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I am 36 years old, make $66,900, live in Portland OR and work as a Data Coordinator.
Section Zero: Background Hello all, happy hoildays! I stumbled upon this subreddit not long ago and have enjoyed the commentary and experiences everyone's shared. Wanted to add another perspective from a mid-30s first-gen American. I've had some missteps regarding careers and finances, but I feel like I'm in a slightly better place now. I tried YNAB in the past but I wasn't consistent enough with it. These days I use Mint to monitor my finances and have a "Finance Friday" each month to review all my accounts and spending. I currently live with my partner TJ and his dog RR. We do not combine finances, but he has been unemployed since March. I have helped him with some bills and basic necessities here and there until he finds his next job or career. My current financial goals are to just maintain a status quo and not get any debt until pandemic times are over. Then I will focus on a house remodeling fund and savings for taking care of my parents. Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances? My parents taught us about money from a frugal perspective. They are immigrants who worked in food service/factories. There was always this “save save save” mentality. Even when they started their own small business, we saved like there was no tomorrow. In high school, my calculus teacher bought us all “The Millionaire Next Door” book and had us read it as an assignment - that was my first structured introduction to finances. Did you worry about money growing up? No, there was always food on the table and a roof over our heads. I knew that our extended family would support us if needed. Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it? Yes. My dad didn’t finish the high school-equivalent in their country, while my mom did finish high school, but no college. My older and younger siblings took a different path in life after high school. I am the first and only in my family to graduate from college. My parents covered all tuition for my two bachelor degrees with the agreement that I support them fully during their retirement and send them gifts/extra money whenever I can. I feel very lucky and privileged that they were able to provide that education for me. At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net? 24 when I went on a work holiday abroad. My family was always available to help when needed, but the experience abroad helped me stand on my own feet. As an adult, I also inherited that “save” mentality and put a lot of my earnings towards savings. I didn’t date until my 30s, lived frugally, didn’t go out to eat/hangout with people, shopped thrift stores, and had very few hobbies. I am starting to “live a little” now though. Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? Aside from the tuition, my parents have helped with a down payment for my first house and living costs during periods of unemployment. Section One: Assets and Debt Retirement Balance If the place I was working at offered a 401k, I would always contribute up to the company match. I started my IRA in my mid-20s and would try to contribute the yearly max. I've stopped that the past 2-3 years though. My Other Brokerage is some play money, but I got tired of staring it and switched to index funds. I haven't contributed anything to it in a few years.
401k: $34,127 (5% company match on contributions)
Brokerage: $22,421 ESPP
Roth IRA: $40,615 VTIVX
Rollover IRA: $15,760 VTTHX
Other Brokerage: $7,235 VTI
Coinbase: $1,286 ETH (mostly just playing around with it)
Equity if you're a homeowner Purchased my first home for $382,000 with 20% down, right before lockdown earlier this year. Perfect timing, right?? I plan to live here until my retirement. My parents contributed $15k while I used most of my savings for the rest.
Current Equity: $80,371
Savings account balance: $3,073 Checking account balance: $7,800 Credit card debt: I charge everything on my credit card for the points, then pay it off each month using my checking account balance. Student loan debt: Traditionally no student loan debt as mentioned in Section Zero. Section Two: Income Income Progression (listed as gross income with cost of living area): High School
$11/hourMCOL - Helped with small family business.
College and first “career” job
$12-19/hour MCOL - I did events/banquet serving after classes and had an internship doing software administration.
$22/hour MCOL - Junior web developer. I realized after a year that programming was not my calling.
Mental health break
$12/hour LCOL - Work holiday abroad. I got a steady banquet server job for that whole time. It was enough to live minimally in a hostel, do weekend trips, WOOF and figure my life out.
College (again) and second “career” job
$12-15/hour LCOL - Decided to go back to school for a different bachelor's degree. While pursuing that degree, I worked at hotels and events as a banquet server again. I also did “search engine evaluation” whenever there were tasks available.
$36,000/year salary LCOL - Software administrator at a casino after graduation.
$39,000/year salary LCOL - Systemsanalyst at same casino. I left after 2 years, feeling disillusioned with the casino industry. I moved back home with my parents until I could get back on my feet again.
Third “career” jobs
$20/hour HCOL - Entry level advertising role. I was applying to all types of office jobs and that was my only bite.
$45/hour MCOL - Cold-called from a global company who needed someone with my software administrator experience from the casino job. It was an 8 month contract. Although I was starting to love my advertising job, the increase in pay was no question.
$65,000/year salary MCOL - After the contract ended and a few months of unemployment, I landed my current job at the same company. It is an “early career” role according to their job levels.
$66,900/year salary MCOL - Cost of living and merit increases after 2 years on the job. Pre-COVID we got a $5000 bonus each year. They have now stopped bonuses as well as all COL and merit increases.
Main Job Monthly Take Home: Monthly Net (paid bi-weekly): $2,758 Deductions:
Side Gig Monthly Take Home: No side gigs at the moment, but I am thinking of signing up on Upwork.com and doing Excel/data entry projects to help pay the mortgage. Other Income: TJ’s friend will be staying with us for a month in January, who will pay rent of $800 including utilities. Depending on how that goes, we may take on a roommate in the spare bedroom long-term. Section Three: Expenses Mortgage - when I bought the house, the plan was that I would charge TJ a portion of the mortgage costs as “rent”, but since his unemployment I am now covering it all myself. Regular Monthly Payment: $1677.57
Taxes & Home Insurance: $326.52
HOA: $30/year Retirement contribution: Nothing additional than what's been mentioned. Savings contribution: I used to do $50-100/month, but since COVID I’ve stopped contributing to my savings account. Investment contribution: None at this time. Debt payments: $100/month towards TJ's credit card balance of $2,307. Donations: $10-20/month, usually towards Omaze or Planned Parenthood. Utilities:
Natural Gas: $30-80/month
Xfinity internet: $60/month
Cellphone: On my parents plan. Subscriptions:
LinkedIn: $29.99/month for TJ’s job search - he’s found it very useful.
Amazon/Netflix/Hulu: We piggyback off family and friends’ accounts.
Nintendo Switch Online: 19.99/year
Gym membership: Pre-COVID I did Orangetheory for a year. I started to pick up free exercise equipment from Craigslist this year, so we have a small garage gym now and utilize YouTube exercise videos instead. Pet expenses: $10/month. TJ has stockpiled some Costco canned dog food before unemployment, but once that runs out I will likely cover the costs. We also started to make homemade dog food to help supplement. Car insurance: $460 every 6 months. Car is paid off. Regular therapy: I will start in the new year. Not sure what the costs are yet, but I will use my HSA to pay. Vitamins/Medications: $20/month Groceries & household items: $75/month Miscellaneous (eating out, house purchases, gifts, etc): $100/month Section Four: Money Diary Monday 6:30am Neighbor starts up their truck. We joke that it's our natural alarm clock. They idle for about 15 minutes before heading off. I go back to bed. 9am My real alarm goes off. I put the electric kettle on for some morning tea. While it's boiling, I do my morning routine: drink glass of water, take synthroid, use bathroom, brush teeth, quick shower. I then make tea - Jasmine Pearl English Breakfast with dark forest mix. I started ordering loose leaf tea in large amounts back in March instead of small bags or single serving packets. Seems more economical since I drink it daily. I let the dog out into the backyard so he can do his morning routine. 9:30am I go through my daily tasks for work. They entail checking processes and reports to make sure they ran successfully overnight. I then answer some emails and catch-up on Slack channels. 12pm Lunch is leftover roast chicken and quinoa from Saturday. I heat it up in the instant pot. Love that thing! Almost every meal of ours involves the instant pot. We hardly use the stovetop. We then walk the dog to the business park across from our neighborhood. There's a very short trail that runs along a drainage creek by the business park. It's quite muddy, but has a nice woodsy feeling. Over the summer, we saw sumac trees there as well. Free sumac spice! 1:30pm Department meeting on Zoom. Our director announces his resignation on the call. Everyone is shocked! Layoffs were announced for next year but this was not a part of it. I think it's a good move for him and he doesn't have to have this worry of layoffs over his head. 3pm I meet with an engineer from another team and talk about a data source they are in charge of. He helps me out in understanding it and we identify most of the fields that I need for a project I’m starting. 5:30pm I check in with my partner. He's been watching LinkedIn tutorials on internal recruiting, job coaching and general computeoffice skills. It's a career change that he wants to make - something where he can talk to and help people. He doesn't have a bachelor's, only an associates, and hopes these tutorials will get him a leg up in the job search. I sent him some entry level HR admin roles the other day and remind him to apply. I then heat up leftovers: homemade chana masala and rice. I add some butter and coconut milk to thin it out, so there's enough for both of us. 10:30pm I take some magnesium, vitamin D and Airborne. I say goodnight to the dog who sleeps in the office. Then I say goodnight to TJ. He sleeps in the spare bedroom on weeknights due to his snoring keeping me up. I'm a light sleeper while he is a pretty deep sleeper. Daily total: $0 Tuesday 9am I check Reddit Secret Santa. My match seems like a really good person. Not sure what to get, but most likely will purchase something off their wishlist. I wish I was more creative with my gift giving. 11am Meeting with business stakeholder. She submitted a few changes to an existing data process about a month ago. I make the change while on the call and have her test. Success! Marking it off the todo list. I love when we can finish things directly on a call. 12:30pm I come out of my office to make lunch. I notice my partner is not home. I check my messages and see that he's stepped out to pick up a few things. I ask for celery, carrots, and kombucha. $17. I make a quick charcuterie board for lunch: Costco salami, cheese, homemade hummus and Triscuits. It's a simple, fast meal that’s always in our rotation. 2pm My partner is back and we take the dog out for a walk and quick round of disc golf at a nearby park. We mask up and play only a few holes. Disc golf is a pretty frugal activity, you only need 2-3 discs to get started. TJ remarks that my throws are getting better, but then again they weren't great to start with. We talk about Christmas/Birthday gifts on the way back home since he was born on New Years Day. He mentioned snowshoeing but asked to not spend that much. I'll do some research! 5pm I think about personal career projects. Should I put up a portfolio of projects somewhere? I decide to try and pull some Yelp data. There’s not a lot of data points that I was interested in. Regardless, I tinker with it for an hour. TJ asks if I'm hungry. I said not so much, but felt thirsty. Maybe some ginger soup tonight? 7:30pm Dinner is served - ginger carrot soup made in the instant pot. We eat some rice crackers with it. Lately I feel like we've been eating more vegetarian dinners. It definitely helps stretch our food budget. We end the evening by finishing Fargo season 3 on Hulu. Daily total: $17 Wednesday 1:30am I'm woken up by the dog. He's been sneezing a lot and wheezes at random intervals. TJ doesn't have the money for a vet visit but I've offered to pay as long as he calls to make the appointment. I give the dog some coconut oil, rub his belly until he seems better and go back to bed. 7am Garbage day. We usually put it out the night before but I forgot. I get up to go, but TJ handles it. I think, at least. I'm too sleepy to pay attention and go back to bed. 9am I wake up and rinse some dishes that have piled up and put them into the dishwasher. We both grew up in households that had a home dishwasher, but forbade from using it. It was drilled into us that hand washing saves more water, unless you had a restaurant/industrial dishwasher. I think with modern home dishwashers, that's changed, so I wanted to try it out with our dishwasher and monitor the water bill. Don't have any dishwashing pods or powder, so I put some OxiClean in it. 12:30pm I overhear TJ on a call with a recruiting agency. It seems to be going well, lots of laughing. I heat up some taco lasagna that I freezer meal-prepped last month. 2pm Collaborate on a project at work with an engineer. My manager put me on this project since I was asking for an assignment on a more technical team. I'm learning tidbits here and there, but I don't feel like it's structured enough. 5pm I do an Orangetheory-At-Home workout and try to break a sweat. It's not the same as going to their studio. 6pm Charcuterie for dinner. Our fridge is full of store-bought and homemade pickles that go super well on a charcuterie board. Daily total: $0 Thursday 7am I wake up tired. The house has been feeling more cold, which woke me up a few times. We keep the temp at 72F during the day, at night around 68F since we thought the bedrooms keep the heat in pretty well. My mistake! 9am I do my usual morning routine and login to work. My team mostly spends the morning sending each other emojis. 11:30am Lunch today is mini quiche, frozen chicken and veggie entree, and hot dogs. Not the most cohesive meal, but it fills the belly. 12:30pm TJ heads out to his mailbox that's 30 minutes away. He is still waiting on his tax return and a 401k withdrawal. His taxes had to be filed by mail for some reason, then the IRS office shut down due to COVID. So he wanted to see if it arrived yet at the mailbox. He also takes the dog to the vet's urgent care on his way. They didn't have any regular openings available until the end of the year, and the dog seemed to be getting worse. I give TJ $40 to mail a gift package to a friend in France and also reiterate that I'll cover the vet bill when he gets it. 4:30pm I pay some bills, my favorite activity (not)! Sewer bill: $59.44 (billed every 2 months). Geico bill: $459.60 billed every 6 months. Then I follow up with my mortgage officer over email. I had sent her some documents for a refinance quote last week, but haven't heard back. Rates keep dropping, so I'm told, but what does that really mean? I do some research on realestate. 5pm TJ messages me and says he'll be back for dinner. I ask him to pick up some Popeyes via drive thru since we both don't feel like cooking today. Popeyes is currently our fancy “going out to eat” food. $24.17 for a 4pc dinner meal and a 2pc dinner meal. Daily total: $583.21 Friday 8:30am Busy morning at work. My phone is buzzing with emails and Slack messages. I try to answer them while I make tea. 10am Zoom Department happy hour. We reminisce about our director and then play those Jackbox party games. Some of them are hard! 11am TJ asks if he can make me anything for lunch. He suggests savory oatmeal, quick and easy. I tell him that I really appreciate him making meals/doing chores/etc without me prompting. We've been having conversations about "house project management" and mental load because I did most of the chores or I had to continually remind/tell him to do it. I'm really happy to see us progress on this front. I decide to work through my lunch break so I can end the day early. I don't often do that, but I'm ready to get the weekend started. 