Mr. Bill and Miz Mona

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/Books/8-31-2011

Bill Says: This next book synopsis is for, "Legend of Silene", which is my first attempt at writing a Christian fable of sorts. The story is based upon the Legend of St. George and the Dragon and surprisingly, this tale did take place in Libya, North Africa. The story was carried into Europe by knights and fighting men returning home from King Richard's 3rd Crusade, which takes place in the latter part of the12th Century.

My fable has a touch of Edgar Rice Burroughs, a dash of HG Wells and smidgen of Jules Verne, and begins in current day Tripoli, Libya. Here a Sunni storyteller entertains children and tourists with a very unusual fairy tale. This is an ancient story, where the oddities of the universe transform reality into the imaginary, myth into a courageous man's destiny to fulfill an ancient prophecy. In doing so, he becomes the slayer of evil and a legend in the service of Jesus Christ.

The Sunni story teller takes his listeners back to 1968 Viet Nam, where newly promoted Corporal GW Sanders, a proud member of the 101st Airborne, is about to participate in a helicopter assault deep into the ominous A Shau Valley. While the helicopters warm up, Sanders in approached by a South Vietnamese Captain, who has brought with him an elderly Montegnard holy man. The tribesman has come a great distance on foot to meet GW, a foreigner he has seen only in his visions. The holy man brings with him three strange gifts for GW; a handmade wooden cross hanging from an elephant hair necklace, a satchel of dried water buffalo meat and a large and extremely sharp flint blade. The old man tells GW of his visions and how these things were necessary for GW's survival over the next few days. The captain interprets the Jade dialect and tells of how the spirits had named the blade-Ascalon.

Not wanting to offend the holy man, GW places the items in his field pack and boards the helicopter. He immediately notices the holy man has disappeared in to the crowd of soldiers and soon forgets about the gifts as he mentally prepares himself for battle.

The Army hopes to catch the enemy by surprise, but within hours a major battle is underway. Outnumbered, US forces are ordered to withdraw by helicopter and GW's shot-up platoon is given the job of rear-guard action. A massive attack overruns their position and survivors flee deep into the jungle. GW is accompanied by Corporal Paul Grant and PFC Richard Hughes, and they eventually find refuge in a small cave.

With GW on guard, the other two sleep and after midnight the earth rumbles under a massive earthquake. All three are rendered unconscious, while a mysterious and bizarre event occurs around them. The cave is transformed into a gyrating blender, emptying the three men into a multi-colored vortex. They leave one reality and are dropped into another, thousands of miles away and hundreds of years earlier.

The tale now moves to Silene, Libya, the year is 1178 A.D and Brother Samuel, a 75-year old man with a secret past is introduced. Sam poses as a defrocked Catholic priest in a Muslim world. He washed up on the northern shores of Silene 42-years ago and was promptly thrown into a castle dungeon. Through his knowledge of medicine and engineering, he was able to earn his release. Through time, he became Chief Court Advisor to King Ramie, Lord and High Protector for the Kingdom of Silene. He now educates the king's daughters; Princess Lonnia- a witch, Princess Lannia- a female warrior in exile and Princess Lennia- the king's favorite.

There is also a curse hanging over Silene in the form of a 20-ton, 50-foot tall aquatic dinosaur landlocked in a salt water lake by a quake/tsunami event in the long past. Set down by ancient decree, twice a month this dragon is fed fair maidens in hopes to keep the beast from destroying Silene. Girls are taken in raids, from local families or bought in slave markets to fulfill the quota. Brother Samuel spends a lot of his time trying to figure out a way to destroy the monster and pleads with God for a miracle. The answer to his prayers has arrived.

Sanders, Grant and Hughes discover their modern weapons, other than their knives, shovels and a single grenade, were destroyed by strange the quake. They struggle for a week to find their way out of a long tunnel-like cavern. Following days of travel, the come up against a rock wall and once their last torch burns out, they discover a baseball sized hole in the wall that allows sunlight into the cave. They use their one grenade and E-tool shovels to escape. But they are startled by what they find before them; a white sandy beach and a blue-green ocean. Not the jungle they expected. The three men soon lay eyes on a fairy tale castle off in the distance and to make matters even more surreal, they are taken prisoner by a troop of mounted Saracen knights and thrown into a rat-infested dungeon.

The meat had kept them fed and the wood cross kept them from being slain on the spot, for the officer in charge of the knights recognized it and how it matched with Sam's cross.

Brother Samuel visits them and once he had learned who they are and what century they had come from, he admits to them in how he was a US Navy Lt. Commander, who had been thrown from a British Destroyer in the early days of World War II. It is Sam's plan to identify GW and Paul as fellow Irishmen; both being anti-British mercenaries, who survived their ship's sinking. Richard would be a Black Moor and Sudanese court officer, who was accompanying GW and Paul to his country to train their soldiers.

Released into Sam's custody, they are forced to accept their situation and Mushid, a Silene knight, begins training them with lance and horse. GW lays his eyes on a proud steed, a grey speckled Arabian, thought to be a cursed animal because three of its owners were either killed in battle or severely injured. He names his horse, Valiant and a strange bond forms between horse and man. Richard, who is utterly afraid of horses, is forced into a fight to the death with an unruly ogre of a man and demonstrates his skills in both Judo and Karate. Both of which he had learned through years of training at the local YMCA. Paul, unable to grasp the skills of fighting with a sword or lance, becomes and apprentice to Sam.

Princess Lennia becomes fascinated with GW and being of royal blood, Sam can only see trouble developing.  Princess Lonnia, who worships her dark gods, is jealous of Sam's relationship with her father, his religion and she wants Sam and the other three men dead. Repeatedly, she does her best to have them killed.

The Great Imam, Muslim Holy Leader for all Libya, visits Silene and he too would like Sam's head on a pike. But he also desires the death of the king's two oldest daughters for their blasphemy against Muslim Law. Fortunately, the Caliph of Libya uses his royal relationship with King Ramie to keep the religious leader in line and prevents him from executing Sam and the two daughters of the king. But the Great Imam finally uses religious law to force King Ramie to either slay the dragon within one year or feed Sam to it.

A relationship between Princess Lennia and GW blossoms and Princess Lonnia uses it to set a trap for both of them. Found innocently in the stables after dark, GW and Princess Lennia are taken into custody. As a favor to Sam, King Ramie banishes the three men from Libya and they journey into Egypt. But Princess Lonnia isn't done yet and she has her youngest sister sentenced to be sacrificed to the dragon. The king attempts to stop it, offering the townspeople a ransom, but they have seen too many of their own daughters fed to the foul beast and will not accept it.

Sam and Mushid travel to Egypt to locate the three men. They know of an ancient prophecy of a stranger riding in mounted upon a war horse to do battle with the dragon for the life of a princess. Sam and Mushid believe GW is that man. GW is of course named George Whitney, but he never liked the name and went by his initials.

In the prophecy, the knight carries a lance named Ascalon, which now has George believing in the story. The blade is fitted to a lance, which is reinforced with metal plating. No other lance or arrow had been able to pierce the dinosaur's hide and Sam believes this finely edged flint blade may just do the job.

George returns to Silene, does battle with the dragon and slays it. Following with prophecy, the dragon 's blood seeps into the desert sand and a gusher of fresh healing waters erupts. Hundreds of people come from a far to be healed. Through this miracle and the slaying of the beast, the Kingdom of Silene returns to Christianity, having once been so before the Sword of Islam conquered Africa.

George marries the princess, becomes a prince of the land, while his two friends carry the tale into the crusades.

There is a bit more, but this is getting long winded for a blog. Thanks and God Bless!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/Book # 2/ 8/26/2011

Bill Says: First off, today in our son, Joshua Troy Casselman's 27th Birthday. He was born in Skagway, Alaska.

Okay, this synopsis is for my very first completed manuscript and it is entitled, "Operation Apache Snow- a Story of Viet Nam". Oddly enough, when I decided to change the setting and story line, preferring to write about my time in Viet Nam, I suffered writer's block. Once I returned to this story, everything began to flow again. I have also written a sequel to this story, but it needs final editing.


A work of Christian fiction, Operation Apache  Snow is an action based story primarily set in 1969 Viet Nam and it tells of the many young Christian boys, who right out of high school, became men in a very few short moments. How they came face to face with their deepest fears and a challenge of faith, when they lost their youthful innocence with the simple pull of a trigger, and of the grief they suffered in watching their friends suffer from wounds or death.

In many cases, such boys lost their faith in their Lord Jesus Christ and in a lesser sense their faith in their government. Most of these same soldiers suffered severe forms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for decades to come and sadly, only a few would renew their faith in God.

