Fire Cuts Off Return Route for Dozens of Glacier National Park Visitors

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)

 

Fire Cuts Off Return Route for Dozens of Glacier National Park Visitors

9:53 AM ET 8-12-2017

(HELENA, Mont.) — A wildfire has cut off the return route for dozens of people staying in a Glacier National Park backcountry chalet, leaving them the choice of remaining until rangers tell them it’s safe or hiking out along a longer and more difficult trail, park officials said Friday.

Park rangers also planned to lead out 39 other hikers who were staying in backcountry campsites near fires that broke out after a passing lightning storm on Thursday, Glacier spokeswoman Lauren Alley said.

It’s peak tourist season at the Montana park, and the stone chalet built more than a century ago is a top attraction in one of the busiest parts of Glacier. There are typically between 40 and 50 guests and 10 staff members at the chalet each night, with most visitors arriving by foot or horse along a steep trail nearly 7 miles (11 kilometers) from Lake McDonald Lodge on the park’s main roadway.

A lightning strike ignited a fire in the forest somewhere between the lodge and the chalet. Neither structure is threatened, but park officials determined that it was unsafe for those at the chalet to return by the same trail Friday.

Thirty-nine of the 42 guests staying at the Sperry Chalet decided to hike out and three stayed behind, said Suzie Menke, the office manager of Belton Chalets Inc., which runs the chalet.

They must take a rugged trail more than 13 miles (21 kilometers) long that crosses two mountain passes and can take eight to 10 hours to walk. That trail ends up on the eastern side of the park, on the other side of the Continental Divide from Lake McDonald Lodge.

For those who stay, the chalet has running water, a full-service kitchen and 17 private rooms — but it doesn’t have electricity and only spotty cellphone coverage.

“The good news is they got resupplied yesterday,” Alley said.

Park officials confirmed three small fires started after Thursday’s lightning storm. The one affecting Sperry Chalet is the largest at about 10 acres (40,500 square meters).

Despite the sudden outbreak of fires, most areas of the park are still open to the record number of tourists who are flocking to Glacier this year. More than 1 million people visited the park in July, the first time so many people have been in Glacier over the course of a single month.

Dozens of fires are burning across the West, and federal and state fire managers planned to raise the National Fire Preparedness Level to its highest point on Friday. That Level 5 signals most firefighting resources are being used and that assistance may be needed from military and other nations. The level was last raised to 5 in 2015.

In Oregon, a fire on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation destroyed two houses and threatened dozens of others. The fire had burned more than 30 square miles (78 square kilometers) by late Thursday, and one firefighter suffered a minor injury.

Lessons From Night of the Grizzlies: True Story From 1967

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE FLATHEAD BEACON NEWS)

 

Lessons From Night of the Grizzlies

The unthinkable tragedy that unfolded 50 years ago in Glacier National Park claimed the lives of two young women and at least five grizzly bears. It also dramatically reshaped the nation’s policies on wildlife and grizzly management.

Late on the night of Aug. 12, 1967, seasonal ranger Leonard Landa settled into bed after another long day working in Glacier National Park. A schoolteacher in Columbia Falls, Landa was in the midst of his third summer season in Glacier, stationed at the bustling Lake McDonald Ranger Station.

The summer of 1967 was an unusually busy one in the park. Visitation was rapidly increasing, with more than 900,000 people converging on Glacier the previous year. It was also an incredibly dry summer, and, after a series of lightning storms ripped through the park, raging wildfires depleted resources and cast a chalky pall over the Lake McDonald Valley.

Not long after Landa and his wife retired to bed at the ranger station on the north end of the lake, the emergency radio crackled to life. A panicked 22-year-old ranger-naturalist was on the line, reporting there had been a bear attack at the Granite Park Chalet. Landa had a hard time believing what he was hearing. Bear attacks were rare in Glacier National Park; since its creation in 1910, only 11 people had been reportedly injured by grizzlies in eight separate documented incidents.

No one had ever been killed, according to park records.

As a smoky half-moon hung over Lake McDonald, Landa and his wife listened to the drama unfold at Granite Park, tracking the sequence of unprecedented events occurring a dozen miles north of their cabin, culminating in a tragic ending. They eventually succumbed to exhaustion and fell asleep.

Early the next morning, Landa awoke to the frantic sound of people rapping on his cabin door. A group of four park lodge employees in their late teens and early 20s burst through the entrance. They were yelling over one another in chaos, and after a few moments, Landa stopped them, seeking order. He pointed to a young man, instructing him to explain what happened. The boy said a bear at Trout Lake had harassed their hiking party the night before, eventually attacking a girl and dragging her off.

Incredulous, Landa said they were mistaken, that the attack had occurred at Granite Park. The four young people persisted — no, they said, their friend at Trout Lake had been dragged away by a bear.

“I quickly pieced together that we were talking about a second incident,” Landa said in a recent interview.

The unthinkable had happened.

Two young women, at campsites nine miles apart from one another, situated on opposite sides of 9,000-foot Heavens Peak, had been mauled and killed by different grizzly bears on the same night. They were the first bear-related fatalities in park history.

The tragedy, indelibly etched into history as the “Night of the Grizzlies,” would forever change the lives of those involved, and it would transform the nation’s bear management policies.

Granite Park Chalet in Glacier National Park on August 7, 2014. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Granite Park Chalet

Twenty-two-year-old ranger-naturalist Joan Devereaux was barely out of college at Ohio State University, where she majored in botany, when she arrived for her seasonal post at the St. Mary Ranger Station on the morning of Aug. 12, a Saturday.

The day prior, a series of dry lightning strikes laid siege to the valley, and fire lookouts reported more than 100 ground strikes and at least 20 new starts. The emergency wildfire response quickly exhausted the park’s roster of male rangers, and while Devereaux hadn’t been scheduled to lead an overnight group hike — her first as an employee — she volunteered as a last-minute replacement for naturalist Fred Goodsell, who was dispatched to help with the fires.

Clad in her signature gray-and-green National Park Service uniform and armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of plants and wildflowers, Devereaux’s charge was to guide an interpretive tour along the Highline Trail and spend the night at Granite Park Chalet. With about two-dozen hikers in tow, the party arrived at their destination in the early afternoon of a hot and hazy day.

Describing the day’s events later, Devereaux recalled: “The whole trip in was one that was quite normal, no incidents, the usual marmots and flowers.”

Shortly after the group arrived at the chalet, 19-year-old Julie Helgeson, a University of Minnesota student working in the East Glacier Lodge laundry for the summer, and Roy Ducat, 18, a busboy at the lodge from Ohio, struck out for Logan Pass.

In black magic marker, they hastily scrawled “Glacier Park Employees Need Ride” on a pillowcase and began hitchhiking from East Glacier, arriving at the pass and the start of the Highline Trail around 3:30 p.m.

Along the stunning 7.6-mile hike to Granite Park, on an exposed bench-cut trail that tracks along the Garden Wall, Helgeson and Ducat encountered another group of chalet-bound hikers eating lunch — Helena residents Riley Johnson, his wife, Roberta, and their 9-month-old son, who was affixed to Riley’s back on a pack board. Also with them were friends Dan and Judy Regan.

“We were sitting having lunch when the boy and the girl came by and stopped and chatted with us,” Riley Johnson said. “They got up and moved along, and I didn’t see either of them again until the incident. But we did get to meet them.”

The scene at the chalet that evening was pleasant as guests basked in the sun and watched the smoke swirl around the fires flanking Lake McDonald Valley. Dinner conversation in the main chalet was punctuated with excited chatter about the summer’s most talked-about spectacle at Granite Park — the dusky arrival of grizzly bears who each night frequented the makeshift garbage dump about 100 yards below the chalet, where concessioner employees deposited ham bones and other dinner scraps to entice the bruins.

The food-habituated bears arrived right on schedule, interrupting a group sing-along of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” and the guests poured out of the chalet in droves to watch.

The scene below Granite Park Chalet, where concessioner employees would place garbage and food scraps in order to entice bears to feed, a popular spectacle for visitors. Courtesy National Park Service

“The chalet concession workers had a habit of separating their garbage in order to attract bears to the area … in a clearing where the bears could easily be seen when they came in to feed. I was kind of shocked by this,” Devereaux told park ranger Riley McClelland in an interview two days later.

The first bear to arrive was a large, dark-colored female grizzly, weighing 250 pounds, and the second was a silvertip sow, about 100 pounds larger than the blackish one.

“These were the only two bears we saw in the evening,” Devereaux said. “It was relayed to me by the young man who works up there that there is a third bear that comes in the morning and about midnight. This is a sow with a pair of cubs, and she is apparently quite bold and not frightened by much of anything.”

The 275-pound sow would arrive on schedule, too, but only after the guests were fast asleep.

By the time Helgeson and Ducat arrived at the chalet around 7 p.m., there were no rooms available inside, so they opted to sleep out al fresco in a primitive campground about one-quarter mile below the chalet.

On their way down the trail to camp, Helgeson and Ducat stopped and visited with a young couple named Robert and Janet Klein. Apprehensive about the bears, the Kleins opted to sleep closer to the chalet beside a trail-crew cabin; if a bear approached, they reasoned, they could climb atop its roof for safety.

Helgeson and Ducat carried on down the trail to the campground, spread their sleeping bags on the ground and watched the sunset before going to sleep.

Sometime after midnight, Helgeson awoke to a bear sniffing at her sleeping bag and whispered to Ducat to “play dead,” but moments later the bear knocked them both from their unzipped sleeping bags and sunk its teeth into Ducat’s right shoulder. He remained still and quiet, and the bear turned on Helgeson, biting her before returning to Ducat and biting his left arm and the backs of his legs. The bear returned to Helgeson a final time and dragged her off by her arm.

The Kleins estimate they went to sleep around 10:30 p.m., but woke up two hours later to the sound of screaming.

“We heard the screaming … and the main words I heard were just, ‘Help me, help me,” Klein told rangers. “Someone was yelling this over and over again.”

He continued: “This screaming went on it seemed for a long time — it was probably about a minute-and-a-half or two minutes — and it seemed to get farther and farther away and die down, and finally it reached a crescendo and went down from there and finally stopped. We didn’t know what to do.”

Sitting bolt upright in their sleeping bags, the Kleins heard rustling minutes later, and Ducat appeared in the dark before them, bleeding and in shock, mumbling, “a bear, a bear.”

Along with Don Gullet, another overnight hiker camped nearby, the Kleins leapt into action, climbing atop the trail crew cabinet with flashlights to alert the guests inside the chalet, while Gullet swaddled the injured Ducat in his sleeping bag.

Yelling toward the chalet, the Kleins flashed their light three times. And three times again. They flashed the emergency signal over and over again.

After what seemed like an eternity, someone called down from the balcony above: “Everything OK?” the guest hollered.

“No,” Robert Klein called back. “Bear.”

According to Devereaux, several guests at the chalet began to assemble a search party. The young naturalist dressed quickly and fetched her emergency radio as the group gathered outside, still not understanding the gravity of the situation.

