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Shanda was quite informative and gracious enough to explain what was going on to me and Ronda. First up to race was their daughter Aubrey.
Aubrey has been racing since she was old enough to drive a car. She was running low 12 second quarters in her Nova.
We walked to the line as she drove her car into position. The lights lit up on the tree and when it hit green, Aubrey had gunned it.
The earth shook, my ears hurt and the next thing I knew Aubrey was flying down the track. She won her race. I think she drove across the line going about mph.
We were instantly hooked! Our team had just won a race! Like we had anything to do with this team.
I was given a sneak preview of the behind the scenes of this sport by Derrick a week before. He had showed me two of his three race cars.
One was a dragster fueled by alcohol and nitrox. As a complete novice, I just thought two cars pull up, the lights go to green and you race down the track and the first one to cross the finish line wins.
Those who take this sport seriously have a lot invested, including computers and weather stations to help calculate their times.
They sort of compete with themselves and the other car in the lane next to them. It made my brain hurt a little bit. One was a Jeep Cherokee. We saw Vetts, Camaros, Trucks and even motorcycles racing that day.
This is the real deal with the parachute that pops out the back and everything. I was pretty excited when I saw Derrick shoe horn himself inside the cockpit of this miniature rocket and put his helmet on.
We walked over and did the same routine with following him to the line. Before the race, the drivers pull up to an area that is wet so they can do a quick burnout to get the tires hot and sticky for the launch at the starting line.
Dear God, there is a lot of power in one of these cars! There was a buy back. During that intermission, we watched Gordy Myers win one and lose one.
We also ran into Troy Wells from Medicine Lodge. At the end of the evening, all our Medicine Lodge people had been eliminated, but this was a great experience and probably one of our funnest mini-road trips we had taken in quite sometime.
As we were leaving, I power braked my truck and got the tires to break lose on the pavement, doing what I thought was a pretty impressive burn out.
After being scolded for doing that, I still pulled away with a huge grin on my face! Thank you to the Myers and the Swineharts for letting us hang out with you all and see an unusual and entertaining family bond!
Good luck on the rest of your season! So I know too well how many of you parents are feeling this week. The thought of your child, whether first one, or the last one, or the middle one graduating just makes you about spin out of control.
Their world is about to change in an amazing way. There will be new freedom and the ability for them to choose their paths.
My confidence comes from knowing many of you parents and knowing the faculty and staff of MLHS. We live in a blessed little community with great people looking after our children.
For you seniors, take nothing for granted. Your experiences at MLHS will be the launching point for life. Remember the values that you were taught, not just algebra and science.
Remember your relationships with your classmates. Remember the successes and failures of your sports teams, your coaches and teammates. Remember your time at MLHS.
These will be some of the best memories of your life. The new memories you are about to make will also be great experiences. This is a very special class to me.
My Nephew Riston Landwehr is graduating, top of his class! Congratulations Riston and the class of I wish you the best of luck in all of your endeavors.
Bush turned to her doctor in the last few days of her life. The doctor looked a little surprised when she answered, "Because I drank and smoked when I was pregnant with him.
She died at her home in Houston on Tuesday surrounded by the ones she loved. Bush said on Wednesday that he spoke with Mrs.
Bush by telephone shortly before her death to tell her he loved her, and she replied that she loved him too. The Bushes had celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary in January, making them the longest-married couple in presidential history.
As the wife of the 41st president and the mother of the 43rd, George W. Bush was only the second woman in American history to have a son of hers follow his father to the White House.
The family obstetrician practiced there one month a year, and that month happened to be June. She was the third child of the former Pauline Robinson and Marvin Pierce.
Her father was in the publishing business and eventually became president of the McCall publishing company.
Can you imagine being the first lady and the mother of a former president? Her life was so interesting and she carried herself so well.
God rest her soul. I know that I am growing older when I get concerned about my pear and peach trees. One day they had beautiful blooms on them, the next day they were gone.
I sort of jumped the gun on spring and spring made sure she told me who was boss. Saturday evening I noticed that we were dropping below freezing.
I ran around and unscrewed garden hoses and attempted to drain out some pumps I had prepared for some controlled burns I was helping with.
Somehow in the late night hours, I missed one drain plug. On the day before we were going to burn some brush piles, I went and fired up the pump.
As soon as it started, I knew something was terribly wrong. I was soaking wet and was getting wetter. When I realized my pump casing was broken and spraying me with water, I shut it down.
I think I only own like three pairs of socks and two pairs have holes in them. That sounds strange, but I am more comfortable in a pair of shorts!
Thursday afternoon was my first official day back in shorts! By Saturday, my disappointed toes were back in socks as the weather plummeted into the 40s.
I also had to put my pants back on I explained that it was a secret and I could not tell her. It could have been to my Snapchat or Facebook account.
Heck, it could have been nuclear codes. I was in a full-blown conversation about security with a five-year-old. There are sticky notes all over my desk with log-ins and passwords to different accounts.
It was my computer Now she is staring at the screen as I write this column. She seems really interested.
She grabbed the trash and said, "I am going to work on this in my office," and she darted out. One thing is for darned sure. I mean cute and entertaining.
I almost answered, "Time to get out of my office," but instead I told her it was 3: Grandma is the boss!
Anyone that knows Ronda and I very well, know that we love live music. Our first official date was at a concert in It was Metallica and Ozzy Ozborne!
