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The Pothole Bandit

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John Beagle View Drop Down
MUSA Official
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Joined: Apr 23 2007
Location: Middletown
Status: Offline
Points: 1855
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    Posted: Nov 29 2007 at 10:44am
Courtesy \TMP of Crankmail

Some folks plant trees in the spring; others do it in the fall. Bruce Ploof had never planted trees before, so he took a middle-of-the-road approach.

He planted them in the middle of the road.

Ploof did this to protest the number of potholes in Burlington Vt., after an ambulance hit one and broke and axle. So, one Wednesday night in June, the 28-year-old taxi driver screwed up his courage and filled each of three of the city's biggest cavities with a 3-foot spruce.

He waited until the bars closed to plant the trees, and he placed a blinking light barricade in front of each one. Signs warned "Potholes of Burlington, Beware. (Signed) The Pothole Bandit."

The act put Burlington on the map. The New York Times ran the story, so did the Boston Globe, Washington Post, Stars and Stripes and the National Enquirer. Morton Dean mentioned The Great Pothole Caper on the Cable News Network, and a national gardening magazine took pictures.

Two days later, a Burlington disc jockey managed a telephone hookup between the still anonymous bandit and the local police chief. On the air, they decided to meet at Perkins Pier at High Noon, as the radio station played "The Good, The Bad, and They Ugly".
Bandit: "I'll come in from the East if you'll come in from the west."
Chief (protesting): That's Lake Champlian!"
Bandit: "That's OK, you guys just bought a new police boat."

The cops and cameras were waiting for Ploof, who entered with a John Wayne gait from across the railroad tracks. He wore a cowboy hat and sunglasses. A bandanna covered his face. What looked like a tree branch rose from the holster at his side.

The showdown turned out to be a letdown. Both sides agreed on needed road repair.

A week later, with newspapers in hot pursuit, Ploof acknowledged his identity on the Channel 3 news. He pulled off his mask after planting a tree in another pothole.

In July, the Pothole Bandit was back, this time to face the mayor. They met on the Winooski-Burlington Bridge, where Ploof received a written pardon and a cake to kick off the city's roads program. The cake was shaped like a street and had a center line down the middle sans potholes....

The publicity has been nice. "It taught me that people hate potholes and love trees."

Well, BGrass-Lers... this an example of the true American spirit. Stop and think about what you can do. In these days of lemming oriented politics, here is a man who found a way to not only raise local awareness but a way to do it with sttttttyyyyyyle.......
John Beagle

Middletown USA

News of, for and by the people of Middletown, Ohio.
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Bill Rogers View Drop Down
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Joined: Apr 24 2007
Location: United States
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Points: 225
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bill Rogers Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 29 2007 at 11:14am
I don't think the state of our streets have become that desperate... YET.

I'll keep this in mind though.
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