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Week of Nov. 28, 2012

Issue 855

Tidbits takes for a ride on the...

Interstate Highways

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by Janet Spencer The Interstate Highway system is the longest engineered structure ever built. There are some 43,000 miles of interstate highways in the U.S. built as a result of the largest public works project ever undertaken by humankind. Join Tidbits as we take a ride down the highway!

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• In 1903 it took a doctor from Vermont and his mechanic 63 days to drive from San Francisco to New York in their two-cylinder Winston. (At the time, the same trip by railroad took about four days.) Six years later it took 21-year-old Alice Huyler Ramsey and her three girlfriends 41 days to do the same trip in their Maxwell, as a publicity stunt. Around the turn of the century, roads were nothing more than dirt tracks. When it rained or snowed, they became mud tracks. There was no organized system of roads connecting places.

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Tidbits of Greeley & West Weld County

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America needed better roads. • In 1919 young Lieutenant Colonel Dwight Eisenhower joined the military’s very first transcontinental trip. A three-mile long caravan of vehicles carrying 260 enlisted men, 35 officers, and a 15piece band set off from the White House in Washington, D.C. for San Francisco, 3,251 miles away. It took them 62 grueling days to cross the country. They averaged five miles per hour on roads that ranged from fair to horrible. • During World War II, Eisenhower toured Germany after V-E day, driving on the marvelously efficient Autobahn highway system that the German war machine built. He noted that although the railroads could be taken out with a single well-placed bomb, the Autobahns were far more difficult to destroy, even if they were pocked with bomb craters. Good highways, he concluded, were essential for national defense. It was a lesson he never forgot. • On June 29, 1956, President Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act. The interstate system was born. To help fund the project, the bill increased the federal tax on gas by a penny per gallon. The project was to build 41,000 miles of divided limited-access highways including 16,000 interchanges and 55,000 bridges and overpasses. The average distance between exits was three miles. • Deciding on a color for interstate signs was not an easy matter. Bertram Tallamy, the federal highway administrator, insisted on blue signs with white lettering, but a committee with the American Association of State Highway Officials wanted green signs with white letters. To settle the issue, the Bureau of Public Roads built a special threemile test road in Maryland and hired hundreds of drivers to travel it at 65 m.p.h. On the way they passed three test signs in blue, green, and black. At the end of the road they were to vote on their favorite color. Green got 58 percent of the vote; blue 27 percent; and black got just 15 percent of the votes. Tallamy reluctantly conceded, and all highway signs are now green. Only later was it revealed that he suffered from color blindness. To him, the green signs appeared to be pale yellow. • Interstate highways running north and south are assigned odd numbers starting on the west coast and moving east, with Interstate 5 following the Pacific coast and Interstate 95 following the Atlantic coast. Routes going across the country east and west have even numbers starting with Interstate 10 in the south and moving up to I-94 in the north. Primary interstate highways use either a one-digit or a two-digit number. Auxiliary interstate highways that link up with the primary highways all have three digits, composed of the number of the interstate ‘parent’ highway, plus a multiple of the number 100. Generally, three-digit interstates that both start and end at a primary

interstate, such as a beltway, will all begin with an even number, such as I-418. Auxiliary interstates which dangle without ending at another interstate will usually begin with an odd number. Three-digit highway numbers are unique within a state, but can be duplicated across the country. For instance, there are seven different highways called I-295 ranging from Maine to Florida. • Kansas was the first state to begin constructing their interstate highway. Eight days after Eisenhower was re-elected in 1956, the nation’s first stretch of Interstate opened near Topeka, only 70 miles from Eisenhower’s hometown of Abilene. That prompted work in states all over the nation, and construction proceeded at the average rate of 1,000 miles per year. Suddenly a big conveyor belt was moving: the more highways there were, the more cars traveled; the more cars traveled, the more gas they used and the more gas tax they paid; the more taxes paid, the more money for new highways; the more highways built, the more cars traveled. • The arrival of interstate highways often had detrimental effects on surrounding communities which continue today. Highways made it easier for people who work in the cities to live in the suburbs, so those who could afford to move did so, leaving behind only those who couldn’t afford to move, generally minorities. The businesses followed, finding better locations where they catered to wealthy suburbanites instead of poor city dwellers. The result was the constant and continuing erosion of the tax base in cities. Slums spread. Another effect was that interstate interchanges attracted businesses that catered to highway travelers: gas stations, motels, restaurants, malls. As more and more businesses relocated to the highways, fewer and fewer people shopped in downtown districts, which often became derelict. In most cities around the world, real estate close to the city center is the most valuable property. In the U.S., the opposite is often true. • The highway system was supposed to be done in a mere thirteen years. Instead, it took forty years. $25 billion in federal funds were designated to pay for the project; it ended up costing $560 billion. • To construct the interstate highway system, enough concrete was poured to make a sidewalk extending from Earth to a point five times the distance to the moon. Enough earth was moved to cover the state of Connecticut knee deep in dirt. • The Century Freeway in L.A. was opened in 1993, completing one of the final sections of interstate. By that time, over 90 percent of American households owned at least one vehicle. • Although it composes only 1.2 percent of the nation’s roadways, the interstate system carries nearly 23 percent of the traffic.

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CHARLES STRATTON aka:Tom Thumb • When Charles Stratton was born in Connecticut in 1838, he weighed a healthy nine pounds, eight ounces. However, his parents soon noted that he wasn’t growing like other children. A malfunctioning pituitary gland slowed his growth, so at age four, he was only 25 inches long. He never grew much beyond that height. At the age of five he weighed exactly as much as he had at the age of 15 months. He was perfectly normal except for his size. He was not misshapen or ugly, but instead was perfectly proportioned, very attractive, and extremely intelligent. At the age of five Charles was first introduced to Phineas T. Barnum, and Barnum knew his fortune was made. • Charles’ name was changed to General Tom Thumb, and he was billed as being 11 years old and from England, when in reality he was only 5 and from Connecticut. (When they travelled to Europe, he was billed as being American, and when he grew older his age was revised downward.) After being put on stage in a comedy routine with two 8-foot giants, Tom Thumb became the darling of the world. 15,000 people a day flocked to see him, each paying a quarter entrance fee. • World tours were extremely successful. On a trip to England Barnum very much wanted the publicity that would result from an audience with the Queen. But the Queen was in mourning and refused to see any visitors. So Barnum merely announced that he was leaving England and traveling to France in order to introduce Tom Thumb to the King of France. A fierce social rivalry existed between the Queen of England and the King of France. As Barnum expected, an invitation to visit the Queen was not long in coming. • Once when Tom Thumb was robbed, Barnum himself spread the rumor that Tom had been kidnapped and was being held for ransom. The public furor increased interest all over Europe. • Tom Thumb had a delightful sense of humor and

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impeccable manners. He had a gift for improvisation while on the stage. His specialty was imitating Napoleon Bonaparte, an act that won him worldwide renown. After traveling the world with Barnum, he returned to his hometown of Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he had a home built to scale, with furniture and furnishings constructed in exactly the correct proportions. • When Barnum hired a 32-inch-tall female performer named Lavinia Warren Bump, Tom Thumb instantly fell in love, and the two were married. Their wedding was featured in every newspaper and magazine in the nation. The newlyweds toured the world together, performing in nearly

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600 cities around the globe. By the time they returned to Connecticut, they had performed in front of more people than any other person in history – a record they held until the invention of the television. They were also rich beyond their wildest dreams. When Barnum went bankrupt after investing unwisely, it was Tom Thumb’s earning power that put him back on his feet. • When Charles Stratton died of a stroke at the age of 45, he stood 3 feet, four inches tall and weighed just 71 pounds. More than 10,000 mourners attended his funeral, and newspapers around the world carried news of his death and descriptions of the funeral service. His wife lived to the age of 77, and is buried beside him in Connecticut.

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Domestic & Foreign

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SEASON SPONSOR

O R C H E S T R A

7:30pm

Glen Cortese, Conductor Jalyn Webb, Soprano The Greeley Chorale Greeley Children’s Chorale – Peak Performers This concert is sponsored by Banner Health North Colorado Medical Center Jalyn Webb is sponsored by Kathryn A Christmann and Isaac P. Simmons

Friday December 14 7:30pm

Glen Cortese, Conductor This concert is sponsored by Chesapeake Energy This activity is supported by funding from the Colorado Creative Industries Division, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

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Tidbits of Greeley & West Weld County

Prep Player of the Week

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Logan Sitzman, Platte Valley QB By Brady Hull

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After the first regular season game of 2012 for the Platte Valley Broncos it would have been a bold prediction to say this team would end up in the 2A state championship on November 24th. The Kent Denver Sun Devils beat the Broncos with ease in week 1; 46-14, but Platte Valley coach, Troy Hoffman, rallied his team and the Broncos went on to win 10 out of the their next 11 games including playoff victories over rival Eaton and Bayfield.

