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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Jean and Bill Stoltz Visited Us From Tamaqua PA

Lulu and Jean were faculty at Tamaqua High School together.
When Lulu was the school librarian at Tamaqua High School - one of her best friends was Jean Freed. They taught together - raised kids of the same age - and were coal cracker wives and mothers. 

Jean's husband Jim died a few year back. She is now married to a cool guy - Bill Stoltz. They are both retired and like to go. They drove south for a wedding - and continued on to spend a few days with us. Jean was the swimming coach at Tamaqua - Bill was also a competitive swimmer. 

While they were here - we visited a few local attractions together. We enjoyed the Tallahassee Auto Museum - the Tallahassee Nature Museum - and attended an FSU student drama show and dinner. 

This dinner was right before the "final exam" show of the FSU Drama program 

The Wescott Building is the "old main" of FSU
We toured the swimming facility and they got to meet FSU's swimming coach.
Bill is a railroad buff - and enjoyed this caboose at Tallahassee Museum

Today We Sold Our Golf Cart

Debby and Ed drove down from Bainbridge GA twice. Once to test drive the Dodge - the next time to take the golf cart. 

In 2010 - I bought a 2008 Club Car golf cart. Lulu was in Germany so I bought it without her approval. In order to soften the blow I decorated it with Florida State Logos and put chrome letters spelling "LULU' across the front. For 5 year I enjoyed driving the little electric car. I used it mainly to shuttle between our two houses. Since we tore one house down and sold the other one - I no longer needed a golf cart. I would have been happy just to put lights and a license plate on it and drive it around town - but Lulu found a 2012 Nissan Leaf for me. So the only thing I had left to do with the golf cart was sweep the yard. Now - I can even do that with my lawnmower. 

I still want to sell Lulu's Dodge convertible and my Honda Helix scooter. Then I will have enough room in the garage in case another toy comes along. :-)

You have to love the world of Craigslist.

Driving Miss Daisy Happened in Tallahassee

Many readers have expressed pleasure that the "Driving Miss Daisy" movie story really occurred right here in Tallahassee - see the previous story on my page. 

Smiley Bruce was the real chauffeur - Ruby Diamond was the real Miss Daisy. 

We all know Ruby Diamond as the graduate from Florida State College for Women - the name of FSU before they added the men after WWII. She left the school a lot of money - and they named the main auditorium after her. 

My good friend and neighbor Fran McLean did a little research in the public records to verify the story. She came up with this. On Smiley Bruce's death certificate it is listed that he was a chauffeur for Ruby Diamond. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Driving Miss Daisy Was A Real Story That Happened in Tallahassee

An all time favorite movie of mine is Driving Miss Daisy. It is the story of an old white Jewish women who had an old black man as her chauffeur. You re-call the movie was supposed to be set in the 1950s in Atlanta. Today I read in this old Florida history magazine that the story was real and it happened right here in downtown Tallahassee. The woman was the locally famous Ruby Diamond. The auditorium at Florida State University is named in her honor. I hope you can enlarge the pictures and read the story. I could not take the magazine form the office - so I shot pictures with my phone. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Last Orange Of The First Batch

Last August we planted 4 citrus trees. I think they are orange - lemon - tangerine - and a cocktail bush that produces 4 different fruit. We didn't know what to expect. The orange tree did not fail us - producing 10 baseball size oranges. Last week I picked the last one. Here it is. To my surprise it was very sweet and juicy. We are looking forward to a bigger batch this season - we had lots of blossoms. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

What Is Electric And Can Pull A Ton Of Topsoil

I bought this old trailer from my buddy Fred for $200. 
At 2000 pounds - both the car and trailer were above the approved range. Only the trailer  hitch is rated for 3000 pounds. 
I used the tarps to keep the soil from going through the wire mesh floor. 

We wanted some top soil for our yard and garden. The last time we bought some - the shop was much closer to our house. When I went to the site - I could see the soil - but no one to load it. When I called them - they asked me to visit their other yard 10 miles away. When I got there - they didn't have any topsoil there. Then Lulu looked around on line and found Roberts Sand Company - about another 5 miles farther from home. When you are driving an electric vehicle - you are always thinking of range. My Leaf said I had 30 miles of range left - I hate to cut it that close - but I went to the Roberts lot. 

The loader picked up a half ton and dumped it on my trailer - it looked good. Then he dropped the other half ton. The tires on the trailer were under inflated - and they flattened out. The loader operator said if I could get the trailer to his shop - he would inflate the tires. 

The Leaf has plenty of torque - we got the trailer to the shop - and inflated the tires. The guy was very impressed with the pulling power - imagine that - a loader operator being impressed with an electric car. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Florida Cracker Horse

My Search For The Perfect Electric Vehicle - Harry Ends Up In Morgantown WV

Darus Zehrbach - Darus Zehrbach - and Harry - posing with Harry's favorite bike - the T Series. This one - the T6100 - could go 62 MPH - 85 miles range - with lithium batteries - for $8200. This bike is presently being tested in Holland for city patrols.
Last week - I made a trip to Morgantown WV to visit ZEV - Z Electric Vehicles Corporation. Darus Zehrbach and Darus Zehrbach design and build a long broad line of electric scooters. Prices range from $2000 to $14,000. Top speeds go from 15 MPH to 80 MPH - driving range varies from 140 miles to 40 miles. Batteries go from Lithium Ion to Lead Silicate. 

The top selling Sport Series could be had with a 7100 watt motor - 75 MPH - 100 miles - $8900. I drove it with lead batteries  - 5000 watt motor - 62 MPH - 54 miles - $4500. 
I have been searching for a really dependable electric scooter for years. In 1975 - we bought an Arenthetic Scooter to use while working with the The Tamaqua Paper. It went about 20 MPH for 20 miles. Then you had to plug it in overnight into a 110 volt outlet to charge its two large lead acid batteries. 
The LRC boasts a 10000 watt motor - 78 MPH - 140 miles range  - $14,000.
Presently I own a Club Car golf cart and a Nissan Leaf 4 door sedan. The Club go can go about 25 miles on its four large 12-volt lead acid batteries at about 18 MPH. The Nissan Leaf can go 97 MPH but for optimum range of 80 miles - you should only go 55 MPH. It has Lithium Ion batteries and it charges in a couple hours on my 220 volt garage charger. Its 24 kilowatt hour battery has an 8 year warranty. Supposedly - the company will replace for free any cell that fails during that time. 

Electric vehicles are elegant. Mainly - there are three basic components - batteries - controller - and motor. The motor has very few moving parts. There is no transmission - no exhaust system - no oil to change - no fuel system to tune - no ignition system to fail. There is no pollution produced by the car - but of course you need to make the electricity somewhere. The power company uses usually coal - oil - natural gas - or uranium. Some of our power is made by solar or hydroelectric dams. Here in Tallahassee they make the electricity with 95% natural gas and 5% from a large dam west of town. 
The B-4000 Cargo. It boasts a 4000 watt motor - 40 MPH - 60 miles range - $2800 - This bike can handle a 500 pound load. It has a big motor - big frame stand - and a seat that turns into a cargo bed. The battery pack is not installed on this unit as shown.
I had an electric bike that had a small electric motor that drove the back wheel by chain. It worked very well - but the chain was noisy. I also had another electric scooter that had a motor in the back wheel - it was very nice but underpowered. So my search has continued for the perfect electric vehicle.

Lincoln Returns Home To Springfield

150 years ago today he lie in state in Harrisburg PA

President Lincoln was shot by Booth 150 years ago. When he died - there was a funeral procession that took 11 days to get him home to Springfield IL. The train went from Washington to Baltimore - Harrisburg - Philadelphia - New York City - Albany - Buffalo - Cleveland - Clumbus - Chicago - and he was buried in a tomb in his hometown. He passed through over 300 different towns. 

The above picture was taken in New York City - supposedly the only one in existence. There were ceremonies in each of the cities on the way home. This is the same train route that Lincoln followed to Washington when he became president. He never returned to his hometown of Springfield during his tenure. 

Recently we visited Springfield and enjoyed all that town has to offer. The Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library is by far the nicest we have visited. Lincoln's home is available for touring - the Old State House where he served is renovated to the way it was when Lincoln served. His law office on the corner adjacent to the Old State House is also prepared for visitors. 