“We were reluctant to accept there had been a bear attack,” said Riley Johnson, the hiker who earlier encountered Helgeson and Ducat on the Highline Trail. “But something was awry, that’s for sure. The one thing that we impressed upon Joan was that she was the one in the uniform and she needed to use it. Here you have 65 people with all kinds of different emotions and experiences, all different ages, up to 79 and down to my 9-month-old son. All different ranges of talent, different fears and levels of panic. And Joan took charge, and she did a doggone good job. Everyone rallied around Joan.” She would later receive a Distinguished Service Award for her efforts that night, the Interior Department’s highest honor.

With Devereaux taking the lead, a group of 10 or 12 guests began heading down the trail from the chalet toward the campground.

“We got about halfway down when we heard the boy screaming, ‘Bear, bear,’” Johnson said. “And then we knew what we were in.”

The group soon stumbled upon a horrific scene.

“We discovered immediately the young boy laying there,” Devereaux reported. “We were informed then that there might be another person, and he started mumbling and moaning about the girl having been dragged off. I immediately began talking over the radio to the west side and the fire cache over there. After several attempts the word came through and they began to understand what we were talking about, and I radioed in that we had an emergency, that there was some bear damage and it was very critical.”

Nails were originally hammered to the outside of the shutters at Granite Park Chalet in Glacier National Park to keep wildlife from coming through windows. They are pictured August 7, 2014. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Supervisory ranger Gary Bunney intercepted the radio call at the park’s main fire cache, situated at headquarters in West Glacier, which was being monitored around the clock due to the fires. On the line was Devereaux, requesting helicopter assistance and medical supplies. Three doctors happened to be staying as guests at the chalet that night, but they needed surgical equipment, she said, as well as a transfusion apparatus and plasma. And Ducat needed immediate medical evacuation from the area.

The impromptu search crew transitioned into rescue mode.

Johnson helped break into the trail crew cabin and unearthed an old bedspring, which the group used as a stretcher to carry Ducat up to the chalet while they waited for the helicopter, splaying him out on a dining room table for medical treatment.

“Dan (Regan) and I guided the team up and brought the boy into the lodge,” Johnson said. “I was holding the lanterns over the table where the boy was for the doctors. They were just trying to stop the bleeding. He was conscious, he was talking, and I was standing there with the two lanterns so the doctors could work on him.”

Meanwhile, the search party reorganized to go look for Helgeson, but when Devereaux received word on the radio that a helicopter was en route, she redirected the crew to build small fires around the perimeter of an impromptu landing pad, delaying the search for the girl.

When the Bell helicopter arrived at 3:15 a.m., the pilot, John Westover, could scarcely see the narrow landing zone through the haze of smoke and glare of the guests’ flashlights on the helicopter’s plastic dome, and Devereaux ran inside to ask if any of the guests had any knowledge about landing helicopters.

A young Air Force veteran who had just returned from the Vietnam War, Jack Dykstra, volunteered that he had experience landing helicopters on aircraft carriers and used a pair of flashlights to expertly beckon Westover to the landing zone, using military signals that Westover recognized.

It marked the first of several emergency landings Westover made on the precipitous landscape that night, and the guests recall his acts of bravery as heroic. After loading Ducat into the helicopter, Westover ferried the injured teen to Kalispell for medical treatment.

Meanwhile, ranger Bunney, armed with a .300 H&H Magnum rifle, remained at Granite Park to determine the fate of the missing girl. He and a group of about six guests departed the chalet for the camping area, carrying a washtub in which they’d made a fire. When they arrived at the campsite, it was strewn with shoes, sleeping bags and other belongings, and a trail of blood led downhill. Continuing down the mountain, they discovered a coin purse, and after another 225 feet the blood trail disappeared.

Fanning out, the group heard a faint noise and located Helgeson another 52 feet downhill, lying on her stomach wearing only her cutoff jean shorts. She had been dragged about 342 feet from the camping site and was critically injured, with deep lacerations on her arms and legs, and a punctured lung.

“It hurts,” she said repeatedly.

After rendering first aid with what supplies they had, members of the group wrapped her in sleeping bags, loaded her on the bedspring and carried her to the chalet.

It was 3:45 a.m., and Bunney radioed Chief Ranger Ruben Hart that Helgeson was alive and needed immediate helicopter assistance. Westover, who had by then returned to park headquarters, agreed to make another emergency flight.

Inside the chalet, a team of doctors tended to Helgeson, while a young priest, Father Tom Connolly, sat at the head of the table consoling her.

“I remember the doctors working feverishly, but two big arteries were cut and he kept saying to the nurse, he said, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know,’” recalls Riley Johnson. “Finally as he was working on several wounds, he just stopped and said, ‘She’s gone.’ And everyone just kind of stood up. You could hear a pin drop in that room of 65 people. Everybody knew what had just happened. How many people in their lifetime witness an actual death, particularly a crisis death like that? Not many. It was a trying event for me and my wife.”

Helgeson was pronounced dead at 4:13 a.m., moments before Westover landed the helicopter a second time.

After sending the guests back to their rooms, Devereaux washed the tables and “made it a point to clear up as much as possible of the evidence … so it wouldn’t be so oppressive in the morning when they woke up.”

She made sure the signal fires were out cold and tried to fall asleep, though sleep never came.

The next morning, a somber mood pervaded the chalet as guests made breakfast, packed up their belongings and prepared to hike out.

“The mood there was quite evident that something had happened — rather a depressed feeling was felt by everyone, even the young children sensed this and most of them had been informed about what had happened,” Devereaux said.

A total of 60 guests hiked out together down four-mile Loop Trail, with Johnson taking up the rear to “sweep,” ensuring no one was left behind.

Before departing, he counted 59 guests. Recounting, he again came up with 59 guests. Knowing there should be 60, he began to panic, but then remembered his son.

“I forgot that my own kid was strapped to my back,” Johnson said. “They called me the backpacking father who couldn’t count.”

After shuttling their cars from Logan Pass and driving away from the park, members of the Granite Park group would soon learn that the tragedy they’d witnessed was only half the story.

The bear that mauled a visitor near Trout Lake in 1967. Courtesy Bert Gildart

Trout Lake

On that same Saturday afternoon, Judy Voris burst through the doors of the Lake McDonald Lodge gift shop with news.

Voris was one of the dozens of college students who worked at the lodge and the surrounding shops in the summer of 1967. Since June, the University of Evansville student had been working the counter at the Camp Store, selling everything from ice cream to souvenirs. It was at the Camp Store where she met Ren Fuglestad, one of the “Jammers” who drove the bright red tour buses around the park. Fuglestad asked Voris on a date, and the seed of a summer romance was planted.

Elated by the development, Voris rushed to the gift shop in the lodge to tell her roommate and one of her closest friends in the park: Michele Koons.

But when Voris ran into the gift shop, Koons wasn’t there. Voris remembered that Koons had gone camping at Trout Lake with four other employees — she had even borrowed Voris’ sweatshirt.

Back then, if lodge employees wanted to embark on an overnight trip, they had to get permission from home. A few days earlier, Koons, a 19-year-old from California, had called her parents and told them she wanted to spend a night at Trout Lake. Located about four miles from Lake McDonald, Trout Lake is surrounded by mountains and requires a strenuous hike over Howe Ridge.

Koons and her four friends — Denise Huckle, a 20-year-old lodge clerk; Paul Dunn, a 16-year-old busboy at the East Glacier Park lodge; Ray Noseck, a 23-year-old gas station attendant at Lake McDonald; and his brother Ron Noseck, a 21-year-old waiter at East Glacier Park — arrived at Trout Lake at about 5 p.m. on Aug. 12. The group set up camp, hung their food in a tree and went fishing. Koons, who didn’t fish, volunteered to stay behind and keep an eye on camp. After a few hours, the four other campers joined Koons and started cooking a dinner of hot dogs and trout. Soon after, Koons saw a grizzly bear.

“Here comes a bear,” she said, gesturing to the brush.

The female bear was no stranger to Trout Lake, with numerous people reporting encounters that summer.

“That bear did not have a lot of fear,” a local ranger said later. “The bear would go into camps, scare people off and then chow down on food that was left.”

As the bear approached, Koons and her friends ran for the lake. The sow rummaged through the campers’ supplies and ripped open a bag of food before retreating to the woods. The group quickly gathered their belongings and set up a new campsite closer to the beach. They discussed hiking back to Lake McDonald or Arrow Lake, where there was a shelter, but they decided to stick it out at Trout Lake because it was getting dark and they had heard the shelter was already full. They built a large campfire on the beach in hopes of keeping the bear at bay. They laid out their sleeping bags around the fire and went to sleep at about 11:30 p.m.

A few hours later, the group awoke to find that the bear had returned. The grizzly grabbed a bag of cookies that had been left out and headed back into the woods. Over the next few hours, the bear would return to the camp multiple times. At about 4:30 a.m., the bruin moved in closer to the five campers, who played dead in hopes that it would just sniff around and then leave. But the grizzly walked up to Paul Dunn and bit his sleeping bag. Dunn jolted up, startling the bear, and then quickly climbed a nearby tree. The bear moved on to the other campers, who heeded Dunn’s warning and ran. Everyone climbed trees except for Koons, who couldn’t get out of her sleeping bag in time. The bear bit her in the arm and began dragging her into the trees.

“Oh God, I’m dead,” Koons screamed as the bear hauled her away from her friends. It was the last time anyone heard from her.

The remaining four campers stayed in the trees for an hour or so. When it was light enough to see, they climbed down, grabbed some gear and sprinted back to Lake McDonald to report the incident and get help for Koons. They burst into the Lake McDonald ranger cabin shortly after 8 a.m. and found seasonal ranger Leonard Landa.

“They were talking so fast and were so excited that it was hard to tell what was going on,” Landa said.

Once Landa determined they were talking about a separate bear attack from Granite Park Chalet, he contacted park headquarters and announced that he was heading to Trout Lake. Landa asked two of the hikers to come along to direct him to where they had camped. The three arrived at the lake at about 10 a.m. and began yelling for Koons. On the beach, they found four sleeping bags. Minutes later, they discovered Koons’ sleeping bag, bloody and torn, about 20 feet from the others. They went deeper into the woods, where Landa spotted a small piece of flesh. He followed a trail of blood into the brush and found Koons’ body, about 40 feet from where she had fallen asleep the previous night.

Bert Gildart gestures as he recalls the grizzly bear attacks during the summer of 1967. He is pictured in his Creston home on July 7, 2017. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Not long afterward, Bert Gildart arrived. Earlier, Gildart, a seasonal ranger, had been helping guide a piece of firefighting equipment over Going-to-the-Sun Road when he heard a ranger at Granite Park frantically trying to get ahold of headquarters to report a bear attack. Gildart helped relay the message on his radio and then continued down to West Glacier. After a few hours of sleep, Gildart was woken up by another ranger and ordered to respond to a bear attack at Trout Lake. Confused, Gildart responded that the attack had happened at Granite Park. The ranger told him there had been a second mauling.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” Gildart said.

