Wind for power

Colorado windmills-2

Wouldn’t it be great to use these windmills throughout the world to harness the power of the wind?  I’ve seem them in Germany too but I’m not sure who else uses them.

Colorado windmills-3How would these devices work in a hurricane environment?  Would they stand up against the ferocious winds?

Maybe someone smarter than I can share some light on the subject; but I was thinking of ways people without electricity – like those affected by Hurricane Michael, could use power generators like windmills – probably on a smaller scale.

However, I understand it would not be safe to generate power while the grid is not safe.  But maybe there is something that can be done to have power more available in respective communities or in homes – while being safe.

Colorado welcome signWhile traveling from Kansas to Colorado at night we could see red lights spread out everywhere.  First thought was maybe they are alien landing lights across the open plains.  Well, I knew better, and confirmed they were windmills.  I was impressed with the red lights though.

Colorado windmills-1Well, during the day we could see how massive these windmills are.  They amaze me.  I  could just sit there and watch them.  To me, they seem so peaceful, maybe hypnotic.

When we think about the power of the wind – like in a hurricane – it is so destructive and doesn’t provide much value to quality of life.  However, wind is power and provides power for good to those who receive the benefit – like from the windmills.

Let’s keep harnessing the power of the wind for power – and quality of life.



Go or Stay?

hurricane Ivan slams pier, Navarre Beach
Waves hit Navarre Pier hard during Hurricane Ivan’s approach – Navarre Beach, Florida.  Hurricane Ivan was the strongest hurricane of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season. It made landfall on the U.S. mainland in Gulf Shores, Alabama on September 16th, as a Category 3.  (Photo credit: Florida archives by Chris Duval)

Go or stay, when in harms way?  To me, that’s a no-brainer.  If my life and family is at risk for loss of life, do you think I would stay in a threat environment without making a change?  For sure – NO.

However, many people choose to remain in the main threat area during catastrophic weather – such as Hurricane Michael churning in the Gulf of Mexico toward the Florida Panhandle. (Update: Now that Michael has made landfall the decision was made and people have to live with that decision; however, those still in the path of Michael into Georgia and northward can still make an informed decision.)

I’m watching Michael and it brings back memories of Ivan.

I recall working in Florida’s State Emergency Management Center in 2004 when Hurricane Ivan attacked the Florida Panhandle area that borders Alabama.


Hurricane Ivan image
National Weather Service image of Hurricane Ivan.

The Category 3 storm struck with a fury, pushing the ocean on shore and blowing structures apart.

Hurricane Ivan damage, Navarre Beach
Just imagine someone staying in these structures and enduring the deafening sounds of wind and debris.  (Photo courtesy: Florida archives by Chris Duval)

The general public probably doesn’t understand the concept of all the work going on behind-the-scenes in so many emergency planning teams and centers when a disaster strikes.  I know!  I’ve been there and observed firsthand.  It is AMAZING all the dedication and countless hours performed by government employees and volunteers.

Preparations for Hurricane Michael remain similar to those crises of years past as thousands prepare, respond and recover.

People can help.  Local emergency management teams know the areas best and they have studied their areas in detail.  If they say to evaluate or take certain precautions, please do so.  Once the main threat of a hurricane is underway, emergency response teams can’t respond.

I recall a phone call I received during Hurricane Ivan.

A dad called from California stating he was talking on the phone with his daughter who was in a condominium on the beach near Pensacola, Florida.  She was in her room a few stories above ground level.

The dad said his daughter mentioned the winds were picking up and she could see the ocean pouring in at the bottom floor.  He pleaded for her to take cover and protect herself.

Then … all of a sudden… he heard glass breaking and whirling wind.  He had no sound nor response from his daughter.  He provided the address to me and asked for an emergency responder to check on her.  I advised they will not be able to check until conditions subside.  He seemed desperate.

I told the dad I would pass his information to our law enforcement emergency support team and they may be able to relay information to the search-and-rescue teams when they begin their mission as soon as conditions permit.

– Ron Tittle

So…if you have loved ones around the potential impact areas, please encourage them to listen to local authorities and heed their advice.

Also, continue to monitor local and national news.The Weather Channel is excellent at  keeping the public updated.

