Silver Tailings: Gran Pah and Goldfield

When the two men headed into the desert of southern Nevada in the winter of 1902, they were hoping to strike it rich. They had been present when Paiute Indian prospector Tom Fisherman wandered into Tonopah with gold ore.

Fisherman received a ten-dollar grubstake from Jim Butler and Tom Kendall, to find a claim where the rock was found. But, Tom immediately got drunk, and the only information they could get from him was the rock was found thirty miles to the south.

After giving up on Fisherman, Kendall and Butler grubstaked Harry Stimler, a half Shoshone Indian, and William Marsh, both native Nevadans from Belmont to find the gold. As they set about hunting for the ore ledge, a dust storm arrived.

However, despite the conditions, they found what they were looking for. They named their first claim the Sandstorm and soon other prospectors joined them and a small city of tents and dug-outs appeared.

Stimler and Marsh eventually dubbed the new settlement, Gran Pah, which in Shoshone means great water. It was later anglicized to Grandpa, as in the Grandaddy of all strikes, which it remained until October 1903 when the name officially  to Goldfield.

By that time many of the structures in the town were a mixture of mud and empty whiskey bottles. A year later, the rush was on, and demand for housing had become so great that carpenters worked around the clock, with new residents were arriving on foot, horseback and by wagon.

Soon Goldfield would be Nevada’s largest city.

Trinidad Bay Goes Missing — Sort Of

Perhaps it’s hard to spot Trinidad Bay from the ocean in December, or perhaps the brigantine Cameo’s captain needed a refresher course before he began. At any rate, in 1850 the ship’s captain missed the bay and reported back to San Francisco that the bay was “a myth.”

His pride must have been stung when survivors from a group led by Josiah Gregg reached the city shortly after and reported Trinidad Bay’s existence. Gregg’s group had fought their way across the Coast Range and through the redwoods to reach the bay at about the time those on the Cameo were trying to find it.

The ocean-going group, an expedition from the Trinity mines, had left the diggings in November 1849 to travel to Sacramento Valley and, via Sutter’s Mill, to San Francisco. Once there, they chartered the Cameo and headed up the coast.

Their intention was to find Trinidad Bay. After Gregg’s party “re-discovered” Trinidad Bay, San Francisco newspapers played up the event and re-kindled interest in the Humboldt Coast. In early February 1850 two vessels sailed from San Francisco in another unsuccessful effort to pinpoint the body of water from the ocean.

Cameo advertised for passengers and freight, resumed the search for the shy body of water in March. Eleven other vessels followed her.

Due to a rough sail up the coast, she hove to near Trinidad Head on March 16 and put ashore a four-man landing party. Foul weather forced the brig’s captain to continue up the coast without those on board knowing the shore party had located Trinidad Bay.

The four knew when they found an inscription locating the bay. Gregg’s party had carved it into a tree near the headland Dec. 7 of the previous year.

Harold Del Ponte, 1916-2013

Harold Del Ponte died January 20, 2013, in Crescent City.  The lifelong Del Norte County resident’s 96 years read like a local history lesson.

He was born December 31, 1916, delivered by Dr. Fine, the namesake of the bridge over the Smith River. Raised by Swiss immigrants who homestead 200 acres in Klamath, Harold received all of his elementary education in the one-room Terwah Schoolhouse in the Terwer Valley before attending Del Norte High in Crescent City.

After a couple of years at Humboldt State University, he obtained a degree in forestry from Washington State University. In a newspaper article during his fifth supervisor campaign, he credited his forestry degree as making him a better supervisor for Klamath during the “Redwood Park controversy.”

He worked for the U.S. Forest Service in Del Norte, Trinity and Plumas counties before being drafted into service during WWII.  Harold remained in the Army Air Corps and U.S. Air Force Reserves as a retired major for 35 years.

From a Humboldt State University publication, “The Humboldt News Letter,” dated November 6 1944, a small article appeared about Harold’s ability to integrate soldiers: “Capt. Harold Del Ponte (’34-’36) is at Biggs Field, in charge of communications maintenance on all aircraft assigned to that base. Has both white and colors soldiers in his section and is rapidly becoming an authority on race issues.”