Gildart and Landa loaded Koons into a body bag that had been delivered by helicopter. The body was flown to West Glacier and turned over to the local coroner. Landa helped the two hikers gather items they had left behind and then directed them to hike out with a horseback rider. Landa and Gildart continued on to Arrow Lake, another three miles up the trail. There they found a group of hikers and gave them an armed escort back to Lake McDonald.

By the time Gildart and Landa arrived at Lake McDonald that evening, news of the Trout Lake attack had spread. T.J. Tjernlund was a 16-year-old dishwasher at the lodge and often spent his free time chatting with the girls at the gift shop, including Koons, who was friendly and widely liked. On the morning of Aug. 13, rumors were flying around the lodge about a death at Trout Lake.

“We were in the dining room that afternoon when one of the girls walked in crying and said, ‘It was Michele,’” Tjernlund said. “Everyone felt numb after that.”

“I went down to the lake and sat there for a while, just trying to absorb what had happened,” Voris said. “It seemed impossible to lose someone you were so close to.”

The following day, Gildart and Landa were ordered to return to Trout Lake and find the bear that had killed Koons. At the lake, they set out cans of fish, but after the bear hadn’t appeared for a few hours, they continued on to the Arrow Lake shelter to spend the night.

Gildart woke up around 5:30 a.m. the next morning and went outside to go to the bathroom. In the pre-dawn light, Gildart spotted a large female bear 40 to 60 feet away.

“Leonard,” Gildart called out, “get the guns.”

Leonard Landa, pictured with the bear that mauled a visitor near Trout Lake in 1967. Courtesy Bert Gildart

Unafraid of the two men, the grizzly walked toward them. As it inched closer, the two men raised their rifles and opened fire, killing the animal. They radioed headquarters to report the shooting. A biologist and an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrived later that day by helicopter to recover parts of the bear, including the head, claws and stomach contents. When they cut into the sow, they discovered a clump of blond hair, leaving no doubt that it was the right bear.

Later that week, Gildart made a third trip to Trout Lake to pick up the trash that had initially attracted the bear. They filled 17 burlap bags. Fifty years later, the mounds of garbage from Trout Lake remain one of the most enduring images of that summer for Gildart.

“The 1967 maulings changed everything,” Gildart said recently. “Bears were looked at very differently after that.”

In 1968, journalist Jack Olsen wrote a three-part Sports Illustrated series about the attacks that was later turned into the book, “Night of the Grizzlies.” In it, he stated there was a one-in-a-million chance of two fatal bear attacks occurring so close to one another on the same night. For a long time, Gildart believed that, but over time he has changed his mind.

“The more I thought about it over the last 50 years, the more I realized that it was only a matter of time,” he said. “It was inevitable that there would be a fatal bear attack in Glacier National Park.”

Bert Gildart, pictured with the bear that mauled a visitor near Trout Lake in 1967. Courtesy Bert Gildart

Bear Management

As the park’s first-ever research scientist hired weeks before the fatal attacks, Cliff Martinka’s charge on Aug. 13, 1967 was, at least initially, straightforward: “Shoot the bears. Pretty simple,” Martinka told the Beacon prior to his death in 2014.

Five grizzlies were shot and killed in the days that followed, including the two bears that rangers believed had killed Helgeson and Koons. But in the weeks and months to come, park management and the public started asking questions about grizzly bears’ relationship to Glacier Park and its visitors.

The inquiries turned up a dearth of information and a glut of misguided theories about what led to the attacks, including rampant speculation that lightning had provoked the bears.

The killings would eventually prove to be a bellwether event for bear management in national parks.

They also led to Martinka’s first research assignment.

“I started to do some work on grizzly bears,” Martinka said. “We were trying to piece together what the bear population looked like in those days, without having any technical information except some bear sightings. There was amazingly little work going on with grizzly bears.”

“In many respects,” he added, “that night kind of defined my career.”

Two weeks prior to the fatal night, David Shea, a park ranger and biologist, hiked to Granite Park Chalet on three occasions, instructed by his supervisors to report on the “garbage disposal situation” and to observe grizzlies in the area.

“They were putting out food because it was entertaining,” said Shea, who spent 36 years working in the park. “I can’t believe it’s been 50 years, but a lot of good has come out of that tragic night. I can remember when Glacier’s bear management plan was three pages long. Now it’s around 50 pages, and grizzly bear research has been a major focus.”

Along with Martinka, Shea joined Chief Park Naturalist Francis Elmore, research biologist Robert Wasem, naturalist John Tyers, and seasonal ranger Kerel Hagen on a mission to Granite Park Chalet, where over the course of three days the men would shoot and kill three grizzly bears.

Bert Gildart reads through a record of the grizzly bear attacks in Glacier National Park. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

“As a biologist and naturalist, I really like bears,” Shea said. “They are curious and intelligent animals, and I didn’t enjoy killing them. But those bears were so tied into humans and garbage, they had come to associate the two.”

Following the deaths of Koons and Helgeson, the park established a pack-in, pack-out policy for food and garbage, eliminating dispersed camping and establishing designated campgrounds, as well as designated cooking areas. Park officials installed wire cables so that backcountry campers could hang their food, and launched an aggressive bear education program.

“There is Glacier National Park before the Night of the Grizzlies, and there is Glacier National Park after the Night of the Grizzlies,” said Jack Potter, a 41-year employee of the park, who retired in 2011 as chief of science and resource management. “It changed everything.”

It’s a sentiment that has not been lost on friends and family of Koons and Helgeson.

“Michele was instrumental in changing how the National Park Service managed bears,” said Michele’s younger sister, Krista Petersen. “I think that’s something she would be proud of.”

Petersen was 13 years old when Koons died, but she still remembers her older sister as someone who was full of life and adored by all.

“She was cute and perky and funny and all that,” she said in an interview last week.

The two deaths received heavy media attention almost immediately. Television networks sent correspondents to Montana, and the story appeared in nearly every newspaper in the nation. Petersen said her parents worked hard to shield Koons’ three younger siblings from the attention, although her mother kept an envelope with stories about the incident.

One year younger than Julie Helgeson, Laurie Helgeson George recalls her favorite cousin’s magnetic and outgoing personality, which was evident in the last letter she ever received.

“I had just graduated from high school and she had finished her freshman year of college, and she was describing her upcoming trip to Glacier Park and how excited she was,” George said. “When it happened, I can remember it like it was yesterday. I heard my dad yell and I ran downstairs. I can remember watching Walter Cronkite on CBS News talking about it. It was the main headline because it had never happened before, but when it happens to someone who you love, who has the same last name as you, it just hits so close to home.”

Michele Koons and Julie Helgeson. Courtesy Photos

Over the years, people who knew Koons and Helgeson have reached out to the families to express condolences and convey memories.

A few years ago, Judy Voris — now Judy Fuglestad — spent several days in San Diego visiting with the family and remembering her roommate from the summer of 1967. This year, a man from Massachusetts reached out on Facebook to tell Petersen that he had met Koons when he was 11 years old, just a few weeks before she died. He wrote that he had been on a family vacation in Glacier and went to the gift shop multiple times to visit with her.

“My Dad liked us to go fishing, but my favorite pastime was going to the gift store,” the man wrote. “There was a girl there, a lot older than me, and I had a little boy crush on her. She was sweet and friendly and each time I came by, she always made me feel like I was the most important person she had run into that day. I made any excuse to go to the gift store at least twice a day to buy gum and candy. Of course, I didn’t need more — I just wanted to talk to the girl that made me feel special.”

In the weeks before the fatal bear attacks, both Koons’ and Helgeson’s parents visited their daughters in Glacier National Park, and saw firsthand how happy they were working and playing in its wild and pristine environment.

“Julie’s parents talked about what a good time she was having, and her love of nature, the people and the animals,” George said.

After Helgeson’s death, Father Tom Connolly, the priest who held her hand and prayed with Helgeson while she lay dying on a table in Granite Park Chalet, visited her parents in Minnesota. He told them that while it was tragic, Helgeson died surrounded by beauty.

“I think that brought them comfort,” George said. “That she was in such a beautiful place.”

Petersen said Koons’ family camped, saw where she worked and met her friends. Even a half-century later, Petersen said it was clear that her sister loved being in Glacier.

“Michele lived a lot of life in 19 years,” she said.

Editor’s Note: This narrative is based on numerous interviews with witnesses, as well as National Park Service incident reports compiled after the tragic events and made available to the Beacon through a public records request.

 Yellowstone’s Grizzly Bears Are No Longer Considered Threatened

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)

Yellowstone’s Grizzly Bears Are No Longer Considered Threatened

2:41 PM ET  June 22nd 2017

(HELENA, Mont.) — Protections that have been in place for more than 40 years for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone National Park area will be lifted this summer after U.S. government officials ruled Thursday that the population is no longer threatened.

Grizzlies in all continental U.S. states except Alaska have been protected under the Endangered Species Act since 1975, when just 136 bears roamed in and around Yellowstone. There are now an estimated 700 grizzlies in the area that includes northwestern Wyoming, southwestern Montana and eastern Idaho, leading the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conclude that the population has recovered.

“This achievement stands as one of America’s great conservation successes,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a statement.

Grizzly bears once numbered about 50,000 and ranged over much of North America. Their population plummeted starting in the 1850s because of widespread hunting and trapping, and the bears now occupy only 2 percent of their original territory.

The final ruling by the Fish and Wildlife Service to remove Yellowstone grizzlies from the list of endangered and threatened species will give jurisdiction over the bears to Montana, Idaho and Wyoming by late July.

That will allow those states to plan limited bear hunts outside the park’s boundaries as long as the overall bear population does not fall below 600 bears.

Hunting bears inside Yellowstone would still be banned. The bears roam both inside and outside the park, and their range has been expanding as their numbers have grown.

The Obama administration first proposed removing grizzlies as a threatened species by issuing an initial ruling in March 2016. The 15 months that have passed since then have been used to by federal officials to evaluate states’ grizzly management plans and respond to themes of concern generated by 650,000 comments from the public, including wildlife advocates and Native American tribal officials who are staunchly opposed to hunting grizzly bears.

Some 125 tribes have signed a treaty opposing trophy hunting grizzly bears, which Native Americans consider a sacred animal.

Thursday’s ruling is certain to be challenged in court by conservation groups that argue the Yellowstone bears still face threats to their continued existence from humans, climate change and other factors. Tim Preso, an attorney for environmental law firm Earthjustice, said his organization will look closely at the rule.

“We’re certainly prepared to take a stand to protect the grizzly, if necessary,” he said. “There’s only one Yellowstone. There’s only one place like this. We ought not to take an unjustified gamble with an iconic species of this region.”

Matt Hogan, the deputy regional director for the Fish and Wildlife Service’s eight-state Mountain-Prairie Region, said he is confident that the science behind the decision and the management plans the states will follow will withstand any lawsuit.

