The Real Wendy Mazaros

Editors Note:  Shortly after publishing this, I received several terse phone calls from Wendy Mazaros insisting I remove this article from my website under threat of a lawsuit as I dared mention what she did to Dick Stoddard. After consulting my attorney and learning I am within my First Amendment rights, I decided to re-post it despite her demand.

Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons spent several hours being questioned about an incident involving Las Vegas cocktail waitress Chrissy Mazzeo, who is accusing him of sexually assault during his campaign for governor in October 2006. The questioning also focused on rumors about his extramarital affairs.

In the end, he denied having romantic relationships with the two Reno women. But all of that is being refuted by a woman, notoriously known for her shady Las Vegas underworld life.

Wendy Mazaros said she was reluctant to become a witness in Jim And Dawn Gibbons’ divorce because, as she claims, she was warned to keep her mouth shut, but then she insisted on placing herself in the middle of it anyway. Her deposition took eight hours and focused on Gibbons and Leslie Durant.

Learning who Wendy Mazaros is depends on what period of her life you’re talking about. And once you know, it becomes hard to give her testimony legitimacy, especially since she’s also pedaling a new book.

She started out as Wendy Watson, then Wendy Hadley after marrying Tom Hanley who was suspected of 20 killings but was eventually convicted the 1977 mob murder of Culinary Union boss Al Bramlet.

She then moved on to Robert Peoples, another lifelong criminal, who had been convicted of crimes from bad checks to murder. She and Peoples raised the child she had with Hanley.

She moved to Reno in the late 80s, had a long-term relationship and a daughter local weatherman Dick Stoddard, taking his last name. In 1994 she accused Stoddard of molesting their daughter, which cost him his job at TV station.

Those charges were eventually dropped when it was found that there was no merit to her accusation.

Now going by the name Wendy Stoddard, she moved into a small house in Reno with Leslie Durant. There, she claims, she learned Durant supposedly involved in a secret relationship with Gibbons.

She says Leslie visited Gibbons at least two or three times a week at a condo he owned. She even claims she and Leslie chased down Kathy Karasch, another woman whose been linked by the media as being involved with Gibbons.

Gibbons filed for divorce May 2, 2008 from his wife of 22 years, former Assemblywoman Dawn Gibbons, citing “incompatibility.” The two have a son, whose serving in the Merchant Marines.

Face In a Dark Hallway

The house was entirely dark when the three of us entered through the front door and had been since the bride’s father, Don had passed away. It had been a lousy day, full of distractions, designed to take our minds of the death of her father.

First we had gone to see the vampire movie, “Van Helsing.” It wasn’t normally something we would have seen but Kyle’s cousins insisted. It turned out to be a good choice as it was more humorous than it was scary.

Then there was the food shopping for the barbecue and the motorcycle rides in the field next door to occupy the time. By the end of the evening everyone was exhausted and ready to relax a while before turning into sleep.

The three of  us quietly moved through our routine of preparing for bed. Kyle had to shower since he was covered with a fine layer of dust from riding motorcycles.

That meant he had to wonder down the length of hallway without a light and back again, leaving him vulnerable for a practical joke. I listened intently for the sound of the water as it passed through the fifty year old pipes and once I heard it, I grinned at the bride, picked up the small flashlight resting on the wooden nightstand by the bed and rushed to the bend in the hallway.

It was there that I lowered myself to my knees. I knew the bend was a blind elbow in which Kyle couldn’t see around.

I waited for the  sound of the shower knobs turning and then the silence.

A few minutes later I heard the bathroom door open and Kyle step out into hallway. I could hear the eleven year old walking towards me.

Within seconds Kyle was at the corner and I flicked on the flash light. I held it beneath my chin, shining it upwards giving my face a frightful appearance.

As I did this, I hissed violently.  I expected Kyle to jump or maybe run in place.

He did neither.

Without warning Kyle stepped back, yelled “hi-ya!,” and kicked for all he was worth.  Then he ran down the hallway towards the bedroom.

Instantly, I dropped the flashlight and grabbed my crotch. I tried to scream but found I couldn’t even breathe. Instead I was seeing stars and other bright lights as I fell over.

It took a while until I was able to roll over on my back and set up. I felt dizzy as I sat there.

Slowly I got to my knees and then feet. My legs were wobbly.

That’s when I realized I had messed my britches and I thought, “I’ve never had that happen before.”

I walked down the hallway and to the bedroom to find Kyle sitting on the end of the bed.

“I didn’t know it was you,” he said, “Honest! I thought you were a vampire.”

“That’s okay,” I replied.

I forced a smile and turned back towards the bathroom.

The idea of being mistaken for a vampire was the  least of my worries at that moment. It had occurred to me that my son had literally kicked the crap out of me.

The Binder that Ties

It started as I saw a white binder resting, open and unattended on a stone wall of a neighbor’s yard. Nearby and half-hidden from sight was a lanky Latino teenager, standing in a small grouping of trees.

The two together, caused me to give pause to what I was seeing and to investigate. By this time I had to turn my truck around in order to return to the intersection of Alena and Nightingale.

After exiting my truck and starting to pick up note paper from the street and the sidewalk, I asked the teen, who was still tucked behind a pine tree, if they were his. He answered, saying they weren’t.

I continued picking up the paper as he slowly migrated to the sidewalk, then across the street. And before I could get all the pages collected, be had disappeared.

Among the papers I located a name and then an address. The notebook belonged to a girl who lives across Pyramid Highway on Jedediah Smith.

From where I was standing to the school at the corner of Alena and Eagle Canyon or the high school across Eagle Canyon, was a northerly direction. Meanwhile to get to Jed Smith from the either school, was an eastbound trip.

So what was it doing there — and moreover — where was the binders owner?

I decided to make a quick check of the stand of trees and shrubs as I suddenly feared a body may be hidden in the brush.

But after a thorough check, I was satisfied that my fear was simply that — a fear.  There was no one laying injured or dead, hidden in the landscape of the yard.

My next action was to take the notebook to the address listed inside. Once there, some three to four miles away, I met with the mother of the teen-girl who owned the binder.

She invited me in and then proceeded to tell me a strange and frightening story. First her 14-year-old daughter had reported the binder missing a few weeks before, then he daughter was the focus of a possible sexual attack involving a drugging.

The teenager told her parents and Washoe County School Police confirmed that the girl had awakened in a ditch, half-naked and without any idea how she ended up there. She told authorities that she and two other friends had been given something to drink prior to her losing her memory.

The girl’s mother also told me that there are cell-phone pictures of a sexual nature involving the girl being forwarded throughout Spanish Springs High School. And now for the frightening part: the school district police told the parents that they’d handle the situation.

It’s frightening because the mother has heard little to nothing regarding process or setbacks to the investigation. Even more disconcerting is the fact that she and her daughter have been summoned to attend therapy to explore the child’s misuse of alcohol since she was discovered to have had a .12-percent BAC when she first called to report what had happened to her.

This situation has piqued my curiosity. I have some very basic questions I’d like to know the answers too, but no one is talking to me as it doesn’t involve my child.

The first and foremost question needing answered is this: is the district school police conducting an active investigation into the possibility that this girl may have suffered a sexual assault or is the school district as a whole, content to simply allow her to attend therapy sessions aimed at alcohol abuse?

Finally, further investigation is warranted in regard to the once-lost binder. Who had it, why and how did it come to being found where it was and of course, where does the Latino teen fit in to all of this?

There is no such thing as coincidence when it comes to situation like this one.  I will continue to follow-up on this incident.

A Thankful Thanksgiving

My Thanksgiving weekend started a 10 pm Wednesday night, when I climbed out of the rack and shuffled off to the head and where I took a shower. I had to be dressed, fed and out the door by 11:15 pm and heading to the station or I’d be late.

After working a six-hour overnight shift, I came home and was in bed by 7 am only to get up again at noon. I had plans to head back to my pillow and blankets by 1 pm, but those got waylaid as I ended up helping the bride clean the top of our kitchen cabinets.

I had no idea they were so dusty or that the one’s by the stove had accumulated a layer of cooking grease that needed scraping first before a good wipe down.

It back to bed by 3:15 pm and I only got up twice to use the head. Before I knew it though, it was 10 pm and time again to rise and shine.

By the time my alarm sounded, the bride and our housemate Kay were in bed asleep. That left me to quickly and as quietly as possible to shower and dress and get a bite to eat.

There was a plate of food in the fridge left for me by my bride. It had several slices of turkey on it along with mashed potatoes and a large helping of fresh green beans.

I warmed it up in the nuke-row-wave and ate it while sitting in my easy chair in our front room.

It was tasty and I finished it jus’ in time to catch the top stories from one of our local TV news stations, then it was back out into the night and to work.

