Sunday, November 27, 2005

More stories from around America

It's time for another batch of hidden-in-plain-sight stories from smaller papers from around the United States.

Rifle rolls out the red runway - Heidi Rice reports in The Citizen Telegram that folks from the town of Rifle, Colorado, are trying to get the word out to pilots that their airport has been upgraded in recent years and they would be happy to have more business. They've even been handing out coffee mugs and cell phone holders, etc., embossed with the slogan "Request Rifle." On the other hand, they want people to know that they aren't trying to compete with the airports at Eagle or Aspen...

The Columbia Ball begins the debutante season Nov. 23 - I've never lived in an area that had debutantes, and sometimes I forget such places exist. But The Columbia Star of Columbia, South Carolina, notes that the first local ball of the season was held Thanksgiving Eve. I look at the pictures, and rather suspect that at that age I would have loved to have had a chance to dress up and get noticed in the paper looking my best. (Whether I could have handled the pressure is another matter - but I hear that debutantes get training in that sort of thing...)

Cutter Storis to be decommissioned - Megan Holland of the Anchorage Daily News reports that a Coast Guard cutter is being retired after six decades of service. No, correction, it is slated for retirement - in 2007! OK, I can't resist an excerpt (or two):

The Coast Guard cutter Storis is so old it was built with cork insulation instead of fiberglass. The tangle of pipes and wires wandering the 63-year-old vessel's hidden regions can pose a mystery to crewmen.

And if its engine were to break down, the only place to look for a replacement would be in a museum, the Coast Guard says.

The Kodiak-based Storis, the oldest ship in the service's fleet, will be decommissioned in 2007, the Coast Guard announced last week. The cutter Munro, currently homeported in Alameda, Calif., will fill in for it as a faster, better-equipped fisheries enforcement and search-and-rescue vessel until a new ship is built for Alaska waters, the Coast Guard said.

The upgrade is part of the Coast Guard's multiyear $19 billion to $24 billion modernization of its aircraft and cutters that began in 2002.


Cutters, which are what the Coast Guard calls its bigger vessels, have relatively long service lives compared to other military machinery and vehicles. According to a recent U.S. Government Accountability Office report, medium-endurance cutters like the Storis have average service lives of 30 to 49 years, depending on their size. But "The Queen of the Fleet," as the Storis is called, has been in service more than six decades.

No decision has been made as to what will happen to the 230-foot cutter after it is decommissioned, the Coast Guard said. The Storis could be mothballed, scrapped, sold or donated to become a museum.

In a press release, Vice Adm. Harvey Johnson, commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area, said, "Storis has been a gallant workhouse for the Coast Guard since World War II and has earned an honored place in Coast Guard history."

Launched in September 1942, the vessel played a role in World War II, and the stories accumulated in the decades since. Thousands of Coast Guardsmen have served on it...

That ought to get you started...

An easy way to find the sorts of stories that the big guys ignore is to go to US Newspaper List. A high percentage of smaller papers use a general template over and over, issue after issue, which means there are no links to a specific story - which can be rather frustrating from a blogging point of view - but there's some good reading and interesting perspectives to be had if you'll take the time to browse.

Addition: Storis history, specs, pictures. This says that the ship's name is a Scandinavian name taken from an Eskimo word for "great ice". She was commissioned as an ice patrol tender. In 1972, she underwent major renovation and was converted from a light icebreaker to a medium endurance cutter.


Bookworm said...

I hate to admit it, but I would have loved to have been a deb, just for the dress. I had to wait until my thirties, when I got married, to justify the big white dress -- and it was just as wonderful to wear one as I thought it would be!

Kathryn Judson said...

Bookworm, Oh, good. I was rather afraid you were one of those women who wore torn jeans or a peasant dress and got married in a remote mountain meadow, singing "I'd like to teach the world to sing..." ;-)