Kevin Orpurt

The Levee Debate

May 4th, 2011 at 3:20 pm by under Kevin Orpurt's Blog, WTHI Blog

With news of levee failures near Lawrenceville and Prairieton, as well as in Daivess County, there is renewed debate on the role levees play in flood control.  Just recently, the Army Corps of Engineers blew a levee along the Mississippi to save the little town of Cairo from disastrous flooding.

The purpose of a levee is to artificially control flooding rivers and big streams.  Some are agricultural levees, built mainly of earth.  These levees typically protect farmland from flooding.  Urban levees are constructed to protect towns and other financial interests such as malls and housing developments.  These levees can be earthen, concrete or steel.

The debate stems from the question of whether levees serve a useful purpose or whether the rivers should be allowed to flood naturally.  It is, by the way, this natural flooding that helped create the rich farmland we find along the rivers.  While levees do help control flooding, a levee failure can lead to even more catastrophic damage.  Perhaps this is because, people with interests along the levees feel a sense of security, which can be false.

I’ll leave it up to you as to whether you think levees are a good idea or not.  Perhaps the words of Mark Twain can be of help.               (The Mississippi) “cannot be tamed, curbed or confined…you cannot bars its path with an obstruction which it will not tear down, dance over and laugh at.  The Mississippi River will always have its own way, no engineering skill can persuade it to do otherwise.”

May Begins with Rain

May 1st, 2011 at 4:35 pm by under Weather

It appears May is picking up where April left off.  Rain!  The threat for rain isn’t as great as is was last week, but any rain at this point is certainly unwelcome.  Perhaps the latter part od May will bring us sunshine and drying conditions!

More Rain Possible

April 30th, 2011 at 4:34 pm by under Weather

Another front is moving toward us, and that will bring us the possibility of rain and gusty wind.  Scattered thunderstorms are possible.  Between midnight Saturday and Monday midnight, we could get another inch of rain or so.


States News Service November 20, 2009 WASHINGTON — The following information was released by the office of Illinois Rep. Peter Roskam:

Statement from Congressman Peter Roskam on the disclosure this morning from Democrat Senate Candidate Alexi Giannoulias that he received a National Security Council (NSC) briefing on possibly moving Guantanamo to Illinois:

“Given Mr. Giannoulias’ disclosure that he received a NSC briefing on possibly moving Guantanamo to Illinois, I urge the Obama Administration to eschew the increasingly political nature of this situation. Moving terrorists to Illinois will have tremendous security and economic implications, and now this situation has been tainted by the appearance of political favoritism given that a Democrat U.S. Senate candidate received a NSC briefing while elected Members of Congress have not. The people of Illinois will be best served by a process that forgoes the behind-closed-doors political approach and instead provides foropen and transparent consideration.” Background:

” Most importantly I had a chance to talk to the National Security Council folks.”- Senate Candidate Alexi Giannoulias (WLS 890 AM’s “Don Wade and RomaShow”, 11/20/2009) The full audio of the interview is here.

(6:30mark) Roma: “Have you been briefed on this by the White House or since you are a state constitutional officer has Governor Quinn briefed you? go to site national security council

Giannoulias: “We’ve spokento their offices, I’ve gotten some packets of paper, and I’ve read them. Mostimportantly I had a chance to talk to the National Security Council folks.” (3:50 mark) Giannoulias: “I’ve had achance to talk to some folks on the National Security Council and they’ve told me that today, in this country federal prisons securely house approximately 350 inmates already including 35 already in Illinois and the U.S. military hasdemonstrated the ability to house those inmates, so I’ve heard some facts from them.” ###

A Brief Dry Spell

April 28th, 2011 at 10:33 am by under Weather

After days and days of rain, we can look forward to Friday and Saturday as being rain-free.  There will be another chance for rain on Saturday night, so be prepared for that.  Local flooding will continue due to the continued threat for rain this weekend.

Even More Rain

April 24th, 2011 at 4:10 pm by under Weather

Rain will continue to be in the forecast for the next few days, adding to flooding concerns.  A few thundershowers are possible, but the main concern is heavy rain.  If you live in a flood-prone area, have a plan.

Educause 2006 highlights: this year’s conference focused on the theme “spurring innovation and marshalling resources.”.

University Business December 1, 2006 THE ANNUAL EDUCAUSE conference is the premier teaching and technology showcase for higher education, and this year’s expo, held in Dallas in October, was no exception. Attendees got sneak peaks at new products planned for early ’07 rollout and saw the first fruits of some much discussed mergers from last year’s conference.

