Thursday, January 18, 2018

Mudslides in Santa Barbara County

While in Sacramento last week with Chief Walt White, we had non-stop rain. But, not as bad as S.B. County.

This news segment from ABC is a must watch.

I’ll have a report and heads up within the next couple of weeks.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

A Must Read from the Wall Street Journal, by Peggy Noonan, July 13

This week the New York City Police Department buried one of its own, also one of our own. We should put aside a moment to mourn.

The murdered officer was Miosotis Familia, 48, reportedly the youngest of 10 children of Dominican immigrants and the first in her family to attend college. She had three children and cared for her own ailing mother.

She'd been a cop for 12 years. She was one of the people who keep my city of 8.5 million up and operating each day, in both its personal and public spheres. 

She was on the midnight shift in the Bronx on Wednesday, July 5. Her killer, 34-year-old Alexander Bonds, was a lowlife and prison parolee with untreated mental illness. He posted threatening anticop rants on Facebook. 

The night of the murder he walked up to her police vehicle and fired once through the window, shooting Officer Familia in the head. Police shot him dead soon after. Here is NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill at her funeral:

Regular people sign up to be cops. They sign up for this job of protecting strangers knowing the inherent risks. . . . But not one of us ever agreed to be murdered in an act of indefensible hate. