Friday, March 25, 2016

California Still in Debilitating Drought

We are late in the California rainy season. In Northern and Central California rivers are filling to their banks, and reservoirs are swelling. The reason is rain, rain and more rain. 

Up the Sierra Nevada mountain range, the snowpack is near normal, which means rivers will continue to flow strong and refresh the reservoirs as snowmelt steps in to replace the lucre of falling precip. Nine months ago, after three years of significantly below normal precipitation, many reservoirs were at record or near-record lows; the U. S. Government said 99.9 percent of the Golden State was in drought. Now with many reservoirs filling up and spillways here and there opened to create capacity for snowmelt or future rains, Uncle Sam says 98.6 percent of the state is still in drought.

Look see at the Drought Monitor put out by USDA, NOAA and the Department of Commerce (if a rating system has three government agencies and all their Schedule C appointees, life-tenured bureaucrats and scientists behind it has gotta be really, really good).

The Los Angeles Times seems is a bit quicker on the uptake.

California's largest reservoir filling too fast thanks to El Nino, must release more water

The El NiƱo-fueled storms that have swept through Northern California in recent weeks have swelled some of the state’s largest reservoirs to encouraging levels even as the state's drought persists.
One of the biggest beneficiaries has been Lake Shasta, a keystone reservoir of the Central Valley project, which serves California growers.
To make room in Shasta for water from last weekend’s storms, the Federal Bureau of Reclamation ramped up releases from 5,000 cubic feet per second to 20,000 cubic feet per second on March 18. It was the first time since 2011 that the bureau released water into the upper Sacramento River at such a rapid rate, said spokesman Shane Hunt.
Officials began slowing the releases again on Wednesday, Hunt said. The rate is expected to return to around 5,000 cubic feet per second by Monday. 
“We never got to the point where the increased releases drew the lake down at all,” Hunt said. “We just slowed how fast we were gaining.”
Lake Shasta, he added, is “still gaining storage and will continue to do so.”
Lake Shasta is the most important water resource in the state.
Shasta Division consists of a pair of large dams on the Sacramento River north of the city of Redding.[4] The Shasta Dam is the primary water storage and power generating facility of the CVP. It impounds the Sacramento River to form Shasta Lake, which can store over 4,500,000 acre feet (5,600,000 dam3) of water, and can generate 680 MW of power.[5][6]Shasta Dam functions to regulate the flow of the Sacramento River so that downstream diversion dams and canals can capture the flow of the river more efficiently, and to prevent flooding in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta where many water pump facilities for San Joaquin Valley aqueducts are located.[4] The Keswick Dam functions as an afterbay (regulating reservoir) for the Shasta Dam, also generating power.[7][8] 
The Sacramento Canals Division of the CVP takes water from the Sacramento River much farther downstream of the Shasta and Keswick Dams. Diversion dams, pumping plants, and aqueducts provide municipal water supply as well as irrigation of about 98,000 acres (4,000,000 dam2).[9] The Red Bluff Diversion Dam diverts part of the Sacramento River[10]into the 110-mile (180 km) Tehama-Colusa Canal, the 21-mile (34 km) Corning Canal and a small reservoir formed by Funks Dam.[11] Five pump plants take water from the canal and feed it to the Colusa County water distribution grid.[9]

Here is the up-to-date water storage graph for Lake Shasta. Notice last week's kink caused by the Bureau of Reclamation spillway openings. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

St. Patrick's Day Honoree: Great Grandfather William K. Foster (Repost)

