This morning's 1:10 AM launch of the space shuttle Discovery was postponed hours before liftoff when Titusville magistrate, Nedlow Barnes, informed the space agency that they would be in violation of the city's new noise ordinance and subject to legal action should the shuttle blast off as planned.
The newly-adopted anti-noise legislation was enacted following months of heated lobbying and endless tirades by Mrs. Flemma Chorleywood, a recent transplant from Sarasota, FL. "I moved here to Titusville to get away from all the noise in Sarasota," she explained. "Why, there were some days on Siesta Key where I would sit on my condo balcony and, if the wind was blowing in the right direction and I sat with my back to the west and I muted the volume while I watched "Wheel of Fortune" and my refrigerator wasn't running and my cat wasn't meowing, I could hear music--the devil's music, mind you--coming from those hellish dens of iniquities over in Siesta Village. And this was as late as 7:30 at night!"
"People used to walk up and down the sidewalk in front of my condo, sometimes up until the ungodly hour of 9:30 PM. I heard them talking, I heard their footsteps, I heard them breathing--and I didn't like it. Sometimes, I even heard young children laughing. Even when I had the TV on and couldn't actually hear them, I still knew they were out there, walking, talking......breathing."
Titusville mayor and space tourism booster, Leon "Skipper" Osowaw, was incensed that Mrs. Chorleywood had bullied her way into getting the noise ordinance passed by city council. "Maybe blustering and threatening is the way they do things in Sarasota, but we have a nice little town here and NASA is a big part of our life. Nobody has ever complained before and Mrs. Chorleywood knew full well about the launches before moving here. The condo complex she lives in is called "Blast-Off Acres," for heaven's sake."
When reminded that Titusville has been home to the space program since the 1960's and is a major source of jobs and income for the city, Mrs. Chorleywood replied disdainfully, "Well, that was before I moved here. Now I'll tell you what else I'm going after once NASA is shut down and sent packing--that damn ocean out there. Back in Sarasota, the Gulf was much quieter, hardly any waves. Here, all hours of the night, it's nothing but wave after wave after wave and I'm not going to put up with that sort of noise pollution, either."
"I've been a widow for 36 years and I'll say this about the late Mr. Chorleywood; at least he had the good sense to go quietly...."