The main character in this story is one such young man, who came from a strong Christian middle-class family in Southern California. Matthew Kendal is a pastor's son, who was raised on the Word of God and is engaged to his high school sweetheart- Kathy Lee.

After participating in a high school varsity track meet, Matthew returned home to learn of his older brother's death in Viet Nam. Angry, especially with God for allowing this to happen, he turns from his faith, puts aside his plans for Bible College and marriage to enlist in the US Army. Matthew also volunteers for duty in Viet Nam and carries a dangerous blood thirst for vengeance and becomes a proud member of the 101st Airborne- the Screaming Eagles.

During training, Matthew befriends Pvt. John Adams; a troubled Black youth from Washington DC. Adams, like many others, was given a choice between going to jail for car theft or enlistment in the military. Later, while both men are going through jump school together, they befriend, Pvt. Jose Martinez; a street wise Chicano, who left behind the gang life of East Los Angeles  to fulfill a promise to his dying mother. These three young men become an unlikely trio, who stand-up  against racial pressures from all fronts and face head-on the rigorous and often painful weeks of boot camp and airborne training.

As fictional characters, these characters are placed into an actual rifle squad of D Company, 3rd Battalion, which participated in Operation Apache Snow. History now remembers this operation as the epic May 10-May 20, 1969 battle for Hamburger Hill.

Here the 101st Airborne suffered previously unheard of losses; 70-killed and 422 men wounded. For 11-days they were pounded by torrential rain fall, forced to slosh through knee-deep mud and face relentless enemy fire, but still they made the heroic climb to claim the summit of Hill 937.

Outnumbered, they nearly reach the top, when the 29th North Vietnamese Army counter-attacked with fresh troops. But refusing to give up, D Company pushed forward with one goal in mind; to take the summit at all costs. Their courage entices the rest of the battalion and on their 11th drive up the mountain, they breach the summit defenses, where the battle continued on in brutal hand-to-hand combat.

Jose Martinez sacrifices his life to save Matthew by jumping upon a grenade, but before this battle is over both Matthew and John are severely wounded and left crippled for life.

However, the story doesn't end there, it continues on with how Matthew and John renew their faith in God and remain close for the rest of their lives. As disabled veterans they face the new challenges of civilian life and come home to such accusatory names like "baby killer", and "Nixon's gestapo". They begin to witness a nation renewing itself with the unveiling of the Viet Nam Memorial- The Wall.

John finds the Lord's teachings instrumental in his drug rehab and community work, while Matthew, who finished Bible College, entered the ministry. As their families grow in time, Matthew and John are part of a group of Christian Viet Nam veterans who return to Viet Nam. Only this time they are not carrying M-16s, but they risk much by smuggling Bibles for the growing number of underground Christian churches in a communist country.

Though this story chronicles the battle for Hamburger Hill, Operation Apache Snow also tells of the men's loved ones back home in the world, of worried parents who wait for every letter from their son, Matthew, and how Kathy Lee's confusion with an anti-war rally and the riot to follow leads her to writing Matthew a Dear John letter. There is also the ever so vivid nightly news casts that became more graphic with the passing years and brought the war's violence right into the family's living room.

Unlike other Viet Nam war novels, Operation Apache Snow speaks of the busy life of a North Vietnamese medic. Trapped inside the mountain, Lin He Que, a member of the 29th North Vietnamese Army, struggles to keep his comrades a live with limited medical supplies. Weary from lack of sleep and seeing so many of his friends die, Que had a startling confrontation with a wounded Matthew upon the mountain's summit. Unable to  kill Matthew because of his convictions as a medic, Que leaves him alive in a trench and flees down the mountain. 30-years later, Matthew and Que are brought together by God in the hallways of a Hanoi hospital. Que, now a surgeon and disillusioned with communism, listens to Matthew's word of forgiveness and God's love and eventually accepts Jesus Christ into his life. He becomes instrumental in help with Viet Nam's underground church movement.

Note: It is not surprising that the reader will find how my main three characters closely resemble the three soldiers cast in the Viet Nam Memorial Statue. Matthew is a composite of the 18019 year old white middle-class, while John and Jose represent the ethnic and often uneducated minorities sent to Viet Nam in droves. These are the men who became the country's strong backbone, whose courage and sacrifice would be forever enshrined on the Wall.

It was my goal in writing this story to show that through a time of great violence and fear, moral upheaval  and barbarism, that in such a lengthy conflict and its aftermath, there can also be found a time of spiritual growth, repentance, forgiveness and brotherhood, and prayer. This was Viet Nam.  

That's it for Book # 2. Thanks for reading and God Bless!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/ My Books/ 8/23/2011

Bill Says: As earlier stated, I wanted to show you all the Synopsis pages for my 5 and maybe 6 books. This is a basic outline into each of my stories and I will only put one out at a time. Some of them are long and some short, but they will explain what the story is about. My first one is the manuscript I will soon be sending out over the internet through a Christian Publication's outfit for a 6 month period. Here it will be reviewed by agents and publishers- hopefully. I am planning to send out a new one each month. Hope you enjoy this one, but most of you have already heard the basic idea for, "A Coming Storm".

SYNOPSIS: "A Coming Storm" - 22 Chapters and 878 double-spaced pages- 238,000 words.

A Christian apocalyptic thriller set in the near future, the story begins with a chronological six-year listing of significant worldwide events following NASA's startling discovery of a planet-killer comet. Previously undetected, it had suddenly appeared in deep space and on a collision course with earth. Impact point is shown to be Northern Thailand, setting off worldwide panic when the public is informed.

Chaos brings an end to the United Nations and now unopposed, China and its neighboring countries of Southeast, Central and Central Asia form the Oriental Alliance Pact, (OAP).

From the slums of Mexico City springs forth a new Class IX plague. No antidote can be found and nearly one-third of the world's population will succumb to it.

The Unified World Church Alliance, (UWCA), comes into being with promises of charity and pro-Christian teachings, but will soon reveal its true self to be both Anti-Christian and Anti-Semitic, and begins a reign of terrorism against Synagogues, Christian churches and their leaders.

With a collapsed economy, frightened people begin running amok and race riots cripple the United States. A Christmas morning  missile attack is launched  against the USA by OAP submarines. Hidden in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the OAP catches a downsized military unaware. Within 30-minutes, most of the continental United States becomes a radioactive wasteland.

Other enemies soon follow suit and nuclear, biological and chemical weapons are exchanged throughout Europe, the Middle East and South Central Asia. But with such an assault on the planet, the earth responds violently with great quakes. Once dormant volcanoes  erupt around the globe and towering tsunamis spread out across the oceans, wiping out coastal areas and sweeping over  whole island nations. Millions die within days, as thick clouds of darkened ash soon covers over most of the Northern Hemisphere.

NATO, now without the support of the USA, comes under invasion by Western Russia armed forces seeking to secure vital seaports and valuable natural resources. A young French officer rises up to rally the troops, saving Paris from ruin and before long, this charismatic hero has the Russians on the run. Hailed as a savior and with his new army in support, the man eventually becomes the First Emperor of the newly formed New European Empire. The Anti-Christ has risen and he now reveals himself as leader and founder of the UWCA.

In the Orient, where hordes of people are fleeing the expected impact zone, food and clean water is in short supply. Rumors of cannibalism begins to circulate through OAP ranks. OAP Warlords break their alliance with Eastern Russia and invade Siberia in overwhelming numbers. After conquering Eastern Russia in quick order, OAP forces readies its battle hardened legions for the invasion of Alaska and Western Canada.

With the exchange of weapons of mass destruction between neighboring Arabian and North African countries, Israel is no longer in danger of their attacks. But Israel now finds itself facing even a larger foe, as both OAP and New European Empire forces launch their invasion of the Holy Land by air, land and sea.

Chapter One identifies Fairbanks Police Sergeant Brad Sawyer, his Christian family and his non-believing Afro-American patrol partner, Scott Radley. The harsh realities of  of a nuclear winter sets in, accompanied by clouds of volcanic ash, forcing the Alaskans to deal with strict food rationing and Martial Law, while the await a deadly comet and impending invasion.

Following a battle with UWCA terrorists, Fairbanks is evacuated and all the civilians and most of the military are withdrawn 90- miles to the east; to Delta Junction and Fort Greeley. Sgt Brad Sawyer becomes an Army Captain and assigned to military intelligence. He becomes a member of a three-man team and given the task of going behind enemy lines in Fairbanks. This is an assignment that will lead to his death. Officer Scott Radley is made a militia 2nd lieutenant and placed in charge of a platoon of weekend warriors, while working under a bigoted company commander.

