Showing posts with label Rangers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rangers. Show all posts

Friday, November 9, 2012

Who is Ranger Anna?

Okay, I'll play.

I've been reading a couple-a blogs where the blogger lets the bloggees know a little bit more about herself.  And since I've got no original or even vaguely interesting thoughts or projects right now, here goes.

Sitting on a dock in the bay..... okay, it was really a boat in a fjord.  I have a ski-slope for a chin.  

1. I'm a mid-western girl thru and thru. Actually, I'm really a Great Lakes girl.  I totally wrap myself in the sturdy mid-western values (think Prairie Home Companion here), and I need my Big Water Fix on a regular basis.  If you haven't stood on the shores of a Great Lake, you haven't been in touch with the 75 percent of you that is water.

Did you know that the Mighty Maumee River is the largest watershed of any of the Great Lakes?  Now ya do.

I'm Heinz 57 American.   My Dad was born and raised in Toledo, and his Mom was from West-by-God.  His Dad's roots remain a mystery, despite my Sis and BIL working their fingers to the bone trying to find something about the guy. Zip. Zilch. Nada.  And since he worked for the B&O Railroad, there should be records, but there ain't.  Hmmmmm...... WITSEC?

My Mom was born and raised on an island in the Tampa Bay.  Did you hear my use my Florida accent when I said that?  She was a very head-strong and determined young lady, which explains a lot about me.  Did I ever write about my 'rents WWII work?  Remind me to do that next week, if I didn't already write about it.  Anywho, I spent my first and only vacations as kid on the beach at Indian Rocks, Fla.  So I have a hefty amount of salt-water in my veins, too.  Oh, wait a minute..... Well, you get my drift.

Terra Ciea use-ta be a real island.  Not no more.

2.  I'm a mom.  Dang that's hard work.  I have the world's greatest step-daughter.  A mere technicality in my opinion, since she lived with her Dad and then her Dad and me for the majority of her growing up years.  I think of her as my daughter. We had rocky times (due to the insanity of her birth mother), but now we be bffs.  Yea.  See side bar for cutest pic evah of her and my darling SIL.

I have two sons.  Both adopted.  Both have autism.  I write about them a lot.  Things are very, very rocky with one of them right now, which has me plunged back into that perpetual state of grief where parents of kids with special needs always live.  I've said before that it never goes away, cuz it don't. See sidebar for pics of Thing One and Thing Two.

3.  I'm a wife.  Hardest job ever.  Sharing your life with someone opens you up for all sorts of stuff--the good, the bad, and the ugly.  My DH is 14 years older than me.  I fell in love with the big jerk before I figured this out, and by then it was too late.   But who can resist a guy in uniform?  It was dang near love at first phone call.  See side bar for DH doing his thang.  He's silly.  A 72 year old fart, masquerading as a 12 year old.  Oh, and he's lost 40 lbs since that pic was taken.  I'm so proud of him!  Sadly, I found most of that poundage.  Damn this middle-aged business!!

3.  I have two useless Master's Degrees.  I earned them in 2 years.  Yep, over-achiever all the way.  See note about my Mom.  I went to a small, Presbyterian liberal arts college called Alma College.  I may be unemployed, but I can take on any topic at a cocktail party.  I loved Alma.  Still do.  If anything horrid were to happen to my DH, I'd move back to AC in a heart beat.

My B.A. is Environmental Education~~Majors in Nat. Sci (a group major so I had to take 2 more classes than a plain 'ol major) and El. Ed, and minors in Sociology and 2ndary Ed..  See note about my Mom.

4.  I love to organize stuff.  Big events.  The bigger the better.  Just do what I tell you to do, and it will work out fine is my organizing philosophy.  Committees usually suck (which is blasphemous for a Presbyterian to say, we invented the evil things.  Sort of a self-abuse thing we do),  so I try to avoid them at all costs.  By the by, my next really Big Event is Whitehouse Winterfest in Feb.. Oh, yeah, you'll be hearing a lot about that.

5.  Crap.  Can't think of anything else.  Oh, yeah, there is that ranger business, but I'm not s'posed to write about that.  Hells bells.

I'm so freakin' iconographic.

Well, there you have it.  And last but not least, I'm the World's Laziest Birder.

You're it.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tough Week for the Mad Crew

Our Madison Junction crew suffered two horrific deaths this week.

