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DRIVETIME MAHATMA: Daffodils on the hill intriguing

by Frank Fellone | April 25, 2020 at 9:25 a.m.

Dear Mahatma: There is a lovely planting of daffodils in the shape of the state on the embankment of the Arkansas 107 exit ramp in North Little Rock. It was once a nice welcome for drivers traveling east on Interstate 40, but trees and shrubs grow in and around it so that it is hardly visible. Why are they not maintaining the planting? -- April Showers

Dear April: We asked the Arkansas Department of Transportation about this. The agency says it's responsible for maintaining the area, but it hasn't yet been mowed this spring.

David Nilles, who speaks for the department, recalled that back in 2001 daffodils and several native wildflower species were planted at every interstate interchange in these parts. So the daffodils date back at least that far. In our house, we tend to think they go way further back.

Nilles notes that daffodils typically spread over time, adding bulbs and crowding themselves to the point where flowering becomes less common.

Alas, poor flowers, we knew ye well.

A couple of things.

First is that replanting daffodils and maintaining the state's outline could be a job for volunteers of the Pulaski County Master Gardeners program. What a terrific opportunity! Although we note the slope is somewhat steep, and we'd hate to see folks tumbling down.

Second is that we welcome anyone with any specific knowledge of the daffodils planted in the outline of our small and wonderful state. When, how, and by whom?

Wise Roadie With Boundless Knowledge: I have a legal enforcement question about speeds in school zones. The signs say "when children are present." What does "present" mean as far as enforcement? Common sense tells me when the kiddos are on the roads or crosswalks, but drivers slow down with no kids in sight. -- Ken

Dear Ken: This reminds us of what Winston Churchill said about the Soviets, circa 1939. Russia, he said, was a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

The riddle is knowing when children are present. We may assume they're present Monday through Friday during the school year and during the school day.

(No kids in school right now. Eventually they will return. Clip and save.)

The mystery is knowing when they're present outside those times. Consider all the after-school activities. Kids are present then, even if in diminished numbers.

The enigma is knowing what a law enforcement officer would consider a violation of the speed limit when children are present, and knowing how a judge would view the matter should a driver contest the ticket.

Our feedback over the years from law enforcement is that when in doubt, assume the little boogers are hanging around.

A thought now.

Kids aren't in school, but they're around more than ever, walking and biking and generally getting out of the house with or without their parents. Who knew there were so many free-range children?

Drivers -- be careful in neighborhoods.

Metro on 04/25/2020

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