound, etc. for wedding ceremonies, nor does it aid in set up or tear down. All activity must start and stop within the 2-hour time allotted..

    Outdoor shelter and building rentals are from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wedding gardens are rented in 2-hour time slots with 1/2 hour between rentals to eliminate any overlap.

    Outdoor shelters are available for rental from the middle of April through the middle of October. During rental months, these facilities have public restrooms for added convenience.

    It is not necessary for an individual to rent a particular facility to enjoy its use however, &ldquowhenever any person desires to use the park facilities for a particular purpose, . . . such person shall make application for a permit to use the park facilities (Municipal Code, Section 50-2(a)&rdquo. Renting does ensure you and your family that you have a guaranteed location for your family event. Renting provides you with a permit for the given location so that others cannot use that same location at the time you have it rented.

    To verify residency, we typically will ask to see a driver's license. In some situations where individuals have recently moved into the area, a utility bill in the individual's name or a lease/purchase agreement along with the driver's license will also work.

    Season passes are available at both the Park Office and at the Merrifield Complex. All family members to be included in the family season pass are required to be present in order to have a photo taken and placed on his/her own pass.

    We often have students who wish to purchase an ID or a Season Pass who are too young to drive. In that case, we can verify residency through school ID's or report cards.

    The Parks Department requires that if you wish to "hunt metal" in a Mishawaka park, you must annually obtain a permit sticker to adhere to your metal detector. These stickers may be obtained in person at the Parks office at Battell Center, 904 N. Main Street. When a permit is obtained, a card certifying that you are authorized to hunt metal will be completed and provided. Specifically, the card authorizes you to hunt metal "in the Mishawaka Parks - but never on the golf course or in the parks where it interferes with the public." The card includes the your name, age and permit number and should be kept with you while hunting metal in any Mishawaka park. There is no fee associated with this permit however, we do require a valid driver's license for identification purposes and for copying along with the permit and card, which is then kept on file in our offices.

    Mlk Birmingham Letter Summary Essay

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    Healthcare Has Changed over the Past 10 Years with the Help of Technology. Essay

    Healthcare has changed a lot in the past 20 years. People now live on average at least ten years longer than they did in 1989, and medical advances have brought many breakthroughs.

    Village History

    In February of 1799, James Thompson and his father Isaac Thompson became Middlefleld’s first permanent residents. Middlefield was actually the third name change for the territory. The first was “Burton”, then “Batavia”, and finally Middlefield in 1841, because it was midway between Painesville and Warren.

    State Route 608, or “Old State Road”, was built in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. The settlers deviated from the surveyed route to avoid deep gullies and swampy areas. This road opened up the territory for development.

    Joseph Johnson settled north of Middlefield on what is now known as Johnson Corners in 1800. Early in our history a road was built from Burton through the northwest comer of Middlefield, and on to Huntsburg.

    In 1818, James Thompson built his hotel, later known as the Century Inn and the current home of the Middlefield Historical Society. At the time it was built, it was the largest, most commodious house between Warren and Painesville on the State Road. The first church in Middlefield, an Episcopalian, was erected in 1829.

    For the first part of the century land clearing, furs, grain, cheese and black salts were the most important industries in Middlefield. These products were taken to Pittsburgh for bartering. In 1873, a narrow gauge railway was constructed between Painesville and Warren, which made it possible to locate industry in Middlefield. Members of the Johnson family formed Ohio Pail Company in 1895 It burned down twice and reopened from the last fire in 1921. The business was sold in 1925, and the family began Johnson Rubber Company, making rubber gaskets for the pails.

    Middlefield Village was incorporated in 1901 with Joe E. Johnson serving as the first Mayor. The first Village Council consisted of C. E. Lampson, Henry Thompson, H. L Wright, C. L. Smith, J. J. Rose, and C. P. Patchin. Mayor Johnson’s first speech said, in part, “…the incorporators had one aim in view. That was to improve and make Middlefield Village one of the pretty and prosperous suburbs of the magnificent City of Cleveland.”