Yesterday, our Supervisory LE Ranger died from an apparent heart attack.   Folks who saw him the day before said he looked and seemed fine. 

Ranger G. was in his second year at Madison, having been in other Yellowstone duty stations for at least 20 years.  I never asked him how old he was, but since LEs must retire at 57, I know he was younger than I am.  He replaced another ranger who aged out and currently lives in Bozeman. It's been a privilege to work with both of these guys--they are truly professionals in every way.

Ranger G. was a very quiet, keep it to yourself kinda guy.  He didn't come to our Mad Crew parties (usually had the bad luck to be on duty those nights), but he knew that these get-togethers are good for everyone. Some LE rangers think we interps are completely useless, tree-hugging liberals who are more of the problem than the solution. G made it very clear that we were all team-mates.  Since we share the ranger station with LE and Resource there could have been conflicts, but there never were.  He set the tone for the whole Madison operation, and his tone was one of "make it happen, do your job, no drama, and be helpful."  He recognized and understood that interps can actually be helpful, which isn't the case in some parks. He appreciated that we wanted to help in areas that really weren't in our domain (like traffic control) and made sure we had the skills to help effectively.  Ranger D., his predecessor, held the same views, so when G started, we didn't have any great shocks or shake-ups in standard ops.  Yea!

He was at our helm in 2010, when convicted murderers and escapees from Arizona were in the park.  He made sure we were all aware of the situation (after the US Marshals finally informed our LE staff--a giant cluster**** all the way) and kept an extra eye out for us. His way wasn't to try to scare the bejeezus out of us, but to be sure we had the facts and never speculated on the gossip.

He accepted the fact that we didn't get our summer seasonal LE at Mad, and that we'd have to rely on the OF staff for back-up... and mind you, it's a 30 minute drive from OF to Mad, even in a cruiser going lights and sirens.  He made it work.  He made it work last summer, when the new perm ranger was at FLETC all summer, and for all intent and purposes, G worked the busiest intersection of the park as the Lone Ranger.  And he did it without griping or sniping.  He knew what to do and he did it. 

Lots of folks didn't get to know him very well, because on first blush, he seemed very quiet and shy.  Quiet yes, shy no.  And like so many good rangers, he had a quiet, very droll sense of humor.  Last spring the Madison River, along which the West Entrance Road runs, flowed over all it banks, completely covering the land that the bison usually used for spring forage.  The Interagency Bison Management Plan calls for us to push all the bison back into the park who have left the Madison Valley for the lower elevations and easier access to grass.  When the date for them to be hazed back in approached, he and my boss were in the office discussing how they were going to convince the animals to move.  My boss suggested that the bison would need life jackets, and without missing a beat, G said, "Yeah, and rangers with no fingerprints will be the ones to put the jackets on the 'em."  Never cracked a smile, just continued on about his work. My boss and I were laughing our heads off.  You never knew what he would come up with next, but it would be good.

In her latest book, The Rope, Nevada Barr had a character named Ranger Steve Gluck. He reminded me in so many ways of the real Ranger G.  Very, very reassuring and steady-eddy all the way.  Completely even keeled in his dealings with happy visitors, drunken campers, nuisance bears, lost children, and serial killers.  A professional all the way.  Yep, he was a Ranger's Ranger.

And three days before Ranger G's death, we received word that one of the young men from the Mad Resource Management crew had been killed in a truck wreck near his home in Florida.  KK literally lit up a room when he came in.  He loved his job and did it with enthusiasm.  He worked hard and played hard. He always had a kind word and usually a funny, and often bombastic story to tell.  He was tons of fun to hang with.  Life at 23 is so lively and joyous, and to realize that his life, so full of potential, is over has been a heart breaker.  As a parent I cannot begin to imagine the trauma that his folks and family are going through now.  One of the Resource interns lives near his family and will attend the services tomorrow.  We've asked him to express our deepest sorrow to his folks.

Yeah, it's been a tough week.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Rainier National Park Ranger Shot and Killed. Mother of 2, 34 Years Old.

Edited 1/2/2012
From NPS Digest today:

Ranger Margaret Anderson, 34, was shot and killed on the road to Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park on Sunday morning.  As of this time (early on Monday), the assailant is still at large and a manhunt is underway.

