Digest>Archives> June 2006

Keeper's Korner

Tidbits and Editorial Comments from the Tower

By Timothy Harrison


Biloxi Lighthouse Update

Just a few weeks before Hurricane Katrina hit, officials had been planning to again open the Biloxi, Mississippi Lighthouse for public tours. Now, those same officials are planning a cleanup of the area and repairs to the lighthouse. Officials are determined in their efforts because they believe that the Biloxi Lighthouse, now more than ever, symbolizes the strength of the people of the Gulf Coast.

Climate Control at Pointe aux Barques

Point aux Barques Lighthouse in Port Hope, Michigan will now have full climate control for its artifacts, thanks to donations raised by the Point aux Barques Historical Society. In the past, the artifacts were always removed at the end of each season to be stored elsewhere.

Coast Guard Change of Commands

Rear Admiral Sally Brice-O'Hara has assumed command of the Coast Guard's 14th District, which includes Hawaii, Guam and Japan. She replaced Rear Admiral Charles Wurster who has now taken command of the Coast Guard's Pacific area. In the 11th District, Rear Admiral Jody Breckenridge took command of ceremonies in Alameda, California. She replaced Rear Admiral Kevin Eldridge, who is retiring after 32 years. In the 17th District, Rear Admiral James C. Olson turned over command to Rear Admiral Gene Brooks. In the Coast Guard's 9th District, which covers the Great Lakes, Rear Admiral John Crowley, Jr. took command from Rear Admiral Robert Papp, who has been assigned new duties in the nation's capitol.

Golden Jubilee at Minicoy Lighthouse

A group of eight Indian naval veterans who participated in the 1956 takeover of India's Minicoy Lighthouse from the British in 1956 were on hand to honor the event this past April. The veterans, now all in their 70s, were reported to brave many obstacles to get back to the lighthouse for the ceremony.

Cutter to be Replaced

Congress wants to replace the soon to be decommissioned Coast Guard Cutter ACACIA with another vessel, which they hope will be ported in Charlevoix, Michigan to service ice breaking capabilities on northern Lake Michigan.

Tommy the Lighthouse Cat

Since our recent story appeared on the life of Rhode Island's Pomham Rocks Lighthouse keeper Adolf H. Aronson, we found out about the famous cat that lived with Aronson. Newspaper accounts of the 1930s tell of the cat sitting perched on a rock until he spotted his prey and would then dive head first into the ocean and catch the unsuspecting fish. As well as fishing, Captain Aronson cited Tommy as the best “mouser” in the world. It was the fish stories that had left most skeptics as disbelievers. However, Aronson's “fish-spinning stories” became fact when a local cameraman snapped photos of “Tommy the Cat” in action. We'd now like your help in locating photographs of Tommy the lighthouse cat. Hopefully some photos will show up to help preserve this part of lighthouse history. If you locate photos, please send them or duplicates to the Editor, Lighthouse Digest, P.O. Box 68, Wells, ME 04090, or email editor@LighthouseDigest.com.

Shirin Pagels Starts Lighthouse Photography Store

Shirin Pagels, one of the winners in the recent Lighthouse Digest Photo Contest, has advised us that she has now set up her own online photography store which you can visit at http://www.starvedartists.com/Stores/home.cfm?ArtistID=958. As well as photographing lighthouses, Shirin is an active lighthouse preservationist and is currently president of the New England Lighthouse Lovers (NELL), which is a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation. Shirin has also advised that if you are interested in starting a site like hers to please use her affiliate code of ART958 when you sign up.

Looking for Grand Haven Lighthouse Photos

We are looking for photographs of the original Grand Haven Pierhead Lighthouse in Michigan as well as photographs of the keepers that served at the lighthouse. If any of our readers can help us, please write the Editor, Lighthouse Digest, P. O. Box 68, Wells, ME 04090, or email editor@LighthouseDigest.com.

Coast Guard Asks for Help to Thwart Terrorism and Other Illegal Activities

The U.S. Coast Guard is asking for the help of America's boaters, who number in the millions, and others who spend their time on the coasts of America to help become a neighborhood watch of sorts. Since the Coast Guard can't be everywhere, and people can, the average person can easily spot what might be something suspicious or illegal. To report something suspicious, you can call (877) 24-WATCH (1-877-249-2824). The information then goes to a National Response Center which is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Lighthouse Facsimile Vandalized

A 35-foot high brick lighthouse that was completed in 2003 as part of the Point Place Gateway Project in Toledo, Ohio was recently vandalized. The lighthouse, built with city capital funds as part of a $280,000 beautification project, suffered at least $1,000 in damages, including a swastika being painted on the tower and damage to the light. Hopefully, when caught, the judge will "throw the book" at these vandals. A reward has been offered.

The Ridiculous Item of the Month

It seems Arizona legislators want Congress to create a new Coast Guard unit to patrol and guard Arizona's border with Mexico. While it's true that the Coast Guard does have a presence in Arizona's Colorado River, but a new unit to patrol the desert border? If Arizona wants extra help, why not ask for more Border Patrol officers? The Coast Guard has plenty to do protecting our waterways. Let's not overtax the Coast Guard's limited resources anymore by having them patrol the desert. What's next? Will the Wyoming legislators ask for a Coast Guard unit to help patrol the wide-open ranges?

Point Pinos Gets More Land

The United States Coast Guard has given nearly 70 acres of land around California's Point Pinos Lighthouse to the city of Pacific Grove. The city has leased some of the land from the Coast Guard since 1960, which includes the back nine holes of the community's golf course. The original deal, started back in 1999, hit a snag when it was discovered there was a high level of lead in the soil, which needed to be covered by native vegetation. The Coast Guard will keep two housing units for key personnel.

This story appeared in the June 2006 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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