LANSING – In a decision today, the Michigan Court of Claims sided with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and denied a motion for preliminary injunction holding that the current Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order, and earlier versions of it, did not infringe upon the constitutional rights of Michigan residents, Attorney General Dana Nessel announced.
The plaintiffs in Martinko et. al. v. Whitmer et. al. alleged that the “mandatory quarantine” imposed by the Stay Home, Stay Safe order (EO 2020-59) and the intrastate travel restrictions contained in an earlier version of the order (EO 2020-42) violate their rights to both procedural due process and substantive due process.
In the first substantive ruling examining the constitutionality of the executive orders, Court of Claims Judge Christopher M. Murray acknowledged in his opinion that the rights asserted by plaintiffs are fundamental.
“But those liberty interests are, and always have been, subject to society’s interests – society being our fellow residents. They – our fellow residents – have an interest to remain unharmed by a highly communicable and deadly virus, and since the state entered the Union in 1837, it has had the broad power to act for the public health of the entire state when faced with a public crisis.”
Murray stated that issuing injunctive relief “would not serve the public interest, despite the temporary harm to plaintiffs’ constitutional rights.”
The plaintiffs also alleged that the Emergency Management Act is an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power to the Governor, but the Court noted the act does not provide the Governor with “uncontrolled, arbitrary power.” Instead, he indicated that the act provides for very specific procedures and criteria for the Governor to declare a state of disaster or emergency, and what conditions qualify as a disaster or emergency.
Click here to view a copy of the court’s decision.
By Sen. Jon Bumstead, 34th Senate District
I have had numerous conversations with my colleagues and folks back home in the district about what the state is doing to ease some of the economic stress and start transitioning Michiganders back to work.
As public officials, our number one priority is keeping the general public safe. At the same time, we need to find a way to balance this responsibility with the state’s economy and the livelihoods of countless Michigan families. We cannot slow our state to a halt as we work to address the ever-changing needs surrounding the coronavirus.
Business owners and employees have made their opinions clear, have shown their plans to operate safely and have proven their ability to do so. More and more research is suggesting certain industries, under the proper safety protocols, can return to work without any increased risk over their normal working conditions.
In mid-March the federal government outlined standards for essential workers. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer subsequently adopted the recommended guidelines for essential workers in Michigan. As new information and research were made available, the federal government issued amended guidelines on two separate occasions: the first set of changes came on March 28 and the most recent on April 17.
I joined my colleagues Tuesday morning in approving two resolutions that encourage Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to adopt the updated federal guidelines for essential workers and begin getting Michiganders safely back to work.
Senate Resolution 112 calls on the governor to join other states in adopting the most recent federal guidelines for which employees are “essential,” which would allow more workers to return to work who can safely do so. The federal guidelines outline changes, include updated safety procedures for different industries and provide a road map for businesses to begin safely returning to work. Workers in construction and other fields are being allowed to return to work in our neighboring states so long as proper safety measures are followed, but those in the same fields remain unable to work here in Michigan.
The Senate also approved SR 111 urging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to revise Executive Order 2020-17 and allow hospitals and health care facilities to resume elective procedures.
The executive order, which took effect March 21, required hospitals, freestanding surgical outpatient facilities, dental facilities, and all state-operated outpatient facilities to postpone all nonessential procedures. More than 12 states with similar executive restrictions have since dialed back those restrictions and deemed it safe for health care providers to resume elective procedures.
Michigan residents have had their health care put on hold while doctors attempt to determine which procedures are allowed under the governor’s ambiguous order.
Prohibiting hospitals and doctors from safely performing certain procedures has crippled the finances of the very health care providers who have been on the front lines of our battle against COVID-19. We need to get the hospital employees who have been laid off back to work and allow Michiganders to receive the care they need.
I voted in favor of both resolutions as I believe we need to have clear and consistent guidelines on which industries are able to work and under what circumstances. Many states have accepted these updated guidelines for critical workers and more than 12 states have resumed medical procedures and surgeries.
My colleagues and I will continue working with other industries as they prove they can operate without posing any danger to employees or patrons. I believe today’s action and the relaxations announced in the governor’s most recent stay-home order are a good place to start these discussions.
Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo, represents the 34th state Senate District, which includes Muskegon, Newaygo and Oceana counties.
By Charles Chandler
This is the final installment of a compelling story of challenge, change, rappelling, risk and redemption.
It’s a good read with an interesting twist at the end.
And below are links to the first two segments in case you are just discovering this tale of mountaineering mixed with a modicum of mysticism.
Redbud Valley is a unique geological and cultural area east of Tulsa Oklahoma. You can spend a lifetime discussing the geology of Oklahoma but it is a waypoint in this rambling story. Oklahoma has, forgiven the pun, been underwater in more ways than one. Over time, the seas rose and fell and created a layer cake of limestone, shale, and sandstone. In Oklahoma, the topsoil is quite thin in most places and this layer cake of hard stuff is often exposed. Redbud Valley is such a place. The top layer around Redbud Valley was limestone, locally called the caprock, followed by alternating layers of softer sandstone, shale and so on. In the Redbud Valley area, this formation was cut through by a small river called Bird Creek.
The action of creek over eons allowed the exposed layer cake to weather and create smaller side valleys and large bluffs. These exposed bluffs eroded and the softer sandstone did so faster than the harder limestone creating large overhangs.
The paleo and historical native Americans used the overhangs as rock shelters and temporary hunting camps or hideouts. Followed by outlaws, cattle rustlers, homeless dust bowl hobos, and moonshiners using these remote, deeply wooded ravines and rock shelters for their nefarious purposes. In this setting, it is a public place where families could hike, birdwatch, and explore the interesting geology. It was a nature lover’s paradise with a variety of trees and flowers.
It was also my gym.
The hilly remote road through the valley was an excellent place to do conditioning runs and the bluffs and boulders included many short free climbing pitches. There were several huge overhangs where soon I would be practicing my repelling. Now all that was needed was a good climbing rope and a few pieces of gear.
It was a delight to get the REI Catalogue and begin agonizing over the many features and choices of ropes and rappelling hardware. After much dithering, it was a 10 mm 60-meter dynamic dry rope in a jazzy red and yellow pattern. The hardware included the standard super 8 belay device, descender rings, and a GRIGRI. I also ordered some one-inch webbing and 5 MM Perlon cord. The 5 MM cord would soon be my demise. The REI order came in around noon on a Saturday. It was late February but it was Christmas all over again. I examined each piece of hardware and felt the weight and texture of my new beautiful climbing rope. You have to be a gearhead to understand the excitement and joy that a new batch of sporting gear can bring. Overcome with excitement there was only one thing to do. Head out to Redbud Valley and try this new stuff out.
The sun was shining and it was in the mid-50s so what the heck let's go for it.
Let's also pause for a moment and recall the Canon Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills that was my nightstand reader. It contained page after page of technical instruction about every aspect of Mountaineering including practical safety precautions.
