Monday, October 7, 2013

Dense cargo

When I saw the W. Stanley James pass Huntington WV yesterday, I was thinking it was carrying a load of finely crushed rock. But when I looked at the pictures in a larger format, I thought it might have been carrying salt.

Whatever it was, it was awful heavy for such a small volume.

There will be two or three things that keep me awake tonight. This will not be one of them.

Bringing the pain home

So far this month I have avoided making any public comments on the federal government "shutdown," but after seeing this, I can't help myself.

Saturday, Adam and I made the trip up the river to see his grandmother and one of his cousins. We went up the West Virginia side, and as no one else was in the car with us, we made our usual stop at the Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam. We were surprised to see concrete barriers blocking vehicle access to the public use area. A notice taped to one barrier said it was because of the shutdown.

We found that amusing as we had never seen a Corps of Engineers vehicle ever in the public use area the many times we had visited it. So an area that operates at minimal cost had to be closed to public access because of the spat in Congress.

Oh, to get to that notice, I had to walk around three motorcycles parked next to the barrier. And across the road was a pickup. We looked over in the park area and saw a man sitting at a picnic table in one of the shelters. I guess he was making a silent protest over the situation. Or he may have been a security guard to keep troublemakers like us out. You never know, even if he would have been the first security I had ever seen there. But I was pretty sure people had disregarded the notice and walked down to the river to fish.

We came home on the Ohio side so we could see what it looked like over there. Here's the interesting thing. There are two parking areas on the Ohio side. One, which is down by the river and provides handicap access for fishing, was blocked off with a gate, and a notice similar to the one on the West Virginia side of the river was attached to it. The upper parking lot, which is at the same level as Ohio Route 7, was open.

So I guess if you have a disability, you're not supposed to fish on the Ohio side because of the shutdown. But if you are a normally abled person, you can park at the top of the bank and walk down with no problem. Sounds like a conflict with the Americans With Disabilities Act to me, but I'm no lawyer.

I don't know how it is at other public access sites the corps maintains along the river, but I do know of one that was open with no problems that same day. I guess it's not busy enough to close.

Maybe you folks can explain it all to me. All I know is the great debate over the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare had come to fishing areas along the Ohio River.

P.S. Now that I think about it, I have made one public comment. This is what I put on my personal Facebook page on Oct. 2: "They say politics is show business for the ugly. The past couple of days I have heard so much fake outrage over the federal government shutdown that I can't stand it any more. I'm tuning it out except for what is required in my job."