Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Topsail island Swing Bridge to Be Replaced

From the July 30, 2014, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Meeting draws crowd" by Bill Walsh.

DOT gives details about $57 million bridge proposed to replace old swing bridge.

If you've ever driven to Topsail Island near Wilmington, N.C., along the state's coast, you most likely know this old swing bridge for maddening traffic backups, especially during the summer high season.   A meeting was held at the Moose Lodge in Holly Ridge to explain what the N.C. DOT had in mind for the $57 million (80% federal funds, 20% state) high level (65-feet) fixed span bridge.

This new bridge will replace the old swing bridge which is classified as functionally obsolete that has been in use for over half a century.

Other plans were looked at before Alternative 17 was chosen.  The new bridge will be located about 900 feet south of the swing bridge. with two travel lanes, two bicycle lanes and a ten-foot multi-use lane.

In the mainland, DOT is planning a roundabout (I wonder why roundabouts have gotten so popular among planners as they are very dangerous).

The vast majority of the people at the presentation were happy with the new plans.

A Bridge to the Beach.  --Cooter

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dyess, Arkansas, Depression-Era Farmer Colony

From Wikipedia.

It was founded in 1934 and in 2000 had a population of 515.

It was a planned community, part of FDR's New Deal program with streets laid out in a wheel pattern, but it was actually more of a colony named after W.R. Dyess, the first Works Progress Administration administrator in Arkansas.

Its purpose was to give poor families the chance to start over again with land they could work toward owning.  Originally, there were 500 individually-owned and operated farms, each between 20 and 40 acres.

The town is best-known as the boyhood home of country singer Johnny Cash who grew up at 4791 West County Road 924.  The house is now owned by Arkansas State University.

Dyess was also the boyhood homes of singers Gene Williams, Tommy Cash and Buddy Jewell.

"Hello, My name is...  --Cooter

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Depression-era Colony Cashing In On Johnny Cash's fame-- Part 2

Before he was the Man in Black, he was J.R. Cash, a son of Kingsland, Arkansas, farmers who successfully applied to take part in a 1930s Works Progress Administration experiment.  The government brought in 487 families, gave them land and a mule.

"This was a practice in socialism," said Roscoe Phillips, who was born at Dyess 77 years ago.  "They took people who had nothing and gave us something.  It wouldn't happen today."

Under the selection criteria--  the application ran on for eight pages-- families were rewarded for their rugged independence but on arrival had to share their excess with the community.  Their contributions qualified them for "doodlum," a paper currency not unlike the script issued at company towns.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Depression-era Colony Cashing in On Johnny Cash's Fame--Part 1

from the August 16, 2014, Northwest Herald (Illinois) Buzz.

Dyess, Arkansas.

Money and memorabilia from Johnny Cash's family and friends have helped preservationists restore a large part of the Historic Dyess Colony, a government collective built during the Great Depression to help agricultural families out of poverty.  Johnny Cash's family lived here while he was growing up and his boyhood home and the colony's former headquarters opened Saturday.

The colony and town is in northeastern Arkansas and was on once sunken land.

Ruth Hawkins, executive director of the heritage Sites Program at Arkansas State University said, "Restoring the Dyess Colony Administration Building, and even saving at least one of the typical colony houses, would have been a worthwhile project, even without the Johnny Cash connection.

"But the project would not have gotten anywhere near the public support that it has, and it would not be a major tourism draw.

I am aware of a lot of the projects developed to help get the country out of the Great Depression, but hadn't heard of this one.

"Because You're Mine, i walk the ___."  --Dacoot in Black

Presidential Movies-- Part 4: Action, Conspiracies, On the Trail

Some more movies about presidents.


AIR FORCE ONE: (1997)  Harrison Ford

OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN:  (2013)  Aaron Eckhart

WHITE HOUSE DOWN: (2013)  Jamie Foxx  These last two made the White House Seem to be a very dangerous place to live.


ABSOLUTE POWER:  (1997)  Gene Hackman

SEVEN DAYS IN MAY:  (1964) Frederic March

FAIL-SAFE:  (1964)  Henry Fonda

MURDER AT 1600:  Ronny Cox



THE BEST MAN:  (1964)  Henry Fonda

PRIMARY COLORS:  (1998)  John Travolta  (Vinny Barbarino, the president?)