For me, it’s the simple pleasures in life for which I have much to be thankful: work, sleep, food, family, friends and a home.

Blue Harvest

The unemployment line was long and it had not moved in ten minutes as I checked my pocket watch once more. I had no-where to go but to the front of the line, so I continued to wait.

Off to my right was a single door where a small group of four men keep coming and going. The shortest one was looking towards the line I was standing in.

He raised his hands and with the pointer finger and thumb of either hand be created a frame.  He moved that frame back and forth as if he were attempting to frame something.

He quickly turned and disappeared behind the door. Moments later he reappeared and started walking towards my line.

Again he raised his hands and formed a frame. The other three men walked behind him. He stopped in front of me.

Quickly I glanced over my left shoulder to see what they might be seeing. It was me the man had framed up with his hands.

“You’re perfect,” he said.

I looked over my shoulder again.

“Yes, you!” he replied to my action, and then he stepped back.

“What do you guys say?” he asked the other three.

One was tall with black curly hair and a dark complexion. The second one was also dark-haired with a beard and glasses.

The last one was my height with close-cropped light brown hair and a beard. He spoke with a Scottish accent.

All three made the same framing gestures with their hands. I felt nervous and singled out.

Finally the one with the glasses said, “He’s a little shorter than I’d like, but he’ll do.”

By this time everyone in the unemployment office was staring at them and at me. I looked around the room and then at the double glass doors as I started to calculate my chances of escape if it came down to that.

The short man extended his right hand and said, “Hello, I’m Dave. I work for a movie company and you’re what I’ve been looking for.”

I reached out and shook his hand, telling him my name.

Dave asked me to come into their temporary office so I stepped out of line.  Inside the office, behind the single door he discovered that this movie company needed a stand in and stunt double for a major movie actor.

I fit his profile although I was one or two inches short than the lead actor.

They wanted me to accept the job on the spot before they could tell him anything more. I looked at the benefits form in his hand.

It was a measly seventy-five dollars a week. It did not take long to deliberate. I accepted the job—whatever it was.

The four men then asked me to read, and then sign a few forms which he did. In all honesty I signed them more than read them.

Then they told me about the project. The name of the Film was “Blue Harvest, Horror beyond Imagination.”

“Of course this was just the working title and might change before the movie’s released,” one of them said.

“So what do I do?” I asked.

“Show up at this address on Monday. Be there at eight in the morning,” said the short man.

“Okay,” I responded.

Then he got up and showed me to the door.

The weekend took forever to go by.

When Monday finally arrived I was up by six. I had to find a way from town to Smith River, a distance of roughly twelve miles, and everyone who had a car was either gone or their car was broke down. That’s the way it was with my truck that sat out in the drive way of the apartment I rented.

By twenty minutes after six I was out the door and heading on foot up Highway 101. After nearly an hour and a half I wasn’t even half way there. Fort Dick was the half way point and the sign said I still had two miles to go before I got there.

My luck changed when a logging truck stopped and picked me up. The trucker was on his way to Brookings, just over the border.

I was going to make my eight o’clock appointment after all as the log truck driver dropped me along side the road across from the Ship Ashore, the meeting place.

As I walked in to the resort I counted six vans and at least half a hundred people milling about. I suddenly had butterflies in my stomach and I yawned to let them out.

There were donuts and coffee being served. I grabbed one of each as I searched the crowd for one of the four men I had met on Friday.

I finally found Dave.

Dave smiled, “Glad you’re here.” Then he added, “You’ll ride with me.”

At that point he started ushering people into the vans.

Later as we traveled up the coast, I found out that the majority of the people there were extras; bodies needed to fill a scene to make it look busy.

I was not an extra Dave said. “You’re a stand-in and a stunt double,” he added.

The caravan turned up a gravel road just past a large rock on the right shoulder of the highway. I was surprised to see an armed man standing along the roadway.

He was in blue jeans, a leather jacket and was carrying an AR-15 assault rifle. I turned in my seat and watched him disappear into the scrub brush as the last van passed by him.

Now I was very weary.

We continued to drive for another fifteen minutes into the Six Rivers National Park area. When we stopped I could see the movie set. It was alive with activity.

There were people moving stuff and pounding nails here and sawing things there. I was surprised at the size of the encampment.

There were three mobile trailers on the set, two moving vans, a catering truck as well as the six vans we arrived in.  I could also see a structure half buried in the side of the hill at the base of a redwood tree.

Further to my left was what looked like an armored car on chicken-legs. These last two items would later be known as the bunker and the chicken-walker and would serve a pivotal part in the movie.

While I was looking over the chicken walker it occurred to me that I had seen something like this once in a couple of movies a few years back. I stood there amazed as it all came to me.

The next morning Dave confirmed what I was certain I already knew. He told me that he could not tell anyone. But Dave underestimated the rumor mill in Crescent City.

The following day an article appeared in the Del Norte Triplicate. It reported that a major movie studio was shooting a Star Wars film in the Smith River area.

The first unit was already entering day 73 of the shoot when we drove on set. Dave told me that this would be my first chance to be in front of the camera.

I grew nervous.

Dave pointed out the fellow with the beard and glasses saying that I would report to him from now on.  He was the production assistant and his name was Ian.

Ian was a very busy man. He walked rapidly from one place to the next.

He also had a short temper. I would discover at the end of the day.

After the introductions were out-of-the-way, Dave left.  I followed Ian around the set.

When they came to the area of the stunt trailer he said, “This is where you stay.  You’ll learn some basics and get fitted.”

Then he was off again.

I stood outside the trailer for a few minutes and would possibly still be standing outside it, if it had not been for the woman’s voice with a British accent.

“Don’t be shy!  Come on in, Silly.” The woman said.

I grabbed the door knob and stepped in.

The trailer was sparsely furnished.  It had a folding table and a few folding chairs.  Other than that it was full of clothes on hangers.

“Back here, Love,” called out the woman’s voice.

I turned to my right and entered the back room.

Standing in the middle of a folding chair was a woman with dark brown hair.  She was athletic and taller than my five foot seven inches.  She smiled as another woman buzzed around her adjusting the hem in one of her off-white pant legs.

“Done,” the lady making the adjustments said with finality.

“Good,” said the woman on the chair as she stepped out of the chair.

She landed on the floor so lightly that she made no sound.  I didn’t feel anything on the floor in the way of a vibration and I was surprised.

She stepped up to me, very close and shot her hand out.  I grabbed it and we exchanged introductions.

Tracy was her name.  She told me that she and I would be working together as she was the stunt double for principle female, Carrie.

I thought I could not have gotten luckier, but that’s where my luck ended.

Tracy was a slave driver. She worked me until my body ached that first day on set.  She was also a perfectionist who showed no fear and expected none from those she worked with.

On the other hand I was quite intimidated.  She had me diving nearly thirty feet from a swing like contraption onto a double set of foam pads no bigger than a twin mattress.

At thirty feet, one miss and I’d certainly end up dead.  I had already missed several times at fifteen and twenty feet.

She also worked me into the French splits. Those are where the legs go straight out to the side.

And when I could not get all the way down she stood on my thighs until they gave in and I sank to the ground.  My former martial art instructor, Master Rick Madonnia was never as brutal as this woman from the United Kingdom.

After nearly ten hours of working out with Tracy limbering up my unused muscles it was time to go home.  While waiting for their vans to arrive Tracy and I played a little Frisbee.  This took a little of the edge off our workout.

Without knowing it, we had tossed that disc back and forth for nearly an hour.  That’s when Ian walked up to us and shouted “What the hell are you two still doing here?”.

“Were waiting for our rides,” I commented.

“Well, your ride left over an hour ago!” he shouted.

Then he paused for a moment and added, “You’ll be damned lucky if I let you on set tomorrow.”

Then he turned and walked away. I wanted to smash my fist into his face.

But I looked over at Tracy instead.  She was smiling

“What are you smiling about?” I asked.

“Don’t you worry, Love — he’s more bark than bite,” she replied.

Soon there was a van driving towards us.  It was our ride down the hill and out of the woods.

The next two weeks were much the same.  On the set at seven in the morning, lunch at noon and back off the hills by six that evening.

Sunday was the only day we didn’t work.  By this time, my brother Adam had a job as a storm trooper and an extra as did his best friend Robert, who was working as an assistant to Ian.

Meanwhile I continued to practice diving, falling and rolling.  Tracy had also added a bit more to our continued training.

She added the wooden practice sword.

My training with Master Madonnia had already prepared me for this.  I could walk through the basics of the bukken kata, which was much like a dance.

Tracy however wanted my use to be practical.

It was difficult at first to step into this sword play.  I was not used to a female aggressor and Tracy was all of that and more.

