Indiana County To Push Clocks Ahead 2 Hours Sunday

Friday, March 9th 2007, 6:54 am
By: News On 6

FRANCESVILLE, Ind. (AP) _ While most U.S. clocks spring forward one hour on Sunday, Pulaski County will do double time when it moves the courthouse clock ahead not one, but two hours for daylight-saving time.

Confusing as it might seem, folks in this northwestern Indiana county hope the move actually ends a time zone muddle born of Indiana's 2005 decision to observe DST statewide.

``Whenever I make an appointment I say, 'It's 11:45 here, what time is it there?''' said Sheila Garling, owner of Gear Up Sports & Apparel, who has trouble keeping track of which time zone she's in.

Pulaski County was pulled an hour into the future _ at least on the clock _ when lawmakers approved statewide observance of daylight-saving time two years ago.

The U.S. Department of Transportation initially recommended that Pulaski and several surrounding counties remain in the Eastern zone. But the department ultimately placed Pulaski in the Central zone and most other nearby counties in Eastern.

Pulaski County officials disliked being an hour out of sync with their neighbors and vowed to move to Eastern time on their own. They changed their minds when government lawyers threatened to sue and decided instead to formally petition for a return to Eastern.

But many individuals and institutions never took to Central time. The county's biggest school district, which has students who live in Eastern time zone counties and shares programs, decided to observe Eastern time to minimize confusion.

The clock on the county courthouse in Winamac stayed on Central time, while the digital clock a half mile away outside the First Federal Savings Bank moved to Eastern. So one shows 10:15 a.m. while the other displays 11:15 a.m., and neither is wrong.

County officials switched the work hours for most county employees from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST to 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Central time _ making the change in time zones a change in name only for some.

``That was confusing in itself, but people lived through it,'' County Commissioner Michael Tiede said.

Some residents in this farming community about 90 miles north of Indianapolis find it simpler to refer to fast time or slow time when making plans.

``They usually don't say Eastern or Central time, because then you have people who are really particular who will say, 'Is it Eastern Standard time or Eastern Daylight Saving time?''' Tiede said. ``But if you go fast or slow, you just know it's an hour difference.''

To the relief of many, federal officials in February approved Pulaski County's request to return to Eastern time.

But Dennis Gutwein, the pastor at the First Baptist Church, thinks there's still room for confusion come Sunday.

Gutwein has kept his clocks on Central time, so with daylight time and the return to Eastern time, he'll move them forward two hours Sunday. He predicts some people might show up for Sunday school at 9:30 a.m. EDT, others at 9:30 a.m. EST and others at 9:30 a.m. CST.

``It will be strange,'' he said.

Parishioner Lori Carlson said she won't take any chances before heading to Sunday's service.

``I'll have to call,'' she said.