The problem of similar street names in Shelbyville and Bedford County could have caused a major problem after a serious traffic accident last week.
Railroad Avenue becomes Railroad Road at the Stanley Boulevard intersection. A caller to 9-1-1 specified Railroad "Avenue" when the wreck was actually on Railroad "Road."
Shelbyville and Bedford County rescuers worked together to find the actual location.
To complicate matters, at least one county road sign well outside Shelbyville refers to Railroad "Avenue," according to a reader e-mail I received last week.
Those aren't the only confusing names.
* There's a Park Place in Shelbyville, a short street between Madison and East Lane Streets. About a mile and a half away off Horse Mountain Road, there's another Park Place in Shelbyville -- a new subdivision. A sign in front of the subdivision's lone road proclaims "Park Place" but no city sign shows the street's official name, which is obviously not Park Place. An emergency caller who doesn't live on that street would probably call it "Park Place."
* Cedar Grove Road near Unionville and Cedar Grove Street in Shelbyville can be confusing.
* Hilltop Road near Flat Creek and Hilltop Drive, not to be confused with Hillcrest Drive, in Shelbyville. The Shelbyville version was changed from 'Road' a few years ago.
* This one's not a danger but still a nuisance.
River Bend (two words) Country Club is on Riverbend (one word) Road, where addresses are listed in the telephone book as Riverbend Country Club (three words) Road. Many of us who have been here for years just informally call it "the country club."
We began using River Bend (two words ) to identify the club, but not the road, after numerous display advertisements in the T-G used two words.
But one of the latest ads calls it Riverbend (one word). Go figure.
Local natives like me can usually figure out where we're going. Over the years you just naturally remember where everything is. And I try to keep up with new subdivisions so if I have to find anything fast, I'll be familiar.
But a little more care in naming streets could possibly save a life. Remember, as we grow, more people -- including emergency personnel -- won't be as familiar.
Can I put in my "two cents worth" about the caller who complained about "negative news" in the T-G?
As much as we'd like to present "happy news" from front to back, that's impossible.
We have to present Bedford County as it is, problems and all, instead of covering over the bad side. If we didn't, we'd be painting a fake portrait -- and we'd be lying. That's not how you preserve readers' trust.
But remember this: Only by showing the bad side can we stimulate discussion and positive changes. That's where your voices count.
Interestingly, the Newark, N.J., city council has awarded the Newark Weekly News a $100,000 contract to print "positive news about the city," the Associated Press reports.
"Do we have critical reporters on staff? No. Do we have investigative reporters? No," owner Howard Scott told The Star-Ledger, the city's large daily newspaper.
"The paper can only generate stories based on leads from the council and the mayor's office," AP reports.
Sounds like an attempt to control the news -- which is never a good thing.
Two quick shots:
* Harriet Miers has no business being nominated for Supreme Court justice when she's never been a judge. President Bush shouldn't base choices on cronyism, as the FEMA gaffe following Hurricane Katrina proved.
* I'm a little late with this, but: Even if it means Celebration visitors have to drive their full-size instead, golf carts should be banned from the streets during the show.
If I had actually hit the person I almost rammed -- who was driving along on an unlighted golf cart, well before sunrise, smack dab in the middle of a dimly-lit area of Glenoaks Road -- she might agree with me.
David Melson is T-G copy editor and covers police beat. Your comments welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org.