Tina Trenkner is the Deputy Editor for GOVERNING.com. She edits the Technology and Health newsletters.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A few people at Governing are anticipating tonight's premiere of NBC's "Parks and Recreation," a mockumentary about a deputy director of ... parks and recreation. (Because when was the last time local government was the focus of a sitcom? "Spin City"? "Night Court"?)
To get an idea of what to expect, you could watch the embedded preview below. Or instead, browse the city Web site for some history and news of fictional Pawnee, Ind.:
Visitors often ask about our name. There is a North American Native American tribe from the plains of Nebraska called Pawnee, a peaceful and noble tribe with roughly 2500 surviving members. However, we are not named after them! Legend has it, Reverend Howell chose "Pawnee" as the name for our city accidentally - a functional illiterate, he tried to write "Paradise" on the city charter and his scrawls were misinterpreted.
Amy Bartner of Indy.com talked to a few parks and rec employees in Indiana for their reaction to the show. A couple said they were approached by the show's producers:
"They asked us if we had any story ideas," said Ted Bumbleburg, Lafayette Parks and Recreation Department superintendent. "It was just kind of out of the blue."
Bumbleburg said the Lafayette department donated out-of-date brochures and pamphlets. The show's producers approached Indy Parks for the same reason, parks spokeswoman Paula Freund said. And they were all too happy to donate project plans, brochures and other materials, she said.
"We have a sense of humor," she said. "You have to have a sense of humor about yourself."
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.