Leave the siren alone
Due to my father's occupation, I spent many summers in small towns in Michigan. All of these towns, and many more through this country, had many identical features. Their main industry was agriculture. They all had volunteer fire departments at one time. They all had a siren that was used to alert the volunteers of a fire. When the sirens were first installed many workers did not have watches or other means of telling time, so the sirens were sounded to tell noon and 6 p.m. Many in the communities used the siren to denote lunch time or time to get home.
None of these communities used the siren as a means of setting a curfew for any minority group. I find it difficult that the small town of Minden would have spent the funds to erect a tower and install a siren for the sole purpose of denoting the start of a curfew. The primary use of the siren to alert the volunteers and the secondary use to denote the actual time of day were far more important than to use it as a signal to the start of a curfew.
I feel the use of the siren to denote noon and 6 p.m. should be maintained as a reminder of the character of the early settlers and their willingness to serve their community. I also feel this is something that should be left to the decision of the individual community, not the State.
We need to remember the ordinance covering the curfew was issued many years prior to the installation of the Minden siren.
Great article on Betty Downs
I am writing this to express how much I enjoyed John Hefner's recent series of early Johnson Lane, as told by Betty Downs. I went to school with Betty, in the old Douglas High School, in the late ’50s. I did not know that her family moved here from Manhattan Beach, Calif. No wonder she seemed so sophisticated to me.
Having lived in Hermosa Beach as an adult, I can certainly imagine the culture shock of moving to a place with no amenities. My family moved here in 1951 from a place with plenty of family around for love and support but we also had few amenities. So, I can relate to the outhouse experience too – though not in snowy, cold winters.
What I remember most about Betty in those years is that she had a good singing voice, and she formed a quartet that occasionally sang at school gatherings. Sarita and Dianna Edison and, I believe, Vickie Howerton were the other lovely singers. In that way, Betty introduced me to blues and jazz music. Up until then, I had not heard anything but rock and roll and country-western music (with a smattering of classical music, thanks to Looney Toons).
So, thank you Mr. Hefner for your articles, and thank you, Betty for sharing your memories. And a special thanks to you and your cousin, John, for sharing your music, leading me to a lifetime love of jazz and blues.
Don’t wait to evacuate ahead of wildfire
During last week's Jacks Valley fire, several hams communicated on their SIERA/TARA repeater to help guide people during the evacuation order. Two scenarios, however, sparked concern about people's response to the orders.
One person said, "there are about 200 houses between me and the fire. How long should I wait?" Another said she and her family, who had large animals ready in the trailer, were going to wait because the fire had veered to the south. They were at the north end of Arcadia, which was the nearest street to the fire zone. I wondered if they had a way out besides Jack's Valley road.
When the evacuation order goes out, it barely gives people enough time to organize animals and important items for transport. Wildfire is unpredictable in speed and direction. With winds as strong as they were last week, that fire could've burned through that neighborhood no time.
Another thing to consider is gridlock. Hundreds of vehicles are going to use the roads with you. In Paradise, Calif., many evacuees were trapped and incinerated in their cars because they waited too long. So, when that order comes down, pack your stuff and get the hell out.
Have at least two escape routes in different directions. In fact, developers need to include such routes in their master plans: a front and back door, so to speak. When the fire cuts off your main escape route, you need to know how else to get away from the area, even if you have to drive across open fields or dirt back roads. Know your escape routes!
Before fire even becomes an issue, know where you can find shelter, especially if you have large animals. Douglas County CERT sets up a shelter at the Community Center but animals aren't allowed there. Animal Control has protocols to care for your animals at the fairgrounds. If you have other options available to you, good. But don't wait until smoke fills the air before thinking about this. Prepare your evacuation plan now.
That wildfire last week grew from a few acres to several hundred in a couple of hours. Incident Command had to move from the school to Target to get out of the way. They didn't wait. Why should you?
Paying people not to work
It has come to my attention that the major impasse to a full economic recovery here in America is that too few Americans are willing to work for a living. There are more jobs than applicants! It stands to reason, of course, when a potential worker can make more by staying at home than being employed.
It has been estimated that total benefits (welfare checks, rent subsidies, food stamps, etc.) received when added up are in the neighborhood of $16/hr. Is it any wonder that fewer people are willing to work for a living?
I'm all for helping those that are truly in need. but I don't think that public assistance should be a career option. A number of programs should be instituted ASAP; 1) those receiving benefits should be required to volunteer at a public library, hospital, thrift store, etc. 2) instead of rewarding parents by increasing the benefits paid for additional children in the home put a cap on the maximum benefit allowed, 3) instead of cutting all benefits to those who get a job, partially cut the benefit to where having a job doesn't penalize the worker and they are rewarded for going to work, 4) re-evaluate the situation on a regular basis looking for improvement, 5) turn the entire program over to private companies who need to keep an eye on the bottom line, 6) a program should be judged as successful by the number of people no longer needing the help, not by how many new enrollees there are.
In some cases, draconian measures may have to be enforced to save these people from themselves. Why is it that when we visit a National Park or other area where we can get close to animals that share this planet with us we are admonished not to feed or help them in any way?
It is my opinion that more people have been hindered in their progress than helped by these out-of-control government programs.
Democracy in Crisis
The Nevada Republican Party voted to censure Nevada's Secretary of State for doing her job, certifying Nevada's 2020 free and fair election. She investigated fraud claims brought to her office and found no fraud that would have changed the outcome of the election, for that she is being censured. Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident, Republicans across the country are going after election officials who did not do their bidding, i.e. give the election to Trump.
The Arizona senate wants to strip their Democratic Secretary of State of her ability to litigate election issues giving this power to the Republican state attorney general until her term ends. In Georgia, Republicans upset with their Republican Secretary of State for not bowing to Trump's demand to give Georgia to him, are reducing the power of the secretary of state, giving it to the state legislature. In Texas, not only are they proposing voter suppression measures, they also want to give the courts the power to overturn an election if a suggestion of fraud is made, no evidence is required. Trump and his enablers are using authoritarian tactics to stay in power, suppress the vote of the opposition and refuse to concede an election loss. Republican state legislators across the country are using "big lie", i.e the election was stolen from Trump, to pass legislation to suppress the vote (targeting Democratic leaning voters) and to empower Republican state officials to overturn an election if they don't like the results (simply by claiming fraud, no proof required).
The 2020 election was a free and fair election and it was not stolen from Trump. Trump lost the Electoral College 306 to 232 and the popular vote by 7 million votes. DOJ - Barr, FBI - Wray and Cybersecurity - Krebs stated their investigations did not find evidence of fraud that would have changed the outcome of the election. Republican/Democratic Secretary of States' certified the results in their respective states (many after multiple audits were done). State courts, federal courts and the Supreme Court dismissed or ruled against Trump (over 60 cases) with respect to election fraud.
What Trump and his enablers are essentially trying to do through Republican state legislators and bogus audits is to nullify votes (of the opposition) so they can stay in power. 100 leading experts (scholars) on democracies have issued a joint statement that our democracy is at a crossroads and if Republicans are successful in their assault on voting rights and are able to pass legislation that will allow them to choose the winner, Republicans will succeed in destroying our democracy.