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About buses, zones and baseball

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Column by Jim Clark

By Jim Clark

Next week marks the start of one of my least favorite distractions while driving. School starts on Aug. 24, and that means school zones and school buses.

First of all, there are school zones. Some of them I can live with. They’re right in front of a school where little kids might be crossing the road.

However, I don’t remember school zones when I was a little kid. Maybe that’s because my parents got me to school every day.

Parents responsible for getting their kids to school … what a concept.

Some school zones, though, leave me mystified. I see there’s one on Southwest 80th Avenue near West Port Middle and High School. But it’s on the backside of the school, and I seriously doubt if kids are walking to get to West Port (I will wait and see, though).

It seems that when they put up a school, they automatically put in a school zone, without doing any studies to see if it’s necessary.

That means that all last week I was trying different routes to get to work, trying to see the fastest way to get here without going through a school zone. It was a fun week.

Then there are the school buses. I guess they’re a necessary evil, although I keep coming back to the phrase, “Parents responsible for getting their own kids to school.”

Florida’s school bus laws are a little more liberal than other states. In Florida, if you have a 5-foot unpaved median or a divider on a divided highway, you don’t have to stop for a bus in the opposite direction.

There are two problems with this.

1. People think that just because it’s a four-lane road you don’t have to stop for a bus in the opposite direction. They tend to forget, or ignore, that median requirement. Not all four-lane roads are exempt from having traffic stop in both directions.

2. People who move here from some other states tend to fail to learn that rule. You can be driving down the four-lane, on a divided highway, and see a bus stopped on the far side, and suddenly you’re slamming on your brakes because someone has stopped in your direction. Chances are, it’s an out-of-state driver. So you have to be alert, even if you know the law.

Anyhow, we all have to be careful. No matter how you feel, you never want to be the person responsible for hurting a child, whether you’re within the law or not. So take extra care when the children are around.

Good News For Fans, Sort Of: If you’re a customer of Cox Cable, it’s been a frustrating baseball year for watching the Tampa Bay Rays (formerly Devil Rays). For some reason, Cox failed to come to an agreement with Sun Sports (formerly the Sunshine Network) to show Rays’ games on that channel only. Now if the Marlins were on Sun, and the Rays were on Fox Sports Net, you could watch them both. But if it was reversed, you couldn’t get the Rays on Sun. Go figure!

Well, Cox announced last week that it had reached an agreement to show the Rays on Sun Sports. That’s big of them. There are about six weeks left in the season and the Rays are playing catchup with the Yankees far ahead in the AL East.

Maybe now the Rays will rally, and we’ll be able to watch all of it. We’ll see. At least they’re a little closer to the top than my Mets.

Jim Clark is the editor of the South Marion Citizen. He can be reached at editor@smcitizen.com or at 854-3986.