April 15, 2014 - And the Winner is...
The winner of the 2014 Meltdown is Lilly Daiber of Goshen. Lilly’s pick of 11:45AM on April 14th was the closest to the actual time the block went down without going over. I spoke to Lilly last night and said that the $643.70 proceeds she won would pay for the gas she planned to use while driving out west this summer.
The 1937 Dodge Restoration Fund, thanks to an additional $185 in donations received above and beyond ticket sales, will benefit from a total of $828.70 from this years event.
April 14, 2014 - The Contest is Over
This is just a quick note to say that when I came home tonight, the block was at the bottom of Hammond Pond. One look at the picture taken this morning on my way to work, it wasn’t a big surprise.
According to the unplugged electric clock, the official end of the contest came at 11:51AM this morning.
April 12, 2014 - The Tilt is On
With temperatures in Goshen surging to 70 degrees today, signs of Spring abound. From the peepers in the woods, flooding at the Oxbow in Northampton, and a full parking lot at the Snack Shack in Williamsburg over the weekend, there’s been a clear shift in attitudes about the weather and it’s showing in our behaviors. Rakes have come out of the shed, bikes are back on the roads and burning permits are flying off printers as fast as Canadian geese are heading north. It won’t be long before we start complaining about mayflies, mosquitos and high humidity.
April 12, 2014 - The Countdown has Begun
With appreciation to all of you, I am happy to report that a total of 1,373 tickets have been sold for this years contest. The dates ranged from March 14th, to July 4th with the most popular days being April 18th with 76 picks followed by April 12th with 69.
April 7, 2014 - It's Snowing Outside
I was going to start this update by telling you that we had certainly turned the corner on Spring. However, as I type this note, it’s snowing outside my window even though the thermometer reads 45 degrees (this isn’t an April Fool’s joke).
There are still two weeks to go before we can think of breaking the April 21st record set back in 2007. Even though tonight’s storm started out as snow, we’re still expecting to receive almost an inch of rain overnight. With the long range forecast showing temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s over the next week, the condition of the ice will start to change quickly.
Mar 29, 2014 - Ticket Sales End April 1st
I think it’s fair to say that we’ve turned the corner on this winter.
As we all know, ice floats. Whether the ice is in your drink or out in nature, it’s going to float on top of whatever is holding it. Heavy rains combined with snow melt introduced enough water to Hammond Pond this week that the layer of ice covering the water actually separated from the shoreline. Visible cracks have also materialized everywhere you look thanks to the seasonal changes we are now experiencing.
The sap is starting to flow as evidenced by the steam pouring from the local sugar houses. At long last, Major League Baseball parks will open their gates Monday as the season kicks off in earnest. And, in another true sign that Spring is near, I saw a flatbed tractor trailer carrying a load of golf carts heading north on I91 this week followed closely by another one loaded with commercial lawn mowing equipment.
While most of us weren’t paying attention, we gained 87 minutes of daylight in the month of March. Assuming no significant changes in the spin of the earth, we can expect an addition of another 79 minutes of sunshine in the month of April.
The National Weather Service is forecasting a significant rain event over the next 36 hours. Goshen is expecting to receive around 2-3” of liquid precipitation between tonight and Monday morning. As an added bonus, overnight temperatures on Sunday will drop below 32 degrees which will result in a bout of freezing rain. With the ground still frozen, the water has nowhere to go but downhill and through our pond.
In case you needed additional proof that the Meltdown contest has become a global event, ticket submissions were received this week from Florida, Cuba and Vietnam.
Procrastinators beware. Ticket sales are quickly coming to a close. Consider this a reminder that sales end on Tuesday, April 1st. Ticket submissions that are postmarked on that date will be accepted if received later in the week. Your window of opportunity to participate in this year’s contest will soon be gone.
Mar 17, 2014 - The '37 Dodge
With the vernal equinox less than a week away, the woodpile is getting low, the fire is still warm and the temperature outside is heading down to zero. The forecast calls for continued cold temperatures and even more snow on the way for Wednesday into Thursday. The National Weather Service is also predicting that ‘another shot of very cold air will work into the region by early next week’. They go on to say that we could be dealing with near record cold.
Anyone besides me feel that it’s way past time for a meltdown?
I spent some time on the ice on Sunday with fellow Goshen firefighters Jake Lulek and Dan Daley. We drilled a few holes in the ice with an auger so I could measure its depth. I hope you enjoy the video we created. The answer to this week’s question is at the end of the short snippet. The piece was first posted yesterday on the Meltdown’s Facebook page. If nothing else, it has a summer theme I’m sure you’ll recognize and enjoy.
As many of you know, the proceeds from this years contest will benefit the 1937 Dodge Restoration Fund. This truck was purchased as a used vehicle in 1947 and served our region as an active engine for more than a decade. Here’s a story about the truck that will help you understand its importance to the history of our town.