After the Second World War, he returned to Klamath, and ran the family dairy farm.

Harold was the longest-running Del Norte County supervisor, serving from 1953 to 1973, representing Klamath during the devastating 1955 and 1964 floods and the 1964 tsunami. In the aftermath of disasters, he became the point man for recovery efforts in Klamath, where he owned the Hunter Valley subdivision, which he created, allowing people to live there while they recovered from the disaster.

One of Harold’s most involved and longest duties began in 1947, when a man from the National Weather Bureau walked into the Klamath post office inquiring where he could find a dependable soul to become Klamath’s next weather observer.  The postmaster suggested Harold, who accepted the position assuming he would commit to it for a couple of years.

Fifty-five years later, in 2003, Del Ponte was given the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Benjamin Franklin Award for more than 20,075 weather observations.  The award ceremony turned into a grand event honoring all the achievements of Harold’s life with more than 250 people in attendance and the Crescent City Council and Del Norte supervisors declaring the day “Harold Del Ponte Day.”

Harold never ran for political office beyond Del Norte, but he maintained close contact with many outside politicians to better serve his community. The strongest friendship being with former Del Norte supervisor and U.S. Congressman Don Clausen, who represented Del Norte from 1962 to 1982.

To this day, there is a Del Ponte legacy that beckons tourists from Highway 101 in Klamath with a giant yellow sign reading: “Tour Thru Tree.” Since 1976, Harold owned and operated one of only two redwoods in the state with tunnels large enough to drive a car through.

Harold asked two nephews, an engineer and a tree faller, if they would carve the tunnel into the tree. Offered compensation of either $600 or half the proceeds from tourists, the nephews took the cash up front, not knowing that the tree would draw thousands of tourists from across the globe.

Paralyzed from the neck down in a 2004 accident, Harold spent the final years of his life in the Crescent City Convalescent Hospital. He is survived by his wife Judy, his two sisters, Valeria Van Zanten, 99, and Rena Tryon, 92, and his daughter Lynn Russell and son, David Del Ponte;  granddaughters Amy Anderson, Sarah Taylor, Stephanie Wyrobeck, and Carmen, Kathryn and Lesley Del Ponte; ten great-grandchildren including David Elerding, Theron, Keana and Olivia Anderson; Nate, Daniel, Carmela, and Gabbreila Gilbert, and Trinity and Steven Taylor; and was was preceded in death by first wife, Grace.

As a note of personal interest, Valeria was my third-grade teacher and the principal of Margaret Keating School at one point. She is also my sister, Deirdre’s Godmother. Harold and Valeria’s mother, Alice Del Ponte (1889-1987) taught me and all three of my sibling catechism lessons for our First Communions at their home near the entrance to the Klamath Glen.

The Hudson Bay Company

Known by its slogan, “We are Canada’s merchants,” the Hudson’s Bay Company is the oldest commercial corporation in North America and one of the oldest in the world. And its reaches extended all the way to Del Norte County.

Founded May 2, 1670, it is also in the history books as having once been the largest land owner in the world, perhaps inspiring a satirical interpretation of its initials as standing for “Here Before Christ.” Satire aside, the grand lady of the north controlled the fur trade throughout most of then-British controlled North America for several centuries.

The company launched expeditions that to some degree influenced the boundaries of the Pacific Northwest. Serving as the only government available to many areas of the continent before large-scale settlement began, the company remains in business today.

The company evolved from a tip that French traders Pierre-Esprit Radisson and Medard des Groseilliers received from the Cree tribe that the best fur country lay north and west of Lake Superior. The Indians also told the two men a “frozen sea” lay farther north.

Following up on the information Radisson and des Groseilliers sought French backing for a plan to set up a trading post on the Bay. Although the French government declined, the men were successful in convincing a Boston firm to finance them.

In 1668 the British commissioned two ships, Nonsuch and Eaglet to explore possible trade into Hudson Bay. After successful trading during the winter of 1668-69 the company received a Royal Charter from King Charles II.

It was given dominion over a 3.9 million square mile area known as Rupert’s Land. The company’s success led to bickering with competing trappers who also sought the wealth furs brought.

