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Saturday, August 01, 2009

Alaska Cruise - Part 3: Glacier Bay, College Fjord, Whittier, Anchorage, then Home to KCMO

he last 2 days of the cruise we spent aboard the Sapphire Princess touring. She had picked up National Park Rangers, who would be broadcasting throughout the ship regarding the sights we would be viewing for the next 2 days.

Early morning, on July 2, we passed by the westerly tip of Strawberry Island and Queen Inlet. Just passed Parker point and Jaw point, as we were touring Glacier Bay National Park, Lamplugh Glacier came into view. As we sailed to the opposite side of the glacier, we spotted two bears. We continued up the bay to the stunning Grand Pacific and at 1104 AM we stopped in front of Margerie Glacier, where we witnessed glacier calving (portions of the glacier falls into the water). While having dinner (steak & shrimp) that evening, we all watched out the windows and a Bald Eagle (America's National Bird) flew by.

Later that afternoon, we traveled North Westerly through the Gulf of Alaska enroute to College Fjord. And, on July 3, shortly before noon, we passed Hinchinbrook Island and Montague Island as we entered Prince William Sound. Around 1630 we passed Meares point, and then Perry Passage.
The Sapphire Princess entered into College Fjord @1700 when she passed Coghill Point. College Fjord is the hidden jewel of Prince William Sound. As we entered this narrow channel outlined by mountains and punctuated by ice-blue glaciers, I could not help but stand in awe. Later, as we ate dinner (crab legs....yummy!) we all shared many fond memories and prepared for disembarking the next morning.

Sunset, July 3rd was at 11:33PM and we arrived at Whittier, AK at midnight. The announcement came. We had been invited to witness Whittier's 4th of July fireworks show (also Alaska's 50th year celebration as a part of the United States of America) from the Sapphire Princess.'s still light outside! And, even though I had never seen fireworks when it was light outside, the show was fantastic! Some of the 13 of us on this cruise had a hard time getting to sleep. As for me, that was nothing new, I hadn't slept much the whole trip.

We disembarked the Sapphire Princess, boarded the bus around 9AM July 4th and toured the Alaskan Highway from Whittier to Anchorage. Our driver was very informative, and the sights were breathtaking, a must see!!

Since the 1st leg of my flight home would not leave until 10:55 PM on July 4th, I would spend the day visiting Anchorage.
The day was beautiful, cool and sunny. I visited Anchorage Farmer's Market(a very unique experience), toured the city & visited the Wildride Sled Dog Rodeo. Everyone who knows me, knows I get mushy (pardon the expression) regarding dogs. I am one of those, yes... a dog rescuer. On the way in, I held a 2 week old baby musher. OMGosh....tears of wonder streamed from my face. And, with his eyes not open yet, as he curled into my neck, I was glad to be going home that day. It was Showtime: Two teams raced as a hostess told about how the dogs are trained, what essentials are needed for a long pull, and I even learned that these dogs eat 8 times a day when working. Their is special gear for keeping them warm, and they get massages to help with sore muscles. (And I thought my dog was spoiled!) I watched a lead dog steering demonstration, while gaining understanding of just how much weight a dog can pull. But, when I saw the 16 dog Iditarod team pull a 10,000 lb. truck (truck was in neutral), I stood to watch in amazement.

I arrived home in Kansas City, MO early July 5th and was greeted by Captain Spaulding and my daughter (my son and his girl were in Florida). I could not stop talking about this once in a lifetime adventure and all I saw and did. I missed everyone so!! After we drove my daughter home, the Captain & I looked briefly at over 100+ videos and pictures, then took a much needed nap. He had worked all night, and I had slept very little thru the whole cruise. Finally, I could rest in his arms, where I sleep like a baby.

This trip was different than any I had ever experienced. If you ever get a chance to go to Alaska, do not hesitate. You will be amazed. I was!

K.C. MetroRegion News Overnight - August 1- 2009

Killa City continues- 2 confirmed homicides in KC-MO since midnight.

*** Two teens seriously injured in an Independence-MO shooting.

** Two teen males were shot in Kansas City-KS just before 2:45 am Saturday morning.

The victims- ages 15 and 19- were both shot in a leg in the 1500 block of North 5th Street.