FLNG Soldier providing security
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Everyone should also understand how so many agencies are poised and respond immediately when safe to do so.  Currently more than 1,500 Florida National Guard troops are placed in active service by Florida’s governor with thousands on stand-by.

The Guard typically performs planning and staging missions beforehand to ensure their resources are properly placed and ready to move in immediately to the impacted areas.

Hurricane Ivan house destroyed - SFGate - photo by AP, Phil Coale
The owner of this house on Cape San Blas kneels to pray in front of the rubble.  The home was destroyed by the winds and waves of Hurricane Ivan.  (Photo by AP/Phil Coale, posted at

Many military missions will include helping with search-and-rescue, security, aviation support, moving supplies and equipment, and so many other responsibilities as determined by the State Emergency Operations Center.  Usually hundreds or thousands of Guard troops come from other states, along with active duty federal military, Coast Guard and other agencies.


Hurricane Ivan surges onto Ft. Walton Beach, 2004
Police car and storm surge during Hurricane Ivan’s landfall – Fort Walton Beach, Florida. (Photo courtesy: Florida archives by Chris Duval)

State agencies conduct similar planning and response.  Fish and Wildlife Commission teams do quite well in search-and-rescue along with various law enforcement agencies and fire/rescue teams.




Hurricane Ivan roadway destruction -
Photo courtesy:

The Florida Department of Transportation has emergency operations centers working in conjunction with the states’s emergency management center.  They have professional engineers who have already been studying the potential impact of the storm and anticipate how they will respond quickly to assist in recovery.   Once conditions permit, teams will provide a damage assessment to ensure bridges and roadways are safe for the public to use.  The traveling public must be patient.  It takes time to provide sufficient assessments.  All of the response efforts are coordinated with the State Emergency Management Center to ensure the most effective and safe response to, within and from the impact areas, and so the proper resourcing can be provided.  They also coordinate with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).


Hurricane Ivan and I-10 bridge section collapse
Interstate 10 span disappears from the force of Hurricane Ivan in 2004, taking a truck cab and driver with it.  (Photo courtesy:  AP)

Similar to Hurricane Ivan, I suspect many roads will have some of their structure base washed out or damaged in some way to prevent vehicles from crossing.  The repairs could take some time.

So!  Do you risk it with your life or family?  After all, our protection and safety is the primary responsibility of government.  Yet we have to take responsibility as well.

Be prepared! Be safe! Be patient!






Arch Angles 3

St. Louis arch 13Gateway Arch in St. Louis

The Gateway Arch reflects St. Louis’ role in the westward expansion of the United States during the nineteenth century. The park is a memorial to Thomas Jefferson’s role in opening the West, to the pioneers who helped shape its history, and to Dred Scott who sued for his freedom in the Old Courthouse.

St. Louis Capitol with arch in foreground
The Old St. Louis County Courthouse was built as a combination federal and state courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri. Missouri’s tallest habitable building from 1864 to 1894, it is now part of the Gateway Arch National Park and operated by the National Park Service for historical exhibits and events

One of the most important cases ever tried in the United States was heard in St. Louis’ Old Courthouse. The Supreme Court decided the case in 1857, and hastened the start of the Civil War. An interesting and short read about the Dred Scott case is at



St. Louis Capitol






May we never forget the fight for freedom of those around the world who have been in slavery, or being held captive.  God is no respecter of persons and no human being should ever be considered property to own and sell.  Let’s learn from our past and treat EVERY person with respect and dignity, as God created each of us as equal.



Arch Angles 2

St. Louis arch 4

Arch Angles 2

Gateway Arch in St. Louis

The Gateway Arch reflects St. Louis’ role in the westward expansion of the United States during the nineteenth century. The park is a memorial to Thomas Jefferson’s role in opening the West, to the pioneers who helped shape its history, and to Dred Scott who sued for his freedom in the Old Courthouse.

St. Louis arch 3

Oh the Gateway Arch, standing firm over the city,

Spreading your angles, for all to see.

You see where we do not,

Rising up and over, sometimes casting a shadow on me.

The sun reflects your angle and glides along your side,

As the moon rises to glow through the night.

