Patience Needed During Road Construction

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Jerusha, Emma and Winnie Payne show off the artwork they made during the Make A Splash summer reading and art program at the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library.

Pine and Strawberry are now getting their fair share of rain and for you gardeners out there, you know what a blessing it is not to have to water every day. The forest is looking so green and vibrantly healthy with the advent of the monsoons. Of course with the monsoons come lightning. Many people, ourselves included, have had some very close strikes!

The road construction throughout Pine continues to cause delays. I don’t think folks are frustrated so much by the delays as they are by the hodgepodge nature of road closures, lack of signage to identify the closures before you are trapped in a place where you can’t even turn around, and the inability of the road crew to properly instruct drivers as to when and where they can drive. Although things were slightly better this week, there still seems to be confusion about what is allowed or not.

For instance on a trip home from Strawberry the other morning, which normally takes about 10 minutes, I first waited with a significant host of other southbound traffic. Eventually it was our turn to go and after slowly snaking our way through town I discovered that they had torn up a center patch of Highway 87 right in front of Whispering Pines Road and were not letting folks turn there. I tried to ask a flag person if I could cross over the large divot, but she turned her back and completely ignored me. A little further on I asked one of the construction workers how I could get home. He suggested I keep driving south and eventually try to get in the northbound traffic. Since I could not see the end of the backed up cars, I didn’t really want to attempt a U-turn on the narrow part of 87, and would still end up in the same lane I was already in — on the wrong side of the chasm, that didn’t seem too wise. Instead, I headed up Bradford, down the Old County Road, and joined several other cars in the same dilemma. When the northbound traffic finally got its turn to go, we merged in and snaked all the way back through town where I turned on the only back road to our neighborhood. Forty minutes after leaving Strawberry, I finally made it home! A simple sign at the north end of town announcing the closure of Whispering Pines Road could have saved me a tremendous amount of time and angst.

Ironically, this morning they again tore out a section of Highway 87 in front of Whispering Pines Road, but this time they continued to allow traffic to cross the chasm. Many folks I’ve talked to have encountered the same types of experiences. Sheriffs are in full force giving warnings to drivers who are unaware that they’ve breached one of the ever changing construction taboos. I guess there is just no easy way to shut down a town while still keeping it open.

The open house to highlight the Make A Splash summer reading and art program was so enjoyable. The displayed items showed just how much fun the kids of all ages had making metal art, clay sculptures, cast images and paintings. I hope that library users enjoyed seeing the amazing work generated by this program. Best of all, the kids did a great job of meeting or exceeding their reading requirements as well!

The Pine Library Friends will meet at 1 p.m., Monday, July 26 to hear guest speaker Leilah Duncan from the Herb Stop in Pine. Although small in size, the Herb Stop has a huge selection of herbal remedies, teas and beauty items tailored to suit your needs. Perhaps even more important for the novice, the shop owners are extremely knowledgeable and helpful. This informal discussion is a great way for you to learn about the benefits you and your family can experience through natural herbal remedies. The meeting will take place in the library’s activity room (behind the Cultural Hall), and is open to all members of the community. For a little added bonus, delicious refreshments will be served.

The next big event to come to our area is the Awakening Earth Expo which takes place from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 7 and Sunday, Aug. 8 under the ramada and inside the Cultural Center in the heart of Pine. If you have a desire to learn about sustainable living, natural healing techniques, earth-friendly products and practices, nutrition, alternative energy sources, and much, much more, then be sure to come to this event. There will be many folks on hand to answer your questions and help you on the path to a healthier lifestyle.

The following Saturday, Aug. 14, is the next scheduled date of the 2nd Saturday Shop Hop in Pine. As always, this is a great time to visit your favorite Pine specialty or antique store and take advantage of many in-store specials. The event begins at 4 p.m. and lasts until 7 p.m.

That’s it for our upcoming community events. Let’s all vow to keep smiling no matter how frustrating the road construction may get — before long it will be a faded memory and we’ll have nice smooth roads come winter!

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