Utica Comets 3-0 over San Antonio Rampage

Rookie Brendan Gaunce scored the first goal and first assist of his professional career.

Brendon Gaunce
Brendon Gaunce

Jacob Markstrom made 28 saves to earn his second victory and first shutout of the season.

Jacob Markstrom
Jacob Markstrom

Defenseman Alex Biega and forward Carter Bancks scored the other goals for Utica, which is 2-0-1-0 heading into Saturday’s game with the Calder Cup champion Texas Stars in Cedar Park, Texas.

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More About New York Central Railroad’s Harmon Station

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One of our most popular blogs is about the NY Central’s shops at Harmon, New York.

We are now bringing you more stories about Harmon as well as more pictures (courtesy of Wayne Koch).

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An interesting story is New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey and the NY Central Niagara steam locomotives .

Just North (timetable West) of Harmon are several tunnels on the New York Central. 

Harmon in Hurricane Irene

In 1946, Niagara Locomotive 6001 is being pulled by 4 models to show how great Timken roller bearings worked.

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Harmon Passenger Station


The old station was torn down, in Penn Central days.

The station was torn down and relocated to the south of the original location about 1974-1975, and it might have been before that. The first time I used the new location, it was in the autumn of 1975. At that time, what is now the dry…

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View of All Aboard Florida from NPR

By Peter O’Dowd    from NPR in Boston
Here in fast-growing Florida, one big issue for voters is transportation.

Traffic congestion on Florida’s highways can be abysmal, so developers are in the early stages of building a passenger train that will connect Miami to Orlando.

The All Aboard Florida project is a $2.5 billion investment that has some people very worried.

John Guitar works for All Aboard Florida. He says this nexus of rail and pavement is why the company is developing 11 acres of empty land into a train station.

In front of us, a chain-link fence has just gone up to mark the construction site. Passengers could make the 235 mile trip north by the end of 2016.

“Here in Miami, we’ll have 16 trains a day going north,” Guitar says. ” A stop in Fort Lauderdale, and then on to the Orlando airport.”

This would resurrect a defunct passenger line that stopped running along Florida’s east coast in the 1960s.

All Aboard Florida’s parent company, Florida East Coast Industries, still owns the tracks, which railroad pioneer Henry Flagler built in the 19th century. For now, they’re used to move cargo.

Guitar says the federal highway program brought the passenger rail system to a halt.

“The federal highway system expanded, connection points, and everyone got off trains and into cars,” Guitar says. “And we’ve done a full circle now that the traffic and congestion and gas prices are so bad, people are looking for alternatives to get out of their cars and find other ways to get around the state.”

The company’s president Mike Reininger says the project is a solution to a transportation crisis that he believes is already here.

“Not 50 years from now, 50 minutes from now in certain areas in Florida. The road infrastructure in portions Florida — particularly in south Florida — has already reached its practical capacity limits and is often times undesirable and most times unpredictable way to travel where you need to go,” Reininger says.

Thirty miles up the track, you’ll find advocates of another kind of transportation that are less enthusiastic about Reininger’s solution

If Detroit is called the Motor City, Fort Lauderdale would have to be called the Boater City,” Jim Naugle, the former mayor of Fort Lauderdale, says.

Naugle is captaining his 24-foot intrepid up the New River. The brackish river he’s navigated since childhood is fed by the Everglades and flows into the ocean. Manatees and bull sharks make appearances here. So do 185-foot yachts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Naugle is on the board of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida. He’s taking me to a railroad bridge that cargo trains use to cross the new river.

“It stays in the up position unless there’s a train,” Naugle says.

And there’s about to be a lot more trains. Once the passenger service starts, 32 trains will move between Miami and Orlando every day.

“You’ve heard of the Ten Commandments, of course,” Naugle says. “In Fort Lauderdale, we have 11 commandments, and the 11th commandment is ‘Thou shall not impede navigation.’”

 

Naugle says more train traffic will cause greater boat congestion.

“You have the commerce of the large boats going up river to the boat yards, then you have the recreational boaters in the weekend, the little guy that wants to get out on his 15 footer, and he can’t even get through when the bridge is down,” Naugle says. “And they can get in the way of the big boats. And so the economic impact of the marine industry here is bigger than the economic impact of All Aboard Florida and its’ service to Orlando. So if they go ahead with the project, they need to find a way to preserve that commerce that’s taking place on the New River.”