    In 1958, local businesspeople were looking for ways to promote the village and decided to feature its newest industry. The Middlefleld Swiss Cheese Festival was born of the combined efforts of the Chamber of Commerce and the Middlefield Volunteer Fire Department. Held every Father’s Day weekend, the Festival grew yearly, with one of the best parades around. The last Swiss Cheese Festival was held from June 14th through 16th, 1991.

    The aim of the first Mayor and Council has been realized. Middlefield Village is now one of the most prosperous villages of its size in Northeast Ohio. Thanks to the many industries located here, the residents enjoy a high tax base, low unemployment, low utility rates and real estate taxes, and many services. According to the NOACA traffic count, 44,600 vehicles per day pass through the downtown intersection.
    Local businesses are thriving and more are locating here all the time, giving residents more and more conveniences.


    Yesterdays originated as a series of articles written for the Middlefield News by former Council member Rick Seyer in anticipation of the Middlefield Village Centennial, to be celebrated in 2001. In his preface to the series, Seyer wrote: This year the Village of Middlefield will celebrate its centennial. I will try to provide articles for the newsletter that will follow the history and progress of our village during its first year. Every attempt will be made to be historically accurate. Information that you may have to share relating to the first year of the village would be much appreciated.

    It was on Saturday, December 1, 1900, that the Middlefield Township trustees met in special session at the town hall to accept a petition signed by 45 electors, a majority of whom were landowners, to request the right to vote on the formation of a new village to be called Middlefield.

    The size of the proposed new village was a perfect square with the boundaries being as follows to the East near what is today Lenny Dr., to the North where the present day boundary is near Mary Yoder’s Restaurant, to the West near Russell Funeral Home, and South just past Sajar Plastics. In each direction, there are still some of the original boundary lines used today. There were approximately 600 people living in the proposed village then.

    The township trustees set an election for Saturday, December 15,1900 on the question of incorporation. Notice was published in the local newspaper, the “Middlefield Messenger”. Henry Thompson, a descendant of Isaac Thompson, the first settler, was named as agent for the petitioners.

    On the appointed day, 142 voters turned out to vote on the question of incorporation. The results showed 80 votes for incorporation and 62 against. Since there was a majority for incorporation, the township trustees then made an order declaring the above described territory to be a village and to be known by the name Middlefield. This was the beginning of the 100 years of history we will be celebrating this year.

    In December 1900 the electors in Middlefield voted to form a new political subdivision to be known as the Village of Middiefield. The election for the first Mayor and Council was held on April 1,1901- J0E E. J0HNSON, who at that time was President of the Ohio Pail Company, forerunner to the present day Johnson Rubber Company, was elected the first mayor. Johnson lived on Lake Avenue in the century home on the only farm now left in the village, currently owned by Jonathan J. Miller, located south of Grove Street on the opposite side of the road. This home was also the first home in Middlefield to receive electricity wired during the time Johnson lived there.

    Council members elected were C.E. LAMPSON, HENRY THOMPSON, H.L. WRIGHT. C.L SMITH, J.J. ROSE and C.P. PATCHIN. These elected officials provided the foundation for the 100 years of progress we enjoy today. The first council meetings were held at the town hall, in the building now located east of Western Reserve Farm Co-op on Rt. 87.

    The following is a transcript of the first “State of the Village” message, given at the first meeting of the newly elected council.

    “Gentlemen of the Council: It has long been the custom, and is considered by some to be an absolute necessity, for the mayor at the first meeting in April of each year to make an address or present an annual message to the council. As this is the first regular meeting of the newly incorporated Village of Middlefield, I take great pleasure in congratulating the members of this honored body on their election to the first council of the Village of Middlefield. And well should it be considered an honor, and at the same time you should not forget its responsibilities, as in your first year deliberations you surely plant the embryo, which in future times may mature and cause disaster or success. In other words you make the foundation. You form the precedents for your successors for years to come.