One such directive was to always let someone know where you are going and when you expected to return. Another was a caution not to repel without a partner. There was one more that should have been followed.
My wife was away shopping. She was very familiar with Redbud Valley and would have advised on waiting until the next day when she could have gone with me. Or to call one of my buds and go one evening the following week. As I was stuffing my new gear in my day pack, I knew that I could be out, try the new gear and be back before she came home from the Mall. Therefore, no note, no harm no foul. Heading out the door, I should have listened to that music playing in my head, it probably would have been something like the theme song from the movie "JAWS"
Arriving at the Redbud Valley parking lot about midafternoon I grabbed my pack and a water bottle and hit the trail over to the bluffs. Walking out on the highest overhang with the greatest drop I took a few minutes to enjoy the view. There were three people below. Over on my right and along the trail under the overhangs there was a man and a little girl. It appeared that the little girl was playing in one of the small springs and seeps that flowed from under the bluffs. I smiled because I had watched my daughter play in that same spring. On my left and closer was a young man that was standing and looking down over the valley toward Bird Creek.
As I recall he was dressed in an army surplus field jacket and for a moment he kind of reminded me of that young man that had fallen on the Hogsback ridge on Mt Hood. The one with the concussion that we had walked back down the Mountain. I turned to the task of setting up for my first repel, selecting a strong Oak sapling, looped on the webbing slings, locked on the descender ring with two carabiners and uncoiled my brand-new beautiful climbing rope. I slipped it through the descender ring and then walked to the edge of the overhand and dropped it down. It touched the jumble of scree below with plenty of lengths to spare.
I took a quick look down and around. The man and little girl on my right were gone and so was the young man on my left. I had the world to myself. Next steps, buckle up my climbing harness, secure the trusty figure 8 to the rope and my harness and back over the edge of the overhang. I paused for a moment, to be extra safe and put the Prusik hitch on as a backup brake. Before leaving home, I had cut a length of the 5 MM cord and tied it together with two fisherman's knots making the Prusik.
This is where the "JAWS" music gets loud.
Clipping in the Prusik I backed over the edge of the overhang, felt my weight settle in the climbing harness and began the long-awaited and first repel. I was looking down at the scree and cobble rocks below anticipating the smooth landing when my descent came to a hard stop. My feet were dangling and I was facing the center of the overhanging block of limestone.
What could be the problem?
I checked the figure 8 to see if the rope had bound up. Nope, good there, and then looked up and the Prusick was doing what Prusiks do. It was locked and the hitch was on the rope just above the edge of the overhang.
About that third thing, I mentioned a few minutes ago. The passage in Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills states that if you use a Prusick ensure that you keep your hand on the hitch and slide it down the rope and don't let it lock up as you begin your repel descent. In baseball that would have been three strikes and you would be taking the long embarrassing walk back to the dugout. Except that I couldn't walk because I was hung up on a rocky overhang in Redbud Valley. Well, embarrassment aside, I figured to get out my trusty Swiss Army knife and cut the ever efficient Prusik and let it be a lesson well remembered. A quick check of my pockets revealed no knif and the last time I remembered seeing the knife was lying on the kitchen table where I was cutting the 5 MM cord to make the stupid Prusik.
I can do this, I said to self.. I can get myself out of this stupid mess. I will reach up to grab the rope, pull myself up and loosen the hitch with the other hand.
Now I don't know if you have done many one-arm pull-ups but they can be a challenge. The first try I realized that the knot was set tight. I had to hold myself up with one arm long enough to slack the climbing rope and loosen the Prusik and slide it down the rope. After several repeated tries, the results of my efforts were that my arms were spent and I was wet with sweat. I hung my arms down by my side to let some blood flow and give them a rest, now knowing that I had to think my way out of this situation. My legs were starting to complain because I had been sitting in my climbing harness and the leg straps were starting to impede circulation.
As I was resting, I looked to my left and saw that the overhang tailed off and intersected with the adjacent bluff face. At that intersection were a good crack and some rough protrusions and small pockets in the face of that adjacent bluff. Now I knew my way out. I could easily lever myself along the overhang, reach that intersection and like a good climber get a handhold in that crack and a toe on one of the rough places and get up and over. After resting a bit and getting a little chilled it was time to extricate me from this situation.
To move along the overhang, I had to do a little push out from the face of the overhang.
Starting this maneuver, it immediately became apparent that my new rope would have to take my weight and slide along the edge of the overhang. The edge was rough and sharp in place and would abrade if not cut the rope. To prevent this, I would use one hand to hold the rope from the rough edge and one hand to push out and increment myself along the face of the overhang to the nearby crack and my exit. This was a great idea on paper. It required me to do one-handed push off while at the same time pulling back on the rope against my weight and trying to move down the overhang. This maneuver required all arm strength because my legs were dangling. The problem was now compounded because I was a pendulum and gravity was trying to pull me back to the center. Soon it was back to my original position with arms shredded and my right hand bruised and scratched from trying to do one-handed pushups. Sitting there that first little niggly bit of fear started to creep in.
It had been in the 50s and the sun was shining when I started this little ill-fated adventure. Now it was late afternoon, cloudy and my cotton shirt and jeans were damp with sweat. I was starting to get chilly. There was no one around and no one probably wasn't coming out to this remote spot so late on a Saturday afternoon. My wife was probably home from shopping, but the genius of the family did not leave the recommended note. By the time she became worried and called the police and reported me missing it would be well into the night or next day before search and rescue began looking. There were plenty of clues lying around, boxes from REI, and pieces of stupid 5 MM cord and probably my favorite swiss army knife. The problem was going to be making it through the night. It was Oklahoma and it was February and weather can change in a heartbeat. There was only one thing to do, start yelling for help.
I knew this was a long shot because there were no houses around, I was deep in a wooded Valley with bluffs on three sides and under an overhang. As loud as I could I yelled help three times and waited, nothing, not a bird, not a cricket. Three more times and wait. Then in what felt like an hour, I heard a clink.
In rocky country, a clink only means one thing, something or someone had kicked a rock loose and it had hit another rock. Same as a twig snapping here in our Michigan woodlands.
Please, I thought. Please let it not be a stupid deer. Please let it be a someone.
Then down below on a small rough trail through the bluff that young man I had seen earlier appeared. I said out loud ‘Thank you, Jesus. ‘ and yelled down and said “Hey I am really glad to see you. My gear is hung up and I am in a mess here and I need your help.”
Why I don't know but I asked him if he knew anything about repelling gear and he said no. Then I asked him if he had a knife and he again said no. Then I asked him if he would come over to the scree down below me and find a rock with a sharp edge and pitch it up. He did and the first one went a little wide. My arms were so weak I couldn't react or reach. The next one was right on and I caught it and quickly sawed the stupid Prusik into. This released me and I descended smoothly. However, rather than landing on my feet, I crumpled into the scree on my butt. My legs were almost numb from lack of circulation. I was never so glad to be sitting in a pile of rocks. After rubbing my legs and getting a little circulation and feeling back I grasped my rope and with an effort pulled and stood up. "Free at last."