All Aboard Florida’s president Mike Reininger says there’s a plan to preserve the commerce. The bridge will be closed more often, but the company is working with boaters to make the closures more predictable.

“The project has many positive benefits and no significant negative impacts – environmentally or any other way,” Reininger says.

Lance DeHaven Smith is a public policy professor at Florida State University, and he says you can bet the fight over this train project isn’t over.

‘We have a long history of controversy in Florida about high-speed rail,” DeHaven Smith says.

He recalls a rail controversy in the early 2000s under Governor Jeb Bush. Then, a second one in 2011. The federal government offered Governor Rick Scott’s administration more than $2 billion to build a fast train.

“And Governor Scott sent that money back, refused it,” DeHaven Smith says. “The argument was it would expose the public to financial liabilities that weren’t worth it.”

This time, All Aboard Florida says the project is 100 percent privately funded. But it has applied for a federal loan, and now the fight over traffic and funding has made its way again into politics. This week, the company said it would try to avoid using that federal loan by looking instead for “private activity bonds,” which are purchased by private investors.

Gov. Rick Scott says he supports this train. And his challenger, Democrat Charlie Crist, says he’s in favor of high-speed trains, but this one’s got him worried.

“[Crist] has been equivocal,” Dehaven Smith says. “He says he has some concerns about it but that’s far as he goes on it.”

Could this issue be an important issue in the upcoming race for governor?

“Absolutely,” Dehaven Smith says. “Florida is a very closely divided state, so a small change in turnout could change the outcome dramatically. It could become a real decisive issue in this election.”

All Aboard Florida says it’s not worried about politics. By the time election day is here, the train station in Miami could already be under construction.

Metro-North rail-traffic control staff has worked 7 days straight for ‘weeks on end’ 

A shortage of workers has deprived the staff of days off, resulting in a fatigued workforce responsible for ensuring trains don’t run into each other or run over employees along the tracks. The shortage is one of the shocking revelations found in a 75-page transcript of an interview with MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast by the National Transportation Safety Board. 

Pete Donohue just uncovered this in an article he wrote for the New York Daily News.

The NTSB was then investigating a series of five major Metro-North accidents that took place in less than one year, including the December derailment in the Bronx that killed four passengers.

Prendergast himself expressed disbelief at the depth of the weaknesses. He was chairman only five months when the first accident, a derailment in Bridgeport, Conn., occurred in May 2013. The last — a track worker hit by a train in Harlem — occurred in March.

The decay was a lot worse than you would have expected it to be,” he said, apparently referring to both the physical condition of the tracks and quality of management.

Other shocking revelations:

* Rail-traffic controllers complained about not being properly prepared. They didn’t receive any training, for example, on a simulator that would mimic situations they’d confront in the control center—even though Metro-North apparently had such a device. “It’s like … ‘just get in the seat and learn,’ which they felt was just baptism by fire,” an investigator said.

* Supervisors of track gangs and other crews in the field were working six and seven days straight because of shortages in their ranks, resulting in perilous fatigue.

* Metro-North doesn’t have its own track-geometry car, which uses modern technology to scan and measure tracks for defects. “How can the second-largest railroad in the country not have a track-geometry car when New York City Transit has four or five and Long Island’s got one or two? I just don’t know,” Prendergast said.

* Management wasn’t “staying on top of inspections” and making sure permanent repairs to rails were getting done, Prendergast said. There was no systematic tracking of defects to identify dangerous trends. And there’s a hodgepodge of six different types of rails, which Prendergast said “is impossible to maintain.”

* Former Metro-North President Howard Permut, a career planner, didn’t have a nuts-and-bolts background in track maintenance and operations, and didn’t have top-shelf chiefs overseeing those areas to fill the void. “And that’s where it fell apart,” Prendergast said.

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Loov’s goals lift Marlies over Comets

Viktor Loov scored the first two goals of his North American career, the second 5:55 into overtime, to give the Toronto Marlies a 3-2 American Hockey League victory over the Utica Comets Sunday at the Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto.

The Comets, who defeated the Marlies 2-1 Saturday, wound up with three points for their two-game, season-opening set. They will return home before taking off for a pair of games in Texas next weekend, visiting the San Antonio Rampage Friday and at the Texas Stars Saturday.

“It wasn’t a great hockey game,” said Comets coach Travis Green. “It was a sloppy game by both teams.”