Tallahassee Electric Company Sweeps Lineman Competition

The City of Tallahassee's Electric Utility department felt the power at the 15th annual Florida Lineman Competition as it swept top honors in all main categories for the second year in a row. Participants and staff from the Transmission and Distribution Divisions will be officially recognized by the Mayor and City Commissioners at the regular City Commission meeting on Wednesday, May 13. 
Coordinated by the Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA), the rigorous statewide contest demonstrated the varied skills of line workers from electric utilities throughout Florida and Georgia. This year, the City had the honor of hosting the popular event, which was held April 17-18 at the Tallahassee Automobile Museum.

Food Complaint At The Tamaqua School Cafeteria

Jessica Maria Mendez-Behr says that her son Jeremiah, a Tamaqua Area High School freshman, ate a cheeseburger with a moldy bun as part of his school lunch March 30 and got so sick with vomiting and diarrhea that she took him to an emergency room for treatment.
She said he was served another moldy bun eight days after that, and a third moldy bun Tuesday. Jeremiah Mendez-Behr said that also Tuesday, the lunch tray he'd chosen had grease on it.
Administrators and directors of the school district said they've already investigated the allegations, and that the bun vendor has explained the occasional discoloration on buns as a result of the cooking process.
Several parents and students attended the school board meeting Tuesday and raised questions about the quality of the school lunches.
"What is factual is that your child got sick," said school board President Larry Wittig, who had examined the emergency room report Mendez-Behr presented. "But we would need to draw the connection definitively."
Wittig said that the district investigated immediately when it learned of the boy's illness. He said that the bun vendor said that a "non-stick agent" that's used in the baking process can sometimes leave a residue, which causes discoloration.
Superintendent Carol Makuta said that the district has used the same vendor for about six years.
Mendez-Behr said that after her son's illness, she had contacted various state agencies and also the Tamaqua Board of Health. She also launched a Facebook page titled Tamaqua School "Lunches."
Makuta told Mendez-Behr that if she has any issue with the school or school policies, she should call the school.
"We haven't had a rash of students reporting to be sick; but still, a report such as this is taken very seriously," Makuta said. "I would ask you, instead of going to Facebook, call me."
After some discussion, the directors decided to implement a protocol for responding to any student complaints about school lunch quality.
Makuta said she would develop a protocol, and contact Mendez-Behr on Wednesday about it.
Wittig said the district will continue to be vigilant.
"We don't want you to go away feeling frustrated," he said. "We'll find out what's going on."
Tamaqua senior Tyler Resch, who was attending the school board meeting to complete a Boy Scout merit badge requirement, said that he has no complaints about the school lunches.
"I've been in school in the district for 12 years," he said. "The lunches are fine; I've never had anything to complain about."
In other action, the school board:

Accepted the retirement of custodian Joseph Deren, effective July 28.
Accepted the retirement of Janet S. Rarick, elementary school teacher.
Hired the following substitute teachers: Lisa Frederick of New Ringgold; Eric Leymeister of Pottsville; and Joshua McCabe of Frackville.
From The Times News

Friday, April 17, 2015

Big Story Coming - Harry Visits ZEV Electric Scooter Factory in Morgantown WV

I love the quiet and pep of electric vehicles. In 1975 I owned my first electric motorcycle. Since then I have driven and owned many vehicles - some as fast as the Tesla to others as slow as a regular bike with a motor tacked on. I currently own a Nissan Leaf as my main car and a Club Car golf cart for riding around the neighborhood. 

ZEV Electric makes a series of motor scooters. Some look like bicycles with lithium batteries in the frame. Others look like Harley Davisons with every crevice stuffed with lithium batteries. 

I spent all day Wednesday navigating the hills of Morgantown and West Virginia University on several electric scooters. The one above was my favorite. It has gobs of power to go 60 MPH  but also a range of 100 miles. The lithium batteries will last for years. It has giant disk brakes and tires to handle two very heavy people and change. WVU has some very steep hills and they were no match for these scooters. 

I will be doing a full story with reviews of several scooters I rode. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

We Missed The Runway in New York City - But Got Great Pictures in the Go Around

I am in Charlotte on the last leg of my trip home from Washington. During the stopover in New York City - our pilot was having a little trouble and he went around for another try. This was a little unnerving - but it provided a great venue as he circled Manhattan. Second time was a charm - we landed safely. I am in Charlotte now - will get home to Tallahassee and my Lulu at 7:30 PM. 