The young man was standing there watching all this and I stuck my hand out and offered a weak, sincere handshake. He shook my hand and I looked at him and said,”You just saved my life.
No one knew where I was and if I had hung up there all night I would have died of hyperthermia.”
He looked at me a little strangely and didn't say anything. I was starting to recover and the embarrassment of my foolish selfish action was setting in. I was prattling away because of the total joy of being rescued. I unclipped my rope and took my harness off. I pulled my rope down and started coiling it up and laughed. I was hung up with my new rope and this is the first time I had used it. I again told the young man thanks for rescuing me and that I was going up on top of the overhang to get the rest of my gear and head on home.
Hesitating a minute, I asked him how he was doing and if he was a nature lover and out hiking around and enjoying Redbud Valley. He looked at me and said,”Do you mind if I tell you something?'' In my egocentric mind I thought now what, hope it is not something weird. I have had all I can take for one day.
In a soft voice, he said “my life has just been so ordinary and I have never done anything worthwhile and don't see anything worthwhile in my future either. I had reached a point where I didn't think my life was worth living. I had come out to this remote spot and was going to commit suicide. I have my pistol in my pocket and was going to shoot myself. While I was up there in the woods walking around, before I did, I asked God to help me. If my life was worth living then show me. Show me something big. Not some birds singing or a funny cloud or a flower, something big so that I would know for sure. Something like saving someone's life. It was a few minutes later I just barely heard you yell. At first, I thought I was hearing things and then you did it again.”
We looked at each other and I shook his hand again and said, “Well, you sure did save me today.”
Wanting to get on home I picked up my gear and started back up that trail that he had come down. On top I pulled my slings and carbineers from the Oak, stuffed them in my pack and headed toward the parking lot and out of Redbud Valley.
Our lives and our situations change and we adapt and move on. My last event with the Mazama's Mountaineering Club was in 1986. It was a week-long outing in the Wind River Range in Wyoming. On this trip, we summited Gannett Peak, the highest mountain in Wyoming. It was an arduous technical climb and an experience of a lifetime. I made some lifelong friends on that outing. My last climb with these Mazama friends was on Mount St. Helens in Washington on September 9 and 10 2001. The next day on the 11th (9-11-01) we met and had breakfast at the Portland Airport. About an hour into my flight down to Dallas the plane banked and returned to Portland. On that day like now, we said goodbye to an American way of life that would never be again.
Last year I took a trip back down to Tulsa to attend the annual Oklahoma State Homecoming.
While I was there, I had time to take a retrospective drive out to Redbud Valley.
It had changed some in the passing years. There was a huge Native American Casino a few miles up the Port of Catoosa highway and a housing addition at the beginning of Redbud Drive. When I arrived at what used to be the unattended gravel parking lot and trailhead to the bluffs there were some nice surprises. Now it was the Redbud Nature Center and Preserve. There was a visitors' center with proper signage, hours of operations and abundant ground rules.
You can google the place and find endless photos of the bluff and kids have lots of fun hiking and exploring. I parked and carefully started working my way up the trail to the bluffs and the overhang. Thankfully someone had left a walking stick that I used to assist my ole runners' knee and support my additional years and weight. Finally reaching the overhang. I stood and looked out over the Valley and reflected on my hanging day. I still get a lump in my throat and shed a few tears when I think about that event. Of course, there were some recriminations about all the stupid mistakes made. I kept running the scenarios through my mind on what could have been done differently.
Although it is a challenge because of ego, I understand at a deeper spiritual level that this story was never about me. I was just a stage prop to move this play along. Whether you believe in Divine intervention, synchronicity, coincidence or blind luck you can interpret this story as you will. There are many, many similar stories like this one out there. What I do know is that I lived this one and a bazillion things with perfect precision had to fall in place for me to be hanging by my new rope at the very time that young man was in Redbud Valley contemplating ending his life.
Earth Week & the Pandemic: Ironic Timing
By Sally Wagoner, 3R Environmental Education/CEWAC
There is a link between the coronavirus pandemic and our battered environment.
Science is showing that loss of native habitats, overcrowded human and animal conditions, climate changes causing the spread of bacterial and viral entities beyond their traditional geographies, and the toxins from over-industrialization that we dump in our soils, waters and air are all contributing to increased chronic diseases (such as cancers, COPD and heart disease) and acute illnesses (such as Lyme Disease infections and the Covid 19 pandemic).
But that link between the current global health crisis and the environment started at a deeper, more fundamental level than just where we build our cities and throw away our waste. That place is the broader perspective of where we as humans view ourselves in our Earth’s family of species and elements.
“We are all in this together”
I hear this often now, and see photos and social media posts of people rallying together to offer food, face masks and support. This is all needed, and us humans are great at doing this. We have done it time and again just in my lifetime: tornados, hurricanes, floods, terrorist attacks. But if we leave ourselves outside of Nature, then the life preservers that we humans create together will not float. We are in this together with Nature. She’s healthy, we’re healthy. She goes, we go. And it is our separation from Nature, our disconnection from our relationship with Nature, and the denying of our place with-IN the web of Nature, that has helped to ignite this and other disastrous events.
We Humans are at another crisis point or more accurately several tipping points, in our evolution as a global family. It intersects the climate crisis (whose basis is overuse and abuse of land and water beyond the means for homeostasis of our and all other species), with the pandemic crisis (whose basis is a manipulative relationship with our environment as opposed to a cooperative and reciprocating relationship). And as Isaac Chotiner discusses in “The Interwoven Threads of Inequality and Health” (April 14, The New Yorker) it often emerges as survival for those with the greatest wealth and power.
As a global human family, for the survival of us all, we must use this seminal moment to decide which directions we will intentionally choose to take. It will take leadership at the individual, family, community, state, country and global levels to look at every decision we make with respect to its impact on our near and far flung future.
Stealing from our Children and Grandchildren
"The Peacemaker taught us about the Seven Generations. He said, when you sit in council for the welfare of the people, you must not think of yourself or of your family, not even of your generation. He said, make your decisions on behalf of the seven generations coming, so that they may enjoy what you have today." (Oren Lyons, Seneca, Faithkeeper, Onondaga Nation).
The decisions we make now are not just about developing a vaccine, or determining when we can “get back to normal.” Broader, global directions are needed to weave ourselves back into the complex web of Nature, and how we relate to and utilize the Earth’s precious life-giving, life-sustaining yet depleting resources.
It is not just about flattening the Covid 19 infection rate curve, but also of flattening the economic curve so the gap between those who can survive pandemics and extreme weather changes is no longer based on wealth or power.