Not that Green was upset with the effort.

“It was a hard-fought hockey game all around,” he said. “I just don’t think we were sharp.”

Dustin Jeffrey
Dustin Jeffrey

The Comets had grabbed a 2-1 lead on Brandon DeFazio’s goal at 2:23 of the third period, but Loov, a 21-year-old Swedish forward, tied things up 11 minutes later, after the Comets couldn’t clear their zone following a successful penalty kill.

Utica had dominated much of the action early, and had a 17-9 shot advantage after two periods, but the Marlies picked up the pace midway through the third, outshot the Comets decisively the rest of the way and had a 28-27 edge for the game.

The Marlies got out front first, with Troy Bodie connecting at 1:32 of the second period as he and Greg McKegg worked a two-on-one shorthanded break. The Comets got that back on Dustin Jeffrey’s second goal of the season, at 14:35 of the second, when he potted a rebound of an Alex Grenier shot. Rookie Hunter Shinkaruk also had an assist on the goal, the first point of his professional career.

DeFazio then pushed the Comets ahead when he threw the puck from behind the net and it bounced in off Marlies goalie Christopher Gibson. Rookie Brendan Gaunce helped create the goal by putting pressure on Gibson.

The Comets held that lead until Loov’s equalizer.

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Florida East Coast: Some not even Nasty

Flagler railway connected the Oldest City to key points in Florida

What some Flagler College students may see as an opportunity to reside in a lap of luxury is really one of St. Augustine’s biggest and most important industries.

Today, the three-building complex on Malaga Street with beautiful marble flooring and loft bedding is dedicated to housing upperclassmen at Flagler College.

Years ago, it was the headquarters for the Florida East Coast Railway.

When Henry Flagler got to St. Augustine in 1878, it was to visit with his wife, Ida Alice Shourds, for their belated honeymoon. He had been to other parts of Florida like Orange Park and Jacksonville but he hadn’t fallen in love with them like he had with the historic city.

Being that Flagler was of a more refined ilk, when he came to St. Augustine, he was looking for a more upscale place to stay and development in the city.

So, in 1885 Flagler returned with his sights set on developing the area around St. Augustine and began building the Hotel Ponce de Leon. It was at this time that he noticed that the city was also missing a solid method of transportation in order to develop Florida.

Henry Flagler’s vision

St. Augustine had St. Johns Railway as its main transportation method. It was 15 miles long and used mules for power. Built 1859, the original track of the railway was made up of wood and iron strap.

When Flagler started developing the old city and began using the railway to transport, his crew alerted him that the railway couldn’t handle the tasks at hand.

So, Flagler built himself a railway. Immediately, upgrades were made and the railroad went from running on wood and iron tracks to standard gauge.

By 1889, Flagler’s system offered service from Jacksonville to Daytona Beach with hotel facilities along the way to encourage tourism.

In 1892, landowners south of Daytona wanted the railroad extended causing Flagler to obtain a charter from the state of Florida authorizing him to build a railroad along the Indian River all the way to Miami allowing for new cities like New Smyrna and Titusville to develop.

Two years later, the railroad system reached West Palm Beach and that area began to develop.

In April of 1896, Flagler celebrated a very big day because now, the railroad extended and ran from St. Augustine to Miami, and further down to Key West.

The final link of the Florida East Coast Railway was completed on January 22, 1912 just weeks after Flagler’s, 82nd birthday.

Read more of this great story by Kimeko McCoy

Seacrest Hotel once dominated Delray skyline

Built in 1925, a year before the Colony, the old Seacrest  Hotel, which stood at the northwest corner of Atlantic Avenue and State Road A1A, where the Delray Beach Marriott now stands.

d the city’s skyline well into the early 1960s.» BEFORE AND AFTER: Check out The Seacrest Hotel then and what it is now 

E.H. Scott, a depot agent for the Florida East Coast Railway, bought the original lot for all of $60. With cathedral ceilings and arches that lit in sunlight, the 57-room hotel sported the Spanish architecture that came to symbolize the burgeoning Palm Beach County in the early 20th century. Movie stars, celebrities and the wealthy held court around its pool.

“There were Rolls-Royces all over the place,” longtime resident Robert Ian McLaren, then 69, told the Palm Beach Daily News — the “Shiny Sheet” — in 1982.

