Saturday, August 27, 2011

Home At Last

After twelve days of travel, frustration as some of the folks at Harborview needed help pulling their collective heads out of their asses, I am home. I managed to spring Yvonne Wallis at least four and probably six days later than was necessary. It turns out Harborview wasn't talking to Idaho Health and Welfare until she was ready for release.

I finally put in a call for the neurosurgeon and charged him with abandoning his patient. Suddenly things started to happen.I got through to people that were able to cut through the lethargy that permeated the staff. It would seem that their routine was more important than the patient or family. In this case I was temporary family and the designated representative. I made sure that was set up so they would have to talk to me.

Never, have the waters of Scenic Bay looked so beautiful. There is nothing like being forced to endure ten days locked into the congestion of Seattle and surrounding areas. Escaping wasn't easy, but we broke jail and returned. The support of the community was awesome as well. Thanks from both of us.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I Am Pissed Off

Yes, I am Pissed. We should have started back home yesterday. We may not even start back tomorrow. The reason? Today learned that because Idaho Health and Welfare has not approved the cost of the antibiotics necessary for her recovery. Harborview Hospital will not discharge Yvonne Wallis until plans are completed in Idaho. The irony of the state having to pay several hundred dollars per day to keep her in the hospital, while dithering over a few bucks for antibiotics is ludicrous. First, they have no choice. You cannot deny a person the drugs to combat an infection that sent her to Seattle in the first place.

If anyone from the state reads this blog, I urge you to settle on an end solution. Whether that includes special transportation back, skilled nursing home care, or what, we are in limbo over here. It is time for whom ever is in charge of this case to get off their collective asses and do something. If anyone read this and wants to help, call someone that works there. The patient care specialist at Harborview is trying without success to get someone, anyone, off the dime.

This stalemate is costing the state of Idaho a lot of money, not to mention my own substantial outlay so far. One I can ill afford. Yes I'm pissed.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Deja Vous In Seattle

Some things never change, others change radically. It has been 21 years since I fled Seattle in disarray, having been a victim of the 1987 sudden recession. My new mortgage company down the tubes, I looked back to the fun years I had in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho back in the early 70's.I migrated back and am still here.

In those days, Coeur d'Alene didn't have a rush hour. The mining district was mostly shut down due to low silver and lead prices. Even the Ho's in Wallace left town about then. Many think it was a law enforcement crack down. It wasn't. It was economics. The timber industry was also struggling.

The freeway traffic is the same. Impossible Russian Roulette combined with bumper cars. For a person accustomed to our casual traffic in North Idaho, it is truly a culture shock. My old neighborhood is built up substantially. Downtown Seattle streets seem to hide from me. North and south get lost without a compass.This is especially true in the South Lake Union area where streets are diagonal to the rest of the city which is in the traditional squares.As I transited the area I was reminded of the laugh when the new South Lake Union Transit caused an enterprising young man to have hundreds of T-shirts printed up with S.L.U.T. on them. He sold out.

I finally reoriented my self and no longer circle the block without a clue. Just in time to start back Tomorrow. Tuesday. ... I think. I'm real anxious to get home where the surroundings are familiar as are the people. Leaving town for a week reminds one how wonderful home is. I can't wait to get back.

I will probably have to repeat the trip in 3 or 4 months, as Yvonne will have to go back to have a permanent plate installed in her head. I tell her she went to Seattle with a screw loose and is returning with a hole in her head. With all she has gone through and will again before this is through, I gotta believe she is one of the most courageous people I know.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Today Is The Big Day

Today is the big day. It started at 0-dark-30, or 4:30 am for you non-veterans. I'm here in Seattle at the UW Medical Center, Harborview Medical Center with Yvonne Wallis.

As many of you in Bayview and other surrounding areas are aware, Yvonne and her Daughter-In-Law were victims of a vicious attack by a hammer wielding neighbor. That neighbor is now in jail facing at least, life in prison. Patricia Heath, Michel Heath and son Jed, along with Yvonne were sitting together on the couch watching TV, when Larry Cragun, a neighbor, crashed through the back door, ran up the hallway and started beating the occupants with a large hammer.