Chapter Two tells of the Eskimo men and women of the fighting 1st Division, Alaska Defense Force and their preparations to repel the OAP army on the northwest coastal plains of Wales, Alaska. Led by Colonel Freeman and assisted by a Major Jeb Stewart, who is new to the division and assigned as the senior Intelligence Section Officer, they fortify the City of Wales. But before the invasion commences, Stewart, wounded earlier by a polar bear attack, lands a top-secret mission into Canada. Following the orders of newly appointed President Andrews, General Saunders, Alaska Defense Force Commander orders Stewart and a Captain Wayne Rogers to carry sealed documents across a closed border with Canada and deliver them to the Canadian Army Commander. The document is a proposal of an alliance between the two countries. But at the moment, Western and Eastern Canada are involved in a civil war.

Chapter Three is a show of faith, as envisioned by a Pastor James Woodway of Phoenix, Arizona. Assisted by Arizona State Police Lieutenant Ed Sawyer, (Brad-s younger brother), they lead their congregation from out of the fiery ruins of Phoenix and enter into an Exodus-like journey through a war ravaged land of the USA and into Canada. Their destination is Alaska. Enduring many hardships along the way, which include mutiny, various gun battles and fighting off a outlaw motorcycle gang, dealing with unfriendly townspeople, meeting up with an Apache Indian tribe in dire need of a doctor and finding themselves surrounded by plague and radioactive hot zones. But through their faith and miracles to follow, they will reach Alaska.

In the closing chapters, the three main character groups will join together at Fort Greeley, in Alaska's Tanana Valley, for the final battle against the OAP.

The invasion on, the enemy crosses the Bering Strait ice bridge and drives the greatly outnumbered 1st Division into full retreat across an unforgiving arctic wilderness. Northern OAP forces move into interior Alaska, while a fleet of OAP warships attack Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula from the south. The two OAP armies later converge in the Alaskan heartland for the final battle at Fort Greeley.

Heroes will rise and some will fall, but the survivors join together for one last gallant stand. General Howard Wright of the Western Canadian Armed Forces, leads a 600-members Royal Canadian Mounted Police against the OAP southern spearhead. Believers and non-believers alike now stand shoulder to shoulder against a vengeful and starving army.

During these finale days, a miraculous event occurs, which lines up with Biblical prophecy: 24 hours of complete darkness, a strange blood red moon and the comet suddenly blows up within mere hours before breaking through earth's atmosphere. A fiery explosion of such magnitude  is to illustrate how the skies were suddenly filled with a thousand falling stars- as detailed in the Book of Revelations.

When OAP forces overwhelm the perimeter of Fort Greeley and direct their fire against the civilian population, a great sonic boom drives everyone on earth to the ground, soon followed by the sweet sounds of the Heavenly Trumpet. God demonstrates His divine power by dividing the sun into two halves, with even a brighter light shooting outward from between them. From this blinding light , golden rays  shoot out and cascade down to touch the horizons of the earth.  Colors of the rainbow fill the skies, as these golden rays form a spiritual bridge between the spiritual realm and the world of mankind. A majestic highway is formed, one in which carries the Heavenly Host forward, to the mighty sounds of a million thunderclaps and bolts of white and golden lightening. Great and towering thunderheads begin to form at the foot of this bridge and atop these majestic clouds ride the Angelic Army of God. These warriors dressed in white and riding upon great white steeds, descend from the skies to do battle and defeat the enemies of God.

These same towering thunderheads begin to produce a fine silvery mist, which showers upon all the land and all around the globe, transforming winter's ice and the desert's dry wastelands into lush greenery. The mist brings with it an instant healing for the wounded and even the dead who lay upon the fields of battle begin to rise. The sun becomes its normal self, but the silvery mist continues on, dissolving all of mankind's weapons of warfare as the land is prepared for the Lamb of God's reign.

Sorry this was a bit long, but it was a very long tale. I had originally made it over 1700-pages, then turned it into a trilogy and finally shortened it to its current length.  Thanks for reading. Pass allong comments if you have any, I appreciate feedback.

God Bless!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Reading the fine print...

Miss Mona sez:

Did you ever find that you had signed up for something that turned out to be significantly more than you anticipated?  Bill keeps bugging me about blogging more and today he said I should write about taking care of Mom. At first my attitude was "yeah, right", but on reflection, I think I want to try it. I shall endeavor not to sound whiny.

To begin with, I believe in the family and I do not think that God designed us to live alone. Yes, sometimes circumstances develop where we are alone and there are those who choose to be alone, but I do not think we are at our best that way.

When I say family, I do not mean Mom, Dad, 2.5 children and occasional visits from grandparents. Perhaps "tribe" is a better word? For me, a family is a group of people of various ages and developmental states bound together by blood, marriage, choice or life circumstance.

I grew up the youngest of 9 with innumerable nieces, nephews, cousins and whatnot, so I guess I am somewhat predisposed to that viewpoint by my upbringing. Go figure.

My grandparents were not in the picture as they had all died long before I came on the scene. Further along, my own parents died, Daddy when I was 17 and pregnant with Elizabeth and Momma when I was 24, right after James' birth. Bill's folks were long-divorced, both remarried and lived in the Lower 48 while we lived in Alaska. There were visits and whatnot, but distance and finances made them necessarily infrequent and not terribly lengthy.

So, along comes 1990 and a visit from Bill's Mom. We were living in Fairbanks and Bill Welch had died a couple of years prior to this(The final of Mom's four husbands). Mom was thinking about moving to Alaska to be near us and we talked her into spending a winter here before she made the leap of moving. As a life-long California girl, she had never experienced snow, not to mention a Fairbanks winter! Anyway, she closed up her house and came toodling up to Fairbanks, her Persian, Pierre, in tow.

Bill was a State Investigator, working a steady day shift for the first time in our marriage (10 yrs and counting), the kids were Micah Sue-4, Joshua-6, James-8 and Elizabeth-14. We homeschooled, were the Youth Group leaders at church, Bill played percussion for the Worship Team and this had been the summer he and Gary did umpty-jillion overtime hours together chasing down bad guys (see Bill's FBX tales for more on that). Pierre hid under the spread on Mom's bed and the kids called him The Lump. We already had two cats, Hawkeye and Margaret, and a Newfoundland named Radar

Long story short, we had 12 ft of snow that winter, Mom bought a parka and Sorels (she hated them both) , broke her clavicle falling down the stairs while Bill and I were gone for the evening (Elizabeth did a bang-up job handling the emergency) and she headed south in the spring to sell her house, pack her stuff and move back up in spite of all that.

Her original plan was to move into a senior apartment in town as she had always been a solo person, not the cookie-baking, spend-the-night Grandma type. While she was in California, her Mom died, releasing her from the only responsibility she had left (Pierre was portable, much to his chagrin). I probably should have noticed that Granny was nearly 92 and had been in a nursing home 15 years before this, somehow it didn't register... Oh, well.

A week into her time in California she called to say that even the cat was lonely and to go ahead and look for a house big enough for her, too-"This house is just too damned quiet!"
So we did.

I forgot to say that Bill's father, Frank, passed away suddenly during the time Mom spent the winter. She stayed with the kids while Bill and I flew to Arizona for his services. This was among the things that influenced my willingness, heck- eagerness!-to have Mom come live with us. In my experience, parents tended not to live too long (mine were both 67 when they died, Frank was 58) and Mom was already 71. I wanted (Bill did, too, but this is my story) my kids to know at least one grandparent before she died.

So we found a house.

With customary generosity, God not only blessed us with Mom that June- we also got custody of John, age 15. First significant contact in 10 years was a letter from Nancy that the kid was aimed at jail and we needed to "take responsibility for him." Probably shoulda thought of that 10 years ago when you lied like a rug and got full custody/no visitation...But I digress.How unusual.

So, along we go...

 And now, here I sit more than 21 years later, tapping on a computer and waiting for this amazing woman to die.

All through the years, I would get these sympathetic looks and comments- "Your mother-in-law lives with you?!" Mostly women, but the occasional man would pat my shoulder and smile. "You must be an amazing woman!" or"I could never do that!" Then I'd tell them she did the laundry for us and they would try to kidnap her.

