Military Appreciation Month

May is National Military Appreciation Month here in the United States!

Military Appreciation Month

Being that I know a lot of people who are either serving in the military, or have served in the past, it’s only fitting to write up another post that is dedicated to the hardworking men and women who defend our country’s freedom each and every day! Honestly, I didn’t know that National Military Appreciation Month existed until just last year, when I learned about the many ways that my employer supports our military!

What is National Military Appreciation Month?

Military members can always be seen at major sporting events, especially during the playing of our National Anthem. Photo Credit: US Army.
Military members can always be seen at major sporting events, especially during the playing of our National Anthem. Photo Credit: US Army.

National Military Appreciation Month began in 1999 via Congressional designation as a way to not only to recognize and celebrate the achievements of our hardworking military personnel, but to also educate American citizens on the historical impact of our military through community involvement. There’s even an official website that you can visit to learn more about National Military Appreciation Month, all of the events that encompass the month of May, and how you and your community can get involved! Of course, one of the most simplest ways to show your appreciation for our military, is to tell a military service member “Thank You for Your Service!”

Video Credit: US Department of Defense. Posted on the official NMAM website homepage.

What does the month of May encompass in respect to military appreciation?

The month of may encompasses several different days that are dedicated to the US military, including Military Spouse Appreciation Day on May 9, Armed Forces Day on May 17, and of course…Memorial Day on May 26. In addition, VE Day (which marked the end of World War II in Europe) is May 8; and this year…President Obama proclaimed May 1 as Loyalty Day.

The USS Ramage returns home!

The USS Ramage (DDG-61) at sunrise (or sunset, not sure which). Photo Credit: US Navy.
The USS Ramage (DDG-61) at sunrise (or sunset, not sure which). Photo Credit: US Navy.

This post could not have come at a better time! One of my favorite US Navy ships, the USS Ramage (DDG-61) returned to its homeport at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, VA this past weekend after embarking on a nine-month deployment in the Mediterranean region with a focus on Ballistic Missile Defense.

The Ramage is a US Navy Guided Missile Destroyer that was commissioned in 1995, and was named after Vice Admiral Lawson Paterson Ramage (USN), who served during World War II. Now this isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned the Ramage in my posts, as I have mentioned the ship in my Veterans Day posts in 2012 and 2013.

LTJG Jamison R. Fiebrandt, whom I know personally. Photo Credit: US Navy.
LTJG Jamison R. Fiebrandt, whom I know personally. Photo Credit: US Navy.

I personally know two officers onboard the Ramage, one of whom is Lieutenant Junior Grade Jamison R. Fiebrandt, pictured above. I thank him and the entire Ramage crew for doing all that they do to help protect our country’s freedom! ROCK ON RAMAGE CREW!

HARTride 2012

Merry Christmas & the Year-End Transit Roundup!

Hi everyone!

I know that I’ve been lagging behind on posting as of late. I’ve been trying to get into a regular schedule, but November and December have been much busier than I thought. Holiday event planning is definitely no easy task, and I’ve been having to help my family out with several different events that took place during the past couple months. Add to that; my computer problems during August and September, and my hiatus from earlier in the year. I know that in the end, I probably let down some of my viewers, and I sincerely apologize for that. I hope that with the new year, I can finally devote some time to make some major updates.

For those of you who celebrate Christmas, I would like to wish you, and your family a very Merry Christmas! I certainly hope that you are able to enjoy this wonderful day, no matter where you are located!

With all this said, I would like to take some time to reflect back on some of the major transit-related developments that occurred in 2012. I have grouped everything by month, and color coded each event as they pertain to the particular focus region that I cover in my blog.

BLUE: Tampa Bay (HART, PSTA, MCAT, SCAT, PCPT, Hernando THEbus, Citrus County Transportation)

GREEN: Orlando Area (LYNX, SunRail)

RED: Hampton Roads, VA (HRT)

TEAL: New York City, NY (NYCMTA)

PURPLE: Paris, France (RATP, STIF, SNCF)

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Veterans Day 2012 Salute

It is said that a photo is worth a thousand words. I truly believe this saying when it comes to many photos that we look at each day. With Veterans Day approaching, I wanted to take some time to first thank all those who are serving, or have served in the branches of the United States military. I also would like to take a moment to post a couple of photo finds that I’ve come across during the past few months.

I first wanted to start with the US Navy, by which I’ve been very fascinated with since I was a child. In 2001, I had a rare opportunity to witness the commissioning of the USS Lassen (DDG 82), which is one of many guided missile destroyers that the Navy has in its fleet. The Lassen is currently stationed in Yokosuka, Japan, where it has been since 2005. Prior to 2005, the ship was stationed in San Diego, CA.

USS Lassen Commissioning in Tampa (2001)
The commissioning ceremony for the USS Lassen (DDG 82) in Tampa, FL (April 21, 2001). ~ Photo taken by HARTride 2012.

The above photo is of the commissioning ceremony that took place on April 21, 2001 in Tampa’s Channelside District. Back then, Channelside was just beginning its transformation from a largely industrial center into a livable urban complex. Although the cruise ship port was already in place during the 1990s (and the Florida Aquarium since its opening 1995), the residential boom in the district did not take full effect until around 2003.

Touring the USS Lassen definitely felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me, especially now that security has become so tight since the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001. So it may be a very long time before I have another chance to be able to step aboard another active US Navy ship. Nonetheless, I enjoyed every moment of the ceremony and tour, including being able to see Tampa’s downtown skyline from the ship’s bridge.

Yes, I will say this right now, the USS Lassen is one of my favorite US Navy ships! 😀

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Watching Issac…

Hi everyone,

The RNC is just days away. Unfortunately, we now have a significant hurricane threat on our hands.

