Ranger Headquarters

Ranger Headquarters
Big Pine National Forest, Knotty Pine

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Paws and Tales Adventure Series

The Mystery of Shadow Valley series
Mr. Collins was a famous archaeologist who did much of his digging in the Middle East. Mrs. Collins is allowing Stacy and CJ to do a little of their own digging - in her basement. The kids discover wooden boxes full of Mr. Collins' artifacts, equipment, journals, and wax cylinder recordings.(The cylinders are cardboard tubes coated in wax and used like your parent's old records.)
The kids find the player for the wax cylinders and listen to some of Mr. Collins' recordings. They learn that Mr. Collins recorded some cylinders at Sousa, the capital of Persia (ancient Mesopotamia). King Xerxes I ruled in Sousa. His wife was Ester. Yes, Ester from the Bible's Old Testament.
Someone doesn't want the kids to listen to those recordings. He will do anything to stop the kids from learning about the Mystery of Shadow Valley. But some rats want the kids to hear the recordings and read Mr. Collins' journals from Sousa. Cylinder 137K is the first key in unlocking the mystery.

I heartily encourage you to listen to each and every episode of this wild and exciting adventure series. Read the book of Ester. It is in the Bible's Old Testament just before the book of Job and the Psalms. Ester is only 8 pages long in my Bible.You can hear the first episode of Mystery of Shadow Valley called "Cylinder 137K" on our HisKids player. Just click on our player. When the green player screen pops up, select "Change Program" and then click on "Paws and Tales."
I hope you enjoy both Mystery of Shadow Valley as well as this week's Ranger Bill story, The Clown of Blue Lake. The Clown of Blue Lake is as exciting as it is just plain fun.

Friday, March 26, 2010

RB-072 The Clown of Blue Lake

A mysterious creature is attacking vacationers at High Ridge Lodge on Blue Lake. This beast is so powerful that it can bend a golf club in his jaws or drag a child off the Blue Lake dock and into the water. It is able to stay hidden from view and can move around the lake quickly. Attempts to locate and shoot this danger have so far proved unsuccessful. Bill and Stumpy are called in to find and catch this mystery animal. Even they are unsure what they are dealing with. Stumpy names this rascal "the Clown of Blue Lake." Visitors are afraid and ready to leave High Ridge. Bill wants to capture and release their "clown" into the wild. How are the fellas going to find something nobody has seen? Can they catch an animal that has so much power?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Knotty Pine GAZETTE - Earthquakes Strike Region

Death at New Tower
Two major earthquakes struck Knotty Pine Thursday, the first coming at 11:20 AM, killing one man, injuring several residents, and causing damage to buildings all around the city. Minor secondary quakes have come almost hourly since that first quake. The only death attributed to the quakes occurred at the construction site of Knotty Pine's new 10-story tower. George Hansen of suburban Central City was killed at approximately 4:45 PM when the second of two major quakes struck the near the center of town. The quake caused an I-beam that was being installed on the tower to fall from a crane and strike Mr. Hansen, killing him instantly. Several construction workers were trapped under rubble at the same time. Rangers were momentarily trapped inside Ranger Headquarters when the second quake jambed doors there. It took volunteers lead by Ranger Gray Wolf of Big Pine National Forest over an hour to free the trapped men.
Injured Crowd KP Hospital
At least two individuals were rushed to Knotty Pine Hospital for injuries they received during the quakes. The names of these two injured have not yet been released to the press. The waiting room and front lawn of KP Hospital were converted into temporary emergency treatment areas for the less seriously injured individuals. Dozens of citizens were treated for minor injuries from cuts and bruises to broken bones to eye and lung irritations from smoke and dust.
ES Director Holchman Praised
Chief Ranger Bill Jefferson commended Emergency Services director Bernie Holchman for his handling of city services during the peak of the emergency. Bernie managed and directed city employees and equipment. Bernie even had to call in trustee prisoners from State Prison to aid in rescue efforts. Two prisoners did try using the confusion downtown to cover their attempt to escape. Ranger Bill and Bernie foiled their attempt. Mr. Holchman praised the other prisoners for their assistance and hard work. Bernie sent a full report of the prisoners' work to the prison warden. Security during the crisis was handled by Sheriff Cal and officer O'Roark and volunteer patrolmen.
Minor Town Damage
Windows were broken all across town. Teams of workers led by Ranger Ralph Carpenter boarded up broken windows and swept up broken glass. Ranger Stumpy Jenkins helped with various other quake-related damage around the city. Henry Scott led teams of high school students and teachers going door-to-door checking on the health and welfare of families in all of the homes in town. Knotty Pine Bank has established a fund to help cover the costs of the earthquakes not covered by insurance or the state emergency disaster funds.
New Tower Safe
The companies involved in the construction of the 10-story tower had state and private inspectors check the integrity of the building. The building has passed inspection so far. Construction is expected to continue as soon as clean-up in Knotty Pine is completed.
Tower construction workers have gotten together and requested that the new tower be named Hansen Tower in memory of of their fallen boss, George Hansen. Ranger Bill, his men, as well as Bernie Holchman heartily agree with the name "Hansen Tower" for the new building.

