Sunday, February 28, 2010

From The Spokesman-Review

Today's hot news is from Twin Falls, Idaho. In a burst of enthusiasm for strict law enforcement, a swat team from the local police department descended upon the local residential senior center. No, this wasn't for the usual reasons. No complaints about shoddy care, or senior abuse. This was much more serious.

It turns out that hidden in the dark recesses of this den of iniquity, was a poker parlor. Octogenarians faced with boredom were heard to say things like, "deal 'em and weep. I'm cleaning you out this hand." Another yells,"Ya and your mother wore hip boots."

This all came to a crashing end when the defenders of freedom burst into the game room yelling," Alright, everyone against the wall, now! Hands in sight, don't touch that filth in the middle of the table.What? Yes you can take your wheelchair with you." "No med breaks. This is serious business." "You are charged with aiding and abetting (Yuk) a gambling operation in which money changes hands." Senior citizen: "You mean you're here to collect taxes?" "Nope, we're taking you down.You will all do hard time for this!" senior: "Hard time? Does that mean we have to babysit our grandchildren again?" "Nope, it's the rock pile for you,Grandpa!" "But that isn't gambling, we just didn't have any poker chips and since we all have a little cash stashed in our rooms, we were using it as poker chips. You know, ones, fives and tens?

All of this was taking place while lawmakers down the road a piece were debating a change in the law that does not require enforcement of minor league gambling operations. If that doesn't move the law change along nothing will.We were unable to get a legal opinion, since all the lawyers in Twin Falls were falling all over themselves offering pro bono help for the aged mob members.

In other news, it appears that a bloodless coup has taken place in the comics. Mort Walker's Beetle Bailey was captured and replaced by Pearls Before Swine creator, Stephan Pastis, with Pearls appearing in both strips. War may break out at any moment, though it appears that Pastis has more mean characters that the army. More as these stories develop.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Signs Of The Times

Dan Mulhvihill (sp) has always marched to a different drummer. Not wedded to regulations or authority. Dan, while willing to give his friends the shirt off of his back, doesn't settle for losing. With the economy in the tank and no sign of relief, Dan, who works as a cement finisher, like the rest of the construction industry, is hurting for work.

After being shown the door at several marinas for inability to pay fees, he finally sailed the boat over to Eagle Landing at Farragut State Park. Evicted from there, he set out to examine the regulations on anchoring out from shore. He found that if the boat carries current registration, is not blocking a channel or waterway, and has an operable anchor light it is legal as long as it's not just stored on the water, but has periodic habitation. We learned this from Matt Street, Sgt, Kootenai County Water Patrol.

This 26 foot blue sailboat sits calmly out from shore at the head of Scenic Bay, tethered to a buoy which is anchored to the bottom. Dan finally figured out how to win even when the system didn't work for him. If you should happen to run across Dan at one of the diminishing watering holes here in Bayview, you can be sure he is staying at his very own marine hotel, rent free.

Here's an updated close up of the boat backlighted by the setting sun. 2/27/10

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Blogfest 2010

Today started off in a sad note. I attended a celebration of life gathering in honor of Tom McGurk, a very special friend. I wrote about Tom and his untimely death last week, so I won't dwell on it, except to say, "We miss you buddy."

I had a year long obligation to attend the annual bloggers convention, known as "Blogfest." In fact I think it was me that gave it that name. The first two were held here in Bayview at the Captain's Wheel, now closed.

This one was held at the Fort Ground Tavern in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Each year the gathering grows larger. Some are newcomers, some have dropped out or can't show themselves publicly, (they say) then there are those that have been in the game from the start. Not all of us are still in touch, since some ultra-conservatives dropped out, rather than to do battle with the encroaching liberal radical movement. I personally regret that, since balance requires multiple points of view. Still, many of use greeted each other, some as friends, others as welcome newcomers.

The Fort Ground was as always a wonderful host, with discounted pricing, (Someone told them DFO was a cheapskate) and the party was perhaps in full swing. The hit of the party, though, was when a Coeur d'Alene police Sgt. (female) delivered a tray full of cupcakes for the occasion.