2pm I check on TJ in the spare bedroom and ask if the dog has been fed yet, since he was nipping at my feet. I notice something off about TJ and ask how he is doing. TJ is depressed about his personal life, career, finances. He doesn't know what to do, spends half the day meditating and reflecting on past trauma. I've been prodding him to get a therapist but he is confused about his insurance. He makes an appointment with a primary care doctor first. I feed the dog some homemade dog-friendly beef stew. 4pm My mom swings by the house (but doesn't enter). She currently works at a school who distributes free USDA food boxes since March. There's often many boxes leftover that would go to waste, so she will grab a box for us. Onions, potatoes, beets, turnips, eggs, cheese, butter, frozen veggies and frozen chicken. She also brought her vintage pasta maker. I asked last week if she ever used it these days and her reply was “no, feel free to have it”. I love pasta and noodles and figure it would be great to make it ourselves as a frugal hobby. 8pm We catch up on Mandalorian and watch silly Youtube videos before heading off to bed. Daily total: $0 Saturday 9am I open up my web browser and look at Craigslist and NextDoor for free stuff. I've been scouring for free landscape rocks, pegboards, and wood for house projects. I had this grand ambition to redesign our backyard. It faces our neighbor and currently the fence is pretty low. They can see into our kitchen and bedroom and we can see them. But y'know, COVID and going from dual income house to single income means it all has to be put on hold. So I've been looking for free items in the meantime. Over the past months, I've gotten planter pots, plant cuttings, a raised bed, stepping stones, all from free listings. I don't see anything worthwhile so I go and make some tea. 11am I look at Amazon and make some purchases for Reddit Secret Santa. A foodie kit, DVD of their favorite movie, and some cute pens for their writing hobby. $54. I hope they like it! 12pm TJ heats up leftover stir-fry for lunch for us. I put on some Binging with Babish and we watch how to make pasta. We have a plan - TJ makes the pasta, I make the sauce. Perfect date night activity at home. We watch some more videos on pasta and noodles to educate ourselves. 4pm I start prepping veggies. Big batch of onions, canned tomatoes, ground beef and butter in the instant pot. Meanwhile, TJ works on the pasta by following Babish's instructions. 7pm We gorge on fresh made pasta and bolognese sauce. It's so good! We end up watching Fargo. 11pm Usually I'll be in bed by now, but it's a Saturday and not tired yet (probably because of all that pasta). We play some Kirby's Dream Course on the Switch. Daily total: $54 Sunday 10am Quick walk around the neighborhood with the dog. He's on a new routine now with the medicine he's taking. It seems to be helping his breathing issues. 11am The pasta maker and flour is still out since we didn't clean up yesterday. There's some old pie crust in the fridge so I roll it out with the pasta machine for mini quiches. (Sally's Baking Addiction blog is my go-to place for her all-butter crust and quiche recipes btw). TJ helps by mixing up the eggs. 3pm I play some Genshin Impact (GI) on my phone while TJ plays Starcraft in the office. I don't usually play gacha games, but the Zelda BotW-style of GI appealed to me. A gacha game is a game with randomized characteitem boxes that you use real-money to purchase a “pull” or to spin the wheel. I know the gacha parts of the game can be a real money sink if you get addicted to them, it’s almost like gambling. My main team is Fischl, Bennett, Barbara and Noelle. I level up to AR 22 and look up free-to-play tutorials for the game. 6pm There's some leftover pasta from yesterday, enough for both of us. I throw in some roasted beets to round out the meal. We watch more Fargo while eating. Almost done with Season 3! 10pm I find a tour operator who offers a small, socially-distant snowshoeing tour up on the mountain. I reserve for two people - this will be TJ's Christmas/birthday gift. $75. Off to bed for another workday. Daily total: $75 Weekly Total: $689.79
Food + Drink: $41.17
Fun / Entertainment: $75
Home + Health: $59.44
Clothes + Beauty: $0
Section Five: Reflections Aside from the car insurance bill, this was a typical week for me, COVID or not. We make the majority of our meals at home and usually splurge on drive-thru/delivery once every other week. I may have overspent on the Secret Santa gift, but I don't often give gifts out to friends. It's not something our family does either. For TJ’s Christmas/birthday gift, we usually talk upfront about costs. I’ve gifted him fancy restaurant experiences the past 2 years, since we can share that experience, but obviously can’t do that now. Snowshoeing is a nice change of pace. The conversations with TJ this week have given me thought on how to approach him differently about finances and working together in a relationship. I’m still unsure about the future financially, particularly as my parents near retirement age and that TJ has pulled out his 401k to pay his debts. I don't know if I can support both my parents and TJ together, so I am finding ways to upskill and/or side hustles without becoming a workaholic or bogged down by stress. Writing this money diary was also the first time where I really paid attention to my past income and current income. I might be contributing too much into ESPP that could go towards the 401k or mortgage instead? I also seem to have been underpaid for what I did in past jobs, even in a LCOL area.
EXTENSIVE write up on Missing and Murdered Indigenous women- Is there a serial killer on the Yakama Reservation?
Missing and Murdered Indigenous women If you have spent any time reading about true crime, you probably know that American Indian/ Native American women go missing from the United States and Canada at alarming rates. On some reservations, women experience violence and are victims of homicide at 10x the rate of women in other communities. It is a complex issue with prejudice and jurisdictional issues playing major roles. If you want to know more about the root of these issues, I suggest Missing and Murdered” podcast by Indigenous Canadian journalist Connie Walker, who explains the issues much better than I ever could; that podcast is linked below. Today, I want to highlight the stories of some of these women, specifically those missing from the Yakama community. Background Washington state is home to the fifth largest Indian reservation in the United States, the Yakama reservation, which is home to the Klickitat, Palus, Wallawalla, Wenatchi, Whishram, Wanapum, and Yakama people. According to the US Census Bureau, only the Osage, Puyallup (also in Washington state), Navajo, and Choctaw reservations are more populous. The Yakama reservation is located in South Central Washington state, just south of the city of Yakima. Of the 31,000 people who live on the reservation, 11,000 are enrolled tribal members. Most people who live on the reservation claim Hispanic/Latino, white, or mixed-race ancestry, but Hispanic is by far the most common ethnic group. There are also small Filipino, Japanese, and Korean communities nearby. The Yakama reservation is located just south of the town of Yakima, Washington, a large farming community of 100,000 people. Apples, cherries, peaches, pears, and hops are all grown in the dry surrounding region. Harvest time brings thousands of migrant workers to the area, so the population is always in flux. Outside of Yakima is the town of Union Gap (Pop. 8000), which is partially on the reservation, and partially off it. There are two other proper towns on reservation, Toppenish (pop. 8000) and Wapato (pop. 5000). Other small communities such as Satus, Harrah, White Swan, and Granger all boast several hundred residents each. All in all, the Yakama nation consists of 2,200 square miles of sprawling, rural land stretching from south central Washington nearly to the Oregon border. But from this unassuming patch of high desert and grassland, more than 30 Native women have gone missing/were murdered. If we add Native men to the equation, the number jumps to nearly 50 unsolved disappearances, deaths, and murders. If we add the deaths and disappearances of non-native people missing from the reservation, the number grows yet again. Although the land is vast, the tribal population is small. From my estimates over .5% of native people on the reservation are missing or murdered. Like many tribal communities, unemployment and poverty is common, appropriate housing is scare, and according to the tribal council "disregard for the rule of law and general civil unrest" as well as gun violence and substance abuse is common. In 2019 a youth curfew was instated after a particularly bad shooting. According to the Washington State Patrol, the Yakama nation has the highest percentage of missing people of any Native community in the state, even though they are not the most populous. The FBI created a task force in 2009 to investigate the possibility of serial killer among the Yakama, but the investigation determined that a serial killer was unlikely, but not impossible. This was because the causes of death were so different from victim to victim. The investigation did close two cases on the reservation after DNA on both women linked them to a man serving life in an Oregon prison, but the man is not believed to be responsible for any other crimes in the inquiry. Whether a serial killer is loose on tribal land or not, this issue is complex and long standing and demonstrates how much substance abuse, domestic violence, and random crime affect the Native communities in this county at 10x the rate of other communities. Some progress has been made such as state bill 2951 which allows Washington state authorities to track cases and help investigate and search for missing individuals on tribal land. Because tribal lands are usually under federal jurisdiction, state authorities are not able to help, despite being more familiar with the area than the FBI. This is only one small step in the right direction and although awareness is growing, the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous people will not simply go away. The mystery of vanishing people still stands. Many people have heard of this epidemic, but few know the names of the victims; today it is time to change that. Below are the profiles of 35 women who are missing, murdered, or who have suffered mysterious deaths. For some of the women very little information is available. The list below is not necessarily complete. If you know of other unsolved cases let me know in the comments below. Quick guide: Yakima- large town near, but not on, the reservation Yakama- the tribe and people group NOTE: all cases organized most to least recent and are broken down into missing, murdered, and mysterious categories Missing Tiana Cloud went missing from Yakima on April 7th, 2018. She was 17 years old at the time. She may be in local area, and she may have been located. She is a Native female, 5'4 ft, 162 lbs., brown eyes and brown hair. She has large dimples. Tiana was last seen Yakima WA. Very little information is available. Yakima police are investigating. Freda Knowsgun or Knowshisgun has been missing since October 18th, 2016. Freda was from Montana and was registered with the Crow Agency. In the months before her disappearance her family reported that she was acting strangely and began drifting around the Northwest and spending time in southern Washington state. Freda was still close to her aunt and talked to her children sometimes, but was distancing herself from the rest of her family. Freda was last known to be at a customer service desk at a Walmart in Kennewick, Washington. Freda used her cell phone to call a friend to ask for money. She wanted to travel back home to Montana to spend Halloween with her children. Freda’s friend sent her the money but the money was never picked up. When she called Freda 15 minutes later, Freda’s cell phone was disconnected and no one has heard from her since. She did not return to Montana for Halloween or for her aunt’s funeral in November and she was reported missing. Freda’s family believes that she was abusing drugs at the time of her disappearance and they believe that Freda’s new friends in the drug scene may be involved with her disappearance. Law enforcement has reported that Freda’s new friends have not cooperated with the investigation into her disappearance. Freda may have been seen in Billings, Montana in December 2016 and she may be traveling with a black male named Mike. Freda is reported to be a 34-year-old Native American female with dark brown hair that is waist length which she wears in a ponytail or high bun. She has brown eyes, a scar on her right elbow, weights 160 lbs. and stands 5’5” in height. She has the following tattoos: the names "Lyrical", "Trinity" and "Mason" on her back between her shoulder blades, the cartoon character Mickey Mouse with a basketball on her right calf, and a flower on her right shoulder. She may use the last name "KnowsHisGun" and many accounts refer to her by that name. Her case is being investigated by Crow Agency Bureau of Indian Affairs. Rosalita Faye Longee disappeared from her grandmother’s home in Wapato, Washington on June 30th, 2015 at 10 pm. Rosalita who went by Rose was 18 years old at the time. She is an enrolled member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes in Montana but had lived with her grandmother on the Yakama reservation since age 2. Rose visited her grandmother on the night of June 30th asking to stay with her but her grandmother refused as Rose was high on drugs at the time, and she had a rule that Rose could only live there when she wasn’t using. Rose may have been with friends at the time. Rose had struggled with addiction for years and had been in and out of rehab centers since age 16. This was the last time Rose was ever seen alive. Rosalita is described as a Native American female, 5’6”- 5’8” in height and about 130-140 lbs. She has black hair, brown eyes, pierced ears and lip, and scars on both wrists and both her chest. At the time of her disappearance she enjoyed taking photos and posting them on her Facebook page. Yakama Nation tribal police are investigating. Roberta Jean Raines, 19 was last seen in Toppenish on July 10th, 2001. Roberta was with a man named Jose Merced Zamora at that time. In 2002, this man killed a teenage boy and fled the county going to Mexico. Roberta was apparently with him at the time. It was around this time that Roberta’s family realized they had not seen her in a while and they reported her missing. Jose was arrested in 2007 in Idaho and taken it custody for the murder of the boy. Jose Merced Zamora told the authorities that the last time he saw Roberta she was in Mexico and that they parted ways. Authorities do not believe this story. Roberta is described as Native American female, 5’2”-5’3” in height and 120 lbs. She has very arched eyebrows. Toppenish Police are investigating. Karen Louise Johnley, sometimes referred to as Karen Johnley-Wallahee, was reported missing November 7th or 8th, 1987 by her cousin. She was last seen by a friend at the Lazy R Tavern in Harrah on the Yakama reservation. Karen’s cousin describes Karen as a 29-year-old female, five feet tall and 100 lbs. She was last seen wearing pink barrettes in her hair, a pink tee shirt, a Levi’s brand denim jacket, and white tennis shoes. She had long black hair and brown eyes. Her cousin expressed worried about the person Karen was last seen with. No pictures are available of Karen and she does not even have a Charley Project page. Tribal police are investigating. She remains a missing person. Daisy Mae Tallman or Daisy Mae Heath age 29, was reported missing on October 29th, 1987. When her family was questioned it came to light that no one had seen Daisy since the end of August, 1987. Daisy’s sister remembers her as very independent, often leaving the reservation to visit friends and family on a different reservation in Warm Springs, Oregon, or leaving the area to go fishing. Daisy was a high school basketball player and was the youngest of 6 sisters who were all raised by their maternal grandparents. At the time of her disappearance, Daisy was staying with relatives in either Toppenish or White Swan. A year after she disappeared a set of keys and a backpack believed to be Tallman’s/Heath’s were found in a closed area of a reservation called Soda Springs. 