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Friday, August 17, 2018

The corpse at every funeral, the bride at every wedding

  Nothing like defining yourself as a narcissist than what Trump did yesterday with Aretha Franklin's death in his Twitter posting.  “.....She worked for me on numerous occasions. She was terrific—Aretha Franklin—on her passing.”  By mentioning that she once worked for him he made her death somehow relevant to him.  Made me remember Alice Roosevelt Longworth's quote about her father Teddy

    The question was did she ever get paid by Trump?

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A summer read to know how vital the Chesapeake Bay is to our local environment


    As Summer ends a good book to read is Ned Tillman's Chesapeake Watershed: A Sense of Place and a Call to Action.  We all understand that much of the water in our State flows to the Chesapeake Bay and we all enjoy the seafood provided by the Bay.  Ned's book shows the dynamic impact that the Bay plays on our State and how we impact the health of the Bay.  Great gift for any Marylander to better understand our State's greatest natural asset.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Now we know who "drains the swamp" and who "swamps the drain"

From the Huffinton Post:
Democratic presidencies dating back to 1970 have produced exactly one criminal conviction from investigations into the administration. Republican presidencies have had a total of 91.
It is worth taking a second to let that sink in: three Democratic presidents. Six Republican presidents. Ninety-one convictions to one.
If you look at criminal indictments, not just convictions, its not a prettier picture: GOP Presidencies had 124 criminal indictments. Democrats had 3. This data comes from a table helpfully shared by PBS.
Yes, you read it correctly: Democrats have less total indictments since 1970 than Donald Trump does since taking office this year. And less convictions: 2-1.
Prison sentences? Also no help: 14 for GOP Presidencies, one for Democratic ones.
You can’t make this kind of stuff up. If you heard it in House of Cards, you wouldn’t believe it.
In fact, for GOP Presidents who served two terms, the smallest number of criminal convictions was 16: a tie between Ronald Reagan and George W Bush. Nixon had 55.
Importantly, the two GOP Presidents with low conviction numbers were Gerald Ford – who was only president for 2 years and cleaned up for Watergate – and Bush Sr, who was a one-term President and was Vice President during Reagan’s terms.
In fact, the GOP Presidencies were so scandal-ridden that each President is associated with a known criminal scandal that has lived through history: Nixon for Watergate, Reagan for Iran Contra, and Bush for Iraq, Katrina, and Valarie Plame.
What all of this means is that we have to stop writing articles talking about how the GOP started to become corrupt sometime in 2015. That’s simply not true. Donald Trump is keeping up with a tried and true pattern of Republican presidencies: scandals and convictions. Indeed, in his 55 convictions, Nixon doesn’t even get any points for his worst criminal act: sabotaging Vietnam peace negotiations in 1968 to get himself elected and costing tens of thousands of American lives.
For Republican presidents, the rot runs deep. You have to go back to Eisenhower to find a GOP President not associated with a crime of historic proportions. And, before him, the last Republican presidents were those of the famously corrupt 1920s. Warren Harding anyone?
To truly change, Republicans have to confront this reality. They haven’t ever been the party of true conservative ethics and restraint. And they never can be, unless they accept that and start new.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Electing the wrong type of businessman

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    So many voters thought it would make sense to vote for a businessman to run our Country.  The problem was we elected the wrong businessman.

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    We have a President who has cheated on 3 wives, doesn't honor contracts, grossly inflates his net worth that he won't release his tax returns to show income, declared bankruptcy 6 times, thinks you bully opponents

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 lives in a garish home that shows his sense of values, set up a phony foundation to benefit him and finally tries to get people to think that reducing taxes on the wealthy makes our Country better off for the middle class.
   If only we could have elected a real billionaire like Warren Buffet who has an unconventional marriage arrangement but is married to his second wife after his first wife died.

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  Is worth around 80 billion dollars that he made without a financial start from his daddy, has pledged giving away all his money, lives in the house he bought in the 1960's

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   Favorite meal is a burger and a diet Coke, and believes his secretary show pay less in taxes than he does.
     So when we see that the budget deficit of the federal government is now rapidly increasing we shouldn't be surprised that Trump would run our Country like one of his bankrupt companies. We have the wrong businessman in the White House.  Where are you Warren?

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Understanding Trump's good friend

   To understand Putin it is good to understand some Russian history.  Maybe Trump has a similar alliance with the evangelical churches.

