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Letters to the Editor

University of Cincinnati magazine encourages readers to submit letters. Letters submitted online may be considered for publication here and in the print edition of the magazine.

Gone in 8.5 seconds

I very much enjoyed the online article dealing with the Sander Hall demolition project. At the time [1991], I was chief of the UC police and had spent six months on little else but the implosion event, coordinating the safety aspects.

There were endless hours of planning, determining which buildings needed closing and when, setting the evacuation limits and deciding on how we were going to enforce such a gargantuan effort. We needed to set up a liaison with Cincinnati Metro to re-route buses, Cincinnati Gas and Electric to protect power and gas lines, the FAA to set up a no-fly zone, etc. We vetted more than 200 journalists and issued special one-time press credentials, worked with media outlets from Tokyo to London for coverage and had to set up special identifications for those allowed into the restricted area. In terms of numbers of officers (UC police, Cincinnati police, etc.), it was the largest single police detail on the campus before or since.

All this for 8.5 seconds of falling stones and clouds of dust.

Yeah, it was great!

Ed Bridgeman, Ed ’76, M (A&S) '83
Associate professor, faculty coordinator
Criminal justice program
Clermont College

Editor's note: View the implosion video from four different angles.

When Sander Hall was demolished 15 years ago, I wondered what involvement in the process did the engineering and physics departments at UC have?

The videos clearly show that the sequence of the detonation resulted in the building falling on one side before the other had detonated. The result was that the building tilted during collapse and caused a greater footprint of debris and greater risk of damage than if the detonation had been a simultaneous detonation of both sides.

What kind of review of the proposed detonation did the UC engineering departments conduct?

John Church, Eng '57
Aiken, S.C.

Editor's note: Before we had a chance to reply, the writer had located and contacted Controlled Demolition, Inc. (CDI), and received an answer. Afterward, Mr. Church sent the following note:

I did get a response from the company that handled the implosion, and they explained the reason for the sequence of detonation. While it is true that the footprint of debris is larger because of the deliberate collapse of one side of the building before the other side, it is apparently necessary to do it that way to ensure that the building actually collapses.

Doing it perfectly vertical, as I thought was surely desirable, often results in a building that is only partially collapsed and must then be demolished by more conventional means.

To quote from the president of the company: "The implosion of Sander Hall went exactly per CDI's plan. As is the case with virtually all implosions, a structure is tilted out of the vertical (where its columns best carry the weight of the structure) before letting it fall vertically. By designing an implosion to have the structure fall on an angle, we are better able to disrupt the column splices and column/beam connections, generating better fragmentation of debris to facilitate subsequent removal.

"CDI and no other implosion contractors I know of ever attempt to drop a structure vertically on purpose. That happened once in the UK on a structure called Northaired Point. The structure fell vertically several stories and then 'stopped,' necessitating its subsequent demolition using conventional methods.

"Recently, a contractor tried to tilt a grain elevator in North Dakota called the Zip Mill. It didn't tilt far enough, fell a few feet and stopped.

"That is the reason our industry tilts structures before starting vertical failure."

I thanked him for his reply and thank you all for your follow-up.

Clearly, this was a golden opportunity for the civil and mechanical engineers to be involved in the planning and design of the implosion. As the originator of the cooperative education plan, I would hope that UC would have really actively participated in this project.

John Church

Old News Record photo

News Record staff identified

On page 36 in the photo of the News Record staff [May 2006], I am very certain the man on the left of the photo with a leg up on the desk and his head down while writing is my late husband, Edward Grad Jr., M.D.

Ed graduated from UC with a BS in zoology in 1952 and an MS in zoology in 1953. He always spoke highly of his mentor and adviser Charles Weichert. He was in the Army Medical Corps from 1953-55 and graduated from medical school at UC in 1959. He was a skilled, kind and compassionate physician.

Daughters Denise Grad Tecchio [A&S '83] and Michele Grad [A&S '86] both graduated from UC and Michele went on to graduate from the UC College of Medicine ['90], as well. Ed's sister, Marjorie Grad, also graduated from pre-med [A&S '44] and medical school at UC in 1947.

Page Grad

Editor's note: Publishing a telephone call as a letter to the editor is a rare occurrence for this magazine but for the sake of identifying alumni, we decided to make an exception:

Mary Lou Mueller, DAAP '51, and John Mueller, DAAP '50, both former Cincinnatian yearbook staff members, called to let us know the woman standing in the News Record newsroom picture is Joanne (Jody) Schuk-Young, A&S '50, and the woman seated across the desk is Peggy Mason-Sanders, Bus '50.