Sometime in the late fifties after a fire, the Goshen Volunteer Fire Department desperately needed to replace some suction hose that had been damaged beyond repair. Problem was, the department was also very short on funds. So, Chief Francis Dresser made a trade with Ed Ryan Sr. – a fire equipment dealer and member of the Northampton Fire Department. Mr. Ryan wanted the bell off the 1937 Dodge for the hose. The reasoning behind the trade was simple. The bell didn’t help put out fires but the hose did. How can you beat logic like that? The deal was done.
Many years went by and Ed passed away. However, the bell remained in the possession of Ed’s son Ed Jr. who had also a member of the Northampton Fire Department. Several years ago, he stopped in to see the Dressers and said he had noticed the old Dodge parked behind the station. He wanted to know if we were going to restore it. If we were, he would donate the bell back to us. Deputy Chief Kim Dresser was aware of that conversation so when the department started the restoration fund he reached out to the family. The result was a phone call and subsequent meeting at the Dressers’ home.
Ed Ryan Jr. returned the bell to Francis so it could be used in the restoration of the 1937 Dodge in memory of his father. It turns out the bell had been on the porch of their camp in Savoy MA. For a number of years, it was used to call them back from fishing or to signal when dinner was ready. When the camp was sold about ten years ago, the bell found its’ way back to Ed’s house in Florence where it sat on a shelf in his garage.
After a sixty something year hiatus, the bell is back home. When you think about it, Francis worked out a pretty good deal really. The Ryan’s had the use of the bell; the department had use of the suction hose and now we have the bell back.
We received some much-needed publicity last week in the form of a story about the Meltdown contest that was published in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
With less than two weeks before ticket sales come to a close, the push is now on. For those of you who that have submitted your tickets already. Thank you. For those of you who are trying to figure out which day in July might be a winner, please get your tickets in soon.
Mar 5, 2014 - Has it Started Yet?
In the month of February, Goshen received over 2 feet of snow and experienced temperatures as low as 10 below zero along with one storm that brought us heavy rain. However, with overnight temperatures that continue to drop below zero, it’s difficult to imagine that any type of Meltdown has actually started yet. At this point in the season, I think it’s safe to say that the ice is actually getting thicker.
Feb 3, 2014 - The 2014 Meltdown Has Begun
I find it fitting that the first 2014 Meltdown update is sent out two days after Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and foretold another 6 weeks of winter.
With the ice currently measured at 14″ thick, the tradition continues.
As many of you know, the block sits on a wooden pallet that holds a flag. The flag is simply a marker that shows where the block is if it gets completely covered in snow. The block is connected to an electric clock by a rope. The clock is plugged into an outlet in the gatehouse on the dam holding back Hammond Pond. Once the block falls through the ice or the ice floe moves away from the dam, the tension on the cord will pull the plug out of the wall socket and stop the clock. It’s that straightforward.
This year’s fundraiser will benefit the Goshen Fire Departments 1937 Dodge Restoration Fund. The 1937 Dodge was Goshen’s first fire engine. The truck was purchased used in 1947 and put into service when the department was established almost 50 years ago. To date, the Goshen Firefighter’s Association has collected almost $7,000 towards a goal of $25,000 to restore the engine.
Regular contest updates will be posted on the Meltdown page. Additional tickets can also be downloaded from this site using this link. Participants that include an e-mail address on their ticket stub will be added to a private e-mail distribution list that is used to provide periodic updates and snapshots of the block. The current list includes several hundred addresses of people who are regularly entertained by these updates. The sooner your tickets are returned, the sooner you can become part of this exclusive group.
The deadline for ticket submissions is Tuesday, April 1st. Back in 2012, the block fell through the ice on March 19th – almost two weeks before the deadline. While I can only do so much to regulate the impact climate change is having on our contest, something tells me that the cold will be around longer this year. Tickets received after April 1st (unless they were postmarked on or before that date) will be returned. This date is weather dependant and will be irrelevant if the block falls through the ice before the deadline.
Here are some statistics from the past 9 year’s of Meltdown events to consider as you make your selections:
– The most popular dates were 4/1 (511), 4/10 (508), 4/4 (495), 4/2 (485) and 4/12 (473).
– The ratio of morning to afternoon picks was 25% and 75% respectively.
– 74% of all guesses were for dates between April 1st and April 21st (hint, hint).
– Daylight savings time starts on Sunday, March 9th. Keep that in mind when making your selection.
The official ends of the previous contests were as follows:
2013 – 04/16 – 12:19 PM
2012 – 03/19 – 2:14 PM
2011 – 04/14 – 12:44 PM
2010 – 04/02 – 11:52 AM
2009 – 04/05 – 11:02 AM
2008 – 04/16 – 3:04 PM
2007 – 04/21 – 12:00 Noon
2006 – 04/01 – 8:18 PM
2005 – 04/12 – 4:47 PM
Other significant dates to consider are as follows:
3/15 – The day winter ends according to Punxsutawney Phil
3/31 at 1:10PM – First pitch on Opening Day at Citi Field (Mets) in New York.
4/07 at 1:05PM – First pitch on Opening Day at Yankee Stadium against the Baltimore Orioles
4/04 at 2:05PM – First pitch on Opening Day at Fenway Park in Boston against the Milwaukee Brewers.
4/15 at 2:45AM – Day and time the Titanic sank in 1912.