Cell phone use and driv­ing

Record Observer - - Opinion - Dan Tabler

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.

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