"We just love the magazine. We look forward to it every time. It is wonderful," Mary Lou said.

The following actually breaks the magazine's policy against publishing unsigned letters, but we couldn't resist publishing this unsigned fax. Of course, some significant differences exist between the correspondents' findings. Perhaps another reader can set the record straight.

The May 2006 issue includes a photo taken in the office of the News Record and described as the 1948 News Record staff. I think I can give you all but one of the IDs you requested.

  • Seated at the typewriter in the foreground, wearing a white shirt: Stan Cohen, A&S '50.
  • Perched on the desk taking notes, wearing a tie: Al Batik, A&S '50.
  • Standing behind Stan Cohen, looking over his shoulder: Jody Schuk, A&S '50.
  • Seated at the side of the desk in the right foreground, reading a document: Shirley Schneider Weinstein, A&S '50.
  • Seated at a typewriter to the right-rear, back to camera: Jerry Teller, A&S '51, JD '53.
  • Girl at far right, wearing jacket and pearl necklace: Unknown.


Better than the rest

Thanks for the wonderful reading this month. [May, "Illustrating the Art of Books" theme] I am not an alum, but get various publications and magazines from colleges and graduate schools. UC Magazine is better than all and is a valuable informational and recruiting tool. Keep up the great work! Your content is quite varied and interesting, and it is never as "self- serving" as others.

Leonard Lind
UC anesthesia professor
Director, Post-Anesthesia Care Unit/Same Day Surgery

You have done it again! The University of Cincinnati Magazine is a cover-to-cover read for me. I know to expect a feature topic that will be outstanding, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the UC authors and their publications. I am not a graduate of UC, but I am the proud mother of a fifth-year student.

Marlene Morris

Paws to say thanks

I'm upgrading Prince John [associate editor John Bach] to King John! Such is the majestic job he did on the article.

All kidding and metaphors aside, it's an excellent piece. My mom's gonna burst with pride — perhaps literally. But, hey, she'll leave this world happy.

Mark Acey, A&S '79, Ed '79, MA (A&S) '82
Head writer, director of publishing
Paws Inc., publisher of Garfield comics and books
Albany, Ind.

I can't remember an article written about Matthew 25: Ministries that has received as many favorable comments as yours did ["One Man's Faith Has Worldwide Impact," May 2006]. The article was accurate, well written and, more important, done with such passion.

I am not one to seek or enjoy being in the spotlight. However, an article such as yours does introduce us to a larger audience. That, in return, will hopefully bring us additional help for our work with the poor and suffering.

Wendell Mettey, A&S '68
President, founder, Matthew 25: Ministries

John Bach took a different approach from anyone else who has covered my work before ["The Art of Custom Bookbinding," May 2006], and I am impressed by his understanding of the subject.

Gabrielle Fox, A&S '78

Guitar designer's huge impact

I was interested to find that the late Ted McCarty [Eng '33] was a fellow alumnus of UC. While your article eulogizing Ted was good, it actually understated the influence he had on the music industry and art.

To the best of my knowledge, Les Paul had nothing to do with the design of the original Gibson Les Paul guitar; he was just hired by Ted McCarty to endorse the instrument. In addition, the article understates Ted's role at Paul Reed Smith (PRS) guitars late in life.

As far as I am aware, Ted actively helped design the PRS guitar that bears his name, as well as some other PRS instruments, including the basic design of the custom, which is a true work of art. The truss rod cover of this beautiful guitar has McCarty's name engraved on it in honor of his contribution to its design.

There is an extensive interview with Ted McCarty in a back issue of Vintage Guitar magazine [August 2001]. It will give you a whole new appreciation for the wonderful contributions of Ted McCarty to the world of modern music and musical instrument design. Ted was recently featured in a Smithsonian exhibit on the history of the guitar.

Jim Adams, Med '91
Via e-mail

Letters to the editor policy
Letters to the editor must relate to the university, be signed and include addresses, colleges and years of graduation, when applicable. The editor reserves the right to edit letters for length, clarity or factual accuracy and to reject letters of unsuitable content. Letters may not criticize other letter writers. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Cincinnati.

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