In the Pioneering New Territory and Technologies session, members of an Evolving Technologies Committee presented their visions on how institutions can reach their full potential as pioneers in the use of evolving technologies. They pointed to three institutions leading the way: go to web site google apps for education

* Drexel University (Pa.), for its plan to fund only one more generation of campus wireless technology, which will be replaced by a move to personal broadband technologies * Wake Forest University (N.C.), for its Mobile University, Mobile You initiative, which demonstrates the value of speech-enabled smart phones * University of Notre Dame (Ind.), for being one of the first major schools to completely remove mandatory landlines from its dorms Speakers also highlighted the pros and cons of open-source learning management systems, which are expected to coexist with commercial platforms for the next few years; Web 2.0 applications, which are low cost or free and aspiring to be mainstream; and the evolution of portals to “vortals” in research.

Here’s a look at some of the products and innovations announced at the show that caught our eye.

BY THE NUMBERS With increased calls for demonstrable student outcomes–and in anticipation of what may come out of the Spellings Commission summit next spring–several vendors introduced new or updated products geared to complying with outcomes reporting.

Blackboard ( announced development of the Blackboard Outcomes System, a comprehensive software solution to meet the needs of the entire enterprise for coordinated outcome assessment. IHEs are looking for ways to meet accreditation requirements for student learning outcomes; communicate their effectiveness to parents, businesses, government, and other stakeholders; and comply with accountability requirements. Due next year, the Outcomes System will help improve institutional effectiveness at each level. It’s designed to provide better transparency into outcomes for effective decision-making and resource allocation, and it will streamline regional and specialized compliance requirements.

Datatel ( introduced the ActiveCampus Experience to give faculty, staff, students, and alumni complete access to the information and enterprise resources they need to achieve their goals. Datatel is teaming with SAS, Microsoft, and others to help IHEs engage constituents in the ActiveCampus Experience, delivering solutions that streamline the flow of information, increase productivity, and improve job satisfaction.

ActiveCampus components include: The ActiveCampus Portal to aggregate, organize, and locate information; ActiveAdmissions 2.0, an online recruiting solution to reach recruitment goals in terms of quantity and quality; ActiveAlumni 2.0, an e-Marketing solution that helps engage, build, and grow personalized relationships with alumni and donors; ActiveCampus CMS, a content management system that enables users to create and fully control web content across the campus environment; and Colleague Advancement, a fundraising and advancement solution.

WORKING WITH THE WEB Adobe ( has a number of new and updated products, the first batch to result from its acquisition of Macromedia last year. Adobe Acrobat 8, the latest edition of the PDF document creator, allows users to combine, share, and control media-rich PDF documents for easy collaboration and electronic workflow. Faculty and administrators can host real-time meetings or classes and enhance professional development seminars with Adobe’s web-conferencing and collaboration software. Acrobat Connect Professional (formerly Macromedia Breeze) is a web conferencing system with collaboration tools such as chat and document sharing. Adobe Captivate 2 enables creation of simulations, software demonstrations, and scenario-based learning in Flash format–without the need for programming knowledge or multimedia skills. Adobe Presenter 6 adds rich-media functions to Microsoft PowerPoint presentations for creating narrated e-learning courses and on-demand presentations. Presenter converts PowerPoints into Adobe Flash format and publishes them to the web for viewers to access at their convenience.

Cascade Server Version 4.6 from Hannon Hill Corporation ( is a powerful web content management solution that gives users the freedom to easily manage internet, intranet, extranet, and portal content. Version 4.6 adds new features and functions, including faster publishing speeds and better reporting, additional enhancements to the web services API for audit trails and workflow interaction, and an improved configuration interface. web site google apps for education

IN THE CLASSROOM The SMART Board 600i ( interactive whiteboard system combines a SMART Board interactive whiteboard and a Unifi projector with an integrated audio system. The projector mounts directly above the interactive whiteboard rather than from the ceiling, giving new flexibility to learning space design. Projector and audio controls are accessed from a single location, and users can write over video without a connected computer.

CRM 7.1 is the latest version of Talisma’s ( multi-channel Constituent Relationship Management solution for higher ed, with 40-plus new features and enhancements for increased functionality. Features include: the Event Management Module for automated workflow processes in creating, managing, tracking, and reporting events; a Web Form Generator to produce and manage web forms; and Web Services Integration to integrate with third-party and legacy applications. Talisma CRM 7.1 includes the ability to add standalone portal components to a website, single sign-on for support, and prepackaged, yet customizable, student portal.

Apreso’s ( Coursecaster is a lecture capture appliance designed to eliminate support, IT, and AV barriers to adoption. It can be mounted on a podium or an equipment rack. Built on an embedded Linux operating system, Coursecaster is leading the push toward standards-based solutions for enterprise lecture capture. Leveraging QuickTime, H.264, and AAC for media capture, and Linux, XML, and Web Services for management and administration, Apreso Coursecaster is built to future-proof interoperability with key university systems.