Another Bucket List checkoff

     There have been a few childhood memories that stay with us our whole lives.  For me seeing Bill Mazeroski hitting a home run in the bottom of the 9th inning of the seventh game of the 1960 World Series to beat the Yankees was one of those memories.  Back in 1960 they played all the World Series games in the daytime.  I remember hurrying home from school to watch the game starting with the 7th inning.  It looked like the game was going into extra innings because Mazeroski was not known as a home run hitter.  To have the game end this way was a shock to everyone.

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These were the Yankees of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris.  Somehow the Pirates won the close games and the Yankees won their games by a lot more runs.

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   When Pittsburgh tore down the old Forbes Field they left the brick section of the field where Mazeroski hit his home run.  On a recent trip to Pittsburgh I had to stop and see this wall as part of reliving that memory.

Now I have to visit the Texas School Book Depository Building in Dallas Texas to relive the most traumatic memory of my childhood

Thursday, August 2, 2018

New pickleball courts open at the Owen Brown Tennis and Racquet Center

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   This Friday August 3rd at 6 pm the Columbia Association has a grand opening of the new pickleball courts at the Owen Brown Tennis and Racquet Center next to the Owen Brown Village Center.  If you haven't tried this sport sweeping the Country come out and try it.  It is a combination of tennis and table tennis.


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Baseball deserves losing its fan base

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    I recently watched a PBS show on Ted Williams.  For those of you who are not baseball fans Ted Williams was one of the greatest baseball players ever.  He played his entire career with the Boston Red Sox.  That is the way it used to work.  Mickey Mantle was always a Yankee, Stan Musial was always a Cardinal and Al Kaline was always a Tiger.  All that changed when Curt Flood challenged the
Major League Reserve Clause in 1969 that prevented players from negotiating with other teams.  The only way players left a team was through a trade.  Team's best players were almost never traded because of fan reaction.  Now players like Cal Ripken playing their entire long career with one team is almost unheard of.  Players now make millions of dollars as a backup player or 20 million a year and bat .150 like Chris Davis.  Rich teams get the best players and teams in smaller cities like Baltimore lose their best players as we are now experiencing.
    So with Baltimore's most popular home raised player, Manny Machado, being traded along with other All Star players, why would Oriole fans be loyal to a team and its players when it is only about money.  I have better things to do with my money than pay for a ticket to an Oriole game.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Grilled Cheese Restaurant opens in Mall

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      If you are a fan of grilled cheese sandwiches the Columbia Mall has a new offering with the Grilled Cheese &Company next to Lord and Taylor.  The location at the Mall has a more limited selection of sandwiches than their other locations.  Here is what you can get at the Mall:

  • Original - American cheese
  • Fresco - mozzarella, provolone, roasted peppers, basil pesto, balsamic glaze
  • Crabby Melt - crab dip featuring sweet claw meat topped with Monterey Jack
  • BCT - bacon, cheddar, tomato
  • Tomato Basil
  • Shoe String Fries
       My favorite homemade grilled cheese is tomato (homegrown) and pineapple with smoked mozzarella.


Monday, July 23, 2018

The sacrifice of one brave Howard County fire fighter

Today Howard County fire fighter Nathan Flynn paid the ultimate price in serving all of us in Howard County.  Very sad day for everyone who appreciates those in our County Government that make Howard County such a good place to live and work.


Global warming seen graphically

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                       Sometimes you just have to see it with your own eyes in a graph.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Howard County fastest growing county in Maryland

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    You only have to drive by Town Center or drive up Route 1 to see how much Howard County is growing.  But did you know that we are the fastest growing county in Maryland?  Here is the report.


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

New breakfast and lunch place--First Watch

Always on the watch for new breakfast places in our area led me last week to First Watch.  It is located across from the Ale House off Dobbin Road in Columbia.  This is the first location in Howard County for this chain.

     It is open from 7 am to 2 pm for breakfast and lunch

   Their lemon ricotta pancakes were different with the lemon curd spooned on the top.

    The Rainbow Fruit Toast was a nice item with a thick piece of sweet bread, yogurt, fruit and nuts.


Monday, July 16, 2018

Collusion in public takes chutzpah

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   So you meet with Putin with no Secretary of State, Director of the CIA or National Security Director.  Just you and a translator or two.  Smells like collusion to me.  Sounds like you only feel comfortable to meet this way to find out what you have to do next to prevent Putin releasing the information he has been using to blackmail you.  You really think that Trump wouldn't sell out our Country to protect himself?   When Russians look to compromise a person they look at someone who is in financial trouble.  This is where they started to compromise Trump in the 1980's when the banks wouldn't finance his buildings because of his bankruptcies and he seems to have turned to Russians interested in places to launder their dirty money.   Just take it from the mouth of Eric Trump  There is a strong possibility that Trump laundered Russian billionaire money. 
    So are you still surprised about the private meeting with Trump's Russian handler Putin?

