Currently I am finishing up on my notes for my next book, "Unsung Heroes"....title may change and I'm thinking about using "Alaska Pursuit" or something like that. This is the story that my good friend Gary Wells originally began, but then he died before finishing it. So I decided to finish it for him and share the book with him. Story concerns a U.S. Senator who flies to Prudoe Bay by private plane to investigate conspiracy complaints her office was notified of. Once she wraps up her on site investigation she leaves Prudoe to fly to Fairbanks to gather more information. But she fails to make it. While en route her plane is shot down by a stinger missile and crashes 250-miles northwest of Fairbanks. She becomes the sole survivor and is soon rescued by a retired Special Forces Army Officer who lives in the wilderness with his two dogs. Half White Mountain Apache and half White, this man journeyed to Alaska to escape civilization and deal with his PTSD from three combat tours in the Middle East. He soon learns that a five members mercenary group has located the downed plane and realizes the senator was gone and they go in pursuit to finish her off. This forces the retired officer and the female senator to abandon his cabin and take to the trail to reach civilization. The dogs are a major part of the story as one is a retired patrol bomb dog that he brought with him back from Afghanistan and the other dog is a half malamute and half Timber Wolf he raised from a puppy and now weighs over 140 lbs. I've changed a lot of the things Gary had told me, but the basic idea was his and we often talked about our different stories we were working on. Currently I have 6 books at the publisher waiting to be reviewed. "Rookie" was just finished and sent to the publisher.
I've taken a month off from writing to heal up from my fall. Now if I can keep the dogs from stepping on my chest when I'm sleeping my rib should be almost healed. I would've been healed sooner but one of our hounds jumped up on me and landed right on my damaged rib. Woke me up right off. Good thing I love our four dogs. I have also noticed that it now takes a bit longer to mend then when I was young.
Well, we've had about another foot of snow in the last couple of weeks, temperature this morning was minus 10 and the skies are clear. When I first came to Alaska I thought it strange that it got colder when the skies were clear in winter. But in another month we should start seeing the first moments of spring. By April break-up will begin and summer will soon be upon us. This is our 20th year here in Moose Pass. My 43rd year in Alaska has begun, as I arrived in January 1978. Came into Fairbanks wearing my Class A Uniform and nearly froze to death during the 22 mile bus ride to Eielson Air Force Base. Was 3-days before I received my arctic gear, never felt so cold in my life. Frost bit my feet and hands that first winter, not something I wanted to repeat, but I did. I have gained a lot of respect for Alaska's winter. I believe I told you a lot of this before, but my harshest winter was 82 below zero actual temperature that last for a week, wind chill lowest was minus 122 that last during a serious storm in February 89 and I have seen a lot of minus 40 and colder. Once it hits minus 40 everything just hurts. But over the years I've noticed how its growing warmer and we no longer see the minus 60 temps or colder, which mostly occurs in the interior of Alaska. Coldest we've had here in Moose Pass was minus 35 but that was over 10 years ago. This winter minus 22 was our coldest, mostly around minus 10, but temps rise when the snow comes, as the heavy laden clouds keep the earth's warmth in. I recommend that if you've never been to Alaska that you experience it some February, just to say you did it. It is also quite beautiful as the land is covered in deep snow, but get outside the cities to experience the wild of Alaska.
I was on foot patrol in Skagway one afternoon as we had three cruise ship in town and downtown was packed with tourists. I worked anti-shoplifting duties during that time and I came to the aid of a middle-aged woman whole high heels got stuck in our town's boardwalk. The town never put actual sidewalks in downtown but used the original boardwalk from the early 1900s, replacing the wood as needed. One of the most photographed items in town was an old dog that slept right out from a tourist joint. Dog was said to be approaching 20 years. Everyone stopped to take photos of that mutt, but he just kept sleeping away. But that woman in heels was also wearing a very expensive full length fur coat and it had to be in the low 80's. I really enjoyed tourists. One afternoon I was off duty and Mona and I were downtown tourist watching and I noticed this tiny old lady shoplifting some expensive walrus ivory, that would lead me to the biggest shoplifting ring I ever encountered and I was able to recover thousands of dollars in stolen ivory, jewelry and gold. These two couples of old people, all in their low 80s, had become a gang of thieves and they were pretty good at it. When I searched their two cabins I discovered items from all the stops they had made along the Southeast Alaskan Coast. Even a few items from Seattle before their departure. Really nice old people and they actually had a good laugh about getting busted, knowing it was doubtful they would every see a day in jail. They paid for their vacation with the dollars they had made from the previous summer. They had actually been doing this for 7 summers. Of course they were forever barred from all the cruise lines. I mention this ring of seasoned criminals in my upcoming book "Stronghold" , which is about my time on the Skagway Police, dealing with Canadians, ghosts and spooks, and a witches coven that had been operating in secret since 1899. I was able to identify half of them after they had desecrated an historical miner's graveyard, digging up the bones to use as alters to sacrifice cats and dogs on. I plan to write books on my time on the Seward PD, Whittier PD and the Exxon Oil Spill and then my time as the state's sole gambling investigator and traveling all over the state, from villages to town, plus the bigger cities. My first time to go up against organized crime and some slimy politicians. The money gained from legal gambling can be used to support politicians. My last year with the state Alaska was doing over $250 million in legal gambling. I also investigated the illegal and saw how Lower 48 organized crime bad boys were trying to take control of illegal gambling in our state. They were also deeply involved in the sex trade and even worse. Along the way I took down one Alaska Lt. Governor and later pinch another Lt Governor for using illegal gambling to raise money for his "war chest". I was not too popular in the politician's circle but I had a good boss who supported me. More than a couple times my job was nearly lost because of political strength against me. I was also able to take down the biggest legal gambling