A lot of amazing things have happened along the way. She taught the kids how to play poker. The kids taught her how to hug. We learned to respect each other. We disagreed, argued, fought and made up. She went to church with us, got baptized when she was 72. Pastor asked her why she wanted to do it and she said because the last time she did it was into the Mormon church. He complied. She learned how to forgive, she learned how to pray. My kids learned to honor and respect their grandmother. She went to countless conferences and trips to villages with us. She got involved in Prison Ministry because it was something she understood. Bill's brother, Larry, was an outlaw biker who did a lot of time and she visited him there.
She obsessed about the bathroom and running out of toilet paper. The first time I flushed a toilet with a bucket of water (the power was out 5 days that time) she thought I hung the moon.
She always had a pocket full of kleenex, a puzzle book and packets of crackers in her purse and thought that microwave dinners were the answer to her prayers.

Went to bed with a thermos of coffee, a pack of cigarettes and cookies or a pastry on her nightstand. Always had chocolate in her drawer.

The kids wandered in and out of her room, watched endless episodes of crime dramas with her, sat on her lap and got read to. So did the grandkids (her greats). Their teenage friends were terrified of her, Micah kept threatening to dye her pure white hair purple, and she has a thing for bright colors and sparkly shoes.

She learned to wear sweatpants and polar fleece vests, how to layer for warmth and never did get to where she would wear Sorels. The parka, however, still hangs downstairs and served her faithfully for many winters. We took her camping and took away her driver's license when she was 78 (she didn't speak to Bill for three days and still complained about it 10 yrs later when her vision was so poor she couldn't walk down the hall and didn't walk at all without her cane).

She was terrified of nursing homes and consumed with guilt that she could not stand to care for her own mother. I had trained as a care provider, worked in homes mostly but a short stint in a nursing home. Nursing homes are like hospitals- sometimes you have to be there, but it is not the best thing to have to stay there.
Bill and I promised she would never have to be in one, I have the skills and we have a large and supportive family and a good church family to call on.

We are by no means the first or only family to do this. We may get points for longevity, but that is about it. To me, this is a fact of life. At the beginning and at the end, people need to be cared for and I have never felt the job should be turned over to strangers, no matter how skilled or well-meaning. She is a part of my family, for better or worse, in sickness and in health.....

And she is my friend.

With love-

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/Fairbanks/ 8-18/2011

Bill Says: It is an early Thursday morning. I was up before 7 a.m. to find thick clouds hanging low like fog and our area temperatures holding in the high 50's. Though it feels like Fall is upon us and even the plant life is behaving as such, it is still only Mid-August. I tossed out the remains of my prized stale popcorn, ( yes, I like old popcorn, but can only eat so much of it), upon the driveway and far quicker than I expected, some 11-black and white camp robbers descended upon it to feast. These have to be the noisiest birds in God's creation. They drive my two small dogs crazy, send them running in circles in their vain attempt to catch one and cause Jeremy to grasp his lethal BB gun in hand, so he can hopefully get some sleep. The birds love to taunt our cats and as soon as it is daylight, which comes at 5:30 a.m. right now and these highly intelligent birds begin their harassment of any of my cats still outside. They have now become an unwanted alarm clock. My neighbor has her own method of dealing with these troublesome birds. She lures them into her garage, catches them with her huge salmon net and beats them to death. These birds of prey have stolen far too many of her chicks and she has set the dogs of war against them.

I am watching the talking heads of morning news and observe our stock market plummeting yet again.  Everyone is blaming everyone else. But it seems to center on our two major political parties painting the blame on the other side for our troubles. They seem to have forgotten who they work for- US! I have come to the decision that with so many people unemployed, so many people homeless and so many people hungry, that we should sincerely think about doing away with so many, ( see how many times I can use "so many" in a sentence- count them and win a prize!), stupid government programs and use the funds to help so many of our people here at home. Why should we be giving money to so many people who hate us? Why should we be providing funds for foreign governments to expand their economy, when our own economy is failing. Our own President goes out on a bus tour, using a multi-million dollar bus built in Canada. Why isn't he using an American built bus. I am sure we could've used our tax dollars to build an armored bus and just how many times will this huge RV be used? I won't even get into the gun deal our country's leaders made with the cartels to supply them with 2600 automatic weapons- who's campaign chest got paid?

Well enough on politics and human interest. Back to cases.

While conducting my investigations, I entered into one such case involving Mr. Edward Dilley. This man was the biggest licensed Operator in the state and taking home about $10 million a year from assisting dozens of charities with his pull-tab sales from some two dozen outlets around the state. Inspecting one outlet in Fairbanks I noticed that his retail space in a strip mall was quite large and he was selling all kinds of tourist stuff, clothes and toys, along with a set up small stand for about two-dozen pull-tab jars. I became suspicious and began inspecting his leases from these various malls and discovered that he was billing the charities the whole amount for the rent of these locations, including labor and utilities. That's when I opened my case and had an accountant in Anchorage help me out with the numbers part. It became a 6-month long investigation and involved my traveling around the state to collect copies of rental agreements, interview employees and gather additional evidence. When this case was completed, I and the accountant, Joe Koss, were able to provide enough evidence to pull Dilley's operator's license from him. I was also able to find an old felony conviction for him concerning a kidnapping/assault case in Oregon and a Bad Conduct Discharge from the military for AWOL.

To say the least, this man no longer considered me a nice guy. Though he did try to bribe me twice during the investigation. Once with a 1st class plane ticket to Juneau and back, and a collector's Indian motorcycle. Both of which I immediately reported to my boss. Dilley had acquired a vast fortune over the years by bleeding funds from these charities and he blamed me for taking it away from him.

I had to go by his home/business building one day and when I came into his private office I found him sitting in his chair, behind an ornate desk, fingering the trigger on a commemorative Marine Corps .45 caliber machine gun- though it was only semi-auto. He had an intense and angry glare upon his unshaven face and I decided to make the meeting shorter than planned.

Dilley moved to Nevada and attempted to open a legal brothel. But I sent my investigation on to Nevada and this prevented him from doing so. I don't like to be threatened.

During another investigation, Gary Wing of the ABC Board and I set up a sting operation in Fairbanks. We had picked up information of how the liquor stores in town were selling booze and pull tabs to minors. So, we had the 19-year old son of the North Pole Police Department Police Chief assist us by making buys of both liquor and pull tabs. We ended up burning all but one liquor store in town, which really surprised us. We used the same young man to bust an after hour joint, operating in a warehouse. Assisted by Fairbanks Police Department personnel, our young man went in wearing a wire and recorded what we needed to have to stage the raid. We went in and busted some 30-people for charges of illegal liquor sales, illegal gambling and prostitution. The young man eventually became a police officer and was later killed on duty, saving the lives of two of his fellow officers. He was a great kid!

Gary and I assisted Fairbanks Police Department many times. During a burglary of the Fairbanks Curling Club, we happened to be out on our own patrol and ended up on the scene. We gave chase of the suspects and closed off their retreat in a residential neighborhood and kept them in their cars until a patrol car showed up. The suspects labeled us with the title of "Batman & Robin", and all night Gary and I argued who was who. My argument was that I was taller than he was, so I should be Batman. His argument was how he was the smarter, but I wouldn't buy into that one. Though his wife was my doctor and she used needles...I really have this fear of needles and the whole Batman and Robin thing eventually faded away. Well, we still got kidded some when we came into the police department.

We then pulled a summer of surveillance work for FPD. Setting up in three different hotel rooms over three months of weekends and pretty much on our own time, we provided extensive camera work on the trouble areas about town. From the second floor of the Motel 8, the 11th floor of the Polaris Hotel and 4th floor of the Northwood Building, we had radio contact with FPD and dispatched them to hot spots. We worked with a joint Army/Air Force/State Trooper/FBI and FPD task force to stop the violence in Fairbanks. At the time, this mainly involved B Company on Fort Wainwright. When it was all said and done, B Company was completely disbanded and the men not involved in a court martial, were sent across the globe. The camera work Gary and I did helped display the violence, where even automatic weapons were discharged as locals and military squared off. It was fun meeting with the Army general and having him call on Gary and I for suggestions. I'd never had a general ask for my advice before and he took it, which was more surprising.

I became involved in numerous forgery and embezzlement investigations and I really enjoyed squaring off with the lawyers. In one such case I had found a hidden account set up by five of these lawyers and I still remember their shocked expressions when I met with them to reveal our knowledge of their activities. I never went to college, but I knew criminal activity when I came across it. Joe Koss did a major assist in that case as he worked the numbers. Though I knew criminal activity, adding two plus two was still an effort.

As a result of that case, pretty soon I was handling a lot of the gaming annual financial reports for North Alaska, really stretching my brain power to the limit. But through this, I exposed a lot of fraud going on in the charitable gaming program. They just needed someone looking past the numbers and into what the money was being spent for.

