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On the lighter side...

Oops! Town accidentally bans the wrong kind of brakes with sign on local highway
Plenty of truckers have faced signs warning of penalties if they use their Jake brake. But not many have seen a sign like the one in North Versailles Township, PA.

On Route 48 in the small community, a sign reads “Please No air brake next 1/4 mile.”

That’s right ... no air brake.

Bernie Linkhauer, an OOIDA member from McKeesport, PA, says he first spotted the sign about eight weeks back.

Linkhauer took photos of the sign, which was put up by the North Versailles Police Department, and the quarter mile that followed it, to show what he’d be going through without the use of “air brakes.” That included a “Watch Children” sign, a school zone, numerous driveways and ends in a densely packed retail area … just the kind of place where you might want truckers to use their air brakes.

Of course, local officials weren’t after air brakes — they were concerned about the use of engine brakes, which often draw the ire of local officials. North Versailles Police Chief James Comunale, alerted to the sign’s wording, knew immediately that something had gone wrong on the way to the printer.

“We’re going have to change it,” he said.

The sign’s goal, he said, was to lower the noise level in the neighborhood.

“All we want to do is where those people live right there ... the Jake brakes, after all the trucks going down there, really tend to rattle their houses,” Comunale said. “A lot of municipalities, us included, just want, in that one little bit of area, to have them resist using the Jake brake.”

Comunale said the sign was “an oversight” and would be fixed soon to identify the right kind of brakes.

Meanwhile, Linkhauer has been having a little fun with the photos he took of the sign. He made 30 or 40 copies of the photo and attached a caption saying “Trucking safety at its finest by North Versailles, PA,” dropping copies by areas frequented by truckers and passing them out for other truckers to bring to their own terminals.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch — or free gas
Some folks in Michigan found a unique way to get around the high price of fuel.

Several customers of the Meijer chain of gas stations discovered that if they put their driver’s licenses — which have a magnetic strip much like a credit card — into the pay-at-the-pump machine, it would dispense the gas just as if it had read a credit card, media outlets reported.

More than 100 people tried out the free gas scheme, some filling up as many as 15 times.

“It probably started with a small group, and then word spread out,” Pittsfield Detective Lt. Steve Heller told The Ann Arbor News. “It ended up being thousands of dollars.”

However, they won’t get off scot-free. The magnetic strips did contain the offenders’ driver’s license numbers, which the pumps recorded. Police say they are using the numbers to track down the gas thieves.

“No matter how this started, whether it was a prank or something else, a crime is a crime,” John Zimmerman, a Meijer spokesman, said to KATU TV.

-by Mark H. Reddig, associate editor

Mark Reddig can be reached at