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                   Monday, February 14, 2011 - 11:20AM CST

Winter's sunset, waiting for green

By DAN ROBINSON
Editor/Photographer
25 Years of Storm Observing
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This sunset in New Baden last week may be symbolic of the 2010-2011 winter season's early force-out by this sudden warm pattern. The bitter cold air on the evening of this photo was replaced with temperatures in the 50s and mid-60s this weekend, with more warm days ahead - and maybe even our first thunderstorms of the year.

New Baden, IL sunsetClick for prints

The snow is almost completely gone today in New Baden - I never thought that brown ground and trees could look so good. The next item to anticipate is the landscape's transformation to green in the next month or so. If the warm weather continues, that could also happen much earlier than usual.

New Baden, IL landscape
Snow-free New Baden, IL prairies

Some web changes

As you've noticed, I switched to a new blog layout for this upcoming season that I've decided to make permanent. The wider width allows for larger photos, and won't require making large and small versions (no more 'click to enlarge' pages). I've also been wanting to de-clutter the overall look and feel for a long time. This site has dozens of sections and hundreds of pages (over 15 years of content), and I had years ago adopted the 'news site portal' model that placed as many of the subpage links as possible on the main page. Now that there is no real advantage business-wise to organize the site that way, I'm just laying this thing out the way I like it and what makes for easier management. The right sidebar still has enough space to contain all the things I want to link to.

This site has always been a research and development test-bed for my web design job, so at some point, I will be migrating everything to a CSS and PHP framework. Yes, hard to believe that I'm adopting CSS (going to the dark side?), but it's made great strides in browser compatibility and features in the past 2 years. It's still not perfect, but with HTML 5 on the horizon, I wanted to get everything up to standards. This change will happen whenever I get the time to implement it, hopefully before storm season begins.

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