Archive for February, 2012

St. Kitts — Part I

February 29, 2012

In February, Bill and I spent almost a week on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. (Click here for a map of the island.) We thoroughly enjoyed the combination of spending time touring the island (including the rain forest), swimming in the Atlantic and reading/relaxing on the beach, drinking lots of rum punch (since the beer selection there was lousy), and three times eating freshly caught lobster. Almost everywhere was evidence of St. Kitts’ sugarcane industry and plantations of the past. The daytime temperatures were pretty consistently in the lower 80s; nighttime in the lower 70s.

We stayed at the Marriott on the Atlantic-side’s Frigate Bay. Because of our pleasant experience and not having stayed anywhere else on St. Kitts to use for comparison, I would probably stay at the Marriott again. (Although, if just Bill and I returned without family and wanted a more isolated and serene destination, Ottley’s Plantation Inn* would warrant investigation.) Our Mariott room had a view of the ocean which, of course, was wonderful. The beach was fine, especially because it was dotted with available cabana-type structures. (The Marriott’s chaise lounges were not all that comfortable). The main drawback, in our opinions, of the Marriott was that the quality of its restaurant food wasn’t all that good. We ate our evening meals off-site whenever possible.

Our first full day on the island included a four-hour tour with Mr. Edwin Burt (or, “Burt” as he called himself) of Greg’s Safaris. The second day was Valentine’s Day and included morning meetings for Bill, time at the spa, and a dinner overlooking the Caribbean at the Serendipity restaurant. Our third day included a full-day tour around the entire perimeter of the island and dinner at the Marriott. This day we explored the impressive Brimstone Hill Fortress. The fourth day was simply spent at the beach, later having a sunset dinner (with entertainment and bonfire) at the Shiggidy-Shack beachside restaurant on the Caribbean side of the island. The morning of the fifth full day was spent retracing some of our paths of previous days so that I could practice photography. That afternoon we were beach-bound again followed by another beachside dinner, this time at the Beach House restaurant.**

The trip was very scenic and calm with action to be found when we wanted it. Within a couple of years or so, the Christophe Harbour development on the southern peninsula should be completed. Time will tell how much this affects the current non-touristy-feeling of the island.

If we were to go back, we’d probably try to take in a day-trip to the neighboring island of Nevis and an extra day at the beach.

Bill and I are not golfers. However, we heard from friends that the Royal St. Kitts Golf Club has a spectacular setting spanning between the Caribbean and the Atlantic. We also heard that Marshalls restaurant and the Carambola Beach Club restaurant are highly recommended, and that the catamaran excursions are fun and lovely. Some other possible activities include zip lining, a tour by train (on which several people recommended we not go), snorkeling, tours ascending a volcano, ATV tours, horseback rides, hiking in the rain forest, and I’m sure much, much more.


Me, Arthur Jones (our "new best friend" St. Kitts taxi/tour driver) and Bill.


Except for our Jeep safari day, all of our transportation (including our day-long tour on day three) was provided by Arthur Jones. The motto of Arthur’s taxi service is, “One day at a time.” His cell phone number is 869-663-7845. (Yes, I do have Arthur’s permission to post it here.) Arthur aims to please. He’s friendly and very knowledgable about the island and beyond. His business card says, “Island Tours, Southeast Peninsula Tours, Rain Forest Tours, Downtown Shopping, Dining-out, and much more.”

To enlarge any of these photos, click on them once, or maybe even twice.


Pictured is St. Kitts' Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport. The arrow points to the terminal. We were lucky to be included in a charter flight. Otherwise, with regularly scheduled flights, it would have taken us approximately 20 hours of travel time to get from Iowa to St. Kitts.


Mr. Edwin Burt of Greg's Safaris took us on a four-hour Jeep tour that included the rain forest, which we are just about to enter in this photo. We also enjoyed his rum punch picnic!


This photo was taken before we entered the depths of the rain forest.


I’ll continue to add photos from our trip.

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*One of our lunches was at Ottley’s Royal Palm Restaurant. The grounds seemed very lovely. While it is probably more isolated and serene than we might like, my Lonely Planet book rates Ottley’s as “Top Choice.” Also, during our lunch at Ottleys, a woman who is assisting with a book about 100 places to stay in the Caribbean said that Ottley’s Plantation Inn is the only place on St. Kitts that will be included in the next edition of the book. She said that two places (on St. Kitts) in the last edition of the book did not past muster and will not be included in the next edition.

**At the Beach House restaurant, we had a 7:30 reservation. If we had it to do over again, we would make a reservation for a half-hour before sunset.

For “St. Kitts — Part I” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part II: Vervet Monkeys” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part III: Lobster” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IV: Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part V: Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VI: Brimstone Hill Fortress” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VII: The Beach(es)” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VIII: Plant Life” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IX: Miscellaneous” click here.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)


Search Tip and Fun Comments re: Rolfe, Iowa, Newspaper Archives Online

February 28, 2012

On Sunday I posted about the online accessibility of Rolfe, Iowa, newspapers. As a result, Kim Webb Toth-Tevel offered the following helpful tip for searching the archives online. She also included a “mundane” search result from 1897, and a “dramatic” search result from 1925, both bringing her ancestors more to life.


Search Tip and Comments from Kim Webb Toth-Tevel
(Kim is a great-granddaughter of C.M. Webb.) 

Thanks Louise. I have been having a ball with this and my family has learned many things about our ancestors we never knew. Very cool. A tip for using them is to 1) go to “Advanced Search.” 2) Type in your family name and 3) limit the time period to one year. Then you can have fun reading what comes up. You can save the newspaper page to your computer or copy and paste the part about your family into another document to collect them. The newspaper was like the Facebook of its day–social networking.

