SPOKANE, Wash. -- City leaders confirmed Friday that they are starting a pilot project to better clear driveways snow berms. Snow removal teams will test equipment to remove berms created by plows. Leaders said they ordered one boot which will be attached to a grader. The grader pushes snow to the sides of streets, similar to a plow. The boot would be used to clear plowed snow from the end of driveways. Spokane Mayor David Condon said he hopes to test the process and find out how long jobs will take, or whether or not it will be financially beneficial to the City. Leaders also said that only one boot will be enough to provide data to see if it will make a difference.Sounds like an interesting new pilot project unless you have a memory. THE GRADER BOOT WAS INVENTED HERE IN SPOKANE by the city's own drivers and mechanics, sometime in the 1960s. Spokane was unique for a while, until the invention spread to other cities. Spokane was still using the grader boots when I moved here in 1991; they stopped a few years later, maybe 1995. So it's been less than 20 years since the gadget was STANDARD PROCEDURE here. The news article doesn't mention any of this, and the writer is even ignorant of the way the boot works. It doesn't "clear plowed snow from the end of driveways". It's a hydraulically controlled gate on the right end of the grader blade. The driver drops the boot while he's passing a driveway, and the boot temporarily prevents the snow from flowing to the side. Now the idea is treated as an import from other cities, and even the city gov't seems to be treating it as a completely fresh idea that nobody has ever encountered before!!!! Later: Well, I take it back somewhat. The TV version of the story doesn't ignore the history. "For the first time in decades, Spokane residents may be able to use their driveways...."
Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.