Not until 1870 was HBC’s monopoly dissolved. The company controlled nearly all trading operations in Oregon Country as its trappers worked their way from company headquarters at Fort Vancouver near the mouth of the Columbia River.

Its trappers were deeply involved in the early exploration and development of this area, traveling down the Siskiyou Trail and as far south as the San Francisco Bay Area. Trapping “brigades” worked their way through Northern California in the 1830s.

They included Edwin Young, known as an “American visionary,” who led a herd of horses and mules over the Siskiyou Trail in 1834 from this area’s mission to British and American settlements in Oregon. Young returned in 1837, purchased 700 head of cattle and drove them over the Siskiyou Trail to Oregon.

For many colonial settlers, the only source of cash money was furs and hides. High dollar hides were deerskins, valued at 50 cents for a doe and $1 for a buck’s skin.

The worth of buckskin entered into commerce lingo as the word “buck,” slang for one dollar. Not only did the fur trade become a major factor in drawing the boundaries of the United States, especially its northwest corner, fur traders discovered the Oregon Trail and provided guiding during the country’s western expansion.

Because of their own prejudices, much of the western exploration history of American Mountain Men, Canadian Voyageurs and Native American fur trade from the 1500s through 1840 is racially colored.

Silver Tailings: Downtown Reno Library

The Washoe County Library, on South Center Street in Reno, is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP.)  Completed in 1966, the library is significant to the history of Reno and represents the city’s interest in and appreciation for art and architecture.

The library’s construction came as Reno was moving  from a strictly gambling and divorce town to a family oriented community. The 1960s saw construction the library as well as the Pioneer Theater, which made the list in 2004 and the Fleischmann Planetarium, which received its listing ten-years earlier.

All three buildings show modern architecture constructed for public benefit.

The Washoe County Library, which is commonly known as the Downtown Reno Library, is a design created by architect Hewitt Campau Wells.  An expert in earthquake-proof design, Wells was a consultant to the Nevada State Public Works Board and a member of the Nevada Wildlife Commission and the boards of the Salvation Army, Trout Unlimited, and other conservation groups.

Wells received his master’s from Princeton in architecture in 1940. During WWII, he served on the destroyer U.S.S. Bailey in the Pacific, earning three battle stars.

He gradually retired from practicing architecture and was busily pursuing watercolor painting, an avocation at which he excelled. He also taught and judged art shows.

Wells, born in 1915, died October 2nd, 1989 after a lengthy illness.

The Downtown Reno Library is an unexpected contrast between the building’s interior and exterior, with its landscaping inside. Angled glass and copper panels surround the front doors,  leading to a bridge spanning the center of an atrium of the library.

Meanwhile the ground floor of the atrium features a pond complete with a fountain and inlaid stone paths. Mature trees and extensive foliage extend toward the skylights with spiraling stairs and circular reading pods completing the dramatic interior.

The National Register is the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation.

The Passing of Two Reno War Vets

Another of Nevada’s remaining World War II veterans has passed away.  Charles Tremain was born on July 20, 1927 in Yankton, South Dakota and raised in Beatrice, Nebraska.

He served in the United States Marine Corps during the Second World War and as a captain during the Korean War. Chuck, as he was known, later graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1951.

That same year, he married his college sweetheart, Marian Stapleton.  They returned to Beatrice, Nebraska where they raised three children on a farm and bred cattle.

In 1972, the couple moved to Reno, where he began his 35-year career as an insurance and investment consultant.  He was among more than 30 other veterans in northern Nevada’s inaugural Honor Flight to Washington D.C. in October 2012.

Jus’ last week Jack Streeter died at the age of 91. He was a native Nevadan and longtime Reno Resident and attorney.

Jack attended Sparks High School, graduating in 1939.  He then attended the University of Nevada Reno and was a member of the ROTC and Pacific Golden Gloves Champion in the light heavyweight division.

During World War II, Jack became the most decorated Nevadan of the war, being awarded four Silver Stars, two Bronze stars, four Purple Hearts and the Legion of Merit.  He served as an officer in the First Infantry division, participating in the D-Day invasion, the assault across the Rhine and the Battle of the Bulge.

