Tuesday, December 11, 2018

New Wichita Falls Circle Trail With Golden Wheat Waves

What with the outer world warmed to a relatively warm temperature nearing 60 degrees this seemed like a good reason to go for a pleasant nature walk.

And what better place for such a walk than the Wichita Bluff Nature Area, designated specifically for such an activity.

But, today I did not make it past the sign marking entering the Wichita Bluff Nature Area.

The new parking lot on the Circle Trail, located off Loop 11 on the south side of the Wichita River, is now open and ready to be parked on.

This new section of the Circle Trail soon terminates under the bridge over the Wichita River, awaiting funding to complete the Circle Trail from this location to Lucy Park.


Three orange barrels mark the current end of this section of the Circle Trail.


I forgot to mention what that is you are seeing in the photo at the top. Soon after walking away from the new parking lot one comes to a section of the Circle Trail where a wall of super tall wheat-like looking vegetation hovers above, blocking the view of the Wichita River. Scenic, in a waves of golden wheat across the prairie sort of way.

Let's end this look at the new section of the Circle Trail with the view from the bench I sat on when I decided I was at the turn around point.


Now, if only the local voters would wise up and realize it is a good idea to vote yes on funding the completion of the Wichita Falls Circle Trail.

Who Wants To Look At The Fort Worth Cement Lined Ditch J.D. Granger Debacle?

If my memory is serving me correctly, and sometimes it does, I have not made mention of America's Biggest Boondoggle since mentioning that the Trinity River Vision Debacle With J.D. Granger Was Reaching National Joke Status.

J.D. Granger amped up the national joke status by coming across as a clueless buffoon during an NBC TV interview. So, buffoonish that the next day NBC TV had J.D. Granger back on air trying to walk back the clueless buffoonery he had uttered.

In the Star-Telegram's The Panther Island project is getting a deep look, but its CEO won’t be scrutinized article, which we slightly scrutinized in the previous blog post about J.D. becoming a national joke, the Boondoggle's Bypass Channel was referenced.

No, that is not a look at a model of the Bypass Channel you are looking at above. That is a real "Bypass Channel" or cement lined ditch, which exists in real time in Wichita Falls, Texas, channeling water from Sikes Lake to Holliday Creek, en route to the Wichita River. That is not a Wichita Falls version of a "Signature Bridge" you see crossing the ditch. That is a golf cart bridge which takes golfers to their next hole.

I have not read the Star-Telegram, in recent times, during this new period of that newspaper seeming to try to somewhat accurately report on what has become America's Biggest Boondoggle, repeating the ridiculous nonsense that the Trinity River Vision's three imaginary signature bridges were being built over dry land so as to save time and money.

When there was never any other option than to try and build those simple little bridges over dry land, due to the fact the funds to dig the ditch had not yet appeared. And when the construction of those pitiful bridges had dawdled past the four year mark it must have finally seemed ridiculous to even the Star-Telegram to suggest they were being built over dry land to save time.

That, and as for that saving money aspect, no one knows, due to the absolute lack of transparency, how much has already been spent saving money building these bridges over dry land.

No, let's talk about that Bypass Channel cement lined ditch.

From that Star-Telegram article about J.D. Granger not being scrutinized...

Re-channeling the Trinity River north of downtown in an effort to control downstream flooding would create the 800-acre Panther Island. Cutting that channel is the responsibility of the Army Corps of Engineers, which has devoted $61 million to the project to date.

Though the project has missed out on 2019 funding, federal projects have about $9 million held over from past years. Most of that work will be done away from the downtown bypass channel in Gateway Park. To stay on the “critical path,” the minimum work to keep the project on schedule, Washington will have to kick in at least $26 million in 2020.

About $322 million in local money has been spent since the project’s inception more than 10 years ago. Purchasing the land needed for the channel and relocation of displaced businesses has cost about $140 million.

_______________

Where to start? The river is being re-channeled in an effort to control flooding downstream? Really? Don't the current Trinity River levees in the downtown Fort Worth zone already control downstream flooding? And have done so for well over half a century? Flood control already bought and paid for.

This Bypass Channel is the responsibility of the Army Corps or Engineers? Really? I thought the Corps was onboard with simply improving the existing levees at a cost of a few million bucks. The Bypass Channel and imaginary island was not an idea foisted on Fort Worth by the Army Corps of Engineers. It was an idea foisted on Fort Worth by locals, such as Kay Granger and her Gang, hoping to make some big bucks by enhancing the value of property they owned in the area of the proposed imaginary island.

The project missed out on 2019 funding, but to stay on its "critical" slow motion path Washington must deliver at least $26 million in 2020. Why must Washington do such a thing?

About $322 million of local money has been spent since this Boondoggle began? Really? Where did that money come from? Can we see an accounting of from whence the funds came and what the supposed $322 million was spent on? Including salaries, such as the $213,000 a year J.D. Granger is being paid to mis-manage this debacle.

About $140 million was spent to take land for the un-needed Bypass Channel? Some of that land was taken over ten years ago, with the victims of the abuse of eminent domain threat still not made whole from the financial damage done to their lives. Can you imagine being one of those victims of the Boondoggle, and ten years later driving by the location of your former home or business and seeing a Boondoggle mess which has gone on for years, with no fruition or end in sight?

More later. I got sidetracked on other Boondoggle issues from a point I wanted to make about that Bypass Channel ditch....

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Freezing Snow Aborts Wichita Falls Library Trek

Well.

The predicted possible snow snowing in the Wichita Falls zone turned way more snowy than what usually happens.

As in predicted snow usually seems to make no appearance, or maybe just a few flakes.

An hour before noon, give or take a minute or two, even though big flakes were falling, and appeared to not be melting, I decided, since I saw many vehicles doing so, that the roads were okay to drive on.

And so I exited my abode.

Carefully.

Holding on to the railing descending the stairs to ground level.

As soon as I was rolling north on Taft Boulevard I tapped the brakes to see if any slipping was noted.

None was.

As I headed north, towards the downtown Wichita Falls library, the snow seemed to be falling far more copiously.

I looked at my vehicle's temperature measuring monitor to see that which said it was 33 degrees upon departure now indicated it was freezing, as in 32 degrees.

By the time my location on Taft Boulevard was in the Midwestern State University zone, only about a half mile from my abode, near the Fantasy of Lights, the road suddenly turned slippery. A red light stopped me at Hempstead. When the light turned green it was quickly obvious the road was now icing up.

I took the first opportunity to turn around and head back to my abode. The side street by which I made the turnaround quickly confirmed, via its slipperiness, that turning around was the right thing to do, what with me not wanting anything remotely resembling my last ice storm driving nightmare a few winters back in Fort Worth.

That photo you see at the top is post turnaround, back at the stoplight at Hempstead, heading south, past the aforementioned Fantasy of Lights, back to the relative safety of my home zone.

Below is video I took whilst still feeling slip-free, as I approached the Fantasy of Lights, before realizing the road had become too slippery for my driving requirements...

Saturday Snow White Out In Wichita Falls Not Yet A Blizzard

Saturday morning.

Inside it is not all that delightful, but outside it is absolutely frightful, stop the snow, stop the snow, stop the snow.

I planned to venture to downtown Wichita Falls this morning to the library to return a bag of books and then refill the empty bag with new books.

But the predicted possible snow with possible freezing conditions are no long a possibility, freezing conditions with snow are now a frightful reality.

Just look at what my dormant bike handlebars are looking at from their patio perch. A road slickly covered in white.

I have not ventured outside, other than for photo taking purposes, and that was done without actual exposure to the falling snow or the frozen ground. To get to ground level I have to negotiate stairs.

They are not as treacherous as the stairs I used to have to negotiate to get to ground level during heavy snow in my old Mount Vernon, Washington location.

Let me see if I can find the webpage I made years ago of my old home location in Mount Vernon.

Found it.

Click Found it and scroll to the bottom and you will see multiple photos documenting the worst, or best (depending on ones point of view) snow accumulation I ever experienced whilst living in the Puget Sound lowlands zone of Western Washington. This lasted for about a week, leaving me stranded, what with the exit road being a steep cul-de-sac. This turned my neighborhood into a winter wonderland of sledding.

And cross country skiing. I recollect making my way on my cross country skis all the way up Waugh Road. Then going downhill at high speed all the way to College Way. Those familiar with the Thunderbird zone of Mount Vernon will get how adventurous such was. And now, years later, looking back on it, I am appalled I did something so fraught with the possibility of something going dire wrong.

I won't be going to do any cross country skiing on Mount Wichita today. First off I don't think the accumulation of the white stuff will be sufficient for such an activity. And, second off, I threw my cross country skis away when I moved to Wichita Falls after I discovered the skis had de-laminated after spending too much time being stored outside where the temperature regularly reached frightfully HOT temperatures.

Coming up on 10 the snow still falls. If relief comes by 11 I may risk venturing top the library...

Friday, December 7, 2018

After 12 Years Of More Talk Than Action J.D. Granger Is Finally....

This morning I saw this After 12 years of more talk than action, work on Bellingham’s central waterfront is finally underway article in the Seattle Times.

I saw that 12 years part of the title, along with waterfront, and immediately the 12 years J.D. Granger has been boondoggling along Fort Worth's imaginary waterfront came to mind.

Way back in the last century I lived in Bellingham for a couple years. At that point in time Bellingham's central waterfront was still dominated by a Georgia-Pacific paper mill.

That paper mill is long gone, and not missed. It was a polluter in more ways than one.

Much of Bellingham's waterfront was already developed, even with the paper mill at its center. Even way back when I lived in Bellingham, it was the location of the south terminus of the Alaskan Ferry.

Reading this article in the Seattle Times about Bellingham's long effort to reclaim its central waterfront I was struck once again about what a stark difference there is between the quality of an article in the Seattle Times and the lame, usually badly written, poorly investigated, sad excuse for journalism I read in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

It is rather easy to see there is a connection between the quality of a town and the quality of  the news sources which report on that town. The ongoing recent spate of Star-Telegram articles about America's Biggest Boondoggle, which is Fort Worth's pitiful attempt to develop a waterfront from an industrial wasteland, presents a stark example of how bad the reporting is in the Star-Telegram, compared with a real, full functioning newspaper practicing real journalism.

Click the After 12 years of more talk than action, work on Bellingham’s central waterfront is finally underway article this morning in the Seattle Times link and read the article and try and imagine ever reading such an in-depth piece of writing in the Star-Telegram, about something in Fort Worth.

Such as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision and its pitiful embarrassments, such as three simple little bridges being built over dry land, stuck in slow motion construction for years, and now becoming a national joke...

Video Documenting Baby Henry Saying Hi To Grandpa Jake


Incoming on my phone last night. Video sent from Arizona, I think, of Spencer Jack's cousin, Henry, first born of Spencer Jack's Uncle Joey, who is also my Nephew Joey, usually referred to as Favorite Nephew Joey, or Favorite Joey Nephew, or FNJ2, because FNJ1 is Favorite Nephew Jason.

In the video Henry eventually says "hi" to his Grandpa Jake, who is also my little brother.

At the same time this video arrived via the phone, a separate text message about Henry, also arrived, with that text message coming from Henry's oldest aunt, who also is my oldest sister named Nancy.

Old Sister Nancy's text message said, "Henry was running, too! That was too cute...."

While the video was sent from Arizona, I am assuming Henry is in Washington, in his abode in the Skagit Valley village of Clear Lake.

I may be wrong in this assumption...

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Trinity River Vision Debacle With J.D. Granger Reaching National Joke Status

It begins to seem as if the reporting on Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision debacle has reached a frequency level hard to keep up with.

As in I don't get around to blogging about one instance when another pops up. Today there have been two, starting with yet another Fort Worth Star-Telegram article, which once again is sort of frustrating to read due to, you know, the Star-Telegram "style" of reporting.

Today's Star-Telegram article about America's Biggest Boondoggle is titled The Panther Island project is getting a deep look, but its CEO won’t be scrutinized.

How can you look at America's Biggest Boondoggle without scrutinizing the ineptly unqualified executive whose chief job was to oversee the project? The Star-Telegram does not ask that question.

The Star-Telegram once again repeats J.D. Granger earns his current $213,000 salary in a publicly funded position. Publicly funded? From which public funds? How much of what has already been spent on this endless debacle have been public funds spent on what would seem to be exorbitant salaries? With the "exorbitant" word used because it seems paying someone so much to get so little done in 12 years seems extremely exorbitant.

Enough with today's Star-Telegram article. This afternoon Captain Mike Facebook pointed me to a Fort Worth Business Press article titled Watch Out River Vision, the world is watching.

I will copy some of this article for your reading enlightenment, but be sure to click the link to read the entire article, and the comments...

The Trinity River project, aka Panther Island, and its Trinity River Vision Authority and the Tarrant Regional Water District are now in the sights of the national media. The stonewalling and no-comment attitudes of those charged with governance will come under the glare of an unrelenting series of questions by folks they cannot duck.

Fort Worth does not need to become a national example of a government project close to being washed up. We do not need to be known as the city that has three multi-million dollar bridges under construction with no water running under them and rapidly diminishing hopes of ever seeing water under them.

We do not need to be the butt of jokes by late-night TV talk show hosts about a city where a powerful congresswoman’s son is running a mismanaged project that will drown unless his mother and taxpayers can rescue it.

No one wants Fort Worth turned into a joke. Government is meant to be practiced in the open. It is time, as they sang back in the revolutionary 1960s, to let the sunshine in.”
_______________

I think maybe it may be a bit late to be able to prevent Fort Worth from being a national joke.

The Fort Worth/Trinity River Vision Boondoggle debacle has been ripe for national joke status for years now.

Just those pitiful little bridges, now in their fifth year of slowly being under construction, trying to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island, is national joke worthy.

That imaginary island is also national joke material, even without the pitiful bridges currently looking like some sort of modern Stonehenge art installation...

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Mama Kay Smacks J.D. Granger Again For Saying Dumb Stuff

The last 24, (or is it 48 hours?), I have found myself getting way too much incoming info overwhelming my slow info processing ability.

The info has been about America's Biggest Boondoggle, also known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision.

The info has come from various sources.

Such as Deep Moat, also known as our Inside the Boondoggle Information Source. In addition to Deep Moat there have been a couple local NBC TV News stories about Fort Worth's ongoing embarrassment. A screen cap from part of  one of those NBC TV News stories you see above.

I think the NBC TV News Panther Island Project Leader Walks Back Statements on Future Funding story, from which this screen cap came aired, last night.

I first learned of this latest NBC TV News story via Facebook, this morning. My dear Facebook friend whom I call Mr. Spiffy made an amusing comment about this on Facebook, which sort of sums it up...

John Spivey: I think of Kay Granger and her son JD like Buford T Justice and Junior from “Smokey & the Bandit”. I picture her always smacking him with her cowboy hat and saying “There’s no way YOU came from my loins, boy!” Spoiler alert: JD said a buncha dumb stuff. Again.

The buncha dumb stuff J.D. said this time was said on a NBC TV News report which led to the followup report where J.D. tried to walk back the dumb stuff he said in Congresswoman's Son Vows to Finish 'Panther Island' Then, 'I'm Out of Here'

I am starting to be a bit burned out by all this. Somehow Kay Granger got herself re-elected. This makes me think Fort Worth deserves what it doesn't get. And gets.