The teen's injuries were not life-threatening with no suspect information.

** Someone set playground equipment at the Christa Mc Auliffe elementary school at 15600 West 83rd Street in Lenexa-KS about 12:15 am..

A LFD fire crew on-the-scene said "a 10 by 10 foot area" of the playground was on fire.

The fire was reported under control at 12:28 am and a fire investigator was ordered here based on a suspicion of arson.

** KC-MO's south-midtown and midtown fire companies worked two house fires early Saturday morning.

The first was a 1-story house fire at 51st Street and Euclid at 4:50 am..

No victims were found inside by firefighters.

Two small streams were used on the flames and the fire was under control about 20 minutes later.

The 2nd fire was in a yet-undetermined occupancy house in the 2700 block of Wabash just before 6:30 am.

A responding fire company could see the smoke rising from as far as 6 blocks away- and reported a working fire on their 6:32 am arrival.

Two handlines were used on this fire in a 2-1/2/-story house that had been converted into apartments- a fire chief said.

No injuries were reported at either fire and both were under investigation for arson.

** Nevada fire crews responded to a "still-occupied" house fire in that west-central Missouri community at 2:10 am..

A police officer who arriver at 2:15 am said the occupants had escaped safely- but fire was consuming the garage.

No further information was available on this incident yet.


Metro K.C. Selected Rainfall Totals For July 2009 - 30-Day U.S. Weather Outlook

bove-average rainfall continues over Metro Kansas City- as well as much of the MetroRegion.

I don't have to tell you how pleasant the temperatures have been either...

These rainfall totals (click on all images for full size) for the month of July 2009- many throughout Johnson County-KS- are courtesy of the Overland Park-KS "Stormwatch" Net site:

It appears above-average rainfall is in store for August as well- along with continued moderate temperatures according to the latest NWS-CPC 30-day weather outlook for the 48-contiguous United States:


Kansas City's NEWS: Then Another Homicide

wo homicides overnight (here's the other) in KC-MO sends the death rate into the 70's.

The other killing occurred with shots fired from one vehicle into another vehicle at 31st Street and Elmwood around 1:30 am..

Police initially report no victim on the scene- but that "2" people shot had left the scene in a vehicle. A further area check reveals a dead person near the dispatched address.

Unknown if related- but at least one shooting victim did show up at a Metro hospital. That person's medical condition was said by police to be "critical" as of 5 am..

Kansas City's NEWS: Another Homicide

his one was reported as a male stabbing victim found in the street at St. John and Denver around 1:40 am Saturday morning.

Police had no suspect nor any other information on the latest killing....

Metro K.C. NEWS: Two Teens Shot In Independence-MO

double-shooting occurred in northeastern Independence early Saturday morning.

It happened around 1:15 am in the 500 block of Concord Circle and details on anything but the victims are not yet available.

One of the victims- a 15-year-old male shot in the back- was found away from the original incident location. His condition was termed serious as he was rushed to an area pediatric medical trauma center.

The other victim was a 19-year-old female who was shot in the mid abdomen. Her condition was termed serious to critical.


Kansas City Weather Averages-Extremes - August

ere are the official weather averages and extremes from the National Weather Service office in Pleasant Hill.

Averages are based on a 29-year period from 1970-1999 with most observations taken at Kansas City International airport.

Weather extremes/records are from 1888 through 2006.


Friday, July 31, 2009

Raytown-MO's Welfare For Walmart Puts City In Financial Crunch

any of us saw this coming when Raytown's elected and unelected officials gave Walmart a "super tax increment financing" to build their new store on M-350 east of Raytown Road.

The City of Raytown is now on the hook for yet-unknown hundreds of thousands of dollars of bond payments due at the end of this year.

With the economy in the tank and expected development near the new Walmart that hasn't materalized- money for those payments will come out of city coffers/taxpayer's pockets.

Walmarts new corporate-welfare palace under construction on Missouri-350.

It seems no one in Raytown's City Hall saw the demise of Chrysler coming: that closed 3 car dealerships in Raytown that provided much needed sales tax money.

In addition- Raytown residents recently voted to sales tax themselves some more. The result is one of Metro Kansas City's highest sales tax and when the new Walmart opens- you ain't seen nothing yet.

