I learned how to drive a skid steer when a bored friend of mine decided he needed to build a pump track.That’s what happens when landscapers realize they own heavy equipment during a recession, have piles of dirt and a little extra time. Lucky for me, my friend also just started loving bikes. What a dilemma.All he wanted was somebody to tell him where to put the piles of dirt. I was so excited by the mounds of dirt, a field full of large rock tables and logs of all sizes to drop into our fantasy track. The first thing I wanted was a seven-foot berm. “We’ll work from here!” I shouted in glee. It was like Disney World sponsored by Case. My kids picnicked in the excavator, climbed all over the bulldozer, and took turns sitting in my lap to drive the skid steer – as if I knew what I was doing. Jeff shouted instructions to me from across the way: “The left handle moves you forward and backward! The right one moves the bucket!”That’s it?! I acted brave and climbed into the machine, snapping the bar down snugly across my lap in case I found myself upside down at any point. The engine easily cranked as everyone stopped to watch what might happen, comic book thought bubbles blossoming above their heads. Mostly I wanted my kids to know that their mom can do ANYTHING. It keeps them aware when they’re being bad.I jerked the thing forward and laughed at how I felt more like R2D2 than Sigourney Weaver.“Pack this dirt down as I dump it, and move some of this dirt over to the berm!” Jeff shouted.I was amazed that he thought this was such a simple possibility. Only my girlfriend watching knew I was in above my head and shouted encouraging words and advice from the sidelines. I drove over to the dirt pile and began my version of scooping, which was more like jamming the bucket into the ground and tilting the machine backwards. Oops. I managed to pick up a bit of dirt and drove over to the berm to dump it. I could have carried more in my arms. Then I couldn’t back the thing out without spinning around or crashing into the excavator. Jeff threw me a quizzical look and I just laughed, not knowing which part was most humorous. He then sent me to another pile to practice scooping.We drew patterns in the dirt of what the finished track would look like, including a rock table off the side of the berm that allows you to ride across the field and drop into the track. For a week he worked on it, gleaning advice from various friends until at last it was ridable.The initial hump leading in has to be perfectly hit or none of the whoopdiewhoops work. The last hump before the berm is so tall that it requires good speed on the five humps leading up to it. With the right speed, the berm can be run high and fast, looping the return into fits of giggles. More will be added, but for now it’s a great warm-up for Kitsuma, just across the highway. Like anything worthwhile, it will take practice before nailing it, and I’m certain I’ll get better at the skid steer before it’s done.
As crime continues to spiral out of control, bandits in the wee hours of Wednesday morning torched their way into Hardware Emporium General Store and carted off a safe containing an undisclosed sum of cash.The hole that the men cut to gain access to the buildingThe men reportedly gained access to the Church Street, Georgetown premises by scaling a fence which separates Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GTT) company and Hardware Emporium General Store, after which they torched a square opening in the metal gate.According to reports, they then made their way into the building but not before locking the door to the living quarters of the caretaker from the outside. The bandits also cut the main power supply to the building which ultimately shuts down the security system and cameras.The Hardware Emporium located at Church StreetWhen Guyana Times visited the location on Wednesday morning, detectives were taking statements from employees and the caretaker of the entity. A supervisor, Errol (only name given) told Guyana Times that when he arrived at the location at about 07:55h, he saw a trolley in front of the building and thought something was amiss since only him and another employee had keys to the building.“It is only me and another employee have keys… and we have to open the door simultaneously… so when I saw the trolley, I know something wrong,” he iterated. However, by this time, the Police had arrived, leaving the man no other assumption other than the business was burglarised.“We get information from the people at the Bank that they saw movements in the place but by the time they come over, the bandits had already left.” He said a number of items were removed from the office but was not at liberty to disclose such, since his employer was not available at the time this newspaper visited the scene.The power cable to the building the bandits cutHe is also of the belief that the office was the intended target for the bandits. In addition, he noted that the elderly caretaker had to break the bottom of the door to get out of his dwelling quarters since the door was locked from the outside.Balwant Bhaichandeen, a brother of the business owner told Guyana Times that he received a telephone call from a Police Officer at about 07:35h and enquired if he was related to the owner of the store and after he responded in the affirmative, he was told that the business had been robbed.He immediately sent two employees over and arrived at the scene himself a little later. Bhaichandeen was told that a safe that was in his brother’s office was removed and the area ransacked. “I was also told that the bandits torched a hole into the metal gate to gain access to the building,” he noted. He could not say with certainty what was in the safe but was almost sure it would have contained money.He also thinks that it is quite unusual that days after a new security system was installed, the place was burglarised. This is the first time the business was broken into since its 15 years in existence.The Police have dusted the area for fingerprints as they continue their investigations. No arrests have been made in connection with the robbery.