Then the dawn of another day,

For you to shine for others – do not sway.  – Ron Tittle



Florida’s Music

Florida music with natureI enjoy this image I saw at a Florida welcome center, Osceola National Forest, highlighting Florida’s music.

The trumpeting of sandhill cranes, croaking of bull gators and grunting of pig frogs – part of the natural habitat.

Interstate 10 goes through the Osceola National Forest near Lake City, Florida.  It’s not far from the Suwannee River where Stephen Foster was inspired.

According to VisitFlorida: “On the banks of the Suwannee River, the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park brings camping, canoeing and hiking along this historic river together with living folk culture. The park, named for the composer of Florida’s state song, “Old Folks at Home” (better known as “Way Down Upon the Suwannee River”).

I can see how one like Stephen Foster would be inspired to write.  The following words came to my mind just by looking at the nature photo and driving over the Suwanee River (I see a future post about this river coming.)

“Oh the music to my hears, of the things we hold dear,                                                              Some we may naturally like and some may create fear.                                                            The soft, gentle flow of rain and water,                                                                                    Create an environment that you don’t want to bother.” – Ron Tittle

The caption of the artwork states:

Among the towering trees of Fanny Bay Swamp, listen for the splash of the turtle sliding off its log.

Look for the “trees with knees”! The cypress trees and swamp are home to many of the plants and animals we may see within the Florida forest.

Notice the different plants and animals that live in this ecosystem compared to the pines and flatwoods.

Listen closely, beyond the noisy creatures and soft sound of the wind – enjoying the music of cypress swamps.

“When you try to change any single thing, you find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”  – John Muir



Drift ashore

Driftwood 4Have you ever looked at driftwood along the shore and wondered its origin?

Drifwood 2How long has it been there and how long will it stay?                                                                  What use has the wood provided in time’s past,                                                                      And where it stands, how long before decay?

Driftwood 5

Driftwood is wood washed ashore, along a beach, a sea, lake or river,                                  By the action of winds, tides or waves.

Most driftwood is remains of trees – washed into the ocean, by flood, high winds,                It could exist from logging, or other natural events.

Maybe the tree that once was, and is no more,                                                                          Has no use today, so we think.                                                                                                          But isn’t it still a tree, although different from what we believe?                                          Maybe it was in an important mission, or a boat that would sink.

Driftwood and OspreyDriftwood has a new purpose, to provide a home for birds.                                                  And maybe during its journey – a place for fish or other life, some now extinct.

Driftwood 7But we see the special beauty in the passing of time,                                                              And take photos to remind us how it stands there alone;                                                        For us to behold the splendor,                                                                                                          Of life as it carries on.

Driftwood 3We may think our life’s use won’t last,                                                                                        And we wonder if we drifted ashore.                                                                                                But we must look beyond our past,                                                                                              And know there is more.

Driftwood 1(Additional note from Wikipedia: “There is also a subset of driftwood known as drift lumber. Drift lumber includes the remains of man-made wooden objects, such as buildings and their contents washed into the sea during storms, wooden objects discarded into the water from shore, dropped dunnage or lost cargo from ships (jetsam), and the remains of shipwrecked wooden ships and boats (flotsam). Erosion and wave action may make it difficult or impossible to determine the origin of a particular piece of driftwood.”  (Wikipedia)






Trees of life

Tree design 1Tree oh tree, how do you form?

You spread your roots to withstand the storm.

Tree design 4You press upward toward the sky,

And you continue to grow, until the time to die.

You have a time to live, given by the Creator,

No matter your design, you will not waiver.

We watch as you extend, spreading your limbs,

Tree design 2Awaiting the children, to climb on a whim.

You feel the breeze, the sun and the rain,

You stand there still, quiet and yet without disdain.

Times come when the storms become too great,

Causing your roots to strain and the limbs to break.

Tree design 3Such as the storm Florence we know,

Causing you to yield to water, and winds that blow.

Life in the sway with those whom you received their trust,

They counted on you to hold firm, even when all comes at you with a thrust.

Tree design 5As the threat overbears, you fall and become a threat,

To those loving your beauty and climbed where you’re at.

But those of you that withstand, and endure the pain,

You’ll become stronger, knowing you withstood the strain.

Tree design 6We’ll continue enjoying your beauty, as we should,

We know you’ll continue to grow, if only you could.