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Fort Travis Bunker
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History of Fort Travis Seashore Park

The Bolivar Peninsula has a long history of fortifications. Many of them were built on the site of the present Fort Travis Seashore Park. In 1816, Frances Xavier Mina, while on an expedition for Spain, constructed an earthen levee to protect himself and his men from the Karankawa Indians.

In 1818, Dr. James Long, his wife, Jane (a beautiful former debutante from Natchez, Mississippi) and 300 troops came to Texas to free Texas from Spain. Dr Long established his base of operations at Port Bolivar in 1820. He wished to secure the services of Jean Lafitte who occupied Galveston Island. Lafitte would not help. He had given verbal allegiance to Spain, Mexico, and the United States, but carefully remained aloof from entanglements that might curtail his privateering enterprises. Finally, without aid from any source, Dr. Long and his men set out to capture Presidio La Bahia.

Long left Jane, their daughter, and a maid at the rude fort with a few men to protect them. The winter of 1821 was bitterly cold: the "protection" left. Jane Long fired a cannon every morning to let Galveston know the fort was still defended. But who was the enemy? Was it the Spaniards, Mexicans, Lafitte’s pirates or the Karankawa Indians?

The Karankawas had a bad reputation that survives to this day. They were a tall, nomadic people who refused to be tamed. They kept mosquitos (and the rest of society) at a distance by smearing their bodies with alligator grease and fish oil. The stories of the Karankawas being cannibals are not entirely accurate. They did, at times, consume human flesh during special ceremonies, but not as a regular practice.

During the time she was defending the fort. Jane, age 20, was expecting the birth of her third child, In December, during a raging storm, the food ran out, the slave girl became delirious from an illness and Jane delivered her own child. The baby was named Mary and was the first baby of English descent to be born in Texas.

Because of her heroism, Jane Long is often called "The Mother of Texas". Jane refused to leave until the following July when she received word that her husband had been killed. She later ran a rooming house in Richmond. During the Civil War the fortification on Bolivar Point was Fort Green — for the Confederate soldiers.

In 1898, along with federal development of the Port of Galveston, construction on the present Fort Travis was begun. The fort was completed in 1899. The fort was heavily damaged during the 1900 storm. Repairs included the present 15 foot sea wall around the fort. During World War I Fort Travis garrisoned troops defending the Port of Galveston and its approaches.

In 1942, the fort was enlarged and 2,500 troops were stationed there. Several sizes of guns were installed, from anti-aircraft up to 16 inch long range rifles. When the war ended, Fort Travis was declared surplus property, dismantled, and in 1949 sold to private interests. The 60 acre park was acquired through a Moody Foundation grant in 1976 and is operated by the Galveston County Beach and Parks Department.

Today, the park includes the seawall, broad grassy areas, oleanders, winding roads, well equipped play grounds, picnic tables and bar-b-que grills. Cabanas and campsites are available for rental.

Sixth Sense
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Image by guano
OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL # 6 – – Michael Phelps of the United States celebrates his victory after the Men’s 200m Individual Medley Final at the National Aquatics Center on Day 7 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 15, 2008 in Beijing, China. Phelps won in a new world record time of 1.54.23. Photo by Al Bello.

Michael Phelps biography from Wikipedia

Michael Fred Phelps (born June 30, 1985) is an American swimmer and 14-time Olympic gold medalist (the most by any Olympian), who currently holds seven world records in swimming.

He holds the record for the most gold medals won at a single Olympics; a total of eight, surpassing Mark Spitz. Overall, Phelps has won 16 Olympic medals: six gold and two bronze at Athens in 2004, and eight gold at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In winning these medals, he has twice equaled Soviet gymnast Alexander Dityatin’s record of eight medals (of any type) at a single Olympics (Dityatin: Moscow 1980; Phelps: Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008), and ranks second in total career Olympic medals, after Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina, who won a total of 18 medals (nine gold) spanning three

Phelps’ international titles, along with his various world records, have resulted in him being awarded the World Swimmer of the Year Award in 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2007 and American Swimmer of the Year Award in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2007. Phelps has won a total of 48 career medals thus far: 40 gold, six silvers and two bronze. This includes all of the Championships in which he has competed: The Olympics, the World Championships, and the Pan Pacific Championships.

Phelps was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, and grew up in the Rodgers Forge neighborhood. He graduated from Towson High School in 2003. His father, Fred Phelps, worked for the Maryland State Police and his mother, Debbie Davisson Phelps, is a middle school principal. The two divorced in 1994. Michael, whose nickname is "MP", has two older sisters, Whitney and Hilary. Both of them were swimmers as well, with Whitney coming close to making the U.S. national team for the 1996 Summer Olympics before injuries derailed her career.