I flew out to Savoonga on St Lawrence Island for an investigation. I wanted to know how a community of 250 people were doing 2.5 million dollars in gaming per year. An interesting thing I found out there was how they continued to make use of a personnel check. I found one check with over 50-names on the back as it continued to change hands in the place of cash. By the time I got it, no bank would have ever accepted it. Their bingo room floor was several inches deep in pulled pull-tabs. But a bar in Nome was even worse; their pull-tab area was up to three feet deep in pulled pull-tabs and boy, what a mess.

In 1994, I retired from law enforcement on disability from injuries I sustained while on the Seward PD. I decided it was time I learned to become a writer- which I am still working at after 17-years and 6-completed manuscripts.

In my next entries I will be listing the synopsis's for these manuscripts in the event one of the publishers or agents I am contacting happens to check out this blog. It will also provide you with the basis for my stories and you can offer up an opinion- choose wisely, my friends......God Bless!


Monday, August 15, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/Fairbanks/ 8-15-2011

Bill Says: As I have previously stated, I worked a lot of investigations for the Gaming Unit and some of them involved some pretty hot items at the time and concerned influential people in the state. Of course, some of these cases got me in some pretty hot water too.

In one case, I was investigating after hour joints in the Fairbanks area and one part of the case centered on a an abandoned downtown building. I had learned that this place was once used by key people in the state's political realm. I was given a call from my main boss in Juneau, who advised me he had just been visited by the State of Alaska Commissioner of Public Safety, who wanted my investigation of this location to cease because of the particular names involved. My boss told me to go ahead, but then the Commissioner of the Dept of Revenue, our really big boss, stepped in and I was ordered to cease and I did... in a round about way. I began to gain a reputation for finding ways around key people's wishes and still keep my job.

Twice the Lt. Governor of Alaska tried to get me fired for my investigations concerning his use of illegal gambling proceeds for his political campaigns and my union saved me from joining the unemployment line.

During one of my biggest investigations, I was after a particular individual who was attempting to obtain a gaming license for Operator. This status of Operator would give him the state's permission to conduct legal gaming for charities holding gaming permits. Now this could involve millions of dollars for the man every year. I had heard this man had connections with an organized crime family in Seattle and ironically, this was the same family I had investigated in while I was with the Dillingham Police Department in 1981. We had learned of the Seattle Family's money laundering operation and were trying to get the federal authorities involved in the family's scheme through use of the fishing industry. We had it all laid out for them, but they would not assist us and I've always wondered why- who was being paid off. For years the various small police departments around the state tried to show the approach of organized crime in Alaska and no one in federal law enforcement or even the Alaska State Troopers wanted to listen. But it was after I conducted this lengthy investigation, when I obtained the Governor's support, did they begin to acknowledge the presence of organized crime.

Only in Alaska, where the population is so small for the area, can a single investigator obtain the information that would change so many minds and afterwards, I had a lot of help. Eventually my investigation was forgotten, but organized crime no longer had an open door to Alaska and I had the satisfaction of being part of the force who slammed that door on them.

Now to obtain an Operator's License in Alaska to represent the various charities, the man or woman must have no criminal record of any felony offenses or misdemeanor convictions for theft or other acts of dishonesty. Unfortunately, this man's record in Alaska was mostly crime free, but I began a search of his Washington record and the door opened. I should mention he was a prime suspect for Murder in Alaska, but the case couldn't be pushed forward because the witnesses left the state. The man also had a cocaine problem, but no arrests for same. Ironically, he had formed a friendship with the Governor and lifted weights with him in Anchorage, when the governor was in town. They worked out in the Captain Cook's weight room, which the governor owned. When I completed my investigation and copies were provided to the Governor, he ordered the state troopers to keep the man away from him and I got an e-mail thank you from the Governor.

My case really came down with finding someone in Washington State who would help me and after some lengthy series of phone calls I located a very kind older lady who worked in the state's criminal records department. She actually conducted a hand search for me and I had a lengthy felony record on my man, who spent 10-years in prison for offenses he committed while he worked for the organized crime family. He began young and after release from prison, he was then shipped to Alaska, to work on gaining a foot hold in the state.

For a while there, all my time went into this investigation and it took some wild turns and eventually led up to a face to face interview with my person of interest. I'd say suspect, but this wasn't a criminal investigation. My only powers in this case was to work toward getting him denied an Operator's License.

During my investigation I was led to an extremely influential political figure who was running for Governor under the democratic ticket. He was leading in the polls at the time and my investigation led to his demise as a political figure. I showed his association with my man and his usage of cocaine. He also owned a race horse he was failing to mention and sadly, he was a wife beater. He had hospitalized his wife 7 times. She always went in under a false name but everyone knew who she was.

The sad part of this part of the investigation was how it was taken away from me. My Divisional boss just happened to be Juneau's campaign chairman for Tony Knowles; the other democrat trying to be Governor of Alaska. When he learned of my investigation involving this other figure, he ordered me to release my investigation to the Anchorage newspapers. He knew the effect it would have. But I refused, explaining how it involved a bigger investigation and didn't want this released because I wasn't finished. So, my direct supervisor flew from Juneau to Fairbanks to take custody of the particular pages of my report dealing with the political figure. I was forced to release it to him and he flew to Anchorage to hand it over to some reporters.

Now at the time, I wasn't aware that one reporter was also conducting an investigation. He had some stuff I didn't have and I had some he hadn't found. The newspaper article released covered two pages and the candidate we investigated sunk in the polls like a rock. Tony Knowles was elected Governor.

Well, I continued my main investigation and provided to the state a three inch thick binder, having enough information and photographs to prevent my man from ever obtaining an Operator's License. A copy of the report was provided to my partner, Gary Wing of the ABC Board and this ended up preventing the man from gaining a liquor license. So now the man operates two underage strip clubs in Anchorage and Fairbanks, where GI's can come in at 18 yrs old to watch the ladies, but no alcoholic beverages are consumed. I still believe he is laundering money in these location for the Seattle family, but I am retired now and its someone else's job.    

More to follow. God Bless!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/ Fairbanks/ 8-13-2011

Bill Says: In early January of 1990, we packed up our truck with kids and animals, and left Troy & Leslie's house on the Kenai Peninsula for our return to Fairbanks. I had gotten a new job with the State of Alaska Games of Chance and Skill Unit. I was hired on, after a lengthy process, as an Investigator III. This was a great job, with some really nice benefits, my own office/secretary and brand new take home car. Who could want for more? I should also mention my supervisor worked in Juneau, so I was pretty much on my own.

There had been a lot of snow that winter so far and driving north, we counted more than 100 moose on the sides of the road. After a 100 we quit counting. I should also mention our first night in Fairbanks a car slid through a stop sign and nailed the side of our new truck. But I did get to meet a long time member of the Fairbanks Police Department, who came out to conduct the investigation. We would end up having a nice friendly working relationship over the next four years, as I worked with Fairbanks Police.

Mona and I had left Fairbanks after getting out of the service and looked forward to returning. We first lived in Sophia's Station hotel for a very short time and soon had rented an a nice house up on Red Fox Road. Grandma came to live with us there and soon after, so did our son John Leroy. I add the middle name since we now have two John's in the family. We found a nice family church with Lighthouse Christian Center and would spend the most of 13-years with them.

When I got hired I needed to spend a week down in Anchorage working with the investigator there to see what my job actually involved. He was quitting and I was about to find myself as the only investigator in the state for this unit, which had another 9 members. These were accountants/clerical staff and my boss. I learned real quickly that my job involved a lot of travel and most of it by very small itty-bitty airplanes. Pilots loved to stash me into their planes, along with the sled dogs, Cosco food supplies and then laugh at the way my knees were stuck up under my chin. I flew from to Southeast Alaska to St.Lawrence Island, Nome to Bethel and Dillingham. Visited Kodiak and made a road trip once a year to cover the length of the highway from Fairbanks to Anchorage, on to Cantwell and Tok and back to Fairbanks. This involved something like nearly 2,000 miles and in the process I hit nearly every bar, bingo hall and pull-tab store. ( I could see Russia from the St. Lawrence, not that I knew anyone over there or that I thought about visiting.). I met all kinds of great people, got to see the finish of the Iditirod Dog Sled Race in Nome twice and ended up working some important investigative cases during my 4 years. I worked 750 investigations, the number always stuck in my head and I had to turn in monthly stats to the boss. Now most of these were 1-2 day quick cases and others involved 6-8 months to work. I investigated criminals, organized crime people and politicians. A lot of my cases were what is termed Whiter Collar crime and this involved fraud, embezzlement, theft and forgery. They sent me to a top Federal school in Georgia for training in these areas. I was also sent to the State of Washington Gambling Academy and immediately realized Washington had a whole lot better handle on the criminal side of of gaming then we did.

