NJ's street sweeping machines are man's obsession

Samantha Henry, Associated Press

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- Some people are into fast cars or sleek aircraft. McKinley Page has nurtured an obsession with a more mundane vehicle: the street sweeper.

Page, who goes by Kenny, is arguably the world's most enthusiastic devotee of the machines, and he has been obsessed with them since his first glimpse of one as a child nearly 50 years ago in Newark.

He says the noise and movement of the brushes captivated him.

"I sat there, for maybe a good 25 minutes, just staring at it, watching it, and from there, then, the fascination was there," Page recalled of seeing his first street sweeper when he was 4 or 5.

At an age when most young men were saving up for their first car, Page worked multiple jobs as a teenager to buy his own dream ride: a used Elgin Street King sweeper, which he still owns. He used it to clean the streets of his Newark neighborhood when city workers failed to make the rounds.

"I would take my machine and sweep around the whole area, for free," Page said. "I would work two jobs just to, you know, clean it up, and people would clap sometimes, I mean, they liked what I did."

If street sweeping machines were the objects of his affection, the companies and engineers that made them were his personal heroes.

In a reply letter dated Nov. 21, 1972, an official from the Illinois-based Elgin Sweeper Company thanks Page for the multiple fan letters and hand-drawn images of street sweepers that he sent company officials, and he shares his lament over the Elgin Street King being discontinued.

"Yes, McKinley, I am afraid the Elgin Street King has gone down in history with the zeppelin, the electric motor car, horse-drawn fire truck and all the other things people no longer make," reads the letter, signed by Jack F. Bryson of Elgin. "But we sure agree with you that it was a beautiful street sweeper to look at."

Before saving up to buy his own sweeper, Page was well-known to the sanitation workers in Newark and several neighboring towns as the strange little kid who would follow their street sweepers around on his bicycle.

After he bought his own sweeper and embarked on a one-man campaign of vigilante cleanliness, Page also became well-known to the police.

Patrick Donnelly, a retired police officer from Woodbridge, recalled meeting Page more than 25 years ago when Donnelly was riding in a Newark squad car with a friend who wondered why a young man was driving around in a rough area of Newark on a street sweeper that didn't match the paint colors of the city's fleet.

"We pulled him over. He didn't have his insurance card, so we put him in the back of the radio car until we checked him out," Donnelly said. "He was just driving around, sweeping streets for nothing, for the city of Newark, so we told him: 'Get back in your sweeper. Have a good time, just don't hit anything, don't get into an accident.' And I've known Kenny ever since."

Donnelly is one of Page's extended circle of friends who have formed an acting troupe that is working on getting scripts produced about Page's life and other topics. Several members of the group met on the set of the 2008 movie "Be Kind Rewind," starring Jack Black and Mia Farrow, which was filmed in Passaic and in which Page was an extra.

Now, when not concentrating on his acting career, Page scours flea markets for broken toys to use for parts in the hundreds of elaborate street sweeper toy models that he created: miniature replicas of the different sweepers used by sanitation departments in towns across New Jersey.

And after moving recently to Bethlehem, Pa., Page introduced himself to the town by sending the mayor one of his handmade models — an exact replica of the city's street sweepers.

___

Follow Samantha Henry at http://www.twitter.com/SamanthaHenry

  • Donald Trump is suddenly scared of Mike Bloomberg — as he should be
    Yahoo News

    Donald Trump is suddenly scared of Mike Bloomberg — as he should be

    The president is projecting his own personality onto Bloomberg because he doesn't want the former New York City mayor, who is roughly 17 times as rich Trump, to “spend money helping whoever the Democrat nominee is” — and hurting Trump's own reelection chances. In other words, Trump is afraid. His fear is justified.

  • Damaged By Drone Strike: Suleimani's Sainthood Is Now Being Questioned
    The National Interest

    Damaged By Drone Strike: Suleimani's Sainthood Is Now Being Questioned

    In the wake of Washington's assassination of former Quds Force commander Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Arab Shi'a desires and interests across the Middle East are under a microscope. Have they shifted their protest slogans from opposing Iran to denouncing the United States? Americans should not assume that wide-angle television images of Shi'a protests in Iran calling for the downfall of the Great Satan reflect Shi'a sentiment across Arab societies.

