I wish everyone well in the Washington DC area after the devastating storm that passed through this past Friday evening. It is my understanding that at least 17 people were killed and more than 1.3 million homes and businesses in the Washington area were left without power as a result of the storm, which blew hurricane-force winds across a 700-mile-long path from Illinois to New Jersey. This storm occurred during a record-setting heat wave, which greatly increased the suffering of those affected. As of Monday afternoon, almost half-a-million businesses and homes were still without power in the Washington area, and many customers may be left without electricity — and air conditioning and refrigeration — through the end of this week. The video and photographs of the devastation are sobering, and I hope that the affected areas and residents are able to recover quickly.

This storm again points out the current fragile state of our nation’s power grid and infrastructure, and it reminds me of the blackout that we suffered here in Southern California in September 2011. According to reports, up to 7 million people were affected by the blackout at its peak, which was blamed on an error made by a technician who was replacing a capacitor bank on a 500 kV line at a power substation in Arizona. The error cascaded through the entire Southern California power grid over the course of 11 minutes, ultimately resulting in the widespread blackout which lasted many hours. I am sure that our enemies have taken note of these weaknesses in our infrastructure, and will attempt to exploit them if and when they decide the time is right.

* * *

On Tuesday, June 26th, Betty and I attended the Salvation Army Door of Hope construction kick-off for its new Transitional Living Center here in San Diego. This new building will provide shelter and services for homeless women and children as they try to rebuild their lives. We have been supporters of the Door of Hope for several years, and we are pleased with the good work they are doing there.

After attending the construction kick-off, Betty and I went to Baci’s Italian restaurant on Morena Boulevard. We were frequent patrons there many years ago, and our visit brought back many pleasant memories. I have included a photo of Betty and me from the Door of Hope event below.

* * *

I hope you all have a very happy Fourth of July holiday, whatever you decide to do to celebrate. We will likely have lunch at the Beach and Tennis Club, then watch the fireworks at our daughter Mary Ann’s house that evening. Her home is perfectly situated on Mount Soledad to watch the pyrotechnics over La Jolla Cove.

– Bob

8 Responses to “Devastating Storm, Salvation Army Door of Hope, and Happy Fourth of July”

  1. 1 Robert John Rabe

    Hi Bob
    My wife and I sat out the recent storm that passed the DC area while visiting our children and lucked out at keeping our power on, though we saw a lot of trees down and branches flying about. And it is really hot here now. We are currently sailing our boat SEARAVEN in the Sea of Cortez, but will be bashing back to San Diego this month, sailing out from La Paz, BCS. Linear Accelerator Alumni, circa 1965. I hope this finds you in good health. R.J. Rabe

  2. 2 Virgil M. Rochester, Jr.

    Dr. Beyster,

    I loved you article and it is so nice to see that you have not changed over the years. It is hard for me to believe that it will be 40 years this coming July 17th that I joined SAI in La Jolla. I can honestly say those were some of the most memorable days of my life. As a young mathematician right out of the university, I was exposed to some of the brightest and most motivated individuals that I have ever met in my life. To say that I was a little overwhelmed would be an understatement. I remember Don Huffman walking into my office on my first day at work and introducing himself and welcoming me aboard. His parting words to me were that the previous two individuals who had been hired into that slot were fired!

    The invidivuals that I had the opportunity to work with, such as Gene Ray, Joe Manship, Janice Cole, Jerry Hutchinson, Elgie McGrath, Gil Dimmers, Dave Irving, Van Hudson, and Dr. Curt Lee were some of the finest individuals I have ever met. The environment was purely high energy and I remember working well into the night working on problems that were simply fascinating and that had significance for our country. The only reason that I would go home was because I was so tired that I was going backwards… Wow… those were the days.

    Even now, I get that magical feeling when I recollect those days and all of the wonderful experiences as a young fledgling in an incredible company. If I could live those days over again, I would do it in a heartbeat. I can honestly say that those early days at SAI working with you and all of those incredibly dedicated individuals were some of the best days of my life.

    The best to you and your family, and thank you for the opportunity to have worked for such a fine institution.

    As a side note, my father, Virgil M. Rochester, Sr. (aka “Rocky”) still lives on his ranch north of Escondido and still manages to get out and work on the avocado grove. He recently bought a 4-wheel Kubota pick-up that he and my mom use to patrol and work in the grove.

    Waremest Regards,

    Virgil M. Rochester, Jr.

  3. 3 Dr. Beyster

    Virgil: It was very good to hear from you. I always enjoy hearing from my early SAI coworkers. Your post reminded me that in the old days, if someone wasn’t performing, we didn’t monkey around — we let him go. As a result, we had some extremely talented people on our team. It’s people like you who over the years contributed so much to SAIC. I am personally grateful to you and to everyone else who helped out. We couldn’t have done it without you. — Bob

  4. 4 Dr. Beyster

    Robert: I wonder if you still glow in the dark like I do? I understand that the old GA linear accelerator has been taken apart and used for other purposes. I hope you had a good sail up from Mexico. I hope to see you out on the water. — Bob

  5. 5 Virgil Rochester

    Dr. Beyster,

    I want to thank you for taking the time to write back to me and wish you the very best. One of the things that I found ironic about your reply was that you responed on July 17, which was the my first day on the job in July of 1972. What an incredible coincidence and now it is a memory that I will carry with me the rest of my life.

    Best to you and your family always.


  6. 6 Dr. Beyster

    Virgil: Thank you for latest post and for the well wishes — I appreciate it. I think it’s quite remarkable that I chose July 17th, your first day of work at SAI, to post my previous response to you. The world works in mysterious ways sometimes, doesn’t it? — Bob

  7. 7 R.J.Rabe

    Hi Bob
    I just read your reply to my July 5, 2012 e-mail to you. I don’t glow anymore from the Linac, but it did give me a bladder cancer wihich I beat. DOL sent me a little $$omething to ease my discomfort, LOL. Well, we did the bash back up the coast to Ensenada, and got as much water on the deck as we did below the keel. Take my word on it, but July is not a good month to make the trip up. My wife and I guess we now will sell “Sea Raven”, a Hans Christian 38T, and travel more by plane, less headwind. I hope you still enjoy sailing your Hinckley. In that regard, I wish you fair winds and follwing seas, and good health. Linac Alumni, circa 1965. R.J.Rabe

  8. 8 Dr. Beyster

    R.J.: I am sorry to hear that you had some serious and lasting health effects from our time with the linac. Although I don’t get out in my boat as much as I would like, I hope to see you on the water one of these days. — Bob

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