My main assignment was to regulate the 250 million dollar gaming industry conducted in Alaska. This was your pull-tabs, bingo, raffles and such. The man I replaced did just that. But they made the mistake of hiring a former police officer for this job and I went about changing things. The way I looked at it, if I was to enforce the gaming laws, I should also be investigating all those people violating the gaming laws by illegal gambling. No one had really investigated illegal gambling in the state, turning sort of a blind eye to it. So, I hit them pretty hard because they were not suspecting it. I closed down a lot of illegal operations, busted after-hour party houses and came down really hard on fraternal organizations for illegal gambling, (American Legion, VFW, Elks, Moose, Eagles...etc.).

I worked with the Alaska State Troopers, US Coast Guard, Office of the OSI, ( Air Force) and CID, (Army), FBI and most of the municipal police departments in the state. Mostly though, I worked with the Fairbanks Police Department. I was given a radio and a state call sign, ( 32D-1). They would back me up if needed and on several occasions I backed them up, when they were so busy and only had one unit to respond to a dangerous call.

I also worked the State Alcohol Beverage and Control Board, but this was mostly with Investigator III Gary Wing, who became a very close friend and my partner in crime. We really got into a lot of trouble together. So much so that his bosses in Anchorage ordered him to stay away from me, but we were both deaf at the time. We did a lot of stakeouts together, made arrests and did some undercover work where we were not known. Gary's Wife, Mary Wing, was also our family doctor and the best one I ever had. Gary would later leave the ABC Board and take a job with the Alaska Railroad as their Investigator. Mary would retire and we were off looking for another doctor.

My secretary was named Nancy and I shared her duties with my office partner, Dick Swangbank, State Geologist and an Englishman with 12-years in Alaska and he still carried his accent. Nice guy. We got along pretty well and drove Nancy plain crazy with having to type up our reports and the two of us having such an extreme difference between our work.  She'd be typing up about Gold deposits in a section of Alaska one moment and then typing up an interview I had done with exotic dancer during a lengthy investigation I was doing against two bar owners. Nancy really hated my interviews, especially these nasty ones filled with profanity and I did 200 dancer interviews over 6 months. She would often shout out, "I hate you, Bill!", but she was a great typist and felt sincerely sorry for these ladies.

Soon, our little unit grew in size, we took on two more investigators, one in Juneau and one in Anchorage, more accountants and I got another boss, Chief Investigator Gary Dodson. We became the Gaming Unit Division. We were only one of a few divisions in the state showing a real profit, but we were also creating waves the politicians didn't like.

Next, I'll get into some of my political cases. God Bless!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/ Whittier/ 8-10-2011

Bill Says: Riots in England, snow already on the ground in Cantwell, a plummeting stock market, variations of the movie "The Birds" happening in my backyard and Jeremy running around with a BB gun to defend the homestead, I still can't find my Mickey Mouse t-shirt, and a President who doesn't know how to make decisions- is this a sign of the End Times at hand or what?!

On to Whittier: During my time as Public Safety Director/Police Chief I had some pretty good volunteer supervisors working for me in the areas of Fire Chief/EMS Supervisor/Search & Rescue boat skippers and in the beginning some 22-volunteers. But I lost most of these people to Exxon and VECO after the Exxon Valdez parked on a rock and spilled millions of gallons of crude oil into the Prince William Sound. Had someone been brave enough to make a decision to fire bomb the ship right away, ( after the crew got off of course), the damage would've been minimal. But no one did.

During this time period I had a rather poor relationship with the Alaska Railroad. Whittier was the HazMat port for Alaska and here the Hydro-Train was brought up on barges to off load onto the railroad tracks and become- trains! A deal was made with the ARR so that these hazmat cars would not remain in town past 24 hours, but they often broke this agreement and left these nasty train cars in our community for up to and over 7-days. I was constantly on the phone or in someone's face about getting these train cars moved and rarely did I win the argument, so I found ways to get my point across. These train cars were filled with deadly acids/fluids of all sorts and dynamite. I had cars hooked together with ammonia nitrate/dynamite/fuel. Had a car gone up, it would have initiated a chain reaction that would've simply removed Whittier from the map and all its people.

During one movement of cars, a hazmat car flipped on its side and blocked one of my road intersections. I promptly called out my volunteer fire department, cordoned off the area and prepared for the worst. I had gone through the Crown Point episode, where a hazmat train car began leaking an unknown gas and dozens of people suffered from it in one form or another, and several homes were left deserted for years. I was nearly 21-miles away from the train car, but when the cloud passed over Seward, I was on patrol and it caused my eyes to water for several hours. One of the state troopers who handled a roadblock, during darkness, was sunburned from the vapors.

The ARR was rather upset with me because a news helicopter appeared overhead and it became one of the local news stories as the ARR rushed to get the car upright. It took them hours and they requested I pull back my fire department, guaranteeing me everything was safe. I declined and kept my foaming machine ready. The minute the car began to leak, I was going to foam the whole thing down. I also provided my volunteers with prime beef sandwiches for lunch.

We had other run ins with the ARR over the summer, but these were always with their supervisors. I finally got the ARR HazMat officer to come to Whittier and give a class to my people. I learned right off how the ARR had little concern for the people of Whittier and I did my best to change their minds. They tried to bring pressure against me through the city council, but at the time I was in the council member's good graces for the way I was handling the oil spill. So I was allowed to keep my job.

During the oil spill one of my duties was processing the dead animals coming in to Whittier. These were mostly sea lions, ducks, bears and sea birds. I disliked this chore but it had to be done. I once had a seal brought in and the people in Valdez in charge of this part of the operation refused to acknowledge I had a seal and they continued to tell me I had a sea lion. But once I fully described the animal, they replied, "Wow, you really got a seal!" Apparently it was the first dead seal and no one thought seals were actually swimming in the Prince William Sound. Big news!

Three helicopters flew over from Valdez to inspect my seal and they took it back with them. This explained how so much money was spent on the spill. I mean they could've come over in one helicopter! I once saw Exxon fill a 45-foot trailer with brand new office equipment, Zodiac boats with engines and misc equipment. They dug a hole, put the trailer in it and crush it was a large dozer. I requested they give my Search and Rescue squad one of the Zodiac boats and they declined. They later buried the crushed trailer and probably filed for insurance. I really never understood that operation or even all the money they gave out that summer. People came from all over to stand in line when the money man from Exxon came to town. He set up a table in my fire hall and wrote out checks all day. I watched as people I knew would stand before him and told him lies of all the money they lost due to the spill. I tried to intercede, but the money man told me it was okay. In the end though, it was the guy at the gas pump who paid for all of this.

They harbor people brought me 5- 55 gallon drums filled with crude oil and supposedly dead critters. So, I got on my yellow slickers and spilled out this peanut butter like crude oil on to a large tarp and ...found nothing. No dead animals and I had a real mess to clean up. Again, I was not happy and expressed my feelings to the harbor folks.  

Then one day I had this older gentleman come running into my fire hall shouting, "They're all dead!" He could only tell me of how there were bodies all over the western shore of the Prince William Sound. So, while I left him in the hands of VECO employees to calm him down, I jumped into my patrol vehicle and raced out to the shoreline with lights and siren, only to find thousands, if not millions of dead miniature shrimp! I soon learned that this happened every year or so and probably had nothing to do with the oil spill, but I reported it to the Valdez office anyway. And man, were the sea birds happy. Hundreds of them filled the skies and descended upon the shrimp. so I got out of there. Remember, I'd seen the movie "The Birds".

But one day, while I was sitting in my office, a very large barn owl landed out in the intersection in front of my station. It simply stood there and refused to move as cars went by. I grabbed a very large animal carrier used for airplanes and went out to scoop it up. I'm still not sure why I had this massive animal carrier in the fire hall, but it now came in handy. The owl had porcupine quills in its face and crude oil on its right wing. I brought it back into the station and gave it a dish of water. It had its back to me and then its head and only its head, turned around, like out of a scene from the "Exorcist". This was a weird thing to see up close. It also had three inch talons, so I was really careful when I placed the water dish in the carrier.

I called Mona and she brought the kids down to see it. Then I called Valdez and they sent a helicopter over to pick it up. They later called to advise they had cleaned the owl up and released it back into the wild.

I learned a lot in Whittier; how to write up grants, handle the executive side of law enforcement, hire and fire employees, work out multi-thousand dollar leases and keep from losing my cool with elderly city council members. But I wouldn't have been able to stay in Whittier without having my life partner with me. Mona was my mainstay, my right arm and I just couldn't have done it all without her. I also had my wonderful children to encourage and bring a smile to my face on those stressful days.