  • Mexico sees rise in gangs, vigilantes recruiting children
    Associated Press

    Mexico sees rise in gangs, vigilantes recruiting children

    One day after a vigilante group revealed that it was using children as young as 8 as “recruits” for armed defense patrols, Mexico's president said Thursday that drug cartels too are recruiting ever-younger kids. The whole issue has sparked a debate in Mexico over the use of children in armed confrontations, with rights groups saying the practice threatens not only kids' safety, but their mental health. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that because social programs are giving more youths opportunities to study or work, drug cartels are having trouble finding gunmen, leading them to recruit children.

  • A University of Minnesota student was arrested in China and sentenced to 6 months in prison for tweeting cartoons making fun of President Xi Jingping
    Business Insider

    A University of Minnesota student was arrested in China and sentenced to 6 months in prison for tweeting cartoons making fun of President Xi Jingping

    Luo Daiqing, 20, was arrested in Wuhan, China, in July after posting tweets critical of the government while he was studying in the US, according to court documents Axios obtained. The University of Minnesota student was sentenced to six months in prison in November. A University of Minnesota student was arrested in China and sentenced to six months in prison for posting tweets critical of the government, Axios reported Wednesday.

  • Two pedestrians killed by snowplow in Kansas
    USA TODAY

    Two pedestrians killed by snowplow in Kansas

    Two pedestrians were killed early Friday morning after they were struck by a snowplow in Kansas, authorities said. The victims were identified as Anthony Stephen Toler, 22, and Jayden J. Rosa, 20, both of Manhattan. The driver of the Riley County snowplow, Lawrence J. Gassman, 65, of Manhattan, was reported uninjured.

  • US military investigating after finding Pornhub video of Navy service members shot through peephole
    The Independent

    US military investigating after finding Pornhub video of Navy service members shot through peephole

    The Navy is reportedly investigating videos found on the website Pornhub that they believe show unsuspecting service members through a peephole in a bathroom. The videos were discovered earlier this month by an agent from the Naval Criminal Investigative Series, according to a report by NBC News. Several reportedly show sailors and Marines in uniform, with visible name patches.

  • Mexico detained more than 2,000 after caravan border crossing
    AFP

    Mexico detained more than 2,000 after caravan border crossing

    Mexican migration authorities released Wednesday an official count of the number of people detained along the country's southern border two days before, estimating that more than 2,000 people were "rescued" after they crossed the border with Guatemala. National Institute of Migration (INM) officials explained that among the detained were not only members of the so-called "2020 Caravan" that left Honduras about a week ago, but also many who had entered the country through other spots. On Wednesday, Mexico deported 460 Hondurans via official planes and buses from the two southern states, the ministry of the interior said.

  • Victims' bodies still at New Orleans Hard Rock Hotel months after collapse
    The Guardian

    Victims' bodies still at New Orleans Hard Rock Hotel months after collapse

    Three months after the partial collapse of the Hard Rock hotel construction site on the tip of New Orleans's historic French Quarter, a macabre reminder of the tragedy that claimed three lives was visible to passersby this week. Among the collapsed building's twisted remains and rubble, the dangling legs of a wedged corpse were revealed to the public after a tarpaulin sheet covering the body was blown away by wind. The gruesome sight came as city officials are scrambling to dismantle the 18-storey, 350-room hotel, which remains an eyesore and still holds the trapped remains of two workers, Quinnyon Wimberly and José Ponce Arreola.

  • Virologist who helped identify SARS on coronavirus outbreak: 'This time I'm scared'
    The Week

    Virologist who helped identify SARS on coronavirus outbreak: 'This time I'm scared'

    Experts are seeing shocking similarities between the coronavirus that has now spread beyond China and the SARS outbreak of 2003. Like the infectious pneumonia that has killed at least 17 people, SARS was caused by a coronavirus that originated in China. People were out at markets without masks, "preparing to ring in the New Year in peace and had no sense about the epidemic," Guan Yi of the University of Hong Kong's State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases told Caixin.

