Sunday, December 11, 2016

Ski Season Is Here (Avalanche Season Too)

It's here, it's now and it's real. After a mostly fair and unseasonably warm November, to the delight of local snowshoe trekkers, cross country and alpine skiers, ice climbers and snowmobile enthusiasts, winter has descended onto us hard and fast in the weeks following Thanksgiving. 

The local ski area, Bridger Bowl, opened to excited crowds Friday. The skiing is delightful, as attested to by the opening day video.

Here are today's conditions.

Settled Basen/a31"
Seasonal Snowfall
(since Nov 1)
Snow Conditions
Water Content
Primary SurfacePowder
Secondary SurfacePacked Powder

Intrepid extreme skiers are hiking to The Ridge (search beacon transponders and shovels required) from where they can shoot down rocky chutes and tree-lined seams.

Webcam screenshot capture on the Ridge above Bridger Bowl, elevation 8,500 feet, December 11, 2016.

As the snow piles up, avalanche dangers also advance.

The Gallitan National Forest Avalanche Center has issued it's first set of warnings, blanketing close to 5,000 square miles.

Yesterday we had our first serious avalanche incident of the season.

Snowpack and Avalanche Discussion: 
Bridger Range   Madison Range   Gallatin Range
Lionhead area near West Yellowstone   Cooke City 
Yesterday in the Northern Madison Range, a snowmobiler was caught and fully buried in an avalanche in the second Yellowmule on Buck Ridge. He was located with an avalanche beacon by his partners and was uncovered with minimal injuries for a fortunate outcome. This event highlights the importance of being prepared with the right gear and the right partners. The avalanche likely broke on a layer of weak sugary snow above an ice crust on the ground (photo) and was on a heavily wind loaded slope.
Snowfall totals since Thursday equal 1” of snow water equivalent (SWE) throughout our advisory area with over 1.5” of SWE in the southern ranges. Strong winds yesterday transported new snow into fresh drifts near ridgelines and increased the stress on buried weak layers (video). Wind slabs and new snow slabs may rest over weak snow that formed on the surface during last week’s cold temperatures, and could be easy to trigger today. Avoid steep terrain if you see fresh wind slabs or cracking and collapsing in the new snow.
New snow and wind-loading also added weight to a layer of weak facets near the ground (videovideovideo). Ski patrols triggered avalanches on this layer over the last week (photophoto); and avalanches failed on this layer in the backcountry, including the one that caught and buried a snowmobiler yesterday on Buck Ridge. Wind loaded slopes will be the most likely place to trigger an avalanche on this layer, but avalanches are also possible on this layer on non-wind loaded slopes. Choose terrain with lower consequences and dig a hole to look for this layer before committing to steep terrain.
Recent snow and strong winds create unstable conditions today and the avalanche danger is rated 
Here is the Avalanche Center's December 10 video documenting forces that lead to avalanche.

In this blog we have documented again, and again, and again, and again the deadly impacts of avalanche. 

Please have fun and be careful out there. 

Update 12/11/16:

Not eight hours after posting this the Avalanche Center tweeted:


Update 12/12/16:

Some more details reported today.
Officials have identified the skier who died Sunday afternoon in an avalanche north of Cooke City.
Christopher Peterson, 55, of Ketchum, Idaho, was killed after being buried in an avalanche on the north slope of Henderson Mountain.
The avalanche was reported to be 6 feet deep and 100 feet wide, according to the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center.
Peterson, who was skiing with six others, was completely buried and located at the base of a tree with a transceiver by members of his party, the Avalanche Center said in a statement posted to Facebook.
They dug Peterson up within 15 to 20 minutes, but could not resuscitate him with CPR. When rescuers arrived, they took over and tried an AED to revive Peterson, but he was pronounced dead.
Another skier was partially buried but wasn’t hurt.

Here is Avalanche Center video from the scene with the complete story.

And this finding from the Avalanche Center:

Yesterday, Eric and I investigated the avalanche that killed a skier on Henderson Mountain outside Cooke City. The skier was in a party of 5 and his descent was the 7th track on the slope when it avalanched. He was carried into the trees and buried under 5’ of snow. Another person was buried to his waist, uninjured, as he stood in the runout zone. The victim was found with avalanche transceivers and dug up in 15-20 minutes. CPR was initiated, but unsuccessful as trauma was a likely factor in his death. The slope was only 250 vertical feet, but steep, averaging 40 degrees. The crown was 3’ deep and the path was 150’ wide. The avalanche broke on a layer of weak, sugary facets sitting on an ice crust 1’ above the ground. 

Our deepest sympathy goes out to his family and friends and his Ketchum, Idaho community.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Homecoming 2016

Throughout the nation, high schools, colleges and universities host homecoming celebrations this time of year. So it was Saturday in Bozeman, Montana, with the Montana State University Bobcats, blue and gold, hosting the University of North Dakota Hawks on the gridiron. Yesterday morning the homecoming parade snake down Main Street. We were in attendance to support the locals and watch our flutist perform.

Main Street was bordered with Montana State flags and banners on the lampposts throughout downtown.
We set up across from Ted's Montana Grill. This is about as close to the food source as you can get, for Ted Turner's Flying D ranch, where the buffalo roam, is down the road to Big Sky.

 We are Montana, so, of course, there was a horse troop..

and another.

 Then horses hauling the Murdoch's Ranch and Home Supply covered wagon.

Followed by a pooper scooper to pick up offerings left behind by equine friends.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

September 11, 2001, We Remember (Repost)

Pentagon 9/11 Memorial Logo

Designed & Donated
By Anonymous
The Navy Annex
September, 2001

It’s been fifteen years. Our daughter Blake was a baby, only ten months old. Teresa was pregnant with Blythe. Bella was not born for four more years. My kids ask questions, trying to understand – wondering about the underlying causes and what it was like to live through that day. When we still lived in Arlington we visited the Pentagon Memorial. It is a solemn and surprisingly solitary place despite being hemmed in by major thoroughfares and lying adjacent to a structure, which gauged by size of its footprint, is the world's largest office building. 

This is my story, one among millions -- a personal recollection of that day's experience, or more specifically that morning, in Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia (where the Pentagon is located). I worked in an office building at L'Enfant Plaza in Washington, DC, across the Potomac River about a mile and a half northeast of the Pentagon. We lived in Arlington Virginia, between Arlington Boulevard and Columbia Pike, about a mile and one-half west of the Pentagon. Our world as we knew it was shattered that day, but the tragedy was inflicted on others -- innocents to a person.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Putting a Toe in the Water

We haven't blogged much this year at Along The Gradyent for a number of reasons, not the least of which is focus on family and health.

On the health front I am proud to say I dropped 60 pounds since the first of the year. To get there we changed our diet and ramped up our exercise program. I look forward to continued weight loss. I intend to keep up the new regimen -- now a set of habits -- for a very long time, let's say the rest of my life.

I increased the distance of weekday swims from around 1400 yards with multiple breaks, to 1500 to 1600 meters continuous. This entails more work increase than the longer distance alone suggests, because of less frequent push offs from 50 meter lengths (compared to 20 yard widths). Although Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky have nothing to fear, I've picked up the pace by a good 25 percent as well. Unlike previous years, in 2016 I kept swimming throughout the spring and summer after the golf season opened. To ease the doubling up in the beginning I rode a golf cart. But as of late I've been swimming in the mornings and walking all 18 holes on the links. At times there is even a little spring in my step, especially a couple of weeks ago when I celebrated my first hole in one, on the par 3, 146-yard 14th hole at Cottonwood Hills.

Hole in one ball -- a cut seven iron uphill on the uphill 146 yard (measured on a rangefinder that day) par 3 14th hole at Cottonwood Hills Golf Club in Bozeman, Montana.  The tee was all the way back and the pin was on a little ridge in the front section of the green. We saw the ball hit the front edge, hop once and then roll along the left to right slope and melt into the cup.

I completely eliminated sugary drinks from my diet. This is an enormous change, as I had been a dedicated fan and prodigious drinker of Coca Cola virtually from birth. I reduced food portions mostly from 30 to 50 percent and have enjoyed our fresh home garden harvest this year (carrots, beets, potatoes, onions, radish, broccoli, peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes included).

On the family front, our oldest daughter applied and successfully competed for a slot in the Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) program yielding an academic year in Germany. I am proud of her for showing the initiative to apply and then her performance and poise throughout the essay writing and interview process, as well as building a record of involvement and accomplishment that put her in the mix. Two Montana students were awarded the scholarship this year. According to the program's web site:

Basic Eligibility:
To be considered eligible for a CBYX scholarship, you must be:
  • A U.S. citizen, national or permanent resident
  • Between the ages of 15 years and 18 years and 6 months at the start of the program
  • A current high school student at the time of application, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale
Previous German language study is not a requirement and all levels of language ability are encouraged to apply. Only those students who meet the basic eligibility requirements will be considered. Applicants from all racial, economic, ethnic, religious, and social backgrounds are encouraged to apply, as are students with disabilities.
Applications are evaluated based upon:
  • Evidence of the personal qualities essential for adjustment to another culture, such as flexibility, curiosity, open-mindedness, sense of humor and tolerance for adversity

  • Written and oral communication skills

  • Motivation for a cross-cultural experience

  • Academic merit
After a few early August days touring in our nation's capital with her fellow CBYX scholars, they flew to Frankfurt and hopped on a train to Hamburg where the scholars bonded during the course of a three week intensive language camp. 

CBYX scholars in front of old city hall, Hamburg, Germany.
Blake has been with her permanent host family for just over a week now in the hamlet of Plau am See (6,055 population) where she will spend her junior year of high school attending the Gynasium at Malchow (just across the "See"). The first full weekend in town she has already posted pictures from a visit to Berlin (50 miles distant). 

Berlin Wall, September 2, 2016.

Checkpoint Charlie, September 2, 2016.
Blake was Gold Award Winner in the Level 3 National German Test (90 or above percentile) last spring. Our family hosted Lisa, a German foreign exchange student for the 2014-15 academic year, who has let it be known she hopes Blake will "visit her favorite foreign exchange student" auf Deutschland.

Our middle daughter is blossoming beyond belief. She traveled to Japan this summer with her aunt where she put to full use her startling command over the Japanese language achieved courtesy of YouTube. 

Posing with Samuri, at Matsumoto Castle, Nagamo Prefecture, Matsumoto, Japan.

Among a wide variety of experiences they visited, Asa, the Japanese foreign exchange student who we hosted uncer the aegis of the 4H program in the summer of 2014,. You wouldn't think there a whole lot of opportunity for international culture exchange here in Montana, eh? Blythe started high school last week, where she hit the ground running almost literally as a happy and involved member of the Bozeman High School Hawks marching band.

Our youngest child, age 10, is the strange kid, the odd kid, the out of sync kid, a kid who is totally nonstandard in this world of data driven top down standards based education. Which means she was a problem kid last year as far as her teacher and newly minted gung ho common core principal were concerned (previously she had fantastic teachers). She got picked on, demeaned and bullied (including assaults) by classmates and labelled a liar by her principal. We learned the hard way those anti-bullying signs they have every 50 feet in the hallways in the public schools are just that -- signs. We had to pull her out of school last spring and now are focusing on undoing the damage and hoping to get her committed to our home school program. In a fit of anger, she destroyed my computer (and much of my blogging research) in the aftermath. We got her a cat from the shelter a few weeks ago -- HER cat. There are signs of hope. No matter how many tries and how much time are required, we are going to make this work.