But I can't close out Whittier without mentioning my ride in the high rail ambulance as a patient. Because of my prior injury in Seward, I was popping like 16 Aspirin a day and eventually suffered a GI Bleed as a result. I ended up losing 5 units of blood and was on a medivac to Anchorage. Mona was my EMT and I spent 9 days in the Hospital. Officer Mark did a great job filling in for me and he is now the Police Chief for Craig, Alaska and loves it there. Note: I no longer take handfuls of Aspirin.

I ended up resigning from Whittier when the City Council could not match my terms for another year's employee contract. They would agree with the monetary side, but not with my desire to have two full time patrolmen. They wanted the department to go back to one chief and one Indian and I wouldn't work that way. Impossible to take a vacation under those terms. So, we left Whittier and were soon on to Fairbanks.

Next to come; my time as a senior investigator for the State of Alaska Gaming Unit.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/ Whittier/ 8/8/2011

Bill Says: First off, a very Happy Birthday to our son, James Arthur Lee Casselman and our grandson, Tariq Leroy Casselman. Both born on this date, but James was first by a long shot.

Secondly: We have already had our first signs of termination dust on the mountain peaks and this is very early- even for us. Termination dust for you people who are not aware, is first snow, which melts pretty fast and signals the termination of summer. Our flowers and other plants are also signaling the end of summer and it is of course as you know, only the 8th of August. This makes Mona and I wonder what kind of winter is ahead of us and how much wood we might need to keep this place toasty. We average 10-12 cords for a winter and this is a lot  of wood, but thankfully we do not have the extreme expense of fuel oil. We also have a propane stove, so if the power goes out from avalanches or wind, we still keep warm and eat hot food. Sadly, the microwave won't operate on wood or propane. Someone really needs to think about that.

Now to Whittier: During the 1988-89 winter, Alaska was struck hard by extreme harsh temperatures, high winds of hurricane force and lots of heavy snow. Newspapers called it the Big Freeze and it really felt like it. Whittier received 30 feet of snow that year and only Valdez beat us out with their 33 foot snowfall. We had people jumping out of second and even third story windows into soft fluffy snow and then having to tunnel their way out to the parking lot. We only had one massive front end loader for the whole town, so it often took time before everything got plowed out before the next snowfall. Most vehicles were not running because of the extreme cold, but we had our two patrol vehicles parked inside the fire hall to keep them nice and warm and ready for use.

During this time, the US Military had decided to hold their arctic winter war games and had received permission to use Whittier for one of their staging points. Overnight, my fire hall and police station were transformed into the headquarters for a company sized component of the 6th Infantry Division, ( Buffalo Soldiers), out of Fort Wainwright. I had barbed wire strung out all around my building, machine gun nests and my entryway was sandbagged nearly 7-feet high. Guards were posted all around and I was quick to advise them I would not play the pass word game. I had a badge and my gun shot real bullets. They agreed.

I allowed the army to have use of one section of the fire hall to set up their mobile kitchen and moved my secondary ambulance into the Alaska Railroad Warehouse to make room for them. But the weather turned sour all too quickly, bringing the wind chill factor down to minus 122 degrees (F). The US Coast Guard cutter was in Whittier to record the weather and decided to leave after their wind device was blown off their vessel. They were the ones to give us the -122 degree chill factor, so I didn't make it up. We had a raging blizzard going on and only I and one of my officers was out in it to continue checking on the town.

One wind blast actually brought my new Dodge Ramcharger patrol car to a halt and a second time I was brought to a sudden stop and struggling to open my door against the wind, I made my way outside to find a massive snow berm had formed right in the middle of roadway and was now blocking me. Not that I could see much and was mostly acting from memory as I drove about.

The soldiers were eating their MRE, Meals Ready to Eat, but they were being cooked by this mobile kitchen. I had to laugh when I saw how the military had not changed all that much since my days in Viet Nam. The assigned cook had brought with him a lot of cheap white bread, the stuff that dissolved in your mouth, and cases of Skippy creamy peanut butter. Made me wonder how our boys would do in the field without peanut butter. Even our old C-rations had peanut butter in it, but it sure wasn't Skippy! You could lube a car with the peanut butter they issued. Thankfully, thoughtful parents sent jars of peanut butter to us and we were saved.

One of my chores during that winter was to rescue soldiers. These frozen men were manning their posts several hundred yards from the station and couldn't get back in because of the wind, so Officer Mark and I were out picking them up. We actually had to handle a few of the men to get them moving again and into the safety of our vehicles.

The very next night we had to break up a fight, right smack in the middle of an intersection outside my fire hall and between 3-locals. They had gotten drunk in the bar across the street from my station and decided to take it outside to see who was the toughest. No one could see much of anything because the blowing snow was so heavy it was like making your way through a pillow factory, right after someone let all the feathers loose from the bins and added a giant fan for effect. And it was so cold, I threatened to leave the combatants out there to freeze to death. But we towed them bodily into the station to warm them up with blankets, hot chocolate and peanut butter. I had the army medic look them over, not wanting to call the EMTs out in this nasty weather.

My utility bill nearly quadrupled while these soldiers were here, burning up the hot water to keep warm and I should've billed the Army, but I didn't. I mean these poor guys had to sit through hours of my telling old war stories and that was a thankless task on their part. At least I could give them some hot water and electricity for their stoves.

I had never seen Alaska like this in all my 34 years in our beloved state and hopefully never will again. It was miserable, almost like an end of the world event... maybe that's too strong. But it was like bathing yourself in ice cream and then walking into a freezer. Ice cream? That did it. Now I'm hungry!

Eventually, the military closed down the war games for fear some of the men and women might freeze to death. The 6th Division prepared to leave, taking their sandbags and wire with them. I tried to keep a machine gun, but they caught me and I just told them I was kidding and checking their security. Not sure if they bought it, but they still presented our department with a beautiful wooden plaque, which displayed a charging buffalo and their thanks.

But this wasn't my only dealings with the military while in Whittier. No, I was visited that spring, right after the Exxon Valdez went on the rocks and our little town was jumping. Two civil servants and an officer, representing the military from Fort Richardson and Elmendorf Air Force Base, (both in Anchorage), had come to pay me a visit concerning the government's tank farm in Whittier. Barges were coming in all the time to keep the tank farm filled with fuel for the Air Force and Army's aircraft and it seems the tank farm had found itself on a possible terrorist target list. Now this was long before 9/11, but the terrorists were out there and making themselves known.

The civil servants had the Whittier Police Department down as a first-responder in the event of a terrorist attack. Sort of a hold them, while the Army got their special forces en route. So, they wanted to know what kind of weaponry and man power my department had to carry out this job. Really, I tried hard not to laugh. I mean, I had four officers at the time and the only serious weapon I had outside our pistols and two shotguns, was a single AR-15, ( semi-auto variation of the fully auto M-16).  I guess they were surprised I had no hand grenades, flame throwers or tanks hid out in the pucker brush. I was seriously beginning to doubt the intelligence of my military. But I was the host, even gave them coffee and explained that I was putting together a Disaster Preparedness Plan for the City and would add a section concerning our response to any attack on the tank farm. I also had to add a section concerning a possible terrorist attack on any cruise ships tied up to our docks. Believe me, I was tempted to add some real sci-fi into these parts, but didn't and when I finished, my operational plan for handling earthquakes, nuclear attack, tsunamis, major fires and whatever, was eventually accepted by the city council- though I doubt they read any of it. Much like our current congress and the submitted bills.

I'll get to my problems with the Alaska Railroad folks in the next blog- God Bless!


Friday, August 5, 2011

Moose Pass Journal/Whittier Cases-8/4/2011

Bill Says: I had a good chat with our son, John Leroy on the phone today. He was calling from Dillingham and letting me know what was going on there this summer and his heavy workload. It brought back so many memories of 30-years ago, when we lived in Dillingham and I worked for my first civilian police department. So many thing have changed there, yet all too many things haven't. It is still the wild and woolly west and cops there are more or less simple town tamers.

But on to Whittier- ( first off I might point out how so different my blog entries are than my wife's. You get the more intelligent, medical, a touch of philosophy and a dash of mental illness awareness, Christian and parenthood values from her and from me, you get police stories, humor and whatever else is left in the bag).

In Whittier was had our fair share of town characters and this multiplied by 10 with the oil spill. Whittier was suddenly booming with people wanting to go to work on the spill. VECO had set up a boat clean-up station in our harbor and Exxon wanted to use the town's huge waste furnace to burn oily rags from the beach clean-up.  But along the way, someone forgot to close the gate to the looney bin and they made a mad dash for our little town.