William K. Foster
March 20, 1835 - September 27, 1902

Foster Irish crest.
On this St. Patrick's Day 2015, we honor our pioneering great grandfather, William K. Foster, who 165 years ago (April 18, 1849) boarded the sailing vessel Bridgetown at New Ross, County Wexford, Ireland to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Six weeks later, on June 1, 1849, William, his widowed mother, and four siblings, landed in Quebec and were thus freed from the throes of the Irish Potato Famine. No doubt they were thankful to have made it safely to Canada for the trip was fraught with hazard.
Traveling to America by ship during the Irish Famine could be quite perilous. In the mid-19th century, English landlords looking to evict penniless Irish tenants would pay to have them shipped to British North America. In many cases these ships were poorly built, crowded, disease-ridden, and short of food, supplies and medical services. As a result, many Irish immigrants contracted diseases such as typhus, and many others died before reaching land.  Of the 100,000 Irish that sailed to British North America in 1847, one out of five died from disease and malnutrition. Appropriately, these treacherous sailing vessels became known as “coffin ships.”
On a voyage across the Atlantic in 1847, dozens aboard the Bridgetown succumbed to the fever (typhus) and were buried at sea, leaving many orphans. A passenger wrote from island quarantine:
We arrived here on the 22nd from Liverpool. I regret to tell you that fever broke out, and that seventy passengers and one sailor were committed to the deep on the voyage. There are several more ill. We buried six yesterday on shore. The carpenter and joiner are occupied making coffins. There are six more dead after the night. I cannot say when we can go to Quebec, as we cannot land the remainder of the sick at present, there being no room in the hospitals for them, though the front of the island is literally covered with sheds and tents. 
The accounts from the shore are awful, and our condition on board you can form no idea of — helpless children without parents or relatives, the father buried in the deep last week, and the mother the week before, — their six children under similar unfortunate circumstances, and so on. I trust God will carry me through this trying ordeal — I was a few days sick, but am now recovered. Captain Wilson was complaining for a few days. It is an awful change from the joyous hopes with which most of us left our unfortunate country, expecting to be able to earn that livelihood denied us at home — all — all changed in many cases to bitter deep despair.
The Bridgetown would be lost at sea off the coast of New Foundland in August, 1850. 
[T]he ship "Bridgetown," from Liverpool, with 347 passengers, was wrecked on the coast of Newfoundland, near Cape Race, on the 4th of August. Excepting three children, the passengers were saved and conveyed to St. John's, whence three vessels arrived with them at this port, on the 10th of September. The passengers by the "Wave" and "Bridgetown," landed here in a very destitute state, having lost all their baggage, on which account they caused a heavy expenditure to the department. The outlay incurred at this and the Montreal agency, for their inland transport and provisions, was 152£ 5s., for which expense, owing to the loss of the vessels, no dues had been received.
Having survived their voyage unscathed, the Foster family adventure in the New World began.

Great great grandmother Margaret Roach Foster, an
d children Hariett, 24, James, 21, Elizabeth 18, William K., 14, and Isaac, 12, settled in Kemptville, Ontario, located thirty-five miles south of Ottawa.  William came of age, apprenticed as and became a journeyman cabinet maker, a profession which included coffin making. He met Margaret Sanderson, daughter of Scottish immigrants. They married on May 3, 1859. She bore him five sons -- Isaac (my grandfather), George, William, James and Robert. Great grandmother Margaret died of complications from childbirth the week following Robert's birth. The widower William subsequently married Nancy Jane Loucks, who bore him a sixth child, Emily Rellia. 

William Foster headed yet further west in 1874, first to Pembina, Dakota territory. Pembina was the original county seat of Pembina county. It is tucked under the international border in the extreme northeast corner of North Dakota, seventy miles south of Winnepeg, Manitoba. In 1879, William moved on to his final place of residence, homesteading in Bathgate, Dakota territory, fifteen miles southwest of Pembina. William was an original -- literally the town father. 

The founding of Bathgate is chronicled in "Proudly We Speak, A History of Neche, Hyde Park, Bruce and Bathgate."