After the war, he attended Hastings Law school then moved back to Reno where he was Washoe County District Attorney from 1951-1954.  The newest tower at the VA Hospital in Reno bears his name in honor of his service.

You can read about Jack’s wartime exploits, title, “Outside of War and Food, We didn’t Have Too Much,” in the 1995 book, “War Stories; Veterans Remember WWII.”

Jedediah Smith

Jedediah Smith was a mountain man. With the middle name Strong, he epitomized the word.

As a fur trader and prolific explorer he survived a grizzly bear mauling and hostile encounters with natives. Born on January 6, 1799 on the East Coast in Jericho, N.Y., he spent the better part of his 32 years looking Westward.

Smith was the first white man to travel into California from the East. And in 1827 he was the first to cross the Sierra Nevadas.

Smith, in his lifetime, covered more land than the famed Lewis and Clark. On April 10, 1828, Smith and his 20-person crew began their trip past the Sacramento Valley that would eventually bring them into Del Norte County.

While on their trek north, Smith encountered the Trinity River and traveled along its banks for many days. He was so impressed by its size that he named it after himself.

This designation, obviously, did not stick.

Smith followed the Trinity until he encountered the Klamath River, camping along the banks of tributary creeks. It was here that Smith had his first meeting with the Yurok Tribe.

Trading razors and beads, Smith was able to buy canoes from the Yurok to help his party cross the Klamath. The Yurok again assisted Smith and his men when they were nearly starved.

The Yurok visited Smith’s camp multiple times with loads of berries, lamprey eel and blubber for trade. Smith said of the Yurok’s propensity for capitalism: “They were great speculators and never sold their things without dividing them into several small parcels, asking more for each than the whole were worth. They also brought us some blubber, not bad tasted but dear as gold dust.”

It was around this time that Smith reached Crescent City, resting at South Beach and Pebble Beach, then traveling north through Jordan Creek and Lake Earl. Smith and his fellow trappers encountered the Tolowa in this area, trading with them for fish, clams, strawberries and camas root.

On June 20, 1828, Smith headed east, crossing Howland Hill and first glimpsed the flowing waters of his official namesake river. Three days later he crossed into Oregon and followed the coastline until reaching the Umpqua River, the eventual location of his groups demise.

While cooking breakfast on July 14, 1828 over 100 Indians attacked Smith’s camp. Everyone was killed save Smith and two others – Arthur Black and John Turner.

The three men escaped through the mountains until they reached Fort Vancouver in Vancouver, Washington.  Smith spent the next two years, 1829 and 1830, trapping animals along the Wind River in Wyoming and Montana.

On May 27, 1831 Smith ended his explorations of the West. He was going to Santa Fe when he was ambushed by the Comanche.

He shot their chief in hopes of scaring away the group. He died with a Comanche lance in his back.

Smith is the namesake of both the Smith River and the Jedediah Smith State Park. The latter of which is home to some of the “noblest” trees Smith ever saw – the redwoods.

George Vancouver

George Vancouver, the man probably best known for his naming rights to the island in British Columbia, was attempting to sail around the world, until he ran into California in April 1792. Vancouver was heading east from the Sandwich Islands, now known as Hawaii, when he first encountered the state, just south of Cape Mendocino.

He veered northward traveling along the coasts, passing Del Norte County, Oregon and Washington.

While on this journey, Vancouver sent one of his lieutenants, William Robert Broughton, to explore the Columbia River. Broughton then discovered and named Oregon’s Mt. Hood.

As Vancouver traveled further along the coast he found Puget Sound, spending nearly a month traversing the channels and islands, and continued on to Vancouver Island. In 1794, after sailing along the Pacific Coast, Vancouver decided to return to England.

This trip, around Cape Horn, concluded his circumnavigation of the world and his career. He retired to Petersham, a town outside of London, to prepare a journal of his travels for publication.

The manuscript, which was a half a million words long, was near completion when Vancouver died, May 12, 1798 at 40 years-old. He is credited with naming Vancouver Island, Vancouver, British Columbia and Vancouver, Wash.