I had a really tough time answering that question. My favorite band of all time has to be the Eagles. This band brings back memories of my childhood.
This one is mine. It might sound silly, but if you love music like I do, you know how it moves the soul. I love all kinds of music from bluegrass to heavy metal.
I must be getting old because I have caught myself telling my kids their rap music is terrible, too loud and to turn it off. Keep in mind, we buy tickets early to get the best seats possible.
A few weeks back some friends called and said they had two extra tickets to the Eagles at Sprint Center in Kansas City for Monday, March Even though it was a week night, I could not pass up seeing my favorite band and jumped at the chance, sort of forgetting I had the March 25th show already booked.
At least I do. My parents listened to the Eagles and I fell in love with them from a very early age. You still have the familiar Joe Walsh on guitar and vocals and Timothy B.
Schmidt on bass and vocals, but this line up only performed together for two years before breaking up in for 14 years.
It was then that they put differences aside and reformed that line up. Earlier performers included Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner and Don Felder, who was famous for his song "Hotel California" along with over 17 tracks he contributed during his time with the Eagles.
Glenn Frey and Don Felder had had enough of each other in The Eagles disbanded shortly thereafter. In , the day after Frey's death, Felder told the Associated Press that he felt an "unbelievable sorrow" when he learned about Frey's death.
This kid sounds just like his dad and is only 22 years old. Also joining the Eagles was one of my all-time favorite guitarist and vocalist Vince Gill.
We got a double dose of the Eagles. I was in music heaven!! I did not realize that Don Felder would basically do most of The Hotel California album at this concert.
I assumed I would be subjected to music that I had never heard from his post Eagles career. I was pleasantly surprised that I was wrong.
I believe we witnessed rock and roll history last week. I just have the same old desire to see the ones I love. An interesting side note: I also bought us tickets to Metallica for March of !
It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. I met Mike Pompeo at the Grand Hotel several years ago and then he stopped into our office shortly after that.
I kind of wished I had taken a photo with him now. A few weeks after that visit he subscribed to the newspaper.
Now I doubt he probably has time to read this, but I did note that Mr. Pompeo was a very interesting person. I found him polite and intelligent.
I also remember after meeting him that I forgot to ask his party affiliation. I liked him and I liked what he had to say about rural America and he had my vote.
If by some crazy chance Mr. Pompeo is reading my newspaper, I want to congratulate him and thank him for serving his country in this capacity.
I would think Secretary of State would be the hardest job you could ever have, next to President of the United States. From my limited knowledge of him and first impressions, I believe Mr.
Pompeo will do the right thing for our country in these perilous times. I ran into the office and pulled my column off the page, so that at the very least, we could share our condolences with Brett and Kim and all the folks at Finchers Findings.
While the kids were growing up, I did the typical dad thing relived my childhood through them. Ronda was the nurturer and often nurse.
Both Breeann and Joey had multiple motorcycle and gokart injuries. By the time Nicholas was born, I was no longer able to play with the children per mom-orders.
I watched once as Joey drove his first motorcycle through a 2 railed, 2"x6" fence at 30 mph. The most interesting part of that story is that he was 4-years-old.
I had taught him how to balance on a bike, rolling down a hill without training wheels just 1 week earlier. Any good dad knows that that is enough experience to put an engine under him and let him ride.
I put a helmet on him, gloves and a leather coat and even some goggles over his eyes. Feel better about me now?
My mission was to do the same as I had with his older sister: Tie a rope around the motorcycle and let him go slowly at first until he got the hang of it.
I remember how mad my wife was at me when I came home with this motorcycle. I had rolled through Mullinville, KS on my way home from a job one day and some guy was selling these motorcycles on the side of the road, so naturally I stopped.
After I threw my money at him and he helped me load it up in my truck, I drove home with visions of my "father of the year trophy" all shiny on my desk.
I got it home and unloaded it. I polished it up as my wife stood there shaking her head and telling me how bad of an idea this was. Now here we were.
Father and his son were about to make history. This kid took off like a pro-motocross racer from the gate and ripped the rope right out of my hand.
I busted after him at my slightly-slower than Olympic running speed, screaming, "Let off the gas! He was a good 20 yards in front of me.
I was yelling, "Stop! Jesus, this is a good time for the rapture! It was over in about 10 seconds and he was on the ground with the motorcycle on top of him, still running, back wheel spinning.
He still had the throttle gunned. I ran over, shut off the bike and lifted it off of him. I could see his wide-eyed stare through his fogged up goggles.
She was out the door and sprinting towards us. It looked like she was investigating the crash scene, but I think she was actually looking for broken parts of the motorcycle to pick up and hit me with.
The motorcycle was broken. My wife was not having it. She took Joey inside to clean him up. I took the bike down to the shed and heated up the frame and forks and got it bent back into riding condition.
Although I was told that I could not let him ride it again until he was older and ready, Joey was ready to try again within a few days.
I had a better understanding of how tight to hold the rope and he had a better understanding of the throttle control. In time, he became an excellent rider and this first crash prepared him for many more to come.
I sat patiently with Bree on Saturday morning as she learned how to do corrections and the final stages of the newspaper before it went to press.
I explained that there has probably never been a more thorough person as a "copy editor" for any small town newspaper the size of ours.