Sales tax in and around the new Walmart will be close to 10%!

Raytown's administrative staff are mostly non-residents of Raytown. The city has been LOSING population since the 1970's.

Infrastructure in Raytown is shaky at best- with city administrators seemingly more interested in giving welfare to the world's biggest corporation and turning a blind eye to clear-cut code violations than providing a livable city for it's residents.

And with at least several hundred thousands of dollars due on that welfare soon- it's unlikely Raytown will become any more of a livable city anytime soon.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Weather Map For Last of July Looks More Early May

Temperatures in the 50's to near 80 across the Central States- north winds- heck- take a look for yourself on the actual 3 pm surface weather map covering our Central States.

I included a key-code translator image so you know what you're looking at on the map.

Forecasts models are trending toward more average temperatures- warmer- during the first week of August- but don't look for anything NEAR all-time record temepratures like what has occurred the past few days in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia- Canada.


MetroRegion NEWS: Medical Helicopter Makes Emergency Landing Near Topeka

he TOPEKA CAPITOL-JOURNAL reports that a Lifestar medical helicopter enroute to Fort Riley for a pediatric patient was forced to make an emergency landing in a field in western Shawnee county late Wednesday night.

(Photo courtesy of The Topeka CAPITOL-JOURNAL)

The C-J reported that low oil pressure lights began showing a problem and the pilot made a emergency landing in a field without damage or injury.

Another helicopter was called to complete the mission.


Kansas City Metro NEWS: Bonner Springs-Basehor Scene Of Music Video Shoot

s reported by The (Bonner Springs-KS) CHIEFTAIN's Melissa Treolo- country singer Raina Bauman recently made a music video at a Bonner Springs area gas station.

(Photo courtesy of The CHIEFTAIN)

Ms. Bauman shot the video of her song "Harley Man" at the Lake Stop convenience store at 15621 158th Street- getting a big boost from local dealer Gail's Harley-Davidson...

Including providing an actual "Harley Man" for the shoot.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Topeka-KS and Springfield-MO Close Fire Stations To Save Money- Are Metro-area Stations Next?

his is a super sore point with me- a former smoke-eater.

Everybody should know that an uncontrolled fire will double in size every 30 to 60 seconds.

Therefore if your property catches fire- you want it out as soon as possible and that's why fire stations are configured the way they are around any large town or city.

In Topeka and Springfield- fire stations are kept closed due to "staffing."

Topeka's Engine 3 located at that city's fire training facility on S.W. Jefferson seems that it's rarely in service anymore.

In Springfield- they can close up to 2 fire stations for lack of staffing rather than call in off-duty firefighters (overtime) to staff them.

These methods will work wonders with a municipal budget- until someone is seriously hurt and/or dies because the nearest firehouse was closed.

The ensuing lawsuit(s) will put a media-feeding-frenzy end to ANY municipal cost-savings- not to mention a few political careers.


Kansas City's Goof Costs Smithville Woman $50

t's absolutely MADDENING when someone else jacks-up and it costs you.

It happened to me after an Independence-MO woman made a U-turn into my passenger-side fender back in January and I- not the police or the State of Missouri- had to do the paperwork on that uninsured no-driver.

Today's story involved a Smithville-MO woman who was ticketed for charges she didn't even accrue- a "clerical error" in KC-MO put a Raytown woman's violations on the Smithville woman's record.

Aside from the time involved- the Smithville woman had to shell out her OWN $50 to get things straightened out.


President Obama Is A Racist IF Faux News and Glennnn Beck Are Morons...

wouldn't know Glennnn Beck if I saw him in public with his throat on fire and I was about to piss to put it out.

That being said- Herr Beck called President Obama "a racist."

Hmm- let his throat burn!

FAUX News employees are quite adept at name-calling- I mean look- they have the NERVE to call their schlock "fair and balanced."

Not A Good Time To Be Poor - Or Unemployed - In California

ore proof that those with the weakest voices get the most crap- and all good things ain't FOR the kids...