    In taking up this movement, the incorporators had but one aim in view. That was to improve and make Middlefield Village one of the pretty and prosperous suburbs of the magnificent city of Cleveland. But now, while our purposes and aims are certainly superb, we should not be led astray and be led to believe that because we are incorporated, we may have all the blessings and comforts of larger and more populous cities and villages. You, as councilmen, should guard well our village treasury and try to keep within a moderate rate of taxation. Incorporation does not necessarily mean extravagant expenditure. We should all work together for the most good to the greatest number. You are faced at the present time with an empty treasury and you will receive but little, if any, money from taxation before next year but fortunately the law provides for cases of this nature and I hope that you will take the benefit of this law to provide for the necessary funds to carry on the business of the incorporation until that time.

    It is my opinion that the best course to pursue would be to curtail expenses in every department and make such improvements for 1901 as necessity demands. My advice would be go slow but go sure. What we want you to build is a foundation for the nicest and most prosperous village in northeast Ohio.

    Among your first duties you will have to pass ordinances, provide bonds for municipal officers and also prescribing rules for the transaction of business.

    I trust that, as your presiding officer, you may at all times bear with me in my mistakes as my only aim shall be to rule wisely and impartially.”

    These words spoken 100 years ago provided the foundation that Village Council today still strives to build on.

    In 1901, Council Deals With Mud, Stagnant Water and No Money

    In the previous two segments of this history, we learned about the formation of the Village of Middlefield and the election of its’ first mayor and council. The village that formed over 100 years ago bears little resemblance to the village we live in today. The residents of 1901 traveled the village on dirt streets. East Elm, West High, North State and South Main, as they were known then, were nothing but muddy quagmires every time it rained. In 1901, everyone traveled about in a horse and buggy or wagon. The first automobile did not appear in town until somewhat later and I believe it was owned by someone in the Johnson family. Yankee and Amish alike all used the same mode of transportation. The buggy styles may have been different but everyone used a horse.

    The early months of the first council were concerned with surveying for sidewalks so residents would not have to walk in the mud streets. Since there were no storm sewers to drain away rainwater, the first council sent many letters to residents urging them to drain stagnant water from the road right-of-way. There were also many letters sent to residents warning them that the draining of their septic systems into the ditches and creeks in the village would not be allowed to continue. There was no village water or sewer system like today. These would not come for another 50 years.

    The first council had to find a meeting place to hold council meetings. Early records show that two rooms on the second floor in the rear of the Lampson and Usinger building were rented for council chambers. This building is believed to have been the former K of P building located where the Middlefield Banking parking lot is now. A bill was presented for the cost of furnishings for the new council chambers for the following items:
    1 Gasoline lamp
    1 Hand lamp
    9 Chairs
    6 Chairs
    2 Window screens
    1 Large table
    Total $40.45
    The records also show that for the first year the village did not receive any tax money to operate on. Even then taxes were collected one year behind. It wasn’t until 1902 that taxes could be collected for 1901. Since there were no banks in town, (Middlefield Banking did not begin operations until September 1901) village council on May 20,1901 borrowed the sum of $300 from resident Frank P. Work to be repaid by March 1, 1902 at the rate of 6% interest. This money was placed into the village treasury to be used for its day-to-day operations.These were just a few of the issues and problems faced by Middlefield’s first village officials. In the next issue, we will learn about some of the first ordinances that were passed and about the development of the telephone and electric systems.In a personal note, it was with a sincere twinge of sadness that I recently witnessed the last member of the Johnson family moving from Middlefield. Joe and Kay Johnson moved to their new condominium In Aurora. The Johnson family had resided in Middlefield for over 200 years, and were undoubtedly the single most influential family responsible for the growth and progress of our community during the past 100 years. We wish them well- R.S.