Up to the Challenge?
“WE HAVE known for some time that 2020 was going to be a milestone year for the climate change crisis, requiring a radical reversal of the current trajectory in global greenhouse gas emissions. But what we didn’t know was that we would also face a global health crisis this year. The decisions we make now to tackle this imminent threat will affect us for generations to come, including our ability to halt global warming.” (Christiana Figueres, Tom Rivett-Carnac, New Scientist Daily E-newsletter, April 1, 2020).
So what can we, as Newaygo County citizens, do to help create change to prevent more overwhelming disasters such as those that are affecting our lives right now and into the future?
We can always start right where we are: at home and in our communities.
“We are in this together” can mean caring for ourselves and our families in a more sustainable and environmentally healthy way. For instance buy local foods, support our local farmers, eat less but humanely raised meat. Drive less, walk outside more, connect with nature for mental and spiritual health. Grow native shrubs, flowers and grasses instead of lawns and invasives to support the pollinators that fertilize our food plants. Reduce what we use, Reuse what we have, Recycle what we don’t need.
We can begin to think about and make decisions based on how we, as individuals and as part of our human and non-human families, will either help damage or help nurture Nature.
We can use this Earth Day anniversary to get informed and take action (click HERE get links for Earth Day webinars and livestreams to view this week – and sign up for 3R-CEWAC Enews!).
We can assure that our leaders and representatives vote for policies that support the long term health of our environment instead of those for short sighted gains. We can vote for leaders who have broad visions for a healthy and sustainable future for all, and who will bring marginalized communities to the economic and environmental justice table.
We are Nature. Let's live as Nature, and hold ourselves and our leaders to this beautiful and sustainable way of being in this world.
3R Environmental Education (and its workgroup Citizens Environmental Watch and Action Coalition) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to “promote the environmental health and sustainability of Newaygo County through Information, Education and Advocacy.” Contact Sally Wagoner: email@example.com.
By Carla Roberts, President and CEO, Fremont Area Community Foundation
Business as unusual—that’s where we are right now. We are all in service to our community, whether operating for profit, as a nonprofit, or as a unit of government. We are all struggling to navigate the current situation and our daily lives have been drastically altered. We are all concerned for our loved ones, our community, our customers, and for our financial and physical health.
Fremont Area Community Foundation is a flexible community resource that is here for the long term. While we cannot address every need across every sector, we are being creative, flexible, and adaptable to the new situation. We envision three distinct phases of need surrounding the COVID crisis:
Respond: Immediate short-term
Currently, we are focused on immediate short-term needs and have allocated a total of $375,000 to Newaygo County nonprofit entities. These limited funds will not be sufficient to meet the escalation of very critical, urgent needs. These funds are primarily going to agencies that provide food, shelter, medical care, and childcare to a rapidly growing number of residents and essential workers in our community. In collaboration with United Way-Newaygo County, the Community Foundation is raising funds to meet the increased need for basic services in Newaygo County.
Please help support immediate needs in our community by giving at facommunityfoundation.org/covid.
Readjust: Intermediate recovery
The nonprofit sector is adjusting to a new environment. Organizations that provide essential services must adapt to fewer volunteers and new requirements for how they interact with the public. Planned fundraising events may be cancelled. There may be fewer donors as more families struggle because of unemployment. Schools will need additional support as well as hardware and software to move to digital instruction. The list seems limitless. To facilitate intermediate recovery, the Community Foundation is adjusting our grantmaking. This includes grants that have already been awarded, those waiting to be paid, and those under review. We will maximize flexibility and allow project grants to be converted to address the current need.
Businesses are also making major adjustments. Some businesses have a heavier workload but more restrictions on how they do their work. Others have no work at all, especially many of the small businesses that are the backbone of our rural economy.
It is critical that all entities in need of support—whether for profit or nonprofit—seek all available federal and state dollars. We know it is a complex, complicated, and frustrating process. But it is important that local businesses and organizations stick with it and pursue all available opportunities. The longer they wait, the further down the line they will be. Community Foundation resources cannot come close to what can be accessed through government resources.
The CARES Act, signed into law March 27, 2020, provided federal government support in the wake of the coronavirus public health crisis and associated economic fallout. The Paycheck Protection Program gave businesses—both for-profit and nonprofit—the opportunity to apply for a potentially forgivable loan to keep employees working and help with basic expenses such as rent and utilities. Because of overwhelming requests, the funds were exhausted on April 16; however, additional funds may be appropriated. There are other available resources as well.
Now is the time to be prepared for new opportunities as they arise. To help local nonprofits and for-profit businesses navigate available resources, we have identified experts in the community to provide guidance. Organizations should also consult their business advisors—attorneys, accountants, investment advisors, and bankers—to make the best decisions for current and future viability.
Our Respond and Readjust phases already overlap. We can’t predict how long these phases will last or the magnitude of the need. We also must ensure that the Community Foundation is viable for the recovery period and beyond. The community will need us well beyond the immediate crisis and the intermediate recovery period, and stock market fluctuations may impact our grantmaking for many years to come.
Restructure: Long-term recovery
Newaygo County is a strong, collaborative community. We already work together well. But underneath is a fragility that is being dramatically revealed. Far too many families live too close to the edge. We entered this crisis with over 40 percent of working families unable to make ends meet and that number could continue to grow. Mental health supports will be critical to a community recovering from trauma. Additionally, far too many businesses lack the resources to weather the storm. Our community will require additional support such as human resources and legal and accounting expertise to get back to work and put structures back in place.
As this crisis continues to unwind, we will find ourselves in a different environment. It is likely that some organizations and businesses will no longer be with us, but the needs will continue. As we rally together to determine how to meet ongoing needs, the long-term recovery will be a time of opportunity and a time to restructure in ways that ensure capacity to meet the next crisis stronger and even more unified.
What we do today will have a deep and lasting impact on tomorrow. The Community Foundation is deploying as many tools as we can leverage to ensure that we are here for our community today, tomorrow, and forever!
Carla A. Roberts
President and CEO
By Sen. Jon Bumstead, 34th Senate District
I have had numerous conversations with constituents throughout this pandemic about actions the state has taken and what folks believe is the best action going forward. Many believe we only have two choices: Save lives or save the economy. This is a false narrative that I feel needs to be addressed. This is a dynamic situation — not one where we must commit to choosing one or the other.
I want people to know that as public officials, our number one priority is keeping the general public safe. We care about those who have been affected by this pandemic and all the lives that have been lost. We also care about the livelihood of our residents and feel compassion for those who have been negatively impacted by the situation.
Small businesses are facing closure. Some have even had to make the heartbreaking decision to permanently close their business. As someone who owned his own small business, I truly feel for these people and their families. It is important that we work to strike a proper balance, so we can protect lives and livelihoods.