The incident began when a car failed to stop at a required tire chain checkpoint. A ranger tried to pull the car over, and, when it failed to stop, Anderson established a road block with her vehicle.  The assailant jumped from his car and opened fire with a shotgun, fatally wounding her.  He then fled on foot into the woods. Rangers and law enforcement officers from various agencies responded.  The Pierce County SWAT team arrived on scene and they, too, were fired upon while rendering aid to Anderson. 

Law enforcement officers closed the park road, evacuated park visitors from Longmire, and locked down Paradise, with all visitors in the area taking refuge in the Jackson Visitor Center.  There were 125 park visitors and 17 park staff in the visitor center as of late on Sunday.  The visitor center has a restaurant to provide food, restrooms and water, and law enforcement officers are on hand to provide protection.

The search for the murderer continued into the night, with fixed wing aircraft using forward looking infrared to scan the ground.  There are a more than 100 officers from a variety of agencies assisting with the manhunt for the shooter, including National Park Service, Pierce County Sheriff, FBI, Washington State Patrol, US Forest Service, City of Enumclaw, and Lewis County Sheriff.
Mount Rainier National Park will remain closed today.

Anderson served at Mount Rainier for four years.  She is survived by her husband, also a park ranger at Mount Rainier, and by two young children.

Director Jarvis issued this statement early today:
“Yesterday morning, Park Ranger Margaret Anderson was shot and killed while making a traffic stop at Mount Rainier National Park.  As I write this late Sunday night, the murderer is still at large in the park, which has been closed.  We are working closely with the FBI and local law enforcement to protect visitors and staff and to track down Margaret’s killer and bring him to justice.
“This is a heartbreaking, senseless tragedy.  Margaret was just 34 years old. She and her husband Eric, who is also a park ranger at Mount Rainier, have two young children.  Margaret was killed while doing her job – protecting the visiting public on one of the park’s busiest days of the year.

“Last week, we mourned the death of U.S. Park Police Officer Mike Boehm, who suffered a heart attack while responding to a serious incident in Washington, DC.  Mike left behind a wife and a son.
“Our hearts go out to both families, and I ask you to keep them in your thoughts and prayers in the hard days ahead.

“As updates from Rainier are available we will share them with all employees through InsideNPS.  These losses are painful reminders of the risks faced by National Park Service employees every day. Please be careful out there and watch out for each other.”

Name: Lee Taylor, Chief of Interpretation and Education

Edited info from 1/2/2012: from the Seattle Times
Updated at  6:22 p.m. MT
From Staff Reporters Craig Welch, Steve Miletich and Carol Pucci
Seattle Times staff reporters
A 34-year-old park ranger was fatally shot Sunday morning in Mount Rainier National Park after a routine traffic stop led to a chase up the road near Paradise. The gunman remained at large, triggering a massive manhunt.

The killing appears to be related to an early morning shooting in Skyway in which a man and woman were critically injured and two other men wounded during a house party, said Cindi West, spokeswoman for the King County Sheriff’s Department.

Park Ranger Margaret Anderson, a mother of two who was married to another park ranger, was shot about 10:30 a.m. after setting up a roadblock to stop the fleeing suspect.

“Margaret is just a wonderful, wonderful young lady,” her mother-in-law, Cynthia Anderson, of Hanson, Mass., said in a telephone interview Sunday.

The gunman escaped on foot and was carrying a long rifle. Authorities said it took 90 minutes for backup to reach Anderson because the assailant continued shooting at law enforcement as they arrived.  KOMO-TV reported that a man named Benjamin Colton Barnes, 24, was being sought as a person of interest in the shooting. KOMO displayed what appeared to be a law-enforcement mug shot of a young white man. The station did not say how police had identified Barnes or why he was thought to have information about the shooting.

About 86 park visitors and 20 or so employees were still locked down at the Jackson Visitors Center at Paradise as of about 4:45 p.m., but visitors below at Longmire had been allowed to leave.
“It’s really not safe right now,” said park spokeswoman Lee Taylor. “We’ve got a guy on the loose with a gun and he’s obviously willing to use it.”

The incident started about 10:15 a.m., Taylor said, when park rangers attempted to pull over a vehicle on the road just above Longmire. The car kept going.

When officers radioed that the suspect failed to stop, Anderson, in another vehicle, set up a roadblock by pulling her car across the road a mile or so south of Paradise at a pull out known as Barns Flat.
“He just jumped out and shot her,” Taylor said.