In his youth, Phelps was diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). He started swimming at age seven, partly because of the influence of his sisters and partly to provide him with an outlet for his energy. He excelled as a swimmer, and by the age of 10 held a national record for his age group. More age group records followed, and Phelps’ rapid improvement culminated in his qualifying for the 2000 Summer Olympics at the age of 15.

In November 2004, at the age of 19, Phelps was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in Salisbury, Maryland. He pleaded guilty to driving while impaired the following month and was granted probation before judgment and ordered to serve 18 months probation, fined 0, obligated to speak to high school students about drinking and driving and had to attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) meeting. Questioned about the incident later that month by Matt Lauer on the Today Show, Phelps said it was an "isolated incident" and that he had "definitely let myself down and my family down…I think I let a lot of people in the country down."

Between 2004 and 2008, Phelps attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, studying sports marketing and management. In May 2008, Phelps said he intends to return to Baltimore following the 2008 Olympics, joining Bob Bowman there when he leaves the University of Michigan, saying, "I’m not going to swim for anybody else. I think we can both help the North Baltimore Aquatic Club go further. I’m definitely going to be in Baltimore next year." The club has announced that Bowman is leaving the University of Michigan to become the club’s CEO.

Phelp’s teammates call him "Gomer" because he reminds them of Gomer Pyle, the good-natured, naive country boy played by Jim Nabors.

He has made an estimated million per year in endorsements, plus a million bonus from swimsuit maker Speedo for winning eight gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games.

Five physical attributes particularly suit Phelps to swimming: his long, thin torso (low drag in the water), arms which span 6 feet 7 inches (201 cm) (long, powerful, propulsive "paddles") disproportionate to his height of 6 feet 4 inches (193 cm), relatively short legs (lower drag, and perhaps the speed enhancement of a hydrofoil), coupled to size 14 feet (providing the effect of flippers) by hypermobilile ankles he can extend beyond the pointe of a ballet dancer, enabling him to whip his feet (as if they were fins, for maximum thrust through [if not over] the water).

In a front page illustrated article profiling Phelps on the eve of the 2008 Summer Olympics, The Baltimore Sun described the hometown swimmer as "a solitary man" with a "rigid focus" at the pool prior to a race, but afterwards "a man incredibly invested in the success of the people he cares about". Bowman told a Sun interviewer, "He’s unbelievably kind-hearted", recounting Phelps’ interaction with young children after practices.

According to an article in The Guardian, Phelps eats around 12,000 kcal each day, or about five times more than the average adult male.

Throughout the Olympics, Phelps was questioned by the press if perhaps his feats were "too good to be true", a reference to unsupported rumors that Phelps may be taking performance enhancing drugs. In response, Phelps noted that he had signed up for Project Believe, a project by the United States Anti-Doping Agency in which U.S. Olympians can volunteer to be tested in excess of the World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines.

As a young teenager, Phelps trained at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club under coach Bob Bowman. At the age of 15, Phelps competed at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, becoming the youngest American male swimmer at an Olympic Games in 68 years. While he did not win a medal, he did make the finals and was fifth in the 200 m Butterfly. Phelps proceeded to make a name for himself in swimming shortly thereafter. Five months after the Sydney Olympics, Phelps broke the world record in the 200 m butterfly to become, at 15 years and 9 months, the youngest man ever to set a swimming world record. He then broke his own record at the World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan (1:54.58). At the 2002 Summer Nationals in Fort Lauderdale, Phelps also broke the world record for the 400 m individual medley and set American marks in the 100 m butterfly and the 200 m individual medley.

In 2003, Phelps broke his own world record in the 400 m individual medley (4:09.09) and in June, he broke the world record in the 200 m individual medley (1:56.04). Then on July 7, 2004, Phelps broke his own world record again in the 400 m individual medley (4:08.41) during the U.S. trials for the 2004 Summer Olympics.

In 2004, Phelps left North Baltimore Aquatic Club with Bob Bowman to train at the University of Michigan for Club Wolverine.

Phelps’ dominance brought comparisons to former swimming great Mark Spitz, who won seven gold medals in the 1972 Summer Olympics, a world record. Phelps tied Mark Spitz’s record of four gold medals won in individual events. Phelps had the chance to break Spitz’s record of seven total gold medals in the 2004 Athens Olympics by competing in eight swimming events (five of which were individual events): the 200 m freestyle, the 100 m butterfly, the 200 m butterfly, the 200 m individual medley, the 400 m individual medley, the 4×100 m freestyle relay, 4×200 m freestyle relay, and the 4×100 m medley relay. However, his 4×100 m freestyle relay team only won the bronze medal, and he personally placed for bronze in the 200 m freestyle. Thus, he fell short of Spitz’s record. However, he did win eight medals in one Olympics, a feat only previously achieved by Alexander Dityatin, a gymnast, in the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. Phelps would later equal this record (and break Spitz’s) with his eight gold medals in the 2008 Olympic Games.