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The Sun Devils came into the championship game with an undefeated record and one of the top running backs in the state, Jaden Franklin, while the Broncos entered this one with arguably the top player in all of 2A, QB Logan Sitzman. Kent Denver took a 14-3 lead late in the first quarter. After Sitzman threw an interception and gave the Sun Devils the ball deep into Bronco territory, this game was starting to look like the week one matchup. However, Platte Valley kept Kent Denver from converting on 4th down inside the Bronco’s five yard line and from there they drove down the

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DECEMBER HISTORY

Dealing From the

• The world’s first Burger King opened in Miami, Florida on Dec. 4, 1954. However, the “King” wasn’t their trademark figure until the following

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field to score a TD making the score 14-10. Another stop later by Platte Valley’s defense allowed Sitzman to drive this team down yet again and he rushed for another TD making the score at half; 17-14, Platte Valley. The third quarter was scoreless for both teams but it was a different story in the 4th for Kent Denver. Since the Broncos were shutting down standout running back, Franklin, Coach Yates called on his tough senior fullback, Brannon Jones. He rolled through Platte Valley and scored the go ahead TD mid-4th quarter. Platte Valley couldn’t find an offensive rhythm and after a few more possessions, the Kent Denver Sun Devils scored yet again to win the 2012 2A state championship; 28-14. Congratulations to this week’s Loveland Ford Player of the week; Logan Sitzman. Sitzman made plays all day as he did all season and since he is a junior, he will be back behind center for this team next year. On behalf of Loveland Ford, Tidbits and 1310 KFKA, congratulations to the entire Platte Valley squad!

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The 45-year-old surgeon, assisted by his heart surgeon brother Marius and a team of 30 people, transplanted the heart of a 25-year-old woman into Louis Washkansky over a nine-hour period. Washkansky perished 18 days later, not from the malfunction of the heart, but rather from pneumonia brought on by reduced immunity. The recipient of a heart in Barnard’s second transplant, just one month later, survived for 19 months.

The first week of December has been a significant one over the years. Take a look at some of the events that have impacted history. • Dec. 2, 1939 marked the opening day of New York City’s La Guardia Airport. Prior to being converted to an airfield, the land was the site of the Gala Amusement Park, owned by the Steinway piano family. The airport’s first title was the Glenn H. Curtiss airport, named for an early aviation pioneer, and didn’t become La Guardia until 1953, when the name was changed to honor former New York City mayor Fiorello La Guardia. The site is 680 acres and sits on the shores of Flushing Bay and Bowery Bay in Queens. It employs about 8,000 and serviced about 25 million travelers last year. • Cape Town, outh Africa’s Groote Schuur Hospital was the site of a groundbreaking procedure on Dec. 3, 1967. It was here that Dr. Christiaan Barnard performed the first successful human heart transplant. Dr. Barnard had experimented for many years with animal heart transplants.

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year, and the Whopper sandwich wasn’t introduced until 1957. Today, more than 11 million people dine at the 12,400 Burger Kings located in 73 countries around the world. There are four Burker Kings in Greeley: 6710 W. 10th, 2726 W. 10th, 2135 35th Ave., and 2708 11th Ave. • Dec 5 is International Ninja Day, a time set aside to celebrate martial arts skills. This is just the tenth year it has been recognized, as the holiday was created in 2003 in conjunction with the December 5th opening date of Tom Cruise’s film The Last Samurai, which featured a battle scene between samurai and ninja. Those observing the holiday are encouraged to dress like ninjas. • Europeans and Scandinavians celebrate St. Nicholas Day on Dec. 6, and in many countries, it is the primary occasion for gift-giving during the holiday season. It commemorates the feast day of this 4th-century Greek Bishop of Myra who had a reputation of giving gifts in secret, tucking sweets and coins in shoes and boots left on the front doorstep. The Bishop was the inspiration for the North Americans’ Santa Claus and the British Father Christmas. • More than 2,300 Americans were killed when Japanese planes attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the “date which will live in infamy.” Twelve ships sank or were beached, including the U.S.S. Oklahoma, which capsized, and the U.S.S. Arizona, which was completely destroyed with a death toll of 1,177. In addition, more than 160 aircraft were demolished, with another 150 damaged. Six Japanese aircraft carriers launched 353 fighters, bombers, and torpedo planes in an attack that began at 7:48 AM and ended 90 minutes later. The United States entered World War II on Dec. 8, when Congress declared war against Japan. Soon Japan’s allies, Germany and Italy, declared war on the U.S.