      Trump fingered the wrong person who stopped more aggressive responses to the Russian hacking before the election.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Bicycle Heaven in Pittsburgh

     Having finished the bike ride into Pittsburgh on the Great Allegheny Path recently, our bike group visited Bicycle Heaven a combination bike store and museum.  The old bikes from the past made for an interesting experience.

There were bikes everywhere you looked!

   It was fun to remember how many bikes of the 1950's were made to resemble the cars of that time.

                                                      Marilyn Monroe bike

           Remember the banana seats?

Girls had pink bikes.  I don't remember blue ones for boys.

Parade bike!

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These are "commuter bikes" that covered all the parts that would get your clothes dirty.  They are now priced each at $48,000 because of their rarity.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

All the boys are out. See video of the journey

Here is the amazing video of the rescue!

An easy child rescue and a hard one

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     This week as we watch the incredible rescue effort in Thailand to rescue kids trapped in a cave we also learn that the Trump administration can't reunite many children with their parents who were separated through an administration action.  Who would have thought the children in our immigration issue would be a more difficult rescue.   If the Trump officials would have had responsibility to rescue the Thai kids they would have trouble finding the right cave to look in.

Grassroots needs group to prepare meals for July

   July and August are tough months for non profits when their supporters are on vacation.  Grassroots uses volunteers to provide meals to the homeless families at their shelter.  If you or a group you belong to can help them out this year here is how to volunteer


Monday, July 9, 2018

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Pickleball grows in Howard County

     If you haven't heard of pickleball you will soon!  America's fastest growing sport is expanding in Howard County in the past couple of years.  Above is a picture of the 35 people who showed up to play the 4th of July at the tennis courts in Oakland Mills Village Center.  Organized by the Howard County Pickleball Association with over 200 members, play there takes place every Tuesday, Saturday and Holidays.

                     This year we decided to have a red, white and blue theme to our play apparel.
   Pickleball is a combination of tennis and ping pong.  It is played on a smaller court than tennis with a paddle and a whiffle type ball.  The game is for all ages but have really grown with the senior age community.
     Later this month the Columbia Association will open 6 new pickleball courts where the bubble used to be at the Owen Brown Tennis Center.

  Howard County Recreation and Parks has had 2 pickleball courts at the Atholton Park in Allview for the past year.

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     Indoor play is available from Recreation and Parks and the Ellicott City YMCA.
Email me if you would like to learn about playing pickleball.


Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Sarah Huckabee Sanders should blame the Supreme Court

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     In 1964 Congress passed a public accommodation law that prohibits discrimination against persons being served by any business that serves the public.   This year in a narrowly decided court case the US Supreme Court ruled that a baker could refuse to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.  This case like many before the Supreme Court has to decide between 2 constitutional rights.  The freedom of religion vs. the right to be served in a public business.  Not unexpectedly a conservative court ruled in a narrow way to overrule lower courts that had ruled in favor of the right to be served.

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     I thought of this recently when Sarah Huckabee Sanders was refused service at the Red Hen restaurant in Virginia because of her working for an administration with whom the owner disagreed.  I guess the owner could have used her religious freedom beliefs against an immoral immigration policy to claim the same right as the baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.  This is where we are today.  Could a Jewish business refuse to serve someone with a Nazi flag on their t shirt?  Or a minority business not serve a person with a Confederate flag tattoo?
     Even though it would be morally repugnant to serve a person whose beliefs you oppose when you open a business to serve the general public you should have to serve everyone or close your business.

Monday, July 2, 2018

An Estrogen led electorate

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      First it was when the women marched in the millions after the Inauguration and then Time Magazine named the Women's Movement as its Person of the Year last year. We are beginning to see a cultural change that has only grown larger since the election of Trump.  In Trump we see what our World looks like with an extreme testosterone fueled narcissist leader.   A love of authoritarians and a lack of sympathy toward the less fortunate has moved women to raise their voices as never before.  As a member of a group, older white men (OWM), that is the bulwark of Trump supporters I can't begin to say how much I love to see the women of our Country stand up to the bully in the White House.  There are many of us OWM's who also realize how dangerous a testosterone run Country can be.  When I voted last week I voted for women when given a choice.  I voted for a saner society.