My mom has always been a huge part of the newspaper making process. Many of the mistakes you might find happened after she had proofed the newspaper.
They were usually last minute changes. Now it might seem weird to honor her for her birthday with a story like that, but my mom has been a bigger part of my adult business life, than my childhood - at this age and stage of the game.
My mom is turning 75 years-young on Wednesday, March 7, I could have used my space to tell funny stories about her like the time she took my sister and I to Century II in Wichita to an event.
She got lost and ended up on the grounds sidewalks in our car. Quietly and with little to no fanfare, my youngest son left the age of teenager and turned 20 years old on Sunday, February In Okinawa, you only have to be 20 years old to buy an alcoholic drink, unlike being 21 in the states.
Oh what a difference a year makes. I remember buying Joey his first beer on his birthday. We met in Great Bend, KS. Joey was going to school in Hays at the time.
Half way would be somewhere off the coast of Alaska in the Pacific Ocean. Instead, I bought him a guitar and shipped it to him.
I expected it to take 4 weeks, but it took less than a week, so he got it a little early! It was just the flu, but it felt like much worse than H1NDeath-whatever-it-was I kept waiting for a cart to roll by my house with a driver wrapped up in linens and a mask shouting, "Bring out your dead!
I wanted to a couple of times. I cook, attempt at cleaning no where near her standards , bring her drinks, soup, medicine, take her temperature, place ice packs on her head, etc.
She did deserve to get away from me for a little while. This stuff was on its 5th day by the time she needed to get out of the toxic relationship.
By toxic, I meant contagious. I surprised her with a nice dinner though. I actually got up, grilled some steak and made jalopeno poppers wrapped in bacon and even roasted sweet potatoes.
By Sunday morning, I was feeling like I was over the hump. We decided that a good way to pass the rest of that day was to watch some movie on Netflix.
I figured, meh, ok. I clicked it and expected to be asleep within a few minutes. It was a 2 hour movie redone recently on the basis of the Disney cartoon that from I had watched more than times with my daughter Breeann.
I had also cut my teeth on VHS repair during those years when the machine had eaten the movie and my daughter would break out into tears.
Put our service to the test! No one's quick as Gaston. No one's neck's as incredibly thick as Gaston's.
For there's no man in town half as manly. Perfect, a pure paragon! You can ask any Tom, Dick or Stanley. And they'll tell you whose team they prefer to be on At one point Belle had to leave the Beast and rescue her father.
I was like, "Am I crying? It had to be the Robitussin. Maybe it was a combination of both, but I was choked up and sobbing a few times. It was the thought that I still had 1 hour and 45 minutes of this to go!
It brought back some great memories. The back and forth of motions, responses, petitions and the grueling slow grind of the legal wheel is often maddening Our society has one of the finest judicial systems in the world, if not the best.
If not understood, on the outside, it looks like a cluster of unorganized chaos. All of it has purpose for fairness and accountability for each side, whether it be for the plaintiff or the defendant.
With each court filing, I try my best to put it into plain English so that you can process it. Every motion, memorandum or rulings are just small pieces of a complex process that our community must go through to get to the end.
My heart breaks when I think about what everyone has gone through in this difficult situation: I wear so many hats at times: Today my job is simply to present you with the most current information, without inserting my opinion.
I hope I do that, while honoring this process of law. My hope is that we soon heal as a county and community; that we are safe and that there is justice - in what form, I do not know.
Jessica Wright is moving to greener pastures - or hallways of chaos, either way you look at it. Jess is going to the Grade School to work as a Para.
It goes along well with her decision to go back to school and get a degree in teaching. What will I miss most about Jessica? But seriously folks, Jess has been great to work with and I wish her the best of luck!
Breeann AKA Bree comes to us as green as green can be. She will introduce herself next week. Along with Bree, we get our Granddaughter Baylee for half the day in the office.
Baylee is currently finishing her degree in pres-school, so she only goes half days. Her afternoon office is across the hallway from mine, so every few minutes she brings me her "work.
I also get lots of drawings of bunnies, sunshine and trees - refreshing for this time of year. One Tuesday afternoon back in early , my dad took a trip to Missouri and left a space-filler for his column that said, "Will Return.
I was working as the pressman during those days and saw an opportunity to test my writing skills. He let me continue to write, but then eventually sold the newspaper and moved to Missouri.
I was always involved in the newspaper business. I had my diapers changed there, I grew up and played there. I swept the floors there and eventually ran a press there.
I miss those days at the Index and I miss those folks I worked with. One day several years ago Doris found a snippet my dad wrote in February of , "I have been toying with the idea of starting a personal column for the Index for the past three years," he wrote.
When we started our newspaper in , my early columns were terrible, even worse than today. Many people over the years have asked me, where the name came from.
In my Grandpa Bill bought his first newspaper, the Logan Republican. Seriously though, some of these columns were very well done and made me smile to think how far back my heritage in the newspaper business goes.
Of what, I do not know KWIBS, of some form, has been a part of Kansas newspaper history for close to 75 years now, with a few years of gaps in between.
Jessica has a natural gift for writing and has really evolved over the last year. Not everyone is a Doris Sorg who can put up with me for Only one other woman has chosen a longer path in life So far, she has not given me notice she is leaving!
Most small town newspapers have been gobbled up by larger corporations and conglomerations of small chains. Sometimes sharing those resources in a centralized location in rural Kansas makes sense.
