Late April is a great time for Kokomo. Our city is bursting with blooms; Kokomo residents are enjoying our fine (and constantly improving) parks, and we anticipate a summer filled with opportunities and events. Just when we think it cannot get better, Kokomo’s “quality of life” gets even better. If you have not seen Foster Park for a while, you might be surprised to see two new water fountains located within the Wildcat Creek itself near the foot bridge. Indeed, someone who has not been to Foster Park for a few years will stand amazed at its transformation.
As I was driving down Markland Avenue the other day, I noted the City Line trolley stopping to pick up a passenger. The City Line was needed more than most of us realized. Kokomo not only provides this important service, but our buses look inviting; the trolley-style buses add to our city’s appearance.
Where did the idea of a “trolley” come from? According to Webster, the word trolley used to refer to “a device that carries electric current from an overhead wire to an electrically driven vehicle” or “a streetcar powered electrically through a trolley — called also trolley car.” Although the word also refers to any kind of cart, the overhead wire (or rail) would typically distinguish a trolley from a bus. Nowadays, we refer to a bus that resembles the appearance of trolleys as a trolley.
On this day 140 years ago (1882), the electric trolley was introduced to the world in Germany. The “… Electromote built by the Siemens and Halske company was a converted four-wheel landau carriage, equipped with two 2.2 kW electric motors transmitting the power using a chain drive to the rear wheels. The voltage used was 550 V DC. The electric power transmission to the coach was by a flexible cable pulling a small eight-wheeled ‘contact car’ (Kontaktwagen) that ran along the overhead power lines. In English language use, the Kontaktwagen was later named the ‘trolley’, giving the trolleybus its name,” Wikipedia says. There you have it!
Quality of life issues, however, extend way beyond our fair city. Many of us realize that we have to take responsibility for maintaining our environment. Products that reduce pollution and require less energy are generally better for our environment and better America’s quality of life. For that matter, they contribute toward a better environment throughout planet Earth. One such product promises to save trees, reduce water pollution and consume less energy. The product is a new type of paper made from stone!
According to the Good News Network, “A ton of virgin paper creates 16,000 gallons of contaminated waste water; a recycled ton of paper creates 9,000 gallons of waste. It also takes a lot of energy to make paper.
“But, what if paper could be made of stone? FiberStone paper has become an eco-friendly alternative that uses 1/3 the energy of recycled paper and zero waste
water. Best of all, the rock paper products are waterproof, like wax paper, grease-proof, and tear
I think I know where people got the idea for making stone paper. No, I don’t think it came from the Rosetta Stone or the stone tablets upon which the Ten Commandments were written. I think the genius behind it must have been a fan of “The Flintstones.”
As most readers recall, “The Flintstones” were a stone-age cartoon adaptation of the popular TV show, “The Honeymooners” (at least in my estimation), geared for children and families. In the show, almost everything is made from stone, except for the animals which provide the “motor power.” Perhaps stone products can replace plastic ones. One day we may have soft drinks sold in stone-based containers, eliminating the horrid pollution problem they cause. Maybe “The Flintstones” were more advanced than we are?
• Ed Vasicek is pastor of Highland Park Church and a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.