We have a friend who works with one of the bigger tour boat companies in Seward and he says their passenger numbers are down to 25% of what was originally scheduled. Yes, the virus has greatly affected Alaska's tourist and fishing industry, which we will see the direct effect to our economy by the end of summer. The state is sending out Alaska Dividends of $1,000 on July 1st, instead of waiting until early October. Our yearly issued dividends are from the oil sold off from Prudhoe Bay up north. Each Alaska resident who applies for receives the year dividend, unless seized by the courts or collection companies. Some speculation that we might also receive a smaller dividend in October. No amount was given. I know for a lot of people now unemployed, this July payment will be a big help. Alaska expects to see a lot of renters and even home owners kicked out of their places of residence once the federal mandate expires that prevented same from occurring.
As for my writing, yesterday I finished "Dawn of Prophecy", my prequel to "A Coming Storm". "Final Judgement", my third book in the series is now at the publishers, along with four others works of mine. I am now returning to "Conspiracy", a book that was thought of by my old and dear friend Gary Wells, who is now with the Lord. I share writer's credit with Gary as the story was his basic idea. I had hoped to finish his original manuscript, but the family never answered my requests. Gary and I shared a lot about our writings and he was the person who recommended to me, Alaska Dreams Publishing, owned and operated by Robert Jacobson, who has published 6 books for me. Basic premise for the story is as follows: Former Marine Captain Jacob Michael Salcedo ( Michael "Andy" Salcedo was my foster-brother and a full blooded Apache), has retired in the Alaska Wilderness with a strong desire to stay away from people as much as possible. (Alaska has a very high number of Vietnam Vets who have come up here for this reason). He is joined by his two dogs; Samson, 7-year old half-Malamute and half Timber Wolf, and Cher, a retired Military Working Dog. (Cher was the name of my military patrol/narcotic dog I had in the Air Force. She saved my life during a drug raid in 1976. Story involves a US Senator, Ms. Susan B. Montgomery of Oregon, who comes to Prudhoe Bay oil fields to investigate reports that one of the oil companies up there is involved with the People's Republic of China, as reported by a US Intelligence Agency. She brings with her 3 people. Then after leaving Prudhoe Bay, en route back to Fairbanks to catch a lengthy flight back to Washington DC, her aircraft with 5-people aboard is shot down by a band of 6 mercenaries/henchmen, who were hired to to kill the Senator and make sure the evidence she had gathered at the oil fields never makes it to the courts.
The plane crashes 24-miles northwest of Fairbanks, in a very rugged area of the state. The crash site is also within half-a-mile of Jacob's cabin. Upon hearing the plane zooming overhead and seeing it was in serious trouble with smoke and flame coming from one of the aircraft's two engines, Jacob goes to see if he can offer any help. Senator Montgomery, though badly injured, is the lone survivor. He transports her back to his cabin and provides medical assistance. He soon learns the aircraft had been shot down and having no phone or radio to call for help, Jacob becomes involved in a mini-war against the 6-mercenaries who want to make sure the good senator is dead. A running battle is fought as Jacob, a Marine Force Recon veteran with battles fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, goes up against these 6 shooters. His goal is to get the senator to a hospital and out of danger as the race for Fairbanks across some of the most unforgivable terrain Alaska has to offer.
That's the basic outline. When Gary and I talked about his story, I was never given the names of the characters so I use my own. He did have the retired officer having a brute of a dog. Plane is shot down and he rescues the senator. The rest is on me to fill in. Gary had other ideas for stories and we talked about those and the ones I had planned. Back in the old days, Gary was one of our church elders and played one of the best jazz mouth-harps I ever heard. He played on our worship team with Mona and I. He was also an ex-biker who worked for the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. I think of Gary when I created my Point Man character in my "A Coming Storm" Trilogy. Point Man and his 4-Misfits are 5 ex-outlaw bikers who came to the Lord. All five are former Marine Force Recon veterans. Gary was also a very good Bible teacher and we had weekly Bible studies at his home, shared with a wife, Melanie and two daughters. One daughter, a devoted Christian, went on to become a rescuer of female sex workers in the back streets of Bangkok. Tough gal. I miss talking to Gary, he helped me quite a bit when I was hesitating concerning my writing. But we will chat again when my time comes.
July 11th will be Mona and my 40th Wedding Anniversary. We didn't do anything for our 25th Anniversary, but are thinking about a party for this one. Hard to do during this virus thing, might even hold it at the church which is quite a bit larger than our home. Barbecue up some chow. Hard to believe 40 years have gone by. But we have our 6 children and their spouses, 18 grandchildren and 2 greats to remind us.
