This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Platform Dedication

By a strange fluke I heard that today the official dedication of the Amtrak platform was to take place, so I wandered over to see what would happen. The first surprise was that the dedication was moved inside, to the gas department building because of the rain and threat of rain. I was surprised by how many people were there. The start of the proceedings was delayed because the people in charge were waiting for a color guard that had been at a funeral. Finally they started. I do not know if the color guard ever showed up.

This event had the usual assortment of speakers. Below you see the man who the city officials called "Charlie Amtrak," a employee of the government affairs department of Amtrak. In addition to activity that is equivalent to lobbying, they spend time on community relations, which is why he was at this event. He pointed out that Amtrak is trying to fully comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and that the new platform was part of that effort. Mayor Arihood spoke briefly and presented Amtrak with a key to the city. Councilman Richard Comingore spoke, as did Kevin Kelly from the Jasper County Economic Development group. Kelly said that the Amtrak stop was important not just for Rensselaer but for the region, and he thought it would make Rensselaer a more desirable place for people to retire. With the ability to hop on Amtrak and get to either Indianapolis or Chicago in a couple hours, older people could get the amenities of the large city without the hassle of driving in the large city.
A number of people were recognized but did not speak: representatives from Senators Lugar and Coates (but not from Representative Visclosky, which surprised me), Jessica Chapman as a representative of Saint Joseph's College, Steve Clapp from the Chamber of Commerce. and the Lions Club. The Lions had adopted the little station house as one of their projects and had in the past re-roofed it and done other repairs that were needed.

The third, fourth, and fifth grades from St. Augustine's school sang "Back Home in Indiana" at the beginning of the program and "God Bless America" at the end. They were bussed over, and I gave the very tall student who you see on the left below some grief about that. I distinctly recall walking miles and miles to and from school (uphill both ways), usually in the snow or hail. We never got bussed.
Near the end of the indoor ceremony, a representative of Amtrak presented the mayor with a framed poster of the Cardinal, the train that runs from Washington DC to Chicago three or four times a week. (When the Cardinal does not run, the Hoosier State does. You can tell the difference if you see the trains--the Cardinal has more cars.) It is supposed to be hung in city hall, so if you ever see it there, you will now know why it is there.
Then it was time for everyone to go outside for the ribbon cutting. Fortunately, the rain had stopped.
The mayor did the honors.

Speaking of the Lions, they will co-host their Easter Egg Hunt (with the Rensselaer Republican) on Saturday, April 23 at Brookside Park at 1:00. This is the same time that Fountain Stone Theaters will host its Egg hunt. That should cause some agony among people with small children who want them to collect as much candy as possible. There are other egg hunts as well--I think I saw a note in the Rensselaer Republican that the Rensselaer Care Center was going to have one.

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