Some political subjects were discussed. Councilman Mike found out one of the participants who works for the county, is in charge of assigning addresses to vacant lots. At that news, Mike's eyes lit up with the realization that no longer would he be forced to register tombstones. Now all he has to do is corrupt one lady. That could be a daunting chore, though.

None of the county commissioners attended, perhaps a forerunner of the despairing outlook for the coming election cycle. It would seem that every year brings forth a more successful blogfest than the year preceding. May that always be the case. Sometimes when people get to swinging punches on line they fail to realize that the person they are swinging at is also a real person. These get togethers tend to humanize the process.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Rumors Galore

It's this time of year when total boredom sets in that rumors start to fly. One such rumor, was that someone without a life of their own decided that because Jim Brown moved out of the RV Park at Lakeland, that he was fired. Not true at all. I just talked to Liz Justus who is, with, husband Larry, basking in 80 degree weather in Welton, Arizona. It turns out that even before Jim heard about his alleged firing, Liz & Larry heard about it in Arizona. This just proves that in this electronic age, rumors need not be spread locally when you can instead, spread them everywhere. Somewhere in Singapore, someone is shaking their head with sadness, hoping that Jim catches on with another employer.

Folks it Ain't true. Not only is Jim coming back next season, (park opens May 1), but he was given a generous raise. Larry & Liz Justus think of Jim Brown as much as their own kids. End of story. With reduced RV parking here in Bayview, it would behoove those without advanced arrangements to reserve a spot early. Justus's swill be back around the 28th of April.

There are other rumors abounding also. Most of these are not immediately proved or disproved, but Bob Holland is back in the news. One of the things that are more certain than death and taxes, is when the economy goes into the toilet, so do speculators, such as Bob. Most in town will not shed a tear if this stuff is true. The fallout, though, can be unpredictable and destructive to a small community.

First, a collection agency in Spokane has filed suit against Waterford Park, LLC for In excess of $28,000. For what is at this time unknown.

Also, and this is strictly rumor, the parking area at Harborview Marina is being foreclosed upon by the bank financing the project. According to the same unreliable sources, these parking spots, sold to float home and boat slip owners, was to have also included an eight unit condo has been in default. How this affects those that have purchased their slips that include a parking space, remains to be seen.It seems that in many cases, Waterford Park, LLC has made many sales without conveying title to said ;properties. We will try our best to ascertain the truth of the matter and get back to you.

Now that I have dispensed with all the rumors I have heard recently, we will return to the main menu, aka: facts. This next year could prove very interesting.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Fire Safety

While Timberlake Fire District hunts for temporary help regarding the massive sidelining of equipment, one must remember that all neighboring fire departments have mutual aid agreements. If more than one engine is needed, Timberlake can draw from spirit Lake, Rathdrum, Sagle and Northern Lakes. Hopefully there won't be any serious fires in the next two weeks, though. Keep in mind that mechanics are working full time to get more equipment on line.

This would, however, be an excellent time to be aware of fire safety. Extension cords, space heaters, especially cause many fires and they can be prevented easily.If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is plugged in all the way without any conductive prongs showing. Do not cover them with carpet or any other material that is flammable. If it is absolutely necessary to use a spaceheater, make sure it is clear of any flammable material. Also never use a heater that doesn't have a tip over safety switch. If using portable propane heaters, be sure to have a carbon monoxide detector that is operable.

We'll get through this scary period, but in order to effect the repairs needed, the entire current budget has been used up. That the voters will be asked to approve a permanent bond issue is obvious. Taxes are not well thought of in North Idaho, but if the services are wanted and needed, sometimes we have to pay the piper.I have talked to chief Krill extensively and can assure you that he cares deeply about protecting his firefighters, but also the people that he is entrusted to protect.

We will report back as more equipment comes on line in the coming week. EMS is not affected by this equipment crisis. Both units are owned and maintained by Kootenai county and are in full serivce.