“We feel like this species is more than adequately protected in the absence of (Endangered Species Act) protections,” Hogan said.

Endangered Species Act protections set strict rules meant to protect species from being killed or their habitat being harmed, as opposed to state management practices that can include hunting or trapping as a means to keep an animal’s population in check.

Wildlife officials in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming have been managing the bear population alongside federal government officials for decades. Those states have submitted management plans that have been approved, and will follow strict regulations to keep a viable population of above 600 bears, Hogan said.

Scientists also studied the effects of climate change on grizzly bears and their food sources, such as the nuts of whitebark pine trees, which are in decline.

“They found grizzly bears are extremely resilient, extremely flexible and adaptable,” Hogan said.

That adaptation has meant switching from nuts to a meat-based diet. That carries the risk of bringing the bears into greater conflict with ranchers protecting livestock and hunters searching for elk and deer, and grizzly deaths caused by human conflicts are on the rise, said Andrea Santarsiere, an attorney for the wildlife advocacy group Center for Biological Diversity.

“Added to those threats will be trophy hunting,” she said.

The federal agency will continue monitoring the grizzly population over the next five years, and certain factors would prompt a new federal review of the bears’ status, such as a high number of female deaths for three consecutive years.

The ruling does not directly affect other populations of grizzlies that are still classified as threatened but which wildlife officials consider recovered, such as the estimated 1,000 bears in the Northern Continental Divide area of Montana and Idaho.

Federal resources used to prepare the final rule on Yellowstone’s bear population will be shifted to planning for lifting protections for the bears living in the Northern Continental Divide, Hogan said.

Montana GOP congressional candidate accused of body-slamming reporter

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE LOS ANGELES TIMES)

Montana GOP congressional candidate accused of body-slamming reporter

A national political reporter for the Guardian newspaper said Montana GOP congressional candidate Greg Gianforte body-slammed him and broke his glasses Wednesday before a campaign event in Bozeman.

“Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses,” reporter Ben Jacobs wrote on Twitter. He added in a second tweet: “There was a local TV crew there when Gianforte body slammed me.”

In an audio recording posted by the Guardian, Jacobs can be heard persistently asking Gianforte about health care. Then there is a sudden crashing noise, and Gianforte can be heard shouting at the reporter: “I’m sick and tired of you guys! The last time you came in here you did the same thing! Get the hell out of here!”

Jacobs was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. “He took me to the ground,” Jacobs said in a story for the Guardian’s U.S. edition. “This is the strangest thing that has ever happened to me in reporting on politics.”

In a statement, Scanlon said Jacobs had entered an office where Gianforte was giving a separate interview and “began asking badgering questions.”

“Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg’s wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground,” he said.

He concluded: “It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ.”

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that it is investigating the incident and was expected to hold a news conference Wednesday night.

The incident was partially witnessed by a BuzzFeed reporter Alexis Levinson, who tweeted the following account of events:

The incident comes one day before a hotly contested special election in Montana between Gianforte and Democrat Rob Quist. Gianforte has a reputation in Montana political circles for being prickly, and has been known to be especially testy with reporters. In one widely circulated radio interview on Montana Public Radio he repeatedly sparred verbally with the reporter.

While the bizarre development quickly dominated the news, in Montana and around the country, its political impact remained to be seen.

More than 250,000 absentee ballots had already been cast by Wednesday, which could end up being well over half the total.

Some members of the public were quick to rally to Gianforte’s side, calling Jacobs a liberal reporter who baited the GOP candidate. “You give yourselves too much credit,” read one reaction on Twitter, directed at reporters covering the alleged assault. “You think voters will abandon their candidate cuz some lib journo made up BS.”

The incident lasted less than 60 seconds, according to audio posted by the Guardian.

Jacobs asks Gianforte how he felt about the score on the congressional health care bill just published by the Congressional Budget Office, which was the biggest congressional story of the day.

“You were waiting to make a decision about healthcare until you saw the bill, and it just came out,” Jacobs said.

“We’ll talk to you about that later,” Gianforte said. At this point in the conversation, both men’s voices are calm.

“Yeah, but there’s not gonna be time. I’m just curious if—“

“Okay, speak with Shane, please,” Gianforte said, apparently referring to Scanlon.

“But—“ Jacobs said, and then the audio gets staticky, and a crashing noise can be heard.

Gianforte can be heard raising his voice in anger.

“I’m sick and tired of you guys!” Gianforte yelled. “The last time you came in here you did the same thing! Get the hell out of here!”

“Jesus!” Jacobs said.

“Get the hell out of here! The last time you did the same thing. You with the Guardian?”

“Yes, and you just broke my glasses,” Jacobs said.

“The last guy did the same damn thing,” Gianforte said.

“You just body-slammed me and broke my glasses,” Jacobs said.

There was a moment of silence.

“Get the hell out of here,” Gianforte said, his voice starting to calm.

“You’d like me to get the hell out of here, I’d like to also call the police,” Jacobs said.

Then, Jacobs addressed others in the room, apparently one or more aides for Gianforte: “Can I get you guys’ names?”

“Hey, you gotta leave,” another man responded.

“He just body-slammed me.”

“You gotta leave,” the man said again.

“This happened behind a half closed door, so I didn’t see it all, but here’s what it looked like from the outside — Ben walked into a room where a local TV crew was set up for an interview with Gianforte. All of a sudden I heard a giant crash and saw Ben’s feet fly in the air as he hit the floor. Heard very angry yelling (as did all the volunteers in the room) — sounded like Gianforte.”

Levinson said Jacobs then walked out holding his broken glasses in his hand and said, “He just body-slammed me.” An aide then told Jacobs to leave, Levinson said.

Jacobs reported the incident to the police, and the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene, Bozeman Daily Chronicle reporter Whitney Bermes tweeted.

Another BuzzFeed reporter said Gianforte left the area before his campaign event was set to begin.

BERNIE SANDERS MEETS WITH NORTHERN CHEYENNE NATION LEADERS

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NATIVE NEWS ONLINE)

BERNIE SANDERS MEETS WITH NORTHERN CHEYENNE NATION LEADERS

Bernie Sanders with Northern Cheyenne President L. Jace Killsback

Published May 22, 2017

BILLINGS, MONTANA — A delegation of Northern Cheyenne Nation traveled to Billings to attend the campaign rally for Montana Democratic Candidate Rob Quist, who is seeking to fill the lone House of Representative seat in the United States Congress left vacant when Ryan Zinke resigned to become secretary the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Candidate Rob Quist was joined in Billings by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and for a one-on-one consultation with the Northern Cheyenne Tribe that included, Northern Cheyenne President L. Jace Killsback, Vice-President Conrad Fisher, Executive Assistant Brandon Woodenlegs and Tribal Councilman Waylon Rogers.

Senator Bernie Sanders listens to concerns of Northern Cheyenne tirbal leaders.

During the meeting with Quist and Senator Sanders the Northern Cheyenne Delegation was able to address topics that have impacted the day-today life on the reservation such as public safety on U.S. Highway 212, healthcare and the failing Indian Health Service system on our reservation, education funding and the economy. Also during the one-on-one consultation, Vice-President Fisher was able to discuss cultural resource management issues such as preservation and protection of historic sites such as the Rosebud Battlefield, National Park Service Little Bighorn Battlefield, Wolf Mountain Battlefield and other sites important to the tribe.

Councilman Rogers was able to share his concerns in regards to the meth epidemic, related drug abuse on our reservation. He also included the lack of proper mental health services for our Northern Cheyenne People to be able to utilize the program to help improve the quality of life for our Northern Cheyenne People.

During a speech given by President L. Jace Killsback, he expressed how important it was for Montana to get Rob Quist to D.C. “We have to ensure that not just the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, but all the other tribes in Montana stand in solidarity, because this Republican Administration cannot continue to divide and conquer our people” and “Our tribe has never been to the table with this administration, and we believe that Rob will lead us there.” Prior to leaving the stage, the Northern Cheyenne President and other leaders present, announced that the tribe officially endorses Candidate Rob Quist for U.S. Congress.

The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

WASHINGTON — When Special Agent Adrian Hawkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation called the Democratic National Committee in September 2015 to pass along some troubling news about its computer network, he was transferred, naturally, to the help desk.

His message was brief, if alarming. At least one computer system belonging to the D.N.C. had been compromised by hackers federal investigators had named “the Dukes,” a cyberespionage team linked to the Russian government.

The F.B.I. knew it well: The bureau had spent the last few years trying to kick the Dukes out of the unclassified email systems of the White House, the State Department and even the Joint Chiefs of Staff, one of the government’s best-protected networks.

Yared Tamene, the tech-support contractor at the D.N.C. who fielded the call, was no expert in cyberattacks. His first moves were to check Google for “the Dukes” and conduct a cursory search of the D.N.C. computer system logs to look for hints of such a cyberintrusion. By his own account, he did not look too hard even after Special Agent Hawkins called back repeatedly over the next several weeks — in part because he wasn’t certain the caller was a real F.B.I. agent and not an impostor.

Continue reading the main story

“I had no way of differentiating the call I just received from a prank call,” Mr. Tamene wrote in an internal memo, obtained by The New York Times, that detailed his contact with the F.B.I.

It was the cryptic first sign of a cyberespionage and information-warfare campaign devised to disrupt the 2016 presidential election, the first such attempt by a foreign power in American history. What started as an information-gathering operation, intelligence officials believe, ultimately morphed into an effort to harm one candidate, Hillary Clinton, and tip the election to her opponent, Donald J. Trump.

Like another famous American election scandal, it started with a break-in at the D.N.C. The first time, 44 years ago at the committee’s old offices in the Watergate complex, the burglars planted listening devices and jimmied a filing cabinet. This time, the burglary was conducted from afar, directed by the Kremlin, with spear-phishing emails and zeros and ones.

What is phishing?

Phishing uses an innocent-looking email to entice unwary recipients to click on a deceptive link, giving hackers access to their information or a network. In “spear-phishing,” the email is tailored to fool a specific person.

An examination by The Times of the Russian operation — based on interviews with dozens of players targeted in the attack, intelligence officials who investigated it and Obama administration officials who deliberated over the best response — reveals a series of missed signals, slow responses and a continuing underestimation of the seriousness of the cyberattack.

The D.N.C.’s fumbling encounter with the F.B.I. meant the best chance to halt the Russian intrusion was lost. The failure to grasp the scope of the attacks undercut efforts to minimize their impact. And the White House’s reluctance to respond forcefully meant the Russians have not paid a heavy price for their actions, a decision that could prove critical in deterring future cyberattacks.

The low-key approach of the F.B.I. meant that Russian hackers could roam freely through the committee’s network for nearly seven months before top D.N.C. officials were alerted to the attack and hired cyberexperts to protect their systems. In the meantime, the hackers moved on to targets outside the D.N.C., including Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, John D. Podesta, whose private email account was hacked months later.

