Thursday, January 19, 2017

It's a nice feeling ...

... walking into a conference room and finding that your hosts enjoyed an article you wrote and they have two copies of that magazine open to that page so everyone can see it.

Now it's time to see if I can get them to enjoy the next one as much if not more.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A favorite place

There are a lot of places along the Ohio River where I like to spend an hour or two in summer. This is one of them.

It's at the mouth of a creek where maybe a century ago one of my ancestors tied up his gasboat. It's a place where people like to fish, but on summer weekdays when it's deserted, it's a nice quiet spot to enjoy some sun and listen to birds. It's close to a two-lane highway, but there's no marked path to it. And it's about a mile and a half below a dam, so you can enjoy some towboat activity if you like.

But you have to enjoy it when the river's at normal pool. When the river rises two or three feet, this sandbar goes under water and you can't walk across the creek.

But when the water is down, this is a nice place to skip rocks. I may be getting old, but I still like getting a dozen or more skips from a good, flat rock.

There are dozens of spots like this along the river, but this one is my favorite of the bunch.

Monday, January 16, 2017

M/V Yvonne Conway

I started this morning working on some numbers, then I thought about how a certain graphic would look, then I found this photo from Dec. 4, 2015, and I decided to play around with it.

I really need to get back to my number crunching.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

M/V M.K. McNally

As seen the other day passing Huntington at sunrise.

This is probably my favorite time of day for taking pictures in winter.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Explosion shuts down Ohio River power plant

A coal-fired power plant on the Ohio River upstream of Maysville, Kentucky, has shut down temporarily following an explosion that injured six workers.

As noted in this article from the Maysville newspaper, there has been talk that Killen could be shut down permanently in the near future, and what will happen after the explosion remains to be seen.

EDIT: The explosion was at the J.M. Stuart generating station. Both Stuart and Killen are upstream of Maysville, and both have been listed as candidates for closing.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Cloudy morning at Big Sandy harbor

This morning I was in the Kenova WV area. The park at the mouth of the Big Sandy River was closed, so I figured I would make a quick jaunt over to Catlettsburg KY to see if I could get any boat pictures. I did get a few.

There was the Marathon boat M/V Cincinnati.

 And some more Marathon boats. I think the two in front are the Catlettsburg and the Marathon, but I can't be sure.

The Michael D.

The Les Grimm tied up over at South Point OH.

And this one whose name I should know but escapes me at the moment.

There were others, but these were the best shots available. I went there looking for a boat with a loaded coal barge, but none were around. It was a decent morning anyway.

Ektachrome returns

I remember the first roll of Ektachrome I shot. It was early 1977, and I loved it. Some of the pictures were taken at the Gallipolis Locks and Dam, and others were taken along Ohio Route 7 in that area. I have several dozen rolls of Ektachrome and Kodachrome slides in my house. Some of them might be fading, but some are still great.

Now Kodak says it is bringing back Ektachrome before the end of this year. I have an old manual film camera that still works. Two, if the Nikon FM2 does not have the light leak that I think it has. Maybe I will try a roll when it comes out.

I'm looking for some scanned photos from that first roll, but they're not on this computer. Here instead is one taken on the West Virginia side of the Gallipolis locks on July 4, 1985. Except for the cropping and the credit line, the photo is pretty much how it scanned, warts and all.

The boat is the Warren, which later ended up on land at the Tri-State Fire Academy here in Huntington. It was used for firefighting training in confined spaces for several years until those fires took their toll on its steel. The Warren was demolished a couple of years ago.

The beach is gone. Three or four years after this was taken, the beach was removed to make way for the new lock canal at what is now officially known as the Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam. The beach was a popular place for fishing, some of which included overnight camping. It was a nice place to visit.

Will I try Ektacrhome? Maybe not. Once you pay for the camera, pixels are free, and film costs money to buy and develop. Let's see what the pricing is before we commit to anything. But it would be fun to experiment with, for old time's sake if nothing else.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Another record set in towboat building

Florida Marine sends its boats up the Ohio River past Huntington every now and then. According to this article at, Florida Marine took delivery last week of two more boats from Eastern Shipbuiding Group. The new boats are the M/V Capt. Ricky Torres and the M/V Cullen Pasentine.

That makes 65 boats of the same design Eastern Shipbuilding has built for Florida Marine.

Says the article:

This ongoing order for 90’ towboats originally began with a twenty-five (25) vessel contract, starting in 2006 and was successfully completed with on-time deliveries. It has expanded to become the largest single Owner, single Shipbuilder, new construction program with the same class towboat design in United States history.

This and that in the news, 1/6/2017

Here's a guy at Blennerhassett Island who was taking a boat out on the river when it stalled and began drifting in the channel toward a towboat and barges coming his way. So he jumped in the river and swam to shore. He didn't die from hypothermia because ... read the story.

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Meanwhile, here's a piece about a solar-powered camera at the site of old Lock and Dam 35 that's keeping watch on blue-green algae in the river, the kind that turned the river a bright green in the late summer of 2015.

# # #

Part of a riverfront park in Cincinnati is closed because it's slipping into the Ohio River. The slip was caused by a collapsed sewer line, which will be replaced when the river goes down.

# # #

A small refinery at Somerset, Kentucky, has expanded its barge operations to receive more product.

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And DuPont has been ordered to pay $10.5 million in punitive damages to an Ohio man. A federal jury made that determination Wednesday following its verdict last month that C8 from the company's plant near Parkersburg, West Virginia, caused his testicular cancer.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Mechanical problems at Markland

Will the mechanical problems at Ohio River locks and dams take a vacation anytime soon?

This Notice to Navigation Interests came out today:

Update to Navigation Notice 2016-034. Markland Dam Gate 9 continues to be out of service. Gates 5, 7, & 8 were in the process of a similar repair at the time and have been closed pending further testing. During this time, velocities through the dam during high water periods will be higher than typical for a given dam opening. Mariners are cautioned of the additional draw along the upstream approach of the 1200’ chamber. Use additional care when entering and leaving the upper 1200’ approach.

Corps officials and spokesmen have been saying for a while that machinery at the dams is nearing the end of its projected life. The dams were designed in the 1940s and 1950s, and some locks in the post-World II dams were put into operation in the late 1950s.

So, are these kinds of problems to be expected more as the machinery ages, and if so to what degree?

As editorial writers tend to say, it remains to be seen.