Line One
Roses & Razzberries

Razzberries to the officers at the Coeur d'Alene, ID, weigh station who ticketed two federal firetrucks from the Bureau of Land Management for weight violations on their way to Montana's Bitterroot Valley. The trucks were enroute to fight fires and not only were they ticketed and delayed, they were forced to dump precious water to meet Idaho weight requirements. According to the Helena Independent Record, an unnamed supervisor said the employees were just doing their job. However, Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne said the DOT had been contacted and asked "to show the proper sensitivity in this time of emergency."

In July, truckers who stopped in at the Road King Travel Centers in Calgary, Canada were treated to an impromptu concert by Nashville recording artist Shirley Myers. The Canadian country western star (who now makes her home in Nashville) was in town to headline at Nashville North during the Calgary Stampede.

After a round of golf she and her friends pulled into Road King in her motorhome. Greg McKuarrie, sales manager, told Land Line that Shirley was a good friend of a local trucker and hoped to see him at the truckstop. In the meantime, Shirley whipped out her six-string guitar and sang for more than two hours in the truckstop atrium.

"We had quite a group standing around listening," McKuarrie explained. "We were having our annual Stampede luncheon on that afternoon and she sang for every new group that came in and even teamed with trucker John Dennie, who drives for Millcreek Trucking, for a couple of duets." A dozen roses for Shirley who said she did it "because truckers have always supported country music and I wanted to give a little something back."

rose to keen-eyed trucker, Randy Glodine of South Carolina. While making a delivery at a Home Depot in Totowa, NJ, Glodine saw a trio of thieves snatch a woman's purse. He called police and identified the get-a-way car, but was unable to catch the license plate number. Later in the day, he again spotted the car and called the police who apprehended the suspects, searched the car and found the victim's stolen items plus drug paraphernalia. Police say it appears that the thieves allegedly returned to buy a television with the victim's cash.

A Canadian truckdriver is being hailed as a hero after using his rig to divert a runaway tractor-trailer off Interstate 75 in Walton, OH, on Aug. 13. Roses to William Shields of Southampton, Ontario, who claimed his quick actions were more reflex than heroism. Police said Shields put his truck in the path of the other. Both tractor-trailers and one car were destroyed, but no one was seriously injured.

Driver Lawrence Newell, deserves a rose for his action last February. While traveling on I-75 south of Georgia, Newell noticed an elderly couple having car trouble. He pulled over, stopped traffic, moved the car to safety and then repaired it.

A posthumous rose to bus driver Austin Smith of San Francisco, who was killed when he went back into a flame-engulfed apartment building to rescue his step-son after helping his girlfriend and his three-year-old grandson to escape. Smith was remembered by friends as a man who would give anyone a helping hand.

In Stevens Point, WI, some folks seem to have forgotten how groceries are transported to their town. OOIDA member Victor Oligney says the city's newspaper deserves a razzberry for a recent anti-truck editorial written by Mark Koepke. Recent construction in the historic town center has rerouted all traffic for the summer and Koepke has now written an editorial that challenges city officials to look at ways of keeping cross-country trucks permanently out of town. Koepke would like to see all trucks on a by-pass around town. Koepke writes of deafening growls from diesel engines destroying his porch conversations and machine gun-like whines from "Jake brakes" interrupting his sleep.

The less than pretty potties at several Pennsylvania Turnpike service plazas have recently drawn the attention of lawmakers. A rose to Rep. Ellen M. Bard (R-153) who called attention to the situation at a press conference in June. After a committee reviewed the situation, indeed, six of 10 facilities were found to be out of compliance. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has promised to clean up its act.

A Florida trucker was driving a gasoline tanker on a water-covered Jacksonville Expressway during a rainstorm Aug. 12 when another driver lost control of his vehicle, setting up a chain of events that took the trucker's life. While trying to avoid a collision, Christian Darby Stephenson of Jacksonville, was killed. Roses to Stephenson, who swerved to miss several vehicles and crashed into an exit ramp. The tanker exploded, trapping Stephenson inside. According to police, Stephenson most likely saved the lives of several other motorists.

rose for California Highway Patrol officer Jeff Gartner who went beyond the call of duty to save a trucker's life. When Gartner spied a truck weaving out of control on southbound Highway 101 near Willow Road in Menlo Park, he pulled alongside. The driver was slumped over at the wheel, so Gartner parked his cruiser and sprinted after the truck. He leaped on the running board, yanked open the door and pulled the service brake. The truck stopped just short of four lanes of bumper-to-bumper traffic. Gartner and a passing motorist pulled trucker Steve MacLean of Millbrae out of the cab and started CPR. Police said that Gartner's quick action was the primary reason MacLean is still alive.