In this 1893 plat William K. Foster owned a quarter section west of town, plus a
145 acre plot south of town. He donated a triangular plot east of the railroad for the
town cemetery, where he is interred.  The town of  Bathgate is located on land my
great grandfather originally homesteaded. The quarter section north of town is held
at that time by my grandfather Isaac (I. J.) Foster.
William Foster, Sr. and his son "Ike" filed on the land which became the Bathgate townsite. There are several stories of how the town came to be called Bathgate. One taken from the diary of Mrs. John Houston, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Campbell states that in July 1880 two men with a team of horses came to the Campbell home, the land now owned by the Thomas and James Martindale families and asked to stay over night. The men were Comstock and White of the Land Company of Comstock and White, who had purchased the land for a townsite from the Fosters. They went on to Winnipeg, locating townsites along the railroad. On their return,they again stayed over night and Mr. Comstock said that the townsite would be named Bathgate after the town in England, where his wife had lived.
A Mr. Ewing was hired to plot the town into lots, streets and avenues. The Railroad brought the Boom. People came, buildings sprang up, businesses were started and the town grew. The St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railroad was built from Grand Forks to Winnipeg. It reached Bathgate August 10,1882. Service began in September, the north train arriving in the morning and the south bound train in the late afternoon. In 1890, this railroad became the Great Northern with the well known Jim Hill as President of the Company. The first grain was shipped September 27, 1882. The telegraph came to Bathgate late in 1882.
William K. was active in the town's development far beyond his role in selling his original quarter section off to a developer. "Proudly We Speak" continues,
William Foster was the first to build a home, it was built in the north end of town. He built the building which housed the Post Office. Mr. Foster was the first Postmaster. 
Appointment as original Bathgate postmaster, Black Hills Weekly Pioneer, December 3 1881.
He carried the mail horseback from Hamilton P.O., five miles south of Bathgate and two miles northwest of Hamilton to the Pembina-Cavalier Trail. He performed this service without pay for two years. William Foster was the town's promoter. Church services were held in his house. He donated land for the Cemetery. He and his sons promoted various business ventures.
In additional to selling the land which was developed by Comstock and White, the Fosters retained land to the immediate north which was platted, subdivided and marketed as Foster's Addition to Bathgate. William K. Foster avidly promoted the lots, the town and the territory of Dakota in general.

For his efforts the editor of the local newspaper referred to William Foster as Mayor, an honorific, not legally conferred, title.

William Foster said that Bathgate was "high and dry," not subject to the all too frequent devastating floods that occured a dozen miles east along the "overflowing Red."

Bathgate Sentinel, May 16, 1882
The "Bathgate Sentinel" was quick to confirm the accuracy of advertisements promoting the town. 
Bathgate Sentinel, May 16, 1882
There is not a word of exaggeration in the advertisements of our townsite proprietors Messrs. Comstock & White, and Mr. W. Foster. Located as Bathgate is on a beautiful river, almost in the centre of the rich, and wonderously fertile County of Pembina, and soon to become the great railroad centre, no town can offer better inducements to capital, energy and brains. Everybody sees the superior advantages Bathgate has over all other towns in the county, the beautiful high location; fourteen miles from the raging Red, that has caused so much damage along its banks; a great railroad centre, and a soil extending in every direction from ten to twenty miles that is unrivaled for richness and elevation.
William K. Foster touted the special advantages of Foster's addition in ads placed in the "Pembina Pioneer Express."

Pembina Pioneer Express, June 22 1883.
William Foster's enthusiasm never dimmed.

Pembina Pioneer Express, February 15, 1884
Wm. Foster visited several of the towns in the county last week, but comes back satisfied to remain in Bathgate, although the numerous houses built up around him obstruct the wide view of the surrounding country, which he had when his was the only shanty within several miles of the present town. Mr. Foster says: "This is God's own Country, it can't be beat."
We thank God for the pioneering spirit and drive of our ancestor William K. Foster, and honor him for that and his heritage today, St. Patricks Day 2015. Thanks to him the road has risen to meet us and the wind blows to this day behind our backs. Happy St. Patrick's day great grandfather!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Little League Baseball And Caddie Economics

Last summer in a post that features a team photo of myself with the Morton Grove 1966 Little League North Side All Stars I said,
We posted this just short of half-century old nostalgic photo on my personal Facebook page back in 2011. We were reminded of it the last few days when a couple of my childhood friends somehow ferreted it out from among my hundreds of pictures posted, and clicked the Like button. It occurred to me that some among the broader audience of current and former Morton Grove residents who read my blog might find the photo of interest. Now the pictured individuals will have an opportunity to turn up in search engine results.
Sure enough, through the magic up the internet, I heard a couple of weeks back from a pictured teammate, Rich Kengott. Rich shared his copy of the team photo, which includes a contemporaneous caption identifying the players. 