Even Mr. Podesta, a savvy Washington insider who had written a 2014 report on cyberprivacy for President Obama, did not truly understand the gravity of the hacking.

Photo

Charles Delavan, a Clinton campaign aide, incorrectly legitimized a phishing email sent to the personal account of John D. Podesta, the campaign chairman.

By last summer, Democrats watched in helpless fury as their private emails and confidential documents appeared online day after day — procured by Russian intelligence agents, posted on WikiLeaks and other websites, then eagerly reported on by the American media, including The Times. Mr. Trump gleefully cited many of the purloined emails on the campaign trail.

The fallout included the resignations of Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, the chairwoman of the D.N.C., and most of her top party aides. Leading Democrats were sidelined at the height of the campaign, silenced by revelations of embarrassing emails or consumed by the scramble to deal with the hacking. Though little-noticed by the public, confidential documents taken by the Russian hackers from the D.N.C.’s sister organization, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, turned up in congressional races in a dozen states, tainting some of them with accusations of scandal.

In recent days, a skeptical president-elect, the nation’s intelligence agencies and the two major parties have become embroiled in an extraordinary public dispute over what evidence exists that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia moved beyond mere espionage to deliberately try to subvert American democracy and pick the winner of the presidential election.

Many of Mrs. Clinton’s closest aides believe that the Russian assault had a profound impact on the election, while conceding that other factors — Mrs. Clinton’s weaknesses as a candidate; her private email server; the public statements of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, about her handling of classified information — were also important.

While there’s no way to be certain of the ultimate impact of the hack, this much is clear: A low-cost, high-impact weapon that Russia had test-fired in elections from Ukraine to Europe was trained on the United States, with devastating effectiveness. For Russia, with an enfeebled economy and a nuclear arsenal it cannot use short of all-out war, cyberpower proved the perfect weapon: cheap, hard to see coming, hard to trace.

GRAPHIC

Following the Links From Russian Hackers to the U.S. Election

The Central Intelligence Agency concluded that the Russian government deployed computer hackers to help elect Donald J. Trump.

OPEN GRAPHIC

“There shouldn’t be any doubt in anybody’s mind,” Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency and commander of United States Cyber Command, said at a postelection conference. “This was not something that was done casually, this was not something that was done by chance, this was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily,” he said. “This was a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.”

For the people whose emails were stolen, this new form of political sabotage has left a trail of shock and professional damage. Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress and a key Clinton supporter, recalls walking into the busy Clinton transition offices, humiliated to see her face on television screens as pundits discussed a leaked email in which she had called Mrs. Clinton’s instincts “suboptimal.”

“It was just a sucker punch to the gut every day,” Ms. Tanden said. “It was the worst professional experience of my life.”

The United States, too, has carried out cyberattacks, and in decades past the C.I.A. tried to subvert foreign elections. But the Russian attack is increasingly understood across the political spectrum as an ominous historic landmark — with one notable exception: Mr. Trump has rejected the findings of the intelligence agencies he will soon oversee as “ridiculous,” insisting that the hacker may be American, or Chinese, but that “they have no idea.”

Mr. Trump cited the reported disagreements between the agencies about whether Mr. Putin intended to help elect him. On Tuesday, a Russian government spokesman echoed Mr. Trump’s scorn.

“This tale of ‘hacks’ resembles a banal brawl between American security officials over spheres of influence,” Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, wrote on Facebook.

Democratic House Candidates Were Also Targets of Russian Hacking

Over the weekend, four prominent senators — two Republicans and two Democrats — joined forces to pledge an investigation while pointedly ignoring Mr. Trump’s skeptical claims.

“Democrats and Republicans must work together, and across the jurisdictional lines of the Congress, to examine these recent incidents thoroughly and devise comprehensive solutions to deter and defend against further cyberattacks,” said Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Chuck Schumer and Jack Reed.

“This cannot become a partisan issue,” they said. “The stakes are too high for our country.”

A Target for Break-Ins

Sitting in the basement of the Democratic National Committee headquarters, below a wall-size 2012 portrait of a smiling Barack Obama, is a 1960s-era filing cabinet missing the handle on the bottom drawer. Only a framed newspaper story hanging on the wall hints at the importance of this aged piece of office furniture.

“GOP Security Aide Among 5 Arrested in Bugging Affair,” reads the headline from the front page of The Washington Post on June 19, 1972, with the bylines of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

Andrew Brown, 37, the technology director at the D.N.C., was born after that famous break-in. But as he began to plan for this year’s election cycle, he was well aware that the D.N.C. could become a break-in target again.

There were aspirations to ensure that the D.N.C. was well protected against cyberintruders — and then there was the reality, Mr. Brown and his bosses at the organization acknowledged: The D.N.C. was a nonprofit group, dependent on donations, with a fraction of the security budget that a corporation its size would have.

“There was never enough money to do everything we needed to do,” Mr. Brown said.

The D.N.C. had a standard email spam-filtering service, intended to block phishing attacks and malware created to resemble legitimate email. But when Russian hackers started in on the D.N.C., the committee did not have the most advanced systems in place to track suspicious traffic, internal D.N.C. memos show.

Mr. Tamene, who reports to Mr. Brown and fielded the call from the F.B.I. agent, was not a full-time D.N.C. employee; he works for a Chicago-based contracting firm called The MIS Department. He was left to figure out, largely on his own, how to respond — and even whether the man who had called in to the D.N.C. switchboard was really an F.B.I. agent.

“The F.B.I. thinks the D.N.C. has at least one compromised computer on its network and the F.B.I. wanted to know if the D.N.C. is aware, and if so, what the D.N.C. is doing about it,” Mr. Tamene wrote in an internal memo about his contacts with the F.B.I. He added that “the Special Agent told me to look for a specific type of malware dubbed ‘Dukes’ by the U.S. intelligence community and in cybersecurity circles.”

Part of the problem was that Special Agent Hawkins did not show up in person at the D.N.C. Nor could he email anyone there, as that risked alerting the hackers that the F.B.I. knew they were in the system.

Photo

An internal memo by Yared Tamene, a tech-support contractor at the D.N.C., expressed uncertainty about the identity of Special Agent Adrian Hawkins of the F.B.I., who called to inform him of the breach.

Mr. Tamene’s initial scan of the D.N.C. system — using his less-than-optimal tools and incomplete targeting information from the F.B.I. — found nothing. So when Special Agent Hawkins called repeatedly in October, leaving voice mail messages for Mr. Tamene, urging him to call back, “I did not return his calls, as I had nothing to report,” Mr. Tamene explained in his memo.

In November, Special Agent Hawkins called with more ominous news. A D.N.C. computer was “calling home, where home meant Russia,” Mr. Tamene’s memo says, referring to software sending information to Moscow. “SA Hawkins added that the F.B.I. thinks that this calling home behavior could be the result of a state-sponsored attack.”

Mr. Brown knew that Mr. Tamene, who declined to comment, was fielding calls from the F.B.I. But he was tied up on a different problem: evidence suggesting that the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Mrs. Clinton’s main Democratic opponent, had improperly gained access to her campaign data.

Ms. Wasserman Schultz, then the D.N.C.’s chairwoman, and Amy Dacey, then its chief executive, said in interviews that neither of them was notified about the early reports that the committee’s system had likely been compromised.

Shawn Henry, who once led the F.B.I.’s cyber division and is now president of CrowdStrike Services, the cybersecurity firm retained by the D.N.C. in April, said he was baffled that the F.B.I. did not call a more senior official at the D.N.C. or send an agent in person to the party headquarters to try to force a more vigorous response.

“We are not talking about an office that is in the middle of the woods of Montana,” Mr. Henry said. “We are talking about an office that is half a mile from the F.B.I. office that is getting the notification.”

“This is not a mom-and-pop delicatessen or a local library. This is a critical piece of the U.S. infrastructure because it relates to our electoral process, our elected officials, our legislative process, our executive process,” he added. “To me it is a high-level, serious issue, and if after a couple of months you don’t see any results, somebody ought to raise that to a higher level.”

The F.B.I. declined to comment on the agency’s handling of the hack. “The F.B.I. takes very seriously any compromise of public and private sector systems,” it said in a statement, adding that agents “will continue to share information” to help targets “safeguard their systems against the actions of persistent cybercriminals.”

By March, Mr. Tamene and his team had met at least twice in person with the F.B.I. and concluded that Agent Hawkins was really a federal employee. But then the situation took a dire turn.

A second team of Russian-affiliated hackers began to target the D.N.C. and other players in the political world, particularly Democrats. Billy Rinehart, a former D.N.C. regional field director who was then working for Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, got an odd email warning from Google.

“Someone just used your password to try to sign into your Google account,” the March 22 email said, adding that the sign-in attempt had occurred in Ukraine. “Google stopped this sign-in attempt. You should change your password immediately.”

Mr. Rinehart was in Hawaii at the time. He remembers checking his email at 4 a.m. for messages from East Coast associates. Without thinking much about the notification, he clicked on the “change password” button and half asleep, as best he can remember, he typed in a new password.

Montana Man Survives Grizzly Bear Attacks Twice In One Morning

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘NEWSER.COM NEWS AGENCY)
Man Survives 2 Bear Attacks in Same Morning
Montana man Todd Orr played dead to survive
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2016 2:30 AM CDT
 
This photo provided by the National Park Service shows a grizzly bear walking along a ridge in Montana.   (National Park Service via AP)

Why Is The American Government Committing Treason Against It’s Own People?

 

There are going to be somethings that some folks will be mad at me for insinuating such things about our government, some will call me unpatriotic for saying such a thing. Well, honestly, I think that the vast majority of the American people aren’t quite as naive as we were 50 years ago, or even say, one year ago.  I know that I am not the wisest human being to ever walk this planet but I have spent most of my 60 years trying to pay attention to reality. We all know by now that there are good and bad people in every profession. There are some professions that we all believe or joke about as being dirty whether it be so or not, like door to door magazine salesmen, used car dealers, bankers, insurance salesmen, NSA personnel, politicians, and oil executives. I have tried to always be completely truthful in everything I write on this site, always to the best of my knowledge and ability, and that is what I am going to do in this article.

Treason, yes treason, that is what I said. The first duty of any government is to keep its people safe. If they forsake this most basic vow, they are guilty of treason against their own people and this is what has been going on now for a very long time. Nothing this bad can last forever without horrible consequences and at any moment all of our lives can be changed in a flash. Back in 1980 I worked at a major U.S. oil company headquarters in Houston Texas in the executive protection field, I learned there just how easily major politicians can be bought and paid for with absolutely no regard for the welfare of the country by either the politician or the company. These actions I witnessed and heard sickened me to my core so I quit and moved many states away from that job.  Some of the things I heard there would make you mad, sick, or just laugh at some of the pure stupidity and how out of touch with reality they could be there in their ivory towers.