7 years after her disappearance she was declared legally dead. One source mentions that one of Daisy’s sisters was murdered before her disappearance but I could find no corroborating source. Daisy is described as a Native American female aged 29 with black hair that extended down her back and brown eyes. She was 5’5’ and weighted 185 lbs. She also has given birth in the past. No pictures are available of Daisy and she does not even have a Charley Project page. The FBI is investigating. She remains a missing person. Janice Marie Hannigan a sophomore at White Swan high school was the oldest of 7 children. In 1971 Janice’s parents had recently separated and Janice was living with her father in Harrah, Washington but visited her mother and younger siblings often. Janice was nominated to be Queen of the Veteran’s day parade in November 1971 and the newspaper even ran an article about her and the other nominated girls. According to her interview in the paper, Janice enjoyed beadwork, cooking, and watching football. A few weeks later on December 21st Janice was admitted to the hospital for the treatment of contusions on her head and torso. On December 24th she was released from the hospital in stable condition. The cause of Janice’s injuries, as well as the location she was treated at is unknown. Janice never made it home from the hospital; this was the last time anyone ever saw Janice alive. Strangely, this was not the first time Janice had been reported missing. Janice may have been reported missing in February or March of 1971, although she was determined to be visiting relatives in Idaho with her father at that time. Because of this some agencies report that Janice went missing March 1st 1971 but that is not accurate. Some agencies report that Janice is a possible runaway as she was upset about her parent’s separation, although Janice had never runaway before. One Law Enforcement office reports that Janice’s father is a person of interest in her case, but Janice’s sister Traci Clark denies this notion and says it is “not possible.” Traci was only 8 years old the last time she saw Janice, but she still looks for her big sister any chance she gets. Murdered Angela Marie Heath of Toppenish, aged 41 died on April 5th, 2019. Her death is an unsolved hit and run. Very little information is available. Washington state patrol is investigating. She may (key word may) be related to Daisy Tallman-Health located above. Rosenda Strong a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon, was last seen on October 2nd, 2018 climbing into an acquaintance’s car, reportedly an older Nissan, heading to Legends Casino in Toppenish. Legends is an alcohol-free resort and Casino on the reservation popular with locals and tourists alike. Rosenda never returned from the Casino and sadly her body was found in a discarded refrigerator nine months after she was last seen in July 2019. Her death was ruled a homicide but no other details have been released. Rosenda’s sister said that at first tribal police did not take the disappearance seriously as Rosenda had past problems with drugs and they believed she would come home soon. Rosenda’s sister, Cissy Reyes nee Strong, believes that the murderers are the fellow tribespeople Rosenda was last with and complains that she still sees them “walking the reservation free” and refusing to talk. Cissy remembers her sister for her big, loud laugh and she hopes that someday Rosenda will get justice. The FBI is investigating. Jedidah Moreno was last seen alive in September, 2018 by her family in the city of Yakima, which is not on tribal land. The 30-year-old was reported missing in late November 2018. Her body was found in early December and she had been dead at least a few days. She had died from a gunshot wound in a rural part of the reservation that was closed to non-tribal members. One report (a blog) claims that Jedidah was a member of the Yakama nation but no other sources state this, so take this information with a grain of salt. Her case remains unsolved. City of Yakima police and the FBI are investigating. Little information is available. Linda Dave 39 of White Swan, was last seen alive in late 2016 or early 2017. On February 15th 2017, a woman was found dead under a bridge in Toppenish. It was determined that the woman died from a gunshot wound to the stomach and had been dead approximately six weeks. The woman was identified via DNA as Linda Dave. Linda was a mother and grandmother who enjoyed spending time with family, cooking, and dancing. She is the niece of Janice Hannigan, the first woman detailed in this piece. One local funeral home called Heggie’s has a website where people can share condolences to the family or stories about the deceased. In a cruel twist of fate one of the messages on Linda’s page is from murder victim Rosenda Strong. The FBI is investigating Dave’s case. Minnie Andy was a 31-year-old Yakama woman who enjoyed fishing and swimming. Minnie was found beaten and close to death near 70 Egan Road in Wapato, Washington on July 9th, 2017. She had been badly assaulted earlier that morning and she tragically succumbed to her injuries at Astria Regional Medical Center in Yakima several hours later. Her cause of death was blunt force trauma. Christopher Lagmay was indicted for her murder shortly thereafter but he would be released from jail in 2019 without prejudice, meaning if new evidence arises, he could be re-tried. Her murder is still unsolved. Destiny Lloyd, aged 23 disappeared on Christmas day 2017 from her home in Wapato. Her body was found in Harrah, Washington four days later. Initially, it looked like Destiny had died after slipping and falling on the concrete, causing a head wound but a full autopsy would reveal that her death was a homicide and that she died from blunt force trauma. Destiny worked at Legends Casino as a childcare worker. Her co workers remember her fondly and hope her case will be solved. The FBI is investigating. Naoma George mother of six from Wapato, Washington was found dead in 2013 from trauma to her abdomen. Her death was ruled a homicide. Naoma was a traditional Yakama who did bead work and gathered traditional plants to keep the Yakama culture alive. Naoma was laid to rest in a traditional ceremony at the Longhouse surrounded by friends and family. Her case is unsolved and little information is available. Yakama Nation tribal police and the FBI are investigating. Barbara Celestine aged 44 was a tribal member who lived in Wapato, Washington. She was found dead of blunt force trauma outside a housing project in town in 2013. Her death was ruled a homicide. The Yakama Nation police and the FBI are investigating the murder. Very little information is available. Skeletal remains found in late 2008 in a remote part of the Yakama Reservation are believed to be those of a murder victim. The Doe was unknown until the FBI Seattle office mentioned the remains in early May 2009, when announcing the results of the FBI's approximately two-year-long analysis of reservation deaths which was spurred on by a March 2006 meeting with then-United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Until that point the fact that a doe was found was not public knowledge. The bones were found in a remote area near the backpack of missing person Daisy Mae Heath (Tallman). In early May 2009, Special Agents were awaiting mitochondrial DNA test results on those remains, which they said then might be those of Daisy Mae Tallman/Heath. The tests were inconclusive and there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the bones belonged to Daisy. The FBI has not released further information on the remains. This Jane Doe is on no public databases (NAMUS, Doe Project) as far as I can tell. The FBI is investigating. The triple homicide of Charmaine Sanchey, 47, Toni Marie Green, 43, and Steve Alvarado, 52 is still unsolved. Their beaten and stabbed bodies were found in a small trailer outside Toppenish on Jan. 16, 2003 by their landlord who came over to collect their rent check. He found the women dead in the bedroom and Steve dead in the main living area. The trailer was on the reservation but it is unclear which victims (if any) were tribal members. Authorities say that they have few leads and few suspects. Later, Charmaine Sanchey’s brother, Arthur Joseph Sanchey, was the primary suspect, but was acquitted of charges in July 2004. The brutal triple homicide is still a mystery. Sandra Lee Smiscon did not die on the reservation but I believe her case deserves a spot in this piece. In the year 2003, Sandra was a 45-year-old mother of 3 children who split her time between Wapato and Seattle. After high school, Sandra got a job in a nursing home and mothered three children. After her personal relationships fell apart Sandra became lost and her children were placed in the custody of their fathers and other family members. She often traveled to Seattle and did odd jobs but was basically drifting around. According to her brother Walter, Sandra was a “party animal” who loved having a good time but sometimes let the drinking get the better of her. Despite her flaws he remembers his sister as a somewhat shy individual with a huge, bright smile who taught her younger daughter the art of traditional dance. Sandra traveled home regularly for family events and holidays but never stayed for long. One day Sandra and her companions were sleeping near 4th and Yesler streets in Seattle when a man, angered by nearby fireworks shot into the homeless camp aimlessly, injuring a few people and killing Sandra. Her 2003 murder is still unsolved. Sandra’s name is part of the Fallen Leaves memorial, a place of remembrance for deceased homeless individuals as a way to give them dignity and a place to be remembered. Her case is still unsolved. The suspect is described as young man in his 20-30s with a dark complexion but of unknown race. Seattle police department is investigating. Shari Dee Sampson Elwell age 30, had not been seen for weeks when her battered and sexually mutilated body was found in a remote area by hunters near White Swan. Her body was found during February 1992 in the middle of a blizzard. She had been beaten, mutilated, and strangled. Little has been done to solve her case and very little information is available. Skeletal unidentified Native woman believed to be in her late 20s or early 30s were found on Feb. 16, 1988, near Parker Dam in Union Gap. Her cause of death has not been determined but her case has been ruled a homicide. She had been dead from 2-10 months. She is described as a Native female, 25-40 years old with dark brown hair that had been bleached light brown in the front. She was wearing lavender colored pants, a long sleeve shirt with a Mexican label, and brown bowling shoes, one with a black sole and one with a white sole. She was slight and short 4’11” to 5’1”. She is not Daisy Tallman/Heath or Karen Johnley. Despite her heritage she is NOT believed to be Yakama; she may be from Mexico and perhaps a migrant worker as her clothing had Mexican labels. JoAnne Betty (Wyman) John the 44-year-old mother of eleven children, was reported missing on August 1st, 1988. A partial skeleton was a discovered in February 1991 which was determined to be John’s. Her cause of death was ruled “homicidal violence.” Little information is available in her case. The FBI are investigating. Rozelia Lou (Tulee) Sohappy, 31, of Brownstown was last seen alive New Year’s Eve of 1988. Her partially clothed body was found March 13, 1989, in a remote ravine along the south slope of Ahtanum Ridge north of Brownstown. She was identified through dental records, and an autopsy concluded she had been strangled. Very little information is available. Jenece Marie Wilson was 20 years old in August 1987. The young woman who lived in Toppenish, when to a party one night and then left the next morning to hitch hike to her boyfriend’s place in Sunnyside, Washington but she never made it. On August 9th a farmer found the body of a woman in his orchard which was so severely beaten it was hard to establish her identity. Dental records confirmed that the body belonged to Jenece and she had died from a blow to the head. In 2009, twenty-two years later DNA evidence was run through the system and there was a hit. The DNA matched an Oregon convict, Samuel Posada. Samuel had attended the same high school as Jenece but the two did not appear to know each other. He was arrested and charged with murder and rape. Strangely, Posada waived his right to jury trial but was acquitted of all charges by the judge in his 2011 trial. Jenece’s case has been cold ever since. Babette Crystall Greene was 26 years old and lived in the town of Toppenish but was last seen in Yakima, Washington in October 1986. A member of the Warm Springs tribe in Oregon, her skeletal remains were found during the summer of 1987 off North Track Road near Wapato, Washington. Her cause of death is listed as “homicidal violence.” Very little information is available. Clydell Alice Sampson age 25 of Klickitat had not been seen alive since sometime in 1984 when her skeleton was found by hunters near Hambre Butte, south of Granger, Washington in December, 1986. Her death was ruled a homicide and she died from a gunshot wound. Very little information is available; there are no pictures available of Clydell. Mavis Josephine McKay was a member of the Confederated tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon. She was 33 years old when she was found murdered in an irrigation ditch on August 13th, 1957 in Satus, a very isolated area of the reservation. Because her case is so old, very little information is available. Mysterious deaths Echo Kay Littlewolf was 31 years old when she was last seen alive. Echo is described as a tomboy who loved camping, animals, and being outside. Echo was homeless at the time of her disappearance and lived in a tent on the reservation but contacted relatives often, at least twice a week. She would pop into her parents’ or grandparents’ house to shower and do odd jobs for money for friends and relatives but always returned to her nomadic lifestyle. On August 15th, 2017 Littlewolf’s grandmother had not heard from her in a week and contacted Echo’s mother, Jeanette Osborne, who drove to her daughter’s campsite. As soon as she smelled decomposition, she called tribal authorities who found the body of Echo Kay Littlewolf. Her body was badly degraded due to the hot weather. Her death was ruled “natural causes” and Echo was cremated. Jeanette believes little investigation was done because Echo had used drugs in the past. According to Jeanette, her daughter’s body looked like she had been standing and then fell over after being hit with an object, nevertheless an autopsy was never ordered by authorities. Echo’s family now wishes she was buried and an autopsy could have been performed. Her suspicious death has never been solved. Angela Babette Billy, 41, of Pendleton, Oregon was an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation. She also is known as Angela Shippentower and Babette Shippentower. According to the one article I could find Angela who went by “Babette” was a victim of domestic violence. Right before she went missing Babette confided to family members that her boyfriend was abusing her. Right after that her boyfriend left her to be with a woman he had been seeing on the side. Babette’s body was found in late May 2013 in the Umatilla River near Mission, Oregon. She had been missing for over a week. She was found by two people on horseback while they were conducting a private search for her. The area was accessible only by foot, horse or four-wheelers, from one side of the river. The area in which she was found was behind the home of her boyfriend’s new romantic interest. This woman, who remains unknown to the public, also had a reputation for drugs and violent behavior. Billy’s cause of death was drowning and while her death has not been ruled a homicide it is considered “suspicious” and not simply an accident. According to family members police did not take her disappearance very seriously at first- a mistake that may have cost Babette her life. Alice Ida Looney, 38 of Toppenish was reported missing after she was last seen in Wapato in the early morning hours around Aug. 16 or 17, 2004. A hunter found her body Nov. 30, 2005, wedged under a tree on a small island in Satus Creek, about 12 miles southeast of Toppenish. Looney had family on the Cowlitz and Puyallup reservations. The FBI lists the cause of her death as inconclusive. High school and college athlete Rosy Fish, a distance relative of Looney’s, ran four races at a state track tournament (and won 3). Each race was dedicated to a missing or murdered female native relative of Fish’s, which shows the breadth of this issue. Fish’s actions have spurred other native athletes to do similar tributes. Looney’s death is still unsolved. Looney’s family also says they were never interviewed by law enforcement. Teresa R. Stahi age 25. July 27th 1987 marks the day Teresa Stahi’s body was found drowned in a canal. Her clothed body was pulled from a fish screen in a diversion canal off Toppenish Creek south of Granger. An autopsy concluded she drowned and had been in the water less than 12 hours. The Yakima County Sheriff’s Office said it ruled out foul play. However, an FBI memo listed Stahi’s case as a “mysterious death matter.” Law enforcement now says her death is “inconclusive.” Very little information is available. Sara Dee Winnier age 24 had recently moved back to the reservation after living in California. She