(NOTE: This week's "Spohn Challenge" entry was inspired by a silly April Fool's Day article that ran in my old hometown newspaper years ago when I was a kid. That's why it is written in the form of a newspaper article.)

(From the Eureka Creek (OK) Weekly Pedestrian, May 30, 2014) 

In a move calculated to boost local tourism, industry and retail sales, neighboring Sipokni County may soon be divided into three time zones.

The Sipokni County Board of Commissioners announced the possible conversion during its regular weekly meeting at the county courthouse Monday morning.

Under the proposed plan, residents living in Sipokni County District 2 would set their clocks ahead one hour, while those in District 3 would set their clocks back one hour. Residents in District 1 would not change their clocks at all.

“This way a person living in Millerton would be able to get up at 8 a.m., commute to a job in the Oklahoma City or Dallas areas, and still be able to arrive there between 8:30 and 9 a.m. – depending on the traffic, of course,” District 2 Commissioner Micah Thomas told those in attendance.

By the same reasoning, the commissioners explained, convenience stores and gas stations in Laddsville and Brownsberg would be open an hour later than those in Sipokni West, or across the county line in Richhaven and Eureka Creek. 

“This should bring all kinds of additional business into those communities,” District 3 Commissioner Wilbur Gray Jr.  said. “It’s a win-win for everybody.”

One potential problem - the fact that Sipokni West, the county seat, is spread out over all three districts – raised concerns about how the proposal might affect some students attending Sean Kipling Robisch High School, which is located in District 2. 

The commissioners said they are planning to ask the Sipokni School Board to consider instituting a staggered class schedule to address such problems.

“That way kids who live in Laddssville or Brownsberg won’t have to leave home before 6 a.m. in order to make it to school on time,” District 1 Commissioner Wayne Grayson said. “It seems like the fair thing to do.”

Local tourism and industry officials were quick to speak out in support of the proposal. 

In a written statement released to the Weekly Pedestrian shortly after Monday’s meeting, the Sipokni County Industrial Authority said the plan could have great significance should plans for expanding the Sipokni Municipal Airport move forward in the near future as hoped.

“In the past a person had to fly from one coast to the other to experience severe jet lag,” the statement read. “Now area air passengers will be able to do the same thing simply by taking off, circling in a holding pattern for an hour or two, then coming back in for a landing.”

Sue Wheeler, executive director of the Sipokni County Chamber of Commerce, predicted that the change could also have a positive impact locally with regard to certain retail sales.

“People who are used to wearing only one wristwatch will now have to wear three – one for District 1 time, one for District 2 time and one for District 3 time,” Wheeler said. “It will be a bonanza for any of our local stores that sell watches.”

The need for additional timepieces will also bring a need for better reliability with regards to accuracy. Two of Sipokni West’s largest retailers – Shackleford’s Mercantile and Daniels Furniture – have already announced plans to sell three-faced digital grandfather clocks that, according to furniture store owner Bridgette Daniels, “will combine traditional American values with modern technological advances.”

A boost in sales of indoor sundials and flashlights are also expected among those homes located in areas that frequently lose power in the winter and during severe thunderstorms.

An area cable provider on our side of the county line has also announced plans designed to take advantage of the proposed time changes. 

A spokesman for Tew Communications in Eureka Creek told the Pedestrian in a telephone interview Tuesday that his company plans to add the popular Time Channel to its basic cable lineup.

As the bottom of the screen shows the current time in all three county time zones, the station will carry a variety of time-related features, such as the history of the International Date Line and profiles of famous clocks around the world. 

The station’s lineup will also include a two-hour movie program on Friday nights, featuring such popular time travel films as Timerider, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and the Back To The Future trilogy; and a Saturday night lineup of syndicated time travel-related series including The Time Tunnel, Quantam Leap and Outlaws

Blevins said the new time zones would be known as Sipokni Approximate Time (SAT), Millerton Industrial Time (MIT) and Brownsberg Longitudinal Time (BLT).

A public hearing on the issue has been scheduled for the commisisoners’ regular meeting on Monday, June 9. 

This will be followed by a series of public meetings which will be held at 7 p.m. on the following dates: Friday, June 13, at the Brownsberg Community Center; Monday, June 16, at the Manowack Senior Citizens Center; Friday, June 20, at the Millerton Community Center; Thursday, June 26, at the Brownsberg Community Center; and Thursday, July, at the Sipokni West Community Center.

The commissioners are scheduled to vote on the time zone proposal at their regular meeting on Monday, July 7. If approved, the change will go into effect on April 1, 2015.