BULWORTH:  (1998)  Warren Beatty

Use Your Presidential Coins to Pay for the DVD.  --Cooter

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Presidential Movies-- Part 3: Comdies, Romance and Science Fiction

DR. STRANGELOVE (1964)--  Peter Sellers

MY FELLOW AMERICANS (1996)--  Dan Aykroyd, Jack Lemmon and James Garner

KISSES FOR MY PRESIDENT--  (1964)--  Polly Bergen (first woman president)

FIRST FAMILY (1980)--  Bob Newhart


DAVE (1993)--  Kevin Kline

THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT (1995)--  Michael Douglas


 MARS ATTACKS (1996)-- Jack Nicholson

DEEP IMPACT (1998)--  Morgan Freeman

INDEPENDENCE DAY (1996)--  Bill Pullman

Some More Coming.  --Cooter

Friday, August 15, 2014

This Date in History

From Bob Dearborn's Olde Disc Jockey Site.

1812:  202 years ago, it was Illinois' biggest War of 1812 battle at Fort Dearborn (present-day Chicago).  Sometimes also referred to as the Fort Dearborn Massacre.

1914:  An American ship becomes the first one through the new Panama Canal, going fro  the Atlantic to the Pacific.

1916: The first self-propelled tank was used at the Battle of the Somme during World War I.  Nicknamed "Big Willie."

1935:  Humorist Will Rogers and aviator Wiley Post die in a plane crash.

1947:  India gains its independence after 200 years as a British colony.

1948:  The first network nightly newscast on CBS.


Deaths: Sgt. Cavaiani Locates Remains of Sgt. Jones-- Part 3

In an interesting follow up to the death of Jon Cavaiani, in 2011,  Jon Cavaiani returned to Vietnam to help Defense Department officials locate the remains of Sgt. John Jones, the sergeant who had stayed behind with him and whose body had never been recovered.

This was four decades after the battle on Hickory Hill.

Mr. Cavaiani remembered and precisely identified the bunker where he and Jones had taken refuge.  Larry Page, a former Special Forces radio operator returned to the site with Cavaiani.  He was one of the ones the sergeant's efforts had enabled to be rescued.  Mr. Page said, "I attribute my life to him."

Jones' remains were found, and, in 2012, he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

I imagine this trip brought back vivid memories for both men and I sure would have liked to have been with them.

An Interesting Story in Itself.

Deaths: Vietnam War Medal of Honor Recipient, Jon Cavaiani-- Part 2

By midday, the onslaught had grown overwhelmingly.  Cavaiani directed the helicopter evacuation of most of his command, but he remained behind.  The North Vietnamese continued their attack and Cavaiani continued to fight back, finally telling  the remaining men to escape.

Badly wounded, he took cover in a bunker along with Sgt. John Jones.  they killed the first two North Vietnamese soldiers to enter.  A grenade was tossed in and Jones exited and was mortally shot.  Cavaiani played dead and survived a fire in the bunker before being captured.  he was interned in a North Vietnamese prison until his release in 1973.

The following year, he received the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Gerald Ford

He was a war baby of World War II, being born as Jon Robert Lemmons on August 2, 1943, in England, the son of an American father and English mother.  He came to California as a boy and took his stepfather's name.

Hero With an Interesting Background.

Deaths: Vietnam War Medal of Honor Recipient, Jon Cavaiani-- Part 1

From the August 6, 2014, Chicago Tribune "Medal of Honor recipient, POW in Vietnam War" by Emily Langer, Washington Post.

JON CAVAIANI (1943-2014)

Jon Cavaiani, an Army sergeant major and Special Forces veteran, who received the Medal of Honor, the military's highest award for valor, for leading his outnumbered unit in defense of a strategically critical outpost died July 29, 2014 at age 70.

In 1971, as a staff sergeant, he was in charge of a platoon protecting a remote hilltop in the northwestern part of what was then South Vietnam.  This area also happened to be controlled by the North Vietnamese.  His unit had highly advanced and top secret equipment to intercept enemy communications and monitor movement on the Ho Chi Minh Trail and was on a site referred to as Hickory Hill.

On June 4 and 5, the enemy attacked the camp and Caviani led the defense after his captain was wounded and evacuated.  Mr. Cavaiani "acted with complete disregard for his personal safety as he repeatedly exposed himself to heavy enemy fire in order to move about the camp's perimeter directing the platoon's fire and rallying the platoon in a desperate fight for survival," his medal citation reads.

A Real Hero.

"Sinker Wood" Attracting Treasure Hunters-- Part 3

The two men cut the recovered logs into long slabs which expose the grain, which is what people want.

Despite the value of the logs, few people in South Carolina go through the cost and effort to recover them.  It is very dangerous and time-consuming.  There are only seven people doing it in South Carolina., but there are also some in North Carolina and Florida.

An annual South Carolina recovery permit costs $500 for in-state and $1,000 for out-of-state residents.

But to legally recover 'sinker wood", the person must also pay $8,000 to $10,000 got a "submerged cultural resource survey"  to inspect and map a mile of river bottom artifacts such as shipwrecks and fossils along with the wood.