I have been actively seeking an employee. I had some excellent applications. Two of which I really wanted to hire, but for various reasons, I could not make a decision.
It takes a person who loves their community to write about it. Human nature makes it that way. More people want to read about crime and chaos than the successes and accomplishments of a community.
It's been a mission statement for us to, "Report the good news about our community. I always dreamed of one of my boys running the newspaper one day.
That would make us 4 generations deep. It never occurred to me that Breeann might be interested. The thought of working with a family member who is so opinionated and stubborn and hard headed and moody, probably prevented her from ever asking me.
We can get pretty frustrated with each other at times. I mentioned, jokingly, to her that she should work her way into the family business.
She was actually interested. I think for a split second, I was scared I had mentioned it, but then I thought back to when my dad let me write that second column.
Well, probably as well as I did when I first started. She might be even better. I had her write me a little story about something she knew about and she did a pretty good job.
Her children are older and in school. This will be a challenge for sure, but I think with a little time, she can be a great addition to our family newspaper.
Please be patient with us while we work through the process of getting her involved and please pray for patience for me! Thank you to everyone who applied and expressed interest.
Sunday morning I worked Pratt County for some bonding business and then grabbed some lunch. While at lunch, I got two more bonding calls out of Barber County.
Then we got a phone call from our daughter needing a sitter for the grandkids that night. As it worked out, I dropped off Ronda at the house and went in to assist some folks out of the Barber County Crossbar Hotel, as one of the defendants called it.
Ronda suggested I pick up the grandkids on my way home. The grandkids were excited to see grandpa. They grabbed what I thought was warm clothing and we headed out to the truck.
By the time I had gotten home, I had answered about questions ranging from, "why do turkeys make that sound" to what is "DNA"? I had an easier time explaining DNA.
When I pulled into the drive way, my granddaughter was asleep and missing one cowboy boot. I found the boot under the back seat, slipped it back on her naked foot and after I got her awake and stable, set her on the ground.
I just wanted to get inside, get warm and get fed. I was exhausted from the 7 mile trip home. I can still trick them into eating about anything if I just call it chicken.
I have been known to put a tub of ice cream on the floor and two spoons and say, "get it" in place of actual food.
I am told this is alright if you are a grandparent. Parents are not allowed to do this. So we ate and still had a couple of hours to burn.
I know what to do. Watching them blow them up and turn bright red in the face is wonderful. I know they are getting plenty of oxygen and working their lungs.
Monday both Ronda and Jess came down with a bug, leaving me the only healthy person in the office. I told Jess to stay home, Ronda insisted on working.
She lasted about two hours and left me in charge. I was chugging along pretty well. We were busy since Monday was a holiday and everyone seemed to not mind braving the cold weather.
It was an unusually busy Tuesday. Before Ronda left at noon she asked me to make the deposit. I thought that would be easy enough.
She did all the work. All I had to do was walk it over to the bank. After 3 hours of customers and phones ringing, I finally made it to the bank, but I think I missed the cut off.
Thankfully, I think I had enough in there to cover checks. We appreciate all you do! It was the end of "Christmas Break" for Ronda and I.
We still had a few days left with Nick before he left for Japan on Friday morning. We were pretty quiet driving in. We were not really looking forward to going back to work, not even knowing where to begin We might have even been a little grumpy.
Ronda started laughing when we got to the Assembly of God sign. I hope to be lean, but not have a lien. I keep my motor clean in my full steam space machine.
Speaking of, did I mention my home economics teacher in high school was named Charlene? I was hoping to jump on a trampoline inside a submarine dressed as a wolverine.
I am also wanting to keep my spleen at least until Halloween - all in ! Thanks Rodney for being our local sign comedian and turning me into "Dr.
Seuss" last Tuesday morning. So I want to give a big shout out and a big thank you to a couple of guys who have served this city well for several years.
Norm Clouse and Mike Roe take their city council seats for one last moment tonight and then ride off into the sunset. Well, maybe not, but they are leaving the council.
These guys were original movers and shakers. They took part in some unpopular, but necessary actions to improve the functionality of our city government.
I applaud them for sticking it out and seeing things through. You guys are appreciated and we hope to be interviewing them soon as civilians!
Today is Christmas, but you probably are reading this on Tuesday, December 26th or even later. The holidays will sort of mess up our delivery schedules, but we will publish our weekly newspapers through the holidays.
I hope you had a Merry Christmas! I know of so many in our community that have experienced loss of family members around the holidays and it is my prayer that the Lord gives you peace, hope and love during this time of year.
No one is immune to loss. In the last few years, our family has lost several family members. Within the last year we lost two uncles. Ronda and I enjoyed looking through old family Christmas decorations a few weeks ago.
She used them to decorate for our Christmas this year. It reflects over 30 years of Christmas together. The memories are the gifts that those who have passed leave us.
If it all worked out, we had our entire family together for Christmas this year. It would be the first time since since we were all home for the holidays.
I love getting Christmas cards with family photos. Next week will be a recap of I love to reflect and find the positives in life during this time of year.
I hope you will take time to remember My prayer for our little town is that is the best year yet! In a few short days, my Christmas present to myself and my family will be here.
Our Son Nick is coming home from Okinawa, Japan for a couple of weeks! Perfect timing and much luck has made this trip possible.