The British schooner Columbia anchored in Trinidad Bay in 1817, passing Del Norte County’s waters during its voyage. Not long after the anchors dropped, the vessel was surrounded by canoes.

As a precautionary move, boarding nets were pulled up, all ports but one closed and the canoes were swept to the port. Trading followed and the Britons obtained a few furs in exchange of pieces of six-inch iron hoop.

The Native Americans also brought aboard red deer and berries. In the afternoon several Native American women appeared, and despite offers of blankets and axes, did not come aboard the Columbia.

It was clear to the British that the Natives had little experience with Europeans, “as they did not know the use of firearms; nor have they any iron among them.”

Ashore the British found the cross Bodega erected 37 years before. After purchasing all the pelts the Native Americans had for sale, the British weighed anchor on July 24.

The vessel experienced much difficulty beating her way out to sea.

The Great Lava Bed Wars

Initially, I started writing a series of articles on the war between a band of Modoc Indians and the U.S. Army after reading Terry Johnston’s 1991 novel, “The Devil’s Backbone: The Modoc War, 1872-3.” It was an interesting subject as my step-dad and I used look for arrowheads in those lava fields and outside what he told me and what I’d read, this piece of Northern California history had been skipped-over when I was in school…

Also known as the Modoc War, or the Modoc Campaign, the Great Lava Bed Wars was an armed conflict between the Native American Modoc tribe and the United States Army in southern Oregon and northern California from 1872 to 1873. The Modoc War was the last of the Indian Wars to occur in the region.

During the Modoc War, the Modoc had no more than 53 warriors engaged in the fighting. Including the four Modoc executed at Fort Klamath, Captain Jack’s band suffered the loss of seventeen warriors killed.

The casualty lists for the US Army are as follows:  7 Officers killed and 4 wounded; 48 Enlisted killed and 42 wounded; 16 Civilians killed and 1 wounded; and 2 Indian Scouts killed.

In the First Battle of the Stronghold, January 17, 1873, there were about 400 Army troops in the field. The troops included U. S. Army infantry, cavalry, and howitzer units; Oregon and California volunteer companies, and some Klamath Indian Scouts.

Lt. Col. Frank Wheaton commanded all troops.

In the Second Battle of the Stronghold, April 17, 1873, about 530 troops fought. These included U. S. Army infantry, cavalry, and artillery, and Warm Spring Indian Scouts.

The volunteer companies had withdrawn from the field. However, the Army employed a small number of civilians runners and packers.

Col. Alvin C. Gillem was in command.

The Modoc War cost the United States over an estimated $400,000; a very expensive war in terms of lives and dollars, considering the small number of opposing forces. In contrast, the estimated cost to purchase the land requested by the Modoc for a separate reservation was $20,000.

Captain Jack led 52 warriors in a band of more than 150 Modoc people who left the Klamath Reservation. Occupying defensive positions throughout the lava beds south of Tule Lake, for months those few warriors waged a guerrilla war against United States Army forces sent against them and reinforced with artillery.

In April 1873, Captain Jack and others killed General Edward Canby and another peace commissioner, while wounding others. After more warfare with reinforcements of US forces, finally some Modoc warriors surrendered, leading to Captain Jack and the last of his band’s capture

Jack and five warriors went on trial for the murder of two peace commissioners; He and three of his warriors hanged after being found guilty and two others received life sentences. The remaining 153 Modoc of the band ended up being sent to Indian Territory, where they were held as prisoners of war until 1909.

Some at that point returned to the Klamath Reservation, but most, including their descendants stayed in what was by then the state of Oklahoma. As a result, there are federally recognized Modoc Tribes in California, Oregon and Oklahoma today.

Silver Sidings: The Great Nevada Meteor of 1894

A meteorite causing severe damage and injuring 1,200 people in the Russian Urals, has created a stir, especially since it took place as an asteroid zipped by Earth within 17,000 miles. However, it’s not the first time a meteor has made itself known as it slammed through the atmosphere.