The hotel survived the great 1928 hurricane and underwent a renovation in 1933, in the heart of the Depression. During World War II, volunteers and Boy Scouts looked out a turret at the top of its 57-foot tower and scanned the oceans in search of German U-Boats.

But the post-war boom led to new hotels that drew tourists away from the Seacrest.

In 1978, developer Bill Walsh bought the 2.26-acre site. Walsh rewired the hotel and applied a new paint job. But the electrical grid couldn’t accommodate the newfangled, and now mandatory, air conditioning. That was that.

The place just wasn’t viable any more, Walsh said. For two years, he and city commissioners wrestled with its future. In August 1981 the city approved Walsh’s plans to build a new hotel. The Seacrest closed.

For a while, it housed workers building the Holiday Inn on Glades Road, west of Interstate 95, in Boca Raton. They included Jim Graham, now director of sales and marketing for the Marriott, the current hotel.

“It was a little rustic,” Graham said. “They had the old-fashioned switchboards where the operator pulled a plug. It did have good cross-ventilation but I don’t think you could stay there in the summertime.”

After that, salvageable furniture and fixtures were sold or donated. Vandals broke windows and cracked pillars. Wreckers finally brought down the building in February 1982.

The following year, the five-floor, 277-room Holiday Inn Camino Real opened on the spot. In 1998, it expanded and became the Marriott.

With the Seacrest long gone, now only the Colony stands among the great old Delray Beach ocean hotels.

Read more and see some great pictures

 

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ISIS Terrorists Caught Entering The US via Mexico

According to  Judicial Watch, it has been confirmed by Homeland Security sources that four Islamic  terrorists have been apprehended in the last 36 hours by federal authorities and the Texas Department of Public Safety in McAllen and Pharr. California Congressman Duncan Hunter, a former Marine Corp Major and member of the House Armed Services Committee, disclosed on national television that at least ten Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria ( ISIS) fighters have been caught crossing the Mexican border in Texas.

Guess that was an easy catch: they always ride around standing up in pickup trucks hanging on to their machine guns.

Hunter believes, “If you really want to protect Americans from ISIS, you secure the southern border.” He went on to point out that, “ISIS doesn’t have a navy, they don’t have an air force, they don’t have nuclear weapons. The only way that ISIS is going to harm Americans is by coming in through the southern border – which they already have.”
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah, said four alleged terror suspects were captured on Sept. 10 in Texas. In an interview with  BuzzFeedNews on Wednesday, Chaffetz said the men flew from a Middle Eastern country to Mexico City, where they paid a smuggler to take them to and across the border. From there, the men ended up in a safe house for immigrants. They were en route to New York City, Chaffetz said, when they were captured.
Guess they had to stop in a local Toyota dealership to get their truck and depend on FedEx or UPS for the obligatory machine gun. Ammunition is readily available everywhere in the U.S.
ISIStankExplained
 Why can’t the CIA or satellites or something just find out where this Toyota truck factory is and send in the B-52’s?

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What Happens After Walmart

At this point the news that the retail giant’s same-store-sales number are in a decline. That’s been reported since mid 2013. But the fact that the trend is continuing amid otherwise (relatively) strong economy growth and the lowest unemployment rate since 2008 can be looked at as an indicator of the end of… something.
Just exactly what is ending and what will take its place is open for conjecture. The trend of big-box retailers decimating local retailers is now part of our legacy. Rising in its wake is the growing prevalence of online retailing. And as these online and big-box showcasing grow one has to wonder what the role of the physical store will be in 10 years.

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Why an independent win in Kansas would matter

Nothing seems more archaic than the TWO PARTY political system in the United States. Too “chummy”. The people do not feel their representatives are even working for them.

Once they get in the “clubhouse” the congressmen and senators can look forward to a lifetime career. Forget that the drafters of the Contitution expected a man (not a woman at that point) to serve their term, go home and pick their plow up again.

Lots of maybe great men ran for office as independent or as a third-party candidate. Norman Thomas, Ralph Nader, Jesse Ventura, Teddy Roosevelt (his Bull Moose party would fit in nicely with the elephant and donkey).

This year we have a well-qualified person running for Senate in Kansas: GREG ORMAN

Greg Orman
Greg Orman

 

Orman is a former business consultant and clean energy entrepreneur, who is running for the U.S. Senate as an independent against the state’s powerful Republican incumbent, Pat Roberts.

