Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Where Are The Street Lights

Dear Daytonian,

We're used to our traffic lights being suspended over the road directly in front of us, like the one pictured below, but that's not a universal rule in other parts of our country.  My first encounter with a different location, which fortunately ended without injury, was in my youth going through some forgotten town in Kansas.  I never saw the traffic light, mounted on a pole where we would find pedestrian crosswalk signs, and sailed through that intersection when the other direction had the green.  My friends told me what I had just done, and my nerves joined theirs in being totally shaken up.  But I never again assumed traffic lights would always be in the most logical location.

But did you notice in the picture below that this green light was on the top?  This unique sign is in Syracuse, New York at the corner of Tompkins Street and Milton Avenue, and legion has it that stone-throwing Irish youth back in the 1920s couldn't stand for British red sitting on top of their Irish green, and broke the lights over and over until the city council relented and reversed the light sequence. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traffic_light


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

State Gas Taxes

Dear Daytonian,

If you're budgeting for your first long distance driving vacation, be aware that gas prices vary wildly, and a part of that is explained by each state's appetite for revenue.

It might come as a surprise, but our eastern neighbor, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, has the highest state gas tax, clocking in at 58.7 cents per gallon, compared to our own 28.01 cents, which puts Ohio in 29th place.  After PA comes California (no surprise), Washington, Hawaii and New York.  Of our directly bordering states, only Kentucky is less than ours, and only by 2 cents a gallon.

The picture on the left below is from the last Speedway in Ohio on I-70 going eastbound (exit 186), where I always fill up before going into Pittsburgh, so I can avoid their sticker shock shown on the right picture, and save $10 on a fill up.  Not all of this is due to the state tax differential, but at least 30 cents is.  Check out the link below to see all 50 state's tax on gas.

https://taxfoundation.org/state-gas-tax-rates-july-2018


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Bug Spraying

Dear Daytonian,

One benefit of our four weather seasons, and particularly some of our really cold winter nights, is the relative lack of bugs.  Sure, we're swatting at flies and lighting citronella candles at the worst of times, or being a kid again and chasing lightning bugs around the yard.  But compared to some "nice to live" areas like parts of the southeast and southwest United States, we get off pretty easy.  When you have regularly scheduled aerial bug bomb attacks to keep the hoards somewhat under control, like detailed for San Diego at the link below, you can just imagine how much worse these areas can be.

https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/deh/pests/wnv/wnv_activity_update/chd_wnv_aerial_ops.html


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Snow Poles

Dear Daytonian,

The first time I saw the snow poles shown below, I was on a state route in the state of Maine and had to ask what they were.  A Mainer explained they marked the sides of the road so snowplow drivers knew where to plow.  Then one time in Green Bay, Wisconsin I remarked how well-shoveled people kept their driveways, and a local had to explain that if they doddled, the snow would quickly pile up and shoveling would then become a real chore.  In both cases, that's way more snow than I care to deal with.

Perhaps you lived through the Dayton "Blizzard of 1978" and its three feet of snowfall and much higher drifts, but most winters we get much less than that all winter, usually in under 4-inch increments, making snow poles non-existent and shoveling driveways optional.  Snow is beautiful, but I'll take mine in our smaller quantities.

Illinois Candy Tax

Dear Daytonian, Computers have made many improvements in daily lives, but it's also allowed governments to get very granular when it c...