One of our fun activities over the summer was attending the Bozeman Stampede Rodeo. Competitions included calf roping,

bucking bronco riding, and

and bull riding.

Only one bull rider made it the full eight seconds.

Perhaps the best competition of the night was the Bull Scramble, involving audience participation. What is a Bull Scramble you might ask? Watch and watch to the end.

My buddy Buzz says the rodeo requires scramblers to sign a waiver certifying they don't have an IQ over 70. You may have noticed the last man standing (who had already won by virtue of being the last remaining in the circle) did not respond to the yelled instruction to get out of the circle before the bull threw him into the air.

As for the future I intend to continue research and writing. I have a couple of Morton Grove history posts in mind, and have a bunch of ideas for new genealogy posts. Some will be on parts of relatives lives I have not previously written on (like my grandfather Ike's auctioneer career), others will be on relatives not previously featured, and yet others will supplement posts previously written (for example, the on-line digitization of the Los Angeles Times published in August makes newly available dozens of references on my uncle Lyn R. ("Red") Foster). I have a new Glen View Club post or two to get on to after I reconstruct research, and I intend to focus some on Bozeman, after getting acquainted with the resources available at the Gallitan County Historical Society and the Bozeman Library. 

I write this post on Labor Day, September 5, 2016, because we have an early taste of late fall/early winter. Temperatures are in the 40s. It is rainy. When the clouds clear from the mountains I suspect we will see snow. Until later.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day 2016, Bozeman, MT

Memorial Day Parade
Bozeman, Montana
May 30, 2016

Bozeman American Legion Post 14 sponsored the Memorial Day parade down Main Street today honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of family, neighbor, life and liberty. Here we share memories of the day. 

Boy Scouts from Belgrade passed out American flags to spectators up and down the route to wave in recognition of the participants and to honor of those who gave their lives.

The stars of the parade were veterans who served in wars and campaigns from World War II,  to the Korean War, to Viet Nam, to Desert Storm and Desert Shield, to the Iraqi and Afghanistan operations, and others.

The marines were well formed and well drilled.

We welcomed and applauded Viet Nam veterans.

Crow Nation National Honor Guard and veterans proudly marched.

American Legion Post 14 ferried some of the less mobile veterans in a well appointed jitney.

Honoring World War II ace and Medal of Honor recipient Joe Foss though scholarships and fellowship.

What would a Memorial Parade be without a procession of red, white and blue Mini Coopers?

We had our own mini version of Rolling Thunder.

With a bit different backdrop from Washington, D. C.

Military marching music provided by the Bozeman "Hawks" High School marching band.

Accompaniment on the bass drum by a certain green haired young lady who we are proud to say is recipient of the Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange scholarship, and will attend the Gymnasium next school year in Plau Am See, Germany. Blake, make sure to say hi to Angela for us.

If you get in a heap of trouble down at Big Sky, in Bear Canyon, Yellowstone National Park or anywhere else nearby, chances are the rescue will be via the Gallitan County Search and Rescue, a volunteer operation coordinated by the Sheriff's department.

Every winter they rescue (or sadly recover) skiers, hikers and snow mobile enthusiasts marooned or caught in avalanches in the back country.

Here is a horse drill team, appropriately dressed in US Cavalry regalia, seeing as Fort Ellis, just east of Town, was a historic military outpost providing security for Bozeman from 1867 to 1886.

Fort Ellis all volunteer FD is my local department. If you roll over along I-90 east of town headed up to Bozeman Pass likely it will be Fort Ellis EMTs and firefighters that extract the victims, provide first aid and ensure safe transport Bozeman Deaconess hospital. 

Come visit you hear. And stop and shop at Murdoch's on North 7th Avenue so you can dress up everything West and Montana. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

California Still in Debilitating Drought

We are late in the California rainy season. In Northern and Central California rivers are filling to their banks, and reservoirs are swelling. The reason is rain, rain and more rain. 