Chief Krill has generously agreed to do a regular fire safety column in these spaces soon. Look for his feature in the next few days.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

All Timberlake Fire Apparatus Out of Service

On Wednesday the 17th, Gordon Schoonmaker, Fleet Operations Supervisor and Certified Emergency Vehicle Technician with the Spokane Valley Fire Department and one of his assistants will begin the evaluation of all fire department vehicles against the out of service criteria of the Spokane Valley Fire Department Safety and Operations Manual which follows NFPA and other regulatory requirements. This may take about 2 weeks to evaluate all of the trucks considering at least 3-5 hours per truck. Their shop rate is $85/hour so we are looking at a cost of at least $8,000 which does not include repairs or parts. Northern Lakes uses this shop for all of their apparatus maintenance and are very pleased with their service and attention to detail.

After Jeff Laird and I spoke with Gordon today and reviewed the attached Out of Service Apparatus and Equipment Criteria, there are items that we could apply to nearly every piece of fire apparatus we have that would technically place them out of service. We are not experienced certified Emergency Vehicle Technicians to know for sure, but we are mechanically inclined enough to know that we feel the items appear to meet the criteria. Not knowing if these trucks are safe to operate keeps many of us up at night. Some members and their families are concerned with the safety of the apparatus and whether they want to drive or ride in them.

The two in-service ambulances (EMS 61 and EMS 63) are owned and properly maintained by Kootenai County on a regular service and preventive maintenance schedule. Currently, there are no issues with those ambulances that would place them out of service according to the criteria. The fire boat is not in great shape and has its deficiencies, but Kevin Elmore has done an excellent job in keeping it maintained and safe for use at this time, Kevin maintains and repairs most of the boats in Bayview and I personally trust his work to be to standard. The fire boat remains in service under the winter use rules (only used for emergencies since we have to winterize it after each use).

If we take the conservative safety approach to do what’s best for our own responders and not risk their lives if we can help it, then we take the vehicles out of service until we know. However, then we are left with no fire apparatus. If we don’t take them out of service and something happens, then what?

Do we take every vehicle out of service immediately and until Gordon evaluates them to tell us for sure? That’s the question that several of the officers have been discussing.

The final resolution: all fire apparatus are out of service except for V2 (1986 International Engine), which only has one apparent out of service issue that we know of – the headlight high beam foot switch (when you turn the high beams on, everything goes dark, which startled me the other night test driving it on a dark road). It’s particularly concerning because this truck is a manual transmission and you are driving with two feet anyway. We just got a new switch installed this morning and that specific problem is solved.

We have already spoken with several fire departments and have calls into others to see if they have a reserve engine that has passed an NFPA inspection in the past year that we could barrow for 2 to 4 weeks. We are also speaking with fire apparatus dealers and manufacturers about short term options. If we get a loaner engine, we will take V2 out of service until Gordon evaluates it.

Be safe, drive slow, look out for each other.

Thanks, Jack

Jack Krill, Fire Chief
Timberlake Fire Protection District
5985 E. Highway 54, PO Box 810, Athol, ID 83801
208-683-3333, Fax 208-683-6002, Cell 208-818-1101,


Just to clarify so the subject line and content of the original email is not misinterpreted.

V2 is in service as Engine 621
Fire Boat 695 is in service
EMS 61 and EMS 63 are in service

Everything else is out of service. (17 units out) I will be switching to my personal vehicle as well.

Thanks, Jack Krill

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Mountain Lion Alert- From

According to Bayview Bob, a Cougar was spoted along the park fence behind First Street, February 8. Watch your pets and small kids. To a Cougar, they are pot luck.

As predator recovery plays out, we will see more Cougar and probably wolves, too. Hiking alone is not recommended. Keep some sort of noise maker with you, to warn animals that you are near. Most of them will avoid you if they know humans are present, unless they are surprised. The great outdoors we have enjoyed for years is not as safe as it used to be.

According to reports, the Cougar was spotted near noon which is unusual and may indicate a real hungry animal, or posibly injured. They generally hunt at night. According to park officials, there are usually two to three cougars that range around the south end of the lake, including Buttonhook Bay and the park. He also said there were around 14 black bears in the park, but they are rarely seen, as they are more afraid of you, than you, them.

Monday, February 08, 2010

A Sad Note

Funeral arrangements have been completed for Tom McGurk. Much of the interment will occur on the West Coast, with viewing Thursday, February 11 at Greenwood Funeral Home east of Renton, from Noon to 7:00 pm. Burial will be Friday, February 12 at 10:30 pm Tahoma Veterans Cemetery.Tahoma is located on 240th just off of highway 18, east of Kent, Washington.