Had he won seven golds in 2004, he would have been eligible for a US million bonus from his sponsor, Speedo. Phelps did, however, earn this million by winning eight golds at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

On August 14, 2004 he won his first Olympic gold, in the 400 m individual medley, setting another new world record (4:08.26). On August 16 he was beaten by the Australian winner Ian Thorpe and the Dutch Pieter van den Hoogenband in 200 m freestyle final, called the race of the century.

On August 20, 2004 in the 100 m butterfly final, Phelps defeated American teammate Ian Crocker (who holds the world record in the event) by just 0.04 seconds. Traditionally, the Olympian who places highest in an individual event will be automatically given the corresponding leg of the 4×100 m medley relay. This gave Phelps an automatic entry into the medley relay but he deferred and Crocker swam instead. The American medley team went on to win the event in world record time, and, since he had raced in a preliminary heat of the medley relay, Phelps was also awarded a gold medal along with the team members that competed in the final.

Phelps moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan following the 2004 Olympics when his longtime coach at the North Baltimore Athletic Club, Bob Bowman, became head coach of the University of Michigan swimming team. Phelps served as a volunteer assistant coach, but did not swim for the university’s team in NCAA competition because of his loss of amateur status, having accepted endorsement money from his sponsors Speedo, Visa, Omega and PowerBar. Instead, he trained with and competed for Club Wolverine, a USA Swimming club affiliated with the university, between 2004 and 2008. The Baltimore Sun said in August 2008 that Phelps earns million annually in endorsements.

He competed in the 2005 World Championships, winning six medals, (five gold and one silver) and breaking one Championship record.

At the 2007 World Championships, Phelps won seven gold medals, tying the record, and broke five world records. The 4×100 m medley relay team he would have competed with in the final received a disqualification for a false start during a changeover in the heats.

He co-founded the "Swim with the Stars" program, along with Ian Crocker and Lenny Krayzelburg, a program which promotes swimming and conducts camps for swimmers of all ages.

Phelps represented the United States at the 2008 Summer Olympics. He qualified to compete in three team and five individual events, winning the gold medal in all eight events:

Event / Results / Time

* August 10 400 m individual medley Gold Medal 4:03.84
World record

* August 11 4 x 100 m freestyle relay Gold Medal 3:08.24
World record

* August 12 200 m freestyle Gold Medal 1:42.96
World record

* August 13 200 m butterfly Gold Medal 1:52.03
World record

* August 13 4 x 200 m freestyle relay Gold Medal 6:58.56
World record

* August 15 200 m individual medley Gold Medal 1:54.23
World record

* August 16 100 m butterfly Gold Medal 50.58
Olympic record

* August 17 4 x 100 m medley relay Gold Medal 3:29.34
World record

Phelps set an Olympic record in the preliminary heats of the men’s 400-meter individual medley. He followed that up in the final by winning the gold medal, as well as breaking his previous world record by nearly two seconds.

Phelps swam the first leg of the men’s 4×100 m freestyle relay in a time of 47.51 seconds (an American record for the 100 m freestyle), and won his second gold medal of the 2008 Olympics, as well as setting his second world record of the Olympics (3:08.24). Teammate Jason Lezak, after beginning his leg more than half a body length behind the French, managed to finish ahead of the second-place French team by eight hundredths of a second. The top five teams in the final finished ahead of the world record of 3:12.23 set the day before by the American B team in a preliminary heat.

For his third race, Phelps broke his previous World Record in the 200-meter freestyle by nearly a second and won his third gold medal. He also set his third world record at the Olympics, 1:42.96, winning by nearly two seconds over silver medalist Park Tae-hwan. Phelps became only the fifth Olympic athlete in recent history to win nine career gold medals, along with Mark Spitz, Larissa Latynina, Paavo Nurmi, and Carl Lewis.

Phelps holds his gold medal on the podium on August 10, 2008. Pictured with Ryan Lochte and László Cseh
Phelps holds his gold medal on the podium on August 10, 2008. Pictured with Ryan Lochte and László Cseh

The next day, Phelps participated in two finals. In his first event, the 200-meter butterfly, Phelps made it four gold medals and world records in four events by swimming the final in 1:52.03, defeating silver medalist Laszlo Cseh by almost seven-tenths of a second despite his goggles filling up with water and being unable to "see anything for the last 100 meters. This fourth gold medal was his tenth, and made him the all-time leader for most Olympic gold medals won by an individual in the modern Olympic era.