Rich also sent a picture of the back side of the framed photo, which has my father's name and the address of the home I was raised in from 1953 to 1971.

Thanks to Dad for kindly distributing this framed piece of memorabilia to each of the players on the 1966 team.

I can see now the earlier post erroneously identified the fellow holding the crossed bats as Rich Lauson. We know now that was Bob Warren. I will correct it.

Our ties went beyond baseball. Rich and I started caddying together at Glen View Club in September 1964. Each caddie was assigned a number. But that first fall we did not get our own number as we were kind of like late season baseball farm system call ups who had not earned a permanent job. We caddied on our brother's caddie numbers. I recollect my number was 118a and Rich's number was number "a" something or other too, caddying off of his brother Ray's number, if I recollect his older brother's name correctly. 

Bless Rich for keeping the caddie badges which issued with his numbers from six out of our first seven full years. I remember the first year his number was 147 and mine was 145, mine lower probably because my first loop was a few days earlier than his the previous fall. Each year thereafter, my number was one lower than Rich's because whoever had been assigned 146 in year one fell out of the program

My numbers were 145 in 1965, 94 in 1966, 68 in 1967, 39 in 1968, 12 in 1970 and 10 in 1971. Rich's year 1969 badge is missing, but I recall I was something like number 19, which would have made him 20. If memory serves me right I was number 2 caddying weekends while working a factory job in 1972.

Rich kept detailed records on caddie pay. 
Here is some clarification on the caddie pay. 
1966 caddie badge # 95 earned July 5, 3.50 a bag and by Aug 9, 4.75 a bag; 1967 caddie badge #69 earned July 5, 4.75 a bag and Aug 5, 9.50 doubles; 1968 caddie badge #40 earned July 4, 9.50 doubles and July 21 and the rest of the year 10.50 doubles; 1969 caddie badge #13? I think it was in the 20’s, earned July 4, 10.50 doubles all year. 
I stopped recording after 1969. I continued to caddy for a few more years but also found a factory job with my best friend Bob Casey. We worked the next six summers for his neighbor Bob Palka at Detex Corporation in Chicago.
I remember taking the Skokie Swift down to the Howard Street L with Bob Casey to attend a Cubs game in 1967. Bob was kind of baby faced. He wanted to save 50 cents or whatever the fare difference was by paying the youth fare (age 12 and under). The CTA attendant asked what Bob's birthday was. He replied with a month and date late in the year. The attendant asked what year. Bob replied 1953. Bob paid the adult fare.

Here are a couple of pages from Rich's 1966 hard copy caddie record.

The $2.00 entries are for 9-hole loops. Back in the day we earned "winter" pay early and late in the year, which meant $4.00 (instead of $3.50) a bag for 18 holes and $2.00 (instead of $1.75) a bag for nine holes. Five of the nine dates in April were on weekends, two were on Fridays, and two were mid-week. We caddied after school when we could. The Catholic school kids were released earlier than us public school students and could parlay that into better after school earnings. Most of the caddies attended St. Martha's school in Morton Grove or Notre Dame High School in Niles.  

By the end of the golf season Rich was carrying doubles most of the time and was earning $4.75 a bag for 18 holes. Rich's records definitively identify 1966 as the caddie strike year (check this link for the story of that three and one-half hour work stoppage), indicated by the large (from $3.50 to $4.75 or 35 percent) increase in pay. For the year his earnings were $737.10 ($5,394.28 in 2016 dollars), not bad for a 13-year old kid in 1966. Spring, summer and fall of 1966, baseball and caddying, earning and saving money, finishing junior high and getting ready for high school -- it was a very busy and eventful time.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Glen View Club -- Focus on the First Quarter Century Part 2a: The Boy Scout Sculpture

Our post "Glen View Club -- Focus on the First Quarter Century Part I" is among the most frequently viewed here at Along the Gradyent. When published we promised Part 2, having in mind that would be a comprehensive post to complete the reporting on most everything else of interest in the club's first quarter century. A bit later I followed up with "Harms Woods, Glen View Club and the North Shore and Western Railway" which published photos of remnants of the abandoned early 20th century trolley line that ferried members, caddies and employees of the club from Evanston out to Golf, Illinois. 

