Wichita Falls is, for the most part, a pretty good place to live. Among many other things, we don’t have the traffic nightmares that plague Dallas and Houston. But there are some minor aspects of our day-to-day lives that could be improved by simply banning or eradicating some things.

From the mildly annoying to the downright dumb, here are ten things (including some 'laws') we could live without in Wichita Falls.

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    Actually, this should be banned state wide. This is Texas. We are NOT tofu people. I admit I have had it before. I'm surprised by how many local restaurants actually incorporate it into various dishes. Then I found out that it’s made from coagulated soy milk. Just say no to tofu and please pass the bacon.

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    The inside left turn lane from Lawrence Road to Kell West

    This is new feature laid on us by TX DOT. It’s dangerous and that is why it makes this list. Twice in two months I’ve nearly been hit by idiots who cannot quite understand the concept behind the double left-turn lane. Scrap it before it’s too late.

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    Pop-up sprinklers

    We’ve just recovered from a record drought.  Mind you, we recovered in record time. Didn’t see that one coming did ya?  But a few common sense approaches will help prevent the next drought from being so severe. Pop up sprinklers have become a real pet peeve of mine. You don’t need to shoot water ten feet into the air to water your lawn. Drip irrigation or low rise sprinkler heads are the better choice.

  • via flickr user DeepRoot
    via flickr user DeepRoot

    Trees in parking lots

    This is apparently (or at least has been) a requirement within city building codes. You had to have X number of trees or other plants for every X number of square feet of parking. I’m told the city council is at least considering doing away with this requirement. Trees in a parking lot look about as out of place as an award in Kanye West’s hands. And it’s just one more thing you must use water on to keep alive. Just doesn’t make sense.

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    No booze at a liquor store after 9PM

    Another thing that should be off the books is also a state-wide issue: liquor stores must close by 9:00 PM and on Sundays. Let me get this straight; I can go to a bar seven nights a week and get schnockered till 2 am, but I can’t drop by the liquor store and pick up a bottle to take home past 9 pm or on Sunday? This is, of course, due to the ‘blue laws’. The first of these were imposed by the Puritans beginning in colonial Virginia in 1617. Fourteen states still have such laws on the books that ban a variety of activity, particularly on Sunday.  Either make the bars shut it down on Sunday or let the poor, innocent liquor store merchant make a buck, too.

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    Crowd Control at Chick-Fil-A

    I love Chick Fil A. They have the best grilled chicken sandwich in town hands down. But just recently, a strange device appeared that has impaired my movement in the store. Someone had the bright idea to set up some of these retractable belt crowd control barriers. I’ve watched in horror as children tried to swing on them. People seem very confused by them and they just create more of a bottle neck. Not to mention the fact that they took out one of the condiment bars, which means half as many of those delicious Chick-Fil-A mints to take part in after the meal. The belts are nuisance.  Be gone!

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    Prohibition on the possession of fireworks in Wichita Falls

    Here’s another of those pesky ‘ordinances’ that needs to be done away with. We’ve all seen the signs around July 4th and New Year’s-‘Possession and Discharge of Fireworks Prohibited’. My sources tell me that, if caught in possession of fireworks inside the city limits, your fireworks will be confiscated and you will be ticketed.  Here’s why this is a dumb law that needs to be off the books: I own a piece of property out in the county.  It’s my own, private land. But I live inside Wichita Falls. I’m not going to wait until the night of July 4th to go purchase my fireworks to fire off on my own private property outside the city limits. I’m going to buy them a few days before. But, if I am stopped for any reason and the officer should discover them in my car, he takes them away and I get fined. This scenario is the case for many Wichita Falls residents.

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    The Crepe Myrtle Sculpture

    The late George Sugarman was a somewhat controversial artist. One of his many works, The Crepe Myrtle Sculpture, has served as a fixture in Harold Jones Park since 1980. It’s given many a drunk a fine place to urinate. It is, quite possibly, the biggest waste of money ever spent by a city council in the history of Wichita Falls. Rumor has it that we paid in excess of $100,000 for this monstrosity. Surely there’s a better way to artistically represent our city’s most durable plant. Perhaps a real Crepe Myrtle would make a better choice? They don’t’ look too bad and you cannot kill them. Trust me, I’ve tried.

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    The roach motels

    We still have a couple of these old, abandoned relics standing and they should be nuked. Not only do they attract the Nazi meth lab rats, but they look like death sucking on a Tootsie Roll. When the dump that used to stand on Scott Ave. (where the new bus terminal now stands) was demolished, I nearly cried with joy. Even if they’d just left it a dirt lot, it still would have looked better than what was there. And by the way, the new bus terminal looks really, really good. Nice work.

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    I don’t know why, but we seem to have a large cross section of our community that loves this stuff. The brain child of DuPont’s Joseph Shivers, the name is an anagram of the word ‘expands.’ Some people don’t seem to realize that this does not mean ‘expands and makes you look good.’ While some have the body to pull it off, many others do not. If your body mass index is over 25, you really need to avoid this stuff. While you may think you’re improving your visual appeal, you are actually scaring the hell out of everyone. Seeing a 5’3”, 350 pound woman at Wal-Mart in Spandex shorts is not only frightening, it is solidly in the category of things you can never un-see. I’m really a small government guy, but I’d get behind a law banning the sale of this stuff to anyone whose BMI qualifies them for a spot on ‘Biggest Loser’.

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