Michael Olson's post in this space yesterday got me to thinking about the hazards of Interstate Hwy. 35 in bad weather. I make the drive to Duluth fairly often, and even a little bit of freezy slush seems to be enough to send cars into the ditch. There's an elevated curve near Barnum, for example, that's scary on a warm dry day.
Three Saturdays ago I was heading south out of Duluth just as the snow started up. Cars were in the ditch left and right. One poor soul had gone off the road, into the ditch and up the bank, coming to rest upside down among the trees. A drive that normally takes me under two and a half hours lasted more than five.
My friend Wayne Lee teaches driving skills for a car club, and he offers this advice:
"No. 1, don't stop driving. If you're out of control and going into the ditch, then drive into the ditch. Keep control of your car. No. 2, don't overreact. Remain calm and keep driving.
"Another thing people don't realize is there's more than one pedal. There's an accelerator. I can choose to drive out of the ditch by putting the gas on."
Another time, Wayne told me that many accidents happen because drivers who can't stop forget that they have the option to steer. It's better, he said, to cross a line painted on the pavement than to just plow into the car ahead of you. That particular advice, simple as it sounds, saved me on that recent Saturday.
Here's a video to get us thinking about our winter driving skills. Note: Don't attempt to videotape other cars while driving.(5 Comments)
The Rosemount Town Pages editorial board is backing up Rosemount High School Principal John Wollersheim and his decision to pull a prank on some students at a pep rally. The prank involved blindfolding sports captains before a school assembly and telling they that they were going to get a kiss from a special someone. That special someone was one of their parents. The cringe inducing video is drawing negative comments as it makes its way around the pipes and tubes of the Internet.
Principal Wollersheim issued an apology this week, but in an editorial the Rosemount paper said the apology wasn't called for.
There is a lot of talk about Rosemount High School feeling like a community, and events like last week's pep fest are a big part of that. It was fun for everyone involved, and that's nothing to apologize for.
Was this prank community building or in bad taste?
Today, the United States declared the Iraq War officially over (although 2,600 Minnesota National Guard members will remain in Kuwait until May). To mark this event, Jeff Jones and Jeff Severns Guntzel, part of American Public Media's Public Insight team, have been asking Iraq War veterans one simple question: What did you leave behind in Iraq? Jeff Jones shared this story with us:
Raymond Camper left something in Iraq. A lot of things, actually. But one thing comes immediately to his mind. A pocket Constitution. The same little book that members of Congress hold up all the time in floor debates or when they talk to school kids.
"Being deployed to Iraq really made me reexamine what it meant to be an American and what we were supposed to be standing for and all these things we say we believe in and try to do and hold as truths. I decided I really needed to figure out what that was, exactly, and if we were in fact doing those things."
The Constitution he picked up in college helped him do that. And it helped him start conversations with other soldiers at the base in Ramadi.
"I'd ask my fellow soldiers and Marines there, 'Why are we here? Have you thought about that?' And it really surprised me how few people had actually been thinking about that."
He struck up a friendship with a Marine. They discussed and debated why the war started and what America's role was in the country.
"He revealed to me one day that he had never actually read the Constitution. And I was like, 'You know what? Here you go.' For some reason it meant a lot to me that people actually read that document and kind of understood it."
So Raymond handed over his pocket Constitution and left Iraq not long after. He has no idea if the Marine still has it or if he passed it on to someone else.
Raymond speaks out against the war now, in part because of the messages of human equality he sees in America's founding documents. He knows that other people may read those documents very differently. He's mostly glad they're reading them at all.2 Comments)