Darts and laurels
Laurels to the proposal that the new I-85 bridge over the Yadkin River be named in honor of veterans. Along with saluting Rowanís 12,000 veterans, the bridge could stand as a sturdy reminder for legions of highway travelers to appreciate and support the nationís veterans. The idea originated with veteran (and veterans advocate) Rodney Cress, who found an enthusastic ally in state Rep. Fred Steen (R-Rowan). Along with the symbolic connection suggested by this idea, it also evokes the role bridges have played in military history ó from the famed bridges at Remagen and Toko-Ri extending all the way back to Concord Bridge of Revolutionary fame.
Dart to the number of alcohol-impaired drivers who roam North Carolina roads, despite stiffer penalties and stepped-up patrols. During last weekís St. Patrickís Day ěBooze It and Lose Itî crackdown, more than 1,000 people were arrested on DWI charges. The total during the March 11-17 campaign included eight DWI arrests in Rowan, 26 in Cabarrus, 12 in Iredell and 10 in Davie. In addition, officers issued hundreds of citations for speeding and other infractions. As expected, more populous counties notched higher numbers of arrests, with Mecklenburg leading the state at 124 and Wake second with 94. As N.C. Transportation Secretary Gene Conti noted, the crackdown removed dangerous drivers from behind the wheel, but too many of them will be back on the road in a short time, endangering themselves and others.
Dart to a billboard-industry backed proposal that would weaken local communitiesí rights to regulate digital signage along major highways. The bill, currently in the state Senateís Transportation Committee, would let advertisers promote their wares on changing electronic displays along thoroughfares even if it means overruling local sign ordinances that prevent the digital displays. The proposal also would allow expanded tree-cutting in front of billboards. The North Carolina Outdoor Advertising Association argues the change would spur job growth. But you have to wonder: Wonít changing to digital billboards doom the jobs of the workers who now go out and manually change the messages on conventional billboards? Of course, given how flashing signs can distract drivers, it might increase the demand for auto repair workers.