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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, spinalcord.ar.gov, 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.

Fjfellone@gmail.com

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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