A celebration of life will be held at the Athol American Legion, Post 149 Saturday, February 20. The time, 1:00 pm. There will be a pot luck. Tom served in the navy as a submariner, drove the Silverwood train and hauled asphalt for Coeur d'Alene Paving. I doubt he ever had an enemy.

On a happier note, yesterday, February 7 marked the 100th birthday for Athol resident, Marion Bates. Born February 7, 1910 in Seattle, Washington, Marion is still hanging in there, crediting a healthy diet and the occasional Irish Whiskey for her longevity.

Fire Commissioner Speaks

To all Citizens of the Timberlake Fire Protection District,

Hello, My Name is David “Rudy” Rudebaugh one of you’re recently elected Fire Commissioners for the Timberlake Fire Protection District.

I thank the people who voted for me as one of your 5 elected Commissioners and I will continue to work hard on your behalf along with my fellow Commissioners in providing you the highest possible level of service and to make sure all our Emergency Responders can fulfill there duties in a safe manner and return home to their families and loved ones, while insuring your tax dollars are spent wisely and correctly.

I do not speak for the other commissioners, but I can say I (We) need your support more than ever during the next few months in helping us determine what the citizens want for a level of service and what you will be willing to pay for that service. This can only be done with your involvement in becoming educated about the current status of the District and asking questions. .

The recent letter from Chief Krill (Near-Miss) in addition to the information which has been identified in Needs Analysis 2008 is a reflection of the District's current state. Information is available on the district web site,

I can tell you something needs to be done, but to what level and at what expense is not for me to say, as I continue to educate myself on the current status of our District, the myriad of laws we fall under in addition to hopefully visiting with many of you in hearing your feedback and ideas on options for us to consider. The Board of Commissioners has not decided and will not decide until the April 21st 2010 meeting on what to do concerning any levy or the amount proposed, the decision is to be based upon the results of a Informative Newsletter and Survey being mailed out in the next few weeks to all residents of the District, in addition to the valuable input received from you at the Special Informational Meetings and one on one conversations we may have.

With that said I ask each and every citizen in our district to attend the Commissioner Meetings for the next several months and the Special Informational Meetings which are being scheduled as well. This will help us Commissioners do the best possible job we were elected to do.

Please visit for the exact dates, locations and times of the meetings and the most current information concerning the District.

Feel free to e-mail either Chief Krill or any of the Commissioners with your questions or concerns.

Disclaimer: The above is from David “Rudy” Rudebaugh to you the Citizens of our District. The above views and\or request may or may not be the same as the other elected commissioners nor any specific individual within the district.. As Commissioners we cannot have discussions among ourselves concerning these issues unless we are in an Open Meeting, IAW Idaho Open Meeting Laws Idaho Code 67-2340 through 67-2347. Come to the meetings and help us in doing what you elected us to do.

Thank you in advance for your support.


David “Rudy” Rudebaugh
Commissioner, Timberlake Fire District, Zone 4

Thursday, February 04, 2010

A Man That Will Be Missed

Adding to the sadness regarding the recent passing of Pat Dow, we lost another friend. Tuesday afternoon, I stopped at JD's for a beer and to contact with friends. Tom McGurk, a very good personal friend was at the bar for his usual two drinks then on home. Tom had a shop and a hideaway where he listened to shortwave from around the world, when he wasn't working on one of his projects. Tom wasn't just a mechanic, he was a tinkerer. He loved figuring out things from scratch, many times coming up with solutions the experts never thought of. He loved horses and his dogs.

I remember last time I took care of his horses while he and Sandy took a short vacation. I saw a track that was about five inches across that I thought might be a stalking cougar. I covered it up with a bucket. When Tom got back, it turned out it was the track of his very large dog. A dog I was happy not to meet when they were gone.

Gone now, while his wife was in Canada with Trailways transporting people from Vancouver to the mountains and the Olympic venues, Tom was as usual, out in the shop tinkering, then settled back with his shortwave radio and a cold beer. When Sandy couldn't reach him on his cell phone, she called a neighbor, who went down to check on him. He found Tom slumped over his work table, oblivious to the sounds that were still coming out of his radio. Just like those radio waves, Tom is now out there amongst them, saying, "Oh boy, would you look at that."

