Q. Would it be possible for you to print a drawing of the two roundabouts now under construction at the junctions of Illinois 13, 15 and 158? I just cannot picture how these are going to work.
-- George Hasenstab, of Belleville
A. Considering the size and complexity of these dual traffic circles just 300 feet apart, publishing an illustration that would do them justice probably would take half a page -- and that, I'm afraid, falls outside the scope of this column.
However, for anyone who wants to see how this novel configuration is going to work, I would encourage a visit to www.belleville.net/departments/engineering. Go to "Project Plans" and at the bottom of the list click on "IL158/13-15 Roundabout" to download step-by-step diagrams of how they are being constructed.
On page 11, you'll find what engineers and city leaders hope will be the end to what can be a traffic nightmare in that short stretch.
Basically, traffic from South Belt West (13), Centerville Avenue (158) and the westbound exit ramp from 15 will feed into the northernmost circle. Drivers then will have their choice of going north or south on 158, east or west on 13 -- or taking the westbound ramp onto 15.
Those continuing south on 158 almost immediately will enter the southernmost roundabout. This circle also will receive traffic from the eastbound ramp off 15, drivers heading north on 158 and those coming west on Whiskey Road. Once in the circle, drivers can go south or north on 158, head east on Whiskey Road or take the eastbound ramp onto 15.
As you say, trying to paint a picture with words is tough, so I will send you this final sketch so you can prepare for these new traffic patterns. (Anyone else wanting a copy can send me a stamped, self-addressed envelope.) With luck, drivers will learn roundabout driving etiquette in a hurry and the chaos which can bring that 13/158 intersection to a screeching halt will just become a distant memory.
Q. What are those tiny, wormlike insects found in wheat products called, and where do they come from? They're disgusting!
-- J.L.M., of Fairview Heights
A. Maybe companies could start new ad campaigns to ease your distress. You know, something like "Sugar-Frosted Worms! They're g-r-r-r-e-a-t!" Or how about "Snap! Crackle! Squoosh! Rice Beetles!"
Well, it's a thought. After all, seeing pieces of your cereal move on their own may be disgusting, but it's not terribly unusual, says Dr. Barb Ogg, of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln Extension Service, who has helpful ideas on squelching such infestations -- and preventing new ones.
Just as birds gotta fly and fish gotta swim, insects gotta eat -- and many enjoy the same things we do. So you shouldn't be all that surprised when a few make their way into such common products as flour, cereal, baking mixes, crackers and macaroni.
The list reads like a who's who of creepy-crawlies. Often, it's common wireworms and mealworms, which can grow into flour beetles. Otherwise, it could be spider beetles, bean weevils, cigarette and drugstore beetles and dermestid beetles, among others.
They can get into your food in a couple of ways. Companies that store large amounts of grain provide a smorgasbord for bugs so some may make it through processing, whether as an adult, pupa, larva or egg. As I've written before, government regulations even allow a certain number of these and their body parts in the processed foods we eat.
So, you could have worms in the cereal you buy or eggs that hatch later. Or, if you've failed to clear up a past infestation in your cupboard, they're resourceful enough to make their way through cardboard and even foil into a new food source you bring home.
To avoid being driven buggy, Ogg recommends keeping cupboards clean, storing foods in insect-proof containers, making sure packages are securely sealed, buying small packages and using oldest products first. Ogg says you might even be able to salvage an infected item by freezing it for a few days or heating it in a 140-degree oven for an hour.
Remember, too, that dishes like baked or fried mealworms are a delicacy in some places -- and are maybe just as nutritious as the processed sugars and flours in the food itself. Who knows, maybe Mikey might even like them.
Who is the only player to start in four NCAA basketball Final Fours during his college career?
Answer to Tuesday's trivia: When Ralph Edwards was too sick to host "This Is Your Life" for two weeks, producers called on someone who later would deserve to have his own life spotlighted: Ronald Reagan. On Jan. 30, 1957, the future president told of Cmdr. Hugh Barr Miller's World War II survival story. The following week, Reagan took TV audiences through the life of celebrity publicist Constance Hope, the only other show that Edwards ever missed.
Send your questions to Roger Schlueter, Belleville News-Democrat, 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427 or firstname.lastname@example.org or call 239-2465.