Henry Cutting was living in Candelaria, Nevada, when witnessed the explosion of a great meteor, which passed directly over the town, about 10 at night, February 1st, 1894. The meteor, he said, came from the west, exploding with a blinding flash, followed after a short interval by the sound of the explosion, and finally passing out of sight to the east.

Cutting was in his house, when an explosion shook the building; he thought a powder magazine had exploded, and ran out of doors. Once outside, he saw nearly every resident of the town in the street looking towards the sky.

He describes seeing a bright light overhead, and hearing a roaring sound reverberating like thunder, “but more metallic,” which lasted for a number of minutes. The blinding flash was so intense the sagebrush on hills several miles distant could be clearly seen and in houses with shutters tightly closed, the smallest objects were visible.

People compared notes about the time which elapsed between the first flash and the sound of the explosion, and most agreed it was nearly thirty seconds. Assuming that the explosion took place vertically over the town, this would place the meteor, at the moment of explosion, at a height of about six and a half miles.

Some thought that the meteor fell a few miles to the east, and several groups went out to Nevada’s Summit Springs in search of it, but it was never found. Others in the town of Silver Star didn’t hear the explosion, and only one person in the town of Benton claimed to have heard a faint noise; concluding the explosion was nearly directly over Candelaria.

It should be noted that the meteor was seen passing north of San Francisco and to the south, by folks living in Belmont, Nevada. This suggests it continued at least fifty miles east of Candelaria.

Of interest to the meteor of Candelaria is the meteorite of Quinn Canyon, as it may be a part of the same event. The meteorite was found in late August 1908 by a prospector in the foothills of the Quinn Canyon range in Nye County, about 90 miles east of Tonopah.

The Greatest Generation in Congress

New Jersey Democrat Senator Frank Lautenberg’s decision to retire from the Senate in 2014 election means the upper chamber will soon say good-bye to its last veteran of World War II. However, the war lives on in the House, as Congressman Ralph Hall, a Republican from Texas, and Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, are still leading the charge.

In 1972, there were 22 World War I veteran’s still serving including Michael Mansfield , a Democrat from Montana, who at 14 dropped out of school and lied about his age to enlist in the U.S. Navy. He went on several overseas convoys on the USS Minneapolis, until discharged when the Navy discovered his real age. He was the last known congressional veteran of the war to die before reaching the age of 100, which was in 2001.

As for the last surviving World War I vet to have ever served in Congress, that is Navy Lt. Cmdr. Edouard Izac from 1937 to 1947. He passed away January 25th, 1990 at 100 years of age.

Incidently, the California Democrat received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the “war to end all wars.”

Snowball-Effect

As a rule I try to keep things simple when it comes to gift-giving holidays. But at times, the snowball-effect takes control.

Every holiday, my wife says, “Don’t get me anything.” And every holiday, I go look at the bathroom mirror to see if the word ‘stupid,’ is stenciled on my forehead.

It’s not.

This Valentine’s Day, I found a nice card for my wife, and then realized – her sister is visiting, so I got an appropriate card for her too. Then it occurred to me our room-mate might feel left out if I didn’t get her a card too.

With three cards in hand, I returned home only to find, our roomie had purchased roses for my wife and her sister and a box of candy for me. Furthermore, my wife got me even more candy and a card and my sister-in-law gave me a music CD.

*Sigh*

So now I’m sitting here, contemplating simplicity, rocking out to my CD and eating chocolate bon-bon’s until I slip into a sugar coma.

 

Outage

The outage began Monday evening and left thousands of AT&T customers in Northern Nevada without internet, cell phone and some landline phone service. Calls to 911 were also among those affected.

The effected area stretched from Ely to Reno and Sparks. The company says a computer software problem in AT&T’s Reno central office triggered the problem.

Crews restored nearly all service late Tuesday night but ended up working overnight to get the final few back on-line. Many complain that while next-door neighbors were able to use the Internet, service to some home’s and businesses didn’t return until early Wednesday morning.

It’s enough to cause conspiracy theorist’s to have a stroke.

Melancholia

Melancholia is the label often given to the state of a person’s lingering sadness in the 19th century. In fact, it’s said President Abraham Lincoln “dripped of melancholy.”