A maintenance worker and his colleague had been driving up the road toward Paradise when they heard on the park’s radio system that rangers were chasing what appeared to be a blue Pontiac the same direction. They pulled over and let the car and law-enforcement officer pass them, the worker said.
“As soon as they went by, we pulled out and started to follow,” said Steve Young, who was in the passenger seat. “At that point we heard they had an officer who was coming down who was going to try and stop the vehicle from above.”

Young said the ranger’s vehicle was around a corner about 100 yards ahead of them, when he heard at least five shots. Suddenly, the ranger’s vehicle he’d been following started backing down.
“His windows were shot out and he started backing down the road,” Young said by phone from Longmire.

Lisa Pyle, from Auburn, said she and her husband Derek Pyle were on their way up because their daughter had been camping at Paradise, but a ranger turned them away. They saw a ranger’s car near the visitors center with three bullet holes through the windshield. Their daughter and other guests were locked down inside the park.

“We have a ton of police here,” said a volunteer Park Service guide in Longmire. “They’re everywhere. A lot of people are camping in the backcountry. What happened here happened pretty quickly.”
Ed Troyer, a Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman, told The Associated Press that his department received a report around 11:30 a.m. of shots fired. When authorities arrived, he said, they also encountered gunfire, but no one else was hit.

The Park Service was asking people to stay away from the park because officers are actively looking for the suspect. The Washington State Patrol and Pierce County Sheriff’s Office are involved in the investigation.

In Skyway, King County sheriff’s deputies received a 911 call reporting the shooting around 3 a.m., according to West.  Deputies arrived at the home and found that three men and a woman had been shot. All four were taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Witnesses told the deputies that a man had been at a party at the home earlier in the evening and was asked to leave after an argument. The man returned, and began firing a gun at people in the home.
At least one person at the party appeared to have returned fire, West said.

Children were in the home at the time but none were injured, West said. West said all of the victims were in the 20s, and the victims knew the shooter.

Mount Rainier has never had an officer shot and killed in the line of duty, said  Lee Snook, a public information officer with the Park Service.

Anderson and her husband, Eric Anderson, both worked at Rainier for about four years. Their two children were described by federal authorities as ages 4 and 1.

Margaret Anderson’s mother-in-law, said the oldest, Anna, was born on Feb. 14, 2008, making her 3. The youngest, Katie, will turn 2 in May.

Eric Anderson has been left “devastated” by his wife’s slaying, said Cynthia Anderson in the telephone interview.The couple, who lived in Eatonville, met when both worked as park rangers at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, Anderson said, her voice choking with emotion. 

They then moved to Harpers Ferry, W. Va., where they worked nearby in different parks, Anderson said. The couple became engaged in December 2004, according to a wedding announcement in The Westfield Leader and The Scotch Plains – Fanwood Times of New Jersey. About four years ago, they got the opportunity to work in the same park at Mount Rainier, Anderson said.

“That is why they decided to go out there,” Anderson said. “It’s beautiful out there.” Their dream was to work together and raise a family, Anderson said,

“They’re both very outdoorsy,” Anderson said. “Andvery religious, too,” Anderson said, explaining that both are Lutherans and that Margaret Anderson is the daughter of a Lutheran minister. A woman who answered the phone at the home of Margaret Anderson’s parents, the Rev. Paul and Dorothy Kritsch of Scotch Plains, N.J., said Sunday the family was too distraught to talk. 

Anderson said the her son and daughter-in-law were “thrilled” about their life. “They have a home, two beautiful girls,” Anderson said.

The couple’s next-door neighbor, Adam Norton, said the Anderson family had only lived in Eatonville for about a year, but said he regularly saw Margaret walking with her little girls. “You could tell they really adore those kids,” Norton said. “Margaret was always outside with the girls pushing the youngest around in the stroller while the other girl was on her bike.” 

Rangers have one of the most widely varying jobs at Mount Rainier. As the park’s front line law-enforcement officers, they drive lonely rural roads by themselves and do everything from issue speeding tickets to respond to car accidents to arrest lawbreakers. But they also hike trails, respond to fires and are some of the first called out to search for lost or injured visitors. During winter, rangers may even help set up signs and prepare recreation spots for snowshoers.

The park has about 15 law-enforcement officers at this time of year, said Snook.

Say your prayers and hug your loved ones tonight. 
Our hearts go out to Ranger Margaret's family... husband and children.