the Weather Look?
on the Upper Mississippi River with web
access can easily check the weather in
rivertowns. Click here for a map
of the river from the Twin Cities to
Muscatine, Iowa. Click on any of the cities to open
a National Weather Service forecast for
Cassville, Wis. — Wisconsin is finally considering Alliant
Energy’s application to build a 300-megawatt coal power unit
on the Mississippi at the Nelson Dewey generating station in Cassville.
The Public Service Commission rejected the application in June
2007 as incomplete and asked for more information, including the
plant’s effects on the river bed. The commission has 180
days (plus another 180 with an extension)
to accept or deny the application. The
public may comment
online or write to the Public Service Commission
of Wisconsin, P.O. Box 7854, Madison, Wis.,
53707-7854, and refer to case 6680-CE-170.)
The environmental advocacy group
Clean Wisconsin said in a statement, “Instead of reducing
global warming emissions, the boiler design chosen by Alliant would
emit at least 10 percent more global warming pollution per unit
of energy than the current facility, which was built nearly 50
years ago.” They
also noted that “several of the options Alliant outlines
in its application involve removing a large
section of scenic bluffs in order to make room for expanded rail
lines.” The group
also sees a threat to the Cassville area’s large population
of endangered Higgins’ eye mussels.
Big River Man
When Martin Strel swam the Mississippi
in 2002, it was just one river in his
bucket of accomplishments. He broke his
long-distance world record, the Danube in 2000, with the Yangtze
in 2004, and yet again, in 2007, with the Amazon.
Martin Strel wrote
a book about his swim, The Man Who Swam the Amazon. (amazonswim.com)
Director John Maringouin (“Running Stumbled,” “Just
Another Day in the Homeland”) first recognized Strel’s
offbeat movie allure when he saw the endurance
athlete swigging wine on the banks of the
Mississippi on CNN. (New York Times, June
Maringouin filmed Strel’s Amazon swim. The resulting movie, “Big
River Man,” is scheduled for release this year by Lumina
Strel, a robust 53-year-old from Slovenia,
swam the Amazon’s 3,278 miles in 67 days. He wore a wet suit
to protect himself from various poisonous and parasitic critters.
His official motto for his swims is, “Swim for peace, friendship
and clean waters.”
Dubuque, Iowa — People take risks all the time — and
on federal park land, at that. They climb mountains and hike the
Grand Canyon. So, why shouldn’t they be allowed to ride in
the Delta Queen, asks Jerry Enzler, director of the National Mississippi
River Museum and Aquarium.
Enzler is part of a nation-wide, grass-roots
effort to keep the steamboat operating.
The Delta Queen, listed on the National
Register of Historic Places, has operated safely for 80 years,
according to a resolution prepared by the National Rivers Hall
of Fame. The resolution asks Congress to permanently exempt the
vessel from a provision of the Safety of Life at Sea Act, which
prohibits the operation of vessels with wooden superstructures.
The Queen has such a superstructure but has been exempted from
the law for 37 years. The exemption is due to expire in November.
Enzler pointed out that the boat is coated
with fire-resistant paint, has an up-to-date sprinkler system and
fire-suppression equipment. Besides, he said, the Queen, which
cruises up and down the Mississippi, is never more than about a
half mile from shore. As long as passengers are warned of the potential
for fire, they should be allowed on the vessel, he said.
Today there are only six active steamboats,
and none has as much history as the Delta Queen, he said.
The National Rivers Hall of Fame board
is working with other river cities.
A loosely organized team of steamboat enthusiasts
has established an Internet campaign to save the Delta Queen. According
to Franz Neumeier, a German who operates the website, “hundreds,
if not thousands, of people” from Europe and Canada, as well
as the United States, have asked Congress to extend the exemption.
Pepin’s Icy Regatta
City, Minn. — Lake Pepin froze clear and solid enough
this year to host 98 racers from all over
the country, and a few from Europe, at
the 2008 North American DN Championship Regatta on January 14-18.
The race was sponsored by the International DN Ice Racing Association.
The race had shifted to Lake Pepin from
Lake Winnebago, in eastern Wisconsin, at
the last minute, due to a heavy snow on the ice there.
Sailors encountered plenty of wind and
temperatures that ranged from 10 to 20°F.
Ice-sailing has been a traditional sport
on the Mississippi River at Lake Pepin
for more than 100 years. (See “Iceboating,” in Big
River, January-February 2007) or view online
Great River Road Promo
Bettendorf, Iowa — The
River Road is celebrating its 70th anniversary this
year. If you’re interested in how the Mississippi River is
promoted, check out the next two annual conferences of the Great
River Road, both on the Upper Mississippi.
Bettendorf will host the meeting this year
on Sept. 25-28, and the 2009 event will be in Red Wing, Minn. Although
the meeting focuses on promoters, giving them a chance to talk
to and learn from each other, the meetings are open to the public,
for a fee.
Great River Road promotion is overseen
by the Mississippi River Parkway Commission, composed of representatives
of the ten Mississippi River states.
A special geocaching event is in the works
this year, with historically-themed caches throughout each of the
Mississippi River states.