Cardinal Open 2007 Monday, Jan 29 2007 

More than one hundred chess players braved the cold weather this past weekend for some hotly contested chess at the 2007 Cardinal Open. This year’s tournament, organized by Mike Joelson and directed by Joe Yun, was held at the Quality Inn in Richfield, Ohio. Grandmaster Alexander Shabalov, Pennsylvania, and Fide Master Sean Nagle, Minnesota, tied for first place in the 38 player Open section with 4.5-0.5 scores. Two International Masters, Calvin Blocker and Dmitry Berkovich, also competed in the Open section. James Tegel and Jeff Levine split the first place prize money in the 17 player Under-2000 section with 4-1 records. I finished tied for fourth with a respectable 3-2 score, two wins, two draws, and one loss. There was a four-way tie for first involving Louis Budziak, Srikar Varadaraj, Fred Long, and Peter Cai who had 4-1 records in the Under 1800 section of 21 players. Blair Koman was the only undefeated player in the tournament, winning the 16 player Under-1600 section with his 5-0 record. Anna Delamerced, with a 4.5-0.5 record, topped the Under 1400 section of 21 players. For the chess enthusiast, this was a great way to spend a winter weekend.

Orchid Forest Sunday, Jan 21 2007 

lavender orchid


The colorful blooms of the Orchid Forest found in the Franklin Park Conservatory’s Tropical Rainforest biome provided a welcome contrast with central Ohio’s first major snowfall of the season. The rocks, waterfalls, and tropical foliage provide a wonderful setting for the sight and scent of exotic orchids. In another area of the Conservatory, it was interesting to see seveal bonsai. Also, a “millefiore” garden, inspired by a technique where glass canes are pressed, melted together and then cut revealing intricate mosaic-like designs that resemble flowers, is a respite from the winter weather.

Silver Falls State Park Saturday, Jan 6 2007 

South Falls, Silver Falls State Park

Silver Falls

Silver Falls State Park, near Silverton, is the largest state park in Oregon at 9,000 acres. The Civilian Conservation Corps built the South Falls Lodge in the 1930s. In 1983, the lodge gained a place on the National Register of Historic Places. Winter is definitely a great time to visit this park. Our drive through the park included walks through the second-growth stands of Douglas fir and western hemlock to see about half of the waterfalls along the trail of ten falls. Silver Falls drops 177 feet with breathtaking beauty. It was possible to walk behind the falls and literally soak up the experience. The Lower South Falls was a wide curtain of rushing water falling 93 feet. Frenchie, a small falls just off the trail, was difficult to photograph because of limited light. Winter Falls, as its name implies, relies on winter runoff and was especially forceful in its 134 foot drop. The picturesque 134 foot North Falls can be viewed from a parking area. Oregon has great waterfalls!

McKenzie River Valley Friday, Jan 5 2007 

Sohalie Falls

Sohalie Falls

East of Eugene are several sights worth exploring along the McKenzie River Valley, a 68 mile corridor between Springfield and Sisters. The Leaburg Dam, located in the middle of the Valley, also has a fish hatchery. We saw two covered bridges. The Goodpasture Bridge, near Vida, is 165 feet long, the second longest covered bridge in Oregon. The Belknap Bridge is in Rainbow. The Belknap Hot Springs produces 60 gallons of 185-195 degree water per minute. The Lodge and gardens would be a great place for a getaway any time of the year. The Trail Bridge Reservoir, at an elevation of 2,000 feet, uses between 74-120 acres to maintain the water level of the river. Our farthest stop up the Valley was to see Sohalie Falls which is located in the Willamette National Forest. The rushing water exploded over the falls surrounded by almost two feet of fresh snow. Another great day taking in the sights of Oregon.

Evergreen Aviation Museum Thursday, Jan 4 2007 

Evergreen Aviation Museum

Evergreen Aviation Museum

The Evergreen Aviation Museum, located in McMinnville, Oregon, displays about 80 aircraft, including the world’s largest wooden aircraft. Originally designated HK-1 for the first aircraft built by Hughes-Kaiser, it was re-designated H-4 for Howard Hughes’ fourth aircraft when Henry Kaiser withdrew from the project. The press insisted on calling Hughes’ Flying Boat the “Spruce Goose” even though most of the plane is made of birch. Construction started in 1942 and finished in 1947. This giant plane was nearly six times bigger than any aircraft of its time and has the longest wingspan (319 feet 11 inches) ever constructed. Howard Hughes flew it on November 2, 1947. It was stored out of the public eye for 33 years. It was exhibited in Long Beach, California in the 1980s. It moved to McMinnville in 1993 and was assembled in its new home in 2001. This giant plane does not appear to be made of wood. It was interesting to step inside this impressive piece of aviation history.

Spirit Mountain Casino Thursday, Jan 4 2007 

Mary Jane Sands & granddaughter Gertrude

Mary Jane Sands & Her Granddaughter Gertrude

A hallway exhibit between the thriving Spirit Mountain Casino and Hotel describes some of the history of the Grand Ronde Tribe, twenty-six different tribes and bands that lived in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. The tribe, formed through controversial decisions in 1855, developed the Chinuck Wawa language from their 26 dialects. In 1954, the U. S. Congress terminated this tribe, but in 1983 the tribe was restored and treaty obligations acknowledged.  In 1988 a reservation was established with 9,811 acres. The tribe has developed an excellent mission statement which has the following elements:

  • a caring people, dedicated to the principles of honesty, building community, individual responsibility, and self-sufficiency through personal empowerment;
  • responsible stewardship of human and natural resources;
  • preserve tribal cultures and traditions.

This tribe lived where I grew up in West Linn and the area near the Willamette Falls was an important meeting place. My early education did not include information about these native peoples. I am glad for the opportunity to learn about their culture and history.

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