When Charles Thayer read that 32 passenger trains a day would not impact navigation on Fort Lauderdale’s New River, he was stunned.
“Thirty-two trains a day crossing that bridge?” he says. “Why hadn’t I heard about this?”
How could an environmental assessment of the first phase of All Aboard Florida, a proposed high-speed passenger service from Miami to Orlando, conclude that the stretch from Miami to Palm Beach wouldn’t interfere with navigation or require the Coast Guard to weigh in when it would close drawbridges to boat traffic 32 times a day?
The Jeannette Expedition of 1881, a mission doomed to failure, was undermined by hubris and overcome by catastrophe.
On a high overlook at the historic U.S. Naval Academy cemetery is a large and mysterious pyramidal mound of granite surmounted by a 12-foot-high cross of white marble, strangely draped in sculpted cascades resembling ice. A bronze anchor lies atop a plaque that reads: “Commemorative of the heroic officers and men of the United States Navy who perished in the Jeannette Arctic Exploring Expedition, 1881.”
A white marble cross draped in formative “icicles” carved in high relief, it is heavily soiled and sorely in need of attention. Its original bronze memorial plaque was replaced in 1965 and cleaned and treated in 1994, and it is in readable condition. But a second bronze plaque, containing selected names of Navy men who perished in the 1881 Arctic expedition, is blackened and illegible.
I had the great opportunity to attend Tabor as a result of two things.
The Ocean Classroom Foundation, a nonprofit sail-training organization that closed its doors at summer’s end after 20 years of educating students at sea, has sold its tall ships — Harvey Gamage, Spirit of Massachusetts and Westward — to operators who plan to put one, maybe two, of the schooners back on the water in semester-at-sea programs and the third into service as a dockside attraction in southern Maine.
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