For many years I have traveled all over the United States many, many, times. I am going to tell you some of the things I have seen and that I know are absolute truth. When you travel through west Texas and you go through the Midland, Odessa area on interstate 20 you are going through the Permian Basin. This is where the best crude oil in the world is at, it is the oil that the rest of the world’s oil is judged by, this is the land that the Bush family worked, lived, and prospered in. If you look out in the fields on each side of the highway especially if you travel at night you will occasionally see vertical lights out in the fields, these are oil drilling rigs digging for the black gold. Does it make any sense to still be drilling? Most folks would say yes I think. But now, if you travel west Texas, Oklahoma, California, Wyoming, or North or South Dakota you will see something that might surprise you, at least at a minimum, even in west Texas, half or more of all the pump jacks are turned off and the new holes that get dug are then capped.

Now, do you ask why? Good question, now I am going to start telling you why I think that you and I and everyone in our country are having our safety sold out, it’s all about money and greed folks. I have some friends in these High Plains areas who work in these fields and have been told the same thing goes on up there, wells get dug, then capped. You probably know of this oil pipeline that Canada and some U.S. companies want to lay pipe for from Canada down to the Gulf Coast but the government won’t approve it because environmental organizations don’t want it running through sensitive land areas in places like Nebraska. Here is a thought, I know for a fact that there are oil refineries in states like Wyoming and Montana, why does the oil pipeline have any need to go all the way to the Gulf Coast, is it so the oil companies can export it? We have been told for decades now that we don’t have the oil  storage or refining capabilities that are needed. Why not? Create more jobs in these western states, build a lot more storage areas and the needed amount of oil refineries there to handle the new oil we are finding on our own land and if Canada want’s to run this joint pipeline adventure into the States there is plenty of unused government land to build these facilities on. These things should have been done many years ago for the reason of National Security, your security, my security, and the security of all of our families have been at stake for years, but we were then and now still being sold out.

Back as far as the early seventies our people learned that we are not and island unto our selves, that events outside of our borders can badly harm us. With the OPEC oil embargo OPEC countries cut way back on what they would sell us because we dared to back Israel. What has our government done to correct this national security issue? What is our current government doing now to correct this major safety issue? President Obama won’t approve the Canadian pipeline, and he has all but killed the coal industry and the nuclear industry is being phased out, plus there are many, many oil fields that the government won’t give drilling permits for. Where are the new refineries and storage units for all the oil we are producing and the gas we are producing on our own shores, where are they? I know that oil and gas and coal are not the only forms or energy we use in our country, but they are a huge part of it at this time. The U.S. Department of Energy say’s that in 2012 we imported 40% of the oil we consume at this time, 40% folks. In this country we have seen when we  have a 2% down tick in the economy it throws us into a deep recession, at best. Folks, what would happen in this country if say even 30% of that 40% were shut off from us, that would be 12% loss. What would that do to our economy, to everyone’s lives, our jobs, our ability to get to them, also what would the cost of a gallon of gas be then?

If we the people are not the first concern for every one in our government, why not? Now I am going to spout a few figures to you that come from the Independent Statistics and Analyst Department of the U.S. Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy, from one of their web sites. We (oil companies) are exporting these following items, 1) Crude Oil 2) Crude Oil Products 3) Finished Motor Gasoline 4) Kerosene-Type Jet Fuel 5) Distillate Fuel Oil 6) Residual Fuel Oil 7) Propane/Polypropylene 8) here it just said “oil-oils”.  People, why is our government allowing the sale of any of this outside of our own borders? Their own stats say that we are importing 7.4 M.M.B.D. of crude oil while at the same time we are exporting 1.M.M.B.D., people, why is this being allowed. In the “Interest of National Security” these things could be stopped and corrected, why aren’t they? Money, greed, treason?

There are many real things that could have been done already to cut down on our imports while they were building the refineries and storage facilities that are needed. Any secure nation is not secure unless it is 100% self-sufficient in its energy requirements with large energy stock piles in case of any type of attack on that country. Folks, we are nowhere near being in a safe zone. Another part of this issue is the fact that we are importing energy from countries that hate us and who are supporting militant groups so that they can attack and kill us all. How ignorant is it that you give the people who want nothing more than to kill you the weapons and the bullets to do it with? That’s what we are doing and have been doing  for decades now, why is our government past and present trying to get us all killed? Is the answer the same as what I witnessed while working for that major oil company in Houston? Is it all about power, and greed and to hell with the people? Folks, it does seem that way to me.

One other quick issue I want to touch on before I close, again the government could have used the “for national security, or at least, for the good of the country” slogan to force these issues, and they do have the power to do exactly that in time of emergencies . Question is, why wait until you have the emergency before you make any plans or take the needed steps to survive the emergency? One of the things the government could have/should be enforcing is much more stringent MPG requirements for at least the past forty years. They have done some work toward it but not nearly enough. Think how much less fuel imports would be if all new cars sold in America were required to get 40 MPG in town and out, no exceptions, and all Pickups and SUV’s were required to get a minimum of 30 MPG in town and out. Why is it not a forced issue that every new vehicle made or sold in America has to be a Hybrid? These things can be done and should have been forced on the car makers decades ago. Would there have to be changes in the design and size of the units, of course. But think about it, if these laws were in effect now and our units were getting these MPG’s now how much of a savings would all of us have at the pump? Think of all the other places that money could be spent to improve our life styles and at the same time stimulate our economy. I will close now with this one very major issue. Our import export deficit is now over a trillion dollars a year and a huge portion is from imported energy. This policy is stupid and dangerous to every one of us. Our governments policies not only give our enemies the weapons they use to kills us with but in so doing, this export deficit is killing the value of our currency making the things we can buy much more expensive because the dollar is so down graded, and this hurts every one of us. So again, why the heck is our government putting every ones livelihood and lives at such risk? Is it as simple as power and greed?  Doesn’t it have to be something like that because or political and industrial complex leaders couldn’t possibly simply be this stupid could they?

As I said earlier in this article, there are good and bad people in every occupation, even politics. When I lived in northern Illinois back 40 odd years ago I had a real good Congressman, a man named John Anderson and I am blessed to have had an excellent Congressman in east Tennessee, a man named M.D. Phil Roe. I have had contacts with Congressman Roe a few times and I beg you, if you have a good Congressman or Senator, state or federal, please try to communicate these concerns to them before we either end up with a totally crippled country, or were all dead.

Why, Why Is The American Government Committing Treason Against Every American

There are going to be some folks who will be mad at me for insinuating such a thing about our government, some will call me unpatriotic for saying such a thing. Well, honestly, I think that the vast majority of the American People aren’t quite as naive as we were 50 years ago, or even say, one year ago.  I know that I am not the wisest human being to ever walk this planet but I have spent most of my almost 60 years trying to pay attention to reality. We all know by now that there are good and bad people in every profession. There are some professions that we all believe or joke about as being dirty whether it be so or not, like door to door magazine salesmen, used car dealers, bankers, insurance salesmen, NSA personnel, politicians, and oil executives. I have tried to always be completely truthful in everything I write on this site, always to the best of my knowledge and ability, and that is what I am going to do in this article.

Treason, yes treason, that is what I said. The first duty of any government is to keep its people safe. If they forsake this most basic vow, they are guilty of treason against their own people and this is what has been going on now for a very long time. Nothing this bad can last forever without horrible consequences and at any moment all of our lives can be changed in a flash. Back in 1980 I worked at a major U.S. oil company headquarters in Houston Texas in the executive protection field, I learned there just how easily major politicians can be bought and paid for with absolutely no regard for the welfare of the country by either the politician or the company. These actions I witnessed and heard sickened me to my core so I quit and moved many states away from that job.  Some of the things I heard there would make you mad, sick, or just laugh at some of the pure stupidity and out of touch with reality they could be there in their ivory towers.

For many years I have traveled all over the United States many, many, times. I am going to tell you some of the things I have seen and that I know are absolute truth. When you travel through west Texas and you go through the Midland, Odessa area on interstate 20 you are going through the Permian Basin. This is where the best crude oil in the world is at, it is the oil that the rest of the world’s oil is judged by, this is the land that the Bush family worked, lived, and prospered in. If you look out in the fields on each side of the highway especially if you travel at night you will occasionally see vertical lights out in the fields, these are oil drilling rigs digging for the black gold. Does it make any sense to still be drilling? Most folks would say yes I think. But now, if you travel west Texas, Oklahoma, California, Wyoming, or North or South Dakota you will see something that might surprise you, at least at a minimum, even in west Texas, half or more of all the pump jacks are turned off and the new holes that get dug are then capped.

Now, do you ask why? Good question, now I am going to start telling you why I think that you and I and everyone in our country are having our safety sold out, it’s all about money and greed folks. I have some friends in these High Plains areas who work in these fields and have been told the same thing goes on up there, wells get dug, then capped. You probably know of this oil pipeline that Canada and some U.S. companies want to lay pipe for from Canada down to the Gulf Coast but the government won’t approve it because environmental organizations don’t want it running through sensitive land areas in places like Nebraska. Here is a thought, I know for a fact that there are oil refineries in states like Wyoming and Montana, why does the oil pipeline have any need to go all the way to the Gulf Coast, is it so the oil companies can export it? We have been told for decades now that we don’t have the oil  storage or refining capabilities that are needed. Why not? Create more jobs in these western states, build a lot more storage areas and the needed amount of oil refineries there to handle the new oil we are finding on our own land and if Canada want’s to run this joint pipeline adventure into the States there is plenty of unused government land to build these facilities on. These things should have been done many years ago for the reason of National Security, your security, my security, and the security of all of our families have been at stake for years, but we were then and now still being sold out.

Back as far as the early seventies our people learned that we are not and island unto our selves, that events outside of our borders can badly harm us. With the OPEC oil embargo OPEC countries cut way back on what they would sell us because we dared to back Israel. What has our government done to correct this national security issue? What is our current government doing now to correct this major safety issue? The President Obama won’t approve the Canadian pipeline, and he has all but killed the cola industry and the nuclear industry is being phased out, plus there are many, many oil fields that the government won’t give drilling permits for. Where are the new refineries and storage units for all the oil we are producing and the gas we are producing on our own shores, where are they? I know that oil and gas and coal are not the only forms or energy we use in our country, but they are a huge part of it at this time. The U.S. Department of Energy say’s that in 2012 we imported 40% of the oil we consume at this time, 40% folks. In this country we have seen when we  have a 2% down tick in the economy it throws us into a deep recession, at best. Folks, what would happen in this country if say even 30% of that 40% were shut off from us, that would be 12% loss. What would that do to our economy, to everyone’s lives, our jobs, our ability to get to them, also what would the cost of a gallon of gas be then?

