Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Fine Man Is Gone

Pat Dow, community activist, Water & Sewer Board member, Son's of the American Legion and an all around fine guy passed away a few days ago. He was an avid fisherman, most always heard during fishing derbies as the voice of the south end of Lake Pend Oreille. I last talked to him at the retirement party for Deedie Beard in Coeur d'Alene recently. I ask about his fight with prostate cancer, and he replied, "it has spread to the bones." I shook my head and said, That isn't good. He came back with, "No it isn't." He'll be missed. A quiet man, he was a giant of a person, though small in stature.A memorial service will be held at the Athol american Legion, Saturday, February 6 at 11:00 am.

It is starting to appear that regardless of how the lawsuit regarding the Captain's Wheel sorts out, it will not be able to open this spring. I am not at liberty to get into details, except that debt plays into it. Possible corporate bankruptcy is also an option at this point, though everything is still up in the air. I miss the watering hole I called home for the last 15 years and 12 owners.More on this as it unfolds.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Captain's Wheel

I am still hesitant to explain all of the ramifications of the jury trial just concluded. While the jury overwhelmingly penalized Michael McFarland for paying less for his 50% interest than it was represented to be worth, the contest isn't over yet.

No judgement has been entered, and actually, may not be. Two issues that face the judge now, are whether the jury used evidence offered during the trial, or sympathy for the widow of Jerry Berry.If the judge believes the preponderance of evidence that the big bad lawyer didn't screw anyone out of anything, he can set aside the jury's verdict. He can also declare a mistrial.

Somehow, the jury was convinced that the value of the 'Wheel was over one million dollars. Maybe that was true in 2006 when the market bubble hadn't broke yet, but realistically, getting $600,000 for the place now would be a stretch. McFarland paid $100,000 for 50% of the equity in the business in 2003. Berry, just three years earlier, paid $50,000 for the same amount of stock.

There has been so much false information and erroneous rumor, I felt I had to straighten out at least some of the misinformation. As the old saying goes, "It ain't over 'till the fat lady sings." Once a final judgement is reached, and any appeals are finished, the problem of this debt ridden business being able to open regardless of which party wins, looms over the place. I personally don't think it will survive and the bones that are being fought over will prove to be less than valuable. I wish both parties well, and I grieve over this battle that didn't ever have to be fought, were it not the overriding greed of one of the litigants.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Authors Visit Bayview

Bayview ushered in the 2010 centennial year with a town meeting Friday, January 15, called by the Independent Centennial Committee. This group of historians and community activists were able to put together a community calendar that was as spectacular as was the speed it sold out. Some of us still don't have a copy, but there is a move on to create another for next year.

Private donations have created a monument that is still in the process of being set up near the entrance of town. Many people wonder why, since Bayview Isn't incorporated it can have a centennial. Back in 1910, an enterprising investor, purchased a large tract of land smack in the middle of what was to become Bayview. The Prairie Development Company, and a spin-off Bayview Townsite Company plated 27 lots that became the core of the town that isn't.

The program that was introduced was different than most community meetings. Gone was the verbosity that tends to extend content without necessarily adding to the value. With the introduction of the donors and the program for this, the centennial year, the guests of honor were introduced. This gathering had not one, but two local authors, selling and signing books. The first, was Jane Fritz, author of many articles in periodicals, that finally accepted the challenge of writing a book. A student of history and involved in much interaction between modern North Idaho, and the various Indian tribes that inhabited Kootenai and Bonner Counties, especially. Her book, entitled Legendary Lake Pend Oreille has just recently been published by Keokee publishing of Sandpoint, Idaho. About forty or so guests lined up for autographed copies of the book.

Following her was Dennis Woolford, park ranger and historian at Farragut State Park. Dennis along with a pal in Boise,Gayle Alvarez, who runs the state archives managed to put together a complete history of Farragut Naval Station through the war years. They gathered items that had been donated to the park as well as records from the navy and state archives. Stories of hidden weapons buried by the departing navy turned out to be false. Apparently a rumor had circulated for many years that when the base swimming pools were filled and covered up at the end of the war, brand new rifles still covered in cosmoline were buried in these pools.