There is much ground to cover in Part 2 including the fiery destruction of the original clubhouse, the 1921 construction of the new (and current) clubhouse, vignettes on notable early members, stories of the inaugural Western Open and an early US Amateur and US Open held at the club, and reports on major championship winning members and club professionals. 

After amassing a body of research I've decided to proceed with individual chapters -- much in the way that many books were serially published in the late 19th and into the turn of the 20th century.
While American periodicals first syndicated British writers, over time they drew from a growing base of domestic authors. The rise of the periodicals like Harper's and the Atlantic Monthly grew in symbiotic tandem with American literary talent. The magazines nurtured and provided an economic sustainability for writers, while the writers helped grow the periodicals' circulation base. During the late 19th century, those that were considered the best American writers first published their work in serial form and then only later in a completed volume format.[8]

As a piece in Scribner's Monthly explained in 1878, "Now it is the second or third rate novelist who cannot get publication in a magazine, and is obliged to publish in a volume, and it is in the magazine that the best novelist always appears first."[9] Among the American writers that wrote in serial form were Henry James, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Herman Melville. A large part of the appeal for writers at the time was the broad audiences that serialization could reach, which would then grow their following for published works.

One of the first significant American works to be released in serial format is Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, which was published over a 40-week period by The National Era, an abolitionist periodical, starting with the June 5, 1851 issue.
I am not in league those writers but we have some interesting content to share -- so on with our Part 2a.


On July 4, 1919 Glen View Club welcomed to its grounds a notable piece of American art -- a rendering known as the Boy Scout sculpture (or fountain) by Andrew O'Connor Jr. (1874-1941). The statute was inserted and is located to this day in a sylvan setting between the clubhouse and the golf course pro shop. The sculptor, Mr. O'Connor, had been: 
Sculptor Andrew O'Connor
[b]orn in Worcester, Massachusetts, son of a sculptor of the same name of Irish descent. In London c.1894-8, met John Singer Sargent and assisted him on reliefs for the Boston Library decorations. On return to America, was commissioned through the sculptor Daniel Chester French to make bronze doors for St Bartholomew's church in New York. Settling in Paris in the early years of the 20th century, he exhibited annually at the Paris Salon where his work was influenced to some extent by Dalou and Rodin, then from 1914 to the mid 1920s in the USA, at Paxton, Massachusetts. First one-man exhibition at the Kunstsalon Walther Zimmermann, Munich, 1906. Received various commissions for funerary and public monuments mainly in the USA, including the monument to Lincoln at Springfield, Illinois, an equestrian statue of Lafayette at Baltimore and the Theodore Roosevelt memorial at Glen View, Chicago.


The Boy Scout sculpture was commissioned and donated to Glen View Club by member Edwin S. Jackman (1865-1927). The artwork memorializes president Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) by honoring the late president's association with and contributions to the Boy Scout movement. 

The Boy Scout sculpture (1919) at Glen View Club. Golf, Illinois.

"YOUTH -- LIFE -- LIBERTY" are boldly inscripted thereon.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Voting to Feather the Nest

Arlington, aka Affluent, Virginia.
Back at my old residence in the People's Republic of Arlington Virginia, home of lobbyists, government contractors and high level (six-figure salary) government officials, the electorate is as self interested as you will find anywhere. Here is how Arlington voted on Super Tuesday. The cynical and self-centered insiders say anyone but Don, anyone but Ted -- and forget about that black dude.

Hillary Clinton  25,561
Bernie Sanders  12,541
Marco Rubio     10,944
John Kasich        4,971
Donald Trump    3,698
Ted Cruz             1,734
Ben Carson          381

Let's keep Arlington number one, in family income that is. Vote Democrat. Elect Hillary!!!