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Overpass fencing bill gets committee nod in Pa. Senate

The state Senate’s Transportation Committee voted 14-0 Tuesday to advance a bill requiring the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to install protective fencing[1] on most new or replacement bridges passing over interstates or other limited access highways. The bill, drafted by Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Lycoming County, is a direct response to a 2014 case in which an Ohio school teacher was severely injured[2] by a rock thrown off on overpass in Union County onto Interstate 80. Yaw has noted that the policy change is literally a last request of Sharon Budd’s late husband, Randy, who asked him by text last August to “please get the fencing issue settled,”[3] just several hours before he committed suicide.

Yaw’s bill would specifically require fencing to be placed – at time of construction or major maintenance – along any bridge with sidewalks that spans an interstate or other limited-access highway. It would also require PennDOT to consider installation of fencing during projects on bridges without sidewalks in areas close to schools or playgrounds, or where there has been a record of objects being thrown or dropped on the road below. The bill would also apply to pedestrian bridges over state-owned highways in urban areas.

Federal law for some time has required fencing on most interstate overpasses with sidewalks. But Yaw notes Pennsylvania is also full of overpasses that predate that requirement and/or other bridges without dedicated sidewalks that carry state routes over interstates. It’s that Achilles Heel in the system that Yaw said he’s trying to address.

“Is it going to prevent everything? No,” Yaw conceded in an interview in his Senate office Tuesday. But “they (state engineers) would at least have to look at every one of these now.”

And, he noted that any type of fencing would likely prevent the hurling of large rocks or other heavy objects of the type that crashed through the Budd family’s car and typically do the most damage.

“Hopefully we can save some people from committing some really stupid acts,” Yaw said. The Budd family’s advocacy helped prompt a similar policy change by the Ohio Department of Transportation[4] in early 2016. Yaw introduced a similar measure shortly after Randy Budd’s suicide, but with limited session time in that campaign season it did not make it to the Senate floor.[5]

The Montoursville Republican said Tuesday he is hopeful that having gotten an earlier start in the current legislative session, the fencing bill will have a better chance of reaching Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk.

SB 564’s next stop is a fiscal review by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Sharon Budd[6] lost part of her skull and an eye when a four-and-a-half-pound rock was thrown from an Interstate 80 overpass west of Route 15 in Union County just before midnight on July 10, 2014.

Four New Columbia area young men were charged with the rock throwing and other criminal acts that night. They pleaded either guilty or no contest and all received jail sentences followed by lengthy periods of probation.

References

  1. ^ requiring the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to install protective fencing (www.legis.state.pa.us)
  2. ^ an Ohio school teacher was severely injured (www.pennlive.com)
  3. ^ to “please get the fencing issue settled,” (www.pennlive.com)
  4. ^ a similar policy change by the Ohio Department of Transportation (www.pennlive.com)
  5. ^ it did not make it to the Senate floor. (www.pennlive.com)
  6. ^ Sharon Budd (www.cantonrep.com)

‘Twin Peaks’ Season 3, Episode 1 Recap: "I’ll See You Again in 25 Years"

Well, Twin Peaks[1] fans, I don t think we re in Twin Peaks anymore. The first episode of what is technically the third season of the cult 90’s show on Showtime leaves more questions than answers (what else did you expect?) and sees the strange world of the original newly expanded. The kick-off for season three takes us through four different, but interconnected, storylines, only one of which takes places Twin Peaks, while the other three take place in South Dakota, New York, and the famous Red Room at the Black Lodge in its strange limbo world. The small-town hijinks and camp of the original don t feature so heavily in this reboot, though don t get me wrong this one has its camp moments, too. But with its multiple storylines, disposable characters, and moody, self-serious black humor, it feels spiritually much more akin to David Lynch[2] s films like Mulholland Drive, also originally meant to be a TV series.

It s as if the most confusing plot elements of the original Twin Peaks[3] have been dialed up to 100 and let loose on the rest of America. So basically, it s a wild ride for fans of the show and completely nonsensical to anyone else. (Nb: What, if any, did the network notes look like on this? Maybe make Red Room less completely absurd and foreboding of unspeakable doom? BTW: What is Red Room? Necessary? The more likely version: Uh. OK! )

Carel Struyckenin a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

Suzanne Tenner

Still, it s part of a clear recipe in prestige TV, from Fargo to I Love Dick[4], of taking original material and swelling its world to fit the ever-expanding storylines and scope essential to an episodic series. More is more; results may vary. Or as the Log Lady said, Where there was once one, there are now two. Or were there always two?

After a prelude taken from the original series Laura Palmer s now-prescient promise to Special Agent Dale Cooper, I ll see you again in 25 years the season opens in the Red Room, which feels appropriate. Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan, who has aged well[5]) has seemingly been trapped here for the last quarter century. Various personalities from the original appear and tell him cryptic pieces of advice, basically all alluding to the fact that Bob the demonic entity that originally possessed Leland Palmer and made him kill his daughter Laura is in the real world using Cooper s body. The Giant tells him to listen to the sounds, and, It all cannot be said aloud now. Mmkay.

