OPINION: Sippin’ Sammie keeps on truckin’

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Let’s chat.

ITEM: Normally, I’d say readers must be getting tired of references to Sammie the World’s Greatest Cat — except that I get enough emails about her (and cats in general) to blow up our internet connection.

Still, I need to give her a rest in this column.

She’s enough of a princess as it is, without all the publicity.

But we have to cover one more issue today: I mentioned a week or so ago that I was stumped by Sammie’s infatuation with running water — which in turn made her a nuisance at the kitchen and bathroom sinks.

And so …

You all seemed to respond at once.

Quite a few readers suggested a portable pet fountain, and some even added photos and other material regarding these things — which I didn’t even know existed.

Thanks to everyone, and I’m on the trail, believe me.

And yes, when I have a pet fountain, you’ll see ANOTHER photo of Sammie.

ITEM: Just last week, we mentioned NIC’s community training program in Post Falls, and specifically a course to teach truck driving.

I suggested that it wasn’t a bad career choice, since the United States has a huge shortage of drivers — getting close to 300,000 fewer than needed.

Well, reader Parker Woodall got in touch to say he’d heard quite a few people saying the problem could be that plenty of experienced drivers can’t pass drug tests.

We did some research on that, and discovered — after seeing a worldwide study — that drug use is way out toward the danger zone in some countries (Brazil, for instance), but having drivers ruled off the road in the U.S. is pretty rare.

Here’s the key passage about that study, as reported in Health News magazine ...

“A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) told Reuters Health in an email: ‘Safety is our number one priority, and FMCSA has strict requirements on pre-employment screening and random and post-accident drug and alcohol testing.

‘FMCSA’s own drug and alcohol testing surveys of U.S. drivers regularly show the positive rates for random drug and alcohol tests for the drivers we regulate is very low, around 1 percent.’”

So it appears that the driver shortage isn’t caused by drug issues.

But that was a savvy question, Parker, and all the rest of us now might feel a bit safer tootling along I-90.

ITEM: It’s always a shame when a local store closes, but in the case of Stein’s grocery emporium in Rathdrum, there was collateral damage.

With the whole operation shut down, the Subway sandwich shop in the corner of Stein’s is gone, too.

And that was my spot.

All of a sudden, I have to drive from Twin Lakes Village to Post Falls for my Subway fix.

Hey, calling all you entrepreneurs: Rathdrum is booming. You can make a bundle by opening a Subway.

And I’ll wash down enough roast beef with bacon sandwiches on 9-grain bread to keep you solvent, I promise.

• • •

Steve Cameron is a columnist for The Press.

A Brand New Day appears Wednesday through Saturday each week. Steve’s sports column runs on Tuesday.

Email: scameron@cdapress.com.


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