      Just finished James Comey's book.  He certainly had problems with Trump because Trump kept trying to get him to not prosecute various administration officials.  Trump didn't respect the barrier between the President and the FBI Chief.   When Trump fired Comey the new Acting FBI Chief McCabe let Comey fly back from California on the jet he had taken to Los Angeles.  This infuriated Trump and he called McCabe to see who authorized that and McCabe said he did.  Trump then asked McCabe "Your wife lost her election in Virginia, didn't she?"   McCabe answered, "Yes she did." Trump then said this to McCabe "Ask her how it feels to be a loser" and hung up the phone.  Trump got revenge by firing McCabe only hours before he was eligible for his FBI pension.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Impossible Burger

   I have blogged before on the Beyond Burgers that Wegmans sells as the best meat substitute burger for those of us that are looking to limit their meat intake.  This past week I had a chance to try an Impossible Burger that you can only try in a restaurant.  I have to say that I think you could fool any meat loving burger person with this burger.  The closest restaurant to where we live is the Glory Days Grill in Ellicott City.   I can only hope that in the future grocery stores will have these burgers or something like it. 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Trump's Katrina

   With the callousness the Trump administration has shown to families trying to enter the US through its "zero policy" of separating children from their parents one is reminded how much callousness to people during Hurricane Katrina hurt the George W. Bush administration.  One of the lessons learned after Katrina was how many people would not evacuate New Orleans because they couldn't take their pets with them when they evacuated.  That reality probably led to some of those pet owners dying after the storm.  With that lesson learned FEMA established a protocol for pets that would be separately evacuated and then reconnected with their owners after the disaster.

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      Since Katrina pet owners are given barcoded wristbands that are matched with bands on their pets.  A system is put in place to track where both the pet owner and their pet are located.  Moving the pet owner or the pet form one location to another gets scanned into the system.  This allowed pets to be sent to animal shelters over a wide area of the US without losing the ability to reconnect the pets with owners.
     Earlier this year HHS had to admit that they could not account for the location of 1475 children separated from their parents after they entered the United States and taken into custody by the Border Patrol.  The Administration took offense at these children being described as "lost" but they had to admit they could not give an address where these children were. 

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     So the Trump Administration now tries to reconnect children with their parents by giving the parents a sheet telling them about a phone number they can use to reconnect with their children.  As their children are scattered across the United States in at least 15 states with many different agencies how well the tracking system will work is anyone's guess.   This is especially true for younger children who maybe too young to talk or know much family information.  Apparently not enough thought was given to how this system would work before the policy was implemented.  And this is after the policy was being discussed since February 2017. 
     Apparently our Government has a well planned protocol for reconnecting pets with their pet owners but is still working though a system for reconnecting children with their parents.  This disaster is not over with the change to not separating families at the border with Trump's Executive Order (which he had been saying he didn't have the authority to do).   The Executive Order did not say if or how the children already separated would be reconnected.   You can be sure that some of the parents will be deported before being reconnected to their children.  I wouldn't be surprised if immigration attorneys would ask judges not to deport before their children are reconnected.  Should be interesting legal times.

     Trump has never been know for intelligent thought or speech.  I have heard high school dropouts who had more coherent thought patterns.  Yesterday his choice of words fit this pattern and tells a great deal about his parental feelings for children.  Here is the quote of his.

   "If you took zero tolerance away, everybody would come right down. They'd be getting their little belongings, unfortunately, and they would be heading up. You would be - you would have a run on this country the likes of which nobody's ever seen."

   I guess we shouldn't be surprised that a man who has 4 children with 3 wives (each of whom he cheated) would describe children as "little belongings."  Good God how did our Country get here!

P.S. 1
     Speaking of thought patterns of Trump ever notice he keeps using the phrase "nobody knew" when he really should be saying "I never knew."

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

O Canada!

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After last week's horror show in Canada at the G7 conference I know I feel like apologizing to Canadians for our childish leader. We have to live with having a "crazy uncle" representing our Country. Twitter even has a new hashtag for us to use. for things we love they've brought to our lives. I'll start: for , , , , alextrebek, K.D Lang, Dan Ackroyd , Elon Musk
I have blogged before about how if the Confederacy had won the Civil War the remaining United States would be far more like Canada than we are now. We would have a more universal health care system. We would have been a far more welcoming country for refugees leaving war torn countries.
I took a look at what the US Congress would look like if the rebelling states were not in Congress. Since most of the representatives from those states are Republican here is what our Congress would look like. The Republicans would loose 59 House Representatives and 12 Senators. Congress would look and act very differently. Trump also would not be our President because he received over 100 electoral votes from those Southern states. I guess it is the price we pay for winning (?) the Civil War.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

To Russia with love

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     OK it is now too obvious that Russia and Putin have something that they are using to blackmail our "Buffoon in Chief."  His latest example is him saying that Russia should be brought back in the Western leaders Global meetings .  I am not sure why that is needed if Trump is in the G7 meeting.  Seems to me that Russia's interests will be well represented by their lackey Trump.