    Historical Mural Completed

    Much interest has been shown in the recently completed mural on the northeast corner of the intersection of state routes 87 and 608. This project was a final piece in the downtown intersection beautification program begun during my previous administration as mayor in 1983. The mural was designed and painted by the graduated Cardinal Middle School 8th grade Art Class under the direction of Art teacher Christie King. Three middle school students, Brandon Templeton and Jeremy Bratnick, along with Rachael DeMay, were instrumental in organizing and designing the mural project. The mural is actually a composite of 5 photos taken between 1900-1915. These photos were used to create the mural of what downtown Middlefield looked like during these years. This is a composite drawing of the mural as put together by Brandon Templeton. It was copied to a transparency and then projected onto the wall. The middle school art students traced the outlines on the wall and then painted it in.

    This picture shows an extended view of the same area. The creamery is the building on the far left along the street. The next building coming up the street is a tavern and is the same building that today houses the Town Tavern. The building with the big opening in front is the car barn for the interurban car in the previous picture. The Baltimore & Ohio railroad tracks are next and the building on the corner is the H. B. Castow Drug and Stationary store. Note the mud streets.

    What's the Secret Behind the Number 666?

    Would you buy a used car with a license plate ending in 666? Or take a job at an office tower in New York City with the address 666 Fifth Avenue? After all, 666 is the infamous "number of the beast," allegedly Satan's secret code for evil.

    In the biblical apocalyptic book of Revelation 13:18, it reads, "Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man and his number is 666."

    From that passage, it sure sounds like 666 is Lucifer's lucky number. But when you dig deeper into the Bible and its historical context, there's evidence that the author of Revelation was using numbers to send his early Christian readers a coded message.

    When Letters Are Also Numbers

    "The beast" was a reference to an evil-looking creature that the author of Revelation saw rising out of the earth in a vision (Revelation 13:11-18). This creature could perform miraculous things, would demand that everyone be "marked" with its name or number in order to buy and sell anything and would also kill those who did not worship it. So, who was this? Over the centuries, people have wondered whether this beast referred to someone who has come and gone, was yet to come or to no person in particular.

    The book of Revelation was written in Greek, the language of the Christian world in the first and second century C.E. There were no numbers in Greek, at least not the numbers that we'd recognize today. (Our so-called "Arabic numerals" — 0, 1, 2, 3, etc. — were developed centuries later.) Instead, each letter of the Greek (and Hebrew) alphabet had a numeric value. For example:

    For the Greek-speaking Christians reading Revelation, they would have been very comfortable reading letters as numbers. That's how numbers were displayed in the market or in legal documents. They also would have been comfortable turning numbers back into letters thanks to a practice called isopsephy.

    Word Games With Numbers

    Isopsephy, in Greek, means "equal in numeric value," and was a popular way of playing with words in the first century. The trick was to add up the numeric value of one word and then find a second word or phrase that added up to the same number. Words that were numerically equal were thought to have a special connection.

    One of the best-known first-century isopsephies was referenced by the Roman historian Seutonius. "A calculation new: Nero his mother slew." In this case, the emperor's name "Nero" equals 1,005, the same value of the phrase "his mother slew." For Romans who suspected that the ruthless emperor had murdered his mother, this isopsephy was the proof.

    Archaeologists have even discovered ancient Roman graffiti that substituted numbers for names, says Thomas Wayment, a classics professor at Brigham Young University.

    "There's graffiti at Smyrna and Pompeii that says, 'I love her whose number is 1,308,'" says Wayment. "That's pretty common. And hopefully everybody did their math correctly and could make the connections."

    '666' Was a Coded Message

    Wayment and most other biblical scholars have no doubt that the author of Revelation intended 666 to be an isopsephy solved by his first-century readers.

    "The author says, this is the number of a man, which is a classic isopsephy formula," says Wayment, who recently co-wrote an article on Revelation 13:18 and early Christian isopsephies. "Christians would have known right away, this is a coded message."