was found at 3:30 a.m. July 22, 1985, sitting upright in the driver’s seat of a burning car off McDonald Road about half a mile from U.S. Highway 97. Her body was badly burned and the coroner used dental records to identify her. Winnier lived in a remote part of the reservation and worked at the Save More Grocery in Wapato. Her death is suspicious and unsolved. Little information is available. Celestine Spencer, 21 sometimes called Celestine Yallup, of Wapato had been missing two weeks when her body was found at the bottom of a gully in a field off McCullough Road along the north slope of Ahtanum Ridge. She was found Nov. 11, 1982, at the bottom of a hill near a field. Her death while somewhat suspicious was determined to be hypothermia was deemed a probable accident. Celestine’s aunt was awarded custody of her son, Roland, who had some disabilities and various medical problems. Tragically, less than two years later Roland (age 3) disappeared in a child abduction in Wapato and has not been seen since. His Charley Project page is here- http://charleyproject.org/case/roland-jack-spencer-iii. Lesora Yvette Eli was only 19 years old when a farmer found her fully clothed body along Parton Road near Toppenish on Feb. 2, 1982. She was face down in a drainage ditch. While the County Coroner’s Office listed the death as accidental drowning, FBI investigators claim it is a possible homicide. Her death has never been solved and very little information is available. Sheila Pearl Lewis, a 33-year-old social worker who worked at DSHS in Yakima was found dead in August of 1980 near Parker Dam in Union Gap. An autopsy showed that she died of massive internal injuries most likely from being hit by a large car or truck. Even though her death is most likely a hit and run, it is classified as suspicious rather than a homicide. Sheila lived on the reservation. Very little information is available in her case. What happened to these people? Is there a serial killer on the loose? Or simply an epidemic of violence towards women? Hopefully, these cases can one day be solved. I have been thinking of writing up the stories of missing men and boys on the reservation, if you would be interested in a write up on that let me know in the comments below. If you are interested in this issue as a whole, I suggest this podcast by Canadian journalist Connie Walker who explains and dives deeply into the issues discussed in the piece. https://www.cbc.ca/radio/findingcleo/missing-murdered-who-killed-alberta-williams-1.4556030#:~:text=Sparked%20by%20a%20chilling%20tip,in%20British%20Columbia%20in%201989. If you are interested in the cases of other missing Native Americans, my write ups on the Teekah Lewis and Bryce Herda cases can be found here on my reddit profile. https://www.reddit.com/useQuirky-Motor Special thanks to these sources: https://www.yakimaherald.com/news/local/murdered-missing-and-mysterious-deaths-of-native-girls-and-women-on-and-around-the-yakama/article_46068a45-4f5f-5f8e-b37d-198fd98ac5a5.html https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/we-have-so-many-missing-people-coroner-tests-remains-found-on-yakima-river-island-as-families-wait-hope/ https://kimatv.com/news/local/over-one-third-of-missing-indigenous-women-in-wa-disappeared-from-yakima-county-wsp-says http://lostandmissinginindiancountry.com/Newsletters/July2019.pdf https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/seattle/press-releases/2009/se050609-1.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakama_Indian_Reservation http://www.yakamanation-nsn.gov/ https://www.thesciencehippy.com/health/mmiw-the-women-she-represents http://charleyproject.org/
*Smoke and Bobby: The Brothers * They are from 46th Sansom out west I don’t know smoke like that and the stories I do have are up close and personal he was a crazy dude but Bobby he was just moving weight of hard He was supplying my block when I started hustling, But Before him smoke was supplying it first but that was to the older dudes before me *Smoke’s Story * I heard he was getting to it and reckless as hell. Would shoot anyoneanytime! he didn’t care who was around or what time of the day it was, What made smoke crazy? He went crazy after some shit, that happened down Chinatown where he got strolled on & stabbed in his head after a while he got paranoid and he started saying his ownpeoples set him up and stuff. Not really sure who stabbed him but smoke tried kill his right hand man by poisoning him besides that Him and the guys on 46th sansom was making $$$ out there Don’t know if this was before or after but heard him and someone else ran in a restaurant and shot that jawn up and he was caught on camera and everything and still beat the case *Bobby’s Story * But back to Bobby, I him knew since like I was 10 but only heard of him playing ball When I found out he was pushing weight I was 16 Bobby Gambling Trouble Bobby fucked up more money than anyone I can think of Even the old heads knew what he was doing. it wasn’t a secret with him Because all he did was gamble and fuck money up If he didn’t gamble he really should have been a millionaire, one night we was at the same casino and i saw him up 80k and say that ain’t enough. Like damn that ain’t enough though? By the end of the night He lost all that plus more The Shower Posse They are Jamaicans that was going at it with JBM(Junior Black Mafia) back then Bobby’s plug was either The boss of shower posse or someone of high ranking because he was basically getting what he wanted from him. And we talking big shit! Bobby’s gambling troubles part 2 So when he lost that 80k plus He ended up not paying the plug from* the shower Posse* and tried to lay low and ignore they calls and they end up doing what they had to for the bread One night they decided they would Run in his babymom crib and take his son They told his babymom call him and tell him they not going to do nothing to his son or him! just give em they money. I don’t how much it was that he owed but it had to be a lot if they sent niggas to take his son. Story has a happy ending though I don’t know how he got the money but he did and got his son back But He lost a lot of trust from all his big plugs cause of his gambling problems Shower Posse part 2 Bobby use to always go around ** 60th Baltimore** and drop money off and pick shit up this was the shower posse plug i told y’all about earlier around that time they ran damn near the whole Baltimore ave *I from like 50th to were it meets *cobbs creek These guys come wit a lot of people They move when they have to and when they do ain’t no handguns coming out *Bobby Reign is Over * I ran wit Bobby for a year and when I saw his downfall cuz his gambling habits, there was trouble. He was Gambling so much he fell offhard having to work a 9-5 And nothing wrong wit that, But for someone who should and could have been a millionaire that’s show how bad he fell after he left another plug took over the block and made what he should have made Bobby started drinking partying popping e-pills and stuff where niggas was laughing and making fun of him cuz he went from being the plug to working a regular job and having nothing Khem and them would laugh and shit when he got fucked like “get your oldhead, why he dancing like that and stuff” they were joking but I Low key I felt bad how niggas saw him. As fast as he went up was just as fast as his downfall from gambling The return of Bobby Now Bobby got his self back back, He don’t run wit khem but they cordial Khem always showing love so that’s not unusual but he a plug and heard he even might have more bread then khem don’t know if that’s true cause haven’t talk to him but when I do run past him might shake his hand and just keep it pushing *Jin gates *Honorable mention asian boul tatted up his squad is COD before him and his right hand fell apart over some dumb beef wen they was legit and making money heard Bobby was supplying him shit I heard he the connect for loud now.
Winter had sucked all the color out of the world. The prairie in the glory of midsummer had been a surge of green, summer winds sending pulses through the tall grass, causing it to wave like an underwater kelp forest in a strong current. Now, however, it had relinquished its blooming majesty, its former radiance dulled to straw the color of a deerhide. The flowerheads were stripped of their colorful identities, appearing like sepia photographs of themselves; the ghosts of summer past. The sweetclover, which had extended from one horizon to the other back in June, covering the prairie in a blanket of gold, was now skeletonized, its broken-off stems rolling like tumbleweeds in the winter gales. Trevor was over it. Another South Dakota winter, another four months until the snows would cease and the ice would melt in the creek. In March and April, the spring blizzards would bury the world and on the subsequent sunny days, the combination of blue sky and white land would be startling, like finding oneself living in the center of a bicolored flag. But for now, a capricious midwinter thaw had left snowdrifts only in the prairie draws, on the north-facing ridges, in the shadows of the ponderosas that speckled the hills. And around the trailer, mud. In a few nights, a deep freeze would turn the sides of the tire ruts into knife edges, testing the suspension of any vehicle that took the approach too fast. Still, that was better than the loamy mud, which could imprison even a 4x4 until freezing cold or drying winds finally freed it. The view from the front porch could be gorgeous. Back in July, when the church group from Virginia had constructed a wheelchair ramp for the trailer, the evening sun had set the prairie on fire, its light reflected by a thunderstorm hanging in the sky as if by a puppeteer’s strings. “God almighty,” the youth pastor had exclaimed. But now, grays and browns mingled in a decidedly drab palette. Over at the little bird feeder, the goldfinches were no longer yellow-and-black exclamation points, but had acquiesced to dullness, dressed for a time of year when vibrant color seemed to be outlawed by some unseen authority. Trevor stared at the expanse of mud that spooled out from in front of the trailer and unwound into a ribbon that led over the hill toward the old sundance ground and, eventually, the paved road. He wondered if he would get out today. Always a calculation this time of year. Driving on the muddy channel that was his approach was out of the question; he would set a course across the grass, which would provide enough barrier to keep his tires from sinking in again. Two-tracks radiating out onto the prairie showed how many times he and his family had taken this course of action since the last snow. It felt ironic that their approach took them by far the long way around – heading north to go south; harder than it needed to be, like so much of life around here. But the way south was blocked by Roanhorse Creek. This wasn’t all bad; the creek provided nice wading in the summer and water for the horses for most of the year. It also gave rise to the only trees on the property, although the cottonwoods whose leaves whispered in the summer breezes now stood dumb and impassive, and resembled skeletal wraiths at nighttime. A horse would make it, of course. He could saddle up the buckskin, ride cross-country and be in town in twenty minutes. But that would be silly…he snorted at the ludicrousness of this thought. First of all, he had to go way beyond town today. And even if he were just going to his old job at the tribal building, was he supposed to just hitch it up outside for the day? Tie its reins to one of the smokers’ benches by the entrance? What was this, 1895? No, better not to risk TȟatéZi getting stolen or having some gang sign spraypainted on it or some shit. Besides, he needed to pull into his job interview looking halfway decent, not spattered with mud and smelling like horse sweat. Trevor regarded his truck, sitting smack in the middle of the sloppy mess. Fuck, he thought. Still, he didn’t really have a choice today. No job interview, no job. No job, no funds. Another calculation, but this one was straightforward. He went back into the trailer and made his way to his bedroom in the back, passing his brothers in the living room. One was sleeping on the couch and the other was crashed out in the recliner, oblivious to the flickering hearth of the muted TV. Let ‘em sleep today, Trevor thought. In the bedroom, he stepped across piles of clothes – some clean, some dirty – and over the miscellany of his life; a pile of old DVDs, a defunct gaming console, a canister of Bugler and squares of broadcloth for the tobacco ties he was supposed to make for ceremony, a scattering of empty Mountain Dew cans, a 24-pack of ramen, a basketball. He hunted around in his closet for the dressy clothes that he knew were there. He had worn them once, on the day of his high school graduation, three years before. And there they were; a purple button-down shirt, a solid black tie, and black chinos. Further rummaging found him a pair of brown loafers and a tan braided belt. He would look sharp for this interview – couldn’t hurt. Trevor took a quick shower. The hot water always took forever to come and once it did, didn’t last long. He got dressed hurriedly, glad the tie that had come as a set with the shirt was a clip-on, and ran a comb through his hair. It wasn’t long enough to do much with other than backcomb it a little with some hair gel, but he figured that looked better than not. He considered putting in big stud earrings to look extra fly, but decided again it; might not be the right look for the occasion. Now fully dressed and ready, Trevor took stock of his appearance. His summer tan was long gone and his skin was as pale as the white kids he had met during his one semester of college. The same change of season that had desaturated the prairie and garbed the birds in dull colors had undone all those days spent out in the badlands sun – working with the horses, swimming at the dam, helping keep fire at sundance. Too many French fur traders in his lineage. He recalled the book that his eighth grade teacher had assigned them – Part-time Indian or something – and thought, Yup, that’s me. Indian in the summer and wašiču in the winter, like changing plumage. Trevor envied his brothers their melanin. He had learned that word in one of his college classes and now thought of it nearly every day. Travis was a rich brown complexion even in the dark days of midwinter. Trenton was in between the two but had jet-black Lakota hair and definitely looked “ethnic,” enough to be followed around stores in the border towns. Trevor knew it was his privilege to be exempt from such treatment, but it bugged him nonetheless. He hadn’t asked to be light-skinned. His brothers called him žiží – a reference to his tawny hair. They had gotten into scraps over this, and Trevor even bloodied Travis’ nose in one such altercation. Once one of them had even called Trevor a “half-breed” but Trevor retorted with “Fuck you, boy, you got the same blood as me. Fuckin’ dumbass.” This seemed to put the issue to rest. Trevor’s brief stint at college had been at an out-of-state school, which now struck him as an ill-advised decision. At least South Dakotans had some experience with Natives. Even the East River kids had at least crossed paths with one at some point, and didn’t think of Indians as something from the pages of a dime novel. Trevor was the first Native in many years – maybe ever – to attend the small-town liberal arts college in a neighboring state. He thought the fact that the college was reasonably selective would mean that the students were smart enough not to ask dumb questions. He was wrong. The queries were predictable enough, clichéd even; Are you really Indian? (Yes) Do you speak your language? (No) Did you get in because you’re Indian? (Who knows? I’m pretty smart and got good grades.) Does the college have admissions quotas for Indians? (If it did, you’d think more would go here.) What’s it like on the reservation? (I don’t know; different.) Do you prefer “Native American”? (I find the question annoying, to be honest.) Do you like Leslie Marmon Silko? (Who?) Have you seen Dances with Wolves? (Some of it.) Do you know a guy from Pine Ridge named Verdell? He used to work with my dad. (Maybe) His last name was something Horse. Running Horse? (No) Fielding these questions was exhausting and added another layer of weariness and alienation to his college experience. He found himself having to answer such inquiries from his roommate, classmates, professors, his R.A…Sometimes they were cloaked in well-meaning concern (I bet you get tired of all these questions, huh?) but they were always there. Most evenings, Trevor would retreat to his room and call his mom. His roommate, Skyler, a cross-country runner who was handsome in an unspectacular way and who monitored his water intake religiously, was hardly ever around. He seemed to have no trouble making friends in