As well as his seasonal job driving a set of doubles for Coeur d'Alene Paving, he loved his part time job as a steam engine operator. For several years now, he would spend week-ends driving old number seven around the 3.5 mile route that circled Silverwood. He didn't ride much, but he also loved horses. When they lost Ono, the 32 year old palomino a couple of years ago, it coincided with the economy going south with horse owners.

He and Sandy made a home for four unwanted or at least unaffordable horses, all prime stock and all free,except for the feed which was hurting them. Fortunately, in the times that try men's(and women's) souls, people step up. A neighbor has agreed to take charge of the horses until a home can be found for them.

These are the practical problems that were quickly overcome. Somehow I know that Tom is reading this, as I type it with tears in my eyes. I loved you, man. I just hope that Sandy can survive this after, I think about twenty two years of hilarity, as they matched wits with each other, and shot a few pool games.Rest knowing that you left this world a better place for your presence.

The Public and Firefighters At Risk

This is an exact copy of an e-mail I received from a very upset Chief Krill.

Timberlake’s Apparatus Near Miss - Wednesday, February 3, 2010

We can no longer compromise the safety of our responders with inadequate maintenance.

Since I started 19 months ago, emergency responder safety has been my number one concern. We have modified our practices, improved training, and have taken a very conservative approach to emergency operations. A large part of the safety concerns were, and still are, the maintenance of our emergency equipment. I don’t trust our equipment enough to put our folks in hazardous conditions – that’s one reason why we only fight fires from the exterior right now.

Wednesday, we had a transmission specialist (Dave) working on Engine 621 and found some disturbing maintenance issues. We couldn't’t tell how old the batteries were because the dates were not punched out. Commissioner Rudebaugh deciphered the code to determine they were manufactured in July 2003. The batteries were producing less than 12 volts, which directly affects the performance of the transmission. Batteries are supposed to be load tested at least annually and must be taken out of service if they fall below 12.6 volts, we didn’t have a load tester so Tim Fulp borrowed one from Victory Auto Parts and ordered one for us. Batteries on fire apparatus should be replaced at least every 3 years. The voltage drop between the batteries and the transmission ECU was about 1 volt due to corrosion inside the power cables. Commissioner Rudebaugh expedited the delivery of 5 new batteries @ $122 each, cheaper than what we could purchase anywhere else, thanks Rudy.

Dave also noticed a box mounted under the battery tray that was rusting away. Turns out this is the box that contains the master power relay for the entire truck’s electrical system, as we tried to open the box, it was so dilapidated that it fell apart. The components and relays appear to be fine, but the box needs to be replaced.

If that wasn’t enough, we noticed there were two alternators, because as David put it “this truck is a power hog.” Two alternators are not uncommon on older fire trucks, but the 2nd one looked like it was installed by some backyard mechanic with scrap metal and sloppy welds. It will be sent out to ensure the creative mounting will not fall apart.

Hopefully the transmission problem will be solved with the new batteries. If we still experience transmission problems, Trans Pro will loan us a new electronic shifter. If that is the problem, the cost to replace it is $2,000, which is on top of the $700 for their labor Wednesday and $610 for batteries.

Here’s the scary part… After we let it run for 20 minutes on the front pad as Dave instructed, I took it for a test drive with Josh. As we headed west on 54, I noticed something odd with the accelerator pedal – it was stuck and would not release. I tapped it to try to break it loose and it stuck in full throttle position. Luckily we had the brakes fixed a few weeks ago (remember the mechanic said there was so much corrosion on the brakes that we were lucky the truck even stopped). I was able to keep the speed down as I shouted a few choice words pulling into the lumber yard parking lot. Once the transmission down shifted into 1st gear, the brakes would not hold back the truck (still stuck in full throttle) so I quickly switched it into neutral and shut it down before it red-lined. Imagine if we pulled in the driveway of a working house fire with the stuck pedal and ran right into the house. Turning West out of the station, the first stop is usually for a passing train, what if I couldn’t stop? Who would be personally sued?