  • Lindsey Graham Says He Would Oppose Effort to Compel Hunter Biden Testimony
    National Review

    Lindsey Graham Says He Would Oppose Effort to Compel Hunter Biden Testimony

    Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) on Friday said if Republican colleagues attempt to compel Hunter Biden to testify in the impeachment trial of President Trump, he will vote against the subpoena. “I don't think it's wrong for us to look at the Biden connection in the Ukraine, the $3 million given to the vice president's son by the most corrupt company in the Ukraine,” Graham said.

  • Successor to slain Iran general will be murdered if he kills Americans: U.S. envoy
    Yahoo News Video

    Successor to slain Iran general will be murdered if he kills Americans: U.S. envoy

    The successor to the Iranian commander killed in a U.S. drone strike would suffer the same fate if he followed a similar path by killing Americans, the U.S. special representative for Iran said, according to the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper.

  • Ex-Maryland police officer has been charged with raping and attempting to transmit HIV to a woman he pulled over
    INSIDER

    Ex-Maryland police officer has been charged with raping and attempting to transmit HIV to a woman he pulled over

    ArtOlympic/ Shutterstock Former Fairmont Heights police officer Martique Vanderpool is accused of raping a woman following a traffic stop in September. A Prince George County grand jury indicted Vanderpool Tuesday on a slew of charges, including that he knowingly exposed the woman to HIV. Vanderpool resigned from duty after his arrest.

  • The outbreaks of both the Wuhan coronavirus and SARS started in Chinese wet markets. Photos show what the markets look like.
    Business Insider

    The outbreaks of both the Wuhan coronavirus and SARS started in Chinese wet markets. Photos show what the markets look like.

    The Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan closed on January 1 after it was found to be the most likely starting point for the outbreak of this coronavirus, also called 2019-nCov. NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images A 61-year-old man was the first person to die from the virus. According to Bloomberg, he was a regular shopper at the Huanan wet market, which sold more than seafood.

  • These 9 Dining Chairs Are Sculptural, Surprising, and Downright Sleek
    Architectural Digest

    These 9 Dining Chairs Are Sculptural, Surprising, and Downright Sleek

    The best chairs earn their place at the table Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest

  • Family attorneys say cruise line's story of toddler's death is 'physically impossible'
    USA TODAY

    Family attorneys say cruise line's story of toddler's death is 'physically impossible'

    Attorneys representing the family of an Indiana toddler who fell to her death from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in July say their recent inspection of the scene proves the cruise line is lying to the court. Earlier this month, Royal Caribbean filed a motion to dismiss the civil case holding them responsible, claiming that Chloe Wiegand's death was solely caused by the "reckless and irresponsible" actions of her grandfather, Salvatore "Sam" Anello. The cruise line maintains that Anello was aware that the window Chloe fell from was open.

  • Tennessee governor signs anti-LGBT adoption bill
    Associated Press

    Tennessee governor signs anti-LGBT adoption bill

    Tennessee has become the latest state to assure continued taxpayer funding of faith-based foster care and adoption agencies even if those organizations exclude LGBT families and others based on religious beliefs. Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed the bill Friday without fanfare or an official announcement, making it the first law to be implemented in Tennessee this year. Previously, Lee said he endorsed the law because he believed defending religious liberty “is very important.

  • China virus death toll rises to 41, more than 1,300 infected worldwide
    Reuters

    China virus death toll rises to 41, more than 1,300 infected worldwide

    The death toll from China's coronavirus outbreak jumped on Saturday to 41 from 26 a day earlier as the Lunar New Year got off to a gloomy start, with authorities curbing travel and cancelling public gatherings. More than 1,300 people have been infected globally with a virus traced to a seafood market in the central city of Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife. Health authorities around the world are scrambling to prevent a pandemic.