Friday, March 19, 2010

RB -069 Earthquake!

Everyone in Knotty Pine is excited about the new building going up downtown, the town's first 10-story office tower. Bill and Ralph play sidewalk superintendents to see how construction is going. The boys run into Bernie, the emergency services director for Knotty Pine. Bernie doesn't have the Knotty Pine ready for an emergency. Then an earthquake shakes Knotty Pine and causes damage all over town. Aftershocks will probably follow and cause even more damage and injury. Can Bill get Bernie and Knotty Pine ready in time for the next big tremor?
Courage is the theme of this story.
This story is one of my favorites.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Fire and Flood - Pendleton Valley Fire

I have mentioned the very first Ranger Bill story from 1950 before, The Pendleton Valley Fire. But I would like to mention it again, if you don't mind.
As you may know, the Pendleton Valley fire begins with Colonel Anders in charge, not Ranger Bill Jefferson. Anyway, the fire breaks out and the Colonel and his crew of men have a tough fight to control the valley fire. This is one big fire! The Colonel doesn't know if they get the fire under control or not. Then Colonel Anders sends a message to Bill to head into the hill country above the fire.
By the way, Bill gets the call at his outpost cabin in the forest, not at Ranger Headquarters in Knotty Pine. It isn't clear in that first episode if Colonel Anders has his headquarters in Knotty Pine or somewhere else. But Bill and Henry don't appear to be at Ranger HQ in Knotty Pine in that first show. But I digress. Back to the story.
The colonel sends Bill into the back country to Pine Ridge Dam. I'm not absolutely sure, but I believe that the dam is an earthen one. Bill and Henry ride Bess and Maude up to Pine Ridge. Bill sprains an ankle when he gets his foot caught under a tree root. Then an rattler almost bites him while he is sleeping. The boys eventually get orders in the middle of the night to dynamite the dam and flood the fire. With some difficulty, Henry places the dynamite. They blow the dam and the rush of water does put out the forest fire.
I loved the story but I doubted that the water flow from any mountain reservoir could be big enough to put out a forest fire. Then I found out that someone I know used to live in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, site of the 1889 Johnstown Flood, one of the worst natural disasters in US history. This person said that an earthen dam 14 miles upstream from Johnstown broke during a heavy rain, sending 20 million tons of water down the river valley. The wall of rushing water was thirty to fifty feet high when it struck Johnstown. Four towns were destroyed, including Johnstown, and 2209 lives were lost. If that can happen to Johnstown, then it's no stretch of the imagination to believe that Pine Ridge Dam could take care of the Pendleton Valley fire.

Do you remember...?

Do you or someone you know remember way back to the very early days of Ranger Bill? I mean the period from 1950 to the start of 1954 when Ranger Bill was a 15-minute show on Mondays at 4:45 in the afternoon.
I am wondering if any of you remember any of the stories from those first three plus years. I have mentioned the very first Ranger Bill story, the three-part "Pendleton Valley Fire" which began on October 2, 1950. The closing of part three mentions the next Ranger Bill story, "Disappearing Buffalo." I have a very old tape of RB179 "VIPs Visit Knotty Pine" that a friend sent me. Coincidentally, the title that this friend's mom put on the tape was "The Disappearing Buffalo Herd." Could it be that the 1950 story got recycled into "VIPs..." in 1954? If I remember correctly, Ed Ronne, Sr., joined Ranger Bill in 1954. Recycling "Disappearing Buffalo" in 1954 would give a probably busy writing staff a bit of a breather. New voices like Ed's could then be introduced in an old story.
If any of you or your parents remember a story or stories from those early days of Ranger Bill, please write and share your memories of those shows. There were probably more than 100 of the 15-minute shows. And there are probably at least 30 or 40 different stories in those shows.
Please take a few minutes to share with those of us who have never heard those early. Send your email to rangerbillclub@aol.com. I will post your notes right away.

