Tar, alerts and the bright side of a wet spring

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - --Richard Mahoney [email protected]­gar­rynews.ca

Tar, tar and feath­ers, and fire­flies are just some of the top­ics that are keep­ing tongues wag­ging these days. Tar is up­per­most in the minds of the masses as it seems that as­phalt is be­ing ap­plied ev­ery­where one drives this sum­mer. Tar and feath­ers, in a fig­u­ra­tive sense, are be­ing de­bated as a means to si­lence the whin­ers who com­plain about Am­ber Alerts. And fire­flies are un­com­monly abun­dant this sum­mer be­cause of that hor­ri­ble wet spring.

This must be a record year for road con­struc­tion. Ev­ery­where you go you will en­counter de­tours or lane re­duc­tions. Flag per­sons, or­ange and black striped py­lons and flash­ing warn­ing signs have be­come al­most as ubiq­ui­tous as poison parsnip.

Road schol­ars are able to ex­plain the var­i­ous meth­ods be­ing em­ployed to re­build our routes.

One of the tech­niques you have no doubt seen in ac­tion is Cold In-Place Re­cy­cling or CIR, de­scribed as “a pave­ment re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion tech­nique that re­duces the life cy­cle cost of the pave­ment struc­ture by reusing the ex­ist­ing as­phalt pave­ment.”

The pro­ce­dure uses re­claimed as­phalt pave­ment (RAP) that is mixed with a new binder which may be ei­ther emul­sion or foamed as­phalt ce­ment. The cold na­ture of the process re­duces the im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment and pre­serves en­ergy due to the ab­sence of heat ap­pli­ca­tion.

“Be­cause the ex­ist­ing road ma­te­ri­als are be­ing re-used, very lit­tle new ma­te­rial has to be brought in by truck, re­duc­ing the carbon foot­print of the project dras­ti­cally in com­par­i­son to con­ven­tional meth­ods,” Miller Paving Lim­ited as­sures the pub­lic in a mes­sage to the “val­ued res­i­dents” of Stor­mont-Dun­das-Glen­garry.

Rapid cur­ing of the re­cy­cled ma­te­rial al­lows the road to re­main un­af­fected by traf­fic prior to be­ing over­laid with hot mix.

CIR is con­sid­ered the most ef­fec­tive process to mit­i­gate reflective crack­ing in a cold cli­mate and is widely uti­lized as a cost ef­fec­tive re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion al­ter­na­tive to tra­di­tional re­con­struc­tion meth­ods due to its com­par­a­tively low cost, higher life cy­cle and ease of con­struc­tion.

Roads are al­ways a hot topic, thus, there is al­ways de­bate over mat­ters such as the mer­its of as­phalt pave­ment ver­sus con­crete pave­ment, the use of flag peo­ple ver­sus traf­fic lights, the ra­tio­nale be­tween re­duc­ing lanes ver­sus to­tal road clo­sures.

But, de­spite the in­con­ve­niences, ev­ery­one would agree that the smell of tar and the pro­lif­er­a­tion of de­tours are wel­come signs that our in­fra­struc­ture is be­ing im­proved, and no­body would dis­agree with any form of up­grade.

Con­sen­sus is more elu­sive, how­ever, when it comes to Am­ber Alerts. Ev­ery­one has at one time or an­other been jarred awake in the mid­dle of the night by that ear-split­ting bul­letin blar­ing news of a child be­ing ab­ducted. It was set up as a vol­un­tary, co-op­er­a­tive plan be­tween ra­dio and tele­vi­sion sta­tions, govern­ment de­part­ments and po­lice. But in re­cent years, the sys­tem ex­panded to in­clude so­cial me­dia and cell phones, etc.

The sys­tem is ac­ti­vated when a law en­force­ment agency be­lieves a child un­der 18 years of age has been ab­ducted, be­lieves the child is in dan­ger and that an im­me­di­ate broad­cast alert will help in lo­cat­ing the child.

That is all very fine and sen­si­ble. Yet, many peo­ple get very, very up­set when they are star­tled from their slum­ber by a mes­sage that could help save an in­no­cent young­ster’s life.

Plus, the sleep-de­prived also ques­tion the va­lid­ity of a provincewi­de all-points bul­letin when they are far re­moved from the sight of the ab­duc­tion. “Brant­ford! Brant­ford? Some kid is kid­napped in Brant­ford? Why am I get­ting this mes­sage?” Many peo­ple who do not live any­where near Brant­ford were an­grily ask­ing that ques­tion when an alert from po­lice in that On­tario town was is­sued.

One per­son called 9-1-1 no less than 11 times to com­plain about the an­noy­ance.

While po­lice in­ves­ti­gated this abuse of 9-1-1, an on­line pe­ti­tion was launched against the whin­ers.

Go to change.org to see the call for pun­ish­ing peo­ple who call the emer­gency line to gripe about emer­gency alerts.

While you are there you can also take a stand on protests against the mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of a Swahili phrase in a movie, the sale of ele­phant ivory and calls for manda­tory seat­belts in school buses.

You could join the more than 100,000 peo­ple who are ask­ing Pre­mier Doug Ford to en­act leg­is­la­tion to fine those who make friv­o­lous grievances to the 9-1-1 cen­tre.

Pe­ti­tion or­ga­nizer Dalia Mona­celli, of Toronto, states: “Peo­ple have to un­der­stand that when they dial 9-1-1, they are tak­ing time and per­son­nel away from ac­tual emer­gen­cies and that these ac­tions could cost lives! Please, take a mo­ment to sign this pe­ti­tion and make sure these non-emer­gency call­ers get fined for their crime!”

Crime? Re­ally? Non-emer­gency call­ers are def­i­nitely not role mod­els. But they can­not be clas­si­fied as crim­i­nals be­cause they over-re­act to a loud phone mes­sage.

Look at the big pic­ture. The alerts are well-in­ten­tioned. No, the au­thor­i­ties are not con­spir­ing to ruin your life by blast­ing out ran­dom nerve-wrack­ing sirens at all hours of the day and night.

The alerts are meant to dis­turb peo­ple. Harp mu­sic can­not ac­com­pany Am­ber Alerts.

So, suck it up. Deal with the oc­ca­sional in­con­ve­nience. And if you are dis­turbed in the mid­dle of the night, go for a re­lax­ing walk.

Dur­ing the heat wave, noth­ing soothes the soul more than a leisurely out­ing in the cool evening air.

If you are lucky, you will see one of the count­less num­bers of fire­flies that are par­tic­u­larly abun­dant this year.

Con­sider your­self es­pe­cially for­tu­nate if you can take that stroll on a freshly paved, de­tour-free, road.

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