Archive for MD

Stink Bug Update

Posted in Historic Architecture, Nature Studies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2010 by Drogo

In Harpers Ferry 2010, less stink bugs have invaded Stowell Galleries than in the past few years; due to an extra cold winter start and new architectural renovations taking place.

1. Sewing and Patching tears in screens for windows & doors

2. Spraying & Cleaning window sills

3. Caulking windows & door frames

4. Caulking Roof leaks

5. Fascia & Soffit board repairs

6. Air conditioning units better sealed around edges and closing vent valve to the outside.

All these measures seem to have had an effect on the amount of invading stink bugs.

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Murder He Wrote Part 1.6

Posted in Fictional Stories with tags , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2010 by Drogo

~ (from 1.5)

I woke up in complete darkness. I smelled rotting manure again! I didn’t believe it! We were back in the Spanish room of Bonner! John shined a flashlight in my eyes. My bones ached as I got up. “What the heck was that all about?” I asked. No one answered me.

Joe grabbed the haunted Bonner Sweat-shirt from the wall, and we left. As my eyes adjusted to the light outside, I turned and saw Bratt climbing out of the window with a cheery smile. “I can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow!” he said.

Almost no time at all had passed from the time we first disappeared. The sun had not yet set, and our parents arrived to pick us up; as though nothing had happened. We all went home, and called other kids to tell them what happened. Believe it or not, not many people believed us. Alan did because he was an official ghost bagger, but no one else at Bonner believed our experiences.

Soon after these happenings; the school was repaired, classes returned to normal, Laurel’s novel was published, and Asher found Zimbabwe. The murder mystery was never solved, but this was not the last time our school would be haunted by paranormal activity. Everyone lived happily ever after, until Murder He Wrote Part 2, “Revenge”!!

THE END

Murder He Wrote Part 1.2

Posted in Fictional Stories with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2010 by Drogo

~ (from Part 1.1)

When I awoke, my head ached. I strained my eyes to see around me. Joe & PJ were standing over me calling me silly names, and telling me to get up. We laughed. I asked them what happened. “Well it was ok ‘til the ceiling caved in on the people upstairs. Then Mac told us about the axe, the walls turned weird, and a giant frog pulled Alan through the ceiling,” Joe said pointing to a large hole in the ceiling. “But everything’s alright now. Mr. Echo wants us upstairs.”

I followed Joe & PJ upstairs through Mrs. Yonder’s room. We had to crawl over the fallen ceiling. When we got to the Assembly Hall, many of the younger kids were scared and crying. We sat down on the brown folding chairs. Bryan passed me a note.

Mr. Echo said “Please everyone calm down. You are all cool dudes and dudettes! Now I want to make this quick, I would like to say that for the rest of the day school is out,” and there was a roar of cheers, clapping, and gasps of joy!!! “Unfortunately I cannot say that, because school is must go on. So first, we all want to know what is going on. Mac, would you mind bringing the axe that you found, up here. Does anyone know about this?”

From the back of the room, John stood up. He had been a student at Bonner longer than anyone. “Yes, 3 years ago, there was a murder here. I was a sneaky kid back then. One night, after school, I broke into the Social Studies room to get my homework. It was pitch black. I felt the tables. I grabbed my pencil and paper. I began to go, when suddenly I heard something! I turned around and saw Bratt running down the stairs. I tried to follow him but got lost in the dark. The next day, I heard that Jake was missing. It took me all these years to figure out that the person I saw was Bratt.”

“No way! I didn’t murder anyone! I was doing my homework,” Bratt said meekly.

“If there was a murder, why was I never told?” Mr. Echo asked confusedly.

“Because Bratt secretly hid the axe and his shirt, then got rid of the body. He hid both the axe and the Bonner green sweat-shirt behind the radiator. If we burn the cursed Bonner Sweat-shirt, it might stop the ghost of Jake from messing around,” John said.

There was great commotion among the students, but when Mr. Echo said “We will talk about this more later, now everyone go to classes as usual.” We all got out of our seats and there was much confusion. The older kids went outside. While outside, Bratt was complaining to John that he didn’t even know there was a murder. Joe, PJ, Timmy, John, Boston, Mac, Bryan, Bratt, and I finally decided to sneak back in after school, that afternoon, and find the Bonner School Sweat-shirt. Classes were more agonizing than usual that afternoon.

Finally, when school was out, and everyone else had left, a bunch of us opened a window. We crawled through into the Social Studies room. Joe kept watch in the alley as we each entered. Joe saw Laurel pass by the corner, and he signaled us. It was too late, everyone but Joe was through the window. Laurel dropped her sweater nearby the alley. Joe grabbed the sweater so that she wouldn’t come back to get it. Unfortunately she saw him take the sweater, and ran after him, through the window and into the haunted school.

Laurel confronted us, and so we were forced to tell her what we were doing. Joe gave her sweater back to her, and in a huff she headed back towards the window to leave. However the window had other ideas, and slammed down shut. Laurel quickly changed her mind and decided she would hang with us.

So our little group headed down the stairs into the dark basement. With Bratt in the lead, we carefully passed the Science room. Everything was still a mess. “I guess John meant that the sweat-shirt was behind the radiator in the Spanish room,” I whispered as we entered the room a’ la Espaniola. Bratt turned on the fluorescent lights, which flickered on and off like special strobe lights. We gathered round the hole in the wall where the radiator was. Laurel saw the sleeve of the shirt hanging out from the plaster, and lunged for it. A cold wind blew us all to the back of the room, into a pile against the wall.

A ghostly figure appeared in front of us. A pair of green jogging pants, and Nikes were all that it wore. It held out it’s hand. It was holding a gleaming diamond. A cold chill ran through my spine, and I knew it was a ghost. I rubbed my hands and turned my head. Timmy loosened his jacket and backed up, holding his fingers in a cross shape. You could see right through  the ghost! It’s eyes were glowing like sapphires. The air smelled like rotting manure. There was a faded smile on his face, and a split across his forehead. It was the ghost of Jake! The wind stopped blowing.

Bratt’s eyes were fixed on the diamond that the ghost was holding. Bratt leaped up. We called for him to stop, but it was to late. Bratt grabbed the diamond away from the ghost! In an instant we were transported.

~ (continued in 1.3)

Murder He Wrote Part 1.1

Posted in Fictional Stories with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2010 by Drogo

The Mischievous Murder

Bonner English 1987

Walton Stowell

~ It was dark as slate, that night. Which is not really all that dark, but still it was dark. By “it” I mean the old school that was once a church. The school was indeed dark, but it was also lonely. The building was lonely, except for one person inside, standing in the corner of the hall. Ok, they were both mutually lonely, the building and the boy. His cold lips were blue and parted. Blood slowly trickled down his forehead, from a bloody axe hanging from his head. Silent, as a cold breeze ran through the school. ~

“I didn’t do it!” Bratt yelled as the table fell over.

Mrs. Yonder came by and put the table upright. “Bratt, I’ve had it with you… EXCUSE Me!!!” Mrs. Yonder shouted as the class quieted down. “First, cramming my chair into my coffee mug, and now this?!”

From here on, I had an idea that things were going to get really WEIRD.

“But…..How could I have fit your chair into …” Bratt started.

“Even I’m stumped on this one, Bratt!” Mrs. Yonder replied.

Pavlov rolled some percentile dice on his 3,000 page book. “Snake eyes!”

The class headed for English, after Bratt received two checks. When we entered the English room, the teacher asked us if we had seen her plan book, and everyone said no. While we were doing our work, Pat’s chair flew across the room. His chair literally slipped from under him, and broke through the window. The girls screamed. After a half-hour everyone calmed down. After English class was over and Bratt finished making weak jokes, we all headed for the Assembly Hall.

Our class was questioned by the Bonner Principal, Mr. Echo, about missing rulers and papers, and a number of bizarre happenings. No one answered. He just shook his head.

At recess the next day, lots of kids were forming detective clubs. Some of them included names like The Donna Detectives, TCS Investigators, The Missing Stuff Busters, and The Joe Mob. We had recess at Barker Park, a most beautiful setting.

When we got back from recess, instead of eating lunch, all the kid inspecting clubs went in search of clues for all the missing things. They did not want to be blamed for all the missing objects, which would lead to harsh penalties. The TCS Agency and 5 other clubs checked the Assembly Hall. Several other clubs checked the English room. The Missing Stuff Busters checked the Science room. A few others investigated the Social Studies room. The Underhill Associates checked the Spanish room.

I was with the Underhill Associates, along with Bratt, Carla, Mac, and the peppy young Bushy Bright-Eyes. Bratt started to retell the story he wrote of Carla’s brain landing on Mr. Echo’s car. When Carla hit him, Bratt hit his head on the radiator, knocking he and the radiator to the floor. Bratt appeared to be unconscious.

While Carla slapped Bratt, to make him wake up, Bushy Bright-eyes peered into the hole in the wall where the radiator had been. As his bright eyes peeped into the void, a dull dusty object caught his inquisitive attention. “Ewe! I see something, I see something!”

“That’s an axe!” Mac said, reaching in and taking the dusty hatchet. We decided to take the suspicious item to Mr. Echo, but the door had sealed itself against the wall! John tugged on the door, but it was stuck. The axe flew out of Mac’s hand and stuck in the wall above my head!! We had to smash our way through the door, out of the Spanish room with a skateboard! The walls of the school began to move, and we became dizzy.

