September 2008


Point Pleasant, West Virginia yesterday hosted a wonderful Save the Delta Queen rally at their picturesque waterfront.

Point Pleasant, WV waterfront
Point Pleasant, WV waterfront
Members of the Point Pleasant High School drumline

Members of the Point Pleasant High School drumline

 

Music was provided by members of the Point Pleasant High School Drumline.

Louise and Tony Ellis also treated the crowd to some terrific old river songs. I understand Tony has a terrific collection of CDs available through his website at www.tonyellisbanjo.com. Here’s a snippet from their performance:

There were many kind words about the Delta Queen and testimonials about the economic impact the boat makes on the region. Charles Humphries of Main Street Point Pleasant helped organize and host the event. Guest speakers included Michelle Craig from the Region 2 Planning and Development Council; Bob Hood, the Executive Director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Gallia County, Ohio; and Robert Dafford, the artist who has created the floodwall murals for Point Pleasant (and so many other river towns). Each spoke eloquently and passionately about the importance of preserving the Delta Queen.

I also was invited to speak and did my best to remind the crowd of the historical and economic significance of this American treasure. As I regularly do here, I urged the crowd to get involved and contact their Congressional representatives in the House and Senate.

We had a crowd of about 100 in attendance and regional print and broadcast media covered the event. It was a tremendous success.

Here’s a steam whistle salute to Point Pleasant for all their terrific support! CLICK HERE for a whistle salute.

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Yes, it is true that passengers and crew make an impact on the local economy by purchasing tours of the area and patronizing locals shops, cafes, pubs, etc. At our Delta Queen rally yesterday hosted by Point Pleasant, West Virginia, several local leaders gave speeches on the importance of the Delta Queen to the local economy.

USA Today, Nov. 1, 2007 
Delta Queen might just keep rolling along
By Gene Sloan

More than 100 cities and towns, mostly in Middle America, already have passed resolutions calling on Congress to extend the boat’s long-standing exemption to a 1966 U.S. Coast Guard fire safety rule.  

And the support just keeps rolling in…

Here’s some evidence – a picture of a few of the crew of the Delta Queen enjoying coffee (and wireless internet – ahh, the outside world!) in Marietta, Ohio on Sunday.

DQ crew boosting the Marietta, Ohio economy

DQ crew boosting the Marietta, Ohio economy

What a terrific day! Not only did we enjoy a wonderful Save the Delta Queen rally hosted by Point Pleasant, West Virginia (a full report on this will be tomorrow’s post), but we learned confirmation of a big step forward in securing the Delta Queen’s exemption.
 

Ohio Senator George V. Voinovich

Ohio Senator George V. Voinovich

Today, George V. Voinovich (R-OH), Ohio’s senior senator, introduced legislation to extend the exemption of the Delta Queen.

In his press release, Senator Voinovich said:
“This legislation is a necessary step towards preserving the legacy of the Delta Queen. The Delta Queen continues to be a source of historic preservation and economic benefit to Ohio and many other states. I have many fond memories of spending time as a passenger on the Delta Queen and I am pleased to have this opportunity to help preserve its wonderful heritage for our children and grandchildren.”

Another great detail about the bill submission is that it is receiving bi-partisan support. Co-sponsors include Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Thad Cochran (R-MS) and David Vitter (R-LA).

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Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning

Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning

On the same morning Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning sent his representative John Salyers to attend the Save The Delta Queen Rally in Maysville, Kentucky, the Senator also gave a teleconference interview and made these disappointing remarks about the proposed legislation to continue to allow the Delta Queen to operate:

From the Associated Press:
“They ought to clean up their act before they come and ask for the exemption,” Bunning, R-Ky., told reporters during a conference call Tuesday morning. “I sure don’t want to have the Delta Queen come and burn down and kill however many people…I’m not going to vote for an exemption unless the Delta Queen is fire-worthy,” Bunning said. “What happens if it burns? Who is responsible for that?”

What disappoints me is that Sen. Bunning clearly has no accurate information about the Delta Queen’s safety and yet that did not stop him from making these remarks.

I hope to share with Sen. Bunning more information about the extensive equipment, staff, training, and drills that compose a safety plan on the Delta Queen that has resulted in more than 80 years without a loss of life or significant incident. In 1979, the Secret Service deemed the vessel safe enough for President Jimmy Carter to spend a week aboard with his family.

