Roses & Razzberries

By Terry Scruton, Land Line Now senior correspondent

A mixed bag goes to the Minnesota DOT for its electronic signage project announced earlier this year. ROSES, first of all, to the department for at least trying to do something about truck parking. But the RAZZBERRIES have to come in because of what they plan to do.

Instead of adding more parking spaces or, you know, doing something useful, the state has decided to put up a bunch of signs to alert drivers as to whether or not there are any parking spaces available at rest areas that will be monitored with cameras. That’s great. Now drivers will know when there aren’t any spaces left. So what then?

We’re glad they realize there is a problem. But come on, Minnesota. We already know where the parking spaces aren’t. How about adding more so that full lots will no longer be a problem?

ROSES to truck driver Jim Lowe and his co-driver for their quick-thinking actions that helped stop a bad situation from becoming even worse and possibly ending in tragedy. Lowe, a driver for Johnny Morris Farms of Hillsboro, TN, heard an Amber Alert issued for a 2-year-old-boy, along with a description of the car and license plate number.

No sooner had they heard the alert when the car in question rolled right past them on the highway. Lowe eased his truck in front of the car and called a few more drivers to form a rolling roadblock in front of the man, who had kidnapped his son following a domestic disturbance in Houston County, TN.

One of the other truck drivers called 911 and by the time the police got there, the trucks had slowed the car down to 30 miles per hour. The father was arrested at the scene. ROSES aren’t really enough to do this story justice, but they’ll have to do for now.

ROSES to a tow truck driver in Houston, TX, who recently caught a group of tire thieves in the act.

Local news reported that about 3 a.m. on the morning of Feb. 5, the tow truck driver, whose name was not given, spotted the thieves throwing tires over a fence at a place called Best Buy Auto Sales.

The driver called the police, but by the time they got there the thieves had made off with four “pricey” tires from a GMC Yukon. The police praised the alert tow truck driver, saying the thieves probably would have stolen a lot more tires if that guy hadn’t come along and interrupted the heist.

We unfortunately tend to get more calls for RAZZBERRIES than ROSES for tow truck drivers so it’s nice to be able to give a shout-out to one of the good ones.

ROSES to the friends and family of truck driver Dale Crawford of Drew Plantation, ME, for giving him a proper sendoff. When Dale passed away earlier this year, a 37-truck convoy, led by his son Percy, carried his ashes from the trucking company he founded – Robin A. Crawford & Son Trucking – to the church where the funeral services were held.

The company is pretty well known in its neck of the Maine woods, enjoying a friendly rivalry with the Pelletier family, who were made famous by the show “American Loggers” on the Discovery Channel.

We’ve seen a lot of convoys for a lot of causes in the trucking industry over the years. But whatever the reason and whatever the cause, it’s always an awe-inspiring sight to see those trucks rolling down the highway, especially if they are giving one of their own one last ride.

RAZZBERRIES to the Pennsylvania Turnpike for being a little too loose with the perks it has been handing out to employees, consultants, contractors and government officials over the years.

A recent audit by the state’s auditor general found that the Turnpike spent $7.7 million in “free” turnpike trips over the course of a four-year period. The audit found that the free rides were not just for business, but for personal travel as well.

The auditor also found that the turnpike has cost taxpayers $109 million in risky financial planning and is “drowning in debt.”

The Turnpike Commission denies all of this of course, but at a time when states are struggling for money just to pay the bills, we say this free ride is over. LL


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