Current Event Friday #60

Highways have potholes to be sure, but a sinkhole? It happens

I’ve got a sinking feeling. Well, maybe not me but several drivers this week had that feeling during their morning commute. The impact this event had on drivers is the focus of today’s #CurrentEventFriday.

Image result for i 265 sinkhole
Repairs for a sinkhole on Interstate 265

Early Wednesday morning, a sinkhole opened up on Interstate 265 near the Floyd & Clark County lines in Indiana. The I-265 highway connects I-64 & I-65 highways and is traveled heavily most days by commuters during rush hour times and for shoppers heading to the commercial centers at the several exits on the highway.

As the sinkhole opened further at the heart of rush hour, several cars were involved in what would prove to be a fatal accident. Law enforcement worked to clear the crash and divert traffic to surface streets and avoid the sinkhole. Unfortunately, these efforts failed to prevent the accident referenced above. At the point of repair to the sinkhole, the dimensions of it had reached 30’ wide by 24’ long and 15’ deep. Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) officials did make necessary repairs to the area around the sinkhole later that day.

Southern Indiana and surrounding areas in Kentucky are defined by limestone below the soil that can lead to these instances. A sinkhole shut down the Louisville Zoo in March. The limestone deposits create a karst topography as subterranean rock material becomes soluble in liquids seeping from above the surface. While the karst topography offers opportunities for professional and amateur spelunkers wanting to explore caves, sinkholes often form nearby. In fact, many entrances to the caves open for tourists were discovered by entering sinkholes.

Local humor about the sinkhole on I-265 also added to other jokes about Indiana road conditions. While nearby roads are undergoing maintenance or repairs, the surface of I-265 may have already needed repair from potholes. Now with the sinkhole, surveys by INDOT may be needed. The area has also been inundated with record rainfall which has caused groundwater problems that contribute to the karst topography that seeps through the limestone.

The presence of sinkholes in the Ohio River Valley also is of concern to homeowners that may have to worry about the karst topography with their foundations. Settling of foundations and basements will often happen to buildings and houses and repairs are needed as fractures and the settling gets worse.

So, with two sinkholes opening up in the area in less than 3 months’ time, geologists and emergency officials will no doubt be monitoring and surveying our area to hopefully predict and prevent further disasters. Seemingly, the region has been spared by tectonic problems with earthquakes.

Are sinkholes a problem in your area?

Current Event Friday #54

The one time I’m not a fan of things that go boom in the night

Kentucky Derby fans start your engines! Tomorrow is the kickoff of the Kentucky Derby season. The day will be marked with an event that’s taken on a life of its own, rivaling the Derby itself—Thunder Over Louisville.

low angle photo of fireworks
Photo by rovenimages.com on Pexels.com

Thunder Over Louisville is a firework show combining popular music selections with thousands of fireworks to begin the season of Kentucky Derby Festival. What began several years ago as a kickoff event focused only on the fireworks has now added an afternoon air show, carnival rides, local restaurant specials, festival food and more starting on a Saturday morning a fortnight ahead of the Kentucky Derby.

Oddly enough, as much as I enjoy fireworks and watching them, I’ve never been. The sheer number of people, heat, and long day just don’t appeal to me. My brother and sister-in-law have gone in the years before my nephews came along. My biggest gripe is the price gouging that inevitably happens on Thunder Saturday. Restaurants in Jeffersonville and New Albany in Indiana along with Louisville offer specials with pricing on par for New Year’s Eve or Valentine’s Day. Not only is the price seemingly inflated outside of rational limits the reservations have to be made more than a month or two in advance. I know they offer use of their restroom facilities as an alternative to the thunder pots which are Porta-Potties but named for the event at hand. If you try to avoid the expensive restaurant trap, you’re relegated to squatters’ rights being in play in the local parks overlooking the bridge and barges where the fireworks will be shot off from. Families are encouraged to leave one unlucky person to stake their personal space out while others seek food and entertainment and then relieve their family member when the shift ends.

Like with watching professional sports teams, I would much rather watch the event from my own home. Why pay $8 for a soda and another $9 for food, fight traffic, and fight to hope to see the event when I can watch on television and pay less for food that isn’t ridiculously priced and stay away from traffic.

I’m probably also more than skeptical of the whole Derby Festival anyways. It’s two weeks of buildup for two minutes of horses running around a track. And if recent HBO specials and news reports about the industry are to be believed, it needs to stop. Horses obviously have ability to outrun people and humans will always be competitive, but there are modern modes of transportation that humans can use to compete with, i.e. race cars. I’m perfectly fine with Speedweeks at Daytona and Carb Days at the Indy 500 as ancillary events to the main races because unlike horse racing those events will last more than two minutes.

I know I’m sounding negative and downplaying tomorrow’s festivities, but inevitably I’ll watch the fireworks show on the local news to have something to talk about Sunday morning at church or with friends and family, but unless something magical like a girlfriend who always goes to Thunder Over Louisville comes in my life, I’ll stay home and enjoy my own way.

What are your thoughts about Thunder Over Louisville?

Poetry Wednesday #47

This edition of Poetry Wednesday is “Louisville” and is all about the city nearest (and sometimes dearest) to me.