After we caught our breath and trouble-shooted the problem, we discovered that we could pull up the accelerator pedal by hand to manually release it. I slowly nursed it to Station 3 to take it out of service and move Engine 623 up to Station 1. Tim Fulp met us at Station 3 and found that a sheath on the throttle cable broke and the entire assembly needed to be replaced. Jeff Laird and Tim removed the cable and will try to get it replaced soon. It’s also worth mentioning that the driver’s seat belt needs to be replaced because it took me 5 minutes to get the catch to release so I could get enough belt unwrapped to buckle in. I guess it has been that way for some time; it’s not going to be like that anymore.

It’s important to note that these issues are not related to the work on the transmission Wednesday. I learned this morning that some of our responders have noticed accelerator pedal issues in the past with this truck; the pedal would return slowly. We have become so used to dealing with substandard equipment, that many have come to accept these little quirks with all of our equipment. The throttle cable sheath on Engine 621 had apparently been cracked for some time; it just finally gave way when I happen to be driving it. Please do not accept any little abnormal issues with our equipment; if it doesn’t work like it should then report it immediately to the on duty officer and submit a work order.

I drove Engine 623 to Station 1 with the driver seat in the lowest position because the valve to adjust the seat height has been broken for some time. Some of the dash lights are out, the transmission control panel backlights are out, and the dome light doesn’t work when you open the door. So you have to manually turn on the dome light to see the button to switch from neutral, drive, or reverse. As Jeff Piephoff and I drove to Station 1, you could hear the lose compartment doors rattling behind us because most of the door’s insulation needs to be replaced.

These safety and state of the district issues are not new and are not just my opinion. Since 2005, there have been 8 different fire chiefs (4 associated with Timberlake and 4 from other districts) who all expressed the same themed safety concerns with the state of our equipment. In looking through the meeting minutes, you can also see numerous fire district members also upset about maintenance. After my experience Wednesday, I have never been more convinced that we have a fleet of junk fire trucks that we have never maintained properly. It is chilling to think what we will find next and is almost enough to say “take everything out of service until we know, without a doubt, it is safe to operate;” but that’s not a realistic scenario.

Our fleet has always been neglected, the more we learn about the poor conditions of our assets (vehicles, equipment, and facilities) the more shocking stories we have to tell. Each member of this district is empowered, without hesitation, to take a vehicle or piece of equipment out of service if there is any safety or operational issues with it. Even if you are en route to a working fire - stop and call yourself out of service, don’t risk anything.

We have come a long way with maintenance issues - as far as our personnel, time, and funding limitations would take us, but it is not enough, we keep finding more problems. We have taken the 2 white engines out of service because of maintenance issues, returned the 1966 tender to the department of lands because it was too expensive to repair, and continue to discover more deficiencies in our assets. The frame on Tender 631 was cracked, it went unnoticed for so long and got so bad that it was in imminent failure of the vehicle falling in half. The pending work order list is so long, it’s overwhelming.

As most of you know, Jeff Laird has been doing an outstanding job coordinating our vehicle maintenance issues for the past 7 months. We are sending each vehicle one-by-one to certified mechanics at licensed service centers for evaluation. What they find is always shocking and commonly ask “why haven’t you been maintaining these trucks?” The cost to catch up on all of this neglected vehicle maintenance is trending towards bankrupting this fire district.

If school buses were not maintained properly, would you place your children on them? If you knew an airline had maintenance and safety issues, would you book a flight with them? Well, why should we accept the unsafe conditions of the fire district assets? How do we know that the fire trucks will even make it to the fire?

There are numerous remarks about maintenance issues in past documents and commissioner meeting minutes, complaints from staff on the poor condition of vehicles, and an outcry to properly maintain them. One of the most revealing conversations took place on September 7, 2005. “Brief discussion took place regarding Preventive Maintenance. Commissioner Mertens expressed his opinion that LOF’s on smaller equipment could be done in house, however larger equipment should be sent out. President Scheu indicated his desire to have all preventive maintenance done in house, on a prioritized rotation list.” As a result, nearly all maintenance was done in house by personnel who were not certified mechanics – your safety was compromised. The short sided decisions to go cheap, ignore standards, and disregard safety in the past have caught up to us. I have never and will never accept substandard maintenance. If we can’t do something safely, we won’t do it. If we need to fix something, we are going to do it right - to standard, with quality in mind, and consider the long term impacts.