This lingering sadness was common as intelligence, confidence, honesty or a lack thereof. Both Mark Twain and O. Henry lived with the condition.

And they both used it to their advantage when writing. It was simply a part of their personalities.

Today, it’s generally known as severe depression or even bipolar disorder.

Many of us are in this state, severe or not, for one reason or another. Therefore, dragging one’s self out of the affliction is part of most folk’s daily routine.

Humor is an important part of this process – seeing the funny side to a situation – including an unimaginably horrible one. Many stand-up comedian’s make a living using this technique, twisted or not..

After all even a newborn baby responds happily to laughter.

Silver Tailings: The Other Nevada Quarterback

Before Colin Kaepernick, there was Glenn Carano. The Reno Silver Legacy’s Director of Marketing was a quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys for seven seasons, from 1977 to 1983, including two Super Bowls and a championship ring.

Carano was with the Cowboys when they pounced on the Denver Broncos, 27-10 during Superbowl XII January 15, 1978. He returned to the big show for Superbowl XIII, January 21, 1979, where Dallas lost a heartbreaker to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 35-31.

He was a highly touted player coming into the NFL. Carano was a star at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and was a second-round draft pick by the Cowboys, being picked between running back Tony Dorsett and wide receiver Tony Hill.

Carano appeared in 36 games in his NFL career completing 21 of 57 passes with three touchdowns and one interception. He made one start in December 1981, filling in for an injured Danny White, leading the Cowboys to a 37-13 win over the Baltimore Colts.

With that single start, Carano exited the NFL an undefeated quarterback and I’ve been unable to find any other player who can make the same claim. In 1984, he signed with the Pittsburgh Maulers of the US Football League and played one season before retiring.

William “Wild Bill Cody” Schneible

He was born William Arnold Schneible, but people across the U.S. knew him better as “Wild Bill Cody.” He passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack at his home on Christmas Day 2012.

Born in Denver, February 8, 1949, he graduated from Cathedral High in 1967. Bill served honorably in the U.S. Coast Guard for nine years as a radioman and communications specialist.

Last night, we gathered at the Bully’s on the corner of Pyramid and McCarran in Sparks, to honor his legacy with the “1st Annual “Wild Bill Cody” Coors Cheer.  Bill was an avid fan of that particular brew as both were from Colorado.

While there, I took a few photographs of those in attendance. I also snapped a shot of a picture of him in his Madonna get-up, he used in a television commercial in the 80’s,  later posting it to Facebook.

That photo has gone viral as people from Ohio, Illinois, Colorado and Louisiana have reached out to say how much they enjoyed his antics and loved the man.

In Reno, he allowed himself to be buried alive for 56 hours in an oxygen-fed casket six feet underground, while broadcasting in front of Circus Circus to raise $20,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  Later, he washed all 3,791 exterior windows at Circus-Circus for Camp Lotsafun.

Bill pogo’d 20 miles, pushed a peanut with his nose along Virginia Street, hit a golf ball from Carson City to the Reno Arch, sat in all 26,000 seats at the University of Nevada stadium, and collected 14 tons of food for the food bank by rocking in a rocking chair for 96 hours. Yeah — he was that kind of guy.

He’s resting at  Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver.

Dash

While meeting with the radio station’s program director, I also met our newest staff member whose taking on the massive task of bringing the station into the 21st century as our social-media specialist and consultant. She and I had only known of each other through blogging and Facebook.

As we shook hands, she questioned, “Oh, so you’re Dash?”

I immediately thought, “How the hell did she know I used to be a sprinter?”

Then she explained: “You always sign your news postings on Facebook with a dash mark before your last name.”

Mystery solved — and now — I have a new nickname.

Resolute

The last time I made a New Year Resolution, I was in my teens I believe. I’ve never needed to make them as I pretty much do exactly as I say I will do and that’s the end of it.

Resolutions aside, in December I promised the writer in me that I’d keep my thoughts on politics to myself. I do find it hard to not write about and share my opinions on the state of my community, Nevada or our nation.

Jus’ thought I’d complain.

