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Aiken Standard (Newspaper) - February 14, 2011, Aiken, South Carolina Getting out of EgyptCouple recounts days spent overseasRail proposal is a reminder of Aiken’s start <.0d9»0Q001»'8v YatyJaY o contemporary phonetic spelling to convey that Christ is the UJoy. SHARE THE LOVE! Come as you are. find your (aith. Connect With friends. Experience God in a new Way. The journey begins al Si. Paul Lutheran Church on Sundays at 9:45am ond continues midi luther Cole (what some refer to as “Sunday School**!) at 11:00am. ? 961 Trail Ridge Road, Aiken • TftilntA? Iflfn todays vweamer f\ £> Vf» 30> Full forecast 18C 50^ By HALEY HUGHES Staff writer President Barack Obama’s $53 billion proposal to expand high-speed rail -touted as an investment rn infrastructure to speed goods and information and create jobs - brings to mind the railroad system that is so integral to Aiken’s history. The budget plan Obama is set to release today includes a six-year, $53 billion plan for high-speed rail. If Congress approves the plan, the money would go tow ard developing or improving trains that travel up to 250 miles per hour and connecting existing rail lines to new projects. This push is part of Obama’s “broad goal of creating jobs in the shortterm and increasing American competitiveness for the future through new spending cm infrastructure, education and innovation,’’ according to The Associated Press. Vice President Joe Biden said the . spend mg plan would build on $10.5 billion already allocated for rail projects $8 billion from the 2009 stimulus law and $2.5 billion in last year’s budget. “These investments are already paying economic dividends in places like Brunswick, Maine, where construction porkers are laying track that will provide the first rail service since the 1940s from Brunswick to Portland to Boston,” he said. The largest beneficiary - receiv ing more than $2 billion from the stimulus package - is California. North Carolina was given $520 million for a high-speed corridor between Raleigh and Charlotte. The Soutii Carolina Canal and Railroad Cd. formed in 1828 paid economic dividends, as well. The City of Aiken literally sprung up around the railroad - a 136-mile-long line that ran from Charleston to HamburgPIMM see RAILS, page 4A _ * Ss MwHnHi ii    --------—J Staff photo by Amy Benton Elizabeth Fowler, 2, enjoys being pushed on the swings by her father Bill. Higher temps bring residents outdoors By AMY BANTON Staff writer Sunshine and a cool breeze had many area residents out enjoying the w eather over the weekend Car windows were rolled down, and v arious parks were packed with people embrac ing the warmer temperatures. Bill Fowler, who moved to Aiken about three w eeks ago from Chanson, was spending time with his 2-year-old daughter I li/abeth at the playground at the H. Odell Weeks Activities Center. “It’s absolutely gorgeous.” Fow ler said. “It doesn’t even feel like February.” Mary Gilbert and her three children were also taking adv antage of the nicer weather Sunday at Odell Weeks. Gilbert was visiting from Tennessee and said her kids were wanting to go out on their scooters, something PIMM SM WEATHER, page 4A Vol. 145, No. 45    'lour    Local    Source    Since    I8(>7 ———— ===== By SUZANNE R. STONE Staff writer Bill and Elaine Hillan of Aiken got more adventure than they bargained for when they set off upon a cruise down the Nile Rivei in late January. The couple left Aiken on Jan. 20 for a trip to Egypt vv uh land, sea and air legs. They had been planning the trip since September, once Elaine, a kidney transplant recipient, received medical clearance to travel. “I’ve always wanted to see Egypt. I worked for the airlines before I got married, and I always wanted to go to Egypt and never got there,” she said, adding that they have resumed their travels now that their children are grown. The ililians flew into Cairo and spent three days there. Then they took a plane to Luxor and cruised by boat to Aswan, where they took a plane to Ahu Simbcl, site of the (meat Temple of King Ramses ll. They took a second boat back to Aswan v ta Lake Nasser and flew back to Cairo from Aswan. They armed back in Cairo late Monday, the day formerly peaceful protests in Cairo calling for Egyptian President I losni Mubarak to step down turned into violence between police, pro-Mubarak forces Bill and Elaine Hillan ride camels in front of the pyramids. and protesters. “That’s where it got interesting. We w ere supposed to go on to Jordan; that was our plan. But while we were on the boat, the protests started,” Bill said. “We were with Viking River Cruises, and they said they didn’t recommend we go to Jordan at this time. There were only six of us going on to Jordan; the rest were going back home. One couple had already backed out, the other one backed out at that point, so we backed out kicking - we really wanted to go on, but they recommended not.” “With all the problems at the airport, we thought we’d better get out of Dodge right PIMM SM EGYPT, page 11A Lid Author's new book is on teen idol crushes ► Novelist Allison Pearson, whose own teen crush was on David Cassidy, has focused on love-struck girts in her new book 17A Clarence Eugene Heath, Williston Helen Friday Thomas, Graniteville Jeffery David King, Wagener Lassie Williams, Aiken Pierina Beiiavista Minora, Aiken Shirley D. Hartwell, Jamaica, N.Y. Deaths and Funerals I BA Calendar 3C Classifieds SB Crossword SC Comics 4C Dear Abby SC Horoscopes SC Movie Listings sc Obituaries BA Opinions ISA Puzzles SC Sports 1B TV Listings 2C Monday February 14,2011 Ex-presidential cat leads Aiken retiree into history By SUZANNE R. STONE Staff enter Aiken retiree Eleanor O’Connor is now just a whisker away from history. O’Connor was interviewed in January by staffers from the Herbert Hoov er Presidential Library, who wanted to document the life of her cat, the late Cat-Hoover-Mason, known to friends as just Cat. Cat, a purebred Siamese, came into O’Connor’s care upon the 1964 death of her prev ions human, former president Herbert Hoover. Judy Sheppers, O’Connor’s neighbor and friend, found Cat’s pedigree papers while helping tidy up last foil and asked O’Connor about the cat. “I said, ‘This belongs to history ; you need to do something w uh it,’” Sheppers said. “I contacted the Hoover Library, and they came in and did a video Submitted photo Eleanor O'Connor sits with her cat Cat-Hoover-Mason, known as just Cat after the death of Cat's previous owner, former president Herbert Hoover. interv iew w uh Eleanor.” “I worked in Hoover’s office at the Waldorf, for the Dutch Treat Club,” said O’Connor. “Mr. Frank club for a long time; he knew everybody. I went to him ’ for a job, and, from 1961 to 1969,1 was the only woman Mason was a member of the PIMM mu CAT, page 11A ;