Patricia did not survive the attack. Michael and Jed had minor injuries, but Yvonne is still trying her best to survive. She originally had surgery soon after the December 20, 2010 incident. Later, it was determined that the neurosurgery wasn't done correctly, or at least didn't succeed. Her doctors referred her to the University of Washington for the purpose of having the plate in her head removed, the infection cleared up and then in about three to four months, a new one inserted, this time with the assistance of a plastic surgeon that specializes in head injuries.

She will have to wear a helmet similar to a football helmet for any time she moves around, since even though the skin and scalp will be reattached, the bone underneath will have a hole in it.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has pitched in for the medical treatment, but there are many more expenses. The cost of driving to and from Seattle, Lodging for her and myself who is her chauffeur and temporary care giver, meals etc.

Thankfully, churches in the area stepped up with donations of gas, motel and other expenses. It is important for us all to remember that Yvonne is not responsible for what happened to her. We in the community are privileged to step up, not to make up for the attack, but to show that the vast majority of our citizens, whether in Bayview, or Athol are always ready to help when someone is in trouble.

If all goes well, we will drive back Monday and reach Bayview in the late afternoon or early evening. Should there be a delay, I will comment on this post regarding it. I will be calling those Yvonne designated soon after she gets out of surgery. That will be sometime around noon. Prayers are in order.

***Saturday am
Yvonne is now awake, but still needs some help breathing. She will stay in ICU until it is possible to remove the ventilator, then taken to a regular room. No complications around the head area that was operated on.

Saturday 4:40 pm: She was given another breathing test and is doing better. The oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange still isn't quite right yet, so they are leaving the ventilator in for the night. She appears out of danger, but is slow coming around.

***Sunday am: Yvonne is finally breathing on her own as of 11:00 am this am. She will be moved to a regular room this afternoon. We still don't know when they will discharge her, but my gut feeling is that she will be kept over until Tuesday am.

Monday am: Well we lucked out and Yvonne will be released today after lunch. That will bring us back to Bayview around 8:00 pm tonight.

OOPS! Something didn't get scheduled as planned, and they aren't going to release her until tomorrow. I swear, it's easier to spring someone out of jail than to get them out of a state run hospital.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Stuff N' Things

Athol Daze went great as usual. A large crowd gathered to watch the parade which honored for the first time a Grand Marshall. This initial honor went to David Dunkin, Kootenai County Sheriff Deputy. I spoke to Major Ben Wolfinger after the parade. He said, "in my thirty years in law enforcement, I've never, ever, seen a cop honored by the community he serves."

With all of the bad cop stories that seem to abound, especially in Spokane, it is indeed refreshing to see an officer that understands he works for the community, not against it. Congratulations, David. You did a good job. Dunkin now serves as a training officer. Major Wolfinger explained that the goal was to train new officers to be just like "Scrappy" Dunkin.

I'll be out of touch most of this week unless I can find some WiFi. I'm chauffeuring a lady to the University of Washington for a medical procedure that apparently can't be performed locally. I'll blog any interesting experiences along the way if possible.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Only In Athol

Sometimes things aren't as they seem. Sally Hansen, Athol City Clerk, is an unassuming pleasant feminine lady. But she has a hobby. She rides bareback bucking horses. Like the comic strip, "Rose is Rose," she has an alter ego. Put her in a chute, load her onto a bronco and she becomes a wild cowgirl. Recently, I learned of her and four other retired rodeo women who were invited to the Cow Palace in San Francisco for the Grand Champion Rodeo held in October.

In the first picture, the horse rode her. In the second, she did her ten seconds and got off of the horse in a much more conventional way.

Tomorrow, Saturday, During the Athol Daze Parade, Sally will ride a much tamer stead. Well, at least a little tamer. You see, she will be escorting the Grand Marshall, Deputy David Dunkin in a Shelby GT. She claims that having Dunkin as a passenger will make her immune to arrest, as when she burns out, he will be an accomplice much like Bonny was to Clyde. Dunkin will find himself an accessory before, during and after the fact.

Come on down and watch the parade at 10:00 am followed by fun in the park with contests, vendors, auctions and many more happenin's.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Athol Daze 2011

This Saturday, August 13 marks the 102nd anniversary of the city of Athol's existence. As every year, there will be a street parade, narrated by yours truly. The parade starts at 10:00 am with line up at 9:00 am. Following the parade will be the party in the park.