The 2010 application period for the Assistance to Firefighter Grant is expected to open in April. Jake Capaul and I will be drafting a request for a new engine (rescue/pumper) for Station 1. Although vehicle grants seem to be the most difficult to get awarded, we have no choice but to try. We have no funds to replace our existing aging fleet.

In 2007, we asked two different fire districts to consolidate with us, they both declined because of several issues, primarily because our assets are in such poor condition and the district in general would be too much work getting back up to minimum standards.

In 2005, our former insurance carrier proposed a huge rate increase because of the tremendous risk to insure the district (explained in person by the agent to me and Penney in 2008). The district switched carriers and went out to bid the following year. They asked the former insurance carrier to bid; they declined “because of the district’s losses.” Last year, our current insurance carrier conducted a loss control survey, they supported my findings in the 2008 Needs Analysis and put us on notice to shape up and fix some serious safety concerns. Other chiefs with knowledge of Timberlake and have read the 2008 Needs Analysis also agree with its findings.

I’ve preached the need for additional funding and the potential permanent levy override to fix our safety problems and get us back on track since the 2008 Needs Analysis. Soon, a newsletter on the State of the District will be sent to every mailbox in the fire district and new information will be posted on the web site. In March, we will be hosting town hall meetings to educate the community about our shocking state and express the need for additional funding. We are at risk of losing our fire district insurance rating and closing more stations which will result in increased homeowner insurance premiums to our residents and property owners. In April, the commissioners may decide if the residents will to vote on a permanent levy override and if so, how much that will be. If we proceed, the election will be May 25.

As former Commissioner Scheu reminded those in attendance at the April 7, 2007 commissioners meeting “once they become part of the decision process, then you are allowing yourself to be sued, because once you are informed of a situation you are held accountable.”

We cannot allow a tragedy to occur, we know we are at risk, these safety issues demand immediate attention.

Be safe, drive slow, and watch out for each other. Please report all maintenance problems, safety issues, and near misses to Thanks for all of your continued support and dedication to the district. More information to follow including a message about “Quick Fixes and Fast Results” versus “Foundation Building and Long Term Planning” as it relates to Timberlake.


Spin Control

In a recent article published in the Bonner county Bee, news editor, Keith Kinnard interviewed Lt. Cary Kelly, marine patrol supervisor. Whether that means that Kelly is a cop, or that he is a fireman is up for grabs. I say that, because this article seems not to be able to differenciate between the two.

Kelly justifies buying a 30 foot parrol boat, in addition to the one stationed in Sandpoint and the other in Hope. Kelly went on to say, "It can take as long as two hours for a patrol vessel to reach the southern end when the weather is foul." He goes on to say, "Various political sand diplomatic efforts over the years to resolve the issue have not panned out, whitch prompted Bonner County to seek the watrways Improvement Fund grant from the state."

Here's where the story becomes interesting> "We've had several close rescues and we're getting more traffic down in the south part of the lake," said Kelly. This with no quotes: Last season, the marine patrol rescued two kayakers caught in a storm near Maiden Rock and two teenage personal watercraft riders who ran out of gas in bad weather and with darkness falling." This statement is blatantly false. I, myself was aware at the time of the rescue attempt at Maiden Rock. The problem is that it was Timberlake fire District's fire/rescue boat that made that rescue, not Bonner County.

In the last year, Timberlake fire has responded to many Bonner County rescues. At least three in the Lakeview and north or Lakeview areas, plus water and land rescues up to and including Maiden Rock, which is clearly in Bonner county and then some.Timberlake Fire District Chief Jack Krill told us that over 10 rescues, involving both land and waterways were performed by his department, all in Bonner County.

Having another boat on the lake near Maiden Rock, stationed at Garfield Bay would be great. Just don't misrepresent the alleged lack of cooperation from Kootenai County Sheriff or Timberlake, to get what you want. After speaking with Sgt. Matt Street, commander of the Kootenai County Sheriff Marine Patrol, we believe that there is great cooperation between Bonner and Kootenai County, which leads us to believe that the reporting was sloppy.