Finally last year, a ground piercing sonar was brought out from the east coast and used above all of the various pools. These pools, one to each training camp were not primarily intended for recreation, since swimming was a part of the basic training program. War years proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that swimming skills in the pacific navy were needed. One more war story disproved. No guns were found, just junk that was buries in the handy spots.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mum's The Word

Normally when community event play out I'm right on them, so that those that are not here can keep up with community events. Today I can't.

First, there is the trial to determine ownership and control of the Captain's Wheel restaurant.It would be inappropriate to comment on an ongoing case that is playing out in court this week.

The other, is some exciting news about our Centennial and the celebrations to come. I have submitted a story about the kickoff town meeting held last Friday at the Community Center. Those of you that were there already know some of what is happening. Since I submitted a story to the Spokesman-Review, I don't want to scoop myself. I can say this, though. The paper has authorized me to do a lengthy four part story about the history of Bayview. One that will in part use portions of other stories I've written and a lot of help from our local historians.More on both issues later.

As most can see, the Bay Cafe, formerly known as Terry's and before that, Don's and even before that, Sue Nordstrom's Burger Bar, is now open for business for breakfast and lunches. We wish them great success in their new endeavor. It has been cleaned up, made safe, fire code wise and also health department wise. The hours are from 7am to 2pm Thursday through Monday, with take out available as well.

Bob Holland was turned down in his quest to create more parking places at his center of town parking lot. We aren't sure of the details, but the Chamber of commerce DAC has the details. Credibility was named as a primary cause.

More later on these and other ongoing stories.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Jerry's Last Birthday

I am looking for anyone that has pictures of Jerry Berry's last birthday party that was held in mid-July of 2006.The party was held outside at the Captain's Wheel. If you have any pictures, especially of Jerry, or Jerry dancing with Carly, please contact me as soon as possible. Better yet, just e-mail the pics to me at this same address.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Marijuana Is Going To Be Legalized

vents have overtaken tradition as the pressure unrelentingly surges toward full legalization of this minor intoxicant. For years, the federal government has classed Marijuana with other more serious drugs like opium derivatives, such as Heroin, and others such as Methamphetamine and cocaine, from c0coa leaves. (We aren't talking Hershey here)

Most of the arguments are that Marijuana is an entry drug. One that leads to more serious stuff. That my friends is like saying that if you are a jaywalker, most likely you will turn to serious crime later in life. Many states, if not most, are considering the abolishing of either criminal penalties, or outright legalizing the drug.

While some would consider this a side issue, it might make the courts sit up and remember that the states, under the constitution are sovereign entities with only the ceded powers accruing to the Federal Government. In the last thirty years or so, most in congress and the lower courts have forgotten this constitutional principle.

1913 brought about a new federal law prohibiting the sale or consumption of Liquor. That law, totally unenforceable, was repealed in 1933, as the people rebelled over the practice of over controlling the lives of others. Now we have the same attitude, with about the same results. Someone once said, "a law that isn't supported by the citizens is not enforceable."Bingo. Sound familiar?

Currently, in several states, new legislation is being considered either abolishing the prohibition or at least decriminalizing the use.Washington State has a law that allows medicinal use of marijuana, without a means of controlling the growing or dispensing of it. Several petitions are circulating to go several steps further in redirecting law enforcement toward real issues like the control of Meth labs and the importation of Cocaine and Heroin.

Today showed polls, both in the Seattle P.I. and Huckleberries online, Spokesman-review that asked the following: Should pot be legalized? Secondly, snould it be decriminalized, and third, should the laws be left the same.

