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Triple-digit day one for the history books

Lake County Sheriff's Department photographer Craig Leask takes phoLake County employees Lincoln Plaz12:12 p.m. December 12 2012 Waukegan. | Thomas

Lake County Sheriff's Department photographer Craig Leask takes a photo of Lake County employees at Lincoln Plaza at 12:12 p.m. on December 12, 2012 in Waukegan. | Thomas Delany Jr.~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 11, 2013 1:59AM

WAUKEGAN — On a scale of one to 10, the picture of county employees in the Lake County Building’s Lincoln Plaza at 12:12 p.m., on Dec. 12, 2012, was a 12.

“You need a clear visible view of me so nobody is blocking your view,” said Craig Leask, photographic specialist with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office who thought of the idea of taking a panoramic photograph of county workers on the numerically significant day. He was trying to get people to move around so everyone would be visible in the picture.

“This will not be done again,” he said while sitting on top of a ladder to get a better perspective of the crowd for taking the multiple shots that will be posted on the county’s employee Web site in a few days.

“Just to warn you, I do have my watch set to the atomic clock. We have about three minutes before the photograph,” Leask said as the crowd of about 200 laughed.

Meanwhile, Sheriff’s Deputy Roman Buchberger would move the edges of the crowd around at Leask’s direction. “Roman, can you move those people that just came to the other side,” he said at one point.

Then came the warning. “Thirty seconds,” Leask warned as Buchberger moved toward the ladder away from the crowd.

“Roman, get yourself in there,” someone shouted. “Roman,” pleaded someone else. “No,” he said.

“Come on, Roman!” came the response and he answered, “Peer pressure is not needed at this point,” he said with a laugh to the dozen or so people urging him to get into the picture.

Then Leask raised his hand. “We begin now,” and he shot several pictures, taking about a 12th of a second or so while about a 12th of the crowd whooped it up.

Leask came up with the idea and he was hoping for about a thousand (maybe 1,200) employees. He told Jennie Vana, the county’s communication manager, about the idea and she liked it as well.

“I thought it was a great idea. We thought employees would like it and participate. It was just something to get the employees together and do something fun,” she said, noting she saw some health department employees and others who came from offices outside of downtown Waukegan.

Before the Grinches start griping about wasted time, 12:12 p.m. happens to fall into the lunch hour, “so no one took time away from work,” she said.

Leask said he was interested in taking a picture because he has a interest in historical photographs. “I’d been playing with the idea for about a year,” he said. He was looking for something with the factor of 12, then decided to do the group picture in the Lincoln Plaza.

Over at the court administration office where couples can get married before a judge for $10, they were anticipating some people coming for the 12-12-12 marriage license date. A court administration spokeswoman said that at closing at 4 p.m., 33 couples came through the doors for marriage licenses.

“I didn’t think there would be that many. I don’t know if they were coming because of superstition or it’s easy to remember the anniversary,” she said.

According to CNN, couples in Hong Kong and Singapore were rushing to the alter because they thought the numbers symbolized love. Las Vegas reported similar lines and an Indian numerologist said Wednesday was a great day to start a business or make a significant purchase.

Last year, we had 11/11/2011, but this will be the last such triple date for almost a century.

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