     Trump invites Russian National Basketball Team to the White House.

      Maybe it is time for the other countries to kick the US out of their summits too until we get rid of Trump.  Sometimes you have to choose who is a friend.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Howard County Schools voted 29th best place to work in the United States

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    We have gotten used to being a great community in which to live.  Money Magazine consistently votes our County as either the 1st or 2nd best place to live.  Our library system was recently selected at the best library in North America.  Now our School System was listed by Forbes Magazine as the 29th best place to work in America.  We are the highest rated public school system in the Forbes ratings.  I would add as a former Howard County employee that the Howard County Government could also fall into this "best employer" category.  You only have to deal with other jurisdiction systems to realize how what we have in Howard County is so special.

    I would be remiss if I didn't give thanks to Jim Rouse who set in place so much of what makes our County so special.


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Coming of Age in 1968

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    1968 was probably the most formidable year for me growing up.  It was the year I graduated from high school and that means I will be headed back home this Summer to my 50th class reunion.  As this is the first reunion I will have attended it will be strange seeing fellow graduates who I remember as a 17 or 18 year old.  Facebook has given me an idea of how some of my classmates have aged.
     What brought back some memories of that year was the assassination of Bobby Kennedy exactly 50 years ago.  I was awakened by a call from my Grandmother at 5 am telling me to turn on the TV as Bobby Kennedy had been shot.  Somehow the preparations for my graduation later that week suddenly seemed insignificant.
     In 1968 as an 18 year old male I had to register for the draft but couldn't vote till I turned 21.  Being drafted to fight in Vietnam without being able to vote was the main reason the voting age was lower to 18.  When I see the reaction of high school students to school shootings today I remember the reactions I had to the assassinations and a foreign war that were played out on the television every night.  The turbulence of that year culminated with the police violence at the Democratic National Convention that Summer.  1968 was a seminal year for many of my baby boomer generation as we went off to college or get drafted.   50 years later 2018 seems to be headed toward the same type of turbulence that will have current 18 year olds feeling the same way 50 years from now.

     The idealism that struck a cord with so many of us back then is best heard in the words of Bobby Kennedy from a speech he gave in South Africa.   Oh to hear this type of speech today!


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Prepare for Success Backpack program is back

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      Prepare for Success is entering it's 17th year of assisting the community in providing students in Howard County with backpacks and supplies.  12,553 Howard County students come from low income families and many of these have difficulty providing school supplies for their children.  You can donate to this worthy cause by sending a check payable to Community Action Council/PFS and sending it to the Community Action Council at 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia MD 21046 or donating online at this link.  Select the Prepare for Success in the "donation restriction" drop down menu.


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Horizon film festival on mental health June 5th

     The Horizon Foundation is sponsoring a film festival on mental health on June 5th from
6-9 p.m.  UA Snowden Square Stadium
9161 Commerce Center Dr, Columbia, MD 21046

Because the films will run concurrently and space is limited, each attendee must be registered for only one ticket to one film. All attendees must be registered separately. Viewers and families are advised to review the film content watch the movie trailers and use their discretion in making ticket choices.  To register click on this link.


Monday, May 28, 2018

Fighting Mother Nature and losing

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     Deja Vu all over again.  Once again Mother Nature has shown us what happens when you reduce pervious surfaces with impervious surfaces in the area around Main Street Ellicott City.  While I understand the desire to rebuild after a disaster I am not sure about the viability of Main Street when we continue to get heavy rain storms that now run off into a funnel that is Main Street.
    This is not the first time that Main Street Ellicott City has had to change what defines it.  Starting in the 1960s with the development of shopping centers along Route 40 stores that had been on Main Street were no longer viable.  Furniture stores, appliance stores, clothing stores and a lumber store were no longer viable.  Main Street converted over to novelty stores and restaurants.  If we limit our options as following a retail business model then we may very well be in the same situation in a couple more years.  I know that the forces to restore Main Street will look to some large expensive water diversion solution that will be limited in its effectiveness or cost an astronomical amount.  Maybe this time we should recognize that Main  Street as it now exists is no longer viable as a retail shopping area but would make a very good festival and recreation opportunity where the water sources are an asset and not a liability.  We can fight Mother Nature or recognize the opportunities it gives us.
     I laid out my thoughts post 2016 flood in this posting.  I didn't realize how quickly we would be in the same situation and I am afraid this won't be the last time I re-post that blog post.