Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Foster Kids, Bridges and Woodworking

  1. #1

    Foster Kids, Bridges and Woodworking

    We had a pretty good family day today. Being a Foster Parent we were privy to a day when Fort Knox and The Penobscot Narrows Observatory is opened to foster parents of Maine. We were fed lunch too, had a bunch politicians tell us how great we are, then had a bunch of things for the kids to do. For us that meant climbing around in the old granite fort for a few hours, but kite flying and other kids activities were there as well. It should be noted that Home Depot was there in force and every child got to have a small wooden tool box they could make and bring home thanks to their donations and volunteers.

    Thanks Home Depot, that was truly benevolent.

    As for a few facts and figures...on average 3200 foster kids are taken into care every year, and about every year 70% of those children end up being adopted by foster parents, reducing the overall number of kids going to group homes and other non-family related 'homes" significantly. So in short, things are improving for most of the children who enter 'the system" here.

    So then it was on to the observatory. For people that don't know, this is one of 3 bridge observatories in the world, the only one in the Northern Hemisphere and the tallest in the world. A 50 second elevator ride brings you 42 stories up (420 feet) with 100 mile views. It was pretty cool to go up and see for sure.

    I have pictures, but the YouTube Video I found does a better job of showing everything, including the views and the bridge itself. The first is of the Bridge, while the second video is of the fort.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mErWqXQgsQw

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lvX72oADXw
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    583
    THAT is sweet. I'm really glad that the government has started puting money back into the design of some of our infrastructure. I used to cringe when i'd see an old steel trussed span replaced with a flat concrete deck lacking any articulation or character. What they've found is that, without spending all that much more money, you can have a structure that people actually care about - a landmark. It's an intangible value, and it doesn't always make good sense, but i think most people do appreciate it when it can be done. Especially with bridge design.

    We're about to get a new cable stayed bridge in downtown St. Louis across the Mississippi River that will carry I-70. Currently, one bridge carries 4 converging interstate highways across the river. It's a mess at rush hour, so the new span will help quite a bit. Ours won't have an observation tower (more than just a bit jealous on that one), but i believe it will have separate bicycle/pedestrian lanes for our bicycle trail network.

    Nice field trip Travis. Thanks for sharing.

    paulh

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Hubbman View Post
    THAT is sweet. I'm really glad that the government has started putting money back into the design of some of our infrastructure. I used to cringe when I'd see an old steel trussed span replaced with a flat concrete deck lacking any articulation or character. What they've found is that, without spending all that much more money, you can have a structure that people actually care about - a landmark. It's an intangible value, and it doesn't always make good sense, but i think most people do appreciate it when it can be done. Especially with bridge design.
    This was an interesting bridge. The old bridge (still visible below the new cable stay bridge) was in really bad shape. It was so bad that trucks had to detour all the way to Bangor and then back down. Considering that the other side of the river (also in some pictures from the bridge) has a paper mill, this was a big problem. They needed a new bridge now!

    So they proposed this cable-stay bridge and the community vetoed it down immediately...they wanted the old design...a suspension bridge. The State had wanted a cheaper cable-stay so at the 11th hour they proposed an observatory in the cable-stay bridge. Because a State Park is located right there, the observatory could be managed by the Dept of Conservation and they could get a few tourists dollars. Instantly the community went for that and we got what we got today.

    They did the bridge right though. The grounds are landscaped nicely, and the public areas are festooned with granite because Fort Knox next door is also all granite. They even bought an extra segment of the bridge (the hollow concrete road bed section) and placed that in the park so you can see the cross-section of the bridge.

    One more thing should be mentioned...the observatory is 100% wheel chair accessible so no one was left out.

    As for the bridge construction...the crane operator who ran one of the tower cranes lives in my town and is a bit of a character. During his lunch breaks he would climb out of his 450 foot cab, climb up another 30 feet, fire up his hibachi and grill lunch.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Hubbman View Post
    THAT is sweet. We're about to get a new cable stayed bridge in downtown St. Louis across the Mississippi River that will carry I-70. Ours won't have an observation tower (more than just a bit jealous on that one), but i believe it will have separate bicycle/pedestrian lanes for our bicycle trail network.
    So when you coming to Maine Paul? The kids can climb around Fort Knox, you can take in the bridge, and your wife can dine on some lobster!
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    583
    Hey, if things keep going like they are, i may have a whole lot of free time here soon. Of course, i'd have to stow away on a freight train to get there. I think the kids would be fine with riding the rails. Yvette, however, well she's got higher standards than sharing a cattle car for 1200 miles.
    paulh