Our son, Micheal, married to Haley, with 4 children, is a writer and I hope to see him published. He's good story teller. John Leroy and Kelli remain in Girdwood, and have 6 children, as he continues to work with the US Marshals full time, while working part-time for Whittier Public Safety and handling Girdwood. Girdwood is a resort town that Whittier provides law enforcement for. As you all know I was Public Safety Director for Whittier in 1988-89, before going to work with the State of Alaska. Recently they've been having a bit of protest action in Girdwood and seem to be handling it quite well. Our protests in Alaska have been real quiet, especially compared to the circus down in the lower 48. James remains in the Air Force as a Captain. with his wife Becca and 3 daughters. Joshua, who works for the Uniformed Division of the FBI, recently returned from Minneapolis and is back in DC with his wife, Jen. Micah Sue still lives in Soldotna with husband Brady and two children. Elizabeth, our eldest, lives on our property with her son, and fiance Chris. Her two daughters, one lives in Soldotna, who is single, and one, who is married, lives in Anchorage with her two children.
Right now we have 10 people living on the property, all adults. Our 11th and 12th guests will be arriving this summer. It's what we do and everyone pitches in to make it work. Over the last 25 years, we've had a lot of people come and go and 98% of the time it has been a real blessing. The other 2%, will some people come with frogs and scorpions and you just have to set them free. The ministry here is called Beth Shamar, "Home of the Watchmen". We help take care of each other.
Yesterday I went out and spent about three hours pulling weeds around the gardens, ran out of fuel for the weed wacker. As I said with all this day light stuff grows mighty fast up here. Hummingbirds and swallows are all here sharing the skies and Mona has her feeders up and we have numerous bird houses on the place. We also have bats, which you seldom see. Bats kill about 1,000 mosquitoes a day, while swallows kill an estimated 800 a day. Helps keep our bug count down. Still need more bat houses. Bears have been moving about, but haven't had to scare any off yet. First 5 years we were bothered almost twice a week with nosy bears. Then having the dogs about, they stayed out back and away from our yappers. I told you the story of our Rat Terrier "Ufie", named by our daughter Micah Sue, who chased a black bear sow for nearly half-a-mile. Poor bear just didn't know what to think of the miniature hell-raiser. Ufie then danced between the feet of a cow moose who dared to cross our yard. Now she just chases our three cats. She is I believe 10-11 yrs old. When our old ones eventually die off I just might get that blue-eyed Malamute I've always wanted, but probably won't be able to afford.
We have a float plane school here in Moose Pass, I can hear them buzzing around outside right now as they practice landings in the lake. School has been here for a long time and the owner is one of 7 men in Alaska who can remove a pilots state license from him. He's been doing it here for a very-very long time.
I watched the news highlights last night and could not believe what was happening in Seattle. When the state governor was interviewed, he looked like a simpleton when he replied, I have no idea what your talking about, so I don't feel we can discuss this topic here and now. Of course my views on the mayor of Seattle will remain my own, but she sure isn't handling the problem. All those people went into this 6 block area to take it over, but forgot about their needs for food and are now asking for donation from the US Country they wanted to desert. Racial Radicals plus Radical Communists do not make a real good mix, hopefully a peaceful outcome will develop. Whole world seems to be having a summer of discontent, one for the history books. I can still remember all the anti-Vietnam stuff that went on in the late 60's and early 70's. Plus the race riots. Believe when I say, I have experienced the shame, fear, anger and just plain bizarre atmosphere of a race riot. I pray they will soon end. For my two cents, defunding the police is really not the answer. You end up with less training, less experienced officers and upset citizenry as their crime rates shoot upward. Yes, their are bad cops, I fired a racist cop in Whittier and let go of another officer who couldn't do the job. I saw abuse in the military police units, mainly because young cops, who have a temper or have racist beliefs, have problems being neutral.
True, I have had to use choke holds, and when not used properly, they can injure or even kill. If used with restraint, you can disable a fighter without hurting them too badly. I was taught the proper way and I never hurt anyone, beyond making them dizzy or unconscious and they stopped fighting. But when your outnumbered in a large bar fight, you cannot just pat them on the butt and send them on their way. When things turned ugly in Dillingham in 1981, during the fishing strike, officers were responding to bar calls with shotguns. Too many people armed with guns and knives and really angry over the strike. Never had to shoot anyone, just the show of force was often enough. But there were only 5 of us back then and only seldom did we all respond together. Usually it was just the primary officer on duty and a back-up officer who was sent from home.