college and reveled in the social opportunities around him. In his phone calls back home, Trevor found himself experiencing a homesickness that inhabited the pit of his stomach like a hunger pang. He had never been gone from home for that long. Really, his only trip away had been the summer before his senior year, to a weeklong STEM camp for Native kids that one of the state colleges had put on. But that had been with a half dozen other students from his high school. Here he was alone. The subjects of their conversations would leave Trevor feeling a gravitational pull toward home: Trenton got into a fight at school and got suspended. Travis is drinking again. We had sweat for your auntie because they have to amputate her leg after all. Those dogs were back again. Everett hit $200 at the casino on Tuesday night but of course he put it all back in. They’re having a basketball tournament for that boy who got paralyzed in that wreck. Our hot water heater went out but uncle came and fixed it. They still haven’t found that Two Arrows girl that went missing. Travis wants to go up on the hill this spring – maybe that will get him to quit drinking. Good news, bad news, mundane news…The latter tugged at him the most. Like many who grew up on Pine Ridge, he had a love-hate relationship with the reservation. It was the home of his people after all, and could be so beautiful (“God’s country,” as it was called by even those who had no time for the white man’s God). But the hardships, the tragedies, the death…it all wore away at your spirit, hardened you. Still, the news of day-to-day life going on in his absence; a school powwow, a bingo tournament, tribal council drama, rumors of a Dairy Queen opening. It made him miss home in an ineffable way. The last vestige of his indecision evaporated after a particular conversation in the lounge of his dorm. He had been sitting on a beanbag chair, discussing random topics with two friends (at least, he considered them friends, in some ill-defined adolescent way). They had all left a dull party that hadn’t livened up even after a couple of drinks, but still felt heady and obligated to prolong the night a little longer. So, they were shooting the shit, in a garishly-lit common space that smelled of burnt popcorn, and Trevor was feeling rather collegiate. An off-campus party, late-night conversation; weren’t these the trappings of university life that he had seen in teen movies, if a much more prosaic version? Kayleigh, tipsy off Jäger bombs, started the chain of events that would unravel his college experience with a simple, but pointed question: “How Indian are you, anyway?” Colton snorted at this comment. “Kay, you can’t just ask that!” But he was clearly more amused than disapproving. “You mean like my blood quantum or what?” Trevor asked. “Is that what you guys call it?” said Kay, now playing the innocent party. “I just mean, like, you say you’re Indian, I mean like I know you are, like, I know you are on paper…” The alcohol was causing her to trip over her words but she plowed on. “I mean like, okay, if I were to like, run into you on the street…” Kay was now gesturing expansively, as if the meaning of what she was saying wasn’t explicit from words alone. “Like, I wouldn’t be like, ‘Damn, look at that Indian,’ right? I’d just assume you were a white guy. I mean you know what I mean? Ugh, I’m not making sense.” She was making perfect sense. Colton looked embarrassed, and for a second, Trevor thought he might shut Kay down. But instead, his inhibition similarly worn down by a few shots of German 70-proof, he followed suit. “I think what Kay’s drunk ass is trying to say is, like, your ancestors are Indians, right, like in the history books. Like Geronimo or whatever. But do you consider yourself one of them? Or are you, like, their descendant?” Trevor could feel the ball of rage growing within him, a sea urchin radiating spikes in his gut. Stop talking, he thought. Just stop talking. Colton continued, heedlessly. “Okay, so like I’m Irish but I’m not like Irish Irish, like a leprechaun or some shit. Like my ancestors…” Trevor stood up, his fists balled. He was now stone-cold sober but his anger was its own intoxicant. “It’s none of your fucking business. It’s none of your business what the fuck I am!” He was shouting; he couldn’t help it. He picked up a half-empty can of PBR and threw it at the wall, slamming the door to the lounge on his way out. The sudsy contents of the can leaked onto the ugly orange dorm carpet, as Kayleigh and Colton sat in stunned silence. “Jesus,” said Colton finally. “Just trying to ask an honest question.” After that, Trevor had holed up in his room for a few days, skipping classes and avoiding other students. When he told his mom he was dropping out, she hardly sounded surprised. He knew she would be glad to have him back home; the prodigal son returning. Trevor, the one who had his shit together, who had gone to a STEM camp and was almost salutatorian. He knew she thought that once he got back, he could do what she couldn’t; get Travis on a better path, bring another income to the household, fix what needed to be fixed around the trailer, shoot at the stray dogs when they came around. It would all fall to him. His failure was their blessing; they would lean on him as long as he could stand. So here we fucking go, he now thought, patting his gel-stiffened hair and giving himself one last hazel-eyed glance in the mirror. Gotta get that bread. His brief stint at the tribal building hadn’t panned out. He was a good worker but wet weather made his road too sloppy to get out easily. Too many latenesses had translated into a pink slip. “Shit man we all got bad roads. Gotta leave earlier,” his boss had said. So, lesson learned, he was giving himself extra time getting ready for this interview. Really, the lady had just told him to come by “around mid-morning,” so he’d probably be okay. The job was off-rez, down at the county livestock auction and sale barn in one of the closest border towns, “white towns,” as Ridgers called it. It was mostly going to be paperwork – inventory and itemizing and that kind of shit – but it was decent pay and Trevor hoped that he could transition over to working with the animals before long. On most days, he preferred their company to dumbass people. Grabbing his bag, Trevor stuck the loafers inside with his other miscellany. He would need to wear his cowboy boots across the muddy expanse between the bottom step of the porch and the door to his Blazer so he jammed his feet into them. Outside, he walked gingerly so as not to stain his black slacks with muck. Once in the driver’s seat, he figured he would leave the boots on for the drive, since they were already smearing mud on the floor liner, and in case he got stuck and needed to get out. Trevor knew that the people who worked at the sale barn were as countrified as he was and wouldn’t judge muddy boots under most circumstances, but he also knew that being from Pine Ridge meant he had to put his best foot forward, literally in this case. Trevor fired up the Blazer, put it in four low, and gunned it. His tires found grip and he jerked along, slimy divots of earth spattering his windows and roof like hail. His windshield wipers left a pasty smear that obscured much of his view, but he practically knew the way by feel. As soon as he could, he bumped up onto the grass, gopher holes and clumps of prairie bluestem jolting his ride, testing what was left of his suspension. When he finally hit the pavement, the smoothness was startling as it always was, like a TV being suddenly muted, like silence after a door slamming. He cruised through town, passing the gas station, the other gas station, the commod building, the quonset hut, the old BIA headquarters…and turned south into Nebraska. He tried to ignore the persistent squeal under the hood that had gotten worse lately. The overcast sky reflected the dullness of the land – as below, so above – and Trevor alternated between zoning out and counting hawks on telephone poles. A handful of miles south of the border, the vehicle gave a jolt and Trevor felt a temporary loss of control. He hit the brakes and steered toward the shoulder, but the Blazer was suddenly steering like an army tank. Fuck, he whispered. Once he wrestled Blazer off the road, Trevor got out and popped the hood. He already knew what he would find under the rising steam. “Fucking serpentine belt,” he hissed to the universe. Trevor was good with cars but he didn’t have the tools for this fix. Luckily, he thought, out here in the country, somebody who did would be by soon. Lots of Natives on this road, maybe even a cousin would happen by who could at least give him a ride to town. Trevor thought of calling his dad’s brother Everett on his cell, but figured he’d give it a bit. He hated the thought of owing Uncle Ev anything. Sure enough, in a few minutes, a gunmetal gray truck passed by slowly, hit a u-turn, and pulled up behind him. Trevor felt a twinge of envy over this late-model Dodge Ram MegaCab with duallies. It had county plates on it, so the cowboy-hatted driver was a local guy, and as he got out, his Carhartt overalls and mud-caked boots identified him as a rancher. “Trouble?” MegaCab asked, giving Trevor an easy smile. “Serpentine belt busted,” said Trevor, unconsciously smoothing out his rez accent in favor of a more neutral affectation. Code-switching – another term he had learned at college (by the professor who asked him if he prefers “Native American”). “No shit, huh?” MegaCab considered this information. “I got nothing for that but I could give you a ride somewhere. You call anyone? Someone coming after you?” “No,” said Trevor. “I’m trying to get down to the sale barn for a job interview.” MegaCab looked at Trevor as if for the first time. “Oh ok so that’s why you’re all fancied up. Well, hop in if you don’t mind leaving it here.” Trevor considered this. He was off the rez so there was less of a chance that the Blazer would end up with busted windows or slashed tires. And he was eager to get his interview over and done with. Before he could answer, MegaCab added “I have to stop in Whiteclay first but then I’ll take you down.” This was only a few miles out of the way so Trevor assented and climbed into the rancher’s idling behemoth. It still retained some new-truck smell, mixed with a tinge of manure and rich earth. Really, it was almost luxurious. MegaCab flipped a u-ey again and headed back north toward Whiteclay. Formerly notorious for copious alcohol sales to people from the dry reservation whose border it sat on, Whiteclay’s package stores had been shuttered after the state had revoked their liquor licenses following years of protests over their depredatory business model. Now, it was just a town of a couple small stores and fewer than a dozen permanent residents, its streets empty of vagrants, its ghosts banished. “So, you from Hot Springs?” Trevor momentarily wondered where this question had come from, and then remembered that he had 27-plates on the Blazer – Fall River County, a relic of when he bought the car from a white lady over there. He had kept the off-county registration because the plates were far less likely to get you pulled over off-rez than the infamous 65s of Oglala Lakota County. MegaCab continued without waiting for an answer. “I used to go up to Hot Springs a lot when my dad was in the V.A. hospital up there. Nice town.” “Yup, it’s pretty nice,” said Trevor, wondering if he would have to sustain this small talk the whole way. Luckily, MegaCab took it from there, reminiscing about his high school football team dealing Hot Springs a particularly lopsided loss, and then they were at Whiteclay. Trevor played around on his phone while his driver of the moment went into the little grocery store. He looked up his old roommate Skyler on Facebook (why, he didn’t know; certainly not to friend him) and then Googled “Pine Ridge South Dakota Dairy Queen” just to see if there was any truth to that rumor. MegaCab returned with some mail – Trevor had forgotten that there was a little post office in there – and they turned south toward Rushville. Two miles and five hawks-on-telephone-poles into their trip, MegaCab got chatty again: “I still can’t believe that the state revoked the liquor licenses. They had no legal right to do that of course, but just like everyone else these days, they bowed to the pressure from liberal special interest groups. Those store owners – my brother was one of them – followed the damn law to a T but still got their rights taken away. They’re the real victims in all of this.” Trevor, whose father was found dead in Whiteclay when Trevor was ten years old, didn’t answer. “You know it’s just going to push the problem down the road. These Indians are gonna get their liquor one way or another. You guys must see that all the time up in Hot Springs.” These Indians. You guys. Trevor suddenly recognized MegaCab’s presumption, and wondered when if he should correct it. “If they wanted to buy millions of cans of beer in Whiteclay every year and drink themselves to death, shit, I say let ‘em. It’s a free country, right? Those AIM types are always going on about Native rights and shit, y’know? Well shit, you have the right to drink and die if you want. Not saying that I want that for those people or anything, but the nanny state can’t be protecting everyone from problems of their own making.” Trevor, whose brother had first gotten jailed for drunk and disorderly at age 14, two years after their father died, said nothing. MegaCab continued to rhapsodize about “the Indians” and their problems, adopting the tone of an expert, one who knew all about them. Trevor felt the blood rise to his face. Some coloration at least, he thought darkly. In the pit of his stomach, the sea urchin had returned to stab at his insides. What must it be like, he wondered, to live a life in which people aren’t constantly telling you who you are, naming your characteristics like symptoms, trying to trap you like a spirit in a photograph? The Blazer came in sight on the shoulder ahead. “Can you let me out at my ride?” Trevor asked, his voice hardly recognizable to his own ear, like hearing himself talk underwater. “Sure, you need to grab something out of it?” said MegaCab, reluctantly pausing his diatribe. “No it’s okay,” replied Trevor, “I’m gonna call someone to come help me fix this after all.” He fiddled with his phone as if to underscore this intention. “Well, if you’re sure,” said MegaCab. “And hey,” he added as Trevor stepped down onto the running board. “You be careful around here. One of these rezzers might see you here all by yourself and try to mess you or your car up. And watch out for drunk drivers. You just never know with these Indians.” MegaCab gave a serious nod to accentuate this show of concern. Then he wished Trevor luck and drove off. Trevor watched the truck recede into the distance until it was merely a gray speck between the monochrome earth and the steely sky. He sat down in the cold front seat of the Blazer and looked into the rearview mirror. Hazel eyes stared back at him under a pale forehead. Fuck it, he thought; people are dumbasses. Let ‘em believe what they want; that he was from Hot Springs, that could be was related to that Apache, Geronimo, that he was only Indian on paper. Trevor saw what they didn’t; the hidden depths beneath the surface, and in their faces, in the spaces between their words, their ignorance displayed like a tattoo. In another minute or two, he would call Uncle Ev for a ride. In another hour or two, he would be offered a job at the sale barn that would bring another income into his household (and buy him a new serpentine belt). In another day or two, he would finally finish the tobacco ties for ceremony, at which he would pray for Travis’ sobriety and his auntie’s diabetes. In another month or two, the lengthening of the days would be unmistakable. Spring would come as it always had, first heralded by a single meadowlark piercing the predawn silence with his song. This would be followed by a green sprig on the prairie, pushing up, perhaps, through snow. Then a cluster of pasqueflowers appearing suddenly on a hillside, a skein of geese overhead, sheet lightning on the horizon. Small miracles, one after another. Finally, color would surge back into the world like paint scintillating on a canvas, causing goldfinches to glow like stars and evening thunderheads to stand like towering fires. The brilliant Dakota sunlight would stoke the melanin in Trevor’s skin, and nobody would mistake who he was. He would go up on the hill for two days and nights with Travis that spring, and Trenton would keep fire for them. He would pray for the coming year, for the survival of his people, for enough blessings to outweigh the hardships. And there, among a sea of undulating green, facing the crimson blaze of sunrise, he would again know himself and find the strength to carry on, in the face of all the peculiar indignities of this world.