“Louisville”

Bluegrass city on the falls, a player of the horses: The ‘Ville

Barges floating the river, and heavyweight ‘ships brought home by Ali, the stinging butterfly

Straight or on the rocks that amber elixir, it’s Bourbon you distill

 

Watering so many, the river named for the state of Buckeye

Towering, standing tall, and battering the sky is the upturned Slugger

Born of George Rogers Clark, named for King Louis the Sixteenth, Roman-styled X V I

 

And you’re off to better places where the sun shines, you’re an up-and-comer

Everyone looks to you for weeks as the equines are running towards roses

County of American founder Jefferson, he of Virginia, your grandmother

 

Lincoln Bridge the newest to help span the Hoosiers to your heart, appellation of America’s Moses

The ancient shepherd king, a Golden David patrols and spies your Main Street

Somewhere the sound of the Lovable Lush remains as the last bar closes

 

The frying and floured scent of chicken lays in the air, Yum! I’m ready to eat.

You are the Gateway to the South, Louisville, O Louisville, You can’t be beat.

 

 

© Ryan Stroud 2019

An Honestly Good Birthday

Hey Blinken, it’s the birthday of Abe Lincoln!

It’s an important birthday today (no, mine is almost two weeks away). It is the 219th birthday of Pres. Abraham Lincoln. Pres. Lincoln was born on this day in modern-day Hodgenville, Kentucky. The holiday is usually co-branded with Pres. George Washington’s Birthday as a singular holiday known as Presidents’ Day.

The day is marked by wreath-laying ceremonies at Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site in Hodgenville, Kentucky and at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The Lincoln Memorial wreath is laid on behalf of the President of the United States an act afforded to every deceased U.S. president on their birthday.

Besides the ceremonies in Kentucky and Washington D.C., recognition of the holiday occurs in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, California, Missouri, and New York. The first observance of Lincoln’s birthday occurred in Buffalo, New York, in either 1873 or 1874 thanks to efforts from Julius Francis. Francis was an avid promoter of memorializing Pres. Lincoln after Pres. Lincoln’s assassination. Francis petitioned the U.S. Congress to recognize the birthday as an official federal holiday, but to no avail. The holiday is an official state holiday in Illinois, Connecticut, and Missouri.

Lincoln’s birthday is also important in regards to Pres. Lincoln’s efforts made on behalf of African-Americans. The creation of Negro History Week [sic] due to the historic birthdays of Frederick Douglass as well as Pres. Lincoln. This week-long celebration of African-American culture and history eventually  expanded to Black History Month.

The holiday is also celebrated in many local Republican Party precincts to kick off early campaign season. The choice of Lincoln’s Birthday is owed to Pres. Lincoln being the first Republican President. The party was founded just six years prior to Lincoln’s first victory and was noted for its strong abolitionist stance.

Luckily at least for me, Pres. Lincoln’s Birthplace and Boyhood Home are within an hour and half drive from my location. Although, I’m unlikely to make a road-trip to either site.

 

How will you celebrate Lincoln’s Birthday?

Current Event Friday #6

It was a flood of Biblical proportions, except not really. It wasn’t even as bad as the major local floods decades ago, but it was still pretty bad.

It’s time for #CurrentEventFriday again. I wanted to talk about a local current event — Flooding. Our region got hammered by rain for several days last week. The rain caused severe flash flooding and cresting rivers. Thankfully, some rivers are finally getting back to normal levels. Unfortunately, the Ohio River is still very much above where it usually functions.

dw-0gwsx0airst8-1519736290
Spaghetti Junction in Downtown Louisville   (Image ©2018 from WLKY.com)

Local meteorologists of course are posting updates of river cresting stages each day to alert and warn about rivers still running high. I observed the town of Mauckport’s dangerous water levels from flooding of the Ohio River yesterday.
Of course, with all this destruction and damage caused by the floods Good Samaritans want to find a way to help. The sentiment is nice and all, but all too often these helpers actually could add to the problems. Our district offices of the UMC cautioned many of us to wait until the scenes were cleared and approved by FEMA, The Red Cross, and other trained personnel. Thankfully, the UMC and its natural disaster response organization UMCOR do a wonderful job in assisting once the scene is approved for relief efforts.

noahs_ark

In the midst of all this flooding, there’s obviously going to be subtle humor about Noah. One thing that amazes me about this story is how it’s so often advertised as a children’s story. Obviously, to make it a children’s story you have to remove all the destruction and focus on all the animals. The story is one of the earliest paradoxical accounts of God. God is a god of discipline and grace. Noah and his family receive the grace of God, and yet everyone else receives wrath or discipline. I think that we focus on the wrath in this story too much, when we tell it as a story for adults. We leave out the grace for Noah and his family. We struggle with the concept of grace. We believe there should be consequences for sin and misdeeds (for everyone else, obviously). We’re fine receiving grace, but we struggle with grace for others. The grace is the important part of the story — it’s the lead in for Noah’s call. Genesis 6:8 reads “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” (NKJV) That should be the focus — grace. Noah finds grace, and God gives grace upon grace to Noah. The Noah narrative is a picture of grace thru the sacrament of Baptism. The waters of the flood and Baptism remind us of mortality, but God extends grace upon grace to those He loves and are obedient to Him.

Praise God for His abundant grace in all the floods of life.