Connections Not Shared

It becomes a small world when I think of how many people and placed in my life connect me with the U.S. space agency, NASA. From my Uncle Orville, to my Godfather Bud, as well as my friend Kay, and the fact that I live nearby the test site for the Saturn 5 rocket boosters.

But it does no good for me to tell about this when no one else writes down their stories. It’s ashame too, because there are so many great stories walking around and not being shared.

All I can do is stay at my tiny desk and work out the details of my life, but I cannot write about yours.

Silver Tailings: Debunking “The Misfits” Misfortune

Arthur Miller divorced his first wife June 11th, 1956 after spending his six-week residency in Sutcliffe at the Pyramid Lake Guest Ranch. He married Marilyn Monroe about three weeks later.

While at the ranch he watched a group of cowboys round-up some wild horses. This inspired a short story in the October 1957 edition of Esquire magazine.

It later led to the screenplay that starred Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift, Eli Wallach, Thelma Ritter, and Kevin McCarthy, and directed by John Huston and produced by Frank Taylor. The “World Premiere” was held January 31st, 1961 at the Granada Theater in downtown Reno.

Many people believe the film, while a tragic subject, also lead to tragic endings for many in the cast. While it is true only 12 days after filming wrapped, Gable died, other cast members went on working for years afterwards.

Marilyn, eventually divorced Miller on January 20, 1961, and started filming “Something’s Got to Give,” in 1962. She died August 5th, 1962 as result of a suicide, albeit under mysterious circumstances and the scenes from the film were later used in the 1963 documentary, “Marilyn,” narrated by Rock Hudson.

Clift’s film career also did not end with “The Misfits.” Released in late 1961, “Judgment at Nuremberg,” was followed a year later by John Huston’s “Freud,” with Clift’s last film, a 1966 French production billed as the “The Defector.”

After some 20 years in the movie business, Thelma Ritter died February 5th, 1969, her last appearance being on “The Jerry Lewis Show,” January 23rd, 1968. Kevin McCarthy went on to starring in another 23 television and film productions before his death September 11th, 2010.

Oddly, McCarthy’s final appearance in, “The Ghastly Love of Johnny X,” was released nearly two-years after his death.

As for Eli Wallach, he continues to work.  In 2010, Wallach portrayed Julie Steinhardt , in  “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” directed by Oliver Stone, and starring Michael Douglas and Shia LeBeouf.

Can’t

“Can’t never got anything done,” my late Grandpa used to say.

Those that you think of as being lucky, are generally those willing to try, who take chances, put themselves on the line. Often people talk themselves out of an opportunity, convinced there’s little possibility of success.

But worst of all are those of who truly believe was can’t do something, because with a “can’t” attitude, it’s a certain bet we won’t.

Jus’ try before you can’t.

Neanderthal

Maybe I do have only the intelligence of a Neanderthal, after all I don’t understand the television show, “Sex in the City.” I sat with my wife and our house mate and watched two episodes and while they laughed and giggled, I missed it.

The show is purportedly about four independent women living in New York City. However for being so liberated, they’re all in search of a perfect relationship with a man.

I don’t get the dichotomy.

Afterwards, I sat an watched five half-hour episodes of the cartoon, “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” The series follows the adventures of a twelve-year-old boy and his friends, who must bring peace and unity to the world by ending the Fire Lord’s war against the other three nations.

Bending water, earth, fire and air in cartoon form, makes more sense to me than Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte’s realistic lives. Yeah, you can call me a Neanderthal.

The Price Willingly Paid

Yes, I engaged the enemy in battle and killed him. And I was close to someone who was either killed or wounded.

This is not your fault.

Both fear and death surrounded me time and again. In fact the Pentagon has a plan in place in case I’m killed in action.

Anxiety, insomnia, and guilt are part of my existence.

When I returned home, you expected me to pick up my life where I left off. Well, so did I.

Adapt and over come.

Neither of us knew what the toll would be. How could we – as you were never in combat and I had never survived such stress before?

Too much alcohol, sex with any woman willing, and thoughts of suicide — all coping mechanisms.

No, this is not our fault and I’ve never considered blaming anyone, not even the military. It is simply the price paid for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Ask me now — I’d be willingly to do it all again.