Monday, December 15, 2014

Just in time for Christmas, it’s the ‘Truck-Eating Bridge’ calendar

If you or someone you know has had a literal run-in with one of the low-clearance bridges of Davenport, Iowa, let’s just be clear off the top that Land Line is in no way attempting to point and laugh at anybody’s misfortunes.

We just want to call attention to the Quad City Times for a fun, albeit tongue-firmly-in-cheek fundraiser to support the local affiliate of Literacy Leadership Inc., a nonprofit that uses newspapers to help promote literacy and critical thinking skills in K-12 students.

That said, copies of the 2015 edition of the “Truck-Eating Bridge” calendar are hanging side-by-side with the 2015 SuperRigs calendar in a place of honor at both Land Line and “Land Line Now” HQ.

The calendars, which sell for about $21 after taxes and shipping, can be purchased here. With the paper providing the photos and absorbing the printing costs, 100 percent of the proceeds go directly to services provided by the program, which include educational materials and lesson plans for teachers and students. The program distributes more than 25,000 newspapers to area students per week.

Jennifer Praet, Literacy Leadership coordinator for the Quad City area, said the calendars started about four years ago, in response to the tremendous amount of website traffic for photos of the aftermath of both straight trucks and tractor trailers getting their tops cropped by the notorious bridges (clearance on one of the bridges is only 11 feet, 8 inches).

“We have two bridges in Davenport that tend to be a problem,” Praet said. “The bridge over the Mississippi (River) is called the Arsenal Bridge, and then down Brady Street we have a bridge on there that also has very low clearance.

“About four years ago, (The Times) decided if people really want to see these pictures, let’s go ahead and put them out there,” she said. “They started a calendar and it has been a great fundraiser for our nonprofit.”

Bridge strikes in that area are so common, Praet said the calendar has been able to feature new and unique images every year.

“They are all current pictures; we don’t recycle any of them,” she said. “We have so many of them that happen in a year’s time, we can pull them from the last year or so. We’ve never recycled a picture.”

Like any good calendar, this one includes plenty of holidays, including Everything You Do Is Right Day (March 16), National Flip Flop Day (June 15), and World Pasta Day (Oct. 25). Of course, there’s also Truck Day (July 20).

Praet says all the holidays listed are the real deal.

“We’re a newspaper so we checked our facts and cross-referenced them,” she said. “They are actually all holidays. Who doesn’t want to know when it’s National Skip-Housework Day, or Eat Chocolate For Breakfast Day?”

The calendars can be purchased throughout the year, and there is no limited number of copies printed.

Praet stressed that the calendars are “absolutely meant to be in good fun,” and said that the owner of at least one local company that was “featured” in the calendar “thought it was a hoot, and he ended up buying them for that employee as a Christmas present.”

“We have had a huge response from truck drivers themselves and the companies thinking it’s great,” she said. “Obviously it’s an unfortunate thing, and you don’t want to see anybody go through that, but you know it happens. The response we’ve had is this is just great fun, and a neat way to support the charity.”