naturalfeature:ohio river

  • Wooden dams and river jams: U.S. strains to ship record grains

    America’s worst traffic jam this fall occurred on the Ohio River, where a line of about 50 miles of boats hauling grains and other products turned into a waterborne parking lot, as ship captains waited for the river to reopen.

    Such delays are worsening on the nation’s waterways, which are critical to commerce for the United States, the largest grain exporter in the world. Of the country’s $40 billion in annual grain and soybean exports, about 60 percent is moved by barges on rivers, including the Ohio.

    The shutdown, caused by worn or missing sections of a dam, snarled traffic from early September into early November through Locks & Dam No. 52 near Paducah, Kentucky. It was the second shutdown in two months at No. 52, which is among the country’s busiest locks with about $22 billion a year of commodities flowing through it.

    The lock, which has been earmarked for replacement by the Army Corps of Engineers for three decades, is one of many choke points along 25,000 miles of waterways used to transport everything from grains to consumer goods to coal.

  • No longer ‘Mayberry’ : A small Ohio city fights an epidemic of self-destruction - The Washington Post

    Residents often blame the drug problem on “the 23 pipeline,” a reference to Route 23. The highway brings in dealers from Columbus and Detroit to the north. To the south is Portsmouth, on the Ohio River. Once famous for shoe factories, Portsmouth is now better known as the setting of “Dreamland,” the acclaimed book by Sam Quinones that described how the proliferation of pain clinics (known as “pill mills”) helped create the opioid epidemic.

    #beau #reportage sur une petite ville de l’Amérique profonde, où une vague de #drogue (et de #fentanyl) a suivi une vague de prescription #pharma

  • What `Watergate’ meant, before it meant scandal

    I had joined the Army the year before — Regular Army, thank you — and was strolling along the tow path of the old Chesapeake and Ohio Canal one Saturday afternoon. It’s a lovely old canal almost lost to the ages half a century ago when local road planners wanted to pave it over and make it a freeway.

    Had they done so, they would have wiped out nearly two centuries worth of American history. In 1754, George Washington had envisioned the C&O Canal as a way to link the Chesapeake Bay to the Midwest. The plan was to build a canal from Georgetown on the Potomac River to Pittsburgh on the Ohio River, and on to the heartland via the Mississippi.

    The canal would begin just about where Rock Creek empties into the Potomac River, with a canal and locks system paralleling the Potomac River valley. President John Quincy Adams broke ground for the canal in 1828. Builders got as far as Cumberland, Md., 184.5 miles upstream.

    It was profitable for a time, but the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, roughly paralleling the canal, ultimately doomed it. Floods took their toll as well, though the railroad continued operating parts of the C&O canal until 1924. The government bought it in 1938, and by the early 1950s had hatched the parkway plan.

    Then Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, an outdoorsman and historian, went to work. He recruited a party of editorial writers from The Washington Post, which had backed the plan to pave over the canal, and led them on a hike along the entire length of the C&O canal. By the end of the trip the writers had changed their minds, and eventually Congress preserved it as a National Historical Park.

    Without that designation, the canal would have disappeared, and so might the little-known area around the canal’s Milepost 0. When we first saw it that afternoon in 1969, it was little more than an old jumble of stones and timbers. But it was, we later learned, the water gate — the last lock, where water coming downstream along the C&O canal could empty into the Potomac. It was the place where canal boats could move on and off the Potomac River. With the water gate closed and the channel filling with water, they could begin the long process of locking up through the C&O.

    When a new complex with a hotel, condominiums, offices, restaurants and shops was built just across Rock Creek Parkway, it took its name from that old water gate — and became the Watergate.

    #histoire #USA #politique #ouvrage_hydraulique

  • Abandoned Town of Cairo, Illinois – Cairo, Illinois | Atlas Obscura

    Situated at the confluence of the Mississippi River and the Ohio River, at the southernmost point in Illinois, the port town of Cairo (pronounced CARE-o) boomed along with the steamboat industry. When railroads crisscrossed the United States some of the steamboat traffic was subtracted, but Cai

    #ghost_towns #villes_fantômes (ça faisait longtemps) !

    • A Trip to Cairo, Illinois - Abandoned

      Spurred on by an impromptu excursion to photograph the Eggner’s Ferry Bridge that partially collapsed on January 26 in western Kentucky, I decided to visit a part of the state that I had not yet fully explored. From Owensboro to Paducah, from the isolated Land Between the Lakes to dense streetscapes, I toured the back roads in hopes of finding something new to write about and to photograph.

      Why not visit the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers? It was only an hour drive from Paducah. After crossing into Illinois from Kentucky, I came to Cairo. Located in Alexander County, Cairo is the southernmost city in Illinois and is situated at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Surrounded by levees, the land that Cairo would later rise from was not thought highly of in the mid 1800s, with Charles Dickens calling the land a “dismal swamp.” Despite this, bonds were sold to complete improvements at the site, which included a levee, dry dock and shipyard. A railroad was later completed to the town.