She would attack me viciously with the sword shaped length of wood.  The blows she afflicted would leave welts on my body. She did this over and over until I learned to defend myself and dropped the shy attitude about hitting a woman.

After nearly four days of beatings I had enough of her attacks.  I had learned enough to maintain a readiness by keeping my bukken in my hand at all times, even if in the rest room.

They would call “stand-in,” and I would rush down to the camera location.  I would literally stand in the position they needed until the lighting and focus was perfected and then I would rush back up to the trailer.

On occasions Tracy would attack me as I was walking down the trail to the location or on the way back. She even attacked me once within seconds of the director saying “Thank you.”

That was the day I said enough and the two of us put on a real show.

She silently and swiftly flanked the area, and then rushed me from the left, striking towards my right side.  I had my sword in my right hand and without looking, I parried her strike as it came within inches of landing, and then I spun to my left and struck back.

Tracy blocked the thunder cut as it swept over my head and  directly at her head.  The surprise left her shocked and I could see it in her eyes as she bolted away down the hill-side.

This time though, I gave chase.

Having grown up in the forest I had a slight advantage.  I had always been the cowboy to her Indian, the samurai to her ninja.

I turned the tables and that day I was the aggressor and she had to fight for all she was worth.

Nearing the end of the shoot as it was commonly referred to; I was fitted for the costume of the principle male lead.  I had met Mark several times and we had even spent time walking through the woods talking about and looking at nature.

He gave me the chance to appreciate what I had so long taken for granted.  I could name plants and give the briefest history on Redwood trees and the area. Meanwhile Mark told me stories about other movies and plays he had worked on.

“Bring on the stunt doubles,” the director called.

Tracy and I walked out onto the set and in front of the cameras.  She winked at me and I yawned hoping to let out the butterflies that had grown in my stomach.

“Here’s what I need to happen,” the director started, “I want you riding the scooter and when I say, pitch yourself off to the right.  In other words, just jump off the thing.  You got that?”

I nodded my head yes.

“We’re going to do this several times from all sorts of angles,” the director added.

“Okay,” I replied as I climbed on the scooter.

The scooter was painted dark green and was affixed to the ground.  It looked like a motorcycle seat mounted to two metal pipes and had four flat pieces of metal attached to them at the far end away from where I was to sit.

There were two handles to hold onto as I sat there.  I was only three feet off the ground.

“Quiet!” echoed through the woods as the signal was passed on by word of mouth.

Finally the director said “Roll camera.”

A few seconds later someone said, “Camera at speed.”

A man walked out and snapped the boards together.  There was a long silence.

I wanted to look at the director but fought off the urge as he shouted “Now!”

We pitched ourselves off the scooters and to the ground.

Tracy and I did this over and over.  And in between takes the director had the cameras moved or a light placed there or here.

After every fall we would lay there until we heard the word “cut.”  Then we would get up and the prop master would come out and dust off and readjust our uniforms.

Finally after three hours of this the director got what he wanted.  He came over and said thanks and walked away.  It was lunch time by now.

The hard part was coming up as I watched them move the swing from behind the trailer where Tracy and I had practiced so many hours for so many days. This was not fair to my way of thinking as I had just eaten a big lunch and now the director wanted me to dive from the swing and fall on the ground, complete a roll and then turn to look at the camera.

Tracy was on the swinging platform with me.  She was there as a counter balance, a guide and to hold my hand as I was nervous because I had never become fully comfortable with the swing.

This time, however the director left it up to me.  I could jump when I was ready as I only needed to do it a couple of times; completing a twenty-five feet leap.

I could easily see the pads but I was afraid I’d miss them. Since I had a fear of missing them, I figured that if they weren’t there then I wouldn’t be worried about missing them.

“Get rid of the pads.” I said to Tracy

Within moments they were gone.

With the mats out-of-the-way and the cameras up to speed and Tracy as my counter balance, I launched into the air, kicking and flailing and then rolling in a somersault, to my feet.  I turned as instructed by the director and looked towards him.

A great cheer went up and everyone was clapping.  Tracy jumped from the platform and wrapped her arms around me, picking me up off the ground.  We spun in a celebration circle.

I had done the stunt, small as it was, in one take and there was no need to re-shoot it. However, for good measure the director asked for it to be shot two more times, but now the pressure was off.

Later that day I met up with my brother, Adam.  He was dressed in the all white storm troopers uniform and I was still dressed in the rebel uniform.

We were directed to the scooters, where we were allowed to beat on each other as if we were fighting while flying along.  Unlike the time before, the scooters were on tracks.

They were powered by crew members who pushed us along and into each other until we were instructed to jump off. The scooters were set very close together and at times they even bumped into each other.

Adam and I had a lot of fun that day. That brought to close day 80 of the shoot.

I was reassigned to the second unit after day 83.

They loaded the second unit up and flew us to San Francisco.  It is the only time I ever flew out of Crescent City’s McNamara airport.

There was not much time for anything other than work once the unit got there.  For me it was time for more sword play which meant no time for play at all.

The character I was doubling for was to die.  He had to look like he had done the stunt, which would involve a fall from a height of about twenty feet.

The other would be a strike to the stomach by my opponents’ sword.  But before that, I would end up cutting off the hand of the character that would “kill” me.

The sword in this case was nothing more than citizens band radio antennae.  It was white fiber glass mounted in a plastic die-cast handle, about three feet long.

The stunt actor I was to fight with stood was about six feet, eight inches.  Our first sparing match was a very well choreographed dance.

Thrust, parry, stroke, thrust, parry, strike.

We danced it out until everyone was happy with the movements. This was an action scene and it had to be dramatic.

The following day we were suited up.  My opponent came out in an all black suit, with his face completely hidden under a black helmet and face visor. He also had on a cape.

As I saw it, this was an advantage because I didn’t have anything blocking my eyes and I had no cape to get tangled up in.  I wished someone would have told him this though.

The moment action was called he advanced on me like a swarm of locust.  It was all I could do to keep from being hit.

His blows were fast and furious.  The taller man struck me twice and they stung like the snap of whip.

The final two shots were of me cutting the hand off of a manikin as it was propped up and fastened to a guard rail.  I completed it in one take as there were five different camera angles involved.  Then I had to stand on a collapsible walk way and fall from it as it dropped out from underneath me.

On day five of the second units shoot, I had to play like I was killed.  The first part of the day was the easier of the two stunts.  I received a belly cut from the tall man’s sword, fell to the ground, rolled over and pitched myself from the platform onto some awaiting mats.

The second half of the stunt involved having two guide wires attached to my waist by a harness.  I was propelled through the air and into a wall as if I had been in an explosion. Then I’d slide down the wall, to the floor, ending up in a seated position where I would “die.”

Once the stunts were completed I was flown back to Crescent City where I was just in time to work in the final battle scenes. I had just one more stunt to complete.

This one involved six people getting captured in a hanging net.  The net was made of rope and painted with a rubberized material and was lifted off the ground by a crane.

As the six of us were caught and the net closed around us everything went fine.  But as we were raised six to eight feet off the ground, the cable came undone and the ball attached to the crane plummeted to the ground.

The ball landed a couple of feet from our piled up bodies.  Fortunately, no one was hurt by either the fall or the 100 pound ball.

The old saying is true: “The show must go on.” Within minutes the cable was repaired and the director shot the scene without any further hitch.

The remainder of the day I spent my time wearing either a rebel uniform or a storm trooper outfit, running up and down the wooded hillside, fighting imaginary battles, blowing things up, being shot at and playing dead when told. All too soon, “It’s a wrap,” was called and like that it was over.

For over three-weeks I had lived, eaten and breathed “Blue Harvest.” I had helped carry lights and stood in front of cameras.  I had done stunts, fought with a sword, died time and again and carried Ewoks (including Warwick Davis and Debbie Carrington,) over the forest’s deadfall as they had difficulty getting around in costume.

Quickly I realized I would miss being on a movie set.  But I also knew I had to get back to reality.

It was over a year later that I heard that the movie was coming out – but under a different title: Return of the Jedi. By this time I was living in Arcata, stationed at NAS Centerville and working part-time at KATA-KFMI radio stations.

I invited all my friends at the two stations and the few Marines from the Navy base to come see the movie.

It was amazing how Mark, the man I had doubled for, was now in my place during all the stunts I had completed and the more I saw Mark, the more I grew quiet and sullen.

Before the movie started, I was certain everybody would know it was me, but no one could tell, not even me. Now I felt silly because I couldn’t prove it was me who had done all those things in that movie.

I really wanted someone to say, “There’s Tom.  Did you see him?”

That never happened. Worse yet, I thought my name would appear somewhere in the credits – but that didn’t happen either.