If we the people are not the first concern for every one in our government why not? Now I am going to spout a few figures to you that come from the Independent Statistics and Analyst Department of the U.S. Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy, from one of their web sites. We (oil companies) are exporting these following items, 1) Crude Oil 2) Crude Oil Products 3) Finished Motor Gasoline 4) Kerosene-Type Jet Fuel 5) Distillate Fuel Oil 6) Residual Fuel Oil 7) Propane/Polypropylene 8) here it just said “oil-oils”.  People, why is our government allowing the sale of any of this outside of our own borders? Their own stats say that we are importing 7.4 M.M.B.D. of crude oil while at the same time we are exporting 1.M.M.B.D., people, why is this being allowed. In the “Interest of National Security” these things could be stopped and corrected, why aren’t they? Money, greed?Treason?

There are many real things that could have been done already to cut down on our imports while they were building the refineries and storage facilities that are needed. Any secure nation is not secure unless it is 100% self-sufficient in its energy requirements with large energy stock piles in case of any type of attack on that country. Folks, we are nowhere near being in a safe zone. Another part of this issue is the fact that we are importing energy from countries that hate us and who are supporting militant groups so that they can attack and kill us all. How ignorant is it that you give the people who want nothing more than to kill you the weapons and the bullets to do it with? That’s what we are doing and have been doing  for decades now, why is our government past and present trying to get us all killed? Is the answer the same as what I witnessed while working for that major oil company in Houston, is it all about power and greed and to hell with the people, it does seem that way to me.

One other quick issue I want to touch on before I close, again the government could have used the “for national security, or at least, for the good of the country” slogan to force these issues, and they do have the power to do exactly that in time of emergencies . Question is, why wait until you have the emergency before you make any plans or take the needed steps to survive the emergency? One of the things the government could have/should be enforcing is much more stringent MPG requirements for at least the past forty years. They have done some work toward it but not nearly enough. Think how much less fuel imports would be if all new cars sold in America were required to get 40 MPG in town and out, no exceptions, and all Pickups and SUV’s were required to get a minimum of 30 MPG in town and out. Why is it not a forced issue that every new vehicle made or sold in America has to be a Hybrid? These things can be done and should have been forced on the car makers decades ago. Would there have to be changes in the design and size of the units, of course. But think about it, if these laws were in effect now and our units were getting these MPG’s now how much of a savings would all of us have at the pump? Think of all the other places that money could be spent to improve our life styles and at the same time stimulate our economy. I will close now with this one very major issue. Our import export deficit is now over a trillion dollars a year and a huge portion is from imported energy. This policy is stupid and dangerous to every one of us. Our governments policies not only give our enemies the weapons they use to kills us with but in so doing, this export deficit is killing the value of our currency making the things we can buy much more expensive because the dollar is so down graded, and this hurts every one of us. So again, why the heck is our government putting every ones lively hood and lives at such risk? Is it as simple as money and greed, because they couldn’t possibly just be this stupid could they?

As I said earlier in this article, there are good and bad people in every occupation, even politics. When I lived in northern Illinois back 30 odd years ago I had a real good Congressman in a man named John Anderson and I am blessed to have an excellent Congressman now in a man named M.D. Phil Roe. I have had contacts with Congressman Roe a few times and I beg you, if you have a good Congressman or Senator, state of federal, please try to communicate these concerns to them before we either end up with a totally crippled country, or were all dead.

 

The Cookie Lady (a true story) The Life And Times Of Blanche Anders Savage 1930-2000

The  Cookie Lady-A True Story of a wonderful person who lived from 1930-2000.

My name is Blanche, I was born into a poor white family in Benson Minnesota in September of 1930. My mother is Sophie Amanda Hanson. She was born here in Benson Minnesota in December of 1905. My dad is Elbert Anders of Galax, Virginia. He was born in September of 1905. I only have one sibling, my brother Lonnie who was born in January of 1936 in Faith South Dakota. But, I won’t speak of Faith just yet. My mom’s parents came here from Norway in the late 1880’s and had more kids than the fingers could count. Mom was just one of many of the Hanson children but in my opinion was the sweetest of all. Mom obtained a seventh grade education, enough to read and write clearly. Dad was a rambler who was doing just that in 1928 when he and my mom met.

Dad seemed to always love two things most in life, horses and women. I don’t blame my dad for all of his faults; after all, we all have some. Dad never had any education at all and never did learn to read and write. It was the late 1960’s before he learned how to sign his name.

Watching my parents struggle throughout my childhood ingrained in me the determination to get an education and to stay in school and get my high school diploma. This was one of the few goals in my life that I was able to accomplish.  My childhood taught me many things; things like the rich had good educations. And that the rich got rich and stayed rich on the sweat off the uneducated poor man’s back. Even as a small child I was always aware that we were looked down upon by those who could afford the nice clothes, fancy cars and big houses.

Mom and dad got married in 1928 in Benson. I never could figure why mom would have married my dad. Maybe it was that she was considered an old maid, going on 23 and still not hitched. I know she was never happy in her life with the cards she had been dealt. You know, uneducated, poor women aren’t anything except slaves to their uneducated ignorant husbands. Even the children that they bare are just an extension of the male’s property.

Shortly after I was born dad moved us to a little town in western South Dakota called Faith. A saying that I remember about Faith was fitting, “Faith South Dakota, a hundred miles from anywhere”. Dad had a couple of brothers that lived out that away. So I guess it was fitting that he would up and ramble toward them next.

I remember our years in South Dakota as being a pure hell, Faith with its dirt streets and water that had to be trucked in. It seems like I was always cold and dirty there. We lived in several one room shacks, some just lean-to’s on the back of peoples’ houses, seems like we were always hungry and cold. There were several of the places we lived that had dirt floors with walls and roofs that you could see straight through to the outside. I guess Faith was the reason I never did like to do any camping, so many of the places we lived seemed almost like we were camping.

To be fair to the town, maybe things wouldn’t have been as bad as they were if dad would have cared more about his family and less about other women, horses and bulldogs. Dad always tried to keep a horse and a bulldog or two. The horse I could understand, we hardly ever had a car, so the horse was his transportation back in those years. The bulldogs, I don’t know why he liked to have them. I guess it was just so he could have something else to beat on. I was always scared of his dogs, yet I always felt sorry for them. They were always kept chained to a stake in the back yard. Looking back, it might have been that he knew the dogs would bark if we had any visitors. The way he was always chasing after women, I guess that wasn’t such a bad idea.

My brother Lonnie was born there in Faith in January of 1936. It was always nice having a brother. Throughout our childhoods we were each others best friends, confidants and play partners. Yet having a brother was difficult too. It wasn’t just having another mouth to feed and back to clothe. It was also the having to see the hardships put upon yet another one that you loved without being able to do anything to correct it, or stop it.

I remember one night it had gotten dark and dad wasn’t home from his job yet and mom was crying real hard. I didn’t understand why mom was so upset because it was normal that dad didn’t come home before dark. I asked mom what was wrong and she told me about the rent being due that night, and dad being paid that day, but he hadn’t paid the rent or come home with his pay.

This was in the summer of 1937 and I was almost seven years old. My brother Lonnie was just about one and a half at the time. Mom said she had to stay home with the baby, but she told me to go through town and look for dad’s horse, find him and ask him to please come home, pay the rent and buy the family some food. It wasn’t long before I found dad’s horse tied up beside a building that had a lot of music and noise coming from it. I noticed a window on the side of the building with some empty wood crates by it. I took a few of the crates and stacked them up to where I could get up on them and look into that window. What I seen shocked me a lot. There was a naked woman sitting on top of my dad in a chair and he was also naked. They were just laughing and seemed to be having a lot of fun. Well, I was so surprised that I stumbled and fell off the crates onto the ground, with the crates falling after me. I made such a noise that the woman and dad both came and looked out the window at me. Dad was sure mad at me and he whipped me all the way home.

When we got home dad was still mad and he hollered at mom for a long time, I know she cried for hours. Dad said that mom and I had embarrassed him something horrible by doing what we had done. A couple of days after that dad sold his horse and his dogs and he pulled up to the shack we were living in, in an old dilapidated 1922 Ford car. Dad and mom took what few things we had, stuffed them and the four of us into the car and we left Faith South Dakota for a place called Galax Virginia.

I didn’t know anything about this place we were headed, I just hoped it was better than the place we had been. I know I prayed that I would never see Faith or South Dakota again for all I remembered of them was hardship. As it turned out I would see both again, but at least it would wait almost thirty years.

The trip from Faith to Galax is about 2,000 miles and in that old piece of junk dad was driving it took us three weeks to make it to Galax. I learned that the reason dad chose Galax was because he had several brothers and sisters living in and around this town he was born in. The three weeks the trip took seemed like forever. At night we would stop alongside the road and we would sleep on the ground beside the car. I remember being so scared and so hungry, hoping that we could make it to our new home.

When we finally made it to Galax we were broke and hungry. None of dad’s folks knew we were coming but none the less they took us in and kept us alive. I know it embarrassed mom a lot as we moved from one of dad’s kin to another over the first two months. But eventually one of dad’s brothers was able to get dad on at the mine he was working at just across the North Carolina line. Mom got a job at the local hospital changing linens and bed pans for the patients.

After a couple of months mom and dad were able to save enough money to rent a house in “the bottom” there in town. The bottom was a place that the working white poor folk lived. But still the house we were renting was like a real home. It had windows and wood floors and you couldn’t see any stars at night while lying in bed. Even though you could feel the cold air in the winter around the windows and doors at least it wasn’t so bad that the snow would come through them when they were closed. A few years later we were able to buy a different house there in the bottom down by the swinging bridge. That was after the war had started and dad was getting to work regular. It was a two bedroom with an inside toilet and a pot-bellied coal stove in the living room that kept us warm in the winter.

With the move to Virginia our scenery got a lot prettier, the weather was a lot nicer, and the people seemed to be friendlier. Our housing situation was much more stable and mom and dad had regular work. So a lot of things were better, more stable for us now, but there was still much heartache. The change of location didn’t change any of dad’s ways. We soon had a bulldog staked in the backyard and dad bought himself a horse and paid a farmer money to keep the horse at his place. Any money he had left was always spent on other women.

By now I was reaching an age to where I wasn’t as blind to the reality I was living in. For years I was required to take this little red wagon I had to a building downtown where I got food twice a month. This place handed out some flour, cornmeal, beans, bread, and cheese. If it wasn’t for Mr. Roosevelt, mom, Lonnie and I would have been very hungry. I guess that is a big reason why I was a lifelong democrat. I grew up believing that to vote republican you either had to be rich or stupid.

At the age of fourteen, I was able to get a job at the soda fountain inside the Peoples Drug Store in downtown Galax. I worked there three hours each evening and all day on Saturdays. I used this money to buy my own school clothes and the cost of my school supplies. I also worked in the school cafeteria serving food so that I could get my meals there for free. That was a lot better than having to run home at lunch, get a sandwich and a glass of milk then run back to school especially on the cold winter days.

I graduated high school in 1947. It was then I started working full-time at the drug store. I still lived at home and remained under dad’s control. I was never allowed to date. I’m sure it was because dad had his view of what women were and he wasn’t about to let me be anything like the women he had always known.

