Thursday, March 28, 2019

40 years after Three Mile Island


Excerpting a bit from the LNP/LancasterOnline's editorial this morning...
Forty years ago today, in the quiet hour between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m., a combination of equipment failure and human error ignited one of the biggest scares in Pennsylvania history. At Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in Dauphin County, Unit 2 suffered a partial meltdown of the reactor core, just three months after it had been commissioned.
I was not around this area during the TMI partial meltdown. I was eight years old and we were living in Clayton, New Jersey, far outside the danger zone. I honestly don't remember hearing or talking about it at the time, either. It was only as I got older and returned to Pennsylvania that "TMI" became those ominous initials and, on occasion, we could see those four concrete cooling towers looming over the horizon when driving past Harrisburg.

My former mother-in-law was living in the Dover area during the partial meltdown. She says the plan, in the event the 1979 emergency escalated (it did not) was that her husband would be activated by the military to assist with traffic/evacuation control. She, meanwhile, would get in the truck with the goats and the gun and head in the direction of safety. Many thousands had to ponder plans like that in the days following the nuclear accident.

Years ago, while I was working at the York Daily Record, the newspaper discontinued its index-card archiving system. Over the years, each article had been documented on one or more topic cards, which were added to a sprawling catalog in the library. When they decided to ditch the system and "go digital," the plan was to trash all of those thousands of cards. Naturally, I took a couple of shoeboxes full, to use for notes and lists, if nothing else. Among the cards I kept were ones related to the York Daily Record's coverage of Three Mile Island over the years. And that's what I'm sharing today for the 40th anniversary.




TMI anniversary coverage links

Sarah and I visited Goldsboro in April 2018 to photograph Three Mile Island...

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Book cover: "Wales"
(Collins Holiday Guides)


  • Title: Wales (But despite the cover and title page, this volume is listed elsewhere as Wales and the Isle of Man and Wales & Isle of Man. And, indeed, Isle of Man information is included.)
  • Series: Collins Holiday Guides
  • Author: George H. Haines
  • Cover photo: "The cover photograph of a girl in Welsh National Costume is reproduced by permission of Colour Library International," reads a statement on the back cover.
  • Publisher: Collins, London and Glasgow
  • Publication year: This is the 1973 reprint of a book first published in 1969
  • Dimensions: 4¼ inches by 6⅜ inches.
  • Original price: 35 pence
  • Pages: 96
  • Format: Softcover
  • Contributors: Per the copyright page, drawings by Barbara Crocker, maps by Regmarad, design and layout by Ronald Mongredien and photographs courtesy of the author. More about them below.
  • First sentence: Do not be misled by the map, which shows Wales as a small projection on the western side of England, or by the practical considerations that there are no customs barriers between the countries and that for many administrative purposes they are one.
  • Last sentence: 2 mls from St. John's is Glen Helen, an inland glen created in 1850 by the owner who planted a million trees to make a luxuriant valley culminating in a waterfall. Peel 2½ mls, Douglas 8½.
  • Random sentence from middle #1: The Eastern section, covering the Black Mountains, has some of the remotest country in Wales.
  • Random sentence from middle #2: This was a comic affair: the invaders were delayed by the discovery that many cottages had supplies of liquor salvaged from a recent wreck; Welsh women in national dress were taken for British Redcoats; and a surrender was signed in the Royal Oak! (This is regarding the Battle of Fishguard in 1797.)
  • Reviews and ratings: I could not find any reviews online. There's a single Goodreads rating giving it 3 stars, out of 5.
  • Other books in this series: This is just a partial list: Bavaria & Black Forest, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Israel, The Italian Lakes & Dolomites, Peloponnese & Greek Islands, The Rhineland, Venice, Yugoslavia.
  • About Barbara Crocker: I only found a bit in connection to her husband, travel writer Eric Whelpton (1894-1981). The Rye Castle Museum website states: "His wife, the painter Barbara Crocker, illustrated some of his books." Elsewhere it is stated that Barbara Crocker is a pseudonyn that Barbara Whelpton painted under. She authored books of her own, including 1970's Art Appreciation (Made Simple).
  • About Regmarad: This mapmaker's name comes up in connection with epidemiology and the 1854 Broad Street cholera outbreak. A UCLA history of the outbreak states: "Many years later, other map makers attempted to improve on John Snow's map by using dots rather than bars to represent each death. One such map that appeared in cartography books was drawn about 1960 by Regmarad, a one-named illustrator. Yet Regmarad's map was filled with errors and is not generally cited in the epidemiologic literature."
  • About Ronald Mongredien: Not sure if this is the same Mongredien who played chess, wrote 1975's Chess For Young Beginners (published by Collins) and died in 2007 at age 94.