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Rolly: Stranded man in wheelchair just a roadside curiosity

Published December 13, 2013 12:11 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Scott Williams is a 62-year-old paraplegic who uses a wheelchair since a mountain-climbing accident several years ago.

I wrote about Williams two years ago when he lived in Murray and neighbors noticed him shoveling the sidewalks from his wheelchair to clear a path for himself after large snowstorms.

Williams told me at the time that he wanted to stay active and get around, but it appears to be getting harder and the transportation systems he uses to get around are not so accommodating.

The day after Thanksgiving, Williams had gone downtown to enjoy Temple Square. Because buses were running on a holiday schedule, he found it difficult to get home, which now is in Sugar House.

Rather than wait in the cold, he trudged along State Street in his wheelchair, but was exhausted and too cold to go on when he reached 900 South and State Street. A convenience-store clerk called a cab and told him it would be 15 minutes. It turned out to be 45 minutes, but he got home.

Last week, he was about three blocks shy of home when the wheels came off his chair. It was after midnight, and he couldn't budge, so he again called a cab. It didn't come.

He counted 14 cars that passed without stopping. Several slowed down, apparently out of curiosity, then drove off. One driver flashed his brights at him, but kept going.

That adventure left him with frostbite.

So, Merry Christmas to all.

Snakes or no snakes? • That is the question.

While Cottonwood Heights prepares to pass a new ordinance regulating the number and type of exotic snakes one can keep in his or her home, neighbors were aghast recently that the front door of a home harboring 29 boa constrictors was left open and the house seemed unoccupied for days.

The neighbors in the Hollow Ridge area say police assured them there were no snakes in the home. But Thomas Cobb, owner of the home and the snakes, told the Cottonwood Holladay Journal recently that he is renting out the house, the snakes are still there, and he approves of a proposal that would let a homeowner keep up to 50 exotic animals, like the snakes, as a hobby.

The good news: It appears none of the cats in the neighborhood are missing.

Natural road blocks • The way the streets are plowed in the city, the snakes would never be able to navigate their way across the snowbanks anyway.

One neighbor has noticed that while the police have not seemed too concerned about snakes residing behind open doors, they are still diligently patrolling the streets in order to issue traffic tickets.

The neighbor suggests they put snow shovels on the front of their patrol cars.

Tracking you down • I wrote in Wednesday's column about a cop who suddenly couldn't renew his driver license in Utah because there was a hold from Vermont for failing to pay the fee to reinstate his driver license there.

It had been revoked because of too many traffic tickets when he worked a summer job in Vermont in 1989. He also had renewed his driver license in Utah several times since then, but apparently, after Vermont joined an interstate compact recently, it found a way to enhance revenues by scouring old unpaid fines, even for folks who have not lived there for 24 years.

Well, Massachusetts must have the same economic development plan.

A reader from St. George tells me that he received a traffic ticket while visiting Plymouth Rock in 1996.

He remembers paying the ticket, but suddenly found he had a hold from Massachusetts when trying to renew his license — a problem he never encountered before. "It took me two weeks to get someone in Boston to answer the phone so I could pay that old ticket," he says. "It cost me $150 to get it off my record."

Selective cooperation • It's interesting that Utah is now honoring quarter century-old traffic tickets from states like Vermont and Massachusetts but will not recognize Vermont and Massachusetts marriage licenses if they happened to have been issued to same-sex couples.

prolly@sltrib.com