The gap in between offered Nick the opportunity to come home, if all goes as planned. Keep it down Rocketman.
He will actually leave on Friday morning, his time, and arrive Friday afternoon, our time. It was not a special occasion for him or for us, but we are so grateful to have our entire family back together for Christmas this year.
Because of this special visit, our office hours will be somewhat sporadic over the holidays and for the week in between. We will be receiving our mail and checking our voice mail system and we have a drop slot in our door for you to drop things by over the holidays.
Thank you in advance for your patience!! And we are at my favorite edition of the year! The kids are just too funny.
I hope you enjoy them as much as we have. Behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
And she will bring forth a Son, and you will call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: From our family to your family, we wish you a blessed Christmas.
Love and cherish the time you spend with your family and friends and remember the true meaning of Christmas.
John Conyers announced his retirement from Congress after several women came forward with sexual harassment charges against him.
The younger, Conyers, 27, would be a first-time political candidate. But he has already been connected to an ethics issue, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Normally, it would just be another day, but each time he does it, it makes me sick to my stomach because my son is attached to the Marines there and they will be the first to deploy in the event of a war.
No one wants war. The Winter Olympics are scheduled to be held in South Korea. I think we should have a competitive javelin toss between North and South Korea.
Speaking of the Olympics I propose that we have a special competition just for the Russians. The Supreme Court wrestled with a clash between religious freedom and LGBT rights on Tuesday as it heard arguments from a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake to celebrate a same-sex couple's marriage because he believes that God designed marriage to be between a man and a woman..
However, you can make an awful cake People get pretty "bold" when it comes to Facebook and comments. The facts will come out.
I did not, however, pull quotes about statements that were heard on the videos. Someone died and it tarnishes the respect we need to have for law enforcement.
What we need to remember is Myers leaves behind people that cared about him. Appropriate care should be given to his family if there is fault found.
I express my condolences. We also need to remember our actions from the past in situations that involve investigating of the actions of law enforcement.
It also cost our county a good deal of money investigating it. I believe it is important to investigate this incident as rigorously as we did an alleged domestic battery - which resulted in no charges being filed.
In the end, hopefully, the truth will be known and justice will be served. I also believe it is important to let investigators and prosecutors do their jobs, unimpeded by public opinion - including mine.
We will do our very best to be fair in reporting on this story, which has been forced into the spotlight by what appears to be an inevitable lawsuit.
Wednesday morning we received notice of the winners of the write-in campaign for city council. It was a particularly interesting election given that voters had to write-in their names.
No information was available until mid-morning on Wednesday and my phone was blowing up. They will be leaving with little fanfare. If anything, the election sparked more interest in our city government.
Several who made last minute runs will hopefully keep themselves informed on what is happening in Medicine Lodge. I got to visit with at least one other write in who did not win and I believe this person has a genuine interest.
My hope is that instead of watching Facebook for fake news and information about our town, they will, in fact, educate themselves on issues concerning the operations of the city.
I can be biased in this situation, because I do get involved and I can provide factual information. Our city operates on the up and up and we have good, honest people at the helm.
Thank you all for voting and doing your part to keep Medicine Lodge alive and well. In the s, I grew up in a country that referred to Viet Nam as a "conflict".
It was taught in school and ingrained in our studies. It was later in my life that Viet Nam was called what it actually was, a "war".
People had grown tired of war by the s. Some were simply cowards who did not love our country enough to fight for it, whether there was a draft or not.
They directed their hatred towards those who served. It breaks my heart to hear of accounts of disrespect towards the men and women who served our country during this era.
Some were wounded more severely by their own countrymen upon their return home than in the battle field. It came full circle last year when my son graduated from MLHS and went into the Navy, a decision that I am very proud of.
He is approaching his first year of service and is now stationed with the Marines on a base in Okinawa as an RP Religious Program Specialist.
His duties as a Religious Program Specialist might seem sort of unimportant, but after boot camp, Nick went through Marine Combat Training.
He owns the phrase, "We fight tonight. Noland leaves the confines of his base heading to another, he is faced with protesters who spit, curse and throw things at his vehicle.
Then he slipped me a video one day and I saw it for myself. The protesters are paid by China to harass our troops in Japan. Imagine if we left?
The people of Okinawa rely on jobs on our bases and money that flows from our soldiers to local businesses. Japan relies on us to protect them from some of the craziest leaders in the world like the one from North Korea.
My point is pretty simple. Men and women who serve this great country deserve great respect, especially in their own country.
I really feel obligated give honor to those who served in an "unpopular war" such as Viet Nam, but what war is popular?
Each Veterans Day our school district does a wonderful job honoring veterans in our community. They usually focus on honoring one era and this year is the Viet Nam war veterans.
We struggled this year to find a Viet Nam veteran who wanted to talk about their experience with the newspaper.
Two actually cancelled and I totally understand. I believe him to be one of the most honorable people I have had the privilege of meeting in my adult life.
Major Bob Stutler agreed to share some of his thoughts about Viet Nam. I will tell you that he did turn me down at first.
After he thought about it for a day, he agreed to write his own accounts. I sat in my office last Thursday and read his perspective on Viet Nam.
Thank you Bob for sharing your perspectives on Viet Nam. Thank you to each and every veteran who made the choice to serve our country during peaceful times and during times of conflict and war.