Later that night I sat on the couch and nursed my wounded feelings with a six-pack of cold beer, remembering I had an autographed picture from Mark, the lead Actor.  That was all the proof I had.

It read, “Tom – (Luke II!) Many Thanks (From a Galaxy Far, Far Away.) Mark Hamill.”

Quick Draw

Much of my morning was spent at the Sands Hotel Casino as a representative of radio station KBUL. I was there to do some broadcasting and later take on KIIQ in a friendly Cowboy Fast Draw competition.

World class shooters come from all around the world to participate and I quickly made friends with many of the fast draw experts there.

The set up was simple. A balloon attached to a wall and a high-speed camera designed to capture the moment the balloon popped after being shot.

After several rounds and a “for practice” preliminary shoot-out, it was time to get down to business. On my right hip was a Colt .45 and on my left hand a rawhide glove.

The object was to draw your six-shooter as quick as possible and bust the balloon that was positioned a foot or so away, by slapping away at hammer while squeezing the trigger. Once the balloon popped and the camera completed its job, a reader-board with the time measured in tenths-of-a second, would declare the winner of the round.

Having handled six-shooters and other weapons as a serviceman, a Man-Tracker and deputy reservist, I had a distinct advantage. And I proved it as I was quicker on the draw in the first of three rounds.

However after a little side-line schooling for my competitor, he beat me the next two-rounds and I placed second. For his effort, my competitor from KIIQ received a nice silver belt buckle.

I wasn’t feeling very sportsman-like and returned to the KBUL studios, complaining.

On the air at that time was Deb Spring. Both she and I had worked at KIIQ and we felt very little love for our radio competitors at the time due to various schemes they ran to undercut our listenership.

Radio can be a cutthroat business, especially when it comes to ratings and money.

She waved at me, inviting me into the studio to share with her what had happened during the radio station shoot-out. I whined and complained to her that they were getting coaching from the sideline and that was why I lost.

Next thing I know Deb has me on the air with her and we are chatting about the shoot-out. And jus’ as I started to go into my whine and complain routine, she halted me, by changing the subject to how the competition is designed.

Thankfully, Deb saved me from my big mouth as I prepared to put my foot in it by saying, “They cheated, by getting assistance when we weren’t allowed help.”

As I walked out of the station that afternoon, I felt ashamed of myself for being such a poor sport. I knew at that instant, I wouldn’t have deserved that silver buckle — win or lose.

Saint George Reef Lighthouse

St. George Reef is a collection of exposed rocks and covered ledges lying about eight miles northwest of Crescent City. In 1792, English explorer George Vancouver christened the outcroppings Dragon Rocks. Over time, the reef became known as St. George Reef.

It is interesting to note that in historic legend, it is St. George who slays the dragon. However, the dragon was still active July 30, 1865, when the steam side-wheeler Brother Jonathan struck the reef and went down. Of the 244 people aboard, only nineteen managed to escape in a small craft.

Public outcry over the disaster spurred the Lighthouse Board to action. However, with the costly Civil War having just ended, Congress was unwilling to allocate the large sum required to construct a lighthouse on the exposed reef.

Then there was the problem of where to build the light. The wave swept reef itself was deemed to difficult a location to build a lighthouse, so in 1875 the Lighthouse Board planned to build a light at Point St. George. The location was rejected as being too far from the reef itself and in 1881, the Lighthouse Board finally settled on Seal Rock off Point St. George.

With the 1881 completion of the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, Alexander Ballantyne proved that construction of a lighthouse on an exposed rock was feasible. The following year, Congress granted an appropriation of $50,000 that allowed Ballantyne to visit St. George Reef and survey Northwest Seal Rock, which would serve as the foundation for the lighthouse.

The Board hired Ballantyne and work began in 1882. Unfortunately, the initial surveyors were only able to get to the rocks three times in four weeks due to the difficult weather conditions at the reef.

When work began again in April 1883, a cable was stretched from the schooner La Ninfa to the top of the rock, and a platform suspended from the cable was used to transport the workmen to and from the rock. The La Ninfa would initially serve as the barracks and mess hall for the construction crew an as a means of transporting workers to the rock and back again in the event of an impending storm.

When the seas threatened to wash over the rock, the workers would lash their tools to iron rings set into the rock and then ride the platform to safety. It is somewhat remarkable that in the entire construction period that only a single worker was lost.

Explosives were used to blast away chunks of the rock. Flying fragments of rock would shower over the area, even reaching the schooner on occasion and by September, the crew had terraced an area of the rock for construction of the lighthouse.

The work season on the rock was limited to the spring and summer months when the seas were more accommodating. During the fall and winter of 1883, plans were made for the next construction season, while each spring, the moorings for the La Ninfa had to be reset and the damage inflicted on the site during the preceding winter had to be repaired.

In December, Ballantyne heard of a granite deposit along the Mad River near Humboldt Bay. When the granite proved to be of excellent quality, Ballantyne contracted the Mad River Railroad to transport the granite to the north spit of Humboldt Bay, where a depot was built to finish the granite stones and load them on ships to be transported to the reef.

Work on the rock began again in June of 1884. Several weeks were spent building a derrick with a 50-foot boom on the rock. Then, word was received that Congress had appropriated only $30,000 for the work season instead of the requested $150,000.

Work continued, but slowly with much of the work suspended in 1885 and 1886, when minimal funding was provided to continue work and then totally lacking in 1865. The initial estimate of $330,000 had proven to be far too little. Not until 1887 did work restart when $120,000 was appropriated.

During 1887, the first nine levels of blocks for the elliptical pier , which would hold the engine room, coal room, 77,000-gallon cistern and the base of the lighthouse, were set. Some of the stones weighed as much as six tons, and each was finished so that it would require at most a 3/16th of an inch joint between it and its neighbors.

The pier was raised to its thirteenth course or level the next year. In 1889, nearly all of the work on the pier, which contained 1,339 dressed stones, was completed.

The final appropriation, which brought the total cost of the lighthouse to $704,633.78, came late in September of 1890, which prevented any work being done that year. The next spring though, work crews returned to the rock, and the first stone for the lighthouse tower was set in place May 13.

The light itself was built on a massive stone base – a pier sixty foot high built of cut rocks each weighing as much as six tons. On top of the base was a tower — a stone square pyramidal structure over 140 feet above the sea.

The tower housed a first-order Fresnel lens which originally flashed alternating red and white. (The red was later removed.) By the end of August, the tower was complete.

The rest of the work season was spent removing the scaffolding around the tower and completing the interior. Although the work was finished in 1891, it would be another year until the lens arrived from France, but in the meantime the station’s fog signal was activated.

The reef was finally lit for the first time on October 20, 1892.

The St. George Reef Lighthouse was one of the least sought-after assignments in the service, with he first head keeper, John Olson, and assistant, John E. Lind, both having been part of the work crew that had built the lighthouse.  In all five keepers were attached to the station, and they worked in shifts of three months at the lighthouse followed by two months in Crescent City with their families.

Duty at the station was hazardous. The tower was cold and inhospitable and storms were frequent. Relief only arrived when the weather allowed, meaning keepers could be stranded on the station for extended periods of time during these storms.

Amazingly, an occasional fierce storm would generate waves large enough to sweep onto the top of the caisson, seventy feet above the sea, and send water over the top of the lighthouse. The tremendous poundings would cause the tower to tremble and the men to fear for their lives.

Service at the station claimed the lives of at least five men. During construction, one worker holding a tag line to the derrick’s boom was pulled off the pier and fell to his death.

In 1893, assistant keeper William Erikson and the station’s boat simply disappeared during a trip to Crescent City. According to the Lighthouse Board report, “no vestige of man or boat” was discovered. And Keeper George Roux died of exhaustion after attempting unsuccessfully to reach the light by boat and eventually returning to Crescent City.

The worst modern-day tragedy occurred in 1951, after the Coast Guard had taken control of all lighthouses. Two young Coast Guard electrician mates, Bertram Beckett and Clarence Walker, had been making repairs at the station and were ready to return to shore with a three-man crew, including Stanley Costello, Ross Vandenberg, and Thomas Mulcahy.

The five men were being lowered to the water in the station’s boat when disaster struck. As they neared the sea, a rogue wave struck the launch filling it with water. With the added weight, a ring, to which one of the supporting cables was attached, failed, dropping the bow of the boat and tossing the five-man crew into the water.

The station’s Officer-in-Charge, Fred Permenter, leaped into the water with an inflatable raft and managed to recover Beckett and Walker. Mulcahy and Vandenberg succeeded in swimming to a nearby mooring buoy.

