You know those Adopt-A-Highway programs you often see being sponsored by civic groups or businesses? States love 'em because their highways are kept clean -- freeing up millions in maintenance for other more vital projects. Groups benefit with some free advertising and community service hours.

The only downside? When neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan groups decide to help clean Mother Earth in return for some recognition. In Missouri, a neo-Nazi group called the National Socialist Movement adopted a stretch of highway last year -- much to the chagrin of state officials who couldn't afford a lengthy legal battle if they turned them down. So, the state got clever. From the NY Times,

Officials are renaming the stretch of highway near Springfield that the organization cleans after Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who fled Nazi Germany and became a prominent Jewish theologian and civil rights advocate in the United States. The renaming, which would take effect this summer, was approved by the legislature as part of a large transportation bill.

Naturally, the Nazis are none too pleased -- but the highway cleanup continues four times a year, nevertheless. The state is planning on erecting a giant memorial sign to honor the Rabbi Heschel highway soon. Well played, Missouri. Well played.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Missouri counters neo-Nazi road cleanup sponsorship with clever legislation
Highway to be renamed in honor of prominent Jewish theologian and civil rights advocate.