Monthly Archives: July 2012

My advice is go slow or just turn right

Feds: Let’s add four left-turn signals to this to clarify things.

I don’t necessarily buy it, but the Federal Highway Administration says it’s going to take the guesswork out of making a left turn.

It has adopted the flashing yellow arrow as a national standard for permissive left-turns.

The Iowa Department of Transportation says several such signals have already been installed in the state. Others will be installed by the Iowa DOT and local governments as they upgrade their traffic signals or make improvements at intersections.

The new left-turn signal head has four arrow signals from top to bottom. Here’s what they’ll mean:

1) Steady red arrow: Drivers turning left must stop and wait.

2) Steady yellow arrow: The left-turn signal is about to turn red. Do not enter the intersection if you can stop safely. If you’re already in the intersection, complete your left turn.

3) The new flashing yellow arrow: Yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians; then turn left, proceeding with caution because oncoming traffic has a green light.

4) A steady green arrow: Drivers can proceed with their left turn. Oncoming traffic must stop. Do not go straight.

Have you got that all memorized? Me neither.

The experts say the flashing yellow left-turn arrow will help prevent crashes, reduce traffic delays and provide more traffic management flexibility.

But take it from an old dog who doesn’t easily learn new tricks — the flashing yellow arrow just might cause more confusion and more crashes at intersections.

My advice? Either go very slow or turn right.


I appreciate company names that, while unusual or creative, still somewhat define what the business does.

I recently ran across an Orion flower shop called Enchanted Florist. Here’s another one: Leash on Life is the name of an Iowa City pet supply store.

Copyright 2012 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises. Submitted to North Scott Press as a column.

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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Uncategorized


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June: What a month!





A.J. and Larry Foyt.

“Coach” John Feld, Clint and me.

Clean-up time.

Let’s race.


The famous Milwaukee Mile.

Walking the track.

Harrison and me at Dobbins Tavern, Gettysburg.

Harry in Gettysburg.

Harry and Sherry in Gettysburg.

A speedboat ride in Baltimore.

Harry and Sherry at Medieval Times, Baltimore.

Phil and Sherry at Medieval Times, Baltimore.

With Jefferson at Monticello.

Harry on Flash at Kentucky Horse Park.

Randy and Jack on a cruise in Louisville.

Harry at the Louisville Slugger factory and museum.

If you’re like me, you often sit at home in the winter months, looking at a relatively empty calendar, knowing that in the summer there’ll be so many activities available to you it will difficult to take advantage of all of them.

For us, June was an unusually busy month. We had lots of fun but, because of that giant storm that stretched from the Midwest to the East Coast, we also had a few anxious moments.

The first weekend of June we helped our daughter Andrea and grandchildren move from Wilton to Walcott. It was warm, but all went well.

The second weekend found us in the St. Louis area to help celebrate the 40th anniversary of my cousin Don and his wife, Jenny. While there, we also spent time with one of our sons, Brendan, and two grandchildren who live there.

Just days after our return, my wife headed to Minneapolis, where she spent a week with sons Clint and Dane, their wives, Lisa and Casey, and our two granddaughters.

Clint left home to meet me in Milwaukee the Friday and Saturday of Father’s Day weekend for some father-son together time and Indycar racing at the fabled Milwaukee Mile, the nation’s oldest continuously operating speedway.

The marketing company, One Simple Plan, that Clint owns in Minneapolis did some public relations work, ably handled by OSP employee John Feld, for race promoter Michael Andretti.

So Clint and I had garage passes and access to all areas of the track, including Andretti’s hospitality tent, a pleasant place to enjoy some shade and cold drinks on that hot summer weekend.

June ended with my wife, Sherry, and me on a delightful Tri-State Travel bus tour that was designed especially for grandparents and grandchildren.

Our grandson Harrison, 11, accompanied us on the June 25 to July 1 trip, which he called “the vacation of a lifetime.”

We were among 33 on board, counting driver Randy Collins and tour guide Jack Wilcox. Walcott native and NSP subscriber Wesley Tank, and his wife Sandra, of Davenport, and their granddaughter Caroline Tank, of St. Louis, were among the passengers.

On our tour, we visited Gettysburg National Military Park, a variety of attractions in Baltimore, the Jamestown Settlement, Colonial Williamsburg, Monticello, Kentucky Horse Park and the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory.

We dealt with 102 degrees for our outdoor activities, but the bus and hotel rooms were cool, and the 16 grandkids on the trip went swimming most nights at the hotel pools.

But one portion of the trip did cause some anxious moments.

We were on the tour bus about 7 p.m. Friday, June 29, driving through some mountain passes, when that killer storm hit.

We had eaten dinner at the Beckley (W.V.) Travel Plaza on the West Virginia Turnpike. As we returned to our bus, the heat remained oppressive but I noticed the sky was starting to cloud up.

Minutes later, as we headed to our scheduled hotel in Cross Lanes, W.V., an unincorporated city in the suburbs of Charleston, the sky suddenly turned black and winds of up to 80 mph hours bent trees over and sent debris flying across the road we were on.

Our bus driver, Randy, shouted, “Hang on.”

Moments later, with the wind still howling, the skies opened up and there was driving rain, lightning and thunder.

The worst of the storm had ended by the time we reached the hotel in Cross Lanes, but the community and hotel had no power.

After some phone calls, Jack, our tour guide, luckily located a hotel with power and the 15 rooms we needed, in Charleston. So we happily backtracked to it.

The sun and heat were back as we departed for Louisville the next morning.

For us, this had been a trip — and a month — to remember.

Copyright 2012 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises. This ran as a column in The North Scott Press. I am posting it here a second time because of some formatting problems earlier.

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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Decision to cancel races due to heat may have been a first

ImageI’ve been announcing stock car races for 37 years now. And yesterday (Friday, July 6, 2012) was the first time I remember an event that I was scheduled to work being canceled due to the extreme heat and humidity.

Dirt track races here in the Midwest are often rained out or they’re canceled because of threatening weather.

They’re also canceled sometimes in the spring and fall due to cold temperatures.

But, as stated earlier, this is the first time I recall one falling victim to the heat.

Much of the country is suffering from extreme heat and a drought. The thermometer around here has been hovering around 100 degrees or more each day for, it seems, a long time.

The track where I announce, Davenport Speedway (pictured above in a 1990s photo I took at a NASCAR All-Star Series race), canceled last night’s races around midday yesterday. Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Radids did the same later on. I’m guessing other tracks in the U.S. did, too, and more will do so this weekend.

In announcing the decision on its Facebook page, Davenport Speedway wrote:

“For the safety of our fans, drivers and employees in this dangerous heat/humidity, tonight’s races are canceled. Excessive heat warnings have been issued, with high risk (for) heat-related illness. Simply put, it is dangerous to be out in this heat and humidity. We don’t want you to have to make the choice, so we will step up. We wanted to race tonight as much as you did, but safety is a big concern for tonight.”

Some will complain about the cancellation. But as much as I enjoy watching and announcing races, I applaud promoter Bob Wagener’s decision.

Heat can affect all ages, but I was particularly concerned about folks in their 50s and 60s or older being out in it last night, even if they were just sitting in the grandstand as opposed to working in the pits, driving or officiating. Track firefighters, remember, would have been in full turnout gear all evening.

Some of our track officials, including me, are in their 50s or 60s, and some have had heart problems in the past. I’m glad no one was unnecessarily put at risk last night. We’ll all live to go racing again.

Copyright 2012 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises.



Posted by on July 7, 2012 in Uncategorized