Charging out-of-towners for accidents, computers in cars, the law of orbital coincidences, the Starburst prom dress, and when people do good.
1) ARE YOU OK? WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
Should people who don’t live in your city be charged extra because the cops, firefighters, and paramedics you pay for through your taxes have to respond to traffic accidents? It’s a novel idea being considered in West St. Paul and South St. Paul to try to make a little more money for cities. It costs money to “roll the equipment,” and some communities — especially those with paid on-call responders — charge everyone for services rendered, but this proposal targets out-of-towners. A person involved in an accident would be charged about $577, the Star Tribune reports. That apparently would be paid for through a driver’s insurance, although some insurance companies refuse to pay and those that do say it’ll increase the cost of insurance.
There are plenty of questions, however. What if an out-of-towner was minding his/her own business when he/she got T-boned by a local resident? What is the incentive not to respond to accidents that might not actually require $577 worth of work?
Ten states have already banned the crash tax, according to NPR. But it has its supporters. Take a commenter on a recent NPR story, for example:
People are whiners about this, but if you think about it it makes sense. If you cause a crash you are creating a public burden, which you should pay for. I would even support applying this to in-town people. Why charge this to the general taxpayer when you can charge it to the specific problem drivers? That’s fairer.
2) COMPUTERS IN CARS
Do they have the potential of taking distracted driving to a new level?
If you’ve got one of these spiffy new models, give us your review, preferably not while you’re driving.
Related: An Eden Prairie woman is being charged with felony criminal vehicular operation for allegedly texting when she ran into a motorcyclist, the Strib reports. The motorcyclist says the woman never looked up.
3) THE LAW OF ORBITAL COINCIDENCES
It’s not all that often we get to see the International Space Station directly over Minneapolis – St. Paul. This week has afforded several opportunities. Tonight, for example, it’ll be visible from 09:05:02 pm to 09:07:27, 76 degrees above the west southwest horizon. Tomorrow night from 09:30:17 pm to 09:32:30 pm, 34 degrees above the western horizon, and Friday evening from 08:19:39 pm to 08:22:04 pm, 72 degrees above the west southwest horizon, before disappearing again.
“While the ISS constantly circles Earth, it’s only visible just after sunset or just before sunrise; at other times of day it’s outshone by the sun, or cloaked by Earth’s shadow,” Wired Magazine reports. “Thanks to orbital coincidences, this week’s flybys will be exceptionally bright.”
4) THE PROM DRESS
It worked out well that the River Falls high school prom theme this year is “Candyland,” seeing as how Kerrin Frey went to the trouble of making her daughter’s prom dress out of Starburst candy wrappers. She said she got the idea from another mother who she saw weaving gum wrappers during their children’s hockey matches, KARE reported.
It turns out, however, it’s been done before — by this woman in 2009:
This Iowa teen made her dress out of gum wrappers:
And this one made a Starburst “formal” dress in 2008:
The next challenge. A Hershey Bar wrapper dress, perhaps. With almonds. Please. I’ll do my part to help out.
Or you can do it the old-fashioned way.
5) WHEN PEOPLE DO GOOD (Cont’d)
Allen Erickson, who has an incurable brain tumor, has been a hospice patient for more than a year. One of the former pilot’s last wishes: to fly one more time. Brad Swenson, a Willmar paramedic, social worker Judie Dunlop, and pilot Brad Louwagie made it happen. “They can’t do it by themselves,” Swenson told the West Central Tribune. “We do it because it’s their last wish. It gives them a chance to do one last thing. For us, this gives something back to the community.”
(Come on, people. You know someone doing good. Let’s make this a more regular 5×8 category. Tell me about it.)
The Texas TV station has now posted the full interview its reporter conducted with President Obama this week. The reporter was criticized by some after the president complained about the interview (I wrote about this yesterday).
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE DAY
Minnesota legislators have proposed a law to deny driver’s licenses to high school dropouts. The sponsors say their goal is to give young people one more reason to stay in school. Today’s Question: What do you think of linking school attendance and driving privileges?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Battling for Libya, from military strikes to humanitarian relief.
Second hour: Jacqueline Novogratz discusses social entrepreneurship
Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: St. John’s University economist Louis Johnston on the controversy over raising the debt limit.
Second hour: Veterinarian Kate An Hunter and her dog, Ansel, in studio to answer pet care questions from the MPR audience.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Political editor Ken Rudin considers the Republican presidential field.
Second hour: The world of online gambling.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - High school seniors have a big decision to make in the next few weeks: where to go to college. May 1 is the deadline for students to respond to their college acceptance letters. MPR’s Tim Post will have the story.
A music journalist gets an unusual request to write a bio for a band. He’s asked to do it without hearing any of the group’s music, or knowing anything about them. The result? A fictitious press release, and some in the media take the bait. NPR looks at why the publicity stunt worked.