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Dear Mahatma: Loved the column about kids and insurance. My mother always said the two most important things on a car are brakes and insurance. -- Abbey

Dear Abbey: Your momma was right. But aren't most mommas right most of the time? That's what mommas have said since the dawn of humanity.

Dear Mahatma: What recourse is possible to deal with obviously able-bodied people parking in handicapped spots in public places such as shopping centers and grocery stores? This inconsiderate act leaves handicapped people searching for parking far away from the entrance of their intended destination. -- Anita

Dear Anita: This is what we in the newspaper business call an evergreen. Over the course of writing this column for 14 years, buffoons parking illegally in handicapped places has been a perpetual topic.

We suggest four options.

First, talk to the store manager. Or mall management. Point out politely that some miscreant is giving his place of business a bad name. Illegal parking like this redounds to the business's hard-earned reputation.

Second, call the local police. The standard response from the police, we have learned, is that a patrol car will be sent out when one is available. The standard response on the scene, we have learned, assuming the miscreant is still parked, is for the officer to use his discretion to either give a ticket or a lecture.

Third, report the misuse to the Arkansas Spinal Cord Commission. Easy enough to do. Go to the website,, click on the "Misuse of accessible parking complaint form," and then fill out the form. There's a way to upload a photo, too.

Please note something said in the form: "Never confront any person you think may be abusing the program. If the situation requires immediate attention, please contact your local police department."

The commission's job, once a complaint is made, is to educate the parking offender.

Fourth, go home, light a candle, and call on a higher power to infest the miscreant's shorts with one of the plagues of Egypt. Lice, the third plague, sounds right. Boils have a certain appeal, too.

Dear Mahatma: Traveling through the widening of Interstate 630 is challenging enough with lane changes and an uneven roadway. Now we have to deal with smoke obscuring our view because the contractor is burning large, recently toppled trees next to the roadway. This is insane. Why is this allowed? On top of this, it's polluting the air. Where is common sense when we need it? -- Smokeless Lee

Dear Lee: Common sense comes from the state Department of Environmental Quality, which under Section 18.601 (D) of its regulations allows controlled fires for the purpose of on-site land clearing.

But we are told by David Nilles, a spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Transportation, that it can stop the contractor from burning if the smoke obscures visibility.

Your complaint, Smokeless Lee, has been passed to the Highway Department's District 6 and Environmental Division.

Metro on 01/12/2019

Print Headline: DRIVETIME MAHATMA: What to do when obviously able-bodied people park in handicapped spaces


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  • tdhoneycuttsbcglobalnet
    January 12, 2019 at 7:43 a.m.

    The Department of Finance and Administration has a violations portal. IT will not allow me to post here. I am unsure whether the spinal cord commission continues its feature.

  • Jfish
    January 12, 2019 at 7:51 a.m.

    People who park in handicap spots and litter the roadways are definitely some of the lowest in society and little or no enforcement only perpetuates these problems.

  • NoUserName
    January 12, 2019 at 9:09 a.m.

    Just because somebody doesn't *look* handicapped doesn't mean they aren't.

  • Morebeer
    January 12, 2019 at 9:54 a.m.

    Sticker, NUM, a sticker. But I agree. Your handicap isn’t apparent until you type.
    Gawd that’s snarky. Don’t hit post don’t hit post don’t

  • Jfish
    January 12, 2019 at 10:36 a.m.

    I am pretty sure NUN if they are 30 years old, don't have a placard or a license plate, and they walk hurriedly into the store, that they should leave the spot for someone more deserving.

  • NoUserName
    January 12, 2019 at 10:48 a.m.

    Oh please, fish. You know perfectly well that I'm not talking about people withOUT stickers or placards. As for you, fool, my point is accurate. Things like MS can leave somebody looking perfectly normal on the way in and unable to walk across the parking lot on the way out. Or not, which is the nature of the disease. And fish seemingly is never willing to admit that.

  • Jfish
    January 12, 2019 at 11:03 a.m.

    Sorry NUN, my mental telepathy in regard to your posts is not working well today. If you go back and read the article, it says able-bodied people, nothing about placards and plates.

  • Popsmith
    January 12, 2019 at 11:08 a.m.

    Burning trees: Trees have become a nuisance since the price of wood is down and people don't use much firewood anymore. What to do?

  • NoUserName
    January 12, 2019 at 11:51 a.m.

    You're right, fish. Nothing is said about placards. You assume that means the able-bodied folks referenced here don't have them. That, however, is as assumption that is likely incorrect since Anita wouldn't have needed to talk about 'able-bodied' people if the vehicle didn't have the proper placard. She would simply have said people without handicapped placards. The able-bodied comment implies proper vehicle markings. But nonetheless, if you're simply talking only about people without placards, then you and I are on the same page. My original point, however, is 100% accurate. People WITH placards may LOOK able-bodied but are handicapped and 100% legally permitted to park in handicapped spaces.

  • HarleyOwner
    January 12, 2019 at 12:16 p.m.

    I once saw an able bodied, on duty,security guard for a grocery store that parked in a handicap space while he was standing guard. I called it to the attention of the store and they replied that they were aware of it but couldn't get him to stop doing it.