Tropical Storm Issac formed in the Atlantic roughly a week ago and the projected path sends the storm right into Florida during the week of the RNC. Not far behind Issac is Tropical Storm Joyce, which formed a few days ago. The big question right now is whether the Issac will strengthen into a hurricane by this weekend. It is quite possible that it will reach at least Category 1 status by Saturday, depending on its track and how much wind sheer (if any) it encounters. The second question is where will the storm make landfall?

Government officials here in Tampa are prepared to cancel the RNC if the threat from Issac becomes too great, which I certainly cannot blame them if this circumstance occurs. There are so many visitors, in addition to residents, that would need to be evacuated…and FAST, if the storm were to move our way.

Because the weather changes so much, I would advise everyone to stay tuned to their local TV stations (like Bay News 9) for updates.

With that said, I wanted to remind everyone about how important it is to be prepared for the Hurricane season and to inform everyone that you do have options if you are not able to evacuate from the Bay Area.

Click “Continue Reading” to read further on my previous posting about the 2012 Hurricane Season.

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RNC Roundup

Hi Everyone,

Despite my computer troubles, I was determined to get at least one post up this week. With the Republican National Convention just days away; you may have noticed many of the temporary venues going up in downtown Tampa. At this point; many municipal government offices in downtown Tampa are beginning to pack their bags and move to satellite locations, where they can continue offering services while being away from the security perimeter that is being set up around the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where the event will be held. Both HART and PSTA have finalized (for the most part) which transit services will be detoured during the week-long event. You can view the link below to see more information regarding the various road closures and transit detours during the convention.

I must stress once again that if you don’t need to be in downtown Tampa or downtown St. Pete when the many events are in motion; please avoid the areas altogether. Though St. Pete will be in the midst of the opening celebrations at Tropicana Field, an event zone has been set up throughout the city for the duration of the convention, so many streets in the area may remain closed for the entire week. However; if you do plan to be in the area; please be mindful of the heightened security presence and tons and tons of protesters. I certainly don’t want to see anyone hurt because the rules were not followed. With that said; I wish everyone a safe and wonderful rest of the month! I will be slow to post my other posts due to limited internet access, etc. for the next few weeks.

For a summary of the latest transit detours and road closures; click here.


Warmest Regards;

HARTride 2012

RNC = Road Closures & Transit Detours

Please note that due to the rapidly changing information; this post will be periodically updated. Be sure to check back for updates. The last update to this post was on 7/31/12.

On July 23, 2012, the US Secret Service unveiled its listing of roadway closures throughout the Tampa Bay Area during the Republican National Convention. And boy do we have a lot of thoroughfares on the list. Most of the closures will be centered in around downtown Tampa; where the event will be held. However, due to RNC events in downtown St. Pete; some roadways there will be closed as well.

In Tampa; some of the roadways to be closed during the RNC (which will be held August 26 through the 30) include the following:

  • Bayshore Blvd northeast of Swann Ave (Access will be available to the Davis Islands)
  • Platt St, Brorien St, and Frankland St bridges
  • Basically every single downtown roadway south of Whiting St (access to Harbour Island will be limited)
  • The Lee Roy Selmon Expressway between Willow Ave and 50th St (the Reversible Lanes will remain open)
  • Tampa Bay Blvd between Dale Mabry Hwy & Himes Ave

In St. Pete; many city roadways will be closed; in addition to Interstate 175.

In addition to the roadway closures; parking and pedestrian access through both cities will be restricted.

For the full list of roadways impacted (including maps of the affected areas); click here. To view the article on Bay News 9; click here.

Click “Continue Reading” for updates on Public Transit Restrictions/Detours.

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The RNC is just around the corner.

I’m sure many of you have been hearing for months now about the Republican National Convention coming to Tampa. But here’s a question that you may not have been able to quite answer yet; have you planned out your commute during the event?

For some, the answer may be to completely avoid downtown Tampa at all costs. I am fortunate to be one of those people who can just take Dale Mabry Highway to Busch Boulevard and be on my way. However, I know many of you out there may have to go through downtown Tampa and not have very many options available to avoid the impending gridlock. For one thing, many city streets will be closed during the event (which is to be held August 25 through 27, 2012). This includes the Platt St Bridge, which sends traffic underneath the convention center and next to the Tampa Bay Times Forum (where the event will be held). The bridge will most certainly be closed due to security reasons. But other major thoroughfares may end up closing too. They include, but are not limited to; Channelside Dr, Brorien St (including the bridge), and yes…even the Selmon Expressway viaduct through downtown could be closed.

We probably won’t know the full extent of the road closures until just a couple weeks before the event because the US Secret Service will ultimately determine the security perimeter around the Forum and which thoroughfares will close.

Public transit will also be heavily affected by the RNC. In fact, a vast majority of HART’s bus routes, as well as both of PSTA’s express bus routes, traverse through Downtown Tampa. As a result, you can expect a lot of detours throughout downtown. My guess is that many routes will detour via Cass & Tyler Streets and then enter the Marion Transit Center through that route. My suggestion to you is to keep up to date with HART, PSTA, and local news outlets for the latest updates regarding traffic conditions, transit detours, and road closures. In addition, many government offices will be closed or have operations housed temporarily in other locations throughout Tampa Bay during the convention, so you will need to check with the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County government websites to see if the office of the service you’re inquiring about will be closed the weekend of the RNC.

For those of you who do not need to go through downtown on a daily basis, I will say again, please avoid downtown at all costs.

Please note that when the security perimeter has been finalized; HART will let patrons know about which services will be affected. You can read HART’s blog for more info on that.

Warmest Regards,

HARTride 2012