  • The Believer - If He Hollers Let Him Go - by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah

    Chappelle’s comedy found fans in many worlds. At a recent barbecue in Philadelphia, a friend of the host dutifully but disinterestedly interrogated me about my life, and got excited only when my mother let it slip that I was working on a piece about Dave Chappelle. “Aw, man. I miss that guy,” he said. “He was my friend. I really felt like he was my friend.” I hear this a lot, usually from white people, and usually from white people without many black friends—like this seventy-year-old comparative literature professor in Birkenstocks. Part of what made the show so ingenious was that Chappelle’s racial invective found friends in strange places. With a regularly broadcasted television show, Chappelle was finally able to display what writer and activist Kevin Powell described in an Esquire profile as a “unique capacity to stand out and blend in, to cross boundaries and set up roadblocks.” Almost overnight, Chappelle became America’s black friend. He was a polyglot. He told Powell that, growing up, he used to “hang out with the Jewish kids, black kids, and Vietnamese immigrants,” and it was apparent that Chappelle had used these experiences to become America’s consul and translator for all things racial.


    • Chappelle did such a good job of truth-telling, on every subject, that nobody knew what to do when he just stopped talking. In no way did his quitting conform to our understanding of the comic’s one obligation: to be funny. To talk to us. To entertain us. To make us laugh. We aren’t used to taking no for an answer, to being rejected, especially not by the people who are supposed to make us smile. Especially not by black men who are supposed to make us smile. And yet Chappelle did just that. And so, like everyone, I wondered what had happened. What had happened, and, more so, what had brought Chappelle to—and kept him in—Yellow Springs?At a stand-up appearance in Sacramento in 2004, a frustrated Chappelle lashed out at his hecklers from the stage, yelling, “You people are stupid!” So what was it about this small college town—where hippies slipped me bags of Girl Scout cookies, where Tibetan jewelry stores and fair-trade coffee shops dotted the main street, and where kindly white ladies crossed the street to tell me my wild hair was giving them life—that made it more satisfying than celebrity or fame?

    • Seon was born in Washington, DC. Her father was a fair-skinned man who was adopted by a black woman. Although he self-identified as black, by all accounts he looked Greek. He was also blind. On the day Martin Luther King Jr. was shot, Chappelle’s grandfather was on a city bus and overheard rumblings of a beat-down about to happen to a white fellow on his bus. That guy’s gonna be in trouble, he thought. He did not realize that he was the white man being threatened. This anecdote about his grandfather would inspire Chappelle’s “Clayton Bigsby” sketch—the unforgettable short mockumentary about a blind white supremacist who does not know he is black.

    • Soit-dit en passant, où l’on apprend que le type a refusé un contrat de 50 millions de dollars préférant (re)partir vivre dans le bled où il a grandis, qui ressemble à ça (je suis nul en microblogage) :

      Although the city of Dayton is small and has been hit hard by the decline of industry, in Xenia and Yellow Springs the land is green, fecund, and alive, even in the relentless heat of summer. Xenia is three miles from where the first private black college, Wilberforce, opened, in 1856, to meet the educational needs of the growing population of freed blacks that crossed the Ohio River. Yellow Springs, a stop on the Underground Railroad, was initially established as a utopian community in 1825. In 1852, Horace Mann founded Antioch College and served as its president. During the ’50s and ’60s, Antioch and Yellow Springs were hamlets of anti-McCarthyism and antiwar and civil rights activism. Today there are a lot of hippies and there’s even more tie-dye. Between the villages, you can drive over rolling hills and pastures and not see another car for miles, and only far off on the horizon will you be able to spot a farmhouse.

      I spent a week in this part of Ohio, and during my stay I was invited to do all sorts of things with people of all kinds—rich and poor, white and black. I was invited to go flying, dig for worms at midnight, and plant raspberry bushes. My request to drive a tractor was turned down, not because I don’t know how to drive but because the tractor had been put away. In Ohio, there is space for people to do what they want. There is a lot of land, plenty of it. This is where enslaved people ran to, certain that they had finally evaded capture. This is where America’s first prominent black poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar, wrote “We Wear the Mask.” And somewhere in the midst of it all is Dave Chappelle’s home.

  • Audubon Made Up At Least 28 Fake Species To Prank A Rival | Atlas Obscura

    Pranks are meant to be discovered—what’s the point in fooling someone if they never notice they’ve been fooled? But one 19th century prank, sprung by John James Audubon on another naturalist, was so extensive and so well executed that its full scope is only now coming to light.

    The prank began when the French naturalist Constantine Rafinesque sought on Audubon on a journey down the Ohio River in 1818. Audubon was years away from publishing Birds in America, but even then he was known among colleagues for his ornithological drawings. Rafinesque was on the hunt for new species—plants in particular—and he imagined that Audubon might have unwittingly included some unnamed specimens in his sketches.

    Rafinesque was an extremely enthusiastic namer of species: during his career as a naturalist, he named 2,700 plant genera and 6,700 species, approximately. He was self-taught, and the letter of introduction he handed to Audubon described him as “an odd fish.” When they met, Audubon noted, Rafinesque was wearing a “long loose coat...stained all over with the juice of plants,” a waistcoat “with enormous pockets” and a very long beard. Rafinesque was not known for his social graces; as John Jeremiah Sullivan writes, Audubon is the “only person on record” as actually liking him.

    #cryptozoologie #histoire #zoologie