Up the Sierra Nevada mountain range, the snowpack is near normal, which means rivers will continue to flow strong and refresh the reservoirs as snowmelt steps in to replace the lucre of falling precip. Nine months ago, after three years of significantly below normal precipitation, many reservoirs were at record or near-record lows; the U. S. Government said 99.9 percent of the Golden State was in drought. Now with many reservoirs filling up and spillways here and there opened to create capacity for snowmelt or future rains, Uncle Sam says 98.6 percent of the state is still in drought.

Look see at the Drought Monitor put out by USDA, NOAA and the Department of Commerce (if a rating system has three government agencies and all their Schedule C appointees, life-tenured bureaucrats and scientists behind it has gotta be really, really good).

The Los Angeles Times seems is a bit quicker on the uptake.

California's largest reservoir filling too fast thanks to El Nino, must release more water

The El NiƱo-fueled storms that have swept through Northern California in recent weeks have swelled some of the state’s largest reservoirs to encouraging levels even as the state's drought persists.
One of the biggest beneficiaries has been Lake Shasta, a keystone reservoir of the Central Valley project, which serves California growers.
To make room in Shasta for water from last weekend’s storms, the Federal Bureau of Reclamation ramped up releases from 5,000 cubic feet per second to 20,000 cubic feet per second on March 18. It was the first time since 2011 that the bureau released water into the upper Sacramento River at such a rapid rate, said spokesman Shane Hunt.
Officials began slowing the releases again on Wednesday, Hunt said. The rate is expected to return to around 5,000 cubic feet per second by Monday. 
“We never got to the point where the increased releases drew the lake down at all,” Hunt said. “We just slowed how fast we were gaining.”
Lake Shasta, he added, is “still gaining storage and will continue to do so.”
Lake Shasta is the most important water resource in the state.
Shasta Division consists of a pair of large dams on the Sacramento River north of the city of Redding.[4] The Shasta Dam is the primary water storage and power generating facility of the CVP. It impounds the Sacramento River to form Shasta Lake, which can store over 4,500,000 acre feet (5,600,000 dam3) of water, and can generate 680 MW of power.[5][6]Shasta Dam functions to regulate the flow of the Sacramento River so that downstream diversion dams and canals can capture the flow of the river more efficiently, and to prevent flooding in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta where many water pump facilities for San Joaquin Valley aqueducts are located.[4] The Keswick Dam functions as an afterbay (regulating reservoir) for the Shasta Dam, also generating power.[7][8] 
The Sacramento Canals Division of the CVP takes water from the Sacramento River much farther downstream of the Shasta and Keswick Dams. Diversion dams, pumping plants, and aqueducts provide municipal water supply as well as irrigation of about 98,000 acres (4,000,000 dam2).[9] The Red Bluff Diversion Dam diverts part of the Sacramento River[10]into the 110-mile (180 km) Tehama-Colusa Canal, the 21-mile (34 km) Corning Canal and a small reservoir formed by Funks Dam.[11] Five pump plants take water from the canal and feed it to the Colusa County water distribution grid.[9]

Here is the up-to-date water storage graph for Lake Shasta. Notice last week's kink caused by the Bureau of Reclamation spillway openings. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

St. Patrick's Day Honoree: Great Grandfather William K. Foster (Repost)