You will find the mundane:

June 17, 1897
Wednesday evening while little Ruth Webb had her head through a window, the sash fell across her neck. The window had recently been painted and did not fall with its usual velocity, but Ruth sustained a slight injury on the forehead.

To the dramatic!

Chas M. Webb, our popular and widely known druggist, suffered a slight stroke of paralysis Monday afternoon. He was about the store most of the day, but feeling something unusual was working on him, took the Ford and drove home. Shortly after entering the house he was stricken and floored. While the stroke is what doctors call “slight,” the left side is helpless and it is problematical just how things will come out, but we are all hoping Charley will soon shake it off and be himself again.

The son, Morris, who is home from Chicago on a visit, will remain and look after the business while Mr Webb takes a complete rest. Mr. Webb has been driving himself like a dynamo in a business way for the past f ew months, forgetting that age was creeping on him, and something snapped. We are hoping that rest and care will restore him to health.

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The Newspaper Archives Web Site Is…

The newspaper archives are at this site. (The URL will change in a month or two.) However, to avoid potential frustration with the site (since it is not yet in its final form), please read Sunday’s explanatory post.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

101 Years of Rolfe, Iowa, Newspapers are Available Online

February 26, 2012

UPDATE June 4, 2012: The URL for the newspaper site has been updated. The current (as of today) URL is The URL will be updated a final time (to something easier to memorize) during summer of 2012. At that time, I’ll post the final updated URL here.

The main gist of this post is that the Rolfe, Iowa, newspapers are online and that over the next approximately two months, modifications will be made to the web site. There may be periods of inaccessibility. If/when there are, feel free to email me* to let me know, or you may contact the company directly. It will not be until a few weeks after the host company has its new servers in place that everything runs smoothly all the time. So…patience is in order. In the meantime please read the information below and…enjoy! P.S.: Thank you to those of you who contributed financially to this project. If you did not contribute (or even if you did!), but like the access to these papers and want to contribute to help meet other library financial obligations, you may do so through the Rolfe [Iowa] Public Library Trust. The phone number for the library is 712-848-3413. The email address is Or, you may simply write out a check to “Rolfe Public Library Trust” and mail it to Rolfe Public Library, 319 Garfield St., Rolfe, Iowa, 50581.

Remember…if there are technical difficulties searching the site, either wait a day to see if it works, or contact me or the company. In a couple of months everything should be smooth sailing.

101 Years of Rolfe, Iowa, Newspapers are Available Online


Time Span of Newspapers:
1888-1989 (In 1989, The Rolfe Arrow, Rolfe’s local newspaper, was absorbed by the Pocahontas Record-Democrat newspaper.)

Additional Publication:
The online collection also includes Rolfe’s 90-page centennial book titled Centennial History, Rolfe, Iowa, 1863-1963.

Web Site Tweaking: In March or April, the web site will undergo minor modifications. This will include the provision of additional search features and a change in the URL to one that is more easily memorized.

Periods of Inaccessibility:
If the web site is inaccessible for short periods of time, it may be due to site maintenance.

Until further notice, questions regarding the newspaper site may be directed to Louise Gunderson Shimon at

Funding: The Rolfe Public Library Trust is funding this project through private donations and the sales of donated prints of Marion Gunderson’s watercolors. “Marion the Librarian” worked at the Rolfe Public Library for thirty-five years, from 1963 to 1998.

Search Tip from Kim Webb Toth-Tevel (a great-granddaughter of C.M. Webb): I have been having a ball with this [the archives] and my family has learned many things about our ancestors we never knew. Very cool. A tip for using them is to 1) go to “Advanced Search.” 2) Type in your family name and 3) limit the time period to one year. Then you can have fun reading what comes up. You can save the newspaper page to your computer or copy and paste the part about your family inot another document to collect them. The newspaper was like the Facebook of it’s day–social networking.

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As of January 2012, the contents of 101 years of Rolfe, Iowa, newspapers are available online. For another month or two, the site will undergo tweaking by the web hosting company.

It is important to note that optical character recognition (OCR) software used to scan and convert hard-copy text to a searchable electronic format cannot accurately recognize every text character. For example, if a font utilized in a newspaper is not standard but instead is rather stylized (e.g., a non-standard swirly font), it likely will not be recognized by the software. Likewise, if an area of a page is smudged or otherwise damaged, the character recognition software will not recognize words in that poor quality area of a page. In such cases, a search will not return a result for a term in which such a character was not correctly recognized.

To explain this further, take, for example, a patron searching the site using the search term “Webb.” If the word “Webb” was included on a particular newspaper page, but the type of text (font) was not standard (e.g., the non-standard swirly font), it may not be recognized by the character recognition software. Therefore, it will not show up in the list of hits resulting from the search term “Webb.”

Similarly,” if “Webb” appears in a smudged area of a newspaper page, the OCR software will not recognize it, and the page will not show up in the list of hits resulting from the search term “Webb.”

As of February 26, 2012, the capability to limit a search to a particular time frame is not an option. However, the plan is that, before the end of April, it will become an option.

The Rolfe Public Library is sponsoring this archive project.

Help*: As yet, there is no “help” available at the URL cited above. Over time, that “help” link will become active.


I found this January 19, 1928, Rolfe Arrow article by searching the terms “Rolfe library” and the timeframe of 1927 through 1929. I chose this timeframe because I knew that in 1928 the Rolfe Public Library began its service to Rolfe-area patrons. (Click once or twice on image to enlarge it. Twice to magnify even further.)


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(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

What exactly is a “live long day”?

February 9, 2012

This photo was taken at the west edge of Rolfe in January 2010. (Click once or twice on photo to enlarge.)

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(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)