My grand-nephew, James Renville met the love of his life, Manuela Ortiz a couple of years ago, and from that point forward, they knew that it was love. Theirs was not the easiest of courtships, because Manuela worked in New Jersey, and James lives in Casper, Wyoming. That was not a deterrent for James, however, because when it comes to the perfect one…love will find a way. The good news is that James loves to travel, so traveling to see this girl who has captured his heart was no hardship at all. The only hardship was leaving her to come back home.
James and Manuela longed for the day when they would no longer have to be separated by the miles between their jobs. When love is real, you never want to be so far apart. Your hearts are as one, and you know that it is time to begin to build your own life together. That is exactly how James and Manuela felt. While their relationship began with distance making things difficult, it did not stop love from growing, and now they can put those miles behind them, and go forward as one. Their families are so excited for them to become man and wife.
A short time ago, in October, James popped the question, and Manuela said yes. With that one little word, James’ life suddenly felt complete. Manuela was the girl of his dreams, and the one his mother had been praying for to complete her son. In fact, Manuela is so sweet, that our whole family loves her dearly, and we can’t wait to make her a part of our family. Well, today is that day. James and Manuela have chosen Bear Trap Meadow as the site for their wedding, and they really couldn’t have picked a prettier site. The excitement is building, and we can’t wait to watch this beautiful wedding take place. Love is truly in the air, and love has found a way for these two precious people. Congratulations as you go forward in marriage, James and Manuela. We love you both very much, and wish for you two, the greatest blessings that God has to give.
As a young man, my grand-nephew, James Renville wanted nothing more than to leave Wyoming and travel abroad. He thought he might want to live abroad too, or at least somewhere bigger than Wyoming. Covid-19 changed that in a big way, and lately, Wyoming isn’t looking so bad to him. In fact, he has developed an appreciation for his hometown and home state. With all the craziness and chaos going on everywhere else, James said that he realized how blessed he is to live in Wyoming where Covid didn’t touch him or leave him unemployed. In fact, the last year has been a year of change, soul searching, revelation, and really just finding out who James is and what he wants out of life. Everyone needs to have a time like that, and this year was just that for James…a year of growth and personal development. James also spent a lot of time with his dad, Jim Renville. They took the time to become best friends.
James isn’t a typical man in his twenties. He is more reserved, and a lot less the “wild and crazy” type of person that many people his age are. It’s not that James just wants to sit around doing nothing, and there is a bit of the “wild and crazy” in him too. That part of James comes out in his love of aggressive inline skating as he calls it. I call it scary!! Anyway, James is really good at rollerblading…is that the same as inline skating? I think so. Yes, I’m told it is. He also enjoys running/jogging and playing pool. This last year has inspired James to some new beginnings too. James has decided to take up skiing and hiking. I wouldn’t ski, but hiking is my cup of tea, for sure.
James has still done some traveling this past year, because there is a certain girl who has captured his heart, and the hearts of the whole family…Manuela Ortiz, who has been working in New Jersey. James and Manuela have been dating about two years, and while visiting her in New Jersey, James took her to Philadelphia where he popped the question, and she said “Yes,” so in October, they got engaged.
James’ mom, who is my niece, Toni Chase tells me that Manuela is a gift from God, and the icing on the cake of the last year. She is the a big part of the new beginning, but before James could see the gift that Manuela is, he has to seek his own happiness. You can only share your happiness when you are truly happy. This past year many people felt depressed, but James wouldn’t let that get to him. He shunned the depression that many people fought. As James made his journey to happiness, he discovered that while he was truly happy now, he didn’t want to continue the journey without Manuela by his side. They really do compliment each other and are very supportive of one another. James knew that Manuela was the one he wanted to walk the road ahead with him. James was always a quiet man, but really he is selective about who he lets into his life, and that is a good thing. Once he knows a person, he isn’t quiet at all, but has good things to say, and much to contribute. Like many people, me included, James is not outgoing, but when he spots his people he knows them and he’s very down to earth. He is a great blessing to all who have the privilege of calling him their friend. Today is James’ birthday. Happy birthday James!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
In early American history, a duel…then called an Affair of Honor were a legal way to settle disputes between parties. Most of these duels were settled amicably before the duel ever too place, still, some went the way of the full-blown duel. I can understand why the parties would try to work it out amicably, because you really never knew who was going to win in a duel, and you had to decide if this dispute was worth your life.
One of the most famous duels in American history, was between Vice President Aaron Burr and his long-time political antagonist, Alexander Hamilton, who was born on the Caribbean island of Nevis in either 1755 or 1757 (the exact date is under dispute). Hamilton was a poor immigrant, while Burr was born into a wealthy New Jersey family in 1756. Both were highly intelligent and became capable politicians…but had opposing views and were part of different political parties. Hamilton thought Burr was a politically dangerous man, and was quick to point out his views on the matter.
As you can imagine, Hamilton’s statements against Burr did not create a friendship between the two. Burr became vice-president to Thomas Jefferson in 1800, but his political views quickly caused the two men to grow apart politically. Jefferson did not support Burr’s re-nomination to a second term, in 1804. In the campaign, Burr’s character was savagely attacked by Hamilton and others, and after the election Burr vowed to restore his reputation by challenging Hamilton to a duel…an “affair of honor.”