Dad worked with a man named Wayne Savage whom dad admired a lot because he was very strong and a real hard worker. As things worked out, Wayne had a younger brother named Bill who was getting out of the Navy from his two-year hitch in February of 1948. Wayne got Bill a job there at the mine when he was discharged from the Navy. So I ended up with dad’s insistence dating Bill and then marrying him May 29th, 1948. One truth I was always proud of is that I was a virgin on my wedding night.

Bill turned out to be a lot of the things dad was, and a lot of things he wasn’t. I think the reason Bill got married was for the free sex, free housekeeper, free cook and an extra paycheck. In my dad’s defense he was a hard worker and a non-drinker. Unfortunately Bill was an alcoholic and he never found a job he would stick with.

From 1949 through 1956 I gave birth to four children. Our oldest Larry was born in my mom’s home in June 1949 with a midwife. Our second child, Steven Ray was born in a hospital in Winston-Salem North Carolina in May of 1952. I have always been so glad that I gave birth to Steven in a hospital or I never would have been able to forgive myself. The doctors said Steven was born with a hole in his heart. In 1952 they couldn’t save him; he lived three days, never leaving the hospital. We buried Steven in the McKenzie Cemetery just outside of Galax. Our third child was our little girl Jackie; she was born in September of 1954. Jackie and our last child Ted were born in the hospital in Galax. Ted was born in August 1956. He was always sickly and skinny as a rail, at every meal it was difficult to get him to eat. This just made him a target for Bill. I dreaded every meal because you always knew that Bill would start yelling at him and then start beating him. Ted had to put up with that until he was seventeen. He stood up to Bill then and it was plain that Bill got scared, but he never treated Ted like that again. But that was 1973, so I’m getting ahead of myself so I’m going to step back in time to 1961.

Bill and our family had rented many places until we got lucky and was able to get the bank to finance us a small eight acre farm in nearby Woodlawn, Virginia. It was a dream come true for me, our own house. It was a three bedroom, one bath, two-story house with a small detached garage, a full size barn, and a hog house. The property was fenced in so we could have a cow and there was plenty of wild game such as squirrels, rabbits, pheasants and turkeys to keep the freezer full. In 1961 the cost of all this was $8,000.00.

By the time the spring of 1965 rolled around Bill had worked at about every place in the Galax area and none of the employers would have him anymore. That spring one of Bill’s drinking buddies stopped by our house and talked to Bill about the coal mines in Butte, Montana. Telling Bill about the good paying jobs there in the mines and how wonderful Montana was. In less than two weeks Bill was on a Greyhound bus.

The plan was for Bill to go there, get a good job, find the family a place, then in August come back to Virginia, sell the farm and we would move to Butte. Like always things didn’t work out that way. Bill came back on the bus the first of August without a dime in his pockets. He had been living in an apartment and had no place ready for us to move to. He said he had been keeping all his money in his apartment and shortly before he was to come back home someone broke into the apartment and stole all the money.

Bill’s plan was to come back to Virginia, sell the farm, and use the equity money to move with. It was many years later before we found out that the mines Bill was working at had closed down. This explained why he was broke when he came back. This also meant that Bill had no job to move us to.  So he came back, we sold the farm for $8,500.00 netting a clear $800.00 to use for the move. Bill’s plan was to stop in Deadwood South Dakota where I had two uncles and aunts, play sick, say he went to a doctor, lie saying he had black lung and that he would be dead by forty if he continued mining. He was one month away from thirty-eight at that time.

So Bill, with no job to go to, sells our home, and moves his wife and three kids across the country headed to nothing. We stayed with my family for three days while Bill found a job in nearby Spearfish at the Homestake Sawmill. We then found a basement apartment to rent nearby the mill. The jobs in Galax all paid the minimum wage of $1.25 per hour. I found a job in a nursing home for, you guessed it, $1.25 per hour. Bills job at the mill paid $1.90 per hour.

This was August 1965, we didn’t escape there until November 1966. A representative from Chrysler Corporation came out there trying to recruit employees for a new assembly plant in Belvidere Illinois. Seems the local people were too offended that Chrysler was going to pay people more than $5.00 an hour with great benefits while the rest of the town was settled into jobs paying less than $2.00 an hour. I know that makes no sense, but a lot of people from South Dakota jumped on those jobs the Belvidere locals didn’t want.

In the fifteen months we were in Spearfish I was so depressed that we were going to end up stuck there forever. I have to admit we had a few good times while we were there. We did visit a few local parks, and Spearfish is in the “Black Hills”. During this time our oldest son Larry went back to Galax to live. He was sixteen, almost seventeen and he got a job at Vaughan Basset Furniture factory. He stayed there until just before we moved to Belvidere. He came back and helped us with the move then he decided to stay in Belvidere and when he turned eighteen he also got a job at Chrysler.

I remember that while we were in South Dakota we visited Mount Rushmore on our eighteenth anniversary (1966). We also took a trip in the summer of 66 to Faith to watch a big yearly rodeo they held. The roads were still dirt and I still saw water trucks, but they did have a good rodeo. On the Fourth of July 1966 we went to the big rodeo show in Deadwood. During an intermission they put on the Wild Bill Hickock Show, the one where he was shot in the back playing cards in the saloon. That’s pretty much all the good memories I have from there. I was just glad to get out of there in November of 66 as we headed east praying that Belvidere would be better.

When we got to Illinois we rented an apartment in the town of Cherry Valley for three months. The rent was $150.00 per month but after we had been there for three months they raised the rent to $200.00 so we looked around and found a nice old house in Belvidere for $85.00 a month. It was right by the city park, real close to the waterfall. If Bill could have ever quit his drinking and acted like a husband and a dad we could probably have been happy there.

We lived in that house from February 1967 till April 1970. We all survived the big F-4 tornado of April 21st, 1967 unharmed while living in that house. Also during that time frame Bill got hurt at work. Bill’s foreman told him to take a part over to a certain bucket and wash it off. Turns out the bucket had acid in it. Bill had only stuck his right hand down in it thank goodness. The acid really messed up his hand and the nerves with it. He ended up missing several months work and we sued Chrysler settling out of court for $10,000.00. We put $8,000.00 down on a home on the western outskirts of town that was priced at $25,000.00. It set on an acre of land bordering a large county park. Once again, if Bill could have just acted like a man we could have been very happy there.

In February 1974, Bill and I were in a car wreck in Belvidere as a man drove through a stop sign and hit us broadside. I wasn’t injured but Bill broke his left hip and cracked his left ankle. The day after Bill had his hip replacement he had a heart attack while lying in his hospital bed. He ended up having to have a four-way bypass operation. While Bill was recuperating he got a check in the mail from Social Security. Turns out that Chrysler went through the process to get him disabled because he had nine years in with them and at ten years guaranteed lifetime benefits would be coming into effect and they weren’t wanting to have to pay them.

Larry had gotten married in October 1968 to a lady with two kids; I think he married her to get out of being drafted into Vietnam, though I’ve always believed she really loved him. Jackie got married in August of 1971; I believe just to get out of the house and away from Bill. My youngest, Ted, got married in May 1975. Now I was home alone with Bill all the time. Without the kids there Bill was still as hateful as ever.

In 1977 we sold the big house on the west side and bought a nice ranch style house only a couple blocks from my work in town. It was a beautiful house and I really loved it. Also about this time Bill finally quit drinking and I had high hopes for a better life but that was just wishful thinking. Bill stayed just as hateful and self-centered as he had always been. I had always hoped it was the alcohol, it wasn’t, it was just who he was.

I had a bad left hip during this time and it was real painful to try to work with. I had tried for Social Security but got turned down so I had to go back to work after about eleven months off. I had only been back to work less than a year when Bill came up to the office and told them I had to quit because I had gotten my Social Security. When we got home I found that was not true. It had only been suggested by my lawyer to appeal. Well, during this time our income was not enough to pay the bills. So in 1981 we had to sell the house before we lost it. We only had enough money to buy a new, but cheap single wide trailer that because of zoning laws we had to put into a mobile home court. It was the nicest court in town but losing our home because of Bill’s ignorance just made me sick.

Shortly after we got moved I was turned down again on the Social Security. I had to go back up to that hole I had worked at since 1968 and ask for my job back, to my surprise they reinstated me with full seniority. I did end up getting a left hip replacement on my birthday 1992. The month before my oldest son Larry died of an aneurysm in his apartment in Scranton Pennsylvania. Bill’s health was constantly deteriorating and he died just before Christmas 1993 from heart failure. I ended up retiring in February 1994.

Now I was truly alone except for my daughter Jackie who lived locally and was now a Methodist minister. I did have a few people at church that I associated with. My son Ted was a long-haul truck driver who only got to stop in for a night or so about three or four times a year.

My dad died in his sleep in early March 1987. I had a major heart attack on June 1st, 1996 that really set me back physically. But 1996 would only get worse. Mom died all alone in a nursing home in August and my brother Lonnie died that November of brain cancer and heart failure.

The next year, 1997, I had to have my right hip replaced, again on my birthday. It was hard to make do on my own but I made it. Jackie came over and helped me some while I was recuperating and Ted would send me extra money when he could to help me out. He was paying my lot rent for me each month which really helped out. One day when Jackie and her husband were over I got a letter from Ted with a check for $690.00 in it, $190.00 for the lot rent and $500.00 to put up for emergency needs. Jackie and her husband got really mad at me for “taking Teds’ money” like that. So from that point on Ted and I never mentioned anything about him helping me.

In March of 1999, Ted had to have heart surgery after a heart attack and he was out of work with no income for a long time. So in the summer of 1999 I took a job at a local nursing home two hours per night. My job was to help clean up the dining area and kitchen after supper had been served to the residents. It wasn’t much of a job, I hated doing it but it did make my lot rent payment.

That fall an opening came up for an extra half hour per night to go from room to room passing out cookies. I took on the extra work, but I truly enjoyed doing it. I felt sorry for so many of these people who had been discarded and abandoned here by their family members. I enjoy talking with them each evening, trying to cheer them up. It wasn’t long before I became known as “the cookie lady”, I enjoyed that title, it made me feel wanted.

Well, this is Sunday morning August 20th, 2000. I sometimes find it hard to believe that with the life I have had that I would have made it to the year 2000. I just spoke to my son Ted at his home in Florida but I need to get going or I will be late for church. I still need to stop by Jackie’s before church and get her newspaper put in her house because they are on a weekend vacation.

Mom never made it to church. As she slowed down and turned into my sister’s driveway a young man driving a four-wheel drive Dodge Ram pickup thought it was a good time to speed up and pass. He hit mom right in the driver’s door at about seventy miles per hour, killing her instantly. He had hit her so hard that the coroner said the impact tore all the arteries away from her heart.

A bright light put out. A life lived in the darkness of others, seldom being allowed to shine. A life lived in so much sadness, put upon by others. So many joys of life denied her. In so many ways, a light, a life, unfulfilled. But a woman who will always be very much-loved, and missed “The Cookie Lady”, our Mom.