Monday is an important day for all Americans as this is the day we honor and remember all those who have fought for our freedom and way of life. These are the people that march toward the danger, not that ran from it.  These are the people who understood sacrifice and the collective good over their personal good.  We have lost millions of these folks on the battlefield.  We have lost many more after they returned, to time or injuries.  We are losing our WW2 vets, Korean War vets and Vietnam vets at an alarming rate.  Many of their stories and experiences will be lost.  That is a huge loss, for those that have not been on a battlefield cannot understand what happens there.  No movie can bring this home, even the news sanitizes these events.  No one can understand a bombing run where you have to fend off fighter pilots, flack and other dangers to accomplish your mission, unless you were there.  Yet these stories are part of history. Talk to and thank a vet this weekend.  Find out their story, and what we can learn from their experience.

My Dad was a WW2 vet – flying in a B17 over Germany.  25 missions, one Purple Heart – I have seen it but he never discussed the injury – only his hip, flak, on a mission.  We lost 1/3 of the B17s (4000+).  He lost is childhood best friend, a fighter pilot, and a number of his fellow squadron members.  He was on 2 B17’s.  The one he flew most on was Piloted by Cpt. Turner.  His son (Rex Turner) contacted me a few years back before my Dad passed away.  Rex gave me some info about his Dad and their flights.  Pop said that Turner was the best pilot he flew with.  20+ years ago he and I toured a flying B17 (Collings Foundation – go if you never have). He told me a lot about the plane an missions  – reliving the moments.  Here is me (2016) and him (1944).  But no one was shooting at me.  Thank you Vets!!


It is the end of the semester.  Where did winter go?  Congratulations to our students who are graduating May 4!.  Early this time.  Maybe I can get all the grades done before the weekend!!   Looks Like Colorado has had some snow, so my July trip out should be fun and green (Hot, but fun).  Lemon basil ice cream in Grand Lake.  You cannot imagine how good that is!  We are also planning a Yellowstone trip and I cannot wait to grab 1000s of photos to share.  Last time I was at Yellowstone I shot 1000 picture on film.  No limitations this time!!!!  How I will use the concepts in a future paper I am unsure, but I would like to do a comparative study across Alaska, Michigan, Colorado and Florida as a summer class.  It would be interesting I think. Or at least I can gather enough data for….another project.  In the meantime, I will be back to blogging.  Economics and utilities and leadership – fodder for another book perhaps?.  I am looking at a paper on stewardship that may tie to an ethics seminar next Fall.  And I am hoping AWWA will help with the “leadership in the water industry” survey that is partially drafted but need a survey.  I know people are tired of surveys, but sometimes there is one that might help us all.  We think this is one.


The concept of regulations is to address problems.  All regulations are based on trying to correct a problem that has already occurred.  We have rules that were developed to try to address contaminants in water, and rules designed to address a variety of potential threat to water supplies.  In a blog over a year ago I asked the question, in light of the mess in West Virginia, why do we permit power companies to store coal ash next to streams?  This is a huge potential health impact to water customers, as well as to the ecosystem that we rely on to protect water supplies in natural areas.  A 20 year old Congressional Act did sorta prohibit the discharge of coal ash to streams from mining, but did not address storage where the accidents actually occur.  So we have rules that didn’t remove the piles from the banks, and didn’t offer a solution to remove it which would have been the appropriate regulatory response.  We should all be on the bandwagon that urges Congress to require power companies to properly dispose of this stuff, and to provide a means to do so.

However, in classic “Failure to Learn from the Past” mode, instead we get a directive in Washington to review the rollback of the stream rule that was developed to address a 20 year old lawsuit over stream protections and “waters of the US.”  That revised stream rule got held up in 2015 by litigation (EPA Secretary Pruitt led one of those suits), and while the directive is not exactly allowing coal ash into streams as noted in the media, it does give you the sense that there will not be any effort to address this problem.  That should concern water industry leaders.


WIFIA was approved:

https://www.epa.gov/wifia

Good news for water funding, but still a drop in the bucket of what is needed

 

Power utilities are not really interested in coal regardless what Congress and the President do to encourage it.

https://www.pressreader.com/usa/orlando-sentinel/20170208/281784218834781

Are we surprised?  Coal is dirty and creates obvious problems.  Coal emissions caused English kings to ban coal in London 400+ years ago.  Coal jobs are not coming back.  Nor are manufacturing jobs.  It has nothing to do with China – everything to do with technology (robots).

Broward College is seeking $29 million for classroom upgrades because there are not enough seats in the classrooms.  The rooms are cramped and the “old seal with a  wooden table on top isn’t big enough to accommodate students today.”  It doesn’t take much to read between those lines.  About like Texas making manholes 28 inches in diameter because the guys cant fit into the smaller ones anymore….

But Beijing is sinking:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/beijing-is-sinking-into-the-ground-says-report-a7114201.html

Not sure how that correlates, but interesting….

 


Not only did FAU host the ASCE southeast regional competition in March, but I have had a big deadline – my next book is due the end of this month to the publisher.  That has taken a lot of time, and I have had several issues divert my attention at critical junctures.  Fortunately the book is nearly complete.  I should meet the deadline.  This book should be topical.  It is about infrastructure management.  JRoss is the published and with a little luck it will be out in time for the holiday sin 2017.  Very good stuff.  The first part of the book focuses on the benefits=of infrastructure tot eh economy.  They are intrinsically lined although there is an interesting research project needed to study how much infrastructure creates economic growth and how much growth requires more investments.  Is there a point of diminishing returns.  Paul Krugman may want to weigh in as I did quote him a couple times.  Then the local systems are discussed – what can happen, maintenance needs etc.  Water, sewer, stormwater roads are featured. Lots of pictures and some means to autopsy the issues.  The rest of the book looks are how to develop a system to manage the assets, value them, evaluate condition and fund improvements.  Work order are really important for causal factors.  What fails, and how often.  I think we can predict the problems.  My initial analysis, included in the book says we can with limited data.  Going back to those Bayesian roots.  Another project I would like to look at.  Finding the next Flint is a third project.  So many ideas, so little time (and no money to get support).  The solutions will involve leadership, so I did insert some future risks and past “what could possible go wrong” issues.  Sorry Flint, you made the cut, but so did Alamosa, Walkerton, midwestern power companies, and my friends in St. Pete.  But instructively I hope.  The book is aimed at professionals, but a student teaching guide will be developed this summer for use in the classroom.  Should be fun.  700+ references. And I could add so much more, but I think it will diminish the usefulness.  No doubt it will make the best seller list – looking forward to my name on the NY Times best seller list.  LOL.   Or at least sell enough copies to make JRoss interested in another book.  But seriously it should prove interesting.

 

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