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City’s revenge is grand against columnist Barry

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Shivering in subzero temperatures, columnist Dave Barry looked up at the newly christened Dave Barry Lift Station No. 16 and offered this advice: "If anything ever goes wrong with this station, call the mayor."

Grand Forks officials dedicated the sewage pump station Wednesday to Barry, who had poked fun at the North Dakota city and its Minnesota neighbor, East Grand Forks, for referring to themselves as the "Grand Cities."

The column prompted a letter-writing campaign, capped by an offer from Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown to name a lift station after the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist if he came for a visit.

"Lift Station No. 16 faithfully serves us and makes us proud, with its ability to go with the flow and keep the bowels of our city in constant movement," Brown told a crowd of about 75 people gathered around the station.

Barry arrived in a white limousine, with the temperature around 5 below zero. He seemed bemused at the size of the crowd and asked, "So all you good people don't have anything to do?"

He startled some officials when he jokingly made a move toward the controls of the lift station, saying, "I'll just throw some of these switches here, since it's mine."