I wrote this incident in my story, "Rookie", which is at the publishers, which occurred in Dillingham in 1981 during that fishing strike. We over a thousand boats in the harbor and outside same, the crews spread about the town. A fishing processor came into town, its first visit ever to the city, with a crew of about 100 aboard. 8 of them got themselves into a bar fight with locals and I and the other three officers responded to back-up the Chief. During this time my Chief, a darling little man and former Alaska State Trooper, had taken to calling me this rather bizarre nickname..."Godzuki", which if your a Godzilla fan, is the big critter's little son. Well the chief aimed me at this giant, who stood about 6'8-9" and weighed a whole lot more than I and yelled out, "Godzuki, he's yours. Take him!" This man it turned out was affectionately known as Tiny. This would be the second Tiny" character I had dealt with in my career. The first one was a large Marine, from when I was working with Town Patrol in Thailand. One thing about this tiny, that we would only learn of later, was how he was basically allergic to alcoholic beverages and wasn't supposed to drink as it drove him crazy-insane. So his pals, hoping to have a bit of fun with him, were sneaking small amounts of liquor into his sodas. Sure enough, he flipped out and began tearing the bar up. When I went to subdue this rather large youngster, we were now fighting in the attached cafe, and he was busily driving his fists through a plywood wall, making neat little knuckle-sized holes. About 6 of them. He decided he did not want to go along with me willingly and we grappled. Will they had destroyed the bar and the cafe next door, doing well over $20,000 in damages during this melee. I tried to talk this big kid down, he was 23-24 if I recall and very-very strong. Suddenly I was in a fight for my life. My uniform was pretty torn up, along with assorted bruises to my precious body. But a choke hold was all I could use to render him unconscious, unless I wanted to pistol whip him like Wyatt Earp did to his prisoners. (I've been watching old Wyatt Earp serials starring Hugh O'Brian as Wyatt and he sure pistol whipped a lot of thugs). But he went to sleep. Later, after we had put him into a State Trooper Dodge Ram-charger, handcuffed, and with chest and waist seat belt around him. He actually broke the front bucket seat off of its mount and tried to escape, walking all stooped over with the seat still attached to his backside. The Trooper nearly flipped out, seeing the damage this big lug had caused and actually tackled him. We then placed him in chains the trooper had with him and threw him into the back of the vehicle. Now, when he sobered up, the man was a gentle giant, well mannered and so apologetic. We had to put himself in a cell by himself as his fellow crew members were scared to death he would hurt them bad for their little joke. But the story didn't end there.
Later, we got a call warning us that 40 some crew members from the same fish processor boat were en route to the jail to break out their pals from this silly Podunk town jail. The five of us, now armed with shotguns, encircled the jail, with the trooper inside with the prisoners. The men had to come up this long dirt roadway to reach the jail, which only had two cells. ( During the Beaver Round-up Festival, a fur gathering and buying event, we had 16-people in each cell and the women outside the cells on chairs and handcuffed to the hall railings. Big drunk. Anyhow, the 40 some men showed up carrying chains and filet knives, but thankfully no guns. Chief advised them to disperse, but these two Oriental mouthpieces in the lead kept egging these people on and they continued to approach. Chief finally cut loose with the shotgun and sent pellets into the dirt road about 12-feet in front of the crowd. This stopped them cold and about five people were hurt by rocks and a few pellets and now on the ground holding their legs. Like Old Dodge City in too many respects. Now this crowd was multi-racial, Whites, Blacks, Orientals and Natives. The boat skipper was in Anchorage and knew nothing about this until he returned, and boy was he angry. I suspect the whole group involved were fired when they returned to Seattle, but never confirm this. Our Chief decided to arrest only the two mouth pieces which ended up being a wise decision. We transported them all to the hospital, and it turned out these two idiots were actually major criminals, with Unclassified Felony Warrants out for them for Murder in the First Degree. They had been hiding on this fish processor, but then got drunk and stupid while in port. They were actual hit-men, assassins for the New Tongs out of San Francisco. They had gone into hiding after killing a newsman on the city hall steps. We had FBI and Frisco Homicide Officers in town the very next day to take custody of these two. The boat company paid all the fines and for all of the damages. Some of the guys did served time, but not too long for they were charged with mostly misdemeanors after the company agreed to pay what was owed. As for the big guy, we, the officers, talked the Chief into not filling charges against him after learning about his allergy. Like I said, he ended up being a real fine gentleman and even offered to shake my hand before they left, apologizing for what he had done. He had no memory of our little scuffle, but was glad to hear he hadn't hurt me. So, was I. Though I do believe the jokers were glad to go to jail so they wouldn't have to face this big guy out on the open seas. Some of them might not have made it back to port, having gone missing at sea. Not from the giant, but the rest of the crew, who were now confined to the ship.
As I have said before and many times, Dillingham for me was quite an adventure, a dangerous one, but I learned more there about being a police officer and dealing with the public then I did the rest of my career in law enforcement. The fishing strike had been a bloody one, a lot of boats and homes set fire to. a lot of bar problems and all over 2-cents a pound for salmon. That's all in my story too, including the night me and the officer riding with me were set up for an ambush by 8 guys with rifles. Thanks to a dear friend's warning, it all ended well and no one was hurt.
I look back over my career in law enforcement and am extremely thankful I had such a supportive wife and loving children. Also, that I had become a Christian early on in my police career. This in turn helped quite a lot in dealing with people who were not having their best day.
Thanks for listening. I pray the Lord bless you all during these trying times. BILL/APPA