Saturday, June 13, 2015

In the news, 6/13/15

If you want to see how other people experience the Ohio River,  this might be the week for you.

You can catch this exhibit at the Weston Art Gallery in downtown Cincinnati, which explores the relationship between people and bodies of water.

Or there's this activity organized by the Lousville Water Company.


In an unsurprising move, American Electric Power subsidiary Appalachian Power said it did not do cost estimates of updating several older, smaller power plants it closed recently because it already knew retrofitting them with modern pollution-control systems would be too expensive.

Among the plants Appalachian Power closed were Philip Sporn on the Ohio River and the Kanawha River plant on the Kanawha River.

The reason that was unsurprising was that AEP CEO Nick Akins told me a couple of years ago that plants have to be a certain size to justify the investment involved in cleaning the stack emissions, and the older, smaller plants AEP would be closing were too small to spend that much money on.


The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is taking bids again for the rights to drill under the Ohio River for natural gas.


And Louisville is looking at tapping groundwater instead of Ohio River water as a new supply. Among other benefits, the city would not have to worry about the next chemical spill that comes down the river or filtering out phamarceuticals that get through sewage treatment plants.

Random thoughts

The Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati is probably my least favorite bridge of all time. Way back in the 1970s, a guy who lived in Northern Kentucky described it as hundreds of cars traveling fast and trying to cross in front of each other in an X pattern.

I've been on the bridge maybe a dozen times in my life. It's a good one to avoid if at all possible.


I need a small boat, but there's no way I can afford one. I'll probably never afford one because I'll always have a more pressing need for the money. Perhaps what I need is to see if there are any people in my area who would take me out on theirs for a half hour every now and then.


I never had a problem with heights until the day in 1999 when I got to climb to the top of Huntington's East End Bridge. We must have been two hundred feet above the river, and the only thing protecting us from falling was a small railing that maybe came up to my waist. I can't say for sure because I didn't want to go near it.

Having said that, four years ago the folks at the West Virginia Division of Highways said they would take me up to the top of the new Blennerhassett Island Bridge. I made several inquiries afterward, but they never returned my calls. I'd still do it, despite a mild case of fear of heights. My sense of balance has been off slightly since 2000 when I came down with an ear infection on a flight to Seattle to visit the headquarters at the personal invitation of (name dropping here) Jeff Bezos.


In my life I've been to Israel, Jordan, Austria, the former Czecjoslovakia and Japan. I've been to San Francisco a couple of times, and I've driven the coastal highway from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Mexican border. Now in my silver years I rarely travel more than three hours from home.

But that's fine with me. After seeing the world, I'm now more interested in learning more about a smaller part of it, particularly the Ohio Valley. There are some really nice places in the countryside along the Ohio River, and those are where I want to visit.