For the immediate future, I believe it is prudent and responsible to listen to medical experts and heed their advice during this time. It is also wise to use a little common sense and start looking for ways we can slowly begin getting people back to work and start the transition back to our normal lives.
Big box stores and grocery stores are remaining open and following the guidance and advice of experts to keep both customers and employees safe. Stores that are open are practicing social distancing and are providing a roadmap on how to successfully and safely operate during this crisis.
Many industries, particularly outdoor workers such as lawn care, landscaping and greenhouses, but also construction, plumbers and electricians, among others, typically follow social distancing guidelines even during “normal” times because of the nature of their work. I believe many of these workers should be allowed to safely return to work and provide for themselves and their families rather than rely on state resources, which in many cases don’t fully replace their lost income. Many people want to return to work and earn their way, and they should be allowed the freedom to do so.
I am also willing to acknowledge that some businesses and activities will have to wait until we’ve defeated this virus, but many workplaces have gone above and beyond to improve safety measures for workers and customers. We’re coming together to stop the spread — and we are making progress. We need to carefully look at protocols moving forward and be sure they are not at the expense of productivity or purpose.
The Senate has established a Safe Behavior for Safe Workplaces work group. This bipartisan work group was established to consider how Michigan can begin to safely reopen our economy once health experts agree it is appropriate to do so. The group created a survey that Michigan employers and employees can complete to provide input to the work group. This input will help them better understand the needs of job providers and employees. You can participate in the survey by going to www.MiSafeWorkplaces.com.
I want to close by saying my office remains open. My staff and I continue to be available remotely to assist you throughout these unpredictable times. You can call and leave us a message at 1-855-347-8034 or send us an email at SenJBumstead@senate.michigan.gov. Also, please check out my Facebook page for updates.
Sen. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo, represents the 34th state Senate District, which includes Muskegon, Newaygo and Oceana counties.
Part II: A return to Mt Hood and the sport of Mountaineering
By Charles Chandler
If you read the first installment of this compelling tale from the keyboard of Mr. Chandler, today we bring you part II. Mr. C. is a wonderful storyteller and this particular autobiographical tale is truly one of his best.
What? You missed the first chapter?
Well here it is.
On arriving back in Tulsa, I took the card pulled from the bulletin board in the Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood and called the mountaineering Guide. We talked and he asked a few questions about my age and physical condition and why I wanted to climb a mountain.
We made a date for the next year as it was now October and the climbing season was coming to an end. He gave me a list of the gear that would be needed and some tips for physical conditioning. The next nine months were consumed with conditioning and the gear this flatlander needed to climb a mountain. I lived on a stair stepper, and it was squats, lunges and running, running and endless miles of running. Every spare moment was spent reading technical articles and scanning mountaineering gear catalogs. The Canon Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills became my nightstand reader. At last, the time arrived and it was off to Portland and my date with Mt Hood. This time there were no zealots at the Avis Counter and hopefully, he was in Tulsa happily attending Oral Roberts University.
My car was a sporty Mustang rather than a tank all of which I took as a portent of good luck. The next morning in the chilly predawn hours I and another climber met our Guide at Timberline lodge. I learned then that all climbs began sometime between midnight and dawn. The reasoning was to reach the summit before the sun began to melt the snow and ice on glaciated or snowbound mountains. Or in the case of mountains like the Rockies to be up and down before the afternoon thunderstorms. With no time to acclimate to the altitude, my first climb was a challenge. Every step between the trailhead is either a step up or a step-down. Being a volcanic mountain there was pumice that was like walking on little ball bearings, lava rocks, snowfields, crevasses, sulfur vents, and unrelenting cold wind. We climbed through a cloud layer at around 9,000 ft where I learned that it is wet and cold inside clouds. There were technical pitches where we were on the rope with ice axes in hand. Finally, we reached the summit and took a few minutes to sign the climber's log, take a 360 degree look around and snap a couple of quick photos and then head back down. It was here on the summit that I made my first mountaineering mistake when I took my glove off to sign the climber's log. Today when my hands get really cold my thumb will still remind me of that careless moment. Mountaineering is a challenging and sometimes dangerous sport.
Many of the Cascade Mountains are near big west coast cities like Portland and Seattle. According to our Guide, this brings the weekenders, the innocent and unprepared out to these Volcanic Mountains. He said what gets the weekenders in trouble is first underestimating how long and physically demanding the climb to the summits are. Then they don't have the technical gear, like adequate clothing, ice ax, crampons and they often try to climb solo. The thing that gets many in the most serious trouble is the fast-changing weather. These Cascade Mountains are near the Pacific Coast and the fast-moving weather fronts jam up against the mountains and one minute you are in sunshine and a few minutes later a whiteout or howling blizzard.
On the way down we encountered two examples of weekender tragedy. Our first was at a steep pitch that our Guide called the staircase. We were roped up and were using our ice axes and working our way down when we came to a man that was lying face down in the snow. Our Guide stopped us and kneeled and started to talk to the man.
The wind was strong so we couldn’t hear what he was saying. In a few minutes, he patted the man on the back and we started back down the mountain. I looked back and the man never moved or looked up. Later our Guide told us that the man (a Portland weekender) had gotten to the staircase and had begun to slip on some of the icy spots. He didn't have crampons on his shoes and had become paralyzed with fear and could not retreat down the staircase pitch.
The next event happened in a dangerous place by a crevasse and in a rockfall area at the top of the famous Hogsback Ridge. Large rocks were lying in the snow around us and our Guide said that we needed to move down and get on the Hogsback and soon as we could. The intense sun shining on the snow above us will loosen these big rocks and send them flying downhill.
The Hogsback Ridge is a narrow ridge that runs between a huge smoking fumarole by Crater Rock and a deep steep-sided ravine that becomes a rocky valley. There was a large party of climbers that stopped about even with the big ugly fumarole. We could hear what appeared to be the Climb Leader talking loudly on what looked like a handheld radio or Sat phone. We waited for a bit and then our Guide shouted down that we needed to get out of the rockfall area. The Leader waved us down. When we got even with the group, we saw that the Climb Leader was holding a young man that kept repeating this unusual motion. He would keep reaching behind his back like he was drawing an arrow out of a shoulder quiver. He wasn't talking and kept making this motion over and over. The motion reminded me of one of those old fashion mechanical banks that when you put a penny in it the cowboy or monkey would tip their hat.
Our Guide and the Climb Leader of the party stood to the side and talked. Then the other climbers began moving up the mountain leaving the young man with us. He was dressed in army surplus clothes, field jacket, fatigue pants and some kind of leather high-top boots. No hat. The young man had begun a solo climb and had gotten to the Hogsback and had slipped and fallen, tumbling several hundred feet down the side of the deep ravine. Had he fallen on the other side of Hogsback Ridge he could have slid into the huge fumarole and would probably have died. The climbing group had rescued him and the Climb Leader was trying to get a rescue helicopter up for the medical emergency when we stopped. It appears that the available helicopter was out on another rescue mission and the solid cloud bank below us was problematic. The young man's eyes were glazed, he was mumbling and probably had a serious concussion. He could walk so our Guide had agreed to try and take him back down to Timberline lodge. Once there we could hand him over to the first responders.
