Walden Pond goes solar
CONCORD, Mass. » Henry David Thoreau famously wrote of "the sunshine of a winter’s day," and now the simple place that inspired him the most is going solar.
Officials are breaking ground on a new visitor’s center at Walden Pond State Reservation, and the $8 million complex will feature two decidedly high-tech touches: a solar canopy and a pair of electric vehicle charging stations.
Gov. Deval Patrick says it’s fitting that the new center in Concord, Mass., will be built with energy-efficient materials and powered by green technology.
"As the birthplace of the conservation movement, Walden Pond is an important natural landmark for the Commonwealth and nation," Patrick said Monday. "These improvements are about good stewardship for this generation and the next."
In 1845, Thoreau withdrew to a cabin near the pond for two years, two months and two days, and it was the inspiration for "Walden," published in 1854.
"I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life," he wrote.
More than a century and a half later, visitors to the site will enjoy far less-Spartan facilities.
Those who drive electric cars will have a place to recharge them, and a 100-kilowatt solar photovoltaic parking lot canopy will power the new center as well as the rest of the park.
The state Department of Conservation and Recreation said it obtained $180,000 in grants to help make the improvements.
Would Thoreau approve of the solar upgrade? It’s impossible to say, but his 1843 essay, "A Winter Walk," suggests he would.
"When we feel his beams on our backs as we are treading some snowy dell, we are grateful as for a special kindness, and bless the sun which has followed us into that by-place," he wrote.
Tourist gets community service
NEW YORK » A French tourist will have to spend 240 hours cleaning a Manhattan jail for scaling the Brooklyn Bridge to take photos.
Yonathan Souid of Esnandes, France, got the community service sentence on Tuesday.
The French university student will be assigned to the Manhattan Detention Center.
His lawyer said Souid "prefers cleaning a jail than to actually live in one." Souid had pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge.
He said it wasn’t his intention to hurt anyone. He said he climbed the bridge last month because he has a passion for photography.
In July, two German artists swiped two American flags from the famous span and replaced them with white ones. A month later, a Russian tourist climbed the bridge to take pictures.