Carla, Lea, Laurel, and Donna began a chorus of screaming in the Science room. Underhill Associates made their way, wearily, to the Science room. We picked our way through the skewed chairs. Mr. Echo and the Missing Stuff Busters stood in awe of the 10 foot frog that sat beside them on the broken science table. The frog began trying to leap up, hitting the ceiling, but the leader of the Missing Stuff Busters, Alan, grabbed the frog’s leg and yelled “For science!” Alan and the frog disappeared through the ceiling. Then everything blurred up, and I blacked out.

~ to be continued… in 1.2

Maple Tree Campground

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Nature Studies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2010 by Drogo

Woodland Campground in Maryland

Near Gathland, Boonesboro, and Harpers Ferry.

Townsend Road, Washington County, MD

Alternative & Renewable Free Advertising!

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2010 by Drogo

Free Advertising for Alternative Power Businesses!

Please list any companies that help support alternative power on this blog page (reply below). 30 states (including Washington DC) have legislation requiring utility companies, distributors, and suppliers to include some power from renewable sources. Many small companies are focusing on helping clients with state energy program credits. Currently most of our electricity continues to come from burning coal.

Here are some small companies that are making a difference in Frederick County, Maryland: FITCI Incubator, US Photovoltaics, UR Solar, TimberRock, SES Frederick, Potomac Wind Energy, Chesapeake Green Fuels, and Nelson Commercial Plumbing.

Each small company only manages about 300 client households, compared to the entire population, but it is a start.

2003 BP Solarex Tour

Posted in Alternative Architecture, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2010 by Drogo

The BP Solarex Facility Tour in Frederick,  MD

November 2003 – These are the notes.

Jefferson County, WV residents toured the BP Solarex facility in Frederick, Maryland. In attendance were John Henry Dale, Michael Shor, and Walton Stowell Jr. & Sr.. The following information is based on notes taken during the tour and official Solarex publications. Special thanks to Public Relations representative Debby Burgon. They did not allow photographs inside.

Although Solarex is now owned by British Petroleum, the Solarex plant was owned by Amoco & Enron in the 1980’s.  Now BP Solar boasts that their “Projects Group designed and supplied over 50,000 systems (totaling 70MW) and managed over 25,000 installations (nearly 15MW).”, and “completed installations in more than 150 countries (a record unmatched by any other company in the industry)”.

First on the tour was the Casting Room and the Sizing Room.  Michael asked what Silicon cost per # . The ‘crystalline operations’ and ‘tech center’ contained blocks of ingot, crystalex controllers, and a large cutting room  1=> 25 bricks / casting station vats.  An ‘ingot crusher’ machine cranked away as a loud speaker echoed in the docking bay.  Terms such as ‘silicon powder’ and ‘top-cut’ were discussed and cylinders were cleaned with corrosive chemical bath.  Next was the ‘hot form block melting room’.

The ‘wafer cutting room’ contained many purple, pink, orange ear plugs; white suits, grey slop gloves goo, and blue slippers.  This is where ‘template calibration’ for the solar cells took place also.

Next an Airlock leads into a blue floor, where wafer separation, cleaning, and setting begin.  Automated cleaning and etching stations occurred in glass tanks.  (SiN) Silicon Nitride  240 microns = 3-4 sheets thickness.  A violet / dark blue wafer coating with “silver paste” was then baked in aluminum.  These would go to a drying furnace in front and back lines with automated tooling systems.

multi- & mono- solar cells  (multi-cells are darker, absorb more sun, more efficient)  “silicon is dangerous”

A large final room housed machine plates that mounted bar stripes (bus bar) with tabbing ribbons, and negative / positive copper wire with silver coating.  Then there were assembly-soldering operations for the complete solar panels; which were then laminated, and ‘cassettes’ were loaded into a matrix machine with roller knobs.  Contained in soldered back-matting is dios wiring and label black caulking buettle. Current / voltage testing / reading SPI sun Simulator BP 380U. The panels are cleaned, flashed, and boxed in argon @ 23.8 degrees.  NRE National Renewable Energy

The cost of a solar system is directly proportional to how much energy you require.  Small cabin systems start at a few 1000 dollars.  A typical household system could cost anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000. “Clean Power Estimator” = evaluates $ saved contact section to discuss design with a distributor. Array combo – Inverter – Utility kw/h meter.

Currently prices are still not economically feasible or comparable with grid power in most states. Illinois has a very limited subsidy program for homeowner, like in Japan and Germany. Skylight connector modules have (leads) silicon-nitride covering over wafers.

Some questions remain:

“What percentage of energy used to produce solar panels in the plant, is provided by solar energy?”

“Why is taking so long to open more plants?” and “Why do you now have a barbed wire fence?”

“Why did you cut over half of your workforce in 2010?” (update)

2010 BP Solarex Job Cuts