William K. Foster
March 20, 1835 - September 27, 1902

Foster Irish crest.
On this St. Patrick's Day 2015, we honor our pioneering great grandfather, William K. Foster, who 165 years ago (April 18, 1849) boarded the sailing vessel Bridgetown at New Ross, County Wexford, Ireland to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Six weeks later, on June 1, 1849, William, his widowed mother, and four siblings, landed in Quebec and were thus freed from the throes of the Irish Potato Famine. No doubt they were thankful to have made it safely to Canada for the trip was fraught with hazard.
Traveling to America by ship during the Irish Famine could be quite perilous. In the mid-19th century, English landlords looking to evict penniless Irish tenants would pay to have them shipped to British North America. In many cases these ships were poorly built, crowded, disease-ridden, and short of food, supplies and medical services. As a result, many Irish immigrants contracted diseases such as typhus, and many others died before reaching land.  Of the 100,000 Irish that sailed to British North America in 1847, one out of five died from disease and malnutrition. Appropriately, these treacherous sailing vessels became known as “coffin ships.”
On a voyage across the Atlantic in 1847, dozens aboard the Bridgetown succumbed to the fever (typhus) and were buried at sea, leaving many orphans. A passenger wrote from island quarantine:
We arrived here on the 22nd from Liverpool. I regret to tell you that fever broke out, and that seventy passengers and one sailor were committed to the deep on the voyage. There are several more ill. We buried six yesterday on shore. The carpenter and joiner are occupied making coffins. There are six more dead after the night. I cannot say when we can go to Quebec, as we cannot land the remainder of the sick at present, there being no room in the hospitals for them, though the front of the island is literally covered with sheds and tents. 
The accounts from the shore are awful, and our condition on board you can form no idea of — helpless children without parents or relatives, the father buried in the deep last week, and the mother the week before, — their six children under similar unfortunate circumstances, and so on. I trust God will carry me through this trying ordeal — I was a few days sick, but am now recovered. Captain Wilson was complaining for a few days. It is an awful change from the joyous hopes with which most of us left our unfortunate country, expecting to be able to earn that livelihood denied us at home — all — all changed in many cases to bitter deep despair.
The Bridgetown would be lost at sea off the coast of New Foundland in August, 1850. 
[T]he ship "Bridgetown," from Liverpool, with 347 passengers, was wrecked on the coast of Newfoundland, near Cape Race, on the 4th of August. Excepting three children, the passengers were saved and conveyed to St. John's, whence three vessels arrived with them at this port, on the 10th of September. The passengers by the "Wave" and "Bridgetown," landed here in a very destitute state, having lost all their baggage, on which account they caused a heavy expenditure to the department. The outlay incurred at this and the Montreal agency, for their inland transport and provisions, was 152£ 5s., for which expense, owing to the loss of the vessels, no dues had been received.
Having survived their voyage unscathed, the Foster family adventure in the New World began.

Great great grandmother Margaret Roach Foster, an
d children Hariett, 24, James, 21, Elizabeth 18, William K., 14, and Isaac, 12, settled in Kemptville, Ontario, located thirty-five miles south of Ottawa.  William came of age, apprenticed as and became a journeyman cabinet maker, a profession which included coffin making. He met Margaret Sanderson, daughter of Scottish immigrants. They married on May 3, 1859. She bore him five sons -- Isaac (my grandfather), George, William, James and Robert. Great grandmother Margaret died of complications from childbirth the week following Robert's birth. The widower William subsequently married Nancy Jane Loucks, who bore him a sixth child, Emily Rellia. 

William Foster headed yet further west in 1874, first to Pembina, Dakota territory. Pembina was the original county seat of Pembina county. It is tucked under the international border in the extreme northeast corner of North Dakota, seventy miles south of Winnepeg, Manitoba. In 1879, William moved on to his final place of residence, homesteading in Bathgate, Dakota territory, fifteen miles southwest of Pembina. William was an original -- literally the town father. 

The founding of Bathgate is chronicled in "Proudly We Speak, A History of Neche, Hyde Park, Bruce and Bathgate."