About three days ago, I started hearing stories of the Black Eyed Kids for the first time in years I'd heard the stories as a teenager, and everyone has seen the creepy photoshopped images of freaky kids somewhere on the net, but I never paid any mind to them. I thought it was just an urban legend. I'm a bit of an occultist(this is important later), and I went through a phase as a teenager where I studied almost everything paranormal I could get my hands on, but these days, I'm mostly a skeptic where spectacular creature phenomena are concerned. Or, I was until about 3 days ago. Around that time, I was on a drive and I heard a really old podcast about black eyed kids... The original internet post from Abiline, and I almost wrecked my truck. The story was so similar to an experience that I had with my boyfriend back in January... But let me tell you about that first, because it's weird in itself. I was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on a date with my boyfriend. It was actually our first date, despite having met online over a year ago, and being an official couple for four months at that point. We decided to drive down to Baton Rouge for the weekend after the college football national championship, so partying was in full swing from the LSU victory, to party and hang out in general. Our first night there, we decided to see a movie... I think it might have been the 1917 movie.. And we got to the theater about an hour early so we could make sure we got good seats. We got our tickets, and having time to kill, we decided to walk across the street to the Mall of Louisiana and take a quick look around, and window shop for our planned outing the next day. It was kind of late, around 730 or so, so most of the shops were closed, but we decided to go to the Mall anyways, like I said, to window shop, and also to walk around and stretch our legs. We had just crossed the street at the cross walk right there between the theater and the bowling alley/arcade, and it happened. I never saw them walk up, which is odd, because I have a really hyper focused sense of observation. I grew up in a bad environment, and you learn early to take note of everyone and everything, no matter if you think someone is a threat or not. Just in case. Me and my boyfriend, who is younger than me, and also a slim individual, had just made it to the other side of the street when two boys approached us, seemingly out of nowhere. One looked to be about 16 and the other was about 12 or 13. Both of them were caucasian in appearance, the older one having either brown or sandy blonde hair, and the younger one with brown hair. It was just light enough outside still to be able to see that much. My first impression was that their clothes were weird. They looked like the kind of abercrombie or hollister clothes a typical suburban kid would wear... But from the mid 90s, kind of faded almost. The older boy started talking... And it immediately creeped me out. "Do you have a car." He just walked up to me and asked that... But, im a nice guy, and other than the weird feeling that something was off, and despite jt being such an odd question, I decided to answer.... Bear in mind, that at this point, my boyfriend is beside me, and slightly behind to my left, because he was following me and we had been talking. But we had both stopped talking, because of how weird we both felt this situation was... This is really hard for me to type... I'm honestly creeped out and scared at the present moment... But I want to put my whole story out there. I looked at my boyfriend, and he had his head down, and had moved behind me. I'm a bigger guy, because I used to work out heavily before my job took over, and I could tell he was getting behind me because he was scared... And my boyfriend doesn't scare easily. Hes never backed down from a fight, and his headstrong nature has gotten him into trouble before. But now he was hiding behind me, and when he saw me looking at him, he raised his head, and shook his head NO, before putting his head back down. He also wasn't on his phone, which was weird because he had just been in the middle of a lively snapchat convo moments earlier, that being his preferred social media app. I looked back at the boys, and neither of them had moved. I don't know why I said it, because my first instinct was to lie and get my boyfriend away from there, but I told him "well, not really, I mean... I have a rental, im parked over there." I pointed to the movie theater parking lot. "Can you give us a ride?" Despite the complete sense of uneasiness I had, and the extremely strong sense that they did not need to be anywhere near my car... I was curious. I've been a youth pastor and youth addiction counselor in the past, so when I see a kid in need, my first instinct is always to try and figure out what's going on and how to help. "Where do you need to go?" "We came to the mall, but we need to get back to our house. Its not far from here. Our parents will be mad if we don't get back." "Well... Why don't you call them? Maybe they can give you a ride." I was headset against giving them a ride... Despite their average appearance, I kept getting imagess of maniacal smiles andy throat being slit from behind in the back of my mind. "We don't have phones." I have a habit of scanning my surroundings, and I looked up just then, to see if the other people milling around were trying to get past us on the sidewalk, or looking at this strange conversation of young men in the middle of a busy thouroughfare, but just as I looked up, I heard the younger one say "They're not paying attention." Heard him say. I never saw him speak, despite having stand not three feet from me, and his face being very much in my field of vision. I also thought he was speaking to his "brother". His brother looked at him, and I heard "They can help us." The younger one looked back at him "They can see us." I thought this was odd, but I was more concerned with finding a polite end to this conversation, and seeing these boys on their way safely. "I really would help you, but there's all kinds of stuff in my back seat... and we have to see a movie soon." "It won't take long. It's not far." The older one had spoken, and turned to face me again. I barely managed to notice that the rest of the small crowd at the mall looked kind of washed out, almost not there, really, when I saw his eyes for the first time. They were the palest shade of green. Yes, odd for a BEK story, but bear with me. His eyes, though I could see them, were kind of ethereal... Almost not really there. Almost transparent. Like ghost eyes. They had bits of yellow in them. Maybe they turned blue... I'm not sure... They were hypnotizing though. I noticed fear in his eyes... Not "I'm about to die" fear, but "I need serious help" fear. The fear a kidnap victim might feel. Or a lost kid. He looked at the younger boy again. "Yeah, he can see us". " ask him for help. He can help us" I was sketched out by now, and I just wanted to leave. "I can't give you a ride... But you said its not far... Can you walk? Or can I let you use my phone to call your parents" "They're not at home, they're still at work... Its too far to walk. Its a couple of miles." I was desperate to get away by now. The sense of urgency to help was getting too strong, and I didn't like it, because everytime I thought about helping, I got a stronger sense that I was going to be murdered. I just knew, that If I survived the trip there, I would be invited in, and I wouldn't be able to refuse, and their parents would be inside, and it would be bad. My boyfriend wasn't even a thought then... Except that he was so close behind me that I could feel his presence... We had to go. "I can maybe give you a couple kf bucks for bus fare?" There was a bus stop right there... "We just moved here. We don't know the bus stops. We just need a ride" "Where are you from" "Far away" "Look, I wish I could help, but we've got to go." And with that, I started to walk away, and made sure my boyfriend was with me. We left that spot in a hurry. I turned around about five seconds later to look at the two weirdos, and they were gone. My boyfriend was pissed. "I can't believe you did that!" "Did what?" "Talked to them!" "What? They needed help." "They were fucked up." "What, you mean high? Their pupils weren't dilated..." "No, they didn't HAVE pupils. They were fucked up." "I didn't see anything..." "I can't believe you didn't see anything. I'm telling you, they were fucked up. That's why I didn't say anything. And I'm not crazy. I know what I saw." I believed him, kind of. I thought he meant drugs. I joked with him about it for a few moments, honestly not seeing anything amiss except for their weird attitude and the insistence of getting in my car, but he got even more upset. "Just. Stop. Talking about about it. I'm done. I'm not crazy." And so I dropped it. Until three days ago, when I heard a story about BEKs on an old podcast show I had recently discovered.... I called up my boyfriend to ask him... Those guys at the mall back in January... Did they have black eyes? "Yeah". Was all he would say. He was still too scared to talk about it. But looking back... I remember that weekend. It was bad. Me and my boyfriend argued about trivial stuff... We almost broke up. He developed a nosebleed that night. After he went to bed, I almost went crazy. I drove across town, full of unexplainable angst, and stopped at one of the riverboat casinos - the Belle of Baton Rouge. Out on the promenade... I had this strong urge to throw myself in the Mississippi and drown myself.... It was raining, and the water looked rough. I knew I wouldn't survive... But somehow, I held back against the unexplainable urge. In the weeks that followed, he had a near nervous collapse. I was having issues at work that almost cost me my job. We almost broke up again. I had a psychic help me do a cleansing... And things, which had slowly been spiralling into an abyss, especially with virus related layoffs, started improving. Now, I mentioned that I was into the occult (I'm a pagan). Well, yesterday I was talking to a which friend of mine who has a lot of lore knowledge and experience dealing with the paranormal. A lot more than me at least. I told her my story, and she wasn't the least bit surprised. " Yeah", she told me "they're the spirits of kids who were horribly abused in life." I thought about it.... And considered the Scandinavian Mylings... Children with black eyes, come back for revenge on the living.. Killed at a young age, and denied a proper burial. Then I thought about another BEK story... Where the parents of the kids actually DID arrive, after a lady invited them in. Which brings me to the second story I was staying with some friends of mine once... And this was actually about the same time that I first met my boyfriend online. Anyways... They were a couple, and we... Were all close. Ill just leave it at that. They had a son, whom ill call "robbie". Not his real name. Anyways, robbie was the coolest kid ever. He was seven, got good grades at school, and was fiercely independent. Knew how to cook a little bit, did chores, liked to chop firewood, and was known to steal alcohol on occasion. Then he had a side of his personality where all he wanted to do was snuggle up to either me or his mom on the couch and watch a cartoon and fall asleep on the days where it raining and he didnt have school. (Mom worked weekends, and I didnt, and dad wasnt the affectionate type. and like I said, we were all close. He called me " uncle") Anyways, he was a sweet but tough kid. Well, one time he started having nightmares and sleepwalking... Which is typical seven year old kid stuff. No big deal. I dont remember the nightmares, because they were eclipsed by something else... The spirit. We would all go to another friend's house for the day and come back... And the front door would be open. At first, we thought the two puppies did it. They were six month old black labs and could be rambunctious. So we put the dogs outside when we left... And the door would be open when we got back. We called the police eventually after about a week of it, and they set a patrol for the area. The door started staying shut... But the inside doors would all be reversed. Doors that were closed would be opened and vice versa. We were getting freaked out. A couple of times mom would swear she heard someone on the porch outside here bedroom window (we were in a doublewide trailer with a porch that ran the length of the whole thing). Once, i thought I saw a small figure run past the living room window, but didnt hear footprints... And there werent any prints in the sand or grass around the porch... We all looked. This all came to a head the night that, asleep on the couch, I bolted awake when the dogs growled. The dogs NEVER growled. They were too scared to chase a frog. Innocent little puppies. The growling set me on edge, and I woke up... Alarmed... And there was a dark man shape trying to get through the front door. The dogs ran from the kitchen and tried to attack it. Im a brave guy. Ive run into burning buildings. Jumped into a snake infested creek to grab a kid who couldnt swim. But this.... I screamed. The whole house came running. At first, they didnt believe me (the figure disappeared). They thought the dogs were play fighting and just happenned to hit the door. But the door was locked. Every night. And I pointed that out. Suddenly, we knew we had a situation. We were all pagans to an extent, so we tried everything. Sage. Salt. Rituals. Sigils. And still, strange happenings. The kids sleep walking was getting worse. I remember the dreams now... Omfl. "I dont want to go with them. They want me to go, but I dont want to." We thought it was a joke (at first) and told him "well hell kid, dont go. Tell them to go away." And then, excitedly, a while later, he said "I told them to go, and to leave me alone and I kicked their butts, and they left!" "Robbie, who tf are you talking about?" "The other kids." Right after he "kicked their butts", the stuff started happening with the doors. Flash back forward. We know we have a haunting, and none of the usual stuff is working. I decide to go all in. Im going to trance out, Edgar Cayce style, and see if I can maybe contact "the other side." It worked. There was a lady there. She had a message for me. "I know you think this kind of stuff is a joke, but you need to know that it isnt. Robbie in in danger. He was raped as a toddler by his grandfather, and now his grandfather's spirit has come back to destroy his soul. He will turn the boy into a monster. You are all in danger if he succeeds" I woke up.... People were watching me (the mom and dad). I didnt want to soud weird... So I asked... "Kat" (her, but not her real name) "Was robbie.... Molested as a child?" Her eyes got huge... Dad, who was really 'stepdad" looked at her, confused... "Well.. People used to tell me that my mom would abuse him... But I thought they were talking shit... I caught her with her hand down his diaper one day, though, and flipped out. But I never told anyone." Step dad looks at Kat "Is that why your mom isnt allowed to babysit him?" The situation had actually been a point of bother and inconvenience and source of several arguments between them in the last few months, when their work schedules had collided horribly. Kat grimaced. "Yes". But... It still didnt make sense... Because my vision said " grandfather" specifically... Unless... "Kat... Did your mom ever claim that her own father molested her?" Her eyes almost popped out of her head when I asked... "Yes! But..." "Did he ever babysit robbie before he died?" (I knew her grandfather was dead - her mother and her son were her only living relatives). "No! He died before he was born!" Still not making sense... But one more question... "Did your mom ever claim that her father raped her?" Kat was practically crying. These were FAMILY SECRETS, buried for years, coming from the mouth of someone who certainly never had them told to him. "Yes... But what does any of this have to do with the haunting?" "The Spirit in my dream last night told me that robbie was molested as a baby by his grandfather and that his grandfather's spirit was trying to corrupt Robby's soul and turn him into a monster. If we go off of that victimized children repeat the cycle by victimizing other children as adults, then, in a sense, since your grandfather possibly molested your mom, and she likely did the same to him, then, in a sense, since he started the cycle, he was the one who technically molested your son... His sin passed on to him" She was freaking out, full blown panic attack, and the stepdad wasnt far behind. They both stood up, alarmed. "So what do we do?!!" " we have to banish the old man's spirit, and protect your son's. End the cycle." Which we did. With a series of specific pagan rituals. But thats my theory... The BEKs were abused in real life... And then their souls were taken captive by the spirits of their tormenters.. To pass on torment to others. To feed off of happiness and replace it with pain and misery If the Scandinavian tales are anything to go off of, and my own experience... Im not going to say invite them in... But perhaps a banishing ritual and warding charm could go a long way to preventing further harm... In mundane terms I think those kids are already eternal slaves... But we should try to prevent harm in our own communities... Watching out for abused kids... Keeping harmful folks away from kids... Taking certain nightmares and experiences seriously and preventing what comes next... I think of all the mysteriously vanished people and kids who never turn up again... And I wonder.
John Gilbride Jr.-murdered on September 7, 2002 in Maple Shade, New Jersey- “He's been raised by MOVE his whole life. I hope when he gets older, he'll ask questions. I want him to know that his father fought for him.”