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Hubbman View Post
    Hey, if things keep going like they are, i may have a whole lot of free time here soon. Of course, i'd have to stow away on a freight train to get there. I think the kids would be fine with riding the rails. Yvette, however, well she's got higher standards than sharing a cattle car for 1200 miles.
    paulh
    Yeah I hear you. The problem is in times like these is that it is not the initial downturn in the economy, but the lack of projects coming into a corporation to fill the ones that have been completed. I still say if the media would just hush up and not give press to every economic hiccup we would not fill a world with economic fear and Yvette could take a Grey Hound instead of that cattle car.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    583
    Greyhound - we've got quite a greyhound experience that we'd both be happy to not repeat. Between the drug addicts, the crying babies (not their fault, i know), the lack of ventilation, and the break down out in the middle of the farm fields, i think the cattle car would be an easier sell than greyhuond.
    About the downturn, we'll probably feel the turn-around earlier than most. Before you can build anything, it's got to be drawn up. We're optimistic about the fall of this year. Getting there will be the challenge.
    Do you miss the boatyard?
    paulh

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Hubbman View Post
    Greyhound - we've got quite a greyhound experience that we'd both be happy to not repeat. Between the drug addicts, the crying babies (not their fault, i know), the lack of ventilation, and the break down out in the middle of the farm fields, i think the cattle car would be an easier sell than greyhound.
    I have heard similar horror stories but my only experience has been with a bus ride from Boston to Maine...a 4 hour trip. I was impressed but it was not Grey Hound and the guy I sat beside was a housing contractor so there was enough in common to have a good conversation for those four hours.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Hubbman View Post
    About the downturn, we'll probably feel the turn-around earlier than most. Before you can build anything, it's got to be drawn up. We're optimistic about the fall of this year. Getting there will be the challenge.
    That is good to hear. Where I live the leading indicators are the Logging and Farming industries. When things start to go south/get better its these two industries that show the first sign.

    Forestry because as people build housing projects, they need lumber in which to build. As for farming, when people get tight for spending cash its the high end cheeses, ice cream, pizza and other non-essential foods that affect the market. It makes a bigger difference then you would assume. Dairy farmers get their most money in January due entirely to Superbowl Sunday when the need for exuberant amounts of pizza cheese drives the industry to its yearly peak. Who would think that a simple football game could drive an industry to its peak production, but that is how it works.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Hubbman View Post
    Do you miss the boatyard?
    Not really. I like the high end work we did, and the fact that it was perfection...or start over and do it again...without yelling, finger pointing or threats. It simply had to be right and it took patience on every level to get that. Working in that kind of environment was great, but the day to day could get boring.

    All in all, I am in a wonderful period of my life thanks entirely to being jobless. I spend every day with my 2 year old, and get to spend a lot of time with a wonderful 16 year old. That is precious right there.

    It is also downright great to be investing so much time in my farm at a time when I really need to invest time into it. Thanks to a few programs from unemployment, they are granting me some really great farm management services from the downturn in the economy. In a nutshell, the lack of jobs has created a Maine Enterprise Option Program of which farming qualifies. I maintain my unemployment benefits while getting professional help to make this farm a viable farm. Thanks to the program I have unlimited access to a Business Councilor who is helping me set up a very professional farm. I can raise livestock...but talking banker talk...that I need help on, and now I have it. I would have soldiered on ahead without this program, but with it, I'll be so much better off.

    As for my Dad...a very hesitant man to drop the farming reins, now that the economy is so dire though, he is more open to being more active with the farm. Instead of just kind of letting it roll along unproductively, his attitude has changed, and while I do not need to get his permission to make changes, he is my Dad and I want his approval. Now that it is proverbially "raining", his attitude is more of a go for it and see what happens. Clearing land, building roads, adding livestock on a weekly basis...a lot is happening here. I don't get much shop time granted, but overall this farm has not seen this much activity since the 1970's.

    In short, I'm home at a time when I need to be home, and that is just great.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

Similar Threads

  1. FOSTER WORKBENCH AND FOSTER CHAIR VISE
    By GARY FOSTER in forum General Woodworking Q&A
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 05-19-2013, 05:51 PM
  2. Foster Brooks
    By Rennie Heuer in forum Off Topic Discussion
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 06-02-2009, 04:10 AM
  3. Foster Parenting: What does it take?
    By Travis Johnson in forum Off Topic Discussion
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 06-18-2008, 12:17 PM
  4. Gary Foster
    By Rennie Heuer in forum Welcome and Introductions
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 03-02-2007, 03:13 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •