Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Six Flags Over Texas Trinity River Bottom Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader Ride


A first look at a new Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington attraction.

Trinity River Bottom Adventure.

Apparently it is sort of a Texas take on Disneyland's Jungle Cruise.

Only with this Six Flags ride you are in jeeps, with a simulated Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader in the driver's seat, taking you on a simulated tour of the Trinity River Bottom zone which exists a short distance northwest of the actual ride in Arlington's Six Flags.

The Dallas Cowboys cheerleader takes the line of jeeps into a river crossing where she dodges obstacles like cows, alligators, feral pigs, giant catfish, snakes, flotillas of litter floating downstream from Fort Worth, random simulated corpses for scary shock value and a simulated flash flood from which the Dallas Cowboys cheerleader heroically leads her adventurers back to dry safety.

I have only been to Six Flags twice. When I moved to its vicinity I thought I would be a frequent visitor, thinking it was like Disneyland, because if I lived in Disneyland's vicinity I would be a frequent visitor, getting a season's pass each year.

Actually, back in the previous century, when I lived about 1,200 miles north of Disneyland, I visited about once a year. Which is a solid indicator as to how drastically Six Flags Over Texas is not even remotely a Disneyland type experience.

After my first Six Flags visit there was never any consideration given to getting a season's pass. I only returned a second time because someone I knew had free tickets and asked me if I wanted to go. And so I did.

But, I may return to Six Flags Over Texas, one more time, just to experience this new River Bottom ride.

The simulated Dallas Cowboys cheerleader looks sort of familiar....

Monday, July 26, 2021

Virtually Attending A BEHS Class Reunion In The Skagit Valley

 


Saturday I missed going to a high school class reunion up north in my old home zone.

The reunion was barely underway when I began receiving photo documentation via my phone and email.

The reunion appears to have been well attended, with more attending than evidenced by the above group photo. I know this because two of the people in attendance, who were sending me photo documentation, are not in the above group photo.

The last time my high school class had a reunion, with a group photo posted on Facebook, one of my fellow non-attendees to that reunion, Honey Lulu, called me the next morning because she was perplexed trying to figure out who some of the people were that we were seeing. We made our way through the photo, identifying all but one, which had to await a third part identification.

I have not heard from Honey Lulu after this latest reunion. I can see she is in attendance, kneeling in the middle of the front row. I can identify, with no help, maybe two thirds of the faces I am seeing.

This reunion which took place on Saturday was the result which resulted after the official reunion, which was to take place at the Skagit Country Club, was cancelled, due to COVID. That cancelled reunion will take place next summer, unless something dire intervenes. 

Linda Lou called me Saturday as she was driving away from the reunion. I talked her all the way back to her driveway in Mount Vernon. Linda Lou had a mighty fine time. She had been a tad reluctant to attend, due to a variety of legit reasons, including COVID.

Because that mighty fine time was had by Linda Lou at this makeshift reunion I committed to going to next summer's reunion, if it takes place...

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Don't Go To A High School Reunion Not Prepared To Find Old People Claiming To Be Classmates


About an hour or so ago a big event began at a rural location in the Skagit Valley.

Literally, less than a minute after I saw the meme you see on the left, above, incoming email brought me two photos of that event taking place at a rural location in the Skagit Valley. I then merged the meme with one of the reunion photos for blogging purposes.

The two photos are HUGE. So, I was able to read some nametags.

Like that is Dan Sooter, up from California, sitting in the front right, talking to the first husband of Janice Jackson, known as Martin Burwash. I think that is Janice with her back to the camera, to the left of Martin.

Like I said, the photos are HUGE.

Below are the two photos rendered smaller than the email versions, but bigger than what you see above...



No, the meme is wrong, these people do not look like they may be too old to have been high school classmates of mine.

This looks like a classy location for a reunion, an event space decorated to look like a garage. I see some ice chests arrayed around the space. The ice chests must be holding the food stuff everyone was instructed to bring for the Potluck scheduled to begin around 2pm. It's a little past 4pm at my location, so the Skagit Valley B-EHS Potluck must be underway.

I got a few calls the past couple days asking if I was gonna be there today. None of the callers seemed too shocked when I said no, I am not gonna be there..

Friday, July 23, 2021

Where In The PNW Are Theo & Ruby Mountain Climbing & Rappelling Cliffs?


Where in the PNW are Theo and Ruby was the question that came to my phone, along with two more photos, in addition to the one above, and a hint which said "They were at a day camp called Survival Week, run by our local Mountaineers Club."

The local Mountaineers Club hint would seem to have pointed me to nearby Mount Rainier, but that does not seem likely, because even with the drought and the heat waves one should still see some white frozen water if the twins were mountaineering near Washington's most famous mountain..

So, I guessed Mount Si, which is northeast of Tacoma a few miles, due east of Seattle and North Bend, made famous because of Twin Peaks and the Mar T Cafe with its cherry pie and coffee.

I have yet to learn if I have guessed correctly as to where the twins are in the PNW.

UPDATE: I have received a text message telling me I was correct in identifying where in the PNW Theo and Ruby were. Mount Si...


Survivor Week also included some rock climbing at the Mountaineers Club facility in Tacoma's Old Town. Above we see Ruby rappelling down a precipice.


While brother Theo is suspended partway down, or up, a cliff.

I thought, for sure, I would be up in Washington in the current time frame, adventuring with David, Theo and Ruby. And others. But, multiple things intervening rendered such to be not a reality. 

I do have a new bike, ready to mountain bike with the Tacoma Trio. It is a newfangled folding bike, making for easy transport, to haul northwest with me, when the time comes.

Which, I hope is someday soon...

Thursday, July 22, 2021

What Did Margaret See Arriving In Seattle?


People with whom I went to school are flying into Seattle this week from all over the world to attend a class reunion Saturday in a humongous man cave located on the Skagit/Samish Flats. One of those flying in posted that which you see above, on Facebook, with the caption saying "This is what I saw arriving in Seattle!!"

Margaret Mikota Grants, flying in from one of those flyover states in the Midwest, I think Minnesota or Wisconsin, organized this reunion from her perch a couple thousand miles east of the Skagit Valley.

I'm not sure what Margaret is exclamation pointing to that she saw upon arrival in Seattle. The lack of other planes on the tarmac? The lack of green in the Evergreen state? Or Mount Rainier minus most of its usual snow cover?

I suspect it is the Mountain which Margaret is talking about.

I have not gone to a class reunion since one way back in 1991. This one in 2021 starts at noon, with a Potluck at 2 in the afternoon, ending when the last person leaves.

I would have planned to go to this reunion except it was made quite clear it is for "ADULTS ONLY", and as hard as I tried, I could not find a baby sitter.

That and potlucks make me nervous.

Margaret Mikota Grants has made it known that to the Potluck she is bringing her famous Italian Pasta Salad. Is she making this in Washington? Or did it fly with her to Seattle, packed in dry ice?

Like I said Potlucks make me nervous...


Saturday Opening Ceremony For New Seattle Bridge Built Over Water In Less Than Two Years


This particular blog post sort of fits into the category of things I read in west coast online news sources, usually the Seattle Times, which I would not expect to read in a Texas online news source, usually the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, about something happening in Fort Worth, or Texas.

Last Saturday Fort Worth had a celebration to mark the opening of the Main Street bridge, second of three simple little bridges being slowly built over dry land, with construction starting with a celebratory TNT explosion way back in 2014.

In the Seattle Times Seattle’s new Fairview Avenue bridge opens Saturday morning article we see several differences regarding how something gets done in a modern American city, and how something flounders in a not so modern American city.

Among the many problems which have caused Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision to become America's Biggest Boondoggle is the fact the project has never been fully funded, has never been approved by the voters supporting any sort of bond issue. All that and the person hired to be the Executive Director of the project was, and is, an unqualified boob.

A few paragraphs from the Seattle Times article illustrating the difference between bridge building in Seattle and bridge building in Fort Worth...

After almost two years of detours, a new concrete-supported Fairview Avenue North bridge will open Saturday morning, replacing an old structure on rotting wood pillars.
_______________

Two years? And built over actual water? Amazing. Before we continue on with another paragraph let's look at another photo of this Seattle bridge, with its bike and pedestrian lanes.


I don't know why they didn't drain Lake Union before building this bridge, you know, because bridge building the Fort Worth Way is over dry land, whilst pretending it is easier and cheaper to build over dry land, when there was no other alternative to doing so.

Continuing on...

The $52 million project is funded by the Move Seattle property-tax levy and state bridge money.
_______________

What a concept, a public works project funded by a levy approved by voters.

Continuing on...

Opening ceremonies begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, followed by two hours to walk, bike, and skate the deck until 11:30 a.m.
_______________

I saw no photo documentation of anyone walking, biking or skating from last Saturday's ceremony opening Fort Worth's Main Street bridge, other than the photo of J.D. Granger, a couple of his minions and a solo bike rider we saw in the blog post from yesterday titled On His Way Out The TRWD Door Jim Oliver Lets Loose Loopy Defense Of J.D. Granger.

Continuing on...

The Fairview bridge is the only full bridge replacement funded by Move Seattle. It’s the city’s 30th seismic retrofit since 1990, and the third funded by the current levy, with nine remaining by 2025.
_________________

Okay, seismic retrofits of 30 bridges is definitely not something you would read happening in Fort Worth, due to the fact that the town is not subject to earthquakes, other than the ones caused by the world's biggest urban experiment in fracking shale to release natural gas.

Have Fort Worth voters ever been asked to support some sort of big project? One of the things which surprised me when first voting in Texas was there being no things to vote on of the bond issue, referendum, initiative sort. 

King, Pierce and Snohomish counties have passed multiple Sound Transit bonds over the years, with the most recent bond being for something like $56 billion. The counties which make up the D/FW Metroplex do not seem to cooperate on doing anything.

Way back from 1968 to 1970, King County voters voted on 12 propositions in an effort called Forward Thrust. This included multiple items, such as building the Kingdome, upgrading Pike Place Market, building the Seattle Aquarium and more. 7 of 12 propositions passed. One of the elements which did not pass in Forward Thrust was building a light rail system. Voters did not begin supporting such until the 1990s.

Five Puget Sound counties were affected by the need to add transit capacity crossing the Tacoma Narrows. So, voters passed a bond issue to build a second Tacoma Narrows suspension bridge, built over actual deep swift moving tidal waters in less than four years.

It is having such things stored in my memory bank which cause me to wonder how can another American town be so inept at actualizing relatively little projects? Like building simple bridges over dry land, digging a cement lined ditch to go under the bridges and whatever else in needed to make a vision something someone can see.

And do so in a timely fashion.

So perplexing...

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

On His Way Out The TRWD Door Jim Oliver Lets Loose Loopy Defense Of J.D. Granger

 

A couple days ago we blogged about 225 Feet Of Panther Island Canal Ready For Riverwalking. after reading a Fort Worth online magazine article about Fort Worth's Boondoggle known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision.

In that article we found ourselves freshly appalled by J.D. Granger due to his penchant for unfortunate verbiage. This what J.D. said about the Boondoggle's diversion channel canal...

“Locals will never know it. Everyone’s walking down with a margarita — might fall in because you’re drunk — [and] they just think it’s pretty. But actually, it serves a very important purpose.”
________

On Facebook there were multiple comments about J.D.'s various utterances in this article. Comments along the line of how does this idiot not get fired?

Also, in this Fort Worth magazine article J.D. tries to explain why it has taken so long for the Boondoggle to get anything done, claiming the area of the bridges as having been an "environmental hot mess" elaborating with...

“We were having to buy the property, move the property, demo the property, do the environmental cleanup — all of that had to take place before the bridges could even start,” Granger says, adding that the amount of hazardous materials removed totaled to about 330,000 tons.
_________

Multiple people have asked how could it be possible that 330,000 tons of hazardous waste were removed before construction of the little bridges could begin? And where did all that, likely imaginary, tonnage of hazardous waste go?

Last night my phone made its incoming text message noise. Twice. On the second instance I got vertical and found my phone. Text messages from Elsie Hotpepper. The first saying "OMG" with the second a link to an article in the most recent edition of the Fort Worth Report, specifically an article titled On his way out the door, water district general manager lets loose, emails reveal.  

The first three paragraphs of this Fort Worth Report article...

With retirement imminent, Water District General Manager Jim Oliver strongly aired his grievances to board members about the perception of the Panther Island/Central City Flood Control project.

Emails obtained by Fort Worth Report through a Texas Public Information Act request show Oliver defending the head of the project, JD Granger.

Oliver’s email came after Granger had made a Facebook post that the new board president, Leah King, told the Report on Tuesday was “in poor taste.”
______________

J.D. made the controversial post on Facebook. That post is what you see screen capped above. 

The post, accompanied by a picture of Granger with two others on the White Settlement bridge, read in part, “This bridge opening is just another expected milestone towards the completion of a project that makes the old guard in Fort Worth uncomfortable. … And at the finish line everyone will think it was easy and take all the credit.
_______________

Take all the credit? More likely it will be blame and shame which will be the theme of the final reckoning of this multi-decade debacle.

Just look at that bridge J.D. and two of his minions are standing on. J.D. and his fellow propagandists have long hyperbolized that this bridge along with the other two being built over dry land, will be iconic signature bridges. It truly is mind boggling that someone can try and sell such nonsense, and still keep his job which currently pays him well over $200,000 a year.

Via the Texas Public Information Act the Fort Worth Report received multiple emails in which Jim Oliver defends J.D. Granger. You can read the email exchanges in the On his way out the door, water district general manager lets loose, emails reveal.

My favorite of Jim Oliver's defenses of J.D. was this...

Oliver concluded the email by saying he’d talk with Granger about the post but chalked it up to him “pushing the envelope” because “that’s what creative and driven people often do.”
_____________

Creative? What has J.D. created? Being part of America's Biggest Boondoggle?

Now that Fort Worth seems to have at least two news sources which seem to be doing actual investigative journalism, perhaps someone can find out exactly what it is J.D. Granger does which has warranted paying him so much for so many years? Along with maybe finding out what it is, exactly, that J.D.'s wife, Shanna, does that has her on the payroll. 

Also, it would be a good thing to investigate the mechanism by which J.D. Granger was selected to be the Executive Director of what has become America's Biggest Boondoggle. Why would a low level prosecuting attorney be hired to do a job for which he had zero experience or qualifications?

As Steve A (and others) have frequently said, "Inquiring minds want to know"...

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

First Ride On New Bike With An Issue Or Two


Yesterday my new bike took me on the longest ride it has taken me, so far.

With a new bike it takes some adjusting, both to get used to it, and to fine tune things like the brakes and the gear shifters and the seat. By the time I got to MSU (Midwestern State University) all was working fine, including the wireless speedometer.

And then.

I crossed Midwestern Boulevard, was heading west on the sidewalk which parallels the boulevard, when suddenly the bike seat came loose. As in the post slid down. Such is a bit startling. I slowly made my way to the shade of a gazebo and re-seated the seat, tightening what needed tightening real tight.

And then.

As soon as I started rolling again I saw the speedometer was no longer working. I later figured out the battery in the sensor had lost contact. I won't know if I fixed it til I ride again.

And on a related bike riding subject let's move on to the photo below.


The above photo was taken through the windshield of my motorized motion device, heading east on the aforementioned Midwestern Boulevard. See the bike graphic stenciled onto the pavement, with an arrow indicating direction?

These bike stencils have recently been stenciled on various roads around town. I have never seen anyone riding their bike on Midwestern Boulevard.

Well, there is that motorbike you see in the left lane, which doesn't count.

The speed limit on Midwestern Boulevard goes as high as 40mph. It would not be safe to pedal on this road. And why would you when, as you can clearly see, there is a sidewalk you can safely ride on.

Very perplexing. Methinks whoever came up with this needs to do some re-thinking...

Monday, July 19, 2021

Weekend At Kay's


That which you see above arrived on my phone this morning, from Elsie Hotpepper. What looks to be a movie poster from the same creative team which brought you the award winning Up A Creek documentary.

Weekend at Kay's, starring Kay Granger, JD Granger and Jim Oliver, the grifter gang which couldn't build a bridge right. 

The movie poster shows Kay being held up by Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi. We do not know if the President and Speaker of the House are also in the movie.

Is this movie going straight to video? Streaming on Netflix and Amazon? Is it R rated? 

WEEKEND AT KAY'S
SHE MAY BE OUR CONGRESSPERSON 
BUT YOU WOULD NEVER KNOW IT.

225 Feet Of Panther Island Canal Ready For Riverwalking


Yesterday, the day known as Sunday, Steve A, currently watching Texas from a luxurious vantage point in Ocean Shores, Washington, posted a comment to a blog post which was posted earlier on that yesterday sunny Sunday.

Steve A's comment...

Steve A has left a new comment on your post "Kay Granger Says Fort Worth's Boondoggle Will Get Buckets Of Federal Funding...":

Can we expect a story of the extra cash approved to Oliver ($300K) and Granger's kid ($60K) before too long? It's rare to see the Startlegram scoop Durango! What's more, are you planning to do one or more stories on the Panther Island Central City Flood Project? Its Executive Director is one JD Granger. As far as I can tell, their main accomplishment to date has been to build 225 feet of sidewalk along a canal. There's a story at https://fwtx.com/news/progress-report/ - and even that sidewalk appears to be three years behind schedule if you look at the "related" blurb about JD from the same publication. Apparently, JD's sidewalk is like a local version of the Trump border wall.

Inquiring minds want to know!
______________
Well...

The Panther Island Looks to Unveil First Part of River Walk Before End of Year article, to which Steve A pointed us, has some interesting elements. 

The first paragraph...

The Panther Island project has been going on for well over a decade now, and in that time frame, has also become the brunt of both praise and critique from those anxiously awaiting the promised San Antonio-style riverwalk and surrounding developments illustrated in those fancy renderings. In April, what’s considered the first vertical progress on the project finally opened to traffic — the White Settlement Bridge, one of three V-pier bridges offering connectivity to the 800-acre district.
____________

Well over a decade? The Boondoggle has been boondoggling along since this century began. Has anyone heard any of this praise from people anxiously awaiting a promised San Antonio-style riverwalk? The simple little bridges which look like freeway overpasses are considered the first vertical progress?

Continuing on...

But just along North Main Street, behind chain-link fences in the shadow of the five-story Encore Panther Island apartment complex, the fun part of the project — the part everyone’s been waiting for — remains hidden from the public eye.

Well, a 225-foot-long portion of it anyway. 

Nestled right in the center of Encore Panther Island is the first part of the Panther Island Riverwalk, now filled with water as it waits to join the rest of what will be about 1.75 miles of canal running along the district.
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Why isn't this Encore apartment complex considered vertical progress? Everyone has been waiting for the fun part of this project? With that fun part supposedly being the Panther Island Riverwalk? 225 feet of the 1.75 mile canal has now been filled with water, and is awaiting being enjoyed? Yeah, that illustrative photo of this section of Riverwalk looks real enjoyable.

Continuing on...

But aside from just giving locals something fun to enjoy, those spearheading the project have long touted the canal’s functional purpose — to serve as the main stormwater arterials for the City of Fort Worth and allow for the removal of outdated levees, replacing them with better flood protection via the canal.
____________

Oh, this canal will serve as stormwater arterials, thus allowing the removal of levees which are supposedly outdated, but which have prevented flooding for well over a half century, whilst other areas of Fort Worth and Tarrant County are in dire need of better flood protection. 

Looking at that photo of this short section of canal, it is a bit difficult to see how this is going to handle the Trinity River when it goes into flood mode.

Continuing on with a bizarre quote from that gift which just keeps on giving, J.D. Granger...

“Locals will never know it,” JD Granger, executive director of Panther Island Central City Flood Project, says. “Everyone’s walking down with a margarita — might fall in because you’re drunk — [and] they just think it’s pretty. But actually, it serves a very important purpose.”
____________

Local will never know the little canal serves a very important purpose? Really? For most of this century locals have been hearing about a flood diversion channel, whilst seeing three little bridges being slowly built over dry land. So, how and why is it that J.D. thinks the locals will never know what the canal is for while they are drunkenly walking the riverwalk with a margarita in hand?

J.D. Granger has a long history of embarrassing himself. Way back in June of 2014 we blogged about one of the weirdest J.D. Granger embarrassments in This Morning I Learned J.D. Granger Is Promoting Little Kids Cheering For Beer & Going Nuts For Runner's Butts.

Continuing on...

The Panther Island project hasn’t gone on without opposition, however, as many remain critical over its hefty price tag (it’s part of the $1.16 billion Central City Flood Project, of which $29 million for utility work is coming from the public), and simply the fact that everything’s taking so long.

To that, Granger has two responses: Regarding the cost, funding for the Panther Island Riverwalk is coming from investors and developers who are paying the Tarrant Regional Water District the amount they would essentially pay to mitigate the stormwater runoff they would create. On the amount of time it’s taken to see things go vertical, Granger cites, in part, the need to clean up the “environmental hot mess” that the formerly industrial property used to be, previously filled with hazardous chemicals like lead and ammonia. 

“We were having to buy the property, move the property, demo the property, do the environmental cleanup — all of that had to take place before the bridges could even start,” Granger says, adding that the amount of hazardous materials removed totaled to about 330,000 tons.
___________

According to Granger, funding is coming from investors and developers? If that is the case why is this project constantly in slow motion construction mode whilst awaiting federal funding courtesy of J.D.'s mother's budget finagling, which is what Kay Granger has long been expected to deliver, thanks to her son being given a high paying job for which he had zero qualifications.

Before the bridges could start J.D. says they had to buy, move and demo property? And that added up to 330,000 tons of hazardous material? Anyone remember seeing all those tons being moved? Where did they move to?

And one can not help but wonder how many margaritas J.D. Granger had consumed prior to being interviewed for this article...

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Hank Frank Visits Great Grandma Shirley For First Time


Incoming to my phone this Sunday afternoon, sent by my Favorite Nephew Joey and Hank Frank.

Hank Frank had visited his Great Grandpa Jack, previously, but never his Great Grandma Shirley, til today.

Hank Frank's dad, Joey, married his mother, Monique, after Great Grandpa Jack had moved to his final resting place.

At some point after that I was in Arizona, with mom, and we called Joey. I don't remember if this was before or after Joey got married. What I do remember was mom asking Joey a couple times when he was gonna come for a visit.

Joey and I had talked a time or two of timing a visit of his to Arizona with a time when I would be there. That would have been fun. But, it never happened.


Above Hank Frank is getting a closer look at the flowers which are currently sitting on mom and dad's headstone. I always thought these were called tombstones, but a couple days ago Betty Jo Bouvier referred to mom and dad's tombstone as a headstone. To Hank Frank's left are his Great Great Grandma and Grandpa's headstones.
Upon first seeing the above photo of Hank Frank pointing to a Slotemaker headstone other than his Great or Great Great Grandparental Units, I did not understand.

And then I did.

Hank Frank is pointing to the name on the headstone because it is the same name as his.

Henry Slotemaker.

Known as Uncle Hank. Younger brother of my dad's dad, Cornelius. Uncle Hank was married to Aunt Fanny. When I was Hank Frank's age, and older, Hank and Fanny lived on the Slotemaker Farm on Slotemaker Road, a couple miles east of Lynden.

Hank and Fanny lived there til they sold the farm and built a new house on Birch Bay Lynden Road, where Uncle Hank lived til he died, and Aunt Fanny lived til she was murdered.

Uncle Hank took it upon himself to write a detailed family history, going all the way back to Holland. If it weren't for Uncle Hank I would not know my family history in the great detail I know it, including how our family ended up in Lynden.

Way back in 2002 I webpaged Uncle Hank's family history which he called The Slotemaker Story. Til today I had not looked at this for a long long long time.

To make the website I used a now long outdated format known as frames. I also made several Shockwave animations which I now see are no longer supported.

But, The Slotemaker Story is still totally readable, with the frames still working. However, I suspect this would not work on a smart phone, only an old fashioned big computer screen. And maybe a tablet.

Kay Granger Says Fort Worth's Boondoggle Will Get Buckets Of Federal Funding In 2022

Yesterday Fort Worth had a celebratory ceremony to celebrate the opening to traffic of the bridge you see in the photo above. Local propagandists have long propagandized that this bridge and its two siblings were going to be iconic signature bridges.

No. I am not making that up.

Construction of these three simple little bridges began way back in 2014. Two of the three are now, in 2021, completed.  Sort of.

This Sunday morning's Fort Worth Star-Telegram had an article about that which has become America's Biggest & Most Embarrassing Boondoggle. This Fort Worth’s Panther Island will get federal funding in 2022, US Rep. Kay Granger says article contains some of the usual propaganda gems.

Along with failing to make mention of one big piece of reality. With that reality being that federal funding has not been forthcoming for Fort Worth's poorly planned, ineptly implemented public works project because of the requirement that a feasibility study is required before federal funding can be considered.

We blogged about the feasibility study problem just a couple months ago in Fort Worth Opens One Of Its Bridges To Nowhere Over Dry Land.

Before that we blogged about the feasibility study problem in August of 2020 in Panther Island Board Wants No Feasibility Study Of Fort Worth's Embarrassing Boondoggle.

And even way further back in March of 2010 in CONFLUENCE: A River & A Creek Runs Through Tarrant County Losing Dollars & Lives reference is made to the feasibility study issue way back in February of 2001, in the following paragraph from that blog post...

A feasibility study for the watershed had been initiated by the US Army Corps of Engineers in February 2001. In a letter to Congresswoman Kay Granger in November 2009, Col. Richard Muraski of the Corps stated that, "Due to a variety of issues, including a lack of consistent funding, higher priority work and technical shortcomings, completion of the study has taken longer than normal." He went on to state that the Corp recognized the "history of destructive flooding" in the area and that approximately $100,000 would be provided to "continue the studies of the Big Fossil Creek watershed."

The flood prone watershed referred to in the above paragraph is not the area focused on by the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, where there has been no flooding for well over half a century. Kay Granger has shown ZERO real concern for the area of her congressional district which has actually had, and continues to have, deadly destructive flooding.

The first three paragraphs of this latest Star-Telegram article about the Boondoggle...

The Panther Island project will see enough federal money in the 2022 funding cycle to begin digging the channel under the already-built bridges, U.S. Rep. Kay Granger said Saturday.

Granger, R-Fort Worth, said it’s not clear how much funding will come through for the project, but she’s confident it will be enough to begin cutting the 1.5-mile channel.

“It comes in different buckets, so there may be some in this one and then some in the next one,” Granger said. “I think it will be funded for everything they can spend in the next cycle.”
______________

Enough funding to begin digging in 2022? And the funding will come in different buckets? Like has already been said, there is to be no federal funding without a feasibility study. Or has that requirement been dropped?

Granger made these funding comments at yesterday's ribbon cutting grand opening of the North Main Street bridge.

And then we have the following two paragraphs...

But for now, all three bridges span dry land. Officials, including Granger, have long said that it was cheaper and easier to build the bridges first and then cut the channel that will connect the ends of a U-shaped bend in the Trinity River. The area known as Panther Island is not actually an island until water begins flowing through the channel.

“We didn’t have to do the water this way, but it was the smart way, it could be done faster and cheaper,” Granger said.
__________________

The smart way? We didn't have to do the water this way? Officials, including Granger, have long said it was cheaper and easier to build the bridges first and then cut the channel?

How many times has it been repeated that there was no logical option other than to build the bridges over dry land. It would have been idiotic to dig a ditch first, fill it with water, and then build the bridges. Without the bridges that ditch would be a serious obstacle to traffic.

Why do these supposed "officials" repeat this nonsense over  and over again?

Easier to build the bridges first? It has taken over 7 years to easily build these bridges.

Way longer than it took to build the Golden Gate bridge.

To illustrate how idiotic this cheaper and easier to build the bridges over dry land nonsense is, it would be like way back in the 1930s there was no water in San Francisco Bay. And the city decided to build a suspension bridge over dry land to connect to Marin County, and then fill the land under the bridge with water to create a bay. With the local officials repeating over and over and over again that it was cheaper and easier to build the bridge over dry land, as if there was any other logical option.

As has also been said over and over again, if the reality of this Fort Worth project was is as touted, that is, as a vitally needed flood control economic development scheme, why has this project limped along for most of this century?

Waiting for the rest of America to pay for it.

When Fort Worth voters have not voted to support this project by approving any sort of funding bond issue. Does Kay Granger actually believe that when she tries to finagle federal funding for her son's Boondoggle that other Representatives won't raise objections to funding the Fort Worth Boondoggle?

All you have to do is look at that photo of the newly opened bridge to see a visual metaphor for the quality of the Trinity River Vision. If any of the rest of the vision becomes anything someone can see do you think the quality will be of the same level as these three imaginary iconic signature bridges? 

Or worse...

Friday, July 16, 2021

Mom & Dad Finally Together Again In Lynden Washington


Yesterday, July 15, 2021, my mom and dad were reunited in Lynden, Washington, after being separated for almost four years.

This reunification was originally planned to take place last summer, but COVID intervened. 

And then this summer it was also thought the reunification would take place, with all my mom and dad's children helping with the reunification. 

But, again, COVID, and other complications intervened.

Last night Brother Jake sent my phone a couple photos taken yesterday, including the one you see above. This morning more photos arrived via email, sent by my Favorite Nephew Jason. We will get to Jason's photos and message below, but first Brother Jake's phone text message about mom's accident on the way north to Lynden...

By the way. Your mother was involved in a motor vehicle accident on route to her burial today. We were rear ended while waiting at a stop light on the Guide Meridian. Luckily mom was secured in the back seat. Miss Vicky, Loretta's Crown Victoria 4 door sedan, built like a tank, was not damaged. The elder lady who hit us had no driver's license, or insurance. She was sooooo apologetic...

Below, that would be Spencer Jack, Jason, Spencer's Grandpa Jake and Aunt Judy, awaiting the arrival of mom.


Email from Jason this morning....

FUD-

I was just thinking about today's happenings.

I believe we had 7 generations of blood relatives within just a few feet of one another.

Cornelis & Aagje
John & Tillie
Cornelius & Sylvia
Jack & Shirley
Brother John (Jake)
Myself (FNJ)
Spencer Jack Slotemaker

I wish you were there today.   Give me a call tomorrow, if you want, and I can offer you a more detailed version of how it all played out.  Judy was super helpful.  Ironically, she and I had lunch together twice this week. 

One other thought that just came to mind--- I often think of how your Mom's obit was written.  I supplied some basic outline and details, and your sister Michele added a few great lines...... one that I thought of today is "She took her role as homemaker seriously, and served home-cooked meals every night."   Having home cooked meals every night must have been like living in luxury.

Judy today talked about how much your mother was a good cook.

Hope all is well a couple thousand miles apart.

FNJ

Aunt Judy lives in Lynden.  Aunt Judy became our aunt when dad's brother, Mel, married her, way back in the 1960s.

Mom's reputation as a good cook comes up often. As recently as a few days ago when I talked to Miss Beth, friend of our family going back over half a century, Beth made mention of mom's cooking.

In the next photo we see mom has now arrived, patiently waiting to be installed in her final resting place.


And just like what happened with dad, it was mom and dad's eldest grandson, Jason, who put mom in her final location.


I suppose it comes as no surprise that I am feeling a bit melancholy this morning.

My new bike arrived yesterday.

Rain, this morning, is postponing my first test ride on the new bike.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Don't Miss Saturday's Fort Worth Ribbon Cutting Bridge Ceremony


Saw that which you see above, this Thursday morning, on Twitter, brought to us by the good people at Panther Island - Central City.

Way back in 2014 there was a TNT exploding ceremony to celebrate the start of construction of three simple little bridges over dry land, destined, it was hoped, one day to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

These bridges are part of what is known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, or, more commonly, as America's Biggest Boondoggle.

And now, in 2021, seven years after 2014, one of those bridges is going to have itself a ribbon-cutting ceremony this coming Saturday, as in July 17, at 9 in the morning.

It is not known if any TNT will be exploding, but the Fort Worth Herd (that's about a dozen longhorns who live in the Fort Worth Stockyards) will be in attendance, entertained by a Mariachi Real de Alvarez & Fort Worth Ballet Folklorico.

We assume one of the entertainments is a mariachi band whilst the other are some sort of Mexico themed ballet dancers.

Is it normal for a big city to have a ceremony like this for the completion of a little bridge which took seven years to build? We think not. 

America's Biggest Boondoggle has been panhandling for years trying to extract money from the more prosperous parts of America to fund Fort Worth's flood control economic development scheme, where there has been no flooding for well over half a century.

How much money have America's Biggest Boondogglers wasted on things like bridge ribbon-cutting ceremonies, propaganda signage, concerts, river floats, fireworks, design mistakes, roundabout artwork and other money wasting items, whilst asking America for more money?

And why is Kay Granger's unqualified son, J.D., still being paid well over $200K a year, for year after year after year, as this poorly planned, ineptly implemented, public works project the public has never voted for, limps along, with little to show for the effort and money spent, except for things like three simple little bridges which look like freeway overpasses?

It's a mind boggling boondoggle...

America's Fittest & Least Fit Cities From Arlington To Fort Worth


This morning, whilst perusing the various online news sources I peruse every morning, I came upon an article about America's Fittest Cities. That article had a link to the source study which determined America's Fittest Cities, listing 100 American towns, from Fittest to Least Fit.

Arlington apparently is the Fittest City in America. No, not the Arlington in Texas. Or the one in Washington. The Fittest Arlington is the one in Virginia.

Seattle, in my old home state of Washington, is the 3rd Fittest City in America. 

Are there any towns in the state I am currently in, Texas, which are among the most fit? Well, Austin comes in at #19. I have seen Austin described as the Seattle of Texas, a liberal, well educated, lively town with a renowned music scene. And plenty of parks and trails.

Are there any other towns in Texas in the Top 60 Most Fit? Well, Plano, that's a town north of Dallas in the D/FW Metroplex, comes in at #45, followed by Laredo, Texas at #47, with Houston coming in #60.

That is the list of the Top 60 Most Fit American City below, and below that we come to the Bottom 40 Least Fit American Cities. Let's see if any Texas towns found their way to the bottom of this listing of fit cities.

Well, what a surprise, Dallas follows #60, Houston, in the #61 spot, leading the list of the 40 Least Fit American Cities.

El Paso is #62. Is Texas going to dominate the least fit cities?

No, Chandler, Arizona follows El Paso at #63, followed by Scottsdale, Arizona at #64. One of my sisters lives in Chandler, and my one and only brother lives in Scottsdale. I have spent time in both towns and have not seen the level of un-fitness I regularly see in Texas.

It looks like the Phoenix metro zone is actually not too fit, what with Mesa coming in at #68 followed by Phoenix itself at #70. After Phoenix only one other Arizona town shows up, that being Gilbert at #84. Gilbert is in the Phoenix metro zone, a town due east of Chandler.

However, Texas appears to dominate the lower 40 as we go down the list. With Dallas suburb, Garland at #75. Lubbock at #77.  Another Dallas suburb, Irving, at #82. San Antonio at #85. Arlington at #89. With Fort Worth being the least Fit Texas City at #90.

It is Oklahoma with the honor of having the two Least Fit American Cities, with Tulsa at #99 and Oklahoma City taking last place at #100.

It does not shock me too much that a scientific study of the fitness issue would find Fort Worth un-fit. The town is a bit lacking in a lot of amenities one expects to find in most American towns. Such as streets with sidewalks, parks with modern facilities, multiple public swimming pools. That sort of thing.

I think I have mentioned previously my experience way back in February of 2004. It had been several years, well, two, since I had been back to Washington. I was living in Fort Worth then.

Landing at Sea-Tac, before reaching my final destination, I was brought to downtown Seattle, to a gallery in Pioneer Square. Exchanging pleasantries with the gallery owner it was mentioned that I had just arrived from Texas. 

The gallery owner asked how long I had been away from Washington. A couple years I replied. Then the gallery owner asked me if anything seemed different, or some such question, but whatever the precise question was I precisely remember my reply.

"The people all look like they have had the air let out of them." I told the gallery owner.

I was so used to seeing overly bloated Texans that it was like being on a different planet, seeing so many un-bloated people out and about. 

I am getting a new bike today, so that I can continue my quest to contribute to the Fitness of Texas...

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Google Is Tracking Where I Go And How I Got There

For some reason Google monitors my activity of the where I have been sort during the month, and then sends me a report of such via email.

The report includes photos of various locations I have been during the month.

For instance in June I found myself up north in Oklahoma, stopping at the Comanche Red River Casino Resort for a restroom break.

The activity email from Google included a photo of the exterior of that Comanche casino.

Google also tells me how far I walked, biked and drove during the month.

For June Google thinks I only walked two miles, biked 63 and drove 296.

I am fairly certain I walked more than two miles and biked more than 63. I don't know about the number of miles driven. 296 seems like it might be fairly accurate.

As for the biking miles, whatever the actual total was in June, in July it should be fewer miles. Due to my bike being in total malfunction mode.


It is the bike's lower bracket crankset (I think that is what it is called) which has failed. This part of the bike has been problematic for quite some time.  Previously loosening that ring you see at the end of a lot of threads and squirting in some lubricant alleviated the problem.

For awhile.

But last month the crank started getting real cranky. Noisy, skipping. My attempt to squirt in some lubricant totally broke this part of the bike, when I loosened the ring. That part with all the threads should not have come out like that. The round ring thing is supposed to tighten on those threads. Instead the part with all the threads came loose from whatever it was attached to inside the crank shaft.

This bike has had other issues which have long had me wary of it. Number one of those issues is twice the bike seat failed. As in suddenly broke off due to an attaching bolt breaking.

After the second incident the bike manufacturer, Schwinn, replaced the whole bike seat, post and seat, and since then there has been no more failing of that component.

But I still did not trust it not to fail again. I had been lucky both of the failure incidents that the failure happened just as I began to pedal. If it failed whilst rolling fast this could have been what might be known as a catastrophic failure, with injuries.

So, I am bike-less, now, til Thursday, when a new bike arrives...

Monday, July 12, 2021

In Walmart If You Can't Find A Price You Can't Find It Right Here


 The past couple weeks I have seen in the two Walmarts I way too frequently frequent what you see documented above in a photo my phone took a few minutes ago.

I refer to that big arrow pointing down, with the signage advising shoppers "Can't find a price? You can check it right here."

Except you can't. The price scanner devices have been removed from those two aforementioned Walmarts which I way too frequently frequent.

These now meaningless arrow pointing signs are located throughout the stores. These price check scanners were useful due to the fact that Walmart can be a bit sloppy with making clear the cost of an item sitting on a shelf with a lot of other items.

When the Walmart price scanners were still available one would see products left near the scanner, leading one to assume that someone checked the price and found out it was not what they were expecting. And so left the product at the scanner location.

Now, I have not found Walmart making pricing mistakes often, and by mistake I mean that the price which rings up is not the price indicated by the price sticker on the shelf. 

With Walmart I have found the price mistake can go either way, as in more than I thought the cost was, or less. The most recent example of the latter is I picked up a pack of frozen salmon filets, thought the pack was $11, due to the price tag on the shelf under the salmon. But, those frozen salmon filets rang up at $7.94. 

When I lived in Washington there was a grocery store which was chronic with price mistakes.

Albertsons.

I was appalled when I first arrived in Texas and asked a local what was the best grocery store in the area, with Albertsons being the answer.

There used to be an Albertsons in the town I am currently in, but, I think the three Walmarts in this town caused Albertsons to not be able to survive. Even though Albertsons aggravated me, this did not stop me from buying something there every once in awhile.

Such as the Albertsons fried chicken. I liked their fried chicken...

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Sharing Homesick For Washington With Jan's Big Beautiful Appomattox Buns

I have discovered I am not the only one exiled from the Pacific Northwest who suffers pangs of homesickness when seeing images which evoke what it is like to live in that scenic wonderland. 

One is particularly vulnerable to this phenomenon when one finds oneself living in a part of America pretty much devoid of being any sort of scenic wonderland.

Janice Small shared my journey through the Burlington, Washington education system. I do not recollect ever seeing Janice Small after that day we all graduated from Burlington-Edison High School, many decades ago.

But now, years and years and years later, I have found Janice Small again, now going by the name Jan McNutt. I suspect a husband may be involved in that name change.

This formerly Small person now lives in Virginia.

Appomattox to be precise.

Where Ms. McNutt is famous due to her Big Beautiful Buns, which she sells Saturdays at the Appomattox Farmer's Market.

Ms. McNutt posted that which you see above, on Facebook, yesterday, as in, on Saturday, the day she was busy selling her Big Beautiful Buns.

The photo is a view of Bellingham Bay. Bellingham is a town in Whatcom County about 20 miles south of the border with Canada. I lived in Bellingham for a couple years back in the 1970s. Bellingham, and Bellingham Bay is the location of the southern terminus of the Alaskan Ferry.

When posting the above photo Ms. McNutt commented "Getting pretty homesick for beautiful WA!!! Hoping to get out there this fall."
 
I too am getting pretty homesick. I was hoping to get out there this summer, but I do not see that happening...

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

WCMA Doctor's Splash Pad Up & Running Water In Wichita Falls Hamilton Park


Early yester evening my bike took me north on the Circle Trail, eventually reaching Hamilton Park where I saw the cooling scene you see above.

The Doctor's Splash Pad seems to be a rousing success, judging by the number of people I have seen since it opened enjoying getting splashed on.

The Doctor's Splash Pad and its adjacent climbing playground were brought about by the good people of the Wichita County Medical Alliance

Below is a screen cap from the WCMA website.

Okay, the actual Doctor's Splash Pad, in its completed state, looks a little different than the artist's conceptual rendering on the WCMA website, but the conceptual rendering is fairly close to the eventual reality.

Methinks this is a mighty fine thing the WCMA doctors have done. A literally cool place to take the kids, with no admission fee, and with a big parking lot. Along with modern restroom facilities. 

I can think of another Texas town, or two, I have lived in which might do itself a favor by emulating the good example of Wichita Falls, including building modern restroom facilities and getting rid of outhouses.

Fort Worth. Are you listening?

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Ongoing TRWD Scandal Keeps Growing Over Dry Land

 

This morning's email included one from S-Man which was a comment from yesterday's blog post above Washington's melting snowpack, with the comment having zero to do with melting snow...

S-Man has left a new comment on your post "Washington's Mountains Are Melting":

[NOT FOR PUBLICATION]
Tarrant water district board members question law firm’s advice
__________________

It would seem S-Man used the blog comment method to point me to an article he thought I would find of interest. S-Man was correct in his thinking.

That is a screen cap from the article you see above. With a new look at one of Fort Worth's pitiful little bridges which have taken years and years to build over dry land. You also get a good look at those imaginarily iconic signature V-Piers, frequently touted by the Trinity River Vision's J.D. Granger as being something real special.

J.D. Granger shows up in this article in the Fort Worth Reporter. But the main thrust of the article is the fact that apparently the majority of the Tarrant Region Water District Board is fed up with the board's longtime general counsel, and the dubious legal advice said counsel has provided.

Such as okaying funneling $300K to departing General Manager, Jim Oliver, along with $60K to J.D. Granger. With that money being a bogus adding to their accounts of supposed un-paid leave time off.

These sham pay-offs were approved by former TRWD Board President, Jack Stevens, who received the fewest votes in the latest TRWD Board election, thus removing Stevens from the TRWD Board.

Stevens made these sham pay-offs without consulting the TRWD Board.

The TRWD Board has since rescinded the sham payoffs. And it looks like there may be some sort of criminal investigation into what appear to be improper shenanigans.

Read the entire Fort Worth Reporter Tarrant water district board members question law firm’s advice article for all the details...

Monday, July 5, 2021

Washington's Mountains Are Melting

This blogging falls into the category of things I read in west coast online news sources about something on the west coast which I would never read in a Texas online news source about something in Texas.

In this instance it was in the Seattle Times I saw that which you see here.

A volcano in full meltdown mode.

When I first read of the predicted super HOT heatwave heading to the Pacific Northwest I wondered if this would be causing rapid melting of the snow in the mountain zones.

I remember flying to Washington in late July of 2008 and being surprised at how odd Mount Rainier looked due to so much of that mountain's usual white covering being missing.

At that point in time the Pacific Northwest was in the midst of a drought, hence what was usually evergreen was brown instead. And the mountains had not received their usual allotment of snow.

However, Mount Rainier in 2008 still had way more white covering it than the current version of Mount Rainier. And there are still several months of HOT temperatures to come, with more of the snow pack and glaciers melting.

I have not seen a current photo of Mount Baker, which is Washington's other volcano easily seen from the lowlands of the Puget Sound.

I wonder how Mount Shasta in Northern California is doing, melt-wise. I recollect driving by Mount Shasta in the early 1990s and being surprised to see it almost totally with no snow. The Mount Shasta volcano, like Mounts Rainier and Baker, is easily seen as one drives by on Interstate 5.
 
Changing the subject slightly.

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest one learns how to pronounce Mount Rainier. As in the Rainier part is pronounced Rain-near.

I wonder if someone not from the Pacific Northwest might think Rainier was pronounced Rainy-er. And might think the name meant that mountain was more rainy than other mountains. Just like many think Seattle is rainier than any other town.

One thing I know for sure, there is no mountain or volcano in Texas with any snow melt issues...

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Have A Mighty Fine 4th Of July Grilling Filet Of Alligator


Yesterday, as in Saturday, the day before today, Sunday, the 4th of July, I was in Walmart collecting the vittles needed for my annual 4th of July Grilling.

I was in the seafood section looking for salmon, when I saw that which you see above, which I had my phone take a picture of for documentation purposes.

Filet of Alligator.

I have no idea how one cooks Alligator.

I need to consult the Southern Belle, Elsie Hotpepper, with whom I consult when I am dumbfounded trying to figure out some Southern cuisine confusion.

Elsie is a gourmet level chef specializing in the complicated cuisine of the South.

From the Hotpepper I learned how to make perfect grits, hush puppies and fried green tomatoes.

You reading this in Washington, and other locations not in the South, does your Walmart seafood section stock Alligator?

Speaking of Alligator, of late that particular reptile has been in the local news due to there being way above the norm number of Gator sightings in Fort Worth's Lake Worth.

Lake Worth is an impoundment of the Trinity River, a few miles upstream from the downtown Fort Worth location of the Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats in the polluted Trinity River.

I have seen no coverage, this river floating season, of Rockin' the River. Has this been cancelled again, like last year, due to COVID?

Or is this increase in the Alligator population the new reason not to be Rockin' the River?

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Maxwell Smart Linda Lou & Me Detective Agency


That is Maxwell Smart you see above, looking out one of the windows of his Mount Vernon abode.

Of late, Maxwell's primary human, Linda Lou, and myself, have been engaged in intense detective work, locating missing persons.

The phone conversations between myself and Linda Lou are in speaker phone mode, so Maxwell listens, and then misunderstands, thinking he must help in looking for something, so he goes to the window to do surveillance. 

So far, Maxwell, Linda Lou and I have located three missing persons. The first located was found in Montesano, Washington. A town, if I am remembering right, with a connection to Nirvana's Kurt Cobain. 

The missing person found in Montesano provided a clue to finding the next missing person, by suggesting we look in Texas. That clue worked. We found our second missing person in Alpine, Texas.

The third missing person we found was an easy one. That person was on Facebook. 

We are now up against our most challenging case yet, finding a missing person who is a member of Washington's Swinomish tribe. This missing person lived on the same block I lived on whilst growing up in Burlington, Washington. Last seen, we think, in July or August of 1991 in La Conner, Washington.

La Conner is a tourist town in the Skagit Valley.

La Conner has an actual iconic, signature bridge, known as the Rainbow Bridge, by some, built high above the actual water of the Swinomish Channel.

Anyone reading this in Fort Worth, who has been conned by idiotic propaganda, who thinks a little freeway overpass-like bridge, built over dry land, has possible iconic signature status, click the La Conner link to see what a real iconic signature bridge over water looks like...

Friday, July 2, 2021

New Granger Grafting Grifting Revelations In Ongoing TRWD Scandal

I've been away from my computer for a few hours. But, I had my phone with me, which beeped a couple times, with the beeping letting me know a new wrinkle in the ongoing TRWD Grifting Slush Fund Scandal has been rendered.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, perhaps motivated by competition from the new kid in town known as the Fort Worth Reporter, seems to be finally looking in a clear headed, sort of, way at the mess that is the Tarrant Region Water District, and is spawn, the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, better known as America's Biggest Boondoggle.

The image you see above is a screen cap from the Star-Telegram's article about this latest revelation, this time directly involving Kay Granger's son, J.D. who you see on the left in the photo.

In addition to the main disgusting revelation in this article, we also learn that J.D. is now being paid $242,000 a year. Maybe it is time an actual investigate journalist finds out what it is which warrants paying Kay Granger's son that much money.

And now, the aforementioned article in its entirety...

Former Tarrant water board president gave Panther Island boss extra $60K in paid time off

Days before leaving office, and two months after he directed a paid leave exception for the outgoing general manager, the Tarrant Regional Water District’s former board president made a similar arrangement for Panther Island executive J.D. Granger.

According to documents obtained through a public information request, former board president Jack Stevens wrote an internal memo on May 13 — more than a week and a half after he lost his reelection bid, and five days before he left office. In the memo, Stevens directed water district staff to make an exception to the paid leave policy for “the current Development Director of TRWD.”

In an email chain, staff members clarify that the title references Granger. The exception allows Granger to bank 1,560 hours of paid time off, 520 beyond the maximum outlined in the district’s policy.

At Granger’s hourly rate, that’s more than $60,000 worth of extra time.

The exception also removed the district’s restrictions on how paid leave can be cashed in or rolled over. Stevens’ memo allowed Granger “to be paid for unused Paid Leave hours in full upon request, in a lump sum, by deposit into the District’s [retirement plan], over time, or otherwise as requested, subject to the requirements of applicable law and the District’s [retirement plan].”

According to water district documents, Granger is paid about $242,000 a year for his role as the executive director of the Panther Island/Central City project. That project, which has a price tag of more than $1 billion, has been ongoing for more than 15 years and has been spearheaded federally by Granger’s mother, U.S. Rep. Kay Granger.

After issuing the exception memo, Stevens followed up with a staff member on May 17, one day before he left office, and asked them to “please implement the exceptions in my Memorandum dated May 13, 2021.”

The exception that Stevens wrote for Granger is strikingly similar to an exception he wrote two months earlier, for now-retired general manger Jim Oliver.

That exception, which the board of directors voted unanimously to revoke on Tuesday, added more than 2,000 extra hours of paid time off into Oliver’s account. At Oliver’s hourly rate as general manager, that exception would allow him to cash in on more than $300,000 in post-retirement compensation.

Board president Leah King on Tuesday described the exception to Oliver as “ill-advised” and potentially “unlawful.” However, Oliver’s lawyer told the Star-Telegram that the exception was made following district policy, which includes a clause that paid leave exceptions can be made.

King and the other board members have not made any public comments on Granger’s exception.

Lawyers for the Tarrant water district are conducting an “inquiry” into the exception made for Oliver. It’s unclear if the exception made for Granger is also included in that inquiry.

Granger and King could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.

Former Tarrant water board president gave Panther Island boss extra $60K in paid time off.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Hoodoo-like Cairn With Wichita River Running High Along Wichita Bluff Nature Area Circle Trail


My motorized mechanical motion device took me and my bike to the west parking lot of the Wichita Bluff Nature Area today so we could do some HOT biking on the Circle Trail.

Above my bike has taken me way past the east entry to the WBNA, returning west after reaching the Circle Trail's east termination point. We stopped to take this photo of the Wichita River running high and reddish orange.

On the return to the aforementioned motorized mechanical motion device we stopped to pay homage to the latest incarnation of the Wichita Bluff Hoodoo-like Cairn.


Note the fine detail. The flying buttress arch on the right side of the structure. That is some high level engineering there.

I was fully sunscreened today. Made sure of that, because the section of the Circle Trail I rolled today has little shade.

Totally changing the subject. 

I have a strong aversion to hearing people say their thoughts and prayers are going out to this that or the other thing. This usually sounds so shallow to me. So trite. So cliché.

Well, I am not a praying type person, but I can say today my thoughts, or, well, more precisely, today I have been thinking about someone dear, up north in Washington, in the Skagit Valley, who is going through something today that has all of who know her thinking of her and hoping all goes well.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Why Wasn't The Golden Gate Built Over Dry Land To Save Time & Money?

I saw that which you see above on Facebook. A lady standing on the running board of an old car, in San Francisco, with the Golden Gate Bridge, under construction, behind her.

According to the caption the year was 1935, with the new bridge to be completed in two years. It took four years to build the Golden Gate Bridge, in total.

Four years..

Over water.

Fast moving, deep water, subject to strong tidal currents.

I don't know why San Francisco did not employ the time and money saving Fort Worth method of bridge building by draining all that water and building the bridge over dry land.

Methinks if Fort Worth tried to build an actual feat of bridge building engineering, such as the Golden Gate, even if Fort Worth began building in 1933, the bridge would still not be completed by 2021.

Fort Worth can't even seem to manage to build simple little bridges over dry land in a reasonable time span.

We blogged about this recently in Another Opportunity To Drone On About Fort Worth's Visionary Bridges To Nowhere, comparing the two town's signature iconic bridges, with one town's bridge being actually iconic, called Golden Gate Bridge, as opposed to the other town's being imaginarily iconic, called Panther Island Bridge...


Hank Frank & Grandpa Jake


My little brother has been escaping the HEAT of Arizona by enjoying the HEAT of Washington, which is HOTTER than the HEAT he left behind in Arizona.

I knew my little brother had made his way from Hood Canal on the Olympic Peninsula to the Skagit Valley, on Monday, so I asked this morning, via text message, if he had been able to see Spencer Jack and Hank Frank yet.

Those being the two who turned my little brother into a grandpa.

The reply to my probing question came in the form of the picture you see above. 

I replied "Now that that is one cute pic!!!"

To which Hank Frank's grandpa replied "He is a cutie patootie. He calls me Poppa Jake. He is a happy little boy."

Well, now, this all just made my day...

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Texas Exit To Oklahoma & Comanche Red River Casino

I mentioned earlier today that I read that the Red River was heading into being in flood mode, and that I thought I might drive myself north a few miles, to Oklahoma, to see the Red River flowing a lot of water.

The last time I saw the Red River it did not look like a river. It looked like a meandering creek, surrounded by massive sand bars, with a long bridge crossing over the little creek. 

That long bridge, which I saw today is named the G.W. Bush Bridge, today was not crossing over a creek. Instead it was crossing over a wild looking river.

In that first photo, a rare selfie, we are seeing the expression of joy and relief on my face, happy to be leaving Texas for the first time in well over a year.

That photo was taken just as I drove onto the G.W. Bush Bridge. I do not know at what point in the bridge crossing one leaves Texas and enters Oklahoma. There is a big Welcome to Oklahoma sign when you get to the north side of the river.

I snapped photos of the flooding Red River, both heading to Oklahoma, and when returning to Texas. Below is the looking east, heading to Oklahoma, view of the flooding Red River.


It certainly is not a bright Red River, more of a brownish shade of red Red River.

There are two casinos soon after crossing the border. I had previously been to the Apache Casino. I drove past it this time and stopped at Comanche Red River Casino instead, because I was in need of a restroom break.


The Comanche Red River Casino is bigger than the Apache Casino. I really do not like the modern style of gaming machines. Way too much sensory overload. Huge video screens, some curved, some towering above where one sits. I like a casino with a more sedate ambience than the current casino norm.

If the casino today had old style slots I likely would not have resisted the urge to gamble a nickel or two. Today I felt no such urge.


And above we are heading back to Texas, on the middle of the G.W. Bush Bridge, heading south, looking west at the flooding Red River.

I rather enjoyed freeway driving today. I do not remember the last time I went 70 mph. It's been a long long time.

I suspect I will be making my first return in a long long time to DFW soon. It has been well over a year since I have been to that location...