2009.07.01 How much news can happen in one week?

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

I hope you’ll excuse me if I don’t stick to just one topic this week. I really can’t remember a time when there’s been so much going on in the news, whether important, trivial or somewhere in between. But who am I to decide? Let’s take a look at as much as we can... 

Starting today, it is illegal in Indiana for drivers under the age of 18 to use a cell phone while driving. Those violating the ban are subject to a fine up to $500. I see only two problems here. First, the law should extend to drivers over 18 as well. And secondly, the ban should be nationwide in scope.

I just can’t conceive of any non-emergency situation where anyone needs to make a phone call while driving.  People drove for 80 or 90 years with no problems before cell phones were introduced. What’s so important that you can’t wait until you get home?

Other things, of course, really can’t wait, so Lambert Airport in St. Louis has opened a pair of pet rest areas to cater to traveling animals. Both have about 400 square feet of space and include benches, fire hydrants and plastic gloves for the convenience of pets and their owners.

And the folks at Lambert even allow the pets a choice of material underfoot. One rest area features natural grass, while the other has artificial turf. Just ask Fido which surface he prefers.

Know anyone with a worn-out 1972 Chevy Camaro in their back yard or barn? The right one could make you big bucks.

John Schnatter, better known as “Papa” John of the pizza chain of the same name, is offering a $250,000 reward for his old Z28 Camaro, which he sold back in 1984 to finance his first restaurant. The original award was $25,000, but when the first batch of leads didn’t result in the return of his car, he upped the reward tenfold. It may be time to start checking junkyards.

While Schnatter plans to hit the road this weekend in a continuing search for his Camaro, my own road trip quest for the perfect drive-in order of tater tots just got a lot shorter.

I’ve written before of the Sonic drive-in in Vandalia, Illinois, which I frequented on trips to Missouri. Since I no longer have a reason to visit St. Louis, it became an 800-mile road trip to Vandalia and back, a bit too far even for tater tots as good as Sonic’s. Even if someone else was willing to drive, the length of the trip just didn’t make sense.

Imagine my excitement when Sonic started building drive-ins in northwest Ohio, the latest opening a few weeks ago in Bryan. I no longer need a weekend to get my tot fix, just an hour or so. If you go, have a limeade with your tots. If you see a maroon Buick, wave. And while you’re at it, ask them about opening a drive-in in Fayette. Then I really can save some time. 

And before I wrap this up, I suppose I should mention the rash of well-known people who have passed away during the last week or so. But I’ll be brief, unlike the unending coverage of a couple of the deaths.

It’s obviously tragic that Farrah Fawcett died, but it’s been quite a while since she did anything noteworthy. I get a kick out of the entertainment reporters who make a big deal out of her fighting cancer. Anyone faced with the diagnosis basically has two choices: Give up, or fight. Millions of ordinary people fight it just like she did. Why does the fact that she used to be famous make her so special?

And then there’s Michael Jackson. You’d think a world leader had passed away with the news coverage his passing is getting. I understand that his “Thriller” album is the all-time best seller with sales of about 50 million worldwide. That also means that eight or nine billion people passed on purchasing a copy.

In the United States, approximately 25 million copies were sold before the temporary sales jump sure to occur over the next few weeks. With a population of over 300 million in the country, that means 11 out of every 12 people in the United States never bought a copy. Count me among the eleven.

Enjoy his music if you want, mourn his death if you wish, even moonwalk if you must. Just don’t be sad if I choose not to join you. I always thought Michael Jackson was an acquired taste, and I’m still not feeling all that acquisitive.

I’m afraid that’s all I can cram in for this time. But stop back in a couple of weeks. I should have more space by then.

  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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