NO WHISTLES, PLEASE Minot's first railroad quiet zone is under construction, and folks living near the tracks between Souris Valley Golf Course and Maple Street in west Minot should in the near future get a reprieve from the whistles blasting from the 40 trains that pass through that section of town daily. Three crossings in west Minot are undergoing safety improvements necessary to make the crossings part of a Railroad Quiet Zone. Medians are being installed at the crossings to keep traffic from going around existing crossbars and lights at the locations.?Trains pass through some of the areas at 55 miles per hour, which makes the upgraded crossings and warning signs imperative to safety. New signs will be erected warning drivers not to expect train whistles at those locations. Once the crossings are upgraded, the city will be ab le to apply to the Federal Railroad Administration for permission to discontinue the requirement for warning whistles for 40 BNSF Railway trains that use the tracks daily. We understand the trains are noisy and can briefly disrupt everyday life for those who chose to live near the tracks or locate their business near the tracks. But we hope the quiet zones don't lead to any serious accidents.
ALCOHOL IN THE MAIL? If Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has his way, the Postal Service could soon be delivering beer, wine and spirits. Donahoe has said the practice of delivering alcoholic beverages is high on his list of ways to raise revenue for the struggling agency, which lost $16 billion last year. Donahoe said the practice could net the agency as much as $50 million a year. Mailing alcoholic beverages is currently restricted by law. There are Postal Service competitors, of course, than ship alcoholic beverages, so perhaps Donahoe is right that it's a practice his agency should look into adding to its services.