Ballard Terminal Railroad_09.20.2017

Today I was biking on the Burke-Gilman trail and I got to see the Ballard Terminal Railroad’s Lil’ Beaver engine coming down the line! Being an old school railfan, I hopped off my bike and started snapping pictures and videos. I also got to meet James and Kat (sp?), who were running the Lil’ Beaver.

I will write up more of this exciting event, but in the meantime, I promised to put a link up to my article that ran in the Ballard News-Tribune almost 9 years ago. The BN-T has been folded into another paper, but they still are hosting this story for now. Hopefully they also have some of my other classic articles and 21st Century Viking essays still online!

One thing at a time, however. Without further ado, here’s Ballard Terminal Railroad Delivers Local Freight!

21st Century Viking: What Would Joseph Coolidge Say?

Photo by Kristin Jones (CC/Flickr)

My latest article for the Ballard News-Tribune was published a few hours after I posted the second part of my watertown_4.19.13 series. I submitted the editorial under a different title but it turned out that both the post and the editorial for the Ballard News-Tribune were given the same name.

They are, however, different pieces.

The Ballard News-Tribune article is a little shorter, gives a bit more background on Watertown and ask the reader to imagine a similar scenario unfolding in Ballard.

The blog post is longer and goes more into depth in some areas, particularly with Joseph Coolidge.

Both pieces, however, invoke the name of Joseph Coolidge and his importance to Watertown and American history as the starting point of my discussion. I have a feeling that the Spirit of Joseph Coolidge will continue to be invoked as the watertown_4.19.13 project evolves.

21st Century Viking: Vote No On The School Levies

Here’s the link to my latest opinion piece for the Ballard News-Tribune.

This piece discusses my opposition to an operations levy and a capital levy totalling $1.25 billion to fund Seattle Public Schools. I do not discuss the details of Propositions 1 & 2 but instead condemn the practice of holding elections on issues like this at times of the year when voters are less likely to participate.

As with all Washington State elections, this one will be held by mail and the votes will be tallied on February 12th.

21st Century Viking: Digging Deeper Into The Coal Train Controversy

Here’s the link to my latest opinion piece for the Ballard News-Tribune.

It is a follow-up to a piece I did last month about the proposal to build coal export terminals on the Washington state and Oregon coats. If these terminals are built, Washington state and the Ballard neighborhood in particular would experience a lot more train traffic.

The environmentalists are vehemently against this project for a variety of reasons and quite vocal in their opposition. For the first piece, I interviewed a railroad union representative who had some real issues with the stances of the anti-coal advocates. For the second, I did some further research some of the union rep’s best points and asked someone from the Sierra Club, which is leading the fight against the coal trains, to see what they had to say.

My intent with these pieces was to objectively present the facts about an emotionally charged issue and hope that the readers will use them to come to their own conclusions.

21st Century Viking: What Is the Coal Train Controversy Really About?

My latest 21st Century Viking opinion piece for the Ballard News-Tribune is my first foray into the coal train issue. There is currently some proposals going around to build coal export terminals at ports along the Washington and Oregon coasts. The coal will have to be shipped by rail through Seattle (and Ballard) to these facilities.

There is a concern among local environmentalists and activists about the increased pollution from the coal dust and length of these trains. Most of the dialogue around the coal trains is coming from the anti-side so I wanted to take more balanced look.

My plan is to learn more about this subject and the state of freight and transportation in general around the Northwest.

21st Century Viking: McDermott debates…but not with the right person

After the Ballard News-Tribune published my 21st Century Viking column about why Jim McDermott should debate his general election opponent, Ron Bemis, I got a hot tip. McDermott was going to debate someone the week before the Nov. 6, 2012 General Election- but it turns out that it was going to be conservative talk show host Michael Medved rather than Bemis!

I decided to get to the bottom of it and filed another 21st Century Viking column called “McDermott debates…but not with the right person.

I covered the McDermott/Medved debate for the Ballard News-Tribune. The debate was taped and was supposed to be broadcast the Saturday following the debate on UWTV, but it turns out they never aired it.

While it would have been interesting to find out why it was never aired, the General Election has passed- the latest figures show that McDermott beat Ron Bemis 79.48% to 20.52%. The election may be over, but the issue of deeply entrenched incumbents- regardless of party- ducking their duty to participate in the democratic process remains.

21st Century Viking: Why McDermott Must Debate Bemis

Here’s my latest 21st Century Viking article for the Ballard News-Tribune on the “race” for the 7th Congressional District (WA) seat. McDermott has so far managed to duck having to formally debate his current challenger, independent/Blue Republican Ron Bemis, a tradition he has carried on for at least the last four elections. We will know in a couple of weeks whether his constituents (some of whom are new to the 7th CD) reflexively vote him in once again or whether he will be called on his shenangians.