A new twist this year, will be the addition of a Grand Marshall. Chosen for the first so honored, is Kootenai County Deputy, David Dunkin, formerly the beat cop for Athol and Bayview. Contacted for comment was Major Ben Wolfinger who was thrilled that one of his officers was able to enforce the law and maintain good community relations as well. His comment was, "way cool." Deputy Dunkin is now training officer for the department, for the above noted reasons.

Folks interested in entering the parade, becoming a vendor or a contestant, must register with Sally Hansen, city clerk. 208-683-2101. There is no entry fee for the parade or contest entries.

Some of the activities following the parade will be Camel Rides, money in the straw, with over $500 to be hidden in a large bed of straw. Hmm. May need Deputy Dunkin to enforce the law with that much money at stake. Other stuff is a skateboard contest hosted by Pyramid Skate Shop, a pie baking contest, cute baby contest, (must be under 2 years of age) Big Picture Photography a cake walk, dunk tank, both live and silent auction. Entertainment will be organized by Darla's Dance & Drama.

Victory Auto Parts is holding a classic car competition following the parade. Rudy Rudebaugh, owner, also provides the fantastic sound system for the parade. The overall theme for this year is "All About Kids."

Saturday, August 06, 2011

More Changes

We hear that the kitchen manager has had a disagreement with management and has resigned at the Captain's Wheel. He has accepted employment from Henry Dean who now runs three locations. The Buttonhook, The Floating Patio and the Bay Cafe. Judging from other conversations, the kitchen crew is in disarray at the Wheel. We hope the growing pains subside and an organized approach to the business and community will prevail.

The Buttonhook is still working with Banquet permits from J.D.'s since the liquor license has be inordinately delayed. This allows them to serve alcoholic beverages Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The Bay Cafe operates with a beer & wine license and is ineligible for a liquor license, since it isn't attached to a marina. Meanwhile, Ralph's Coffee House is sailing along in it's niche doing very nicely hanging out above the fray.

***Bulletin: Following the kitchen manager, Dean Knowles, prior manager of the Bay Cafe, quit today as well. It looks like some serious managerial problems exist.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Hilarious Obituary

This is the most hilarious obituary I've ever seen. I seldom read the obituaries and never publish them. This deserves an exception. RIP, Dandy.

Dandelion B. Treecraft

Dandelion B.

