Sioux Falls times---"The Light @ end of YOUR Tunnel"

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

More on MN Ave.

So we continue with a bit more about the MN Ave. widening project; but first an observation about a current project with an ironic twist.

Just learned last night that a number of houses near 26th St. & Western Ave. intersection were without water last night; as construction workers broke a 6" diameter water main just west of the intersection. If you've been by there recently you'll recall seeing a huge hole has been excavated in the NW corner of the intersection in Spellerburg park----wonder how long it took that hole to become the second swimming pool in the park with a 6" main feeding it?

Bet the area would make a great ice skating rink today!
A bit more about widening MN Ave.---she did not go easy as they say!

It seems that one, maybe two guys got buried in the process of installing the storm sewer as I recall. No one said that construction was not dangerous business.

Now for a bit about how I learned to run the big frontend loaders by backfilling around the block basements & foundations for the new homes that Windy Tabbart was building in the Hilltop development----somewhere along Point Drive as I recall!

First "learning experience" came when I got too close to the foundation, dumped too much of my bucketfull of dirt and caved in a "green" (uncured) wall of concrete block.....did not make the boss very happy; or me either when I spent most of the next hour digging out all the dirt by hand with a sand shovel!
I learned a new vocabulary; when the blocklayers had to come back from the house up the block; as it seems they got paid for each basement they completed....course they had to stay completed!

Then it rains heavily in the next day or two; and I get the loader stuck right in the middle of what was to become someone's nice new lawn, spin her down to the point of wrapping up the freshly laid copper water service line in the front wheel.
It was an eternity waiting for the boss to return, chew a major piece of my hindside; then "direct" me and a very hung over laborer to round up some 2"X10"'s, put them under the loader bucket so I could raise the front end and drive back off the lawn.....actually had to hook up the 'ole "Corn Binder" (actually an International Harvestor) dump truck and pull it out after about 3 good runs at it.
Boss, Don Kelly, later wondered why the box on the dump truck kept hanging up every so often when you raised it all the way up on a little bit of a slope.....seems we put a little kink in the frame when I had 'ole Charlie the laborer floor it with about 10 feet of slack in the 2" cable we had hooked to the loader!
Probably should have also taken Charlie to the emergency room; as he sure got a nasty cut in his head when he hit the top of the truck cab----seems the front of the truck also came about 3 feet off the ground; when he hit the end of that cable.....however the loader finally came out of the soon-to-be lawn! (Charlie was bleeding like crazy; but didn't even feel it due to the booze he still had in his system.....wonder if those two points had some connection?)
I've also wondered what that future Hilltop homeowner thought; when parts of those 2"X10" boards I nearly drove to China in his lawn came up after a few years of help from winter freezing, spring thawing----probably while he was mowing the lawn!

Fortunately the boss left to check another job; and leaning on the shovel to

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sioux Falls Times---introduction, a story or two

At the request of some that don't realize what they are getting into, I've decided to share a few recollections of my history around Sioux Falls, S.Dak. since the mid 1960's.

I first came to our thriving and growing mini-metropolis, known as FSD by air travelers, to help destruct and then reconstruct Minnesota Ave.---particularly the removal of the boulevard running up the hill from about 4th St. on north; and the widening of the entire road to 4 lanes plus.

A friend of mine from that time was not sad to see the boulevard go. It seems she happened to spin her mother's brand new '64 Pontiac Starchief end-for-end on early morning frost about 1/2 way down the hill without putting a scratch on it----no small task with one of those big boats!

Another memorable occasion was when the dozer operator for Kelly Bros. was backfilling along about a 20 ft. deep trench into which a 72in. storm sewer was being installed; and tipped the CAT into the trench sideways on top of the pipe bright and early one morning.
He just calmly rode her out---kept jockeying the nearly rolled over dozer back and forth; until he got it upright and down off of the pipe without incident. Unfortunately for the adept yet somewhat drunk operator, Daryl Kelly fired him up on the spot!