WBUR interviewed an Army veteran whose job was to secretly escort Nazi scientists - including Wernher von Braun - to a classified base on Long Island after the end of World War II to see what they could teach us about Nazi technology for the coming cold war. They had to be smuggled in - many aboard ships carrying returning US troops - because the State Department frowned on welcoming Nazis to the US:
They retrieved the Germans in the worst weather and roughest seas, like a five-day storm in autumn of 1945. From the giant troop ship to the deck of the Boston whaler far below, each German had to be lowered by a bosun's chair, a little harness hanging by a rope from the davits and lowered like a lifeboat, swinging in the storm.
The kicker: The soldier was Jewish, born in Austria, his immediate family barely escaped the Nazis but he had relatives murdered in the Holocaust.
The Boston Fire Department reports it's just signed a contract for a wicked fast new fireboat. The $4.2-million aluminum John S. Damrell (named after the fire department's chief engineer during the Great Fire of 1872) will be able to pump 12,000 gallons of water per minute - when it's not racing somewhere at speeds of up to 35 knots (40 m.p.h.).
The 69-foot Damrell is also designed to respond to biological, chemical and even radioactive attacks, according to the department. It's being built by Metalcraft Marine, Inc. of Kingston, Ont., and is expected in Boston Harbor in August, 2011.
About half the money for the boat comes from federal stimulus funds; the rest from the city. The Damrell will replace a boat in service since 1972.
The Massachusetts Oyster Project reports on the differing conditions and growths on the oyster-filled crates they are putting in the harbor to try to restore the bivalves (and help clean up the harbor):
... We have also seen cages coated with jellied masses that the dock hands refer to as sea onions. So we are learning that there is much more going on than meets the eye. There can be silt, rock or sand floor, salty or brackish water and differing currents. Fortunately, we are seeing that the oyster is fairly versatile and our survival data for oysters in cages is very good. ...
The Coast Guard reports a man was knocked into the harbor around 10 a.m. today by the boom on his sailboat off the Piers Park Sailing Center. The man's wife threw him a life preserver, but couldn't get him back on the boat. The crew on a passing Coast Guard boat noticed the situation, picked him up and put him back on the sailboat.
The Coast Guard reports it's conducting search operations off Castle Island following the discovery of a windsurf sail without a rider around 8:25 p.m.
"We have launched a search for a possible missing windsurfer, but we are asking the public to call if they believe they are missing a windsurf board or have any other information which could help us with the search," said Petty Officer 1st Class Jonathan Cole, an operations unit controller at the First Coast Guard District Command Center in Boston. "We are hoping someone's board just blew away from the beach, but we are treating this as a possible search and rescue case."
The board has a clear and neon-green sail with "Super Nova II" written on it. A helicopter and ships from the North End and Hull are currently scanning the water. If the sail sounds familiar, call the Coast Guard at 617-223-8555.
WBUR chums around with folks who are taking advantage of the clean waters.
The 168 passengers and six crew members were taken off the boat by another boat and brought to Pemberton Pier in Hull. The Coast Guard says one person suffered an unspecified back injury during the incident, which blocked one of the channels into the harbor.
WBUR takes a look at how different the islands are today.
Bob took some video of the large stripers in the water between Long Wharf and the Aquarium - and how they beat a frustrated duck to the hunks of bread he threw to them:
The Boston Fire Department reports divers got him up from 24 feet of water at the bottom of the harbor near Tavern on the Water shortly after 1 a.m. today. The department reports a group of friends noticed one of their friends was missing. Then somebody heard a splash. The Boston Police Department reports he was pronounced dead at 2:43 a.m. at Mass. General. The homicide unit is currently investigating.
Eric Papetti takes a trip out to the Harbor islands and wonders what if, instead of being turned into a park, the islands had become far more developed than they ever were:
... [C]onceptually, it's interesting to imagine Boston as being an "Island City," with a heritage that overlaps with others like Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, and New York City. Would we build the city any differently if we conceptualized it like this? I'm always struck by how, in downtown Boston, the sea is something felt in a secondary way rather than seen directly. Even when one can't see the water directly, one is still aware of the smell of salt air, the occasional seagull, the quality of the light, and the presence of old maritime buildings. But when seen from the harbor, the city's true situation is easy to see.
The Coast Guard reports one of its boats had to tow a Super Duck boat with 33 people onboard to shore after its steering failed around 11:45 a.m. today near Little Mystic River Channel. The Coast Guard reports nobody was hurt and the bus/boat thing won't be allowed back into the water until it passes another inspection - like the one it passed on March 11.
Hat tip to Jenn Martinelli for answering the question that lit up the local Twit-o-sphere like a switchboard back in the days when you could light up a switchboard.
Photo copyright Jon Day. Tagged as universalhub on Flickr.
Boston Police are investigating how the woman's body came to be in Boston Harbor at Fort Point Channel around 5:30 this morning.
The Boston Fire Department reports crews rescued an elderly man reported by the Lewis Wharf seawall in Boston Harbor shortly before 7 a.m.
The firefighters reached the man, put a safety belt around him and secured him to the ladder. Rescue 1 then lowered rope down the ladder.
The department says his wheelchair was found nearby. No word on how he wound up in the water. He was taken to Mass. General for evaluation, as was one firefighter who cut his leg during the rescue.
I took a trip out to one of the Boston Harbor Islands one day last summer. It was a bit overcast, and few were there that day. Walking down along the beach, there was no one around, and there were no boats in the water in view. I heard a tinkling sound, like glass chimes. It continued, and I could see no building with chimes or boat or person that could be making the sound.....That day, I was also feeling a strong connection to my dad, who was born in East Boston back in 1905. I imagined him as a boy down at the East Boston waterfront throwing bottles into the water..... Then all of a sudden I realized where the sounds were coming from. It was all the many broken pieces of "seaglass" chiming against each other in the lapping waves hitting the shore. I wondered, then, if the bottles my dad threw into the water about 100 years ago were now chiming to me as their broken pieces washed up on the shore.