Dandelion B. Treecraft died August 4, 2011
Born: April 30, 1949, Fresno, California,
Dam: Nina Isabel Guard, a shy, rural North Carolina girl, graduated from the University of North Carolina at age 18.
Sire: Vernon Willard Whipple, a dangerous-charming Fresno boy who managed to graduate from Fresno High School.
Christened "Daniel Bryan Whipple" at his birth, in Fresno, California, Dan endured 13 mind-numbing years of public schooling in California, Washington, and Florida before enlisting in the US Coast Guard during the Vietnam War. Thereafter, he worked as a carpenter, and a wood tank "cooper" in Fresno. After divorcing Leta, his wife of six years [formerly, his step-mother for 12 years], Dan moved to Spokane in June, 1980, and took up, promptly, with a former babysitter from his grade-school years. This was two weeks after Mt. Saint Helens' historic off-topping.
A short stint with the Spokane City garbage collection squad was followed by a similarly-short hitch, 'cold-canvassing' for one of Spokane's leading predatory roofing and siding contractors. That invaluable vocational experience was followed by six years employment at an industrial transformer manufacturing plant - which failed to lead to tenure, as the company moved its facility to North Carolina to take advantage of a lower-wage environment. In late 1980, Mr. Treecraft joined the Spokane Unitarian Church, whose very active singles group had a surplus of women 10 to 20 years his senior. This was truly a golden era for Dan. He eventually graduated from the Unitarian Church in 1997, with a degree of Critical Thinking. A doldrum period of employment coincided in the late --80s, and included a brief attempt to enter the medical industry as a nurse-aide. This proved, after all, not to be a good fit, as Dan felt compelled to take half of his charges home to provide more adequate personal nurturance, while the remainder, he felt, should be taken out over-night, and shot.
From 1991 until 2009, having found his calling, Dan employed himself as an arborist, changed his legal name, and attempted to make an honest living providing ethical tree care. Anyone who's attempted to make a living - ethically - can attest that it is no small feat. Mr. Treecraft's scorecard, here, looks fairly good - if graded on a --curve'. He was pleased, though, that many of his clients also became enduring friends.
In 1991, while pruning an ancient apple tree for a frugal-but-charming South Hill matron, Dan met his second-wife-to-be. Nearly eight years passed, before she managed to come to Dan's attention again. Jan and Dan were married on the Autumnal Equinox, 2001, a pot luck affair which drew a crowd of well under one thousand.
The next nine years passed in what appeared to be sublime, flawless bliss. Both Treecrafts were generally satisfied to let that appearance prevail. It was a period of considerable inner growth, especially for Jan. For Dan, it was a time of great inner testing. The result was, after all, a passably agreeable relationship for a near-decade. No small feat in this day.
In the Fall of 2008, Dan noticed a mild, chronic sore throat, and some difficulty swallowing. The symptoms persisted, eventually joined by others, until Dan finally agreed to see a doctor in February, 2010. Examination and biopsy revealed a tumor of some advanced development. A course of "no treatment" was decided upon and followed, until such time as the discomfort and dysfunction of his illness directed Dan to thoughtfully and humanely end his tenure. Jan stood by him throughout the eleven-month duration of his winding-down process, walking all the way - to the very edge - with him.
Some fuss has been made of Treecraft's social and political activism. This aspect of his life has been significantly exaggerated, though it's true he took pride in his pivotal role - forcing Alberto Gonzales to resign as head of the United States Justice Department's team of international war criminals. Dan was also exceedingly proud of being ousted from several dozen Spokane City Council meetings, by Council President Joe Shogan.
Besides his wife, Jan, Mr. Treecraft is survived by their dog, Skippy, Cuckoo, the cat, Jan's adult son, Max, Jan's daughter, Molly, and Molly's 4-year-old son, Ezra. Dan also leaves a half-brother, Bill Whipple, seven step-siblings [ too numerous and far-flung to name - Bobby, Jackie, Eddy, Sally, Nancy, Tommy and Susan ], and an unknown number of nieces and nephews. Dan had no children of his own [ if he did, not one of them ever called or wrote ].
Burial will be at Worley Township Cemetery 10:00 a.m., Saturday, August 6, 2011. A caravan of grave-digging friends and well-wishers are expected to provide funereal talent, shovels, sweat, cheer, graveside manners. Eulogizers of quick-witted brevity are welcome to speak. Long-winded droners may be stoned and used as backfill. Bring a picnic lunch to share, and something to sit on. Please consider carpooling. It is hoped this event might inspire and bring together a few good people from across the county.
Those wanting to make memorial gifts are asked to give generously to the Spokane Center For Justice.

Published in Spokesman-Review from August 5 to August 6, 2011 Follow this Obituary

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Two Economies

I have often wondered why the experts tell us that the recession was over in 2009 and now warn us of a possible second one. Obviously with unemployment hovering at just below 10% food stamp recipients at an all time high and unemployment benefits running out, the recession isn't over.

It finally occurred to me that what the experts are referring to is the Wall Street economy.By their reckoning, if the stock market is healthy, then so is the economy. So what we have is a classical double standard.

One economy prospers with cheaper goods made off shore by inexpensive labor. Stocks are healthy and dividends are as well. Those that have retirement funds like 401K, and other like types of investments are doing just fine.

On the other hand, the bulk of our population that doesn't live on investment income is suffering. Homelessness is on the increase, foreclosures are still high and with the large inventory of either new homes unsold or bank owned, are causing the real estate market to stay flat.

The construction industry, that fostered a huge amount of employment for the workers in their 20's and 30's is dead. Manufacturing is at a low point due to consumers not having the income to purchase goods made in the Orient. The experts that do not take into consideration the state of the consumer economy are now warning that a second recession is possible. It ain't. It is still the first one.

What we have is Wall Street versus Main Street. It would appear that Free trade isn't all that free.