Enlarge the pictures to see the Empire State building - the Chrysler Building - the new Freedom Tower - the Brooklyn Bridge - Madison Square Garden - Yankee Stadium - and many other spots. Lulu was professor for St Johns Uuniversity in New York City for 10 years. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Lincoln's Summer Cottage - Lincoln Died 150 Years Ago Today

Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation here.

Lincoln used to ride his horse to the White House every morning. He last visited here on April 13th before he died. He was shot April 14th - and died April 15th. 150 year ago today.

A regiment of troops was stationed here to guard the president during the war. 

This is the Old Soldiers Home today.

Abraham Lincoln died 150 years ago today. During the summers - the Lincoln's did not live in the White House. After Willie died from Typhoid and bad drinking water - Mary decided that they would live at the old Soldiers' Home on a hill 3 miles north of the White House. 

There is an "cottage" there overlooking the city. In the days before air conditioning - the elevation and breezes provided relief from the sweltering river basin. The President would commute on his horse down the mountain every day to the White House. His family could stay away from the DC Grind. 

Today the cottage is open to the public on an hourly tour for $15. The tours are limited to 20 people per hour. Keith and I had the 3 PM tour today. 

The Old Soldiers Home still exists. There are about 1000 retired soldiers there - all have been in the service at least 20 years and have injured in battle. The first national cemetery in on the premises and Lincoln could look out the window to see about 40 civil war soldiers buried a week. When the cemetery filled - the overflow started a new cemetery across the river called Arlington. 

4 other presidents used the cottage as their summer home. Later Camp David was built about 50 miles north of town. President Eisenhower used to drive there - but now the presidents use helicopters. 

Where In The World Is Harry ------ Tampa - Fort Myers - Atlantic City - Philadelphia - Tamaqua - Centralia - Knoebels Grove - Baltimore - Morgantown WV - Washington

The Class of 1966 from Tamaqua - met us for lunch downtown. Bruce Everett - Barbara Neifert - me - Branda Hurting - Fred - Karen Eva hidden - Barbara Kunkel.

I wanted to go north for my sister Judy's 70th birthday. Lulu wanted to come along but she had several things in her schedule that could not be moved. So I had to stay silent for a while. 

Our trip started in Tampa - where we spent a night with Marylou and Carl. Then we drove to Fort Myers where Lulu was on secret business. From there I caught a plane to Atlantic City from Fort Myers - it was the only non-stop flight we could find that fit - it was Spirit Airlines. The seats were tight and you had to pay for all bags - but it was a nice Airbus 320 - you know the plane that blasted into the mountain last week in the Alps. 

In New Jersey - I convinced my high school valedictorian friend Fred DeStephanis to spent 48 hours in Tamaqua with me. He has not been back for a serious visit in 50 years - yikes. We drove to Betty's to stay there 2 nights. I think it is the first time she ever had a house alone with no kids or grandkids there. It was nice having 2 free bedrooms. 

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Lulu and Harry Emerge in Fort Myers

Thomas Edison's place in Fort Myers
Henry Ford's cottage next to Edison's home

People have been asking me why I have not posted a story on my page in 3 weeks. I guess I have writer's block - nothing to say worth saying. 

Lulu and I drove the BMW down to Fort Myers. We left home Tuesday - drove to see friends Carl and Marylou in Tampa. Then yesterday drove the rest of the way to Fort Myers. Lulu had a school visit to make today - so while she worked - I enjoyed seeing Thomas Edison's and Henry Ford's winter home in downtown Fort Myers.

Edison - Ford - and Harvey Firestone were very rich men. In the winter - in the 1920s - they would ride the trains south to Fort Myers. They had laboratories set up there - and one of their main projects was looking for a substitute for latex rubber. They eventually found out it could be made form goldenrod - but nylon was invented that replace rubber tires. 

Fort Myers is a beautiful southern city. The weather is great all year and the tropical plants are bountiful. Many of the trees that Edison planted are still growing - including the royal palms that line the streets. 

Florida is a magical state with so many different cities. Some day - I would like to circle the state with our grandkids - spending a night in each city. We could go from Tallahassee to Orlando - then Tampa - Sarasota - Fort Myers - Naples - Miami  - Key West - Fort Lauderdale - Daytona - Saint Augustine - Jacksonville - and then back home. 

Lulu's BMW is a highway cruiser - top up or down. It has dual turbo chargers and speed sensing steering and suspension. It is very comfortable.