Then again, how does anyone know how deep and how nefarious the election fraud is in Tarrant County? Aren't we still waiting for the results of that supposed largest Texas election fraud investigation in Texas history? Or, has that been covered up like so much gets covered up that is too troubling to look at in the eminent domain abuse capital of America?

We will likely have more to say on this subject, what with a bit of a backlog of material which begs to be talked about...

Monday, December 3, 2018

Visiting Prairie Dog Survivors Before Climbing Mount Wichita

What with not being in the mood to need to layer on multiple layers of outerwear sufficient for a not too cold bike ride, yet feeling the need for some aerobically induced endorphins, I opted to use my mechanized motion device to roll to the base of Mount Wichita on this 3rd day of the last month of 2018.

By the time I found myself at the base of Mount Wichita, looking up at the summit, the trek looked arduous, and beyond my current low energy ebb.

But, I bucked it up and lifted one foot ahead of the other, slowly making my way to the windy summit, where, for a minute I enjoyed the 360 degree view of flat surrounding scenic nothingness. Well, there is a lake, well, reservoir, at the base of this tallest mountain rising high above sea level at the mostly flat part of the planet.

A lake, and those puffy white clouds blotting out large parts of the bright blue sky are sort of scenic.

On the way to Mount Wichita I opted to make a quick visit to the Wichita Falls Prairie Dog Town. I had not visited since tragedy struck the prairie dogs in virtual genocide mode.

Or would that be dogicide?

Mass prairie dog murder, including babies, when someone who should have said no said yes to bulldozing the Wichita Falls Prairie Dog Town. This done ostensibly to control the out of control population.

And to build a better town, with a stronger wall.

We blogged about this way back in March of 2018 in a blogging titled Wichita Falls Prairie Dog Town Bulldozed After Border Wall Destroyed.

I saw a few prairie dogs today, brave survivors of the destruction. The new border wall does look nicer than the old bulldozed one....

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Biking Wichita Falls Seeking Lillian Mae McGregor's Candy Canes

What with this first Sunday of the 2018 version of December scheduled to be the last semi-warm day for the foreseeable predicted future I decided to layer on sufficient outerwear so as to have myself a semi comfortable salubrious endorphin inducing bout of aerobic stimulation via riding my bike.

Eventually my handlebars took me to the Fantasy of Lights currently adding a large dose of Happy Holiday to the Midwestern State University campus.

After dark the Fantasy of Lights is quite a sight, what with a lot of colored lights and animated displays, and the MSU buildings also illuminated in Christmas color.

This is now my 3rd Christmas time of the year in the Wichita Falls Texas location, making this the 3rd iteration of the Fantasy of Lights that I have eye witnessed.

Maybe I forget what I saw the previous year, but it seems each year new displays have been added. Or augmented. Such as the display I thought was Santa's Outhouse, now is guarded by a pair of Tin Soldiers with a sign indicating such.

When I parked my bike so as to dismount and take a picture after taking the above photo I looked at what was at the left of my bike and realized I had not seen that before. A sort of historical market type sign.


And what does this sign tell us? Well...

Christmas 1916
Lillian Mae McGregor and Lester Thomas Burns were newlyweds living in Wichita Falls. They displayed a small Christmas tree on their front porch for neighbors to enjoy and thus was born the "Fantasy of Lights." In 1928 Lillian and L.T. built a home on the corner of Clarinda St. and Harrison Blvd. and each year added a new display. For the next forty-three years, sharing the Christmas spirit was their passion. Midwestern State University adopted the displays and continues this wonderful tradition. Lillian and L.T.'s spirits live on for all children and adults to enjoy. Look around, you might even see her handing out candy canes!

Merry Christmas to all!

Now isn't that special? Have I ever remembered to mention that I like Wichita Falls? Way more than some other locations I have experienced in Texas, even if the town is way too Republican...