In this 1893 plat William K. Foster owned a quarter section west of town, plus a
145 acre plot south of town. He donated a triangular plot east of the railroad for the
town cemetery, where he is interred.  The town of  Bathgate is located on land my
great grandfather originally homesteaded. The quarter section north of town is held
at that time by my grandfather Isaac (I. J.) Foster.
William Foster, Sr. and his son "Ike" filed on the land which became the Bathgate townsite. There are several stories of how the town came to be called Bathgate. One taken from the diary of Mrs. John Houston, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Campbell states that in July 1880 two men with a team of horses came to the Campbell home, the land now owned by the Thomas and James Martindale families and asked to stay over night. The men were Comstock and White of the Land Company of Comstock and White, who had purchased the land for a townsite from the Fosters. They went on to Winnipeg, locating townsites along the railroad. On their return,they again stayed over night and Mr. Comstock said that the townsite would be named Bathgate after the town in England, where his wife had lived.
A Mr. Ewing was hired to plot the town into lots, streets and avenues. The Railroad brought the Boom. People came, buildings sprang up, businesses were started and the town grew. The St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railroad was built from Grand Forks to Winnipeg. It reached Bathgate August 10,1882. Service began in September, the north train arriving in the morning and the south bound train in the late afternoon. In 1890, this railroad became the Great Northern with the well known Jim Hill as President of the Company. The first grain was shipped September 27, 1882. The telegraph came to Bathgate late in 1882.
William K. was active in the town's development far beyond his role in selling his original quarter section off to a developer. "Proudly We Speak" continues,
William Foster was the first to build a home, it was built in the north end of town. He built the building which housed the Post Office. Mr. Foster was the first Postmaster. 
Appointment as original Bathgate postmaster, Black Hills Weekly Pioneer, December 3 1881.
He carried the mail horseback from Hamilton P.O., five miles south of Bathgate and two miles northwest of Hamilton to the Pembina-Cavalier Trail. He performed this service without pay for two years. William Foster was the town's promoter. Church services were held in his house. He donated land for the Cemetery. He and his sons promoted various business ventures.
In additional to selling the land which was developed by Comstock and White, the Fosters retained land to the immediate north which was platted, subdivided and marketed as Foster's Addition to Bathgate. William K. Foster avidly promoted the lots, the town and the territory of Dakota in general.

For his efforts the editor of the local newspaper referred to William Foster as Mayor, an honorific, not legally conferred, title.

William Foster said that Bathgate was "high and dry," not subject to the all too frequent devastating floods that occured a dozen miles east along the "overflowing Red."

Bathgate Sentinel, May 16, 1882
The "Bathgate Sentinel" was quick to confirm the accuracy of advertisements promoting the town. 
Bathgate Sentinel, May 16, 1882
There is not a word of exaggeration in the advertisements of our townsite proprietors Messrs. Comstock & White, and Mr. W. Foster. Located as Bathgate is on a beautiful river, almost in the centre of the rich, and wonderously fertile County of Pembina, and soon to become the great railroad centre, no town can offer better inducements to capital, energy and brains. Everybody sees the superior advantages Bathgate has over all other towns in the county, the beautiful high location; fourteen miles from the raging Red, that has caused so much damage along its banks; a great railroad centre, and a soil extending in every direction from ten to twenty miles that is unrivaled for richness and elevation.
William K. Foster touted the special advantages of Foster's addition in ads placed in the "Pembina Pioneer Express."

Pembina Pioneer Express, June 22 1883.
William Foster's enthusiasm never dimmed.

Pembina Pioneer Express, February 15, 1884
Wm. Foster visited several of the towns in the county last week, but comes back satisfied to remain in Bathgate, although the numerous houses built up around him obstruct the wide view of the surrounding country, which he had when his was the only shanty within several miles of the present town. Mr. Foster says: "This is God's own Country, it can't be beat."
We thank God for the pioneering spirit and drive of our ancestor William K. Foster, and honor him for that and his heritage today, St. Patricks Day 2015. Thanks to him the road has risen to meet us and the wind blows to this day behind our backs. Happy St. Patrick's day great grandfather!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Little League Baseball And Caddie Economics

Last summer in a post that features a team photo of myself with the Morton Grove 1966 Little League North Side All Stars I said,
We posted this just short of half-century old nostalgic photo on my personal Facebook page back in 2011. We were reminded of it the last few days when a couple of my childhood friends somehow ferreted it out from among my hundreds of pictures posted, and clicked the Like button. It occurred to me that some among the broader audience of current and former Morton Grove residents who read my blog might find the photo of interest. Now the pictured individuals will have an opportunity to turn up in search engine results.
Sure enough, through the magic up the internet, I heard a couple of weeks back from a pictured teammate, Rich Kengott. Rich shared his copy of the team photo, which includes a contemporaneous caption identifying the players. 