Street indicated that they would go anywhere, anytime, to assist in a rescue. Kootenai County, with several lakes to cover, do not man their Scenic Bay boat on a regular basis, but coverage by the Timberlake Fire/rescue boat makes up the difference. Fire districts have mutual aid agreements, where in the case of law enforcement, cross deputization is used. Sgt. Street informed us that that has been done in the past with the former Bonner Sheriff and is in the process of being renewed under the new sheriff.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Generational Dyfunctions

Over the week-end and prior to that on numerous occasions, I have heard the pejorative, "your generation," as a criticism in general of our alleged intolerance, or hatred for those different than ourselves, etc.

I would like to address some of these things, so as to get a proper perspective. First, this week-end's debate featured many opinions regarding CBS's refusal to accept an ad that promoted gay lifestyles. My response was that television networks are not in the business of social engineering, but entertainment for profit. That means they are not obligated to piss off the majority to cater to a minority.

During this discussion I was branded as an old has been that isn't in touch with today's reality.A suggestion was even made that the world would be much better off without my generation. Perhaps they are right. But on the other hand, the present twenty-somethings did not invent the world, it's morals or it's history. Our country, and for that matter, others as well, build society by tweaking the present but adhering to tradition as well.In the case of the gay discussion, I pointed out that gays have only been out of the closet for about twenty years. That was jumped on as a suggestion that they go back to that place. It would seem that in being defensive, stuff that has never been said, is added to the comments out of a soured memory.

My comments were meant to point out that providing we only go back three or four thousand years, during the Jewish-Christian era, homosexuality was considered less than civilized. Now, suddenly, it's MY generation that is at fault for those social mores that exist. Tradition goes back a long way and to some extent is good. It keeps change at a manageable level while allowing for adjustments from time to time.My advise to those with an alternate life style, is to keep your shirt on. You've made tremendous progress toward legitimizing your sexual orientation, but don't expect that you are so important to the world that a revolution is needed to make these changes right this minute. Overcoming more than 3000 years is not accomplished in a month or three.

Without my generation, first of all, none of you revolutionaries would be born. White people marched in Selma, Alabama in opposition to racial inequality. They were of my generation. Industry and innovation in the last 50 years has been amazing. My generation. The Japanese and Germans, Italians and such were defeated by my father's generation. We managed to feed the world without PETA. My generation. Organized labor came into it's own. My father's generation.

The bottom line, and I could give examples 'till Hell freezes over, is that until you twenty and thirty year olds actually produce or accomplish something in your years on this earth, just be glad that my generation built the bridge to yours. Learn something from history. Yes, history wasn't part of your generation either, was it. Learn better manners. You don't win arguments by running out of ideas, then insulting the other person. In essence, grow up prior to castigating those that came before you. If you're lucky, you to may grow old and become a curmudgeon like me. Earn the right, first.

Just a few reminders of what my generation has accomplished:

When I was born in 1938, most aircraft were bi-planes. They actually had propellers to power them. Then the Jet Plane, also a product of my generation.

Oh, and there were the rockets to the moon, mars expeditions, etc. Also my generation.

When I was born,U.S. military aircraft were held to under 100 mph. Now they fly at 3 times the speed of sound. When I was a student in grade school, and even high school, we had nuclear attack drills in which we had to hide under our desks, like that would have helped. Our generation won the cold war between the Soviet Union and the western world.
When your parents were struggling to get by, they somehow managed to help you get a college education so that you could then belittle their generation. Our generation allowed, because of freedom of speech, Hippies that in many cases were your parents, to shun our own country in favor of "let it all hang out,drop out, get high, and somwhere in that mix, that generation lost track of where and whence they came from.

It just might be of value to those of you that are really thinkers, to go back without your newborn prejudices and look at our evolution as a people, as a country, and as a civilization, without the ever present hindsight, and examine how things happened, when they happened and why they happened, and do so in the context of that generation.

For the rest of you that are too lazy, I call you pissants that make much noise but produce no value in your lives, nor contribute to those that will come later. We can only hope that as I, you will grow, mature and send the next generation into a place where they will ridicule you too.