Sorry for the delay in getting this edition to you on a Saturday. I’ve been off Thursday and Friday hanging out with about 60 third-graders and a handful of parents and teachers. We were on the annual camp overnight for this C.A. Frost class and, boy, did we have fun. You’ve got to love walking through the woods, sitting around a campfire and sliding down a snowy hill in a homemade cardboard, plastic and duct tape sled! And, yes, ice fishing! I will spare you my true feelings with you about ice fishing. Suffice it to say that sitting on a block of ice staring into a six inch hole hoping that a near frozen fish grabs a hold of your insect larva on a hook may not be in my top ten things to do on a February morning. But this day is not about me. It’s about the kids and their outdoor education.
Which brings me back to transit. You see, as we debriefed the ice fishing foray onto Little Bostwick Lake, Mr. Peterson, the awesome Environmental Lab teacher, spoke with excitement about the upcoming fifth grade excursion to Reeds Lake to try their luck at some ice fishing. My contribution to this conversation was that a couple ice fishing poles and a five-gallon pail was all a kid needed to get out to a day of ice fishing fun at Reeds Lake. They don’t even need their parents to drive. All they need is the know-how to grab a Route 6 bus. “That’s right,” another parent quickly chimed in, “They need to learn how to ride the city bus.” “Yes, the bus can get them there,” another added.
Can you see it now? Packs of third-graders roaming through Rapid Central Station carrying ice fishing gear in five gallon pails! Hours and hours of outdoor fun await out on Reeds Lake and it’s only the price of a bus ticket away! And, as the kids get older, they can move up to bigger fish and head to the Fourth Street Dam and try their luck while pursuing steelhead when they’re running. Route 7 or 11 will get you pretty close depending on what side of the river you want to wander into (http://www.ridetherapid.org/ride/routes). (Before you know it, there will be a kayak run on the Grand River downtown and then The Rapid will have to put kayak racks on the back of the buses!)
As for more direct transit news, nothing too exciting to report from Washington or Lansing. The governor did mention transit in her State of the State Address on Tuesday evening (full text at: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/gov/SOS2009_265915_7.pdf), but this was only a teaser for things to come: “Soon, I also will recommend long-term reforms to achieve affordable but stable funding for maintenance and repairs to our roads, bridges and transit systems.” In the U.S. Senate, the fight continues on the Stimulus Plan. We’ll see what the weekend brings. (Maybe the congressional leaders need to head out to an ice shanty and work this out.)
On the local scene, plans for the upcoming Friends of Transit campaign are starting to get into focus. I hope you’ve been doing your work to get ready for May 5. Remember:
(1) Mark your calendar for 8:00pm, May 5, “party to celebrate our hard work;”
(2) Read up on Bus Rapid Transit and what we’re planning to do in The Rapid service area (http://www.ridetherapid.org/about/great-transit) or see what’s been launched in Cleveland (http://www.rtahealthline.com/); and
(3) Book mark http://www.rapidyes.org/. This still is the “thank you” page from the last campaign, but you won’t want to be unprepared when the new, “Vote Yes for the Silver Line” page goes live!
So, grab your five gallon pail and enjoy the ice fishing while we have it. Soon enough spring will be here and we’ll all be too busy campaigning to enjoy any leisurely day of fishing until May 6. That’s good since trout season kicks off the last Saturday of April and then bass season at the end of May.
All for today.