A kinder, gentler approach to engine brakes

Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Columnist Dick Trail’s better half, Ann, wanted to pass on this certificate of appreciation to the McCook community, which she credits with making her annual “Adopt a Chaplain” program a rousing success. The certificate, signed by Col. Matthey R. Weinshel, honors Ann and the McCook community for their “dedication and commitment to the health and welfare of the soldiers of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade. Your contributions helped keep our soldiers in the right mindset to stay focused on the mission. You have brought great credit to the United States Military and the 101st Division. We are forever thankful for your kindness and support.” Over 12 years, Ann and her volunteers have shipped approximately 2,500 boxes of donated snacks and comfort items for chaplains to distribute to troops.
Courtesy photos

You will note that the McCook City Council is considering a new ordinance. This one to make it illegal for truckers to use their “Jake Brakes” in town. Evidently, those along the sloping part of West B Street (Highway 6 & 34) object to the noise, muffled grumbling pop pop pop, as truck drivers try to efficiently keep their speed below the limit. Just what we need another ordinance, seldom enforced, about like the speed limits on B Street most often ignored. It should be at least 35 MPH anyway.

Instead of a seldom to be enforced ordinance how about posting a sign along the highway requesting “PLEASE NO JAKE BRAKE”? This old guy favors a kinder approach that might incur more favor among the truck traffic that is so vital to the economy of our fair city. Vital yes but notice that there are no semi-truck user-friendly filling stations along B Street and no downtown parking for either semis or pickups with horse trailers.

You want to do another favor to those who drive trucks? Eliminate the stop light at B and West 10th Street. When westbound stopping for a red light on the upslope there is problematic for a loaded semi-truck. Stopping is not the problem it is getting going again that is difficult. In my observation merging through the traffic on B Street, as when headed to or from Arby’s, only requires a little patience because both east and westbound traffic is bunched up by stoplights not far away.

Actually heavy truck traffic through our fair city is a continuing problem that could have been solved a long time ago but for the obstinacy of the powers that be, primarily our City Council. It would be easy to bypass the City by continuing the highway straight on west at the old Red Willow School and having it join Highway 83 about a mile and a half north where Road 718 intersects. The same could be done on the west side of the City proceeding on south where 83 Tee’s with 6 &34 but that would require constructing yet another bridge over the railroad tracks to join snake road below. The bypass idea was explored as late as when I was on the City Council but objections were loud and vehement. So it is we now have considerable truck traffic through town. Let’s just deal with it in grateful kindness. Pop, pop, pop.

“Free summer camp for McCook youth” reads the piece in last Friday’s Gazette. Ah, the memories of summer church camp some 70 years ago. Great fun with boys my own age, handicrafts and spirit-filled worship services geared to age of the youth that surrounded me. Good times remembered. The camp advertised is Sullivan Hills near Lodgepole, Nebraska. The price was right.

Reading of that summer camp presents a challenge for your old columnist. You see I am on the board of directors of Camp Comeca located a few miles south of Cozad. It is a beautiful hilltop site overlooking the Platte Valley to the north. To the south one sees acres of water filled canyons kept active by the Tri-County irrigation canal. Rustic cabins, a twenty-room motel, dorms, full-size gym plus indoor swimming pool, excellent dining hall, meeting rooms and more. For the youth a climbing wall, a zip line, beach with canoes and kayaks and an archery course. Being a church camp there is an inspirational outdoor chapel and another rustic chapel with a huge glass window overlooking the Platte Valley.

Our Director, Justin Hoehner, at Comeca has McCook connections. He is the grandson of the former beloved, now deceased, Coach LeRoy Hoehner and Pat. His maternal grandmother is Andrea Bower and the former Frank. Justin and gracious wife Amy have put together a summer youth program without equal. Assisted by a group of motivated college age camping staff providing music, age-appropriate spiritual sessions, prayer sessions blended with vigorous outdoor activities, good food; what is there not to like? Yes it is United Methodist-sponsored but an ecumenical approach that is open to all.

As an aside the Camp is available for retreats, family reunions, any kind of group gatherings and is used year around. Our emphasis at the moment is gearing up for youth’s summer camp.

Our modern youth’s summer is a busy time with football, basketball, cheerleading/ athletic camps of all kinds. Little league baseball and family vacations but why not make time for spiritual growth that will have a positive influence on our young that will last them all their lives?

So I am appealing to all you parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles or just good neighbors call 308 784-2808 or www.CampComeca.com and register your beloved youth for the experience of a lifetime. Scholarships are available if financial help is needed. My folks cared enough to send me so long ago and it was an experience I’ve cherished all my life.

That is how I saw it.

Dick Trail

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dick Trail’s March 5 column was the subject of an episode of the Vietnam Veteran News, “a podcast for and about Vietnam Veterans.” You can listen to it here: http://bit.ly/2Cj7HeF

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