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Comments from Cleveland

I’m back here at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland Ohio. I’d like to share with you my first impressions of Cleveland, WOW!

From the moment I arrived (on the red-eye) at 5:00 am I was impressed with how clean and nice the airport was. The people I encountered were all very friendly. And quite frankly given how the proceeding week had gone, I was glad to be there, glad to be alive!

I was picked up by Oregon National Committee Woman elect, Marylin Shannon and Janice Dysinger. We went out to a very nice breakfast at a place called Bob Evans; a down home, reasonably priced home cookin-style family restaurant, where we were waited upon by a very sweet young lady named Alta.

After settling in for a quick nap at the hotel, I met the bus downstairs for the trip in to Cleveland (the Oregon delegation was clear out in Akron) for the opening night ceremonies of the RNC Convention held at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along the waterfront. This was a dream come true for someone like me who loves everything musical. There were refreshments galore, a great souvenir shop and lots of music history displayed. Three Dog Night was the headlining act. Kinda fun, but the band was a little long in the tooth. We were supposed to have the Doobie Brothers, oh well.

The first day of the Convention was all about total security grid control. Freeways were closed off to the general public; eight foot high double rowed, steel meshed fencing lined the streets for miles. There were armed police from federal DHS and Secret Service, to local and plain clothed officers. They were atop the venues with sniper rifles and observation equipment. It was creepy and more than a little disconcerting. A woman on the bus commented “they make me feel safe”. Not me. I felt like a caged animal, being subdued.

We walked through the TSA security screening, and I had a medical reason not to be x-rayed, so I got the hand scan and search; arms raised high over my head (not the posture of a free man). I told the federal agent that I had flown on board President Reagan’s jet with Nancy and their staff, but never went through anything like this. He replied “This isn’t President Reagan’s plane”. “No” I said “and it isn’t President Reagan’s country either”.

The opening day in the Cleveland “Q” arena was nice enough, filled with some tedious business, and some opening speeches. All in all enjoyable. I had to head out a bit early to get back to the hotel and work on the Beacon. I used Uber for my ride, very nice!

Donald Trump had a fair amount of luke-warm support coming in to the convention, but as each hour has gone by, it is getting warmer and more enthusiastic.

A couple of exceptions: the establishment hacks who have snubbed him, the most egregious of which was the pointed absence of the Governor of the host state, John Kasich. Very unprofessional and childish behavior on his part, if you ask me. It is a matter of respect. This is the first time in forty years that a Governor of the host state didn’t show!

The next worrisome participation came from Rudy Giuliani, followed the next day by Paul Ryan, and worst of all, Chris Christie. I thought it was gracious of Trump to invite them, but they didn’t add anything as far as I’m concerned. Christie is a bore, but he is just salivating to go to war with Syria! Thank God he is not the nominee.

The best event so far was the Republicans for Life Coalition reception, honoring Phyllis Schlafly. It was a packed house, and she is by far the most impactful woman in American politics today. She is responsible for the pro-life plank of the Republican Party. She was pleased to report that this year’s plank is the best ever!

Well it’s getting late and close to press time, so that’s it for now.  More to follow next edition.

David Jaques, Editor



Making America Safe

Cleveland, OH-Joseph Rice is a Veteran of the Army National Guard with 17 years of service, where he flew as a Helo pilot. Following his military service he was recruited as a private contractor to provide aerial support for our troops in Afghanistan, where he logged in over 600 hours of flight time. Due to an injury he sustained ‘in country’ he will be undergoing reconstructive surgery of his ankle when he returns home from the RNC Convention. During the presentation Monday night by the heroes from Benghazi, Rice, who is an elected alternate delegate and founding member of the America First Delegation from Oregon, was on the floor of the convention where he held high the flag he carried aboard his Helo on every mission he flew in Afghanistan. Rice was in Afghanistan at the time of the Benghazi attack. He said “I just wanted to show those men that I understood what they did that night, and that I appreciate them. I wanted to show respect for what they did.” Rice is the Josephine County Coordinator for Oath Keepers, and is a founding member of Pacific Patriot Network. In the picture with Rice, the men holding up his arms are delegates from Michigan and Arizona.



Happy Birthday Ashlin!!!

Last week this big 5 year old found out just how hard it was to catch one of those beautiful yellow butterflies down at River Forks Park. We’ll get ‘em next year sweetheart!   - Love Daddy

Shooter Dead, female Victim Shot Four Times, survives

By David Jaques

Roseburg, OR-- At about 3:05 pm, Tuesday June 14,  a resident living near the 2300 block of Happy Valley Road in the Green District outside of Roseburg, said they “heard a bunch of  yelling, followed by women screaming, and then several gunshots”. They estimated that there were between 10-15 total shots fired. Within minutes there were several law enforcement vehicles racing down Happy Valley Rd.

