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DRIVETIME MAHATMA: Basketball courts due a rebound

by Frank Fellone | May 9, 2020 at 7:52 a.m.

Dear Mahatma: Does the Highway Department plan on replacing the basketball courts beneath Interstate 630 at Mississippi Street? Before their demolition for the highway widening, it seemed like 90% of the times I would drive by, there would be a pickup game or two going on. -- Dribbler

Dear Dribbler: Keep practicing that step-back three-pointer.

The Arkansas Department of Transportation reports that the courts will be replaced, and that the city of Little Rock is responsible for the design and construction. ArDot's part is to grant the city an airspace permit, necessary because of the courts' proximity to the interstate.

Airspace permit? The things we learn here, no?

To learn more, we tried to read 23 United States Code 111, "Agreements relating to use of and access to rights-of-way Interstate System." But we got the vapors after reading the first paragraph. Fortunately, we understand the concept of rights of way.

Mark Webre, deputy director of operations for the Little Rock Parks and Recreation Department, was kind enough to tell us more.

The city has not determined a start date for construction of the basketball courts, he said.

And the cost? Approximately $250,000.

Dear Mahatma: It appears streetlights in downtown Little Rock still operate as if there is normal traffic. Can this be corrected? It's frustrating to wait at a stop light for so long when there are no cars driving the other way. -- Mat

Dear Mat: We asked Little Rock's chief traffic guy, Bill Henry, about this.

He said cycle lengths in downtown are already short, and added that lights are also on four different timing plans -- a.m., noon, p.m. and off peak. The daytime plans, by the way, also accommodate pedestrian timing needs.

Oh Wise One: Perhaps the owner of the vehicle in question with the vanity plate "SEDATED" is a die-hard fan of the 1978 recording from the Ramones, "I Wanna Be Sedated." -- Rock On

Dear Rocky: Way back in 1978, we were more attuned to Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings and "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys." Also Barbara Mandrell's "Sleeping Single in a Double Bed," which still gives us heart palpitations.

The Ramones -- not so much. But point taken.

Dear Mahatma: My son-in-law is an anesthesiologist in Texarkana and his license plate is N2B8TOR. -- Linda

Dear Linda: The origin of anesthesia, a really hard word to say out loud, is Greek. "An" meaning without; "aisthesis," meaning sensation.

The things learned in this space, no?

Let's learn even more. Our pandemic word of the week is dystopian. Writers use it to sound smart, but that hardly ever worked for us.

Turns out a dystopia is the opposite of utopia. That is, a nasty, stinking, bad place. Just take dys, meaning bad, slap on utopia and -- voila! -- a new word.

As readers just noticed, we speak French, too.

Metro on 05/09/2020

Print Headline: Basketball courts due a rebound


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