Cypress trees were harvested for boat hulls and decking.  Long leaf pines were in demand for their long, straight trunks.  During the Colonial era they were called the "King's Trees" and reserved for making masts.

The pines were also tapped for rosin and turpentine.

The standard log cut back then was 14 1/2 feet long.  Emerson says, however, that the biggest log he has recovered was a 30-foot-long cypress.  Some of the cypress were well over a century old when felled.

I have read about "sinker wood" being recovered in the Cape Fear River in North Carolina.

Hard Work If You can Find It.  --Cooter

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Woodstock's Orson Welles Connection

From the Spring 2014 McHenry County Living Magazine "Woodstock Celebrates 80 Years of Orson Welles" by Peter Gill.

Orson Welles came to Woodstock, Illinois, as an eleven-year-old boy in 1926 and lived at the Todd School for Boys, a boarding school founded in 1847.  he left the town in 1934, embarking on an incredible radio/theater/film career which included the "Big Scare" of his 1938 "War of the Worlds" to what some consider the greatest film of all time "Citizen Kane" in 1941.

But, it was in Woodstock where he made his professional director debut at the Woodstock Opera House (still standing on the famous Square).

Welles was born in nearby Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 1915.  His parents divorced and his mother died when he was just eight.  Three years later, his father enrolled him at the exclusive and rich Todd School.  This is where he met his teacher and mentor, Headmaster Roger Hill.  This man, more than anyone else, was the reason for Welles' success.

He graduated from Todd School in 1931 at age 16 and traveled abroad where he made his debut as an actor in Ireland.  He returned to Woodstock and began his career in earnest.

This year and next (Welles' 100th birthday), there will be many Orson Welles events in town to celebrate his life.

Stuff You Didn't Know.  --DaCoot

Filming in Wilmington, North Carolina

From the Jukly 30, 2014, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Film".

Some folks don't know it, but Wilmington is and has been a major center for filming of both movies and TV shows in  the country.  Part of this is due to some very nice monetary incentives offered by the state.

In 2013, the film industry spent $244 million in North Carolina with more than 30 qualifying productions receiving just over $61 million from the incentive program.  The year before the numbers were $334 million and $83 million in tax credits.

This year, the new budget calls for just $10 million tax credit for the first six months of 2015 because of budgetary problems.

I found this list of interest showing some productions filmed around the Wilmington area in recent years, how much they spent (first) and how much in tax credits (second) they received:


Iron Man 3: $81 million/ $20 million
We're the Millers:  $21 million/ 5.2 million
The Conjuring:  $16 million/ $4.2 million
Tammy:  $14 million/  $3.6 million


Sleepy Hollow (pilot episode):  $7 million/  $1.8 million
Under the Dome (season one):  $33 million/  $8.3 million
Eastbound and Down (final season):  $20 million/  $5.2 million
Revolution:  (season one):  $57 million/  $14.2 million

Keep the Film Rolling.  --Cooter

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

"Sinker Wood" Attracting Treasure Hunters-- Part 2

Across the coast of the southeastern U.S., pine and cypress were harvested into the late 1800s.  Most of the logs were lashed together with metal "spike dogs" and floated or towed downstream to mills.

Along the way, many of these timbers would break loose and become embedded in the river bottoms. Rivers such as the Edisto are known as "black water" rivers because of the tannins and humic acid released from rotting vegetation.  This preserves the wood as oxygen is depleted that would normally cause decay.   They are now perfectly preserved and highly valued for milling into tables, mantles, flooring and bar surfaces.

For the past three years, Hewitt Emerson, 28, has been out looking for these logs, known as "sinker wood."

This particular piece of wood is a beauty, nearly 20 feet long and 15 inches in diameter.  It is known as "heart pine" and "hard pine."  Likely value of it is a couple thousand dollars.

Hard Work If You Can Get It.  --Cooter

Monday, August 11, 2014

"Sinker Wood" Attracting Treasure Hunters-- Part 1

From the July 27, 2014, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "'Sinker wood' draws rare breed of treasure hunter" by David Zucchino, L.A. Times.

Hewitt Emerson is diving from a barge into the murky black waters of the Edisto River in South Carolina and swimming down to the mucky river bottom, more than a dozen feet below.  On deck, his buddy Justin Gerrington keeps careful watch for alligators and water moccasins with his pistol close at hand.

These two men are searching for sunken treasure, but not the metallic kind.  Their treasure is hand-cut, century old logs dating back to the 1800s South Carolina milling industry  Emerson was trying to locate the butt end of a long-leaf pine log he'd spotted and these logs can command thousands of dollars for their intricately beautiful grains and long, straight cuts.

Not Just Any Old Piece of Wood.  --Cooter.