The commercial fishing boat, Winga responded to the scene, picking up the two men from the buoy and the three men in the raft and after a brief search, the body of Costello was recovered.  For his attempt to rescue his crewmen, Fred Permenter was awarded a Gold Lifesaving medal.

A Large Navigational Buoy was placed near the lighthouse in 1975 and the station was abandoned. As the last crew prepared to leave the lighthouse, Chief Petty Officer James Sebastian made the following entry in the station’s old logbook:

“It is with much sentiment that I pen this final entry, 13 May 1975. After four score and three years, St. George Reef Light is dark. No longer will your brilliant beams of light be seen, nor your bellowing fog signal be heard by the mariner. Gone are your keepers. Only by your faithful service has many a disaster been prevented on the treacherous St. George Reef. You stand today, as you have down through the years, a tribute to humanity and worthy of our highest respect. Cut from the soul of our country, you have valiantly earned your place in American history. In your passing, the era of the lonely sea sentinel has truly ended. May Mother Nature show you mercy. You have been abandoned, but never will you be forgotten. Farewell, St. George Reef Light.”

The lens was moved in 1983, where it was refurbished, polished, and reassembled as a two-story addition to the Del Norte County Historical Museum. The lantern room wasn’t so lucky though, as the helicopter, carrying it, approached the coast too low allowing the room to crashed into the beach.  While the dome was not badly damaged a new lantern room had to be reconstructed.

The tower stood neglected until 1988 when members of the St. George Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society began work to acquire and restore the lighthouse. Del Norte County had previously obtained the lighthouse from the Bureau of Land Management and have leased it to the preservation society since 1996.

Saint George Reef Lighthouse was relit as a private aid to navigation on October 20, 2002, the 110th anniversary of the first lighting.

Still Looking to Trade

The elderly woman was crossing the street, heading west on Ninth, when an SUV, driving east, turned south on Sutro Street. I couldn’t believe what I saw next: the woman disappeared from the cross walk and reappeared as a rag-doll under the vehicle.

The traffic light was still red and I decided to run it, in order to get to the traffic accident jus’ across the intersection. I pulled my car ahead of the scene, got out and ran back to the stopped SUV.

A quick look under the vehicle told me all I needed to know about the condition of the woman beneath it. She was alive, bleeding with several broken bones, and her sweater was tangled in the undercarriage and she was quickly choking to death.

As fast as possible, I climbed underneath the SUV and lifted her up off the cold asphalt with the hope of easing her breathing difficulty. It didn’t work as she continued to gurgle and wheeze.

My next thought was to get out my pocketknife and cut the sweater away from the vehicle. The Reno Fire Department arrived at the accident scene jus’ as I freed her.

“We have two victims,” I heard one of the rescuers call out.

I hollered back, “No, I’m not a victim — I’m an EMT.”

The firefighters rolled the vehicle forward and started to work on the injured woman. Within a couple of minutes they had her on a back-board, and neck-collar on her and were transferring her to the awaiting ambulance.

The paramedics took over and raced her to the local hospital, where she was admitted in critical condition. I filled out a report for the Reno Police and was interviewed by a reporter with KTVN news.

Later I was given a Life Saving award from the American Red Cross for risking my well-being to help the woman. unfortunately, the woman died a short time thereafter, leaving my euphoric feeling of doing the right thing in the dust.

I would gladly trade that award away if it would have kept her alive for another few years.

Lettering the Past

The letter started out: “I don’t know if you are the same person I grew up with in Klamath, but…” It arrived at the radio station, KIIQ where I was working part-time on the air.

Before opening it up I noticed it was postmarked “Yerington,” which at the time didn’t tell me much. I wasn’t certain exactly where the town was at the time, other than I knew I had driven through it on my way from Las Vegas to Reno.

When I reached the bottom of the note that had been in the envelope, I nearly fell off my chair. It was signed “Diana Goodyear.”

The only Diana I knew in Klamath had moved to Nevada when she and I were in 8th grade at Margaret Keating School. We had written each other a few times, then lost touch, but I had never stopped thinking about her though.

It was a difficult morning as all I could think about was getting home, grabbing an envelope and a stamp, to mail the note I had written in response. Diana Webster — as I knew her back when we were kids — and I have been in constant contact ever since.

Called to the Wild

As if being separated from my bride wasn’t difficult enough, I was fired from my position as promotions director at KOZZ in Reno as the new-year began. And while I still had a part-time job as on-air staffer, I was finding myself to be more and more emotionally drained from the constant tumult.

As it happened, I received a phone call from my Aunt Barbara, who told me my cousin Pammy was trying to get a hold of me. Pammy and her husband own a hunting and fishing lodge in Alaska and wanted to know if I’d be interested in care taking the place while they visited the lower 48 for a couple of months.

I jumped at the chance.

Without much notice to the station’s program director, Jim McClain, I bailed out of KOZZ and a packed my bags for the 17-hour flight to Anchorage. I was looking forward to doing something aside from being distraught over my marriage as it continued to fall apart.

Little did I know I would end up with nothing but time to think, worry and obsess about how bad I thought my life had become and how I believed I was a total failure as a human being.

Shortly after Pammy and her family packed up their Cessna and headed for California, a huge snow storm blew in and buried the area. It knocked out the satellite dish, the Internet and phone service and made traveling the 25 miles via snowmobile from the lodge to town nearly impossible.

I felt alone, depressed and was stranded in the middle of nowhere.

At one point, all I had as entertainment was a little chipmunk who lived in the woodpile by the backdoor. Unknown to me at the time, the little guy was unable to forage for food and I found him dead one morning.

That left me with a lot of time to shovel snow drifts, chop kindling and make certain the pipes didn’t freeze.  Eventually the snow let up and blue skies emerged and I was able to go outside and have a look around.

This lasted only a day as I discovered there were a couple of huge bears roaming the property. I figured it would be safer to stay close to the lodge as I didn’t want to become part of the food-chain by accident.

Much of my time was spent journaling and reading a book I had packed labeled, “The Yukon Writing’s of Jack London.” Inside of sixty-days I wrote 180 pages of material on how I felt and I ended up putting the book away before finishing it.

By the time my cousin’s returned, I was ready to head south, back to Nevada. I had enough of the solitude and needed something to take away the loneliness I felt in both my head and my heart.

I also discovered in short-order that I’m not cut from the same clothe as the character’s written about by Jack London.

Not What She Meant

For her birthday, our roommate’s daughter gave her a new purse. It arrived boxed-up, via the mail and inside were several small gifts including a wire-form doll of “Jesse,” the cowgirl from the animated film, “Toy Story 3.”

The purse also held a matching wallet to go with the purse and a multicolored necklace that was obviously selected as an accessory to the purse and wallet set. The last thing Kay found tucked in one of the many side-pockets of her new purse was a key chain of the cowboy character from the same cartoon flick – “Woody.”

When she found him, Kay squealed without thinking, “Look! I have a Woody!”

The postman stopped what he was doing and peeked around his van. I’m still wondering what was going through his mind at that moment.

Who is Tyler Edward Tate?

While the torture of War on Terror detainees has made national headlines for several weeks, very little has been said about Northern Nevada’s connection. It appears that Nevada Revised Statues have been violated to assist the Central Intelligence Agency in creating a phony company for the purpose of flying detainees from country to country.

In a speech given during a candidates debate at the Atlantis Hotel and Casino Resort in Reno on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2005, Nevada secretary of state and congressional candidate Dean Heller told the audience that Nevada was a target for terrorists.

“From the point of view of homeland security,” Heller said, “we know Nevada is a target for terrorism.”

The prior week, on Friday, Dec. 9, the Sparks Tribune published an exclusive report about a local company named Keeler & Tate Manufacturing LLC having been named in a suit alleging the abduction of a Muslim-German named Khaled El-Masri. He was reportedly kidnapped while on holiday in Germany and flown to Afghanistan.

Tyler Edward Tate’s name appears in connection with the Reno-based company, Keeler & Tate, that has been filed with the Nevada Secretary of State’s office.

The question is: does Tyler Edward Tate even exist?

According to Federal Aviation Administration records, Keeler & Tate Manufacturing is the owner of a 737-7BC which the American Civil Liberties Union alleges the Central Intelligence Agency used to transport El-Masri.

The allegations are that El-Masri was held against his will in a “secret prison” and tortured. When CIA officers realized they had a case of mistaken identity, they notified their superiors. However, according to El-Masri, he was detained for two more months and later “abandoned” in Albania.

According to records filed with European aviation authorities, the Boeing 737 landed in Skopje, Macedonia on Jan. 23, 2004, after a flight from the island of Majorca off Spain, which is a U.S.-friendly government. It left that night. Masri’s passport has a Macedonian exit stamp for Jan. 23. The flight plan shows that the 737 landed the next day in Baghdad and then went on to Kabul, Afghanistan, on Jan. 25, which also conforms to Masri’s account.