    Revelation is famously cryptic and was meant to be that way, even to its original audience. Wayment says that in apocalyptic writings, an angel or other heavenly messenger often reveals their meaning through coded speech.

    "As a reader, you're seeing something through the eyes of the visionary and he's telling you, 'you need to make sense of this,'" says Wayment. "That's part of your experience and participation in the vision."

    According to most scholars, 666 was yet another coded reference to Nero, a "beastly" emperor who brutally persecuted early Christians in the Roman Empire.

    To solve the isopsephy and equate Nero to 666, you need to use the full name "Caesar Nero" in Greek. If Caesar Nero is transliterated into Hebrew as nrwn qsr or "Neron Kesar" and then calculated, the numbers add up to 666. Interestingly, some early manuscripts of Revelation have the number written as 616 instead of 666. The common explanation is that "Caesar Nero" is written differently in Greek and Latin, another language spoken by early Christians. In the Latin version, the letters only add up to 616.

    Other Readings of '666': Satan's Perfect Imperfection

    Not all Bible scholars are convinced that 666 is simply an isopsephy. James M. Hamilton, a professor of biblical theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and author of "Revelation: The Spirit Speaks to the Churches," sees powerful symbolism in the repetition of the number 6.

    In biblical symbolism, Hamilton says, the number seven represents "completeness" or "perfection." True completeness was only achieved by Jesus Christ, who saved the world through his perfect sacrifice. If Jesus had a symbolic number, it would be 777.

    By assigning 666 to the "number of the beast," the author of Revelation is warning Christians to beware of Satan's "cheap imitation of Christ," says Hamilton. "That's the best Satan can do, one short of perfection."

    For Hamilton, those "false Christs" raised up by Satan could take the form of a corrupt emperor like Nero or even modern cultural norms that are in rebellion against God.

    "If participating in that culture entails worshiping false gods or denying something that the Bible teaches, Christians need to say, 'I'm not going to take the number or name of the beast,'" says Hamilton.

    Third-century Christians picked up the habit of signing letters with the number 99, the numeric value of "amen."

    5 things you might not know about the New Year's Eve ball drop

    More than a million people are expected to pack into New York's Times Square to ring in 2020 by watching the ball drop, and millions more will watch on television.

    Brush up on your ball-dropping trivia with these fun facts.

    AP file photo of Greenwich's time-ball seen in the far left.

    The concept of dropping a ball to mark time dates back to the mid-1800s in England. One of the earliest time-balls was the one atop the Flamsteed House of the Greenwich Observatory along the River Thames. Starting in 1833, it was lowered every day at exactly 1 p.m. to signal the time to sailors and Londoners who could not afford clocks and watches.

    The Times Square ball has been dropping since 1907

    In this view looking north from the New York Times building in New York, a crowd estimated at 500,000 gathers to usher in the new year, Dec. 31, 1940.

    The drop was added to pre-existing festivities in the area and has heralded in every year since, with the exception of 1942 and 1943, according to

    The ball in Times Square has had a lot of makeovers

    The Waterford crystal ball is shown atop One Times Square during a media opportunity, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in New York.

    The 2016 Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year's Eve Ball was built around the theme of the "Gift of Wonder." The 12-foot ball is covered in 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles and was thought to be the largest crystal ball in the world. While the ball drop is now timed electronically using an atomic clock out of Colorado, for the first 87 years, the ball was lowered by hand.

    Other events around the country feature various items being dropped (or slowly lowered). North Carolina drops everything from acorns to possums. Pennsylvania's drops include a giant Peep and bologna. And Key West, Florida, drops a drag queen in an oversized shoe. Whatever you want to drop, chances are you can find someone to drop it with you.

    You can watch the ball drop on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest on ABC, starting at 8 p.m. ET/PT Dec. 31 on ABC.

    The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of ABC and this station.

    This story was originally published in 2014 and has been updated.


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