Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A nice note from "Friends"

It is nice to discover new friends. It is also nice to be discovered by new friends! Recently, our efforts were recognized in the newsletter published by "Friends of the Mississippi River." See what they had to say in their recent publication.

© 2008 Mike D. Anderson, Crystal, MN.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Welcome help and a new alliance!

Last month, a barrage of promotional announcements on KARE 11 TV promoted the fact that CleanUpTheRiver.com was going to be featured on the station’s Earth KARE segment. A friend of ours got in touch with Joe Rauscher at Joe’s Sporting Goods, who had also seen the advance publicity for the newscast segment. As we mentioned in a previous posting, Joe gave us a call and offered to help. But I’m pleased to let you know that the actions of Jim and Joe Rauscher have spoken even louder than their words.

This month, we have been provided two new vessel(s) to use in our Geo-Trashing and river clean-up efforts: 14’ Pungo kayaks, manufactured by Wilderness Systems. The craft are provided courtesy of Joe’s Sporting Goods in St. Paul, and will help us continue and expand on our river restoration efforts.

Let me describe the boats involved, which were selected for very specific reasons. In past writing, I’ve explained how water-borne trash tends to accumulate in areas of strong current; the Pungo 14’ is a broad-based recreational kayak with the kind of stability that makes it easier to throw yourself against a fishing pier, bridge truss, or log jam. (It feels much safer than our little 10’ was!) Plus, these yaks track really well… which will make fatigue less of a problem when we’re taking a longer geo-tagging trip. Finally, the craft have high buoyancy… meaning they will support my near 200-lb. size easily, and still leave plenty of room for any trash we pick-up along the way. (The cockpit is large, and even has a pretty good “bin” immediately behind the seat. When Joe originally offered to help, I admit that I had a specific (and different!) model in mind. But upon listening to his advice and accepting his expertise, we’ve landed in the perfect craft for our needs. (It’s nice to work with someone who knows more about these things than I do!)

Another great thing about this partnership? It works for our grass-roots structure (or lack of structure!). The boats are not donated... they are merely on loan. That means instead of having a tax liability, we simply have someone helping us get the job done. (Remember, we're neither a non-profit organization nor a for-profit business; we're just folks who want to clean up the river.)

We’d like to thank Joe’s Sporting Goods, and namely, Jim and Joe Rauscher, for behaving like the family-owned, home-town retailer that they are. They have seen something important taking shape… and they have proactively reached out to help it grow. Thus, we’re proud to cite Joe’s Sporting Goods as an official watercraft outfitter of CleanUpTheRiver.com.

© 2008 Mike D. Anderson, Crystal, MN.

Respecting the river levels

While it’s been a busy summer, and difficult to find as much time as we’d like for our surveying missions, it’s worth noting that if life wasn’t keeping us from making progress… the river would be! Over the past few weeks, the river level on the Mississippi has been hovering between 7 and 8 feet above the gage level at Anoka, according to the USGS. She has only today fallen to near the six-foot level... still nearly four feet over the height at which our previously surveyed items will be completely visible.

That means clean-up or survey work might not only be difficult, it could be downright dangerous on our stretch of adopted Mississippi River. Best wait for another week or two before getting underway.

Sometimes, Mother Nature has a way of making us focus on what’s important. It’s always a good idea to respect her wishes.

© 2008 Mike D. Anderson, Crystal, MN.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Care flows in more than one way

Several weeks ago, I asked for your patience, as my writing for the blog has been less frequent as of late. Now that I have a few moments (feels like the first time in a while), let me explain what has been keeping me so busy. My Dad had surgery back on May 23rd in the hopes of solving a fight with lung cancer. The surgery went quite well, and the cancer is gone. His recovery, however, has not been so easy, due to pre-existing conditions. He has been in the ICU at Mayo Clinic (St. Mary's Hospital) for most of the past four weeks.

We drive, often as we can, to Rochester… to visit with Dad and support Mom in her care-giving role. We will have other summer days to pursue our passion for the river. But we have only one family... a that truth will be given the priority it deserves for as long as needed.

Having said these things, all of this has been going on long enough that we’re building it into our weekly schedule (even with the added complication of my business travel schedule). So it is good, tonight, to write an entry for the blog again. Doing so when life is so busy is strangely therapeutic. Perhaps that means I am stubborn.

If so, I’d like to think I get that from my Dad.

© 2008 Mike D. Anderson, Crystal, MN.