This wasn’t the first time this local resident observed this behavior from that address. Over the past couple of years, there were numerous occasions where the [unidentified male] neighbor would be blasting away with his guns and yelling from his porch he was going to kill someone.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office wasn’t releasing the name of the shooter or his victim at press time. The shooter is believed to be a male in his thirties. His victim, a nineteen year old female, was reportedly shot four times; once in the sternum, once in each leg, and once in the buttocks. She was transported to Mercy Medical Center, and during transport, according to chatter over Med-Net, was coherent and talking. She was subsequently flown via Air Ambulance to Sacred Heart at Riverbend in Springfield, and is expected to survive.

As law enforcement arrived on the scene, and were attending to the victim, the suspect fired upon them and there was an exchange of gunfire.

The community in the Happy Valley area is very close-knit according to residents there, and sound travels down the valley very readily. On several occasions, a man presumed to be the shooter in this incident could be heard yelling “I’m gonna kill you”. At least on one occasion it was believed he was yelling this at “the kids”. 

In recounting the events of today, the neighbor, who requested not to be identified, said they were not initially shocked when hearing the yelling and gunfire earlier today because it was almost commonplace. They said they had placed a call to police dispatch before to report the violence, and it seemed to calm down for some months afterwards, but started up again over time. 

At today’s scene there were numerous marked and unmarked law enforcement vehicles representing Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police, Winston P.D., and Sutherlin P.D. Several of the men on the scene were dressed in full camo fatigues with tactical gear, carrying military style weapons, and had no visible agency identifiers. It is estimated that more than twenty-five personnel responded.

Another neighboring resident said they initially “heard one shot, and then a couple seconds later 4 more gunshots”. It is unclear whether these were the 4 shots that hit the female victim. This witness said after the police arrived he saw a “dark-haired woman” standing by a nearby semi-trailer at which time he heard four more shots and noted the woman running down the long driveway towards Happy Valley Road and  the officers.

The shooting suspect fled the presumed location of the shooting and was reportedly discovered dead several hundred yards away, on the nearby hillside. There was no information at press time as to whether he was shot by law enforcement or took his own life, though a late report from OSP said he died “from an apparent self-inflicted wound”.  The Douglas County Major Crimes Team is investigating the shooting with OSP is the lead investigative agency.


Winchester Bay man receives Army Commendation Medal

By David Jaques

Winston, Or-For Sergeant William “Bill” Johnson his third deployment back in 2009-2010 with 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Oregon Army National Guard, would be one that would change his life forever. With just ten days remaining in his last deployment, his second to Iraq,  Sgt. Johnson, an 11C Mortarman, was on an escort convoy riding in the back of an MRAP when and IED exploded alongside the vehicle sending a violent shockwave through the rig.

The vehicle was still operable so they continued to the nearest city to the North about a half hour drive away. Johnson was racked with pain having suffered a traumatic brain injury and a compressed spinal fracture. He said it was pretty much just adrenaline that kept him going to finish their convoy mission.

When he got back to home base the next day he went on sick call and was given pain meds which he said enabled him to finish his tour before shipping home.

The next several years were pure hell fighting to get medical attention and get qualified for disability. Sgt. Johnson said that Fort Lewis doesn’t think much of the Guard, “it was a real fight” trying to get help.

He was shipped out to Madigan Army Hospital where the doctor there told him he just needed to go home and sleep on a soft bed.  Upon his return to Roseburg, the local VA hospital ran tests determining that he had “some real problems”. They went to bat and got him into the Wounded Warrior Program, and his Guard Unit got him back to active duty status so he could get the medical help he needed.

This Memorial Day Weekend, Williams was presented the Army Commendation Medal, awarded to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States other than General Officers who, while serving in any capacity with the Army after 6 December 1941, distinguishes himself by heroism, meritorious achievement or meritorious service.

The award was presented at the ceremonial gardens at Wintergreen Nursery in Winston, Oregon  by Lt. Col. Verl Miller of the Oregon National Guard. Johnson was also qualified to receive the Purple Heart, but declined the medal in part because he said “You have to bleed for that one. To me the Purple Heart is for someone who paid a much bigger price than I did.”

Mike Winters said “the recognition was long overdue for this great man.” Johnson had been employed at Wintergreen Landscaping; “he was my go to guy for about ten years” said Winters.