ROADS REPORT

Article December 28, 2000
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For crying out loud


For crying out loud


Citizens of Duluth, Minn., are divided over what some call a local landmark and others call a big headache.


Recently a new horn was installed on the city’s Aerial Lift Bridge, and many folks, including the U.S. Coast Guard, feel the horn just isn’t loud enough to do its job. The horn is supposed to be able to signal boats one mile away, but the new neighbor-friendly horn isn’t cutting it. So some residents are circulating petitions to get the old, louder horn reinstalled.


Meanwhile, those who are unfortunate enough to live within a mile of the bridge aren’t in much of a hurry to get rid of the new quieter horn. Windows of nearby homes and offices were routinely rattled as noise from the old horn reached 115 decibels inside nearby buildings, a full 30 decibels above the noise level that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends ear protection for.


Still, some locals didn’t mind. One woman who lives close to the bridge said, "The horn never bothered me. To me, it was like music."


 


One heavy sleeper


A lot of people say they feel like they were run over by a truck after a late night of drinking. Not too many people actually are.


Police say a 46-year-old Price Hill, Ohio, man is lucky to be alive after recently passing out drunk in the middle of a residential street around 11 p.m. only to be rudely awoken when a pick-up truck ran over him. He was treated at a nearby hospital and released.


 


All the cool adults are doing it


Want to be the coolest on your block and make sure everyone knows it? Dig out that old scooter from your parents’ attic and start practicing.


Yes, indeed, it seems the stores around the country can’t keep scooters in stock anymore. But these new scooters aren’t like what you remember. They now come with lightweight fold-up frames, Rollerblade-style wheels and, on some models, seats and gasoline-powered motors. With catchy names like Zappies, Xootrs and Go-Peds, they’re selling out at $100 to $800 a piece.


Owners in big cities say their scooters provide exercise and save time and money over parking. But police warn that if you’re lucky enough to own a scooter with a motor, you’re subject to many of the same traffic and parking laws as cars.


 


How’s my driving?


June was a scary month to be a Chicago motorist. The Chicago Tribune reported that at the trial of a former truck-driving instructor charged with passing along bribes from students, the manager of a driver’s license facility in Melrose Park, Ill., said she lost count of the number of times she had accepted money in exchange for granting unqualified applicants trucking licenses.


She also stated that much of the money she received went toward Gov. George Ryan’s political fund-raising tickets.


She further testified that Ryan likely knew licensing facility staffers throughout Illinois were accepting bribes in order to unload fundraising tickets for him, though she added that she had no way of proving that claim.


 


A real mouth full


If you ever happen to find yourself in Webster, Mass., and you get tired of looking at the blue waters or the tranquil shorelines, head on over to Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. Just don’t embarrass yourself trying to pronounce it.


The Indian name has become so popular hundreds of tourists drive through Webster each year just to pose next to road signs. There’s no need for a zoom lens, though. The name is so long it completely encircles fire truck doors and requires three traffic lanes to spell out at the entrance to the town beach and boat ramp.


Though the name has undergone a few different spellings since the 1600s, the official version of the name has 45 letters. That makes it the longest name of a lake in the U.S. and one of the longest place names in the world, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.


 


Baby, you can drive my car


A pick-up truck owner in Selma, Ala., was none too happy recently when a local teenager not only illegally pulled out in front of him at an intersection causing an accident, but then repeatedly ran into the man’s truck afterward.


A state trooper at a gas station close to the scene of the accident jumped into his patrol car to try and stop the teen from ramming the truck. But when he got behind the car, he noticed there was no one driving it.


Apparently, when the man’s pick-up hit the driver-side door of the teen’s car, the teen was knocked unconscious and the car’s steering column broke off leaving no way to control the car. The teen’s foot, however, remained on the accelerator and kept the car going.


After being hit, the car made a circle and rammed into the truck. Then it made another circle and rammed the truck again. On the third attempt, the car got stuck in a ditch and came to stop. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured.


 


He couldn’t axe for more


It’s just another quiet evening in Oklahoma until somebody starts running up and down the streets with an axe.


This time it was a 44-year-old Bartlesville man named Zanford who got mad at his girlfriend after having a bit too much too drink. When Zanford’s 18-year-old son tried to stop him from attacking the woman, Zanford began chasing him around the streets waving an axe.


Police were called to the scene and arrived just in time to witness Zanford chasing a different man striking him in the head with his axe. When Zanford saw the police officer, he started running at him, but when the officer ordered him to stop, he turned and began chasing a 14-year-old boy with the axe. Eventually, the officer, with help from neighbors, was able to tackle and arrest Zanford before anyone was seriously hurt.


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