Thank you to my son, whom I miss every day with every fiber of my being. My hope is that there will never be another Viet Nam-like homecoming for our soldiers.
I know that my children and my grandchildren will honor those who serve our country because of what they learn at school in our community.
I can never imagine a protest against someone like my son, or like my dad, or like Bob. I have many people who I consider friends that served in Viet Nam.
I hope they know now that we honor them and thank them today and forever. We are not the America you came home to after the war and I pray we never are again.
I have many friends who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and on bases in the United States and around the world. They are heroes and worthy of our respect and thanks.
Take a moment to thank these and all veterans for their service. She had the evidence needed to close the case and accusations that we did not carve pumpkins with our children when they were young.
I probably lost you there, but last week our oldest son Joey did some "pumpkin carving" with friends and stated to me that, "It was my first time to carve pumpkins because we only painted pumpkins when we were young.
I knew we had carved pumpkins and we had also painted them. We also had one other issue after carving or painting. It has been resolved, but also verified.
We had an issue with disposal of the pumpkins after Halloween. It seemed like the pumpkins sat around for a little too long after the holiday.
Last Wednesday evening Ronda and I brought home pumpkins for the kids to carve and decorate. We started our project shortly after dinner.
I carved out the faces with the careful guidance of our children Joey and Breeann this was Pre-Nicholas. He was still in incubation and not born until February of I made them "gut" the pumpkins.
Why not paint the pumpkins?!? This would add an artistic flair to an ancient tradition. They could paint faces and mustaches, eyelashes, lips or even beards on them.
We got the paints down from the cupboards and gave the kids brushes and water and they went after it. It was time to relax.
The kids were being entertained and Ronda and I could enjoy some quality television. We had no interruptions for nearly an hour.
This was pure bliss. Never before had I had such an innovative idea to keep the children busy with a fun project. Joey came out of the kitchen 15 feet from where we were sitting with paint from the tips of his fingers to his elbows and all over his school clothes.
That was a close call. Children seem to need directions to the bath tub when they are so filthy they risk completely destroying a home environment.
After getting the children in a safe place we approached the pumpkin projects in the kitchen. The kids not only painted their pumpkins entirely from bottom to top, including the stem , but they also got paint on the table, the wall, the chairs, the pictures on the walls, the ceiling, the refrigerator, the floor, the carpet, the dishwasher, the stove, a stained glass window, all of the vitamins on the counter, the lamp, the light, the back door, the sink which is a good 15 feet away from where they were painting , the cabinets and cereal boxes.
Apparently they went VanGough on us. Instead of painting with brush strokes, they took a more modern splatter technique. They mixed every color together, which you realize makes black Ronda and I spent an hour mopping the floors and the ceilings yes, we used the mop on the ceiling as well.
It was quite difficult to get off, even though it was water soluble. The entire time we were cleaning up the horrible mess we were laughing hysterically!
How could we have been so stupid? The pumpkins ended up a bright, shiny, clean orange the next morning Wednesday our oldest son Joey called and said he would be in Wichita that evening if we wanted to hook up for dinner.
We were all about seeing him. Getting to meet up with him in Wichita was a great idea. It turned out that Joey and a friend had tickets to a concert for a band called "A Day to Remember.
Well, it was a day to remember, but not for the right reasons. On the way up, I was called to stop and write a bond in Kingman.
It was a large bond and I spent a couple of hours writing it only to have the whole deal fall apart after some confusion between attorneys.
I called Joey to let him know we were running late because of the fiasco with the bond I was writing. Ronda and I pulled into Wichita and had enough time to grab a bite to eat and head to the Cotillion.
We were just a few minutes late and called Joey from the parking lot. In a favorite bit, he would mimic an ice-cold Michael Corleone facing down a crooked politician's demand for a cut of Mafia gambling profits: My offer is this: Gibney said, "one of his Abramoff's great gifts was being able to tell people what they wanted to hear, and this was how he was able to sell things and get them into trouble.
After Abramoff paid for DeLay and his staffers to go on trips to the CNMI, they crafted policy that extended exemptions from federal immigration and labor laws to the islands' industries.
Abramoff secretly funded a trip to the Marianas for Congressmen James E. Documentation indicates that Abramoff's lobbying team helped prepare Rep.
Ralph Hall 's R-TX statements on the House floor in which he attacked the credibility of escaped teenaged sex worker "Katrina", in an attempt to discredit her testimony regarding the state of the sex slave industry in the Marianas.
Abramoff arranged for mailings from a Ralph Reed marketing company to Christian conservative voters. He bribed Roger Stillwell, a high-ranking political appointee at the Department of the Interior who was responsible for some Native American gaming policy; Stillwell pleaded guilty in to accepting gifts from Abramoff.
All government officials and employees are prohibited from accepting gifts from consultants, businesses and lobbyists.
Family Network to "influence DeLay's vote in on legislation that helped make it possible for the International Monetary Fund to bail out the faltering Russian economy".
DeLay voted for the legislation. Nevskaya was also involved in Abramoff's support of an Israeli military academy, as indicated by an email sent to Abramoff.
The team included many of his former employees from Preston Gates and former senior staffers of members of Congress.
Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana. Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana. Mashpee Wampanoag people of Massachusetts. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Native Americans.