Interestingly both polls were about the same in results. With the first two categories combined, both showed 85% in favor of either decriminalization or legalizing the drug. Interestingly enough, even hemp, which in the same basic family as Marijuana, is not toxic or usable to get high, is prohibited. This then, suggests that the opponents of pot are so hysterical about the subject, they won't even allow the manufacture of rope made out of hemp. This, even though most other drugs, especially opium, are commonly used for medical purposes. A drug that used illegally is extremely dangerous, but the medicinal use of pot is still forbidden. It is time for common sense to break out. If it doesn't, the people will change the rules themselves, and in doing so, lose more respect for government than they already have. 85% could by most people be considered a mandate. One that outranks even prohibition.

You want control? Have the state liquor control boards supervise the growing and dispensing of this herb. This takes the criminal element out of the picture. No longer will National Forest Rangers need to patrol thousands of miles of public forests for illegal Mexican growers. Just make friends with the guys that grow BC bud and everything will work out just fine. Oh, and I forgot to mention it is a taxable product, helping our spendthrift legislators get their paws on more tax money.

Public safety? Easy. criminalize use or possession for people under 21. As far as driving while high, also easy. Any time a cop sees a driver hunched over the wheel like he/she's at Talledega, but only doing 25 mph on the freeway, bust em.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Communications Giant, Verizon, Quits

The nation's oldest independent phone company is about to throw the towel in on wired phone service. Founded in Wisconsin in 1918, Verizon went through many name changes and mergers throughout the subsequent years. Three accountants from the Wisconsin Public Utilities commission got together and formed a corporation. They promptly bought the Richland Center Telephone Company, serving 1466 customers in Southern Wisconsin. Eventually, they expanded acquiring 340 smaller companies serving over 437,000 customers.
The company reorganized after the Great Depression, renaming themselves General Telephone and Telegraph, or as we knew it, GTE. The year 2000 found GTE and Bell Atlantic merged and became Verizon.
Citing the arrival of both cell phones and Voice over Internet, land line use by individuals has become a flood, reported a mid-level manager, who asked not to be mentioned, as they didn't have authority to speak for the company. Business use, of course, at least in the near future will still be using wired lines. One large factor in addition to the above, is the free long distance that most all cell users enjoy, as well as the VOIP such as Magic Jack, Skype, Vonnage and others. Among those state affected, are portions of Washington and all of Idaho.
The surviving company in this sell off will be Frontier Communications, bases in Connecticut. They will control all wired equipment and continue to serve voice, broadband and video services. Below, is the original press release from Frontier:
STAMFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May. 13, 2009-- Frontier Communications Corporation (NYSE: FTR) today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement with Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) under which Frontier will acquire approximately 4.8 million access lines from Verizon. The all stock transaction is valued at approximately $8.6 billion. The transaction will create the largest pure rural communications services provider and the nation’s fifth largest incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) with more than 7 million access lines, 8.6 million voice and broadband connections and 16,000 employees in 27 states. Frontier will offer broadband, new bundled services and expanded technologies to customers across its expanded geographic footprint.
Under the terms of the agreement, Verizon will establish a separate newly formed entity (“SpinCo”) for its local exchanges and related business assets in 14 states. SpinCo will be spun off to Verizon’s shareholders and simultaneously merged with and into Frontier. The transaction has been approved by the Boards of Directors of Frontier and Verizon, and is expected to be completed within approximately 12 months.
The transaction is extremely compelling for all stakeholders of Frontier. It will provide Frontier with enhanced scale and scope, improved positioning, a strong balance sheet, and greater cash flow generation capabilities. For the fiscal year ended 2008, the combined company would have had on a pro forma basis revenue in excess of $6.5 billion, EBITDA of approximately $3.1 billion, free cash flow of approximately $1.4 billion and would have had leverage of 2.6 times EBITDA at December 31, 2008.
Maggie Wilderotter, Frontier Communications Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, “This is a truly transformational transaction for Frontier. With more than 7 million access lines in 27 states, we will be the largest pure rural communications provider of voice, broadband and video services in the U.S. Frontier is committed to providing our customers with state-of-the-art technology and innovative products. We are confident that we can dramatically accelerate the penetration of broadband in these new markets during the first 18 months. We know that broadband is a catalyst for a healthy local economy and job growth.”