The flights were part of a detailed two-year itinerary for the 737. The jet’s records date back to December 2002 and show flights up until Feb. 7, 2005. The Boeing 737 may have served as a general CIA transport plane for equipment and supplies as well.

Among the many stops recorded are Libya, where the U.S. government has been busy dismantling dictator Muammar Kaddafi’s clandestine nuclear program; Jordan, where the Israeli newspaper Haaretz has reported that high-level al-Qaeda detainees, including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, are being held, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

A search of commercial databases has turned up no information on Tyler Edward Tate. Tate has no residential address, no telephone number, no Social Security number, no credit history, no automobile or property ownership records.

It appears that Tyler Edward Tate is nothing more than a name on a piece of paper filed with the Nevada State Secretary’s Office Commercial Recordings.

Nevada state records faxed to the Sparks Tribune by Scott Anderson, Deputy Secretary for Commercial Recordings, show the signature of Tyler Edward Tate. It appears on three different official documents. The signatures vary markedly from document to document.

“Unfortunately, the Secretary of State’s office has no investigative authority,” Anderson said. “A written complaint would have to be filed with myself first. That would be turned over to the district attorney’s office for a proper investigation and possible charges.”

Renee’ Parker, Chief Deputy for the Secretary of State’s Office said that filing for a false business license is a class “C” felony. The act is punishable by a prison term of one to five years and a $10,000 fine. As of Oct. 1, 2005, a civil penalty of $10, 000 can also be assessed.

According to the Nevada Bar Association, the attorney who originally filed the incorporating paperwork for the company, Steven F. Petersen, does exist. However, every attempt to reach him at his office has failed. His secretary always claims he is “away from his desk,” or “out of the office.”

The Portland Connection

Bayard Foreign Marketing LLC is the owner of a Gulfstream V executive jet allegedly used since Sept. 11, 2001, to transport suspected al-Qaeda operatives to countries such as Egypt and Syria, where some of those operatives claim to have to been tortured.

Leonard Thomas Bayard appears on the annual report of the Portland-based company, Bayard Foreign Marketing that was filed in August with the Oregon secretary of state. But just like Tyler Edward Tate, Leonard Thomas Bayard, doesn’t seem to exist.

Scott Caplan is an attorney whose offices occupy the same Portland suite as the one listed by Bayard Foreign Marketing.

Public documents show Caplan as filing the incorporation papers for Bayard Foreign Marketing when the company was created in August 2003.

Current Oregon State law states that filing a false corporate document in is punishable by up to 6 months in prison and a $1,000 fine.

According to FAA records, Leonard Thomas Bayard became the sole owner of the Gulfstream V jet on Nov. 16. Records also indicate that Bayard Foreign Marketing purchased the plane from Premier Executive Transport Services, whose address is the same as that of a Dedham, Mass., law firm that incorporated Premier Executive in January 1994.

On the upside, one of Germany’s federal police agencies, the Bundeskriminalamt, known as BKA, interrogated German-Syrian terror-suspect Mohammad Haidar Zammar after the Gulfstream was allegedly used.

Zammar, who is also known as “Sam,” has been a German-national since 1982. He is considered to be a high ranking al-Qaeda member, having allegedly recruited Mohammed Atta, one of the pilots who flew one of the 747’s into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

The East Coast Connection

According to Dun & Bradstreet, the Massachusetts law firm’s address is shared by a second company, Crowell Aviation Technologies Inc., which claims to have only a single employee and $65,000 in annual revenue.

Government records also show that Crowell Aviation is one of only nine companies, along with Premier Executive, Keeler & Tate and Bayard Foreign Marketing, that has Pentagon or Department of Defense permission to land aircraft at military bases anywhere in the world.

On the same day, the FAA shows that Crowell Aviation transferred ownership of the Gulfstream to Bayard and Premier Executive sold an unmarked, 3-year-old Boeing 737 to Keeler and Tate Management.

Premier Executive’s only employee is also its president, Bryan P. Dyess. Dyess is a person with a name that does appear in commercial databases. But his only address comes in the form of two post office boxes in Arlington, Va., which is not too far from the front gate of CIA headquarters in Langley.

FAA records show Premier Executive purchased or leased the Gulfstream V in 1999. The plane’s original registration number, N581GA. It was changed by the FAA to N379P, then 8068V and again to N44982.

The Final Connections

The items that these corporations have in common are the link to the CIA and that they are all “dummy” or “shell” companies.” Each has been created to assist the Central Intelligence Agency in moving about the country and world fairly undetected. The “undetected” part is possibly an anomaly and there my be other “companies” yet operating.

Each “company” is housed with a law firm and an in-house attorney. Each one also has a “paper figure” at the head of the company. This enables the CIA to move forward with its plans without hesitation.

Unfortunately, Tyler Edward Tate could not be found and no one at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in McLean, Va, or Washington D.C. were available for comment.

Finally, when the Sparks Tribune called former Nevada governor and Sen. Paul Laxalt’s public relations office in Washington D.C., his secretary gave explicit instructions to e-mail all questions to the business.

Following those instructions, the Sparks Tribune’s e-mail was simple and to the point.

The communiqué told Laxalt that Tate could not be found and Petersen seemed not to want to cooperate. It explained that the newspaper wanted to prove or disprove that there was a “shell company involving the CIA,” working out of his Reno address. Lastly it asked how Laxalt came to be involved in this situation.

This e-mail was sent to Laxalt, who incidentally resides in McLean, Va., near CIA headquarters, on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2005. Neither he nor representatives of his PR firm have responded to the inquiry.

It is still unknown who Tyler Edward Tate is or if he exists at all.

Reno Company Accused of Illegally Kidnapping German

This is the first of a two-part investigative report I wrote  and which was originally published in the Daily Sparks Tribune.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit accusing the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and three companies of illegally abducting a Muslim German citizen and subjecting him to torture in a secret prison overseas.

The suit, filed Tuesday in federal court in Alexandria, Va., claims that Khaled El-Masri, 42, was abducted by the CIA, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said at a press conference in Washington.

The suit charges that former CIA Director George Tenet and other agency officials violated U.S. and international laws when they authorized agents to snatch El-Masri on New Years Eve day, 2003.

The suit also holds Reno, Nevada-based Keeler & Tate Management LLC legally responsible for assisting in the violation of El-Masri’s civil and human rights. The company allegedly supplied one of the aircraft and provided the personnel to abduct El-Masri.

The Boeing 737-7BC, whose tail number reads N4476S (it originally read N313P until outted by media reports in December 2004) is reportedly a flagship of the CIA Airline, is not really leased by the CIA. It is owned by a shell company, Keeler & Tate Management Group, LLC. Like other CIA shell companies, it has no full-time employees, no real business premise, and no website.

In lieu of this, Keeler & Tate has an attorney who provides a mail place, registers the company with the state and the plane with the Federal Aviation Administration, and responds in other necessary ways with government agencies and the public. This attorney provides many of the legal services needed by a normal company, including a place to serve legal papers and court documents on the company.

The address of Keeler & Tate is 245 E. Liberty St., Suite 510, Reno. The corporate information provided to the Nevada Secretary of State Dean Heller’s office lists the resident agent as Steven F. Petersen, an attorney whose address are the same as Keeler & Tate’s. The only company officer listed is Tyler Edward Tate of the same address.

The address of Keeler & Tate and of the lawyer Petersen is shared by Laxalt Group West, the law firm of Paul D. Laxalt and Peter D. Laxalt. Paul D. Laxalt is a former Republican senator from Nevada. His law firm specializes in “political public relations services.” So does Petersen’s, which has the same address and phone number.

Laxalt, the former U.S. senator whose address and phone number are used by the owners of the CIA’s 737, was a close friend of President Ronald Reagan. When Reagan was president, Laxalt was referred to as the “First Friend.”

When phoned, the receptionist answered “attorneys office” She could not tell the Sparks Tribune which attorney worked at the offices other than there was one who is retired and comes in every once in a while. She did confirm that the office was used by Laxalt Group West. She claimed having no knowledge of Keeler & Tate Management Group.

According to the suit, El-Masri was taken while on vacation in Macedonia on Dec, 31, 2003. He was then transported to a secret location somewhere in Afghanistan where he was subjected to “inhuman” conditions and interrogations.

The civil liberties organization said that soon after El-Masri was flown to Afghanistan, CIA officers realized they had a case of mistaken identity. Tenet was notified about the error. El-Masri remained in custody for two more months.

The suit contends that El-Masri was forbidden to contact a lawyer or any member of his family and after several months of confinement, he was abandoned in Albania in May, 2004.

