Search and Rescue

Goodbye my friend

More than a dozen years ago it was clear this day would come. But in the knowing it would arrive does little to dam the torrent of tears it brings. Between there and here is was so easy to forget. Even in the last weeks, reminded by Sam's passing, and knowing that the time was near doesn't really prepare one for what will be. The deep sadness that comes with the passing of a friend. A couple of decades back Linda Rondstat sang:

So goodbye, my friend
I know I'll never see you again
But the love you gave me through all the years
Will take away these tears
It's okay now...
Goodbye my friend

Life's so fragile and love's so pure
We can't hold on but we try
We watch how quickly it disappears
And we never know why

But I'm okay now
Goodbye my friend.
I can go now
Goodbye my friend.

Indeed goodbye my dear friend. The memories are so plentiful that it's hard to know where to begin in telling the story.

Apache crosses the rainbow bridge

The following passage written by a mutual friend pays homage to Apache, a wonderful dog I had the pleasure of working with on a couple of searches. There is never a good time for such a passing. Humankind is drawn from our very primal core to "man's best friend"? only to find that their days are much too short when measured in human lifetimes. Those who are fortunate enough to live life with these beautiful creatures spend a lifetime reconciling how such magnificence can come and go so quickly. All the thought one can muster, however, cannot erase the pain of their departure nor will it diminish the glow of the memories.

December 29, 1993--March 11, 2006

Apache has crossed that rainbow bridge to join the other search dogs and searchers whom have gone before him. He has other dog friends to chase ball or stick with and someone there to throw them for him. He is now free of the ailments of old age that brought him down rapidly the past few months. Unfortunately, it is probable that his illness was accelerated by things he was exposed to while doing his work as a search dog.

Weather data to dry up?

Senator Rick Santorum introduced the National Weather Services Duties Act of 2005 earlier this year. The bill would have several troubling effects. These impacts may mark the first time the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association have had occasion to be allied on an issue.

The bill, which Santourm says was crafted with the "jobs of Pennsylvanians in mind," would limit the National Weather Service's ability to provide information to the public. Instead the agency would use its tax-payer funding to create "a set of data portals designed for volume access by commercial providers of products or services." These services, such as Santorum campaign donor AccuWeather, would then provided to consumers through commercial services.

Limiting access to commercial providers would eliminate the provision of data for so much of rural America. Everybody from search and rescue teams to farmers and small town fire-fighters would be at the mercy of these commercial providers for critical, sometimes life-or-death, situations. With the recent fires in Southern Nevada for example, the large weather services didn't have information available. Residents of the farms and rural residences would have had no information to make decisions. In truth we need more information not less.

Snowboard maker found not-liable

In the first such case to go to trial a civil jury found that Swiss snowboard maker Nidecker was not liable for the 2002 death of 22-year-old Kate Svitek. Svitek's estate had asked the company be held liable because the snowboard's bindings were not release bindings. The company at one time had offered release bindings but stopped because of poor sales. No studies have been done to measure the impact of release bindings. Proponents of the status-quo suggest that the fixed bindings prevent additional injury from a situation where one foot releases and the other foot is still attached to the board.


11 years ago the Gods of the Universe blessed the humans on earth with Zephyr, God of the West Wind. His duties were to assist the mortals of Earth, using his talents with wind and nose, in finding those that were presumed lost or missing. Among the many talents given to Zephyr to accomplish these goals were abilities to work through the human contaminated world, through land, water, snow both in mountains and populated zones.

To assist Zephyr in his duties he was given a mere mortal, Julie Weibler. The Gods determined that she should arrive at a Petsmart just when Zephyr was there and willed her to take the black and white Wind God of unknown background and many "ghosts"? in his young past and assist him in moving past those. The mortal Julie endeavored greatly, having already survived the challenges set forth by the Gods with her previous search dog, Tassie. Zephyr overcame the difficulties of daily life in the mortal's world where people had physically and mentally abused him before the Gods directed him to Julie. For years they lived in harmony, both at home and as a search dog/handler team.


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