Tuesday, September 29, 2015

American Legion Eligibility

I have debated with myself for many weeks now as to whether I wanted to write this. But I am both a communicator and have an axe to grind. Several years ago I was recruited by the Athol Post 149 by a member that was trying to line up votes in which he was running for something.

When we discussed eligibility dates, I explained that I served in the Washington National Guard from November, 1953 to June, 1956 at which time I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. I served for four years from June 1956 to June 1960. After that service I was awarded a service connected disability for the period of active duty.

A problem exists here. You see the Legion doesn't think I'm a real veteran because I joined the air force after Korean eligibility expired January 31, 1955. Eligibility started up again in February 1961 through May 7, 1975.

During both Korean and Viet Nam, as many served in Europe and North Africa as did in combat zones. The ones in Germany were waiting for the Soviets to come charging through the Fulda Gap from East Germany. It was the height of the cold war. But I digress. Those that never heard a shot fired in anger who served in places other than combat zones are eligible to join the American Legion.

I too served during the cold war. Our air force was so worried about Soviet nuclear attack that they designed a rapid relocation program called Reflex Alert. An entire SAC wing would relocate for a 90 day period either in Morocco or Libya. We had three bases in Morocco. Sidi Slimane, Ben Guerrere and Nouaseur, just 21 miles south of Casablanca. I was at Nouaseur. We were there to facilitate the SAC Reflex TDY's. I remember standing on the wing of an aircraft, fueling it when I observed three generations of bombers on the ground at the same time. The monster B-36 with 6 pusher props and four jets, the B-47 that appeared to be a fighter on steroids and the venerable B-52. I spent 18 months there followed by two years at McChord AFB in Tacoma, Washington.

But I'm not a real veteran according to the hierarchy in the upper reaches of Legion leadership. The only justification I can come up with is that they, being combat veterans think they are above the rest of us. Soon the old men running the legion will find themselves alone, since the young vets from Afghanistan and Iraq are not interested in joining an old men's club, which is the result of stagnation.

Am I bitter? Bet your ass I am.Whether a war was or wasn't being held during my service of four plus almost 3 years of reserves was not my choice. I was there for whatever happened. Draftees that polished tanks in Germany for two years are members in good standing.

I finally decided not to be a member of an organization that didn't want me. I quit. One person even had the gall to suggest Son's of the Legion or Auxiliary. a blatant insult to my service. No longer am Iwilling to associate with those that I was essentially lying to.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Rooster Postscript

Since the aggrieved party didn't mention names, I won't either. But I do know who the rude neighbors are. After seeing DFO's Sunday column, apparently they felt the heat and got rid of the rooster. In every city, (Bayview is unincorporated) where chickens are allowed, roosters are not.

Jeanna contacted David Stewart, commissioner for the second district who paid attention to her dilemma. He contacted David Callahan, director of planning and zoning for Kootenai County. The zoning in the affected neighborhood is restricted residential. Callahan was proactive and was poised to jump all over this chicken caper. (pun intended)

Sunday morning came and went. No new crows were heard. Apparently believing that it would be counter productive to push any further, they avoided not just the official response, but a very lot of adverse publicity of which I would have participated.

All is well that ends well. One would hope that deliberate harassment of neighbors will cease. The need for the county commissioners is follow up. It would be very simple to enact an ordinance covering dense packed residential areas which would prohibit Roosters, Pigs and other obnoxious animals. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015


I received a surprise this weekend as a call came in Saturday from Scott Unzen and his lovely wife saying they were boating south on their annual  trek to Bayview. I met them about four years ago when they introduced to me their love of my blog, Bay Views. Most of the time I get very little feedback, except when someone disagrees with me.

These were genuine fans of the blog. I humbly accepted the good things they had to say, knowing that they might be a majority of two. Actually, there are a few others, as my page views are approaching 393,947 page views since a Guy named Dave Oliveria, Ring master of the circus called Huckleberries on-line held a clinic on blogging back in 2005.

I was so ignorant of how the Internet worked that he had to practically tell me how to turn the power on. He led me by the hand, along with several other helpful friends until I learned to copy & paste, load photos, etc.

When the Spokesman-Review started the Idaho Handle Extra and the neighborhood special editions, I called and asked the then editor why Bayview wasn't included. His name was Tad. A victim of cost cutting he stood on his principles and quit. But first he hired me as an corespondent. He then added Athol and spirit Lake to my territory.