Fire Towers and the First Forest Service Women

This week's story "Hot Fire" highlights one of the most critical jobs in Big Pine National Forest or any national park or forest, the job of fire tower ranger. The boys in fire tower 7 spot smoke on Razorback Ridge. The fire threatens dynamite in caves at the base of the ridge.
Forest fire and the men who live and work in fire towers is an important chapter of the Ranger Bill story. I should mention that women in fire towers is the subject of one Ranger Bill episode, "Petticoat Rangers." Bill hires a woman, Jane Reeves, to be a fire watcher. Bill's rangers object to a woman working in the forest. Bill convinces the boys that they need Jane (and some of her friends too) and that she can do the job well.
Would you believe that the very first "fire lookout" (the official park service title for fire watchers and for their towers or cabins) was a woman? The forest service web site credits Hallie M. Daggett as the first fire lookout, working at Eddy's Gulch lookout Station on Klamath Peak in the Klamath National Forest (NF) in the summer of 1913. Hallie worked as lookout for 14 years. I would guess that both Stumpy and Frenchy DeSalle know who Hallie is. Some sources say that Mabel Grey, a lumber camp cook, was hired in 1903 as fire lookout at the North Fork of Clearwater River in Idaho.
Hallie was the first official woman employee in the forest service and was virtually the sole female forest service employee for decades. It was a man's world throughout the service. Men held all jobs from director to rangers to secretaries. The only other official woman employee in the forest services early years was Miss Helen McCormick, of Eugene, who was a patrolwoman in the Williamette National forest in a 10-mile stretch of the Upper McKenkie River country during World War I.
But in 1910, a forest fire erupted in Idaho and Montana that would change the direction of the forest service for many years. It was know as the Big Burn or The Big Blow Up. This lightening-sparked wildfire killed 85 people and destroyed more than 3 million acres of forest. The Idaho fire prompted the Teddy Roosevelt conservationists within the service to call for full and immediate fire suppression. From the inception of the forest service until the Big Burn, the service was ill-prepared to fight fire or any kind. Volunteers had to be called in from surrounding communities to fight a wildfire. Often men fought fire with buckets of water and their bare hands. Their only tools were the few saws, axes, and shovels found in forest service toll sheds scatted throughout the wilderness. By 1930 over 9000 fire lookouts were built in America's national forests and parks. Today the service makes use of both fire oboservation planes and cameras in satellites in addition to fire lookouts. Only 1000 lookouts are currently in use.
In 1935 the forest service boasted that any forest fire would be put out by the next morning. But total fire suppression was not a good policy. The forests became overgrown. A healthy forest has roughly 30 trees per acre. Total suppression allowed 300 to 3000 trees to crowd an acre of forest. Any bolt of lightening could easily set a wildfire ablaze. Today the forest service only fights fires caused by man or that endanger people and property. Otherwise nature is allowed to take its course.

Friday, March 12, 2010

RB068 Hot Fire

Bill has a problem with Stan Wood's procrastination. Stan is the foreman at the dynamite factory outside Knotty Pine. It has been dry for the last few years and even drier this year. Bill has worked very hard to get rid of anything that might start a fire in and around the forest. Stan won't take the time to clear away the brush that has grown up around the factory's caves on Razorback Ridge. Bill has threatened Stan with fines and even arrest if he doesn't get that brush out of there. Stan stores the factory's dynamite in the caves. Then it happens, smoke and then fire near Razorback Ridge. Can Bill and his fire jumpers control the fire or will it spread and blow Knotty Pine to the moon?

Friday, March 5, 2010

RB067 The Book Farmer

Whitey Moore is excited to return home to Knotty Pine after spending four years earning his degree in the College of Agriculture at State U. Whitey can't wait to try out many of the things he learned on the family farm. But Pop Moore doesn't like all of his son Whitey's book learning. Pop is not going to bet the farm on Whitey's new ideas. Inoculating seeds before planting, charting milk production, and renting farm machinery aren't good ideas to Pop. Bill tells Whitey to be patient and Pop will see the value in his book learning. Can Whitey wait for Pop to come around? Will Whitey give up and ignore all he has learned? Will the Moore family split apart in a fight between Pop's experience and Whitey's education?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bill Pearce obituaries

Orbra Bliss was kind enough to locate and send us the web addresses of two obituaries for Bill Pearce. Orbra writes:

There are two sites that would be of interest.
The funeral home in Xenia, which has the complete obituary http://www.neeldfuneralhome.com/sitemaker/sites/NeeldF1/obit.cgi?user=174832Pearce#

And the Naperville Sun, where I think the Nightsounds offices are now located http://legacy.suburbanchicagonews.com/obituaries/stng-napervillesun/obituary-browse.aspx?recentdate=0&type=1

Thanks for that information Orbra!