Copyright © 2005 The Daily Sparks Tribune 

My Choice

Why the two women were feeling sad is beyond my recollection. What I do recall is that my response was to try to make them feel better.

Since both my then-girlfriend Cathy Andre and her friend and our classmate Cathy Dickey were in a blue-funk, I decided to run up town and buy tickets to a movie for the three of us.  I figured it would be good for them to get out of the house and do something aside from mope.

The movie I chose was highly rated by everyone I had spoken too. And every critic on television and on radio had given the film starring Meryl Streep high marks, besides I figured, with Streep in it, it had to be good.

Wrong.

Don’t get me wrong the performance and the story were both powerful. It jus’ wasn’t the right movie to take Cathy and Cathy to go see at that time.

The film, it turns out is about a woman who makes a gut and heart wrenching decision to surrender one of her children to a Nazi concentration guard in order to save the other child’s life. The surrendered child, we are led to believe ends up being gassed, and that action leaves her emotionally and later mentally unstable.

By the time the movie let out both of the women I was with looked as if they were in shell-shock.  “Sophie’s Choice,” was not my best choice.

I told myself, “Next time, jus’ ice cream.”

Flying Ants

It was something right out of the Old Testament – Exodus to be exact. And worse yet, the teachers and other staff at Margaret Keating School refused to allow us kids to come back inside, so we had to endure it.

Jus’ after school started that day; swarms of flying ants began filling the air. They nearly blotted out the blue skies with their numbers and when they weren’t flying, they were crawling everywhere.

During first recess, I saw a girl so freaked out by them, that as she dashed for the restroom, she undressed herself before getting there. She later said she felt like she had hundreds of flying ants crawling inside her blouse and pants.

By our lunchtime recess, there were so many flying ants, all we could do was stand in the shade of the school’s building and watch them swarm over the playground. For some reason, the ants didn’t fly in the shaded areas, instead sticking to the sunshine.

By the time the school day was done, the flying hoards of ants had moved on. No one knew where they came from or where they went too.

And I never learned if they affected anyone else in either the county or the town.

Dark Shadow

“The washer is broke down again,” Mom said over the phone to Dad.

He was at Requa Air Force Station.  Earlier that year he had been able to get permission from the Base Commander to use the station’s laundry facilities.

A few minutes later Dad called back.  Mom lifted the receiver from its cradled and answered.

“Sorry,” Dad started off, “the laundry facilities are out-of-order up here as well.”

After a few more minutes of conversation, they hung up one from the other.

“Tommy, Adam,” Mom yelled out.

Both of us were in our bedroom when she called.  We rushed to her immediately.

“I’m going to need your help with the laundry,” she said as she picked up the telephone and called Camp Marigold to see if they could use their washing machines.

Camp Marigold was just over the fence in the back yard.  It was an RV park during the summer and not much of anything else during the winter.

It was long past summer and using their laundry room would prove to be no problem.

The plans were to take the laundry over, wash it, haul it back over the fence then dry it since our dryer was still working.  And after a weeks time with four children and two adults, there were fourteen piles of dirty clothes laid out in masses on the floor.

Adam looked at me and said, “There goes our day.”

We both sighed because I knew my brother was right.

There were only two washers available in the campground’s laundry room.  And it each took nearly twice the time to wash as our washer did at home.

The going was slow and the coins in our pockets, Mom had given us to pay for the washings, burned even slower yet.  However, we continued to climb back and forth over the fence, each with a load of laundry in tow.

We were down to our last three loads of laundry by sunset.  The back porch light had to finally be turned on.  The yellow glow from the single bulb cast long shadows towards the fence.

There were actually two fences.  Ours was set higher by two feet with a foot and a half gap to the lower fence built by the owner of Camp Marigold.

All day long, Adam and I climbed over our fence and down to the camp’s fence and finally to the ground.  Then we climbed up the camp’s fence and to our higher fence then down into our backyard.

After dark there was very little lighting on the Camp’s side of the fence.  And from behind the top of the higher fence to about ten feet out on the Camp’s side, there was no light at all.

In fact it was pitch-black.

Having noticed this, I set up a devious plan.  I would wait for Adam to start climbing the fence, and then I would scare him.

The very thought caused me to chuckle as an image of the event formed in my brain.  I could see myself reaching out into the pitch-blackness and touching my younger brother on the shoulder.

And even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to see Adam’s face, I imagined the fright in his eyes.  I could also see him as he ran in place from being so scared.

I crouched down in the darkness, between the light of the porch and the shadow of the fence, where I sat and waited.

Adam appeared and approached the fence.  He set the basket full of wet, clean laundry on the top rail of the Camp’s fence and proceeded to climb up it.

That’s when I reached out and grabbed his shoulder and in my scariest voice, a half-whisper and a half-growl, said, “Little boy!”

I felt Adam’s body stiffened at my touch.

The darkness blanketed everything, including the lightning swift right fist Adam hurled at the sound of my voice.  He was on target and I never saw the punch that hit me squarely in my nose.

I fell backwards as Adam clamored over the fence.

The basket of wet, clean clothes toppled from the fence rail and landed in my mid-section.  I gasped for air and could only breathe through my mouth.

Next thing I knew, I was awakened by a stabbing pain from a beam of light shining in my eyes.  I tried to lift myself up, however I could only raise up on elbows elbow as my head was heavy and swimming with confusion.

It was Dad and he had a flashlight.  He was looking down at me from a top the fence.

He quickly climbed over and down next to me as I lay on the ground.  I leaned back, hoping that Dad would have pity on me and the sorrowful state I was in.

“Crap! I think you broke his nose, Adam!” Dad yelled up towards the fence.

I could vaguely see Adam’s silhouette rise up slowly from beyond the fence at that moment.

“Well, he shouldn’t have scared me like that,” he said in his defense, adding, “I didn’t know it was Tommy.”

Dad helped me sit up and then eventually stand-up.  I felt sick to his stomach and my legs were weak.

“The only reason I don’t give you a whipping is because your brother’s already done it for me,” Dad said.

I remember thinking, “I wish I could have taken a trip to the wood shed.”

Mom was even less sympathetic.  After cleaning me up, she sent me back out to finish the wash.

That included re-washing the wet, clean load of laundry that had fallen on top of me and on which I had bled all over.

Attack at Big Lagoon

Prior to moving to Nevada, I was living in Arcata. Every weekend I would jump in my car and zoom up the coast to Crescent City to visit my then-girlfriend Cathy Andre.

One late evening, I was on my way to see her when I had to make a pit stop and use the restroom. I stopped at the Big Lagoon rest area jus’ south of DeMartins Beach.

As I left the restroom, I was suddenly attacked from behind. The person attacking me had wrapped a chord or belt around my throat and was choking me.

My reaction was more than my attacker could handle. I stepped backwards into them as I grabbed their forearms and flipped them over my back.

They hit the asphalt with a thud and I jumped over them and ran to my car. Since there were no lights in the parking lot, I didn’t see what they looked like.

Instead I raced away, heading south towards the Trees Motel. I knew the managers and I also knew I could rely on help from them.

Mrs. Stobert came to the front desk, once I entered the office. I explained to her what happened and she called the Del Norte County Sheriff’s office for me.

A few minutes later, Deputy Lloyd Seats pulled into the motel’s parking lot. He was quickly followed by a California Highway Patrol Officer.

While I explained to them what had happened and they examined my neck, I was immediately accused of having a homosexual tryst in the restroom by the CHP officer. I was completely dumbfounded.

After half an hour of questioning by both Deputy Seats and the CHP officer, they told me they planned to go roust a hitchhiker they had seen along the highway. I suspect that this was a ploy to see what my reaction would be.

I told them to go do it.

Having called their bluff, I was allowed to go on my way. It was real late getting to Cathy’s and she was angry at me.

Worse yet she didn’t believe me either. I was so upset with the whole thing that I decided to head back to Arcata the following morning rather than stick around Crescent City.

Later that evening Cathy called me to say she was sorry for not believing me. I asked her what had changed her mind and she told me that after the police and sheriff’s log were reported over the air on KPOD, where she worked, a call came into the station.

“It was a Mrs. Stobert, who manages the Trees Motel,” Cathy explained, “She wanted to know why the attack on Tommy Darby wasn’t a part of the radio station’s report.”

Look! It’s a Bird…

Nearly two-weeks ago a power supposed failure at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming took 50 nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles, one-ninth of the U.S. missile stockpile, temporarily offline.  The 90th Missile Wing, headquartered there, controls 150 Minuteman III missiles in a tri-state area.

Now, the Pentagon is being dogged by questions about a possible missile launch from Vandenburg Air Force Base or a submarine, that was video taped by a news helicopter. The official claim is that the contrail seen in the video is nothing more than that of a jet aircraft.