Pueblo of Santa Clara. Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe. Tigua Native American Reservation. Around the time he joined Greenberg Traurig, Abramoff's choice of lobbying clients changed to focus much more on Native American tribes.
While Abramoff was a registered lobbyist for 51 clients while working at Preston Gates, with only four being tribes, Abramoff would eventually represent 24 clients for whom he was registered lobbyist at Greenberg Traurig, of which seven were tribes.
He immediately hired Abramoff to lobby Congress and the White House on matters relating to Tyco's Bermuda tax-exempt status.
The work allegedly was never performed, and most of the fee Tyco paid Abramoff to lobby against the legislation was "diverted to entities controlled by Mr.
Abramoff's team represented the government of Malaysia , and worked toward improving Malaysian relations with the United States, particularly with trade relations.
Abramoff also met with the government of Sudan , offering a plan to deflect criticism from American Christian groups over the regime's alleged role in the Darfur conflict.
Abramoff promised to enlist Reed to assist, as well as starting a grassroots campaign to improve the image of Sudan in America.
From to , Channel One retained him to ensure Congress did not block funds to their service. Not only did Channel One face frequent campaigns by political groups to persuade Congress to limit its presence in schools, but it also derived much of its advertising revenue from U.
Since Abramoff and Channel One parted ways, Channel One's advertising revenues have dropped substantially, but a cause-and-effect relationship would be difficult to establish.
On October 18, , The Washington Post reported that Bob Ney, as chair of the House Administration Committee , approved a license for an Israeli telecommunications company to install antennas for the House of Representatives.
Abramoff hosted many fundraisers at these skyboxes including events for politicians publicly opposed to gambling, such as Representative John Doolittle R - CA.
Abramoff also was co-owner of Signatures Restaurant , a high-end Washington establishment which he used to reward friends and associates.
His fellow lobbyist Kevin A. Ring treated Justice Department official Robert E. Coughlin to free tickets to the skyboxes and took him out to Signatures multiple times in exchange for favors.
These trips took place in , and Ney and Feeney each claimed that their trips were paid for by the National Center for Public Policy Research , but the group denied this.
Spokespeople for Ney and Feeney blamed others for filing errors. Ney later pleaded guilty to knowing that Abramoff had paid for the trip.
A former top procurement official in the Bush administration , David H. Safavian , has been convicted of lying and obstruction of justice in connection with the Abramoff investigation.
Safavian, who traveled to Scotland with Reed and Ney on a golf outing arranged by Abramoff, was accused of concealing from federal investigators information about Abramoff's plans to do business with the General Services Administration at the time of the golf trip — in particular, seeking help finding property for his private religious school, Eshkol Academy, and for one of his tribal clients.
Safavian was then GSA chief of staff. Jack Abramoff was a highly influential figure as lobbyist and activist in the Bush administration.
The draft report of the House Government Reform Committee said the documents — largely Abramoff's billing records and e-mails — listed lobbying contacts with White House officials over three years, including 10 with top Bush aide Karl Rove.
The report said that of the contacts listed, were described as meetings or other in-person contacts; 71 were described as phone conversations and 69 were e-mail exchanges.
In the first ten months of , the Abramoff lobbying team logged almost contacts with the Bush administration. The Department of the Interior has Federal regulatory authority over tribal affairs such as tribal recognition and gaming.
White House and State Department officials described Bush's meeting with Bongo, whose government is regularly accused by the United States of human rights abuses, as routine.
Officials at Gabon's embassy in Washington did not respond to written questions. Susan Ralston , Rove's assistant since , previously worked as an administrative assistant for both Abramoff and Reed.
Mahathir insisted that someone unknown to him had paid for the meeting. Abramoff was identified in the background of a photo taken at the meeting.
According to the organization's communications director, John Kartch, the meeting was one of several gatherings with Bush sponsored by ATR.
The details of the Kickapoo meeting and a letter dated May 10, , from ATR thanking the Kickapoos for their contribution were revealed to the New York Times in by former council elder Isidro Garza, who with Raul Garza no relation , is under indictment in Texas for embezzling tribal money.
According to Isidro Garza, Abramoff did not say the donation was required to meet Bush; the White House denied any knowledge of the transaction.
The photos were found on a site that published many pictures of governmental events, ReflectionsOrders.
The owner of the site removed the photos almost immediately when the presence of Abramoff and Bush together was discovered.
An NPR news report from March stated that: Abramoff recently granted a rare press interview to Vanity Fair magazine , where he asserts President Bush and other prominent figures in Washington know him very well.
He called them liars for denying contact with him". In June , Abramoff began secretly granting exclusive interviews to former Boston Globe investigative reporter Gary S.
Chafetz, without the knowledge of Abramoff's attorneys or the federal prosecutors with whom Abramoff had been cooperating.
These interviews — conducted before and during Abramoff's imprisonment — continued until May John McCain and the Demonization of Lobbyist Jack Abramoff was rushed into print prior to the presidential election.
In his book, Chafetz asserted that Abramoff, though guilty of some of the charges, was the victim of misleading and sensational reporting by the Washington Post , vengeance and mendacity on the part of Sen.
John McCain R- AZ , and strong-arm tactics of the Justice Department who forced Abramoff into confessing to crimes he did not believe he was guilty of.
Chafetz also accused federal prosecutors of abusive — and possibly illegal — tactics in their reliance on private and public honest services fraud , which he characterized as vague and controversial.