Rich also sent a picture of the back side of the framed photo, which has my father's name and the address of the home I was raised in from 1953 to 1971.

Thanks to Dad for kindly distributing this framed piece of memorabilia to each of the players on the 1966 team.

I can see now the earlier post erroneously identified the fellow holding the crossed bats as Rich Lauson. We know now that was Bob Warren. I will correct it.

Our ties went beyond baseball. Rich and I started caddying together at Glen View Club in September 1964. Each caddie was assigned a number. But that first fall we did not get our own number as we were kind of like late season baseball farm system call ups who had not earned a permanent job. We caddied on our brother's caddie numbers. I recollect my number was 118a and Rich's number was number "a" something or other too, caddying off of his brother Ray's number, if I recollect his older brother's name correctly. 

Bless Rich for keeping the caddie badges which issued with his numbers from six out of our first seven full years. I remember the first year his number was 147 and mine was 145, mine lower probably because my first loop was a few days earlier than his the previous fall. Each year thereafter, my number was one lower than Rich's because whoever had been assigned 146 in year one fell out of the program

My numbers were 145 in 1965, 94 in 1966, 68 in 1967, 39 in 1968, 12 in 1970 and 10 in 1971. Rich's year 1969 badge is missing, but I recall I was something like number 19, which would have made him 20. If memory serves me right I was number 2 caddying weekends while working a factory job in 1972.

Rich kept detailed records on caddie pay. 
Here is some clarification on the caddie pay. 
1966 caddie badge # 95 earned July 5, 3.50 a bag and by Aug 9, 4.75 a bag; 1967 caddie badge #69 earned July 5, 4.75 a bag and Aug 5, 9.50 doubles; 1968 caddie badge #40 earned July 4, 9.50 doubles and July 21 and the rest of the year 10.50 doubles; 1969 caddie badge #13? I think it was in the 20’s, earned July 4, 10.50 doubles all year. 
I stopped recording after 1969. I continued to caddy for a few more years but also found a factory job with my best friend Bob Casey. We worked the next six summers for his neighbor Bob Palka at Detex Corporation in Chicago.
I remember taking the Skokie Swift down to the Howard Street L with Bob Casey to attend a Cubs game in 1967. Bob was kind of baby faced. He wanted to save 50 cents or whatever the fare difference was by paying the youth fare (age 12 and under). The CTA attendant asked what Bob's birthday was. He replied with a month and date late in the year. The attendant asked what year. Bob replied 1953. Bob paid the adult fare.

Here are a couple of pages from Rich's 1966 hard copy caddie record.

The $2.00 entries are for 9-hole loops. Back in the day we earned "winter" pay early and late in the year, which meant $4.00 (instead of $3.50) a bag for 18 holes and $2.00 (instead of $1.75) a bag for nine holes. Five of the nine dates in April were on weekends, two were on Fridays, and two were mid-week. We caddied after school when we could. The Catholic school kids were released earlier than us public school students and could parlay that into better after school earnings. Most of the caddies attended St. Martha's school in Morton Grove or Notre Dame High School in Niles.  

By the end of the golf season Rich was carrying doubles most of the time and was earning $4.75 a bag for 18 holes. Rich's records definitively identify 1966 as the caddie strike year (check this link for the story of that three and one-half hour work stoppage), indicated by the large (from $3.50 to $4.75 or 35 percent) increase in pay. For the year his earnings were $737.10 ($5,394.28 in 2016 dollars), not bad for a 13-year old kid in 1966. Spring, summer and fall of 1966, baseball and caddying, earning and saving money, finishing junior high and getting ready for high school -- it was a very busy and eventful time.