As “affairs of honor” go, most were solved without gunfire, in fact, the outspoken Hamilton had been involved in several affairs of honor in his life, and he had resolved most of them peaceably. That was not to be the case here. The hatred between the two men went too deep, and there was no such willingness to resolve the matter easily. So, on July 11, 1804, the enemies met at 7am at the dueling grounds near Weehawken, New Jersey. Ironically, it was the same spot where Hamilton’s son had died defending his father’s honor in 1801. As these matters go, the events that followed were told in conflicting accounts. According to Hamilton’s “second,” (his assistant and witness in the duel), Hamilton decided the duel was morally wrong and fired into the air. Burr’s “second” claimed that Hamilton fired at Burr and missed. The seconds agreed on the next events. Burr shot Hamilton in the stomach. The bullet lodged next to his spine. He was taken back to New York. He died the next day.
The nation was outraged by the killing of a man as respected as Alexander Hamilton. Burr, who was still vice president at the time, was charged with murder. Nevertheless, he returned to Washington DC, where he finished his term immune from prosecution. In 1805, Burr, thoroughly discredited, concocted a plot with James Wilkinson, commander of the US Army, to seize the Louisiana Territory and establish an independent empire, which Burr would lead. He contacted the British government and unsuccessfully pleaded for assistance in the scheme. Later, when border trouble with Spanish Mexico heated up, Burr and Wilkinson conspired to seize territory in Spanish America for the same purpose.
In the fall of 1806, Burr led a group of well-armed colonists toward New Orleans, prompting an immediate US investigation. General Wilkinson, in an effort to save himself, turned against Burr and sent dispatches to Washington accusing Burr of treason, or maybe insanity. In February 1807, Burr was arrested in Louisiana for treason and sent to Virginia to be tried in a US court. He was acquitted on a technicality in September. Still, public opinion called him as a traitor, and he fled to Europe. He later returned to private life in New York, the murder charges against him somehow forgotten. He died in 1836.
Most of us have heard the name Sandy Hook because of the school shooting that took place in an elementary school with the same name in Newtown, Connecticut. That tragedy was not the first time the name Sandy Hook had been at the center of attention, however. Most people know that along United States coastal areas, there are many lighthouses. The lighthouses might not be so necessary these days, because of GPS tracking, but before all of the technology that we have today, lighthouses were the only way for a ship to know if they were coming dangerously close to a stretch of land. Such was the case with the Sandy Hook lighthouse in 1776. The problem they were having with the lighthouse, however, is that it was thought that the lighthouse would also help the British ships to invade New York City. It was a very real concern, and posed a grave danger to the Provincial Congress of New York.
The Sandy Hook lighthouse was located on a piece of land that was disputed territory in those days. The land sits directly across the bay from New York City, making it an important shipping lane, but a dangerous one too. In early 1761, the Provincial Congress of New York set up lotteries to raise money for the construction of a lighthouse. A lighthouse in this area had been under discussion for nearly a century before it was initiated by Colonial Governor Edmund Andread. Forty three New York merchants proposed the lotteries to the Provincial Council, after losing 20,000 sterling pounds to shipwrecks in 1761. The money was collected, and the Sandy Hook lighthouse was built. It first shone its beam on June 11, 1764. It served it’s purpose quite well…in fact maybe too well…at least during the Revolutionary War. Ships weren’t sinking, but in a big way, it left New York City quite vulnerable to attack. So, after just fifteen years of use, the New York Provincial Congress decided that the lighthouse had to be dismantled. Then came the controversy. A committee of the New York Provincial Congress told Major William Malcolm to “use your best discretion to render the light-house entirely useless.” They wanted him to remove the lens and lamps so that the lighthouse could no longer warn ships of possible hazards on the rocky shore. He succeeded. Colonel George Taylor reported to the committee six days later, that Malcolm had given him eight copper lamps, two tackle falls and blocks, three casks, and a part of a cast of oil from the dismantling of the beacon.
Malcolm’s efforts failed, because the lighthouse was quickly put back into service by the merchants in the area, with the installation of lamps and reflectors. The Patriots attempted to knock the light out again on June 1st, by placing cannon on boats and attempting to blow away the British paraphernalia, damaging some of it before they were chased away. Malcolm’s efforts did not prevent the British from invading New York City. The new states of New York and New Jersey fought over ownership of the lighthouse until the federal government assumed control of all US lighthouses in 1787. As of 1996, the Sandy Hook lighthouse, the oldest original lighthouse in the United States, became a historic landmark, and passed into the jurisdiction of the National Park Service. It is still in operation as part of the Gateway National Recreation Area.