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to burn off. 13) No, my powers can only be used for good.

Some Real Nasty Put-Downs!

14) How about never? Is never good for you?

1)Someday, we’ll look back on this, laugh nervously and change the subject.

15) I’m really easy to get along with once you people learn to worship me.

2) The fact that no one understands you doesn’t mean you’re an artist.

16) You sound reasonable...Time to up my medication.

3) I don’t know what your problem is, but I’ll bet it’s hard to pronounce.

17) I’ll try being nicer if you’ll try being smarter.

4) Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental.

18) I’m out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message... 19) I don’t work here. I’m a consultant.

5) I have plenty of talent and vision. I just don’t care.

20) Who me? I just wander from room to room.

6) I like you. You remind me of when I was young and stupid.

21) I see you’ve set aside this special time to humiliate yourself in public.

7) What am I? Flypaper for freaks!? 8) I’m not being rude. You’re just insignificant. 9) I’m already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth. 10) Thank you. We’re all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view. 11) I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you. 12) It’s a thankless job, but I’ve got a lot of Karma

22) It might look like I’m doing nothing, but at the cellular level I’m really quite busy. 23) At least I have a positive attitude about my destructive habits.

A

guy goes into a restaurant/lounge wearing a shirt open at the collar and is met by a bouncer who tells him he must wear a necktie to gain admission. So the guy goes out to his car and he looks around for a necktie and discovers that he just doesn’t have one. He sees a set of jumper cables in his trunk. In desperation he ties these around his neck, manages to fashion a fairly acceptable looking knot and lets the ends dangle free. He goes back to the restaurant and the bouncer carefully looks him over for a few minutes and then says, “Well, OK, I guess you can come in - just don’t start anything.”


Tidbits of Greeley & West Weld County

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By Samantha Weaver • It was British biologist and author Richard Dawkins who made the following sage observation: “When two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly halfway between them. It is possible for one side to be simply wrong.” • If you’re like 20 percent of American women, you think your feet are too big. • Did you ever wonder why we say, “I smell a rat” when we sense that something is amiss? The phrase dates back to a time before effective means of pest control, when it was not uncommon for a home to be infested by rodents. If a rat died inside a wall, the residents wouldn’t be aware of it until the smell of the decaying body became noticeable. • If you’d like to have a festive New Year’s Eve but don’t want to deal with the crowds in New York City for the iconic ball drop, consider heading to Mount Olive, N.C. Every year the town hosts a celebration in which a 3-foot lighted pickle is dropped into a barrel at midnight. • Ancient Romans believed that a sneeze was the body’s way of expelling evil spirits that caused disease. Thus, if one tried to suppress a sneeze, it was regarded as an invitation to illness and death. • The 14-foot model of the Starship Enterprise that was used during shooting of the original “Star Trek” series is now displayed in the Smithsonian. • If you are over the age of 40, you’ve lived longer than the average gorilla. • The first woman to appear on the cover of Business Week magazine, in 1954, was Brownie Wise, the originator of the Tupperware Party. *** Thought for the Day: “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” -- Lewis Carroll

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��������������������������������������������������������� Silent Night You’re Kidding, Right? Isn’t everyone’s favorite Christmas carol “Silent Night”? When we sing it we always use that soft breathy voice that indicates we understand and enjoy the beauty of silence. A few seconds after the “Amen” we’re back to the reality of the noisy world we live in. Look, no listen to all the noise we hear every day. - We get up in the morning and immediately turn on the TV or radio. - Even the shortest journey in our car is accompanied with the noise of a high-end automotive sound system. - Some of you wear a new kind of head jewelry called “Bluetooth Technology” or I-pods that pipe noise directly into your head. - Most stores play “background” music and some even broadcast extra-loud advertisements on strategically placed TVs throughout their stores. - Now farmers no longer have to plow in silence because their tractors come equipped with quality sound systems. We may breathlessly sing, “Silent night”, but we live in the noisiest society in history. So I’m calling for a little silence, a little peace and quiet, an uninterrupted hour or two with absolutely no noise. But I’m not only calling for it, I’m seeking it, I’m trying to create it. Yesterday the wife went to the Mall which meant the house was going to be empty for at least two hours. “Ahhh…some peace and quiet”, I thought as I made my way to my favorite recliner and settled down for an uninterrupted hour of silence. I kicked the footrest out so I could lie nearly prostrate in the plush comfort of the chair. It took a few minutes to get comfortable and settle in and soon my eyes closed as I enjoyed the superb sound of silence; it was marvelous.