I had this one gentlemen come in to my office, a real friendly guy and he asked me if he could use the fire station's shower room. He'd already applied for a beach job and was awaiting word from Exxon/VECO to see if he landed one. I told him to go ahead and take a shower, not knowing he planned to be in it for 4-hours. I was busy and forgot all about him until the VECO employee brought me his application, with a look of dire concern written all over her face. I then noticed the man was still in the shower, draining my hot water tank and steaming up the back area of the fire hall. Not to mention adding to my limited utility budget.

Now this guy was my size, but several years younger than I and on his application he had applied for the not listed position of gravedigger. I knew right then I was going to have a problem with this man and ordered him out of the shower room. While I had one of my officers keep an eye on him, I went and ran him for warrants and didn't find anything. But after a brief conversation with him, where he advised me he thought all the Exxon employees should be put on a barge and then sunk in the Prince William Sound. I asked him to move along and kicked him out of the fire hall and told him Exxon and VECO had no future job opportunities for him and he should think about returning to Anchorage on the next train.

He stayed around town though and began to create a series of problems for me and my men. He never went so far as to break a law, so I couldn't arrest him and he never got drunk so I couldn't place him under welfare hold. But he began to frighten people by his bizarre statements and actions. The City Manager demanded I throw him out of town, but explained this man was the type of character to cause real serious legal issues for the city if I didn't handle it right. But then he made a real stupid mistake, he upset my wife!

Mona was working at the Whittier Clinic as receptionist and he showed up. He wanted to know where all the spare body parts were kept, or maybe it was bodies. I can't quite recall now, but she telephoned me and I was up there pretty quick. Officer Mark came along to ensure I didn't go ballistic on the man, because he could see how upset I was. No one messed with my wife!

I calmly escorted him out of the clinic, walked him to the elevator, ( we were inside Begich Towers), and once the doors were closed I not too gently placed him in handcuffs and placed him under a police officer's 72-hour mental hold. I drove him to Anchorage, which at this point in time meant driving my patrol car onto an Alaska Rail Road flat car for the shuttle out to the highway and then on to Anchorage about 50 some miles away. Officer Mark accompanied me to ensure this dude didn't go rowdy on my and force me to lose control of the car. We didn't have cages in our car back then. Along the way he entertained us with numerous stories, which completely displayed his severe mental problems. He wanted to kill me and talked about all the different ways he was going to do it. He also talked about posing for Play Girl or something like that and was really upset with Joe Namath for wearing nylons.

Now I had called the Anchorage mental unit to find out if they had ever heard of this guy and they advised me they hadn't. He had come to Alaska from Wisconsin to work and that's all we knew. But when I drove up to the hospital and pulled him out- it was old home week for him and all the patients standing around outside. I was not happy! Had I known he was a former patient, I could've talked with his doctor and might not have had to place him into custody. But no, they claimed ignorance.

I marched him inside and explained to the nurse and then another nurse and finally after an hour with a doctor, what this man had been doing in my town. I also explained I was placing a 72-hour hold on him. By the time I left, the doctors explained they would hold him for 30-days to get him back on his medications. They told me he was quite charming when medicated and I said great- then I left.

30-days later, I looked up from my desk and guess who I see standing across the street glaring at me with outright hatred in those pupils. Oh yes, he was back. I warned the officers, I had four of them now, to keep an eye on him and this lasted about 34 hours. I got an early morning call that our man had caused some problems in one of our two bars and got himself beat up by several locals. They heard him bragging about how he was going to kill me and believe it or not, several of my local hoodlums actually liked me. Anyway, the man was now walking in circles, wearing a trench coat and talking to himself down by the water's edge. He had really spooked my officer and he needed back-up. But like I said, the man was my size.

When I drove up, I found him sure enough walking in circles, hands shoved down deep into his coat pockets and refusing to acknowledge me or my officer's existence. Seeing how he was behaving and how I couldn't see his hands, and remembering his threats, I pulled out my pistol and ordered him to withdraw his hands. He refused and began to glare at me. So, while my officer held his pistol on him, I approached him, whipped him around so that I was behind him and stuck my pistol in his right ear. I ordered him to his knees and again ordered him to pull his hands out. He refused. I holstered my pistol and quickly tripped him to the ground, and one at a time brought his hands out of his pockets, while my officer held his pistol about three inches from the man's nose. We were not going to take any chances with this guy. Too many cops get killed by mentally disturbed people who are off their medications. On their medications they are normal like anyone else, but off their medications they can be just plain dangerous.

Turns out he was holding a black comb. He he whipped that comb out too fast, I probably would have shot him. Had he told me all he had was a comb, I would've allowed him to bring it out real slowly. But he didn't. So, I placed him in handcuffs and under another 72-hour mental hold and promptly transported him to Anchorage on the first train. This time he didn't speak at all, but hummed a lot. When I took him to the doctor, I explained that if this man showed up in my town again this summer, I would bring him back to Anchorage and arrest him, the doctor, and ensure that he and his patient would share the same cell in the Anchorage jail.

After 90-days of treatment, the doctor called me to let me know the man was being flown back to Wisconsin for long term treatment. I was so pleased.

But there were others and I'll probably get to them later. God Bless and keep John Leroy in your prayers.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Once more into the breach, dear friends...

Miss Mona sez:

I hear the voice of the Lord...

Over and over in the Word that phrase precedes some heartcry. Over and over the people (God bless them!!) respond by trying to kill the speaker.
I feel like the Monster Shouter in Stephen King's, "The Stand", marching up and down the streets with his sandwich board.
I am being called back into intercession and I am terrified. Last time it nearly killed me, put me into a 10 year clinical depression and my family had the ever-lovin' crap beat out of it. Not my fondest memories.
But I can't resist. I don't know how to tell the Holy Spirit to go away and leave me alone.

There was a teaching out of MorningStar by Ray Hughes about 12 years ago,"On Becoming Warhorses." Powerful stuff. He talked about the horses that pulled the firewagons, comparing them to intercessors. Always fascinated me.
So, here I am, standing in my stall, waiting for the harness to drop down onto me...

(I hope this doesn't come out whiny, that is not my intention. This is more stream of consciousness and me thinking out loud. The responses I have gotten have been helpful and encouraging, btw.)

Last time I was asking myself why/who is this written to. The answer is, mostly to myself but I also believe there are so many others "out there" who hear and understand my mental meanderings and hopefully, this will be of benefit. Or not.

My brother said that I am a refiner, it is in my DNA. That is a good description. I tend to think of myself as an untangler( think of a mass of yarn a puppy or kitten has gotten hold of) or a puzzle-sorter (think of spilled puzzle pieces from more than one box). As this will be read by others, I find myself defining my terms for those of you who are not inside my head (and if I were you, I would try to stay out of there- it gets messy).

I listen to all the stuff- TV news, people talking, commentaries and comedians,books I am reading and Facebook posts,  and then I try to sort the pieces out and find the ones that belong to my puzzle. More like a mosaic than a puzzle as so many pieces are broken or badly damaged, I try to bring them into a cohesive whole and then I grab my Bible and begin to pray. Yesterday afternoon I ended up on the floor in front of the stage of our incomplete church.

The thing is, I am unclear as to the reception of prophetic intercession in our church. Our old church was theoretically receptive but in practice, somewhat leary of that which did not line up with the world-view of the leadership. I suck at being understood, it seems and regularly have had things misconstrued. It always made sense to me, just not to "them."  And now I am in a position of having been "away" from church for nearly a year. And I am not always the easiest person to receive from. And I smoke, which is, of course, sin of the highest order. Not to mention the whole diagnosis of mental illness...(which, by the way, I think is BS).(So there)
Did I digress? ;-)

Hell, my own family has a tendency to roll their eyes and try to change the subject, why wouldn't other people raise an eyebrow?


It feels like the whole world is on fire and the popular topic of discussion is whether or not cursive should be taught in grade school in this technological age. The Congress and our President are too busy covering their individual asses and pointing a finger at the other party members as the root of the problem while our economy is in the process of total meltdown. Feels like a bad sci-fi where the "good guys" are the ones who caused the imminent disaster and are busy trying to throw the hero under the bus instead of admitting they screwed up and trying to save a few lives. And in the end everybody dies. What the hell?

What does it take to wake us up?

I don't feel done but I don't know what else to say right now, so you may end up getting Part 2 later on.
Until then, I think my wisest decision would be to go and take a nap...

Loving you,