Living in New Jersey, does not necessarily mean that people work or shop in New Jersey. Since Manhattan is just across the Hudson River, many people work and shop there…who wouldn’t, given the chance. I suppose that at some point it was decided that there might soon be too many bridges over the river, and maybe a tunnel under it could be built. The first known underwater tunnel to be built was the Thames Tunnel, built beneath the River Thames in London, connecting Rotherhithe and Wapping. It was built between 1825 and 1843 using Marc Isambard Brunel’s and Thomas Cochrane’s newly invented tunneling shield technology, by Brunel and his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel. So the idea was not new, and in fact, not even new to New York City. The Port Authority had acquired the Holland Tunnel in 1930, and soon after New York and New Jersey authorized the agency to proceed with its plan to build what was then called the Midtown Hudson Tunnel or the Midtown Vehicular Tunnel. Creating a 1.5-mile-long structure, even above ground, would be no small accomplishment, but to build it under a riverbed was a monumental task. Hundreds of huge iron rings, each weighing 21 tons, had to be assembled and bolstered together on site to form the lining of the tunnel. At some point it was decided that Midtown Vehicular Tunnel was not grand enough…so in the spirit of patriotism they named it the Lincoln Tunnel, because of the George Washington Bridge. On this day, December 22, 1937 the 8,216 foot center tube opened in 1937, followed by the 7,482 foot north tube in 1945. The 8,006 foot south tube was the last to open, in 1957.
On average, the Lincoln Tunnel sees upwards of 120,000 cars passing through every day. It is one of the busiest roadways in the country. On the afternoon of September 8, 1953, the tunnel became famous when two men, who had attempted to rob a house in South Orange New Jersey were chased away by its residents. Their car’s license plate was relayed to the police. Peter Simon and John Metcalf escaped into the Lincoln Tunnel and were spotted by transit authorities upon entering. A car chase ensued amid the traffic through the tunnel. Police commandeered a delivery truck and fired shots at the getaway car as it swerved around other vehicles. In all 28 shots were fired, and the driver, Peter Simon, was shot in the head about three quarters of the way to the other side of the tunnel. The gunfight was reported by The New York Times the next morning.
The Hudson River current has historically stayed close to the edge of Lower Manhattan, but with the construction of Battery Park City, which juts out into the river, part of the current has been rerouted. Its new location brings it more toward the river’s center and it’s uncovering much of the soil lying on top of the walls and ceiling of the Tunnel. As of 2009, some parts of the tunnel’s walls have seen a soil coverage decrease of about 25%, making them far more susceptible to shifting or cracking in the coming years. Not good!!
The process of building the 1.5 mile tunnel was grueling. To support the cavities that the workers dug out, they installed a series of 21 ton iron rings set into the walls. The workers who dug the tunnels, called sandhogs, had to use a series of airlocks to depressurize and re-pressurize their bodies while entering a new section of the tunnel. With no ventilation, the air in each pressurized section got stale quickly. The excavation involved digging, lining the walls with the rings, pouring cement into every crease and crack to the keep the water out, and finally they moved along to the next airlock. Clifford Holland, chief engineer and namesake of the Holland Tunnel, died of a heart attack at 41 years of age due to immense stress during the construction, as well as the growing toxicity of the air in the airlocks. The Lincoln Tunnel faired better, with no reported work-related deaths.
So often, when we have a holiday, people tend to think that it is just another day to have a family dinner and a day off of work. Often, they are celebrating the day for the wrong reason, but not so today. Labor Day is a day for our nation to pay tribute to its workers. No nation can be strong if it has no workers. So, as a show of gratitude, Labor Day was set aside to allow a day of rest for the American worker. When our nation was founded, there was largely nothing here. The native Americans lived in Teepees, so they could be mobile. They needed to follow the buffalo because that was their food supply. But, we had come from nations where there were houses and farms, and ways to get the things we needed.
Nevertheless, this was a new nation, and it was going to take a lot of hard work to turn it into the great nation it has become. The work was going to be a lot of hard physical labor. We would also need those who would teach our children and others so that they could become doctors, scientists, inventors, and all the other jobs that would be needed to take this from a vast empty land, to a thriving nation that would be able to bring about the dreams that we all came over here to fulfill.
After a time of hard work, and much growth, the nation began to give increasing emphasis to a Labor Day holiday. It was decided that we, as a nation, needed to thank our laborers for all they had done to build this country. The first bill to be introduced was into the New York legislature, but the first state to pass a law was Oregon, on February 21, 1887. Over the course of that year, four more states passed legislation to honor laborers through a Labor Day holiday that was created by legislative enactment. Those states were Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. By the end of the decade, Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania were also listed among the states honoring laborers with a Labor Day holiday. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.
The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The day began with a parade and continued on with lots of festivities. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883. That was rather odd, considering the fact that the holiday didn’t become official until 1887, and then it wasn’t in New York City. Later, like many holidays, it began to make less sense to keep the holiday on the fifth, and so the first Monday in September was chosen to be the permanent time to celebrate it. That makes sense when you think about it. If you are going to celebrate the laborers, give them a three day weekend. After all, that is cause for celebration for most laborers. Of course, as we all know, the holiday doesn’t give every worker the day off. That would be almost impossible for all the obvious reasons. Nevertheless, as Labor Day arrives, I hope that each and every worker knows that whether they get the day off or not, this grateful nation has set aside this day to celebrate them, and to thank them for making this nation great. Happy Labor Day to workers everywhere!!