Cell phone use and driving
I see it all the time. That is, drivers using their cell phones while the car is moving. Where I see it most days is at the intersection in the middle of town. As I am waiting for a green light I see drivers all the time making a turn with a cell phone stuck in their ear with one hand while turning the wheel with the other hand.
There was a lengthy story from the Associated Press the other day in the papers about how police are losing the battle in getting people to put down their cell phones while driving; and even worse are those who text while driving; a lot more dangerous. The article noted that it was in Bethesda, Md., that a police officer acting like a homeless man, stood near a busy intersection and radioed ahead to officers down the road about texting drivers. In a two-hour period last October, police gave out 56 tickets.
I have warned my daughters about using their cell phone while driving and can truthfully say that anytime my cell phone might ring in the car, I pull over and stop before talking on the phone. Since I am one of the halfdozen people in the world without a smartphone, I don’t have to worry about texting.
So, I ask my reader-friends, please drive safely — without the use of a cell phone while behind the wheel.
••• TWO RACING CHAMPS Wheeler Baker, one of those fast hydroplane racing guys and a longtime friend, will be inducted into Maryland’s State Athletic Hall of Fame in November. Wheeler had been behind the wheel of a powerboat from 1977 to 2007, setting speed records and was named to the American Power Boat Association Hall of Champions in 1987.
He is president of the Kent Narrows Racing Association and was sorry to have to cancel this year’s racing weekend because erosion problems at the racing course makes it too dangerous to race, due to water depth. But, he told me the other day they are looking for another racing area to continue the exciting time for fans.
While I’ve known Wheeler for many years, I have never seen him race; but it was Alton Pierson, who raced the Baker Company boats back from 50 to 60 years ago that I recall. Alton started his racing career in about 1956 in a racer called Bo-Bo, then later raced one called the Lil’ Barb. I can remember those better than Wheeler’s latest hydroplanes because I went down to take pictures of those first racing weekends. I never did get too many great shots, those boats were too fast for me to catch with my big old Speed Graphic, but it was a lot of fun. Also, Alton raced into 1961, but had a bad accident down in Florida that year and had to get out of the driver’s seat. He was named to the Athletic Hall of Fame in 1983, where Wheeler said he was proud to introduced him. Alton died in 1990.
Wheeler’s big racing events down at the Narrows were not only exciting for fans, but a great economic boost to the area with all the people showing up. I know he wants to find another area with proper water depth to continue those racing days.
••• LONG AGO IN TOWN The library has a small booklet (24 pages) written by Miriam P. Chambers, in 1974, as she remembers Centreville back as far as 1917 when she graduated from high school. She talks about “an affectionate re-creation of things past.”
She writes “remembering when” and notes that the “library was located in Chambers’ little shop on Water Street with Miss Chinna Keating, the librarian, and open Tuesdays and Saturdays.”
She also writes that school started on Sept. 15 and ended on June 15. Now Gov. Hogan wants the school boards to begin school after Labor Day, instead of starting classes in August.
When did it change from that Sept. 15 opening that Miss Chambers writes about in her little book?
This is a fascinating look back at Centreville early in the 20th Century. Newcomers to town and the county; or even natives, will get a kick out of reading it.