PROPS & DISSES: A home run for Boston

By on June 4, 2013


Rick Walls meets Norden brothers. (Boston Herald)

Rick Walls meets Norden brothers. (Boston Herald)

A home run for Boston   PROPS

I can’t remember when I started hating Boston – or at least its sports teams. I think I was born with it. It started with Thurman Munson’s home plate crash into Carlton Fisk the summer of ’73 and it just keeps brewing. As a lifelong Yankee fan, I take rooting for the Bronx Bombers and against the Bean Eaters too far, and I know it.

When I was young and before I knew better I would pray for Boston’s plane to go down on the way to the game. I didn’t want everyone to perish in a fiery ball of flame, just the team’s best players. Now I know Boston travels by bus to the Bronx so I pray a plane falls on it – ideally the Orioles’ team plane.

I also root for the Montreal Canadiens in hockey. Their archrival is technically Toronto, according to all good hosers north of the border, but how many epic battles between the Habs and Bruins have left fans on both sides wanting to drop the gloves?

When the Boston Marathon bombings took place, I felt immediate remorse. I wanted to help but I wasn’t ready to cue up “Sweet Caroline.” Thank you, Rick Walls.

Walls stepped up where I froze. The Massachusetts native went to high school in Lee, a town in Western Mass about as far from Boston as you can get without being in the Empire State. Walls was two blocks from the first bomb when it went off. He had just completed the marathon. Had he finished 15 minutes later he might have been a victim. He has since been back to New England to run a 5k in West Roxbury and promise his two newest friends, J.P. and Paul Norden, that he will run his heart out for them this Fourth of July.

Walls ran across the Nordens’ story on the Internet. The brothers lost limbs in the blast and were struggling to meet their medical expenses. The local 56-year-old, who works in the finance department at Hotel Terra, decided he would launch a run-a-thon for them by taking pledges to enter the Foot Traffic Marathon in Portland, Oregon on July 4, 2013. He hopes to raise $50,000 by seeking sponsors who are willing to double down on their donation if he can finish the marathon in under three hours or finish in the top 10.

“When you are 15 minutes lucky, you feel graced by God. I can’t take this for granted,” Walls said.

Walls will have to shave 43 minutes off his Boston pace but he’s been training furiously and thinks he can do it. Find out more and get invested. And just this once, I will be rooting for something good to happen to Boston.

Schwabacher’s emergency landing   DISS

Times are tough and we knew this season would be hard on us all regarding cutbacks at the federal level in our area parks. Still, some of the moves don’t make sense and big government sometimes gets tangled up in its own red tape.

The closing of Schwabacher’s Landing is baffling. To save money, park officials are opting to velvet rope certain campsites and other recreational areas that are too far off the beaten path to service regularly with trash removal and bathroom cleaning. Schwabacher’s isn’t exactly one of the more remote sites in Grand Teton. In fact, it is one of the more easily accessible and heavily visited spots, less than four miles from park headquarters in Moose.

A big part of Schwabacher’s popularity in the summer is its ideal location for a quickie wedding ceremony. Some 40 weddings were on the books when the Park Service decided to gate the access road. The $50 processing fee collected for each booking was gobbled up by GTNP and brides were left scrambling for a Plan B.

Now comes news that the Park Service will not allow anyone to bike the short access road or walk a dog on it, leashed. The prohibitions are a result of park regulations that specify that bicycles and pets only be allowed on roads where vehicles may travel. Oh brother.

It sure looks like officials chose to shut down Schwabacher’s because it is not within the paid admittance part of the amusement park.

Forest half-burned view   DISS

I read last week’s headlines calling this year’s fire season “average,” “normal,” and being one of “less peril.” I would take that with a grain of salt. I would preface that with a warning imploring anyone who strikes a match this year to be extremely vigilant, regardless. Maybe I’m a “glass half-empty” kinda guy, but I don’t believe for one second this season’s wildfire forecast will end up being anything less than “tinderbox.”

My complete lack of training as a meteorologist or fuels specialist does little to temper the dire predictions herein. We are still in a drought. We can argue over whether, in the words of the National Interagency Fire Center, it is a “moderate” long-term drought or an “extreme” long-term drought. It’s a drought.

Jackson Hole is a little better off than the rest of the state and region, but back-to-back mild winters are not erased with a spring-like May that had a few showers. In fact, from talking with fuels analysts, a wettish spring encourages growth, which will eventually brown out and provide even more fuel for fires.

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