One thing led to another and I suddenly was a journalist. That last about five years, when they jerked the string and decided Idaho wasn't profitable. Rather than blaming their advertising department, they pulled out, not realizing that the bean counters were wrong and content and reader satisfaction was paramount. In short, they stopped being journalists and became as I said, bean counters.

There are two areas that drive newspaper income. Advertisers and subscribers. Advertisers count your subscribers to determine the exposure they get. Subscribers were dealt several blows. First, in pulling out of Idaho, just Bayview and Athol subscribers lost 60. These were people that enjoyed reading about themselves and their neighbors.

Then the extra money they get for selling the back page of a section overwhelmed the good sense of journalists who did jumps from the front page to interior pages causing folding and unfolding and sometimes skipping stories. The final blow, was when they started doing reverse jumps.   That is where they start a story on page 9 and continue it on page 8.

The total disregard for the reader has cost them hundreds of subscribers, which then push the advertisers to other venues.  Bean counters run the S/R, not journalists. The paper continues to shrink while subscriptions go up in cost. This is a prescription for failure. I feel sorry for my friends that write and photograph for what was once a great daily and soon will be a weekly.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Interesting Relatives

Most families have at least one and possibly more, interesting relatives. I will talk about those in my family, other than myself, who many have considered ... different for many years. But no, the award today goes to my Aunt Anna Huseland Gibbons.

When my Grandfather, Gunder Asbjornson Huseland died in 1908 just (in a reversion to a Norwegian, slip I originally spelled it yust) a short time after migrating from Wisconsin with my Dad, Amos, the youngest at seven years old and six older sisters. The family had established a homestead in an area of Stevens County, Washington know as Aladdin. Aladdin does not exist anymore, but the old highway between Colville and Northport is known as the Aladdin Highway. Since 395 was built, it now serves as a rural road serving folks who live in the farming areas along Deep Creek.

This homestead was called a timber claim and was 160 acres straddling Meadow Creek, a short distance from Aladdin Hwy and Meadow Creek Road. This intersection was prior to Highway 20 which took a long leisurely route from the Colville Airport through the mountains and ending a few miles south of Ione, in Pend Oreille County.

Back in the day of my family though, Meadow Creek Road travelled a short but steep route up over what was then called Huseland Hill, past Big Meadow Lake and on down to Ione. This was a very short rout for those living in the area of Aladdin, but to those in Colville not so much.

But I digress. After the death of Gunder, there was absolutely no income for the family. Zero, Zilch. The older sisters journeyed to Spokane, where they entered domestic service. They then send money home to Mom. Eventually, Seven years later, Gunder's widow married a man whose homestead was just a few miles north. His name was Pat Grace.

During that period the older sisters married as well. One, Anna, married a man who's occupation was tattoo artist. Working for Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Baily Circus, he soon convinced Anna to allow him to tattoo her. All of her. Eventually, she hired on with the circus as Artoria, the tattooed lady, where she worked for years. Her only child, a wonderful lady, lives in retirement in rural South Carolina, near antebellum homes and cotton fields.

Now that you know some of out secrets, how many of you have those long kept secrets that beg to be released. Tell us about them.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Seasonal Changes

It never ceases to amaze me how abruptly our seasons change. But this year tops them all. Going from almost consistently above 90 degrees and smoke, to the '60's and rain in just a day or so is huge.

With fires burning everywhere,  the rain, unusually, is very welcome. I'd sure like to see our resident Climatologist's prediction for this Winter. We need a decent snow pack this year or we are in big trouble.

Although this labor Day weekend is going to produce cool, rainy weather, next week end looks great.

I have a ton of green tomatoes yet to ripen. During the real hot months, fruit doesn't set. So a tomato grower gets two crops. An early one and then a pause where only green tomatoes exist, then if we are lucky, warm September weather will produce a good second crop. Or, there is always the indoor ripening process with numerous methods. (They all work)

I just spread a newspaper on my little used dining room table and lay them down not touching each other. Another way, is to wrap them individually and store in a cool dark place. The problem with that, though is you cannot see which ones are ripening when.

As far as pulling the plants and hanging them upside down is the mess that is created unnecessarily.
Just pick the easiest and run with it.