Vicki Webster (working tirelessly for the volunteer Save the Delta Queen effort) spoke with his press secretary, Mike Reynard, and has forwarded info about the Delta Queen’s safety program. She also invited Sen. Bunning to tour the boat any time that he could.

Just to follow up on this, if you are a Kentucky resident, I encourage you to share your support of the Delta Queen with Senator Bunning:

PHONE: 202-224-4343
FAX: 202-228-1373
MAIL: Senator Jim Bunning
   316 Hart Senate Office Building
   Washington, DC 20510
EMAIL: You also can email him your feelings through his website at this address: CLICK HERE.
Please forward him the following link to information about the Delta Queen’s safety program:
https://deltaqueen.wordpress.com/deltaqueensafety/

Let’s make sure he has all the information to enable them to make an educated decision to Save the Delta Queen.

There is a wonderful editorial about Senator Bunnings lack of support on the Evansville Courier & Press website. It’s a great read. To enjoy it, CLICK HERE.

This situation with Sen. Bunning is a great example of why we all need to make certain that our own representatives are aware of the Delta Queen issue so they are prepared when a reporter questions them AND prepared when the issue comes to a vote!

CLICK HERE to see how you can help.

–END–

Only one more remaining visit to Pittsburgh…

Pulling away from our landing near the ballpark at the mouth of the Allegheny River.

Pulling away from our landing near the ballpark at the mouth of the Allegheny River.

Looking back at downtown Pittsburgh and the point where the Allegheny River (coming in from the left) joins the Monongahela River (coming in from the right) to form the Ohio River.

Looking back at downtown Pittsburgh and the point where the Allegheny River (coming in from the left) joins the Monongahela River (coming in from the right) to form the Ohio River.

We are departing on a 10-day cruise down the Ohio River for more than 900 miles and then up the picturesque Cumberland River for another 191 miles to Nashville, Tennessee.
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Sunset approaching Emsworth Dam

Sunset approaching Emsworth Dam

I’ve added lots of new content to the other pages.

Read how you can help Save the Delta Queen.

Learn more about the Delta Queen’s struggles.

Learn how your House Representative voted regarding the Delta Queen exemption amendment in April.

Enjoy.

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Yvette and Jim Wenzel

Yvette and Jim Wenzel

Occasionally onboard the Delta Queen, we have cruise guests who must use a magical spell to squeeze historical costumes into their luggage. Visiting from Oregon, Yvette and Jim Wenzel sure made a stir in the dining room when they paraded to their table. Yvette was decked out in a gorgeous burgundy hoop skirt dress that she even designed. Jim was duded up in striped pants, a frock coat, vest, string tie, and straw gambler’s hat. Folks like the Wenzels sure do add a splash of flair onboard the Delta Queen and their fashions certainly contribute to the festive air of keeping history alive from aboard an authentic steam-powered paddlewheeler.

–END–

Yesterday, the city of Maysville, Kentucky hosted a wonderful Save the Delta Queen Rally. Special thanks to Maysville Mayor David Cartmell and Duff Giffen, Director of the Maysville-Mason County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

I was honored to be invited to address the crowd of about 100. A representative from Congressman Geoff Davis’ office shared his enthusiastic support to save the Delta Queen. A representative of Senator James Bunning also attended. Delightful music was provided by Saint Patrick’s Elementary and High School choirs. The members of the high school choir also wanted to share this message:

I am helping plan and host 27 of these events on behalf of Majestic America Line – one for every port of call the Delta Queen visits in 2008. But many other communities like Maysville have hosted their own events in support of saving the boat. What a tribute! Vicki Webster of the grassroots Save The Delta Queen campaign has been instrumental in helping to coordinate many of these events. There is another similar event scheduled at 10 a.m. next Tuesday, September 16 in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. If you’re in the area, stop by. I’ve again been asked to speak to the crowd.

Don’t give up hope. Contact your Congressman and Senators!

–END—

Here is a great editorial published in Huntington, West Virginia’s “Herald Dispatch” about Saving the Delta Queen.” Diane Mufson recently traveled on the Delta Queen and here provides great motivation for getting involved.

CLICK HERE TO READ ARTICLE.

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