No, I’m not kidding, and neither are they.
Oklahoma City street crews are preparing for heavy snow.
Now before you think we’re all crazy, let me tell you — it’s practice.
The Streets Mainenance Division of the Public Works Department will have a practice session on Oct. 6. Crews will operate snow plows and familiarize themselves with snow routes.
The practice, which will be that morning on the south side near Will Rogers World Airport, also will give the news media a chance to see these people in action BEFORE a winter “event” occurs.
Streets Superintendent Mike DeGiacomo knows the importance of having his people undergo such training. Every action and detail learned now could be a dollar — or a life — saved later.
While Oklahoma City doesn’t experience the number of snow events each year that some other major cities do, there’s always the possibility that a strong winter storm will hit. At least two such storms in the past three years have caused major problems, not only here but in many areas of the state.
Motorists are quick to complain about city, county and state efforts to remove snow when these events occur. But officials point out the large number of miles of roadway that have to be maintained versus the number of available workers to do so, as well as weather conditions that quickly re-cover areas the crews have uncovered.
Public safety is a key concern, whether it be the motoring public or residents stranded in their homes.
So is it a good idea to practice snow removal when the weather is still on the warm side? You bet. And a “thanks” to all involved.
Learn more about Oklahoma’s weather and how to prepare for it by going to http://knowit.newsok.com/severe-weather-oklahoma on NewsOK.
I’d like to say that in almost 40 years in this business, I’ve heard it all. But I can’t. They just keep coming.
I’ve quoted many times longtime columnist and former Managing Editor Frank Boggs, who said, “The readers always write.” To me, it’s the journalist’s version of “The customer’s always right.” You’re gonna hear from them.
It may not be a column or an editorial they disgreed with. But it doesn’t have to be a commentary on a story or photo they saw in the newspaper or on line. It might be something they saw or heard somewhere and just wanted to make a comment on it.
It can be entertaining, to say the least.
Here are some samples:
* * * * *
“Do we still have people on the moon? I saw a show about all that stuff we left up there and I wondered if the United States still had someone up there watching over it.”
I answered him best I could that I didn’t know of anyone still on the moon, and that the “stuff” we left up there from previous space missions was mostly discarded material no longer used or working.
* * * * *
There have been a few space-related “contacts.” Mostly, late-night phone calls involving unidentified flying objects.
“Has anyone else reported seeing that round thing with the blinking lights flying over the water plant last night?”
“It was big. It just kinda sat up there a while. I just wondered if anyone else saw it.”
He hung up right after saying he would call the local Air Force base and ask if it “showed up on their radar.”
Oh, well. The Air Force knows full well how to handle calls about UFOs, blinking lights and aliens.
* * * * *
“Can you get a ticket for driving a riding lawn mower when you’re drunk?”
If you’re driving it on a public street, it’s possible. The offense? It depends upon where and how you were driving.
* * * * *
“My sister and I were wondering … how do you make mud?”
Well, you get the necessary ingredients, such as dirt and water, and mix them together.
You can shape the mix and use it for building, but you need to do so before it hardens.
* * * * *
“Can you drown by drinking from a garden hose?”
Yes. It doesn’t take a lot of water to cause a drowning. A couple of inches can do it.
Please don’t try that at home.
* * * * *
And there’s always someone who wants to talk politics. So you get a call like this.
“Who’s going to be the next president?”
Simple. The one who gets the most votes … from the electoral college.
* * * * *
There are some unusual people out there, thinking unusual thoughts. See examples in http://knowit.newsok.com/unsual-weird-oklahoma and checkign the state, nation and world categories.
A new state law in Texas has done just that, raising the maximum speed limit on roads in most areas of the state from 70 to 75 mph. But in some rural areas, the jump is from 70 to 85 mph.
That’s right … 85. A leap of 15 mph.
If you thought the Texas Longhorn Network deal was swift, or Texas A&M’s move to exit the Big 12 Conference was a push to the future, hang on. Texas House Bill 1201, which authorized the speedy change, has the potential to cause many states to take another look at their highway systems.
Maybe they ought to keep a close eye on how much fuel is consumed at higher speeds as well. This won’t be a cheap transition. Let’s hope it is a safe one.
Texas authorities say they will be monitoring the situation. In fact, a study is planned to collect and analyze data to determine if this is a safe venture for motorists. The Texas transportation department doesn’t have all the signs changed over yet (the bill just went into effect on Labor Day and the signs weren’t completed by then), so not all areas where the higher speeds are permitted are marked.
While many most likely will be pleased with the new speeds, saying they now will be able to criss-cross the Lone Star State in less than three hours, others will be concerned about the safety factor.
It’s pretty much up to each state legislature to set speed limits, and those are reviewed annually. Though many states, such as Oklahoma on its turnpikes, have 75 mph speed limits in some areas, Texas will have the overall highest. Speed limits throughout the country vary by the type and condition of roadways and the area through which the vehicles are traveling.
In general, the wide open highways west of the major East Coast cities and away from mountainous regions have the higher max speeds.
So, we’ll see how well Texans do on their new super highways. And we’ll see if they’ll drive under the assumption that 5 to 10 mph over the speed limit is acceptible. That would push it to as much as 95 mph and increase the dangers significantly, highway safety officials say.
For more travel information, go to http://knowit.newsok.com/travel-tips
“Mr. Know It’” has made his debut in Oklahoma City metro area
Here’s an invitation to you to visit and become a part of NewsOK.com’s “know it” communities.
We’ll even provide an opportunity for you to get a little publicity in doing so. You can have your photo taken with “Mr. Know It,” who will be showing up at various locations and events.
Mr. Know It is the life-size “stand in” for Communities Editor Don Gammill, who oversees the “know it” project.
He’s generally available to travel, and he’s easy to work with. You’ll never hear him complain, and he’s always smiling.
So, if you have a school event, meeting or place where Mr. Know It can visit, send an email of invitation to email@example.com. We’ll see if we can make the connection.
Meanwhile, look over the “know it” topics on NewsOK.com at knowit.NewsOK.com for information made available by The Oklahoman’s staff.
Take a close look at the five “know it” communities, which include the Edmond, Midwest City/Del City, Norman/Moore, Yukon/Mustang and Oklahoma City areas. There are spots in each where you can contribute news from your city or town, or send Twitter notes that relate to events there.
The invitation and opportunities are there for you to join us and get your news to others.
In the meantime, look for Mr. Know It in the future, perhaps in a location near you.
Oklahoma has a lot to offer those who want to see the sights, learn about history, enjoy the outdoors, meet its people, or experience its natural wonders.
You can play on its sand dunes, see buffalo and other animals roaming the prairie, tour magnificent buildings and mansions, enjoy lakes and rivers, camp in scenic locations, watch top college and professional sports, listen to musical performances of most any variety, visit highly acclaimed museums that feature everything from prehistoric artifacts to modern art and everything in between.
Maybe you want to look over the possibilities before planning a road trip to any of Oklahoma’s six “countries.” Look over the material for each, then set your sights.
It’s all available to you, right at your fingertips in http://knowit.newsok.com/travel-tips.
You’ll find that the state has distinctively different offerings in each area, from the history to the recreational aspects to the chief resources.
Some features are underground. Others are visible for miles.
Oklahoma’s lakes alone draw large numbers of visitors each year. But they are only part of what the state offers.
Take a look, then take a trip. It’s all here for you.