The execution-style murder of former MOVE member, 34 year old John Gilbride Jr., in Maple Shade, New Jersey on September 27, 2002 remains unsolved. MOVE is a black liberation group founded in 1972 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by John Africa (born Vincent Leaphart) and Donald Glassey, a social worker student from the University of Pennsylvania. In a 2018 Guardian article about the group, MOVE's political views were described as "a strange fusion of black power and flower power which melded the revolutionary ideology of the Black Panthers with the nature- and animal-loving communalism of 1960s hippies.” John’s father, Jack, believes the organization has “blood on its hands” and had his son followed after he fled the movement. Alberta Africa (now Wonderlin), John’s ex-wife and the ex-wife of MOVE founder John Africa, claims that John is alive and “forgoing any contact with the son he was fighting for in court for a life of seclusion, courtesy of the U.S. government” surmising “maybe he went off the deep end or something and is hiding somewhere….he seemed like he was deeply involved in the government.” Jack stated that it is hurtful Alberta still makes those kinds of statements since he identified his son's body, attended his funeral, and buried his cremated remains saying he “could only wish…she knows more than anyone else that it isn't true." According to the Burlington County Prosecutor’s office, the case is still an open investigation. John, a baggage supervisor for U.S. Airways, was found dead inside his Ford Crown Victoria at 12:08 a.m. outside the Ryan's Run apartment complex in Maple Shade, New Jersey. The killer fired multiple bullets into John’s head and chest at close range from an automatic weapon after which the individual then disappeared into the highways adjacent to the apartment complex leaving behind John’s personal belongings. Police believe the killer knew his schedule because “they were there at the perfect time” noting they shot him just as he was coming home from work late at night and “the purpose was to take his life, nothing else.” John was scheduled to have his first unsupervised visit with his 6- year old son Zackary later the next day-a visit that Jack claims Alberta and other MOVE members had threatened to stop. After a Philadelphia judge decided that John should have unsupervised time with Zackary, MOVE vowed to fight the order and boarded up windows at its Philadelphia headquarters. They also held a rally at the Cherry Hill municipal building protesting the custody order saying the judge’s order was “an attempt to persecute the group and that Cherry Hill police were helping.” John had mentioned to his father that he felt his life was at risk and he knew “he was taking a big gamble.” Before Alberta married John, she was the widow of John Africa, founder and leader of the controversial radical group MOVE. John Africa and 5 other adults and 5 children died in May 1985 when Philadelphia police dropped a bomb on MOVE’s Osage Avenue rowhouse headquarters after a day-long standoff. Given the group's turbulent history, Alberta said police would have arrested MOVE members by now for John’s death if they had evidence saying “we are not murderers.” John first learned about MOVE as a student at Temple University in the late 1980s and later joined the organization. During one of John's visits from college, Jack suspected John was under a "new influence" as during a drive around the neighborhood, John mused "this is nothing...these big houses, this money, it doesn't mean anything; this surprised Jack as John's "goal in life had always been to become a millionaire and drive a Cadillac." In 1991, John announced he was going to live in MOVE's headquarters and seeing that they could nothing to dissuade him, Jack decided to "keep communication open and maintain whatever relationship John would allow them" using an 800 number to keep in contact. In the fall of 1992, John married Alberta, who was twice his age, against his family's wishes; the family, nonetheless, felt the wedding should be celebrated so they all went to dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Philadelphia. Jack noted that "at no time did we sympathize with MOVE but in order to have a relationship with John, we did what we had to do." The name of the group (MOVE) is not an acronym and was chosen by John Africa “to say what they intended to do” as in "everything that's alive moves…if it didn't, it would be stagnant, dead"; as an example, when members greet each other they say "on the MOVE.". The group combined revolutionary ideology with animal rights and “advocated a return to a hunter-gatherer society” based on vegetarianism while remaining “opposed to science, medicine, and technology.” John’s followers changed their surnames to Africa to “show reverence to what they regarded as their mother continent.” John Africa and MOVE members lived in a communal house in the Powelton Village section of West Philadelphia. As activists, they staged bullhorn-amplified, profanity-laced demonstrations outside their homes against institutions that they opposed, such as zoos, circuses, “Three Mile Island”, “puppy mills” and police brutality. MOVE made compost piles of garbage and human waste in their yards which attracted rats and cockroaches that they refused to kill as they "considered it morally wrong to kill the vermin with pest control.” MOVE activities were scrutinized by law enforcement particularly under the administration of Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo, a former police commissioner known for hard stance against activist groups. Mayor Rizzo threatened in 1978 to dispatch his Police Department to MOVE's Powelton Village headquarters "to drag 'em out by the back of their necks." In 1978, complaints from neighbors about "profanity-laced tirades, arms stockpiling, garbage piled in the yard, and naked children" led to a standoff with members of the group who had not vacated their rowhouse headquarters; a resulting shootout took the life of a police officer and put nine MOVE members in prison for life. In 1981, MOVE relocated to a row house at 6221 Osage Avenue in the Cobbs Creek area of West Philadelphia. Neighbors again complained to the city about trash around their building, confrontations, and the obscene political messages by bullhorn. In 1985, the police obtained arrest warrants in 1985 charging four MOVE occupants with crimes including parole violations, contempt of court, illegal possession of firearms, and making terrorist threats; by now, Mayor Wilson Goode and police commissioner Gregore J. Sambor had classified the group as a terrorist organization. Residents of the area were evacuated from the neighborhood and told to return after 24 hours. On Monday, May 13, 1985, nearly five hundred police officers attempted to clear the building and execute the arrest warrants. Water and electricity were shut off in order to force MOVE members out of the house and Commissioner Sambor exhorted them to come out stating "Attention MOVE: This is America. You have to abide by the laws of the United States." When the MOVE members did not respond, the police decided to forcibly remove the members from the house. There was an armed standoff with police who lobbed tear gas canisters at the building. The MOVE members fired at them, and a gunfight with semi-automatic and automatic firearms ensued. Police went through over ten thousand rounds of ammunition when Commissioner Sambor decided the rowhouse could be bombed. From a Pennsylvania State Police helicopter, Philadelphia Police Department Lt. Frank Powell dropped two one-pound bombs made of FBI-supplied Tovex, a dynamite substitute, which targeted a fortified, bunker-like cubicle on the roof of the house. The resulting explosions ignited a fire from fuel for a gasoline-powered generator stored in the rooftop bunker. The fire spread and eventually destroyed 61 nearby houses. Officials said they feared that MOVE would shoot at the firefighters so they were held back. John Africa and 5 other adults and 5 children died. There were only two survivors; a child, Birdie Africa and an adult woman, Ramona Africa. John Gilbride eventually left the movement and filed for divorce from Alberta in 1999 which led to years of heated court battles over custody of Zackary; John also filed for bankruptcy. John had gone deep into debt paying for in-vitro fertility treatments as they were desperately trying to have a child. John had also grown frustrated with "MOVE's meddling in his marriage" which "staged hours-long interventions" whenever the couple argued. According to Jack, the timing of the murder and the custody dispute is “more than a coincidence.” Philadelphia Police Captain William Fisher, the head of the department’s civil rights division who knows the MOVE leaders well, stated that John’s murder “seemed like a textbook mob hit” and John had a gambling problem and other enemies as well; Jack dismisses Captain Fisher’s claims saying he did a "disservice to the investigation" and “was simply trying to ease the department’s relationship with MOVE”. Captain Fisher continues to doubt that MOVE was involved saying Jack wants to think that “MOVE did it because it solves his problem…I’m a parent too, and it’s an emotional thing.” He believes a professional gunman could have known of John’s problems with MOVE and could have timed the murder accordingly saying if MOVE was involved, they would not have “outsourced the job to someone outside their organization.” He acknowledges “there was a lot of rhetoric and everything else, but keep it in perspective, it's a child custody thing” saying MOVE's members "defend themselves when needed but do not go out and kill people." Captain Fisher suggested a trip to Las Vegas a few days before his death needed to be looked into further; Jack avers John went to Las Vegas for an Earth, Wind, and Fire concert. John also had a "secret..and brief" second marriage to Rosario Bienvenida Arias-a 24-year-old casino dealer from the Dominican Republic. They married in Maryland on April 25, 2002, but, according to the annulment initiated by John May 19,2002, "she used him and then fled the country." The marriage had not been "nullified by the time John died, so as his widow, Rosario-not Zack-collected death benefits." Others disagree such as former MOVE supporter Tony Allen who runs an anti-MOVE blog; he believes MOVE would never have put someone in their closest family circles at risk by killing John and would have given that task to a supporter saying “my hope is that there's people in and about MOVE whose consciences will eat away at them." Burlington County Prosecutor Robert Bernardi mentioned that MOVE members had been questioned in the investigation but did not comment further. In 2012 the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that John had told friends and family that he had recorded incriminating evidence in a notebook as "security against a hit" by MOVE. John said he had placed the notebook inside a locker for safekeeping. Jack confirmed one of John’s coworkers had contacted him and he tried to get police to search the locker but to no avail. At the time, Prosecutor Bernardi had no comment when pressed on the topic. It is unclear if the locker was ever searched. In a 2009 news article, Jack mentioned that he continues to speak with investigators every three weeks but acknowledged "they get tired of telling me there's nothing new." Zackary, at the time 13 years old, was “a happy home-schooled teen, active in swimming and fencing.” In the interview, Alberta admitted that her son continues to miss his father recalling how they “found a picture of his dad, and he just fell into me..he's a big boy, but he was in tears. She also says "the tears she cried for John were real in 2002" and she continues to feels his absence noting that she remarried after John’s death, “not out of love, but to give her son a stable home.” Jack said “his life has been anything but stable” since his son's death. His wife, Fran, died of cancer two years after his son was killed, and he speaks to Zack only once every three to six months. He knows that “wishing his son were still alive is pointless” so he focuses on resolving the case so Zack can come back into his life saying “he's been raised by MOVE his whole life. I hope when he gets older, he'll ask questions. I want him to know that his father fought for him." Anyone with information about John’s murder can contact the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office at 609-265- 7113. Questions: Do we know more about John's gambling debts and other enemies he supposedly had? There is much discussion on the MOVE angle but I really couldn't find much information on any other theories besides the statement made by Captain Fisher. Was John's locker ever searched? Links: https://www.inquirer.com/philly/news/20090926_Slaying_of_ex-MOVEr_still_roils_feelings_7_years_later.html https://www.theintelligencer.com/news/article/Man-in-Custody-Battle-Shot-to-Death-10572580.php https://www.inquirer.com/philly/blogs/inq-blinq/A-clue-hidden-in-a-lost-locker.html https://www.inquirer.com/philly/hp/news_update/20140928_A_slain_man__a_lost_son_and_a_grandfather_s_quest.html https://culteducation.com/group/1060-move/14601-breaking-silence-over-a-sons-slaying.html https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOVE#2002_murder_of_John_Gilbride http://antimove.blogspot.com/2012/09/?m=1 https://www.religionnewsblog.com/4623/unsolved-death-angers-move-grieves-parents https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/2019/8/8/20747198/philadelphia-bombing-1985-move https://www.inquirer.com/philly/entertainment/20131020_A_haunting_look_at_when_Phila__burned.html https://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/02/movies/let-the-fire-burn-relives-1985-siege-of-the-move-group.html https://www.phillymag.com/news/2014/02/27/birdie-africa-lost-boy/ http://kalamu.com/neogriot/2015/05/13/history-lest-we-forget-today-is-the-30th-anniversary-of-the-bombing-of-move/ MOVE has been “an anomaly in Philadelphia ever since it was founded, in the mid-1970s, by a white graduate student who became enthralled with the musings of a local black handyman who took the name John Africa and held beliefs ranging from vegetarianism to odd bathing rituals to preparation for worldwide racial conflict.” Several city officials were reprimanded in an investigation which called “dropping a bomb on an occupied row house…unconscionable” but none were criminally charged for the bombing. The 61 destroyed homes were rebuilt with government funds ($35 milion) but the houses were eventually condemned since a potential carbon monoxide leak was found in the heating systems. In 2000, the city paid again to buy out the residents and move them. Ramona Africa, the only adult who came out of the house fire alive (along with 13-year old Birdie Africa), served seven years in prison for her role in the confrontation. As she stood outside MOVE's current house in 2013, she dismissed the notion that the home had code violations stating “they say it is a fire hazard but the only fire MOVE has ever been involved with is the one the city of Philadelphia set on May 13, 1985."
Deadline for public comments on filling wetlands @ Woodlands = Tomorrow June 18
Below is a collection of notices & comments from Nextdoor, etc. https://nextdoor.com/news_feed/?post=150393141 From Wyandotte County Administrator's Office, Public Information Officer Unified Government June 3, 2020 Woodlands Property For Sale. Las Vegas casino owner Phil Ruffin has put the former Woodlands racetrack facility up for sale. Ruffin bought the several hundred-acre property near Leavenworth Road and I-435 five years ago with plans to reopen the horse track and add a facility with slot machines. The Unified Government supported those efforts for the past several years, but the Kansas Legislature did not approve needed changes to the Kansas gaming law which would have made reopening the facility profitable. Ruffin is tentatively selling the land to Scannell Properties which proposes building a one-million square foot warehouse distribution facility and office park with retail development on the corner of the former racetrack land. Scannell Properties, based in Indianapolis, is a private real estate development firm with more than 300 development projects totaling more than 63-million square feet in 44 states and Canadian provinces. When the sale is completed, Scannell plans to demolish the crumbling horse and dog tracks later this summer, with the new distribution center opening next year. The distribution facility is expected to create 1,000 new jobs. 70 acres between the new facility and Wyandotte County Lake will be reserved for green space and public walking trails. The project plans are being reviewed by the Unified Government, State of Kansas, and Army Corps of Engineers. Advancement of the proposed plans will require a local public hearing and approval action by the Unified Government. http://wyandottedaily.com/corps-of-engineers-kdhe-taking-public-comments-on-woodlands-project/ Here’s how you get a copy of the notice and who you direct those comments to:
Brian Donahue [email protected] (816) 389-3703 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City Regulatory Office 635 Federal Building 601 East 12th Street Kansas City, Missouri, 64106
It asks to reference permit application No. NWK-2020-348 in all comments and/or inquiries relating to this project. Public Notice is just to fill the 2.34 acres of emergent wetland within the project area (to prep for the construction of a 1+ million square foot commercial warehouse facility, etc), not for the whole project. Either way, I'm not sure we should fill the wetlands before we've had our voices heard about the overall project, so I'll still be requesting a public hearing. https://usace.contentdm.oclc.org/utils/getfile/collection/p16021coll7/id/14409 to get approval for the water quality certification to move forward with the project. Petitioning against it may not mean they abandon the project but I think it’s worth it to have a public hearing. At the very least the citizens of the county should have a voice in what goes there if it threatens water quality and water run off. To request one, we must write to Brian and outline our specific concerns regarding filling the 2.34 acres of emergent wetland within the project area. While they do take into account public interest, their focus (as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) is to determine the environmental impacts of filling the wetlands. They will grant a public hearing if they think they can learn new things about the environmental impact from the community. In typical WYCO fashion there is no effort to openly inform the citizens. This has obviously been in action for a long time and we're finding out 2 weeks before the meeting and that info wasn't disclosed in yesterday's public information release it had to be tracked down by a private concerned citizen. Pathetic way to do things but if you're doing things not in the best interest of the people then not informing us untill after is the way WYCO does it. Bennett Lake feeds Bennett Creek that flows past the old Ranger Station and into the Wyco Lake. Will this dry up the creek? Lots of folks fish in the creek. Remember they've been wanting to build at the lake and you watch they will sneak it in. 30 years ago "Friends of the Lake" was formed to fight the county who tried to sneak in commercial development. It was almost needed to be reformed last year when the UG began opening plats up for sale. Now, it seems the time has come. From what I understand they have already plotted the lots out at the lake. My neighbors got the letter letting them know.. it is already happening.. forsale signs will be popping up shortly. A warehouse and trucking operation in the middle of residential and the lake. WYCO has a warehouse district. It's called Fairfax -- With lots of empty places to use. We need more green space. Too many office buildings are vacant, taking up to much space everywhere.. just sitting there empty. I'm sure this will all become another burden to the taxpayers of WYCO. Run-off from the Legends already negatively affects properties in Edwardsville. The creeks in Edwardsville have widened and deepened because of the extra run-off. Homes have been affected and businesses have closed on 98th street. It is currently under contract for 20 million dollars. On the bright side, at least something is happening. The bad side, it’s a trucking warehouse. As a realtor, I worry about the the home values in the area. Nothing is finalized and it could all fall through. Nothing is signed right now. Me suggestion to homeowners is try to sell your house now while the market is hot. The surrounding neighborhoods will take a hit if a trucking warehouse goes in, in my opinion. WYCO does not need any more failures ie Schlitterbahn which was not even 1/10th the development promised, T-bones stadium mismanaged and allowed to fall into debt and bankruptcy, Land of Oz - That was a big scam Bpu big shots pulled over on us while they made money. Private pockets get lined every time something is proposed or built. Anyone who believes that our elected officials are doing anything to benefit the people needs to start researching every negative fact based article ever written starting soon after they refused GM from building. Elected representatives need to spend their time serving the people and not naming streets and community centers after themselves. businesses at Legends didn't have to pay taxes for a couple years. That's why new places move in to Legends and couple years later move out when they have to start paying taxes Even though elsewhere more commercial real estate lowers residential real estate taxes, doesn't work that way in Wyco the property taxes keep going up. The only ones who benefit are the businesses/companies that get all kinds of financial rewards and decades-long tax breaks to come here and then leave when they have gotten all they can get and of course the "good old boys" who make it happen. Meanwhile our taxes go up every year. Put something there as long as there isn't any type of incentives given. It's getting ridiculous giving a bunch of money to companies to get them to develop here or anywhere for that matter. The property cannot be fixed up for gaming as the state wanted more profit than what the facility needed to keep it running, and they refused to open it up fairly to gaming like other facilities in the state were allowed. It was a shame when Woodlands closed but it is much worse driving by property and seeing the decay it had become. A 1,000 jobs would help our community by bringing in tax money. However, I do not have confidence on follow through with agreements with UGWYCO. Remember Schlitterbahn? Was supposed to use local people to build and operate. Our Laborers had to strike and still UGWYCO allowed construction to proceed, delivering nothing like what was promised.