operator in our state and boy did he not like me as I cost him a $10 million dollar a year business. It wasn't just me but I had a great state accountant working with me and he taught me a lot about hidden money, which would come in handy. I don't know where to hide my money now.....You can laugh now. I was offered some great bribes, which I reported immediately. Sadly one of my inforements was killed while trying to help me. She was an exoctic dancer working in Fairbanks and last I heard some Hell's Angels were suspected of killing her. At the time they were the enforcers for a man who operated the largest strip joints. She disappeared and her body was later found. I believe the case is still open. But working with a good friend who was the liquor investigator for the state's Alcohol Beverage Control Board, we got one of the strip joints closed down for good. Those were the days. Later my boss was hired as Chief Investigator, a former Secret Service Agent who had some great stories. He took over Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula, while I still handled the rest of the state. Flying all over I really got to see how big Alaska was and meet some fantastic people in the villages and towns. Went to Nome three times for the finish of the Iditarod Dog Sled Race. A lot of gambling legal and illegal went on there during this yearly race. First year I went in undercover and discovered a lot of problems. Nome was quite crowded during that race, always a party going on. I didn't think too highly of the Nome Police Department back then, one of the reasons I went in undercover and worked with the State Troopers. In fact, Nome PD is in hot water once again and this time it's for ignoring the majority of sexual assaults reported by native people. Which forced the current chief to resign and the department investigator. Our state troopers are some of the best cops in the country, but some of the local PDs hire some real bad people. Some of the villages have been shown to be using criminals because no one else would take the job. I helped an old friend get hired at one village, he lasted about 3 months before he left suddenly. He said the place was too scary. Sure, police work is scary at times and it takes a certain type of person to do the job right. Most are veterans from the military who have already experienced the worst side of people, but the ones looking for good money find out the job is too tough for them. Best cops are the ones who take the job because they want to be a helper, enjoy the excitement and helping out good people. But there does come a lot of boredom too on those winter nights and fixing a flat tire at minus 40 can really test a person.
Our family van has been broken down, but they got it running today for a drive into Seward. It broke down before they got out the driveway lot, did some more work and headed south. Chris, a really good mechanic is along for the ride. We need to get some more parts it seems. But that 19 year old van has been really good to us since it was given to us by a dear friend. It has seen a lot of mileage since we took ownership, mostly a lot of short trips. I stay home because the winter roads make for a rough ride and my elderly spine doesn't like the shaking. I wait until spring, which gives me more time to write.
Still 7 adults living here, 5 dogs and now a third cat that has taken to living in our basement with John Alex. Chris and Elizabeth live in their school bus/RV behind the house. WE also have another school bus being converted into a large RV for a woman who will be living here for awhile. A real nice lady. As most of you know we call our place Beth Shamar, "Home of the Watchmen", a ministry we began a long time ago to help people out. A lot of them have moved on as they were ready and stay in touch. We've been really blessed by this ministry and having the church right next door has really been a help. Everyone pitches in to keep everything running. This winter we've seen a big jump in Electricity rates and propane. Main reason why we heat by wood, it also smells better than fuel oil. One thing I've learn by coming to Alaska so long ago that besides the beauty and its animals, Alaska has so many great people. We're still at less than a million people and we are so blessed to live in this narrow valley, surrounded by alpine-like mountains. My favorite peaks I call the three sisters, but I am noticing buy how small its glaciers are becoming. The world heating up can really be noticed here in Alaska. Just makes me wonder how far the earth is going to go and could this be what happened to Mars? Just a thought.
Well, I've been sitting here long enough, time to get something done for the day besides pound my keyboard. I'm a self-taught typist and I have no idea how many words I do a minute but it must be one or two. I went to a typing class years ago and I thought I was going to break my fingers doing it their way. So I went back to my way. I type pretty fast but I still have to look at the keyboard as I type. Spelling has always been a problem for me, but when writing my stories out I keep a large dictionary at my elbow and a thesaurus handy. Don't want to appear as a simpleton. Of course writing out several thousand police reports over the years has help a lot. A court complaint cannot have a single error in it, which help me learn quickly. You had to have a court complaint for each criminal charge on each person. I always felt we could've saved a lot of money just putting it all together on a single complaint, but the court never agreed with me. I believe my busiest year was while working for the Seward PD. In 1985 I made 353 arrests. Mostly because I worked the midnight shift, public drinking was allowed, fireworks were legal and the bars were open until 5 am, closed for 3 hours and then opened back up. Was a busy year back then and the 4th of July was the biggest 3-day festival I've ever worked. We had the USS Alaska Trident Submarine in, plus its large sub-tender, which brought in a mess of peace-niks, a band of Hell's Angels and the largest crowd to hit us from Anchorage. Doug, my good friend and I did walking patrol, up and down the downtown's two blocks for midnight until noon for 3 days. What a mess. A lot of dope busts, drunk and disorderly, nakedness, just plain out of control rowdies. A lot of fun and piles of paperwork. That's the downside of police work, all the paperwork involved from court complaints, reports and other required items. Went through two uniforms during that festival, a lot of bar fights getting my uniform stained in blood, booze and glass shards. But you know what, I loved my job and miss it everyday. Weird right? I must've got hit in the head too often.
Now I have two sons in law enforcement and now I can listen to their cop stories. I'm proud of all my children. Mona and I have been blessed.
I was going to list some news stories as I try to follow this virus, now called COVID-19. But this journal is already long. So blessings to all of you. BILL