  • Want To Start A War With America? Go Try To Sink An Aircraft Carrier
    The National Interest

    Want To Start A War With America? Go Try To Sink An Aircraft Carrier

    Although supercarriers have participated in nearly every military conflict since the commissioning of USS Forrestal in 1955, no carrier has come under determined attack from a capable opponent. In part, this is because supercarriers are very difficult to attack, but the symbolic grandeur of the massive ships also plays a role; no one wants to know what the United States might do if one of its carriers came under attack. What would happen if a foe attacked a United States Navy (USN) aircraft carrier during a conflict?

  • Lindsey Graham is offering unsolicited legal advice to Trump's team
    The Week

    Lindsey Graham is offering unsolicited legal advice to Trump's team

    Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a juror in President Trump's impeachment trial, is offering free legal advice to his counsel, if they want to accept it. Graham also thinks Trump's attorneys will need to shift the focus to former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

  • Warren responds after angry dad confronts her on student loans
    CBS News

    Warren responds after angry dad confronts her on student loans

    Warren's student loan comments begin at the 6-min. mark in video above After being confronted by a man questioning her student loan forgiveness plan, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren dismissed his argument. "We don't build an America by saddling our kids with debt," she said on "CBS This Morning" Friday.

  • 'The new evidence raises deeply troubling questions': did Arkansas kill an innocent man?
    The Guardian

    'The new evidence raises deeply troubling questions': did Arkansas kill an innocent man?

    The deceased inmate's sister Patricia Young lodged a lawsuit on Thursday with the circuit court of Pulaski county, Arkansas, petitioning city authorities and the local police department in Jacksonville to release crime scene materials to her family. An 81-page filing in the lawsuit provides damning new evidence that key aspects of the prosecution case against Lee were deeply flawed. The complaint includes expert opinion from a number of world-leading specialists who find glaring errors in the way forensic science and other evidence was interpreted.

  • The Wuhan coronavirus and SARS belong to the same family, but experts say there are key differences between the 2 outbreaks
    Business Insider

    The Wuhan coronavirus and SARS belong to the same family, but experts say there are key differences between the 2 outbreaks

    Associated Press One reason SARS spread to so many places around the world is that Chinese authorities initially attempted to hide the outbreak from the World Health Organization. AHMAD YUSNI / AFP) (Photo by AHMAD YUSNI/AFP via Getty Images The Chinese government didn't inform the WHO about SARS until February 14, 2003. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, doctors in Beijing were ordered by authorities to hide SARS patients from WHO officials during inspections.

  • Protest violence won't work, leading Hong Kong activist says
    AFP

    Protest violence won't work, leading Hong Kong activist says

    Escalating protest violence is not the way to bring about change, Hong Kong democracy activist Jason Ng has said, urging demonstrators to embrace non-violent means in the struggle to throw off a feared tightening of Beijing's control. With the movement in a less frenetic and ferocious stage after seven months of unrest, Ng, who is also a lawyer, said people in Hong Kong were taking time to process what had happened and reflect on the way forward. Speaking to AFP in an interview in Barcelona, Ng said he hoped the protests would return to the non-violent ethos that had characterised the Umbrella Revolution, the mass pro-democracy demonstrations of 2014.

  • 'Serious safety risk': Man arrested after pointing laser at planes, temporarily blinding one pilot
    USA TODAY

    'Serious safety risk': Man arrested after pointing laser at planes, temporarily blinding one pilot

    Two planes were struck by a lasers, which temporarily blinded one of the pilots, as they flew into Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport in Florida Wednesday night. One of the planes was a small aircraft, a Cessna Skyhawk, and the other was a United Airbus A320 coming in from Newark, New Jersey. When the laser struck the Cessna Skyhawk between 7:25 pm and 8:15 p.m., the pilot's sight was "temporarily impaired," according to Kohuth.

  • New Moon Photos! Get Your New Moon Photos Here!
    Popular Mechanics

    New Moon Photos! Get Your New Moon Photos Here!

    Piping hot and fresh from China's Chang'e 4 mission. From Popular Mechanics