Hitachi Software ( unveiled a number of new interactive StarBoard software, tablet, and whiteboard products. In addition to new multiplatform support, the company introduced a new Bluetooth tablet, BT-2G. The StarBoard BT-2G Bluetooth Wireless System Tablet is a lightweight, handheld, pen-operated Bluetooth tablet accessory that enables wireless remote operation from a range of 65 feet. StarBoard Software Version 7.1 allows a wireless two-button pen device to function as a mouse to operate the PC or as a pen to annotate and edit documents, which can be saved as screen shots in StarBoard Software or as Windows software applications. The company also launched the new StarBoard Software LE Version 2.0 for Mac users, expanding StarBoard technology applications to a previously untapped user base.

Centra Live for Virtual Classes ( claims to replicate typical classroom interaction with a complete set of features for highly interactive, effective group learning-bringing together voice, video, data and graphics in a structured online learning environment for up to 500 simultaneous users. Reach users anywhere; only a web browser is required to attend. The Centra Live for Virtual Classes interface has a complete feature set for highly interactive, effective group learning.

More Rain

April 24th, 2011 at 10:26 am by under Weather, WTHI Blog

Additional rainfall is expected today and tonight.  Thunderstorms are possible.  High today, 70.  Low tonight 54.  High Sunday, 64.  DO NOT drive through water that is covering a road.  That’s dangerous!

More Rain

April 23rd, 2011 at 3:03 pm by under Weather

A cold front lodged near the Ohio River is responsible for the unsettled weather we’re having. Concerning the chance for severe weather, it is not impossible, but I think any severe weather will be isolated. The overall threat is rain…and, perhaps, lots of it.


April 22nd, 2011 at 4:13 pm by under Kevin Orpurt's Blog, WTHI Blog

Earlier this afternoon, the whole of Terre Haute, and perhaps Vigo County, was shaken by an explosive boom of thunder.  Certainly, thunder is typical in storms, but this crash was distinctive.  One of the reasons the thunder was so loud had to do with the thick covering of clouds we had, and an brisk wind.  Like debris, wind can carry sound.  The clouds compress the sound between the Earth and the clouds, causing a sort of  ‘air concussion’.  Of course, the lightning strike that caused the thunder was rather close.  Not all thunder occurs under such favorable conditions.  I must say, the  thunder we heard this afternoon was remarkable.

Hide and Seek

April 21st, 2011 at 2:53 pm by under Kevin Orpurt's Blog, WTHI Blog

I haven’t played the ‘hide and seek’ game for a long time (except when my boss is looking for me)!  I think, however, I’m going to start playing again….in my yard.  Certainly the clumps of crabgrass are now tall enough to hide behind, and if I stand very still, I could probably blend in with a couple of dandelions.  It was dry today, but rain moves back in later tonight and tomorrow.  That’s probably not enough time to get my grass chain-sawed down to a desirable level.  In the meantime, I guess I’ll just make the best of it and play hide and seek.  Anyone else have this problem?

One Dry Day

April 21st, 2011 at 10:56 am by under Weather

After sunset tonight, the chance for showers and thundershowers will increase. We can expect this rain through Monday.  Maybe not rain all day, every day, but enough to aggravate rivers and streems.

Boston Fire Department: Propane Gas & Charcoal Grill Barbecue Safety charcoal grill

The Beacon Hill Times July 13, 2010 | Anonymous Important Note: Always follow ALL of the manufactures instructions and keep written materials and manuals in a safe, accessible place.

Regulations The following regulations apply to the use of portable charcoal and gas operated cooking grills on or within a building or structure and includes balconies, fire escapes, porches, roofs as a part thereof;

Charcoal Grills Under the authority of Article 1, section 1.05(b) of the Boston Fire Prevention Code, the Boston Fire Department prohibits the use of portable charcoal cooking grilles on or within a building or structure for the following reasons:

* Improper use of starter fuel resulting in burn * Numerous fire safety complaints to the Boston Fire Department by persons within or near the building.

* Wind velocity affecting open flame.

* Fire hazard conditions high or extreme.

* Resultant Fire Department response due to persons observing assumed building fire from a distance and/or reports of smoke odor from an assumed building fire in the area.

* Lack of attendance resulting in unwarranted smoke pollution.

* Danger of explosive gas build up.

Gas Operated Grills Chapter 527 of the Commonwealth of Mass. Board of Fire Prevention regulations section 6.07 (5) (a) prohibits the use or storage of liquefied petroleum gas containers used for barbecue cooking inside or on balconies above the first floor of any building or structure used for habitation.

This includes 1-lb. propane containers attached to portable cooking grills.

Propane containers shall be located in areas where there is free air circulation, at least 3 feet from building openings (such as windows and doors), and at least 5 feet from air intakes of air conditioning and ventilating systems (NFPA 58 Appendix 1, fig. 1-1). here charcoal grill

Under no circumstances may gas or charcoal grills be used on fire escapes or fire escape balconies.

527CMR 6.08(e) state that no permit is required for the storage and use of LP gas (propane) cylinders of an amount less than 42 lbs. This allows the use and storage of 2 20-lb. propane cylinders without a permit.