“Epic. It goes to show you that not only is this guy the greatest swimmer of all time and the greatest Olympian of all time, he’s maybe the greatest athlete of all time. He’s the greatest racer who ever walked the planet.” – Mark Spitz (on Phelps winning his 7th gold medal)

Less than one hour after his gold medal victory in the 200-meter butterfly, Phelps swam the lead-off leg of the 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay. He won his fifth gold and set his fifth world record as the American team finished first with a time of 6:58.56. The Americans were the first team to break the seven-minute mark in the relay, and broke the previous record, set in Melbourne, Australia, by more than four and a half seconds.

After taking a day off from finals (Phelps did swim in qualifying heats), Phelps won his sixth gold of the Beijing Games on August 15 by winning the 200-meter individual medley with a World Record time of 1:54.23, finishing ahead of Cseh by over two seconds.

On August 16, Phelps won his seventh gold medal of the Games in the men’s 100-meter butterfly, setting an Olympic record for the event with a time of 50.58 seconds and edging out his nearest competitor, Serbian-American swimmer Milorad Čavić, by 1/100 of a second. Unlike all six of his previous events in the 2008 Games, Phelps did not set a new world record, leaving Ian Crocker’s world record time of 50.40 seconds, set in 2005, intact. Phelps’s 0.01-second finish ahead of Čavić prompted the Serbian delegation to file a protest; however, subsequent analysis of the video by the FINA panel, which required analyzing frames shot 1/10000 of a second apart, confirmed Phelps’s victory. Phelps’s seventh gold medal of the Games tied Mark Spitz’s record for gold medals won in a single Olympic Games, set in the 1972 Olympics. It was also his fifth individual gold medal in Beijing, tying the record for individual gold medals at a single Games originally set by Eric Heiden in the 1980 Winter Olympics and equaled by Vitaly Scherbo at the 1992 Summer Games. Said Phelps upon setting his seventh-straight Olympic record of the Games in as many events, “Dream as big as you can dream, and anything is possible… I am sort of in a dream world. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure it is real.”

On August 17, Phelps won his eighth gold medal in the men’s 4 × 100-meter medley relay, tying Mark Spitz’s previous record of setting seven world records in a single Olympic Games and breaking Spitz’s record of seven gold medals won in a single Olympic Games, which had stood since 1972. Phelps, along with teammates Brendan Hansen, Aaron Peirsol, and Jason Lezak, set a new world record in the event with a time of 3 minutes and 29.34 seconds, 0.7 seconds ahead of second-place Australia and 1.34 seconds faster than the previous record set by the United States at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. When Phelps dived in to swim the 100-meter butterfly leg, the third leg of the 400-meter medley, the United States had been trailing Australia and Japan. As if to make up for not having set a world record in the 100-meter individual butterfly the day before, Phelps completed his split in 50.1 seconds, the fastest butterfly split ever for the event, giving teammate Jason Lezak a more than half-second lead for the final leg, which he would hold onto to clinch the event in world record time. Said Phelps, upon completing the event that awarded him his eighth gold medal and eighth Olympic record in as many events, “Records are always made to be broken no matter what they are… Anybody can do anything that they set their mind to.”

In an article published in the wake of the event, The New York Times noted that, in the hours before his eighth and final event in the 2008 Games, had Michael Phelps been a country, “the Person’s Republic of Michael would have ranked fourth in gold medals [after China, the United States, and Germany] and been ahead of all but 14 countries in the medal count.” Only Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina holds more total career Olympic medals with 18 (nine gold), compared to Phelps’s 16 (14 gold).

Honors and awards

* World Swimmer of the Year Award: 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007
* American Swimmer of the Year Award: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007
* Golden Goggle Male Performance of the Year: 2004, 2006, 2007

* Golden Goggle Relay Performance of the Year: 2006, 2007

* Golden Goggle Male Athlete of the Year: 2004, 2007

* ESPY Best Olympic Performance: 2005

* USOC Athlete of the Year Award: 2004

* USSA Athlete of the Year Award: 2003

* World Championships Swimmer of the Meet: 2003

* James E. Sullivan Award: 2003

* Teen Choice Awards – Male Athlete: 2005

* Laureus World Sports Sportsman of the Year Award (Nominated): 2004, 2005, 2008

* USA Olympic Team Member: 2000, 2004, 2008

* Holds the record for most Olympic gold-medals: 14

* Holds the record for most Olympic gold-medals in individual events: 9

* Holds the record for most Olympic gold-medals at a single games: 8 (Beijing 2008)

* Street in his hometown of Baltimore was re-named ‘The Michael Phelps Way’: 2004

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