Our Guide took some one-inch webbing and quickly made a harness, clipped in a carabiner to our rope, and away we went. By the time we reached Timberline Lodge the young man had stopped mumbling and making the repeating motion with his arm. He was able to answer a few questions but had no memory of where he was or that he had fallen. Mountaineering in the Cascade mountains is dangerous for the unprepared and those that make poor decisions.
“In May 1986, in a tragic series of events seven students and two faculty from Oregon Episcopal School died during an excursion on Mount Hood. The students were participating in an adventure program required by the school for sophomores. The disaster is the second deadliest alpine accident in North American history.”
In the parking lot at Timberline Lodge, we turned our unlucky climber over to the waiting first responders. My rope partner and I shook hands and thanked our Guide for getting us safely to the summit and back. I knew I would try this adventure again now knowing that this flatlander was in no way prepared or had the skills to safely assume the risk of this extreme sport. Asking the Guide for advice, he suggested that I should join one of two Pacific Coast climbing clubs. Either the Mazama’s out of Portland or the Seattle Mountaineers. He chuckled and said for you I recommend the Mazama’s. The folks in that Club are kinder and don’t eat their weak or leave their wounded behind.
Good advice indeed.
After getting into my car and looking in the mirror I remember seeing the faces of the climbers from the year before. Those exhausted, sweat-soaked, sun and wind burnt faces were now looking back at me
After resting for about a month, the process of joining the Mazama climbing club began. https://mazamas.org/. Meeting the Club requirements and being assigned a mentor my adventure into the demanding and rewarding sport began. In the following decade, I would have several opportunities to enter the high shocking beautiful and rugged alpine world. Being a member of the Mazama’s was a wonderful experience. I had the privilege to climb some awesome mountains with some great skilled, passionate and responsible Mazama members. Those rugged Swedes were amazing and friendly to a fault. I would like to note that I always wanted to be on a climb with female leaders. Sorry guys, in my experience they had more endurance, made better decisions for the group and were pleasant to be around. They always set a comfortable pace. Some are still friends.
It was on a Mazama climb on Sahale Mountain in the northern Cascades of Washington State that this story took a turn. The Sahale Mountain climb was a moderate ascent of a gentle peak in the Cascade Pass area in central Washington. It is popular because it has outstanding views of the northern cascade and classic alpine terrain. This area is often called the American Alps. Sahale has a nice approach trail, a short bit of glacier travel, and some 4th class rock scrambling on the summit block. I was eager to climb this Mountain because I had made the attempt the previous year and had failed. It has been my experience that you only summit on about 50 percent of your attempts. This year we made the summit and our climb leader decided rather than downclimb from the summit block we would make two long repels.
Repelling and rope handling is one of the more dangerous activities in mountaineering. This is because you have several pieces of technical equipment to manage and therefore more things to malfunction or break. Also, it takes time to set up and make a repel especially when you have a team of climbers making the repel. After the repel down Sahale Mountain I knew that I needed more skill-building practice. I didn't have hard rock mountains nearby or a bunch of Mazama club members as coaches or to practice with.
However, back in Tulsa, I did have Redbud Valley and it had some places that would work.
The word that came to my heart tonight in the late hours, after an Easter Sunday like no other I can remember is "Forgiveness."
The one thing that I admired most about Abraham Lincoln was that after the Civil War, he challenged the nation to not let the past dominate the future. He knew we would have to let go of vengeance in order to heal America. Two sides so invested in defeating the other, had to find a way to come back together.
Has the CoronaVirus Pandemic become just another opportunity to divide us? I am angry about the excessive restrictions foisted upon us, but I can not let it foment a spirit of hate. Some of the powers that be will use this crisis to advance their political agendas. But we must not allow things we can not control to tear us apart.
Will these questions vex us going forward?
"Who can we blame? What price should we exact on those who failed? When law abiding citizens are forced into a corner, how much should they sacrifice for the benefit of others? Has fear and distrust had a greater negative impact than the virus itself?"
When we finally get beyond this temporary shakedown of our liberties, we must not be consumed by resentment and revenge. The mental, physical, emotional, and financial tolls we pay will not be refunded. We must forgive those who meant us no harm, yet hold accountable those that used this time to expand their powers.
May charity and peace continue to flourish after this war with the invisible enemy.
Victor Allen Dubois
There are definite stages of grief as Elisabeth Kubler-Ross outlined in her groundbreaking 1969 book On Death & Dying and expanded on in collaboration with David Kessler in On Grief & Grieving
Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.
As the title suggests, her work was primarily related to people who were terminally ill and those who had lost a loved one.
Over the years these concepts were expanding to anyone who experiences a loss. It could be losing a loved job, ending a meaningful relationship, experiencing the demise of a favored pet, or any number of events that entail loss.
Including the current situation we all find ourselves in.
This is a different world we've suddenly been plunged into. Much of it has screeched to a halt. Everything is different and for perhaps the only time in the personal history of most of us we are removed from much of what our lives entailed.
So what does it mean for you?
Well, there will likely never be another time like this. A time when combined with the fear surrounding this deadly virus and a sea change of epic proportions in the manner with which we carry on our lives we are confronted with ourselves. Forced to come to grips with who we are at our core.
Anyone can talk a good game about how they might react to a crisis, but until rehearsals are over and the situation lands in their lap, the character of a person is an unknown.
You want to know the true character of a person?
Check out the folks hoarding and buying out scarce products at the stores.
Notice those who ignore the social distancing recommendations thus endangering all they encounter.
Read the social media outbursts from both sides using this calamity to pass along blame to whichever party or ideology they’ve been duped into thinking is the enemy.
But thankfully we have heroes.
The Health Care Workers who are too busy being on the front lines of this epidemiological warfare to spend time amassing goods.
They cannot socially isolate because they are in the business of caring for others.
Oh, and as far as distributing blame to a particular side of the aisle like so many are eager to do? You don’t hear much about that on the front lines.
You see, when the boat tips over and you and your fellow passengers are suddenly ass deep in alligators you don’t have the luxury of time to spend figuring out whose fault it was.
Take a peek at those who are entrusted with keeping our community and its residents safe. Our law enforcement personnel, fire department and other first responder folks. Carrying out their prescribed duty despite obvious dangers beyond the usual varieties they face
Think about grocery workers who put themselves at risk from the sheer volume of people they encounter daily, the truck drivers pulling overtime because the demand exceeds the number of drivers licensed for the big rigs and others who are still working the jobs deemed essential.
Then of course are their families, who are forced to make even more adjustments because of the exposure factor.