Orman has been described as a political enigma, which seems like a nice way of saying he doesn’t seem to know very much. A onetime college Republican and short-lived Democratic politician (he ran for the Senate briefly in 2008 before dropping out), he’s telegenic, wealthy and elusive. His central pitch is that both parties are “more interested in political games than problem-solving” and Washington is a “mess,” and other evocative stuff like that.

If Orman wins, he’ll be the third independent in the Senate, and odds are he won’t emerge as any more of a genuine power broker than the other two, Vermont’s Bernie Sanders and Maine’s Angus King. Standing outside the dysfunctional two-party system can earn you some credibility with voters at home (and with those of us who disdain the idea of party fealty generally), but it doesn’t always buy you influence in an institution dominated by partisan blocs.

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social commitment, aiming to become a top 3 social network and a complement for Facebook and Twitter. Fairpromise is an action engine which transforms promises (ideas, dreams, concepts) into actions. Fairpromise reduces the gap between people’s expectancies and reality and offers them a platform for accomplishments and achievements of realistic goals providing innovative project and risk management tools made extremely simple to improve their daily activities (users from 5 to 100 years old targeted differently according to their age, location).

Fairpromise is a free site promoting in a playful way justice, responsibility, fair play and educational values. Fairpromise is a personal, professional, political and social barometer.

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3 Questions Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Asks Before Hiring Anyone

This story first appeared on The Muse, a web destination with exciting job opportunities and expert career advice.

Amazon has forever changed the way people shop online, but it wasn’t always the juggernaut that it is today. In fact, once upon a time it was just a tiny startup with a big vision. So, how did it end up as the giant online retailer that it is now?

It’s hard to say, but one thing founder Jeff Bezos was very intentional about was how he hired for the company. In fact, in his 1998 letter to shareholders, just four years after Amazon was founded, Bezos wrote, “It would be impossible to produce results in an environment as dynamic as the Internet without extraordinary people… Setting the bar high in our approach to hiring has been, and will continue to be, the single most important element of Amazon.com’s success.”

1. Will you admire this person?

Bezos’ first benchmark was about admiration. He wanted hiring managers to admire the people they were bringing on to their teams, not just the other way around. Bezos extrapolated that admiration meant that this was a person who could be an example to other and who others could learn from. From this criterion alone, the standard for hiring is kept sky high.

2. Will this person raise the average level of effectiveness of the group they’re entering?

The goal for new hires, according to Bezos, is to elevate the company. Rather than having apathy grow as the company grew, he envisioned that each new hire would fight instead of contribute to entropy. Or, in his own words, “The bar has to continuously go up. I ask people to visualize the company five years from now. At that point, each of us should look around and say, ‘The standards are so high now–boy, I’m glad I got in when I did!'”

3. Along what dimensions might this person be a superstar?

The last (and quirkiest) thing Bezos seeks from new hires is a distinctive skill or interest to contribute to the company’s culture and help cultivate a fun and interesting workplace. And it doesn’t have to be related to the job–he gives the example of one employee who is a National Spelling Bee champion. While there’s a lot to be said for being well-rounded, it’s the pointy ones that Bezos wants.

It’s been over 15 years since Bezos wrote about these hiring goals, but given Amazon’s success, his advice is certainly worth considering. So, if you’re interested in growing your team, first get a grip on your company culture and embed it into your hiring process. Then it’s ultimately about finding a way to keep hiring standards high in whatever way resonates with your hiring managers. While you may not want to adopt Amazon’s entire hiring philosophy, it’s certainly worth picking up a trick or two from Bezos. If Amazon’s success is any indication, he clearly knows what he’s doing.

Since then, Bezos has charged his hiring managers to hire based on three critical measures. And if you were to ask him, it’s these questions that have made all the difference

 

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Fairpromise is the next generation social network based on the people’s social commitment, aiming to become a top 3 social network and a complement for Facebook and Twitter. Fairpromise is an action engine which transforms promises (ideas, dreams, concepts) into actions. Fairpromise reduces the gap between people’s expectancies and reality and offers them a platform for accomplishments and achievements of realistic goals providing innovative project and risk management tools made extremely simple to improve their daily activities (users from 5 to 100 years old targeted differently according to their age, location).

Fairpromise is a free site promoting in a playful way justice, responsibility, fair play and educational values. Fairpromise is a personal, professional, political and social barometer.

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