During the Warren ABF event, the ICBMs shifted into what’s known as LF Down status, meaning that missileers could no longer communicate with the missiles. An LF Down status also means that various security protocols built into the missile delivery system were offline but that the missiles remained technically launch-able.

It’s believe that a launch control center computer (LCC) began to out of sequence, which resulted in “a surge,” in the system. The LCCs interrogate each missile in sequence and if they begin to send signals out when they’re not supposed to, the missiles receivers send out error codes.

Since LCCs ping out of sequence occasionally, missileers are ready to administer a quick fix.  However as multiple missiles began to display error settings, missiliers decided to take all five LCCs the malfunctioning center was connected to off-line, leaving 50 missiles dark.

The missileers then restarted one of the LCCs, which began to normally interrogate the missile. Eventually, three LCCs were successfully restarted, while the suspect LCC remained off-line.

Admittedly, my knowledge of how the system works, is predicated on 30-year-old information. When I was stattioned at Warren AFB, a $2.98 piece of hardware at NORAD failed, shocking the entire base into a sudden state of alert.

When on alert, the missiles are under the direction of the  U.S. Strategic Command but when not on alert status, they are under the control of the Global Strike Command. The Air Force contends command and control was never lost and that the failure lasted less than an hour and triggered an emergency inspection, sending security forces to verify all of the missiles were safe and properly protected.

A similar hardware failure triggered an event in 1998 at Minot AFB in North Dakota and Malmstrom AFB in Montana, leaving an unknown number of missiles dark. In 1976, Warren AFB was witness to an event that shutdown a series of missile silos in the Wyoming and Nebraska areas and nine years earlier Malmstrom lost communication with ten of it’s Minutemen Missiles, twice in a two week period.

So far no one has officially connected the two incidents. However most current and former Air Force personnel will tell you: there is no such thing as a coincidence in the military.

300-Foot Whizzer

Why anyone would stand at the edge of a cliff to pee, while drunk is beyond my understanding. Perhaps it’s due to the amount of alcohol in the person’s body, clouding their judgement.

But that was the call Dad and I got one early evening. It sent us scrambling to the fire station and southbound on Highway 101 to the south side of the Klamath River, where the old highway used to run.

It took us nearly half-an-hour to arrive at the spot where a man had allegedly fallen after getting up on a stone wall with the intent of taking a whizz over the edge. We drove fairly slow because we didn’t want to miss the person who was there to flag us down.

One of the first things we did after parking, was to go to the wall and look over the edge. It was so dark, that neither of us could see beyond a few feet.

Dad pulled out a large lantern and shined it down the cliff side and still we couldn’t see anything. We were planning to wait for the National Park’s high angle rescue team, but because it was starting to get cold and a delay in first aid could cost the man his life, it was decided I’d rapple down to him.

While I secured my harness and pulled on my first-responders backpack, Dad tied a line off the front of the rescue truck. It took me only a few seconds to rotate the line through by carabiners and set myself for the first step over the wall.

In less than 30 seconds I dropped into the darkness, passed several branches from close standing trees and to a semi-flat surface. It took me a few more seconds to find the victim as he was jus’ a few yards further down the slope.

Much to my surprise he was conscious and talking. His chief complaint was having pissed on himself as he fell, though I could tell by the mangled shape of his legs, he had worse problems.

It took us two hours to secure him in a litter and hand crank the man to the old highway. I was on belay and therefore the last to leave the site.

By the time I reached the top of the old stone wall, the ambulance had already left with our patient. Later I would find out, while he was in a double-hip cast for three months the man would eventually walk again.

But still I wonder — why the fascination with peeing off the side of a cliff?

A Stab of Grief

He had been an outstanding member of the track team I had coached over the summer, and now I was reading his name in the paper. George Smith, age 19, was dead.

He and a couple of friends were spending the day on the Truckee River, rafting and swimming. Authorities say their inflatable floatation device, perhaps an inner tube had struck a sharp submerged rock and developed a fast leak.

While two of the young men were able to swim to safety, George wasn’t able to get to the bank. His friends, though cold and frightened, searched the banks of the river for their buddy, they couldn’t find him.

George’s body was found down river a couple of days later somewhere near the town of Lockwood. An autopsy showed he had drown and it was concluded that this happened because he had been drinking alcohol earlier in the day.

Every once in a while I think about George, the shining young trackster, and I feel a terrible stab of grief over what he could have been and what he’ll never be. Now all I have to remember him by is a newspaper’s obituary.

Like a Chicken?

Mom used to say, “Quit running around like a chicken with its head cut off,” all the time. Much to my terror, I discovered that old adage is grounded in reality.

All of kid’s were out back of the duplex at the end of Sander’s Court including Goldie, Jeannie and John-Paul Arnold and Adam and me. We were playing tag, running from one place to the other to avoid being caught.

It was early evening and getting close to dinner time. That’s when Mrs. Dorothy Arnold came outside and went to the family’s chicken coup.

She returned with red-colored hen and without fan-fare, grabbed the hatched buried in the old chopping block at the back door, and dispatched the chicken. Much to my shock the headless bird dropped to the ground and took off running.

The bodiless-hen dashed into the garden, disappearing amid the rows of Lima beans. It fell to John-Paul to chase after the chicken and retrieve it for his mother.

Later that night, Adam would climb in bed next to me and complain he had a nightmare about the bird. At nearly seven-years-old, I thought I was too old to admit I was awake because of a similar nightmare.

La Cage de Chiens

In our garage we have a large wire-mesh dog kennel. It is no longer being used for its intended purpose, so we have taken to storing stuff in it, including a couple of suit cases, a box of photographs and a couple of containers of seasonal clothing.

Now, I knew my housemate, Kay was home as I had jus’ spoken to her prior to my getting in the shower and readying for work. When I got out of the tub, I could no longer hear Kay knocking about in the kitchen or anywhere else in the house for that matter.

I continued getting ready for work.

Once dressed, I went to the front room to see if Kay was jus’ simply sitting quietly. She wasn’t in her bedroom, nor her bathroom and she definitely not in the kitchen.

That’s when I noticed the garage light was on. It’s one of those automatic lights that turns on when it senses movement.

I concluded that Kay must be in the garage.

Upon opening the door, I saw her in the kennel, rummaging about in a container of her summer cloths. Her back was turned to me and I could tell she was trying on different blouses as she was naked from the waist up.

I couldn’t resist.

Next to the automatic light sensor is the button to open the garage door. I pushed it.

Kay’s reaction was immediate. She screamed, “Oh, sh*t!” and tried to duck behind the containers and suit cases.

I pushed the button once again, stopping the door from rising any further.

Kay was squatted down, covering herself up with whatever piece of garment she had at the time. She turned and looked back at the garage door button and saw me standing there.

I nearly pee’d myself laughing at her predicament.

Later, I had a second good laugh when she told her daughter, Lyn what I had done to her. Lyn seemed to miss the major point of the story somehow.

“You mean to say,” Lyn asked in disbelief, “you keep your clothes in a dog cage?!”

Between the Smoke and Spin

There appears to be some confusion between Nevada Senator Bill Raggio and U.S. Senator Harry Reid. This comes after Raggio announced he was stepping aside after 28-years as the republican caucus leader. Raggio told the Las Vegas-Sun he wants to avoid problems caused by endorsing Reid

“There is a lot of dissatisfaction among the tea party, hard right,” Raggio says. “I don’t want that kind of discord.”

Meanwhile, Reid responded to Raggio’s resignation, saying ,“In this election Nevadans, Republicans, Democrats and Independents voted to reject extremism. That some of Senator Raggio’s Republican colleagues even considered punishing him for being on the side of a majority of Nevadans shows that they clearly missed that message and are not listening to their constituents.”

Maybe Reid should have thought to speak with Raggio prior to issuing his statement. But that’s probably one of the many reasons why Nevadan’s re-elected him — he doesn’t think.

Deposed

It’s been a long day.  I worked until 0315 hours this morning, compiling Nevada election results.

Then I had to be up by 0730 hours to make it to court.  This because I witnessing a drunk driver on my way home.

What was supposed to be a simple hearing, turned into a full-on deposition.  By the time everything was done, I felt like I should have had an attorney representing me.

I didn’t dot my i’s properly or cross me t’s as I should have and she took full advantage of this.

And while it was rough on me, it was worse for the deputies and officers involved in the case.  I found myself getting angry at some of the questions being asked.

Finally, I was insulted when the court-master handed me some forms to fill out, telling me I would get paid $25 for being a witness. And here I was naive enough to think doing my civil duty was payment enough.

I have to do this again in December too and now I’m not looking forward to it.