Then and Now: History Edition
Press & Dakotan

Then and Now: History Edition


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THEN & NOW: PAGE 7B PRESS & DAKOTAN n MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2017 IMAGE: DAKOTA TERRITORIAL MUSEUM After it was built, Meridian Bridge became one of Yankton s most recognized structures even becoming postcard material for travelers. Meridian From Page 4B would happen to the bridge now? Just as it was private citizens who led the movement to create the bridge, it was private citizens who ultimately saved it. Jim Means was one of those people. As the Nebraska Department of Roads received a majority of the funds from the bridge s past toll, they were the lead agency on owning and preserving the bridge, Means said. When the idea began being tossed around to have the Meridian Bridge torn down, Means and many other Yankton citizens worked to instead have it converted into a walking bridge, which would ensure its survival and usefulness. People that thought it should be saved were more passionate than the people who thought it should be torn down, Means said. The preservationists have to win over and over, and the demolitionists have to win only once, Varvel added. The City of Yankton took complete ownership of the bridge and, after considerable refurbishing, it was officially opened up for pedestrian use in 2011. (The bridge has) gotten more use than people thought it would and has become a focal point in the community, Means said. I ve had numerous people tell me in the last few years that they d thought saving the bridge was a dumb idea, but they (realized) they were wrong. It s now a common sight to go by the bridge and see people walking or biking on it. Dusters From Page 6B to the industry because the application business needed more power, Hoffner said. My last ag plane had pointed turbine engines that weighed only 250 pounds and produced 700 horsepower. That is efficient. The alternative was a big 600 horsepower round engine that was like pushing a big 55-gallon drum through the air. They created a lot of drag and were first built during World War II. They hadn t built a new style of engine for a while, so when the new turbines came out, they were more expensive. But they really helped cut costs in the long run. You could run your plane for less money by upgrading to a turbine engine. The addition of GPS navigation systems also vastly improved Hoffner s efficiency and safety while flying his aircraft. We could actually hone in and fly electronically back and forth across the field with GPS, Hoffner said. We could even program it into our computer and mark a path for our flight lines. Aerial applicators previously had to mark their lines using bio-degradable tissue paper before the advent of GPS. The process was less Tractors From Page 3B Schramm operated a tractor with no power steering and definitely none of today s automated features. Through the years, machinery changed in the number of cylinders and horsepower, Schramm said. The larger machinery allowed farmers to work larger operations, but it also greatly escalated agricultural costs, he added. When I started out PHOTO: DAKOTA TERRITORIAL MUSEUM Before the construction of the Meridian Bridge in 1924, pontoon bridges were used in the warm months to get travelers from one side to another. The photo below was shot looking north; you can see the clock tower of the old Yankton County Courthouse on the left side. If there was a vote taken now of if we should keep the bridge or let it go, it d be an overwhelming decision to keep it, Means said. In addition to daily walkers, the bridge is also used for events such as 5Ks and Meridian en Blanc, photography sessions, launching fireworks and Rock N Rumble. A plaza was recently constructed north of the bridge, which encourages more use of the area. As nice as this all is, according to Todd Larson, the Yankton Parks & Recreation director, the bridge was remodeled with a 25-year lifespan in mind and the City will no longer allow automobiles or motorcycles on it. Though there aren t any plans currently in the works for the bridge, he knows it will once again come up at some point of whether or not the bridge should stay up. Obviously, there s historic significance to this bridge since it was built with private funds, and it s a neat double decker bridge, he said. But since it sits in the water and is made of steel and iron, the weather will eventually take its toll. At some point, an inspector will be brought in to look over the bridge and evaluate its condition, he added. Until then, the bridge will remain a beloved monument of Yankton s history. than accurate because of wind disrupting the trajectory of the paper markers. Aside from the imHoffner provements to power and navigation that were incorporated to airplanes in the mid-1990s, air-conditioning was another potentially lifesaving addition. It can get really hot up there and you can easily get fatigued with all the mental checklists you re constantly going over, Hoffner said. Air-conditioning saved my life - I really believe that. By 2012, right before Hoffner sold his business, technology had advanced to the point where an airplane s navigation instructions could be downloaded onto a USB drive and plugged into a plane s dash. After you plugged it into the dash, you just had to follow a line on the screen and that was it, Hoffner said. We used to have to figure it out by counting out the miles and using a map while flying. The technology allowed us to takes a load off and pay attention to one less thing while flying up in the air. The field of aerial application has continued to evolve to meet increasing safety and efficiency standards. The products have become safer to apply and the equipment has become more stable and crash resistant with each passing year. Precision agriculture is important in the aerial application industry because it saves both the farmer and the applicator lots of money, Hoffner said. Now, they even have variable controls where you can program your system to control the flow of the products you are applying. The system will adjust with your speed or mapping of the field, so that if there is an area that needs less spray it will shut off or slow down the release from the valves. With the advancements that have been made to aerial application throughout the years, the industry has become more profitable. While the concept is still the same as it was in the 1920s, the industry has evolved. Automated application systems are the latest advancement on the horizon and possibly the next big leap for aerial application. As of 2014, unmanned aerial vehicles have been used for agricultural spraying in markets like Japan and South Korea with the advent of the Yamaha R-MAX, which is now finding its way to markets in the United States. farming, we worked 400 to 500 acres of row crops and had pasture. In 1979, my total yearly budget came to $100,000, he said. Today, that $100,000 may not even buy you a mainline tractor. Like a number of other farmers, Schramm has participated in the WNAX/ Tri-State Old Iron Association tractor ride, traveling both the South Dakota and Nebraska routes. He has also gone on his own tractor rides over the years, traveling back roads and the countryside. He s not alone in his love for an- tique farm equipment, as he has seen farms with old tractors and other machinery parked in a grove of trees. When it comes to his tractor rides, Schramm finds tremendous satisfaction with life in the slow lane, so to speak. When you re driving 12-15 miles per hour, you see everything, he said. You see a lot of things that you don t normally see when you re traveling in a car on Highway 81 or Highway 50. Follow @ReillyBiel on Twitter. Follow @RDockendorf on Twitter.
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