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Answer Line: Ordinance says residents can't put up speed limit signs

Dec. 14, 2016 at 11:19 p.m.


QUESTION: In July there was a question about speeding cars on a residential street, and the person was told the city will not put up speed limit signs. I have the same problem on my street. My question: Since the city will not put up 30 mph speed limit signs, can I buy one myself (available online) and erect it? Are there instructions to put it up properly? If I am not allowed to put one at the end of my street, can I put it in my yard? This is definitely a safety concern, and it is frustrating that drivers are so inconsiderate.

ANSWER: City ordinance prohibits what you're proposing. The city's list of prohibited signs includes "any sign using any combination of forms, words, colors or lights which imitate standard public traffic regulatory, emergency signs, or signals … "

City spokesman Shawn Hara said only the city may install traffic control signs or signals unless they are authorized as part of a temporary traffic control plan.

Also, just for review, 30 mph is the default speed limit in what are known as urban districts in Texas, and yes, that includes city streets. (That's set by state statute, which also sets speed limits for state-numbered highways outside a city at 70 mph, for instance.) So unless you see a sign indicating otherwise, 30 mph is the speed limit on a city street, and the city of Longview's policy is that it does not install 30 mph speed limit signs.

Q: We live on Hampton Court in Longview. Every Friday at 9 p.m., we can hear "Taps" being played. It sounds nice. Where is it coming from and why?

A: I love this question, because I love the answer. I'm not sure why you only hear it on Friday nights, though, because taps is being played every night at 9 p.m. by the nearby St. Mary's Catholic Church.

The Rev. Mark Kusmirek became the church's leader about 2 1/2 years ago. The church's tape bell system was broken at the time, he said. He told his congregation he'd like to have it fixed, and members gave $15,000 within a couple of days.

The system plays chimes each hour, and before Masses on Saturday nights and Sunday, it plays "The Bells of St. Mary's" from the 1945 Bing Crosby movie by the same name.

"('Taps') was the first thing I had put on it," Kusmirek said, and the bugle call plays every night at 9 p.m., or as he put it, at "2100 hours 365 days of the year."

Kusmirek was a chaplain in the U.S. Navy from 1997 to 2003, working mostly with U.S. Marines, he said. I think we all know how difficult the last two years of his service, in particular, must have been.

"We've seen a lot," Kusmirek said.

He was behind a similar effort when he led a church in Jacksonville. A Little League field was near the church, and if a game was being played when "Taps" began, some of the game officials would hold the game and have everyone stand at attention.

"It's very sweet, and it's very appropriate," he said, adding that he hopes the nightly music here serves as a reminder of those who have served and are serving.

"It's always greeted with universal acceptance," and respected, he said.

Kusmirek said the song sometimes is heard as far away as Wal-Mart and Good Shepherd Medical Center, depending on atmospheric conditions.

Q: What happened to Greta Van Susteren, the Fox News lady who has been on for years and years? All of a sudden she's gone.

A: She left the network in September, but wasn't allowed to exit as gracefully as she had hoped, according to a news report I found. This was a bit of a rough year for the network, and the report explained she had tried to renegotiate her contract for a pay raise. The network wouldn't play ball, though, and Van Susteren was unhappy with other aspects of Fox News. She told the network of her intent to depart, but rather than allowing her to leave on her own timeline, she was removed from the schedule and deleted from the website. It sounds like she hopes to return to broadcasting.

— Answer Line appears Thursday and Saturday. Email questions to answerline@news-journal.com, leave a message at (903) 232-7208 or write to P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.

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