Unfortunately, silence is not easy to find, what with several phones in every home, TVs in every room, children, co-workers, machinery, barking dogs, etc. Perhaps the reason it is so difficult to find a place of silence is because of the high value of a little peace and quiet. You see, valuable things are always scarce, and silence can be very valuable. Here are four reasons that silence is valuable: First of all, silence rests the mind. The constant noise of life tires the brain and weakens its ability to do the work it is designed to do. Silence renews and refreshes the brain for more productive, creative labor. Second, silence improves conversation. We’ve all been around someone who just plain flat talks too much, who wears us out with their words. Someone once said, “He had occasional flashes of silence that made his conversation perfectly delightful.” The best conversationalists are those who know how to listen. Silence settles arguments. You can stop a raucous argument or quiet down an angry person with silence. “Silence” said Josh Billings, “is one of the hardest arguments to refute.” And last, silence preserves integrity. One hundred years before the birth of Christ a writer penned, “I have often regretted my speech, never my silence.”* We have all said at one time or another, “I wish I would have just kept my big mouth shut.” Mark Twain said it best, “Tis better to be silent and thought a fool, than to speak up and remove all doubt.” But if silence bothers you and you find it hard to endure, do not worry, the noise will return soon enough. My quiet silence was broken by the most annoying sound ever invented by man – the ringtone on my cellphone. *Publilius Syrus Comments to Dr.Ross@RonRossToday.com. ©Copyright 2012 Dr. Ronald Ross

Dr. Ross is the publisher of Tidbits of Greeley. Dr. Ross is also the Voice of Tidbits Radio on 1310KFKA Every Saturday Noon - 1pm. He is available to speak at your service club or other event. Read his blog at RonRosstToady.com. To contact him email: RonRoss@TrustTidbits.com.

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he write it down. He published it under his nom de plume, Lewis Carroll, in 1865.

• On Dec. 1, 1830, French novelist Victor Hugo is due to turn in a draft of his book “Notre Dame de Paris” (“The Hunchback of Notre Dame”). Despite his contract, he instead wrote two plays, “Marion de Lorme” and “Hernani,” and the book is not published until 1831. • On Nov. 26, 1862, Oxford mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson sends a handwritten manuscript called “Alice’s Adventures Under Ground” to 10-year-old Alice Liddell. Dodgson made up the story one day on a picnic, and Alice insisted

• On Nov. 28, 1914, the New York Stock Exchange reopens for bond trading after nearly four months, the longest stoppage in the exchange’s history. The outbreak of World War I in Europe forced the NYSE to shut its doors on July 31, 1914. • On Dec. 2, 1942, Enrico Fermi, Italian-born Nobel Prize-winning physicist, directs and controls the first nuclear chain reaction. He created a juryrigged laboratory under the bleachers in Stagg Field at the University of Chicago. • On Nov. 30, 1954, the first modern instance of a meteorite striking a human being occurs at Sylacauga, Ala., when an 8 1/2 pound meteorite crashes through the roof of a house and into the living room, bounces off a radio, and strikes a woman on the hip. The victim suffered a nasty bruise. • On Nov. 29, 1963, one week after President John F. Kennedy was fatally shot while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, President Lyndon Johnson

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�������� �������������������������� establishes a special commission to investigate the assassination. After 10 months the Warren Commission report was released, concluding that there was no conspiracy. • On Nov. 27, 1978, former Board of Supervisors member Dan White murders Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk at City Hall in San Francisco. When White pleaded a “diminished capacity” defense and claimed that copious amounts of junk food caused him to suffer mental problems, the so-called Twinkie Defense was born. (c) 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.

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Page 8

Tidbits of Greeley & West Weld County

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Tidbits of Greeley & West Weld County Published by Handshake Publishing Ron & Amy Ross All inquiries: 970.475.4829 or 720.934.7677 1813 N. Del Norte Aveune - Loveland CO 80538 www.TrustTidbits.com - RonRoss@TrustTidbits.com


Greeley Tidbits Issue 855