Madeline Zima in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

Suzanne Tenner

Maybe the most surprising development is that New York City plays a role, as we enter another storyline set in an amber-lit Gotham. In a nondescript brick building in Manhattan, a young man sits watching a glass box in a concrete bunker of a space . The glass box is connected to a small portal looking out on the city, as well as some very formidable-looking equipment. Cameras and screens surround the box. The man watches while sitting on a singular couch surrounded by boxes. Something is going to happen here, if you couldn t tell from the eerie, ever-growing hum.

Outside the door, a smiling woman named Tracy arrives bearing lattes as a security guard stares her down. But she s not allowed inside. The room is top secret. She persists, as she clearly has a crush on the guy, and offers to drop by again tomorrow.

Ashley Judd and Richard Beymer in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

Suzanne Tenner

Back in Twin Peaks, Dr. Jacoby gets a big delivery of shovels to his trailer; Benjamin Horne has hired Beverly (new-to-show Ashley Judd) as his new assistant at the hotel and gets a visit from his druggie brother Jerry, who asks if he s sleeping with his recent hire yet; and at the sheriff s office, someone looking for Sheriff Truman gets soundly confused by kooky secretary Kimmy Robertson. Same old, same old.

Elsewhere, driving on a dark winding forest road is the Dale Cooper inhabited by Bob (let s call him Host Cooper). He s leathery and tan, with long hair and a leather jacket, and he s clearly on a mission. He rolls up to a wooden cabin where he promptly beats up a stooge standing guard and leaves hauling off two younger drifters, Ray and Daria.

Back in New York City, Tracy arrives at the strange building again with lattes, but the security guard is gone, so her suitor lets her in for a while. While she s amazed by the glass box setup, he admits that he doesn t know what it does he just took the job as a gig. He s supposed to see something, and apparently people have before, but he hasn t yet and can t talk about it. It doesn t take long until they start hooking up on the couch, as the glass box grows more and more prominent, the hum louder and louder until

Matthew Lillard in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

Suzanne Tenner

The box goes black. A person, or humanoid, lurks inside it but before we can tell what it is, the thing breaks through the glass, fills the room like a fog, and tears up the couple s faces or that s what it looks like. It’s old-school, schlockily vague visual effects that fit perfectly in the world that is Twin Peaks. The overly CGI-ed Manhattan skylines, not so much.

In a new location, Buckhorn, North Dakota, there s a lot more weird small-town quirkiness than in Twin Peaks itself. The whole thing feels a little close to the Fargo reboot, as two cops discover through a series of comic interludes and bizarre townies that a woman named Ruth Davenport has been murdered in her apartment in a gruesome fashion. We get appearances by Jane Adams and Brent Briscoe (a Mulholland Drive alum) in the police force, and they find out that the prints in the apartment belong to Bill Hastings, the high school principal, a perfectly-cast Matthew Lillard.

Kyle MacLachlan in a still from Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

Suzanne Tenner

Meanwhile, in Twin Peaks, Log Lady is making weird midnight phone calls to the police station (Log Lady!) in order to reach Deputy Hawk. My log has a message for you. Something is missing and you have to find it. It has to do with Special Agent Dale Cooper. Log Lady knows what s up; she s also, hint hint, posed next to a red lampshade.

After his arrest at his picture-perfect home in front of his khaki-clad wife, Hastings starts to crack under questioning at the station. Turns out Ruth Davenport was a librarian he knew, though he claims not well. It s obvious he s lying about something. His alibi for the last few days has some suspicious gaps. He looks increasingly nervous and aware of being watched, and asks what s going on. He looks genuinely shocked when he s told Ruth was murdered, while back at his house, police find a piece of human flesh in his trunk. Does Bob have a new, new host? Before we get any more answers, we re back at the Red Room with the Giant. Onto part two.

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A Field Guide to Recognizing Your Favorite Twin Peaks Actors Now, 26 Years Later

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Related: Laura Dern and Naomi Watts Open Up About David Lynch, And Tease Twin Peaks[6]

Read all W‘s Twin Peaks coverage here.[7]

Laura Dern, Naomi Watts, Patricia Arquette, and Hailey Gates Open Up About Working with Legendary Director David Lynch:

References

  1. ^ Twin Peaks (www.wmagazine.com)
  2. ^ David Lynch (www.wmagazine.com)
  3. ^ the original Twin Peaks (www.wmagazine.com)
  4. ^ I Love Dick (www.wmagazine.com)
  5. ^ Kyle MacLachlan, who has aged well (www.wmagazine.com)
  6. ^ Related: Laura Dern and Naomi Watts Open Up About David Lynch, And Tease Twin Peaks (www.wmagazine.com)
  7. ^ Read all W’s Twin Peaks coverage here. (www.wmagazine.com)

Snow Storm Threatens Stream Flooding

A flood watch is active in the north central part of Wyoming. Recent warm weather combined with a spring snow storm is speeding up the already high levels of runoff in the state s mountains. Streams in the eastern and central part of the state are also beginning to run high: in the Shoshone, Big Horn, Wind, and Powder River Basins. In the Wind River Mountains, snow pack is 237-percent higher than usual according to the emergency management agency in Fremont County.

Pat Kondas, the public relations officer with the county s emergency management, said officials from Homeland Security and the National Guard have set up barriers filled with dirt at critical points to redirect runoff from overflowing streams. She said it’s still just pre-emptive work. Flooding has not started and it won t until whatever s melting comes down from the mountains. Kondas said residents can pick up their own sandbags at road and bridge shops around Fremont County.

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