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Fall back and gain extra hour

By Greg Gelpi

Like clockwork, Rocky Clendening ducked under pipes and crept his way through chambers and hatches within the old Clayton County Courthouse Friday afternoon.

Climbing a series of stairs and ladders, Clendening entered the chamber of the inner-workings of the historic clock tower, his semiannual task of adjusting the clock for daylight-saving time.

"Yeah, you have to watch it around here," Clendening said. "You might get your head knocked off."

The Clayton County electrician twisted a turn shaft inside the tower as a coworker radioed in for him to either move the clock ahead or back.

Next door in Henry County, Building Maintenance Foreman Mike Keeble will adjust the hands on a small clock, which correspond to the hands on the county courthouse clock, Monday, he said. The room where he works is actually about two stories below the face of the clock.

The end of daylight-saving time does more than set in motion Henry and Clayton county workers climbing clock towers. Many employees work extra long shifts as the time change makes Sunday an extra hour longer.

Patrolling the streets, the Forest Park Police Department works through the time change, Capt. Chris Mattson said.

"Sometimes they gain an hour," Mattson said of the officers on duty. "Sometimes they lose an hour."

The regular 12-hour shift will be 13 hours long as time rolls back an hour at 2 a.m. Sunday, he said.

"It all evens out over the year," Mattson said, referring to the shorter shift in the spring when clocks move forward an hour.

In conjunction with daylight-saving time, Clayton and Henry county fire department use the time change as a fire safety reminder. They ask that everyone check the batteries in smoke detectors and make sure that the detectors work properly.

"We do urge our citizens to do that," Sabrina Puckett of the Henry County Fire Department said, adding that those who cannot afford a smoke detector can pick one up at any county station. "We do keep them on hand for those who need them."

Those interested in a smoke detector in Henry can call Puckett at (678) 583-3348 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.