Abramoff has founded or run several non-profit organizations, including Capital Athletic Foundation and Eshkol Academy; as well as lobbying firms and political think tanks such as American International Center , GrassRoots Interactive, and the National Center for Public Policy Research.
While these organizations had varying degrees of legitimate activities, it has come to light that Abramoff used these organizations to channel millions of dollars to recipients not related to the organizations.
The majority of the funds went to the Eshkol Academy in Maryland, an Orthodox Jewish school founded by Abramoff in Hundreds of thousands of dollars from CAF were also spent on golf trips to Scotland for Abramoff, Ney, Ralph Reed Safavian, as well as purchases of camping equipment sent to a high school friend.
Abramoff solicited Safavian's help in looking for property deals for Eshkol Academy and tribal clients, leading to Safavian's conviction. Millions of dollars flowed into GrassRoots Interactive in , the year it was created, and then flowed out again to unusual places.
In late , the Senate Indian Affairs Committee began to investigate Abramoff's lobbying on behalf of American Indian tribes and casinos. In September he was called before the Committee to answer questions about that work, but pleaded the fifth.
After the partners purchased SunCruz in September , the business relationship with Boulis deteriorated, culminating in a fistfight between Kidan and Boulis in December In February Boulis was murdered in his car in a Mafia -style attack.
The murder investigation included three individuals who had received payments from Kidan. Two of the suspects received life sentences for the murder charges, while a third associate pled guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and was sentenced to 6 and half years time served already after he testified against his co-conspirators.
On January 4, , Abramoff pleaded guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud in Miami , related to the SunCruz deal. The plea agreement called for a maximum sentence of just over seven years and would run concurrently with the sentence in the Washington corruption case, but could be reduced if Abramoff cooperated fully.
The remaining four counts in the Florida indictment were dismissed. According to the "memorandum in aid of sentencing", the sentencing judge, U.
District Judge Paul C. Huck , received over pleas for leniency from various people, including "rabbis, military officers and even a professional hockey referee.
In Abramoff was retained under a secret contract by the Guam Superior Court to lobby against a bill proposing to put the Superior Court under the authority of the Guam Supreme Court.
On November 18, , a grand jury issued a subpoena demanding that the administrator of the Guam Superior Court release all records relating to the contract.
On November 19, , U. Black, the chief prosecutor for Guam and the instigator of the indictment, was unexpectedly demoted and removed from the office he had held since The federal grand jury investigation was quickly wound down and took no further action.
In Public Auditor Doris Flores Brooks initiated a new investigation of the Abramoff contract, which is continuing.
Hills, trusting Sanchez as a court official at face value, assumed that this was a temporary circumstance and agreed to help facilitate transition for what he thought was a standard government contract between Abramoff and the court.
For this Hills received no compensation. Before indictments or investigations were initiated, Hills halted his temporary contract with Abramoff and reported what he thought was potentially suspicious behavior to public officials when it occurred to him that something may be wrong.
In , superseding indictments were issued against Hills and Sanchez, and in further related indictments were handed down against Abramoff and Abramoff's firm at the time, Greenberg Traurig.
The charges against both attorney Howard Hills and Greenberg Traurig have since been dismissed. The lobbyists also orchestrated lobbying against their own clients in order to force them to pay for lobbying services.
These practices were the subject both of long-running criminal prosecution and hearings by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. On November 21, , Scanlon pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe a member of Congress and other public officials.
On January 3, , Abramoff pleaded guilty to three felony counts — conspiracy, fraud, and tax evasion — involving charges stemming principally from his lobbying activities in Washington on behalf of Native American tribes.
In the agreement, Abramoff admits to bribing public officials, including Ney. Later in Abramoff lobbyists Neil Volz and Tony Rudy pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges; in September Ney himself pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements.
On September 4, , a Washington court found Abramoff guilty of trading expensive gifts, meals and sports trips in exchange for political favors, and U.
District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle sentenced him to a four-year term in prison, to be served concurrently with his previous sentences. Abramoff cooperated in a bribery investigation involving lawmakers, their aides, and members of the Bush administration.
Abramoff served four years of a six-year sentence. On November 15, , he began serving his term in the minimum security prison camp of Federal Correctional Institution, Cumberland , Maryland, as inmate number The Justice Department had requested that he serve his sentence there so as to be accessible to agents in Washington for cooperation as the investigations related to his associates intensified.
He was also teaching courses in public speaking and screenwriting to his fellow inmates and instituted a popular movie night.
On June 8, , he was released from federal prison and was transferred to a halfway house in Baltimore, Maryland , until the end of his six-year sentence.
Abramoff has returned to lobbying since his release from prison, having attempted to arrange meetings between then President-elect Donald Trump and foreign leaders.
Recently speaking to Politico Abramoff said he has worked to "combat Radical Islamic politically and to support other good causes", including Anti-corruption and Criminal justice reform in the United States.
In the same interview it seems that Abramoff is in a project with the president of the Republic of the Congo and with congressman Dana Rohrabacher to try to establish a Coalition of African states to defeat the terrorist group Boko Haram.
Abramoff's friends who Abramoff said he believes have financial investments in Congo were in talks with the country's controversial president, Denis Sassou Nguesso , to try to enlist the United States to support the coalition.