In order to TRY to balance California's outlandish deficit- these cuts were made by the "Governator:"

"$80 million cut from child welfare programs- $61 million cut from county funding to administer Medi-Cal, California's version of Medicaid- $52 million slashed from AIDS prevention and treatment- $50 million gone from Healthy Families, the low-cost health insurance program for poor children."

There will surely be NO future savings from these cuts today but hey- it's FOR the children.

My ass.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Another Example Of How The News Media Is Failing America

ast week- President Obama talked for about an hour on the National Health care crisis- how more than 40-million Americans don't have any or inadequate health care.

So what does the news media key on?

That less than 1% of that hour Obama spent discussing his health coverage plan: The story where the Harvard professor got arrested trying to get into his own house.

All WEEK the news media spends on that two paragraphs the President DIDN'T speak about health care coverage.

Any wonder why America's in the shape it's in when both the politicians AND the "free press" fail us so miserably?

Yeah- I've suffered a bit of a "news" burnout this week just because....


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Another Violent Weekend Morning In The 2 Kansas Citys

n addition to the on-going Operation 100 and the earlier homicide in KC-MO- there was other news early Sunday morning.

*** There's fatality associated with what was reported originally as a "pedestrian struck" in the 3000 block of North Fairfax Trafficway just before 2:15 am..

The fire department ordered extrication equipment after they arrived on the scene- but I missed the gory details working another story further west.

Accident investigators were ordered however and EMS did not transport a patient from the scene.

I've discovered this was a vehicle vs. motocycle crash- and both drivers were killed.

** That story further west was around the area of 42nd to 43rd and Parallel in KC-KS around 1:50 am: two teens found gunshot.

Police found a 19-year-old male shot in the shoulder in the 4200 block of Parallel- then found an 18-year-old female shot 3 times in the 2000 block of North 43rd Street.

Both victim's injuries were not life-threathening.

Only witness reports are that someone shot into a small group gathered outside near the two locations.

** At 2:45 am KC-MO emergency services rolled toward the 5100 block of Palmer Drive where it was reported a shooting had occurred.

Apparently at or near a place where young people gather- police found a 19-year-old male who'd been shot 5 times according to MAST-EMS.

The young man's injuries were serious to critical- but no one had any suspect information for police yet.

** KC-MO fire was busy fighting 2 house fires Sunday morning.

>The first was at 2:33 am in the 2700 block of Lister. A 1-story structure was found in flames but unoccupied.

Extra fire companies were dispatched- a "working fire response."

The fire was reported under control at 2:48 am with no firefighter injuries. The cause was under investigation.

>The 2nd house fire was a lived-in but safely-evacuated 2-1/2-story structure in the 300 block of North Wheeling.

That fire was reported at 3:34 am and by 3:53 am- flames were reported shooting through the roof. This fire too was upgraded to "working fire" status of course.

This fire was brought under control at 4:16 am with no firefighters reported hurt.

Three adults were made homeless by this fire that was under investigation.

** Independence-MO emergency services ran car crashes reported on both sides of I-70 at M-291 around 4:15 am.

One 20-year-old male was reportedly "ejected" from one vehicle that crashed on the westbound side- but his injuries didn't sound immediately life-threatening.

Two others had less serious injuries on the eastbound portion of I-70 there.


KC-MO Breaking News Continues: Police "Operation-100"

fficially at least since around 4 am- police have surrounded a business they believe has an armed and barricaded burglar in the 4300 block of Clary Boulevard in east KC-MO..

It's believed shots were fired by whoever is inside early-on in this incident. No one outside the building was struck.

At this writing in the light of day- the tactical or "Operation-100" continues staged from the Croft Trailer Supply company.

The fire department responded to an automatic fire alarm call nearby just after 1 am at 4323 Clary Blvd.. I don't know if the 2 calls are related


UPDATE - 0825 CDT - KC-MO police have announced that they've searched the building- a warehouse- that possibly held a burglary suspect- and found no one.

Police had surrounded the building since at least 2:30 am and called the "Operation-100" around 4 am..


Kansas City's BREAKING NEWS: Another Homicide In KC-MO

olice are investigating a male shot dead in the street at 31st Street and Agnes early Sunday morning.

The call came in at 3:07 am to 31st Street and Benton- where shots-fired calls were also reported. Officers found the victim a block away.

There's no suspect or any other information available yet.