Cumberland MD - Don't tell me town ain't got no heart..
First of all, live a comfortable, humble and fulfilled life where ever you are. I hope everyone agrees that positive thinking and placing emphasis on qualities is a better practice than emitting energy toward perceived negatives. e.g., Tell your child they are doing something really well instead of focusing on something they aren't.. After growing up in Cumberland and living in a few other cities around the country my opinion of HOME is much better than I expected. We moved back home in 2012 after being out on the range (South and West) for close to 20 years. No two cities are alike, so it's not worth comparing Cumberland to other places we lived. In my opinion the pros out-weigh the cons for this area and I'll state several reasons why. Cumberland and Allegany County have so much to offer if one chooses to see its assets!! This also applies to towns surrounding ALCO and as a whole we are actually a METRO.. Neah sayers? Wiki Cumberland and google metro. Considering that Cumberland is a metro can be confound when comparing to larger cities, but it is true. This is another hidden reason why I believe the area is highly under rated. There is enough culture and diversity to compete with other places but it seems to be hidden in plain sight. Once you get to know the area it is easy to see the unique and interesting qualities. Moving home was actually calming in several ways. A decent house on the west side that needs some tlc for under 100K! My thought was..I'll pay it off as soon as possible! It's an easy way to avoid interest..aka the bankers cut. A renovated house in Cumberland worth 150K would be worth 350K+ in other cities. Btw--I'm currently in need of a vehicle with lower mileage. An affordable home with a relatively low mortgage payment will allow a vehicle update relatively easy. Note: The area offers a level of financial freedom that is more difficult to attain then other cities. Financial freedom is equal to less stress and anxiety in my world. Home improvement contractors are reasonable and comparable to larger cities. Contractors have enough work that it can be tough to get on a schedule at times. Quotes always range from wowzer "that seems high" to hmm "that reasonable". Generally there are plenty of renovation experts in the city ready to work for 15-25 an hour. Last weekend we observed the neighborhood and almost every house in view has been recently updated in one way or another. The past 5 years have been active in terms of home maintenance. It shows there is a sense of pride and this is visible all over. Regular home maintenance is ongoing and it only takes a one project a year to make significant improvements. Keep up the good work Cumberland..it's obvious that people care about their properties. There is deferred maintenance and blight in Cumberland. This is mainly near Interstate 68 or desirable home locations. A few long time rental streets have even seen improvement in recent years. In my opinion, focusing on the enforcement of City housing codes would help and more creative tax breaks could be designed for improvements. With 10K homes in Cumberland, it would not take much to swing this city into an hip spot. The entire area is Walking/Biking friendly. That is without riding on the C&O Canal or Great Allegheny Passage trails. All of Cumberland's neighborhoods are connected with streets and sidewalks. I've never felt unsafe anywhere at anytime. We commonly walked and bike from our door step to downtown and places such as the Constitution Park or Riverside Park with no concerns. We have walked and biked most streets never having a single problem. I lived in South Cumberland for several years and visit family and friends regularly. The unspoken rule is don't bother people and they want bother you. Being friendly or stick to yourself will be reciprocated. Very simple. If you hear anyone say this area is unsafe, I would sincerely disagree. Crime is petty and low tolerance policing is a common theme for folks in poverty. So about work..jobs... WORK FROM HOME is growing and Internet speeds in Cumberland are comparable to most cities. High speed Internet is available through ABB. Otherwise, jobs are here!!! There is a need for experienced higher educated individuals. Basically if you want to work there is work here. In fact, there are a lack of workers in a few career paths. Lets take tech for example. IBM has been growing (400+ employees) and continuously hiring out of town people because the qualified pool of technical staff in the area already have stable careers. There are high, mid and minimum wage jobs. Northrop Grumman is a huge company with high paying jobs and there are many small government jobs at ABL-Rocket Center. UPMC hospital has a number of medical field jobs. Higher education is abundant with several colleges to note. Rocky Gap Resort and Casino employs several hundred. Also there are factories such as American Woodmark, Hunter Douglas and Superfos. That's just naming a few. Over the years I have heard there are no high paying jobs in the area. I highly disagree and rationalize this statement with context. These statements typically come from people seeking 60k+ jobs with no college degree and organized skill-set. My response to these types of comments: "Allegany College of MD has an excellent Continuing Education program full of night and online classes. Additionally, financial assistance is available if needed". Or: "There is a shortage of small restaurants serving healthy food at a reasonable cost:)". Moving forward, the Appalachian mountains are lush and beautiful with comfortable fall, spring and summer temperatures. The variety of hard wood trees is staggering. Wild berries and mushroom galore throughout the mountains. Cumberland has several surrounding State Parks and natural areas. Rocky Gap -Green Ridge State Park - Buchanon - New Germany ..and a few others. The parks and trails are typically empty or maybe a few hikers. A vast majority of the time the forest is all yours without every seeing another person. We are not game hunters (deer,turkeys,etc.) but hunting is prevalent during winter months. Hunting seasons are posted online and DNR regulates policy on public lands. If you meet a hunter and be very very friendly there is a chance they will share a pack of venison steak with you. It is delicious. I've never seen anyone hunting off season on public land in several hundred hiking expeditions. Public land is shared with unconditional respect. Fishing opportunities are abundant. The lakes, creeks and rivers are full of fish. Lake Habeeb has great fishing. Wills Creek, Evitts Creek and the Potomac River all run through Cumberland. Kayaking, Canoeing or floating on a tube can all very relaxing. Being on the water seems to reset the soul. Floating the South Branch Potomac has been popular and this activity is becoming more common on the North Branch of the Potomac. Delfest Bluegrass festival seemed to spawn more floating action on the North Branch. There has been an expansion or update of river access locations along the North Branch Potomac in the past years. There are a wide variety birds in the area because of the River and creeks. Eagles and hawks are around and if you keep an eye out you will surely spot one. In the winter, an assortment of ducks are on the Potomac River just below the Blue Bridge. We take binoculars to the overlook near Canal Place to view all of the types. That's a nice winter air-out activity. If you are not aware, there is a biking trail that spans over 300 miles from Washington DC to Pittsburgh and guess what is in the middle?? CUMBERLAND! Cumberland is the western terminal of the C&O canal. Bike from you door step to DC or Pittsburg in 2-3 or4 days.. Also, Rocky Gap has a 5 mile mountain bike/hiking trail that loops Lake Habeeb. A pro tip: After a long bike ride hit a Dive Bar with really cold beer. Cumberland has more than a few. The D.A.M tavern is one of my favorites. Everyone is friendly and beers are cheap. Most of the dive bars are enjoyable once you understand the culture. Dive bars in this area are another under-rated asset. Warning - the local police have given DUI's to bikers or DUP's to staggerers.. Have you ever heard of duck pin bowling? Look it up! Diamond Bowling Alley is a spot to visit at least once in a lifetime. Bowling clubs fill the lanes several nights a week. It's free to watch. There are quite a few clubs to note. Anything from knitting, Bee keeping to Archaeological and Drone clubs. If you are looking to meet people with like interests there is a good chance it's here. If you don't find what interest you start a club and they will slowly come. Let me emphasize slowly because the area is moving at a slower pace than some cities/metros. This is a Good Thing..relax and enjoy life. There is always tomorrow. Traveling around Cumberland is simple once you know the city. Within 10 minutes one could drive anywhere. Drive 2 hours to Washington DC or 2 Hours to Pittsburgh or take a shuttle. There are countless cities under 2 hours drive. The Amtrak passes through town twice a day. DC to Chicago anyone? The Amtrac will accept bikes. Leave your Cumberland door step, load your bike on the Amtrac and head to Chicago for a long weekend. DC is the other direction and the National mall is free! This is just a few things the Cumberland METRO has to offer :). A positive attitude opens your eyes to endless possibilities. It is April 14th and we are being told that Morel mushrooms are popping up in the lower elevation areas. I hope you enjoyed the information. Pass along good vibes. Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart - you just gotta poke around
My time in Portland is coming to an end. It was a good 20 years. Here is some word vomit about my time as a cabbie.
Hey all. I posted this in another thread but wanted to share my incoherent rambling about my time as a cab driver for Radio Cab. Most cabbies had a hustle working airport runs, doing bars, etc. I avoided bars. Can't stand amateur drunks. They puke a lot and don't know their address. I worked where the humanity was extra thick. The 205 corridor. Only had a few times where I was in fear of my life. Most of it was harmless enough but it took a deep toll on my person. My worldview got bleak. When you're surrounded by shit, it's hard not to have it soak in a bit. Anyways. I have hours of stories. But this was just stream of consciousness about stuff I saw working around the 205 corridor. And fwiw, I'd rather deal with crack smoking pimps and junkie street walkers than the wealthy any fucking day. The wealthy were the worst. Entitled brats that rarely tipped for half of shit. Cheers everyone. I was a cabbie at Radio Cab for a bit. Also have lived in that area of SE going on something like 15 years. It's like Reno if downtown is Vegas. If you fuck up enough in Vegas and get booted from all the casinos, you set up camp in Reno. That's what 82nd and east is for the types of folks you see taking dumps in the trash can at 4am in front of that 7-11. But it's far from the worst one. The very worst one is that next one south on like 82nd and I think Duke or so. Portland that hasn't done work like being a cabbie and working the 205 corridor, you have no idea what goes on out there. I took so many god damned people to go buy crack at that tiny trailer park just off Johnson Creek. I ferried dozens of pimps to take their girls to go to work to make money to go buy that crack. I picked up Vietnamese dishwashers getting hustled by street walkers and watched them get robbed. Pretty sure I was lookout for a guy that broke into an ex gf's house to go get his shit back right after he got out of jail, then off to one of the jack shacks near 82nd and Fremont to go pick up his new girl. I watched strippers getting picked up from one strip club, half drugged out of their minds by their pimps, shuttled to the next strip club to audition because they just got fired for being fucked on heroin while she was supposed to dance. I watched a guy walking down 82nd in front of that 7-11. Guy had no shoes so he used boxes used to ship gatorade to cover his feet in the rain. That one made me cry. I shuttled destitute seniors that could never afford their cab rides. I gave away a LOT of free cab rides to little old ladies with groceries. Always carried them for them. They were my favorites. Got a lot of hugs. I remember the guy that had a gun on me. He was a junkie. His stripper gf warned me he was trouble and I needed to be careful with him. No idea what made him change his mind but he left peacefully. I remember some lady at shimmers trying to set me up to be robbed. She tried to get me to go down some dark alley in my cab to go to her house where her wallet was. When I refused she became irate. It was a mess. She started screaming that I was a piece of shit, her sister had been murdered and I was making it worse, just an utterly wretched human. Told another cabbie about her and they said yeah, she's banned from RC but would slip in sometimes using fake names or not using her cell phone. I remember the strippers a lot. I had my regulars. All headed to the hourly/no-tell motels. Always very suspicious of me. And that fucking 7-11 south of the one on Powell. Can't for the life of me remember the cross street. But that was the hub. You guys think the Powell one was you're way off. That other one was the fucking hub. That's where you went to get a $10 blowjob. That's where you went to find crack and heroin. All those bars and all those motels around there were part of it. Drugs. Hookers. Pimps. Gang bangers. And everything in-between. They were all there. They all rode in my cab. Fucking brutal job. You see a side of humanity you never knew existed. Cabs service some of the most difficult, troubled, dangerous, destitute, and sketchy parts of society. The more of the cutesy bullshit (Doe's Donuts) that moves in, they all get pushed further out. But they're still here. Getting their dicks sucked for $12 in a bar on SE 82nd.
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