A while back I began a collection of quotes thought to be appropriate to the moment for use in a column of this nature. Soon after this endeavor started, N3 contributor Kathy Morrison, by coincidence or karmic intervention, posted the first one I had on my list.
“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
From J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic Lord of the Rings trilogy, the quote centers in on the fear of the unknown. Certainly we wish this had not happened. Of course it’s unfair. But once again, feeling angry or sad, while appropriate emotions to be sure, cannot deter us from the second part of the quote.
This is the time that has been given us. So what do we do with it?
I responded to her post with the second quote on my list from Terry Pratchett’s novel I Shall Wear Midnight.
“At such times the universe gets a little closer to us. They are strange times, times of beginnings and endings. Dangerous and powerful. And we feel it even if we don't know what it is. These times are not necessarily good, and not necessarily bad. In fact, what they are depends on what we are.”
These are undoubtedly strange times and I am certain there have been and will be many endings and some beginnings during the coming days, weeks and perhaps months.
And how it affects us is substantially dependent on what we are.
What we are as individuals, what we are as a community and what we are as a people.
There has existed a great deal of divisiveness before this infectious intrusion and the collective anger and distrust seems to have only escalated as the sides we’ve been relegated to continue the attempt to pass blame on each other. I’m not naive enough to think this comes to an end.
But if for even the briefest of moments in time this could be put on hold... to practice being the very best we can and assume others are doing the same.
To accept those among us who are steeped in denial, caught up in anger, bargaining with common sense, depressed about the situation and hopefully striving for some level of acceptance.
Because acceptance isn’t submission. It’s not surrender. It taps into the most evolved trait we humans have, the ability to adjust.
I have always subscribed to the notion that there are but 3 problem solving methods.
The first? Change the problem. Works well when it's a flat tire or a leaky sink but many things just can’t be easily fixed. Like a raging, relentless virus.
The second? Escape. This one gets a lot of bad press but there are times escape can be a solution. Unfortunately this isn’t one. You can’t outrun this.
The third is foolproof. Works every time.
Change yourself and adjust.
We are remarkably resilient and whatever appears to be insurmountable can often be overcome, but not until we accept and adjust.
Oh and the third entry in the COVID quote list?
It came from the mystic philosopher of Ancient China, Lao-Tzu
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
Story and photos by Charles Chandler
I’ve met many people during my close to 7 decades of taking up room on this planet and none have I valued more than a good storyteller.
It's always intrigued me how you can take the same series of events and have them told by any number of different people and if one is a gifted narrator their rendition outshines all others.
Charles Chandler is a good storyteller. Onewe have been privileged to occasionally host in our pages.
The next few days we will feature an autobiographical saga wrought from an earlier time in his life. It is indeed a story worth telling and CC does it well.
It's not a short read but as we said, it'sa good read. We’re presenting it in four parts beginning with Part I today. We will add Parts II, III, and IV in the coming days.
This is a long and winding story about an event that happened in another lifetime. Now because of the Pandemic and my senior status I, like many similar scared souls, have been restricted to quarters. This current event has finally given me time to tell this story. It is about a seminal event that had a profound impact on my personal spiritual beliefs. The events and details are as I remembered them. This story rambles and digresses a bit but stick with it because that long tread will be one of the more relevant points at the end. Like many stories, they all have a starting point.
Why not start this one with a girl. a A pretty, well to do brunette, from Padre Island on the Texas Gulf Coast? I was unattached at the time and attending a singles party in Tulsa Ok. Jeanne was up visiting the hostess of the party and after some conservation, it felt like we getting along. I found it extremely interesting that she had a condo on Padre. If you are a Texan Padre Island is the equivalent of the French Rivera. Even better because there is good fishing and you can get Lone Star Beer and great Mexican seafood. Before the evening was over Jeanne had invited me down for a weekend at the Padre condo. We made the date and my visions of sun, beer, and seafood burritos began.
A week or so before the trip down to south Texas my National Geographic Magazine arrived. In this edition, there was an interesting article about Mt Hood in Oregon. Being a flatlander, I found this big pile of rock and snow in the Cascade Volcanic Arc fascinating. Nothing would do but to go and see this geological wonder. Armed with as little foreknowledge and experience as possible I set off the next weekend to see Mt Hood. I was well equipped for my conquest. My gear matched my total lack of mountaineering experience. I had borrowed a cotton sleepover bag and a small L.L. Bean dome tent. I wore my Harris Teed Sports Coat because I read those early British mountaineers wore Tweed jackets.
Wait a minute.
What about Jeanne and the condo and the beer and burritos? That idea had cooled down. Especially after the hostess of the party, also a good friend of mine mentioned that the reason Jeanne was well off and owned the coveted condo on Padre was that she had recently buried her second husband. It was rumored that numbers one and two had passed by fatal accidents.
The challenges with this Mt Hood trip began compounding as we made our descent into Portland Airport. I had my first look at the mountain out the porthole of the AA 727. It was bigger than the images in National Geographic. It was black and white and big and foreboding. When making arrangements for this trip I had called Avis and requested a hatchback. With this model car, I could drop the back seat down and sleep in the car in the event the cotton sleeping bag didn't work out.
On arrival at the Portland Avis counter, I requested my hatchback. The young agent in a very pleasant voice told me it wasn't ready and it would be about 30 or so minutes.
It appeared that this was a very popular car and the only one at the Agency was in the service bay. While waiting we had a nice conservation about why I was in Portland and where I was from. That last bit of information proved problematic. When the young agent found out that I was from Tulsa, Oklahoma, the home base of the great TV evangelists Oral Roberts he lost his mind. He was one of the faithful followers and his dream was to attend the famous Oral Roberts University. He immediately went to his computer and stated that I was going to get an upgrade. Nothing would deter this zealot, regardless of how much I complained, I was upgraded. Walking out to the lot, I found my number and stuck the keys in the door of a land yacht, a brand-new Lincoln Town Car. Armed with an Avis counter road map I headed the yacht toward Mt. Hood. The sleeping in the hatchback option was now off the table.
It was late in the day and I was in need of some camping grub. I soon came to a small community store that advertised firewood. Creature comforts were at hand and it was here I met my first Pacific Coast native of Swedish descent. She had braided blond hair, blue eyes, a plaid shirt tucked into overalls and hiking boots and was about six feet tall. I would meet more like this hardy outdoors person. She asked what I needed and I told her my reason for being there and that I needed a couple of bundles of firewood. While shopping for grub she went outside to get the firewood. Back shortly she asked me where I wanted the firewood. We looked at each other and I said in my car. We walked outside and opened the trunk of the Town Car. She looked at me without batting her blue eyes and said: "on principle, I will not load firewood into a Lincoln." I loaded the wood. The Swede informed me that all the parks and camping sites were closed for the season save Sherwood Campground on HW 35. She said they leave that one open for hunters. Also, there was a nice hiking trail along Cold Spring Creek that would take me up to Tamanawas Falls. Stocked with firewood, a quart of chocolate milk, a couple of honey buns and some jerky it was off to find my campground.
Sherwood was appropriately named as it was in the woods, deep dark woods. When I wheeled the Lincoln in the park there was only one other camper. Two scruffy looking guys with beards were out by an old pickup with a slide-in camper frying bacon at their fire pit. They were either deer hunters or serial killers on the run from the FBI. Sliding out of the big blue Lincoln and I tried to act with purpose and intent. I did that Oklahoma western nod with your chin and said howdy. No reply, but they did watch as I put on my Harris Tweed Coat, and began trying to work the tent pole jigsaw puzzle. It was getting dark so I started the fire in front of my tent to deter the serial killers. I also gathered up some baseball-sized rocks and took them into my tent. This was for personal protection and also seemed to interest the bacon eaters.
That was one long night, I burned up all the firewood and the cotton sleeping bag did not work out. I spent most of the night thinking about the zealot and that hatchback. The next morning the two guys across the way had pulled out. I guess they probably were deer hunters after all or maybe my stash of rocks had deterred their plans to kill me in my sleep. After a wonderful breakfast of chocolate milk and a honey bun, it was off to see Tamanawas Falls.
And beautiful it was. After that short hike it was pack up and go take a close up look at Mount Hood.
Traveling up Timberline Drive to the huge Lodge was a magical trip. The Lincoln did not corner well on the mountain road and at one point there was an incident that almost put me over the edge. Finally arriving shaken but safe at the huge Timberline Lodge and my first good look at Mt. Hood the brush with certain death was forgotten.
The Historic 55,000 square foot Timberline timber lodge was built in 1937. The Lodge sits in a pristine alpine landscape at around 6,000 feet. It is still a magnificent functioning ski lodge and retreat. Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977. It is a magnificent moment to the rugged spirit of the Pacific Coasters and the folks that built the facility. I spend most of the morning admiring Mt Hood. There are very things in my world that are awesome but our Cascade Volcanoes are just undeniable awesome. Hiking a little way up the mountain this flatlander quickly realized that reaching the summit on this geological giant would require many things that I did not yet process.
I met some mountaineers in the Lodge parking lot that had been or were getting ready to hike or climb the mountain. The ones that had been up to the summit and back looked like they had been in a car wreck and were surprised that they had made it through. There were no whooping and high fives. They were exhausted, smelled and wanted very much to be somewhere else. I looked closely at their gear, the packs, clothes, ropes, ice axes, boots, and crampons. The ones that were heading up the mountain, were tight and tense, clothes clean, talking quietly in small groups or rechecking packs, and gear. I would know both those before and after feelings in about a year. I also learned that my hands would also begin to sweat and my throat would tighten when hearing one of these hardy mountaineers say "It is a straightforward climb with a few technical pitches."
Before leaving the Timberline lodge, I stopped in the Cascade Dining Room and had the grilled lamb chops paired with an excellent local wine for lunch. While there I found a bulletin board and pulled the small business card of a local mountaineering guide.
I began tacking the big blue land yacht around the curves and down the mountain toward the Hood River valley and on to the great Columbia River Gorge. I had a Hilton Hotel at the Portland Airport reserved for the night. But before that dreamy luxury, I wanted to see the great river that carried Lewis and Clark to the Pacific Coast. My bucket list destination was the Bonneville Dam that Woody Guthrie had made famous in his depression-era folk ballads. Little did I know that my five minutes of fame would be waiting at that Bonneville Dam. It was a beautiful but distracting drive down the Hood River Valley. Every few miles that were another apple orchard with a roadside stand selling, different varieties, and sizes of beautiful and sweet-smelling apples. After several stops to taste and purchase some of the as advertised prize-winning apples I finally came to the town of Hood River. Here I had my first look at the gorge and the mighty Colombia River. Breathtaking, startling and unimaginable as to how the Lewis and Clark expedition paddlers made it down this mighty boiling river in flimsy wooden dugouts. The wind in the gorge was strong enough to create white caps on the river. Much to the delight of the windsurfers as they flew back and forth across the wide river on their brightly colored sailboards. Soon Woody Guthrie's song Roll on Columbia began tuning up in my consciousness and it off downriver to see the Bonneville Dam and my five minutes of fame.
A few miles down the river I arrived at the Bonneville Dam and pulled into the parking lot. I sat in the car looking at this massive structure thinking about the struggles and engineering feats that it took for these depression-era men and women to dam this huge river. There were a few cars and vans in the parking lot and after a minute I noticed a large group of people gathered near the dam overlook. They had movie cameras set up and were moving about or standing in small knots. It was then that I saw one individual standing off to the side that I knew so very well. No one has a mop of hair like the distinguished entertainer and songwriter Arlo Guthrie.
The son of Woody Guthrie whose ballads had sparked my quest to see this huge structure in front of me. I pausing a moment to think about synchronicities and how strange life is sometimes before sliding out of my tank and heading over to chat with Arlo Guthrie. I have found that nice people are nice wherever they are and if you are nice to them, they will generally reciprocate. I introduced myself and told Arlo that it was Woodie's songs that pulled me up from Oklahoma. The reason that he was there was because the BBC, that group of people around the cameras were doing a documentary on Woodie's Life. He was there with that project. Woodie was born in Okemah Oklahoma and Arlo is considered an adopted son by the Tulsa music culture. He appears to enjoy performing in Tulsa's famous music venues as well. I was particularly interested in hearing the story about his musical collaborations with my favorite blues musicians Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. Our conservation was soon terminated when Arlo was called over by some rude Brit. I thanked him for his kind conservation and mentioned that I hoped to see him in his next performance in Tulsa.
Walking back across the parking lot I was intercepted by harmless looking man. He was a reporter for the Oregonian the local Portland paper and had tried to get the scoop on the BBC Woody Guthrie project. He had been rebuffed and wanted to know about my conversation with Arlo.
After the chat with the reporter, it was time to roll on down the Columbia and make my date with the Hilton Hotel by the Portland Airport. There I would finally be able to dump the ostentatious blue Lincoln Town Car. When checking out of the Hilton the next morning, I picked up a desk copy of The Oregonian and stuck in my bag to be read later. After boarding my AA Flight back to Tulsa and settling in my window seat I was once again able to see Mt. Hood. It was a rare clear morning the other massive black and white mountains lined up down the Cascade Arch. I promised to be back for a more intimate look but also knowing there was a lot of work to do before that date. After the flight attendant served morning coffee, I fished out my copy of the Oregonian and there in front of me was an interesting and factual article in the edition about my encounter with Arlo Guthrie at the Bonneville Dam.
To Be Continued...
Letter to the Editor Policy
Near North Now welcomes original letters from readers on current topics of general interest. Simply fill out the form below. Letters submissions are limited to 300 words.