Retained by Verizon In the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE were the following companies.The merger is on hold while each state's public untility commissions review approval of the sale.

Verizon California, Inc.
Verizon Florida, Inc.
Verizon Northwest, Inc.
Verizon South, Inc.
GTE Southwest, Inc. d/b/a Verizon Southwest
Verizon North, Inc.
Contel of the South, Inc. d/b/a Verizon Mid-States
Sold/transferred/shut down
GTE Arkansas, Inc., sold to CenturyTel in 2000
GTE Midwest, Inc. d/b/a Verizon Midwest, Inc., sold to CenturyTel
GTE Hawaiian Telephone Company, Inc., later Verizon Hawaii, Inc., sold to The Carlyle Group in 2005
GTE Alaska Inc., sold to Alaska Power and Phone Company in 2000
Contel of the West, Inc. d/b/a GTE West - discontinued in 1996
Contel of Minnesota, Inc., sold to Citizens Communications
GTE of Iowa - Spun off to Iowa Telecom
Verizon Dominicana (CODETEL), sold to América Móvil
Telecomunicaciones de Puerto Rico d/b/a Puerto Rico Telephone, assets sold to América Móvil
GTE Government Systems to General Dynamics (The Information Systems Division of GTE Government Systems was sold to DynCorp.[34]
GTE Wireless (assets in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Ohio, New Mexico, South Carolina and Texas) sold to Alltel.[35]
compiled from Wikepedia

Ninety-one years of tradition, starting with crank phones, dial phones, push button dialing and now, the beginning of the end.What next? Perhaps they will hard wire a communications modem to our brains.Then we would be on-line 24/7.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Turn Out The Lights, The Party's Over

The long weekend started out in Bayview with the imminent closure of the Captain's Wheel hanging over our heads. Starting with a packed house for New Years Eve, and lasting all the way through to about 7:30 pm Sunday, a full 3 1/2 hours past the scheduled close. Then it was over. The key turned in the lock, perhaps for the last time, at least with present ownership.

NY Eve brought the band, "The Keep," out for the last hurrah. Friday night, again packed house. Then came Saturday, with volunteer bands playing. Wyzer and ever goofed up band, Muddy Frog Waters kept the crowd entertained as customers that hadn't been in the place since Summer, showed up for the wake that it turned out to be. With the Buttonhook closed,as well as the Captain's wheel, only Ralph's Cafe, open Tuesdays through Saturday, and The Patio open seven days, 11:00 to whenever. The Patio also serves cocktails. JD's, of course is still open for cocktails, and the old Terry's Cafe is slated to open pending redecorating and code compliance. The new entity will be called The Bay Cafe,starring Dean formerly of Jimmy C's in Athol.

Friday, January 01, 2010

New Traditions

Today marked the first annual polar plunge here in Bayview. Not to be out gunned by Sanders Beach in Coeur d'Alene, a few hardy souls put the word out that there would be a mid-winter swim at the public boat launch at 2:00 pm New Years day. Sensing that there shouldn't be a conflict with boat launching, they went ahead without the blessing of the Kootenai county Waterways people, not to mention Fish & Game.

Well, nary a boat approached to challenge the launching area, but over thirty hardy souls, or perhaps retarded souls showed up all prepared to bare their skins. Actually for the most part, skins were not overly bare with one exception. There is always one. A fat male individual showed up in a scanty thing approaching a thong. Once dressed down, he pranced about thrusting his pelvis forward in a sexual manner. I guess we could have survived that, if it weren't the dozen or so kids ranging from three years old to maybe 7, watching with some real odd expressions. Unfortunately, nobody stood up and suggested he was on the border of indecent exposure. At the very least, he was an obnoxious asshole. Needless to say, his picture will not appear here.

It became obvious that the shore side of the Patio was grounded, when after the place was packed, more, fresh from the chilly 37 degree water, crowded into the overloaded building.I'm here to report that the flotation under the Patio is doing just fine, as the building listed toward the lake but didn't attempt to sink. Above are some pictures that I managed to sneak out of the place of shivering bodies.