Bits of Stone for Sunday, March 17
By Dean Stone | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Design of 2014 Smokies quarter reviewed by both supervisory groups
Readers who are collecting the National Park quarters will be interested in knowing the recent reaction to the proposed designs for Great Smoky Mountains National Park which will be released in 2014.
The Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) met separately to consider designs.
The CFA preferred a view of a log cabin before a mountain backdrop, while the CCAC refrained from making a recommendation. Instead, they requested additional, simpler designs.
The result of other designs for 2014 coins:
• Shenandoah National Park in Virginia — Both groups preferred a design showing a hiker looking out from Little Stony Man Mountain. CCAC offered suggestions to modify it.
• Arches National Park in Utah — Two of the park’s iconic arches were the focus of these designs. The CFA voted for a view showing one-half of the Double Arch Formation. Almost unanimously, CCAC awarded 28 of a possible 30 points to a design featuring Delicate Arch.
• Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado — The CFA selected a scene depicting the park’s three major geographic areas (sand dunes, mountains and grasslands), the CCAC once again requested better, revised designs.
• Everglades National Park in Florida — The two groups were in agreement on this design, selecting a coin showing two water birds within the park but requested a cloud be removed.
Finalized and approved designs for the 2014 quarters are not expected until much later this year.
White Mountain National Forest
Leading the five to be coined this year is White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire which is now available.
The reverse features 3,490-foot Mount Chocorua in the Sandwich Range. It is one of New Hampshire’s most hiked and most photographed mountains.
The White Mountain region’s tall mountains, many over 4,000 feet, provide superb panoramic views. On a clear day, one can see all the way to Canada and New York from the top of 6,288-foot Mount Washington, the highest peak in the northeastern United States. The vibrant red, orange and yellow colors of the fall foliage season are a major attraction.
For more than 75 years, the top of Mount Washington held the record for the highest recorded wind speed on land. In April 1934, a wind gust of 231 mph was recorded by the Mount Washington Observatory. The record still stands as the northern hemisphere’s fastest wind.
When I visited there several years ago on a clear day in September, the temperature and winds at the top of the mountain were as severe as any I have witnessed in Blount County.
The forest also offers 1,200 miles of hiking trails, 23 campgrounds, downhill and cross-country ski terrain and hundreds of lakes, rivers and streams for fishing, canoeing and kayaking.
Other 2013 National Park quarters
Later this year the next four will become available:
Perry’s Victory and International Peace, Ohio; Great Basin National Park, Nev.; Fort MacHenry, Md.; Mount Rushmore, S.D.
Others planned and the year of release:
2015 — Homestead National Monument of America, Neb.; Kisatchie National Forest, La.; Blue Ridge Parkway, N.C.; Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, Del.; Saratoga National Historical Park, N.Y.
2016 — Shawnee National Forest, Ill.; Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Ky.; Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, W.Va.; Theodore Roosevelt National Park, N.D.; Fort Moultrie (Fort Sumter National Monument), S.C.
2017 — Effigy Mounds National Monument, Iowa; Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, District of Columbia; Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Mo.; Ellis Island National Monument (Statue of Liberty), N.J.; George Rogers Clark National Historical Park, Ind.
2018 — Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Mich.; Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wis.; Cumberland Island National Seashore, Ga.; Block Island National Wildlife Refuge, R.I.; Lowell National Historic Park, Mass.
2019 — American Memorial Park, Northern Mariana Islands; War in the Pacific National Historical Park, Guam; San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, Texas; Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, Idaho.
2020 — National Park of American Samoa, American Samoa; Weir Farm National Historic Site, Conn.; Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve, U.S. Virgin Islands; Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, Vt.; Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Kan.
2021 — Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, Ala.
Coins released prior to 2013
In the event you lost track, here are the previous releases in the series:
2010 — Hot Springs National Park, Ark.; Yellowstone National Park, Wyo.; Yosemite National Park, Calif.; Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz.; Mt. Hood National Forest, Ore.
2011 — Gettysburg National Military Park, Pa.; Glacier National Park, Mont.; Olympic National Park, Wash.; Vicksburg National Military Park, Miss.; Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Okla.
2012 — El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico; Chaco Culture National Historical Park, N.M.; Acadia National Park, Maine; Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii; Denali National Park, Alaska.
The entire list is included for two reasons: It will be helpful to casual coin collectors, and it could become a geography lesson for both young and old.
Moscow exceeds New York City in number of billionaire residents
In the event you are a billionaire and think you are residing in the wrong city, here is Forbes’ listing of the Top 10 Billionaire Cities:
1. Moscow, Russia, 84.
2. New York, N.Y., 62.
3. (tie) Hong Kong, special administrative area of China; London, England, 43.
5. Istanbul, Turkey, 37.
6. Sao Paulo, Brazil, 26.
7. Mumbai (Bombay), India, 24.
8. Seoul, South Korea, 23.
9. Beijing, China, 21.
10. (tie) Dallas, Texas; Paris, France, 18.
Approximately 95 bills in 33 states introduced on suspected child abuse
Reporting child abuse is a common thread in legislation being proposed in 33 of our 50 states this year.
Most readers are aware of Tennessee’s efforts to strengthen protection and reporting of child abuse and neglect. However, the four bills introduced in Tennessee are well below the 11 in New York, nine in Texas and six in Pennsylvania. The problem is reaching the national scene.
The National Conference of State Legislatures reports states are moving ahead of the federal government in regulating hydraulic fracturing of deep deposits of natural gas so they can be consumed.
A number of federal programs such as Medicaid and Social Security are exempt from the sequestration cuts. Its effects on scores of other federal assistance programs varies widely.
Junk mail catalogs offer expensive drag on US mail, a few good laughs
We occasionally order from two mail order firms to obtain items not available locally. The problem is, all these mail order companies exchange addresses, frequently misspell or rearrange your name and in the end one receives untold scores of unwanted junk catalogs. The postal service says these unwanted junk mail catalogs that clutter my mail box pay their fair share of postage. If they do, my first class stamps are vastly overpriced. No wonder the Post Office is going broke.
But, back to the subject. I occasionally flip through a catalog just to enjoy a laugh. One of my most recent offered a hot tub boat with a vinylester hull, topped with a slatted deck of African teak. The tub is eight feet long, four feet wide and drafts only 20 inches when filled with a maximum load of 2,100 pounds of water and six adults.
An integrated diesel-powered boiler with an adjustable thermostat heats the water to 104 degrees. A water-proof stereo system plays music from your MP3 player through two flush-mounted 50-watt speakers that popup from the deck. It has four ice chests built into the deck and other storage areas.
A 24-volt electric motor propels the boat up to five mph on calm water. It is steered with a joy stick by bather located at starboard/aft. Its rechargeable battery bank provides up to 10 hours of power from overnight charge and using on-board chargers.
Hot tub cover is included. The boat is 16 feet long and has a dry weight of 1,200 pounds. The price is $42,000.
Even if it were given to you, wouldn’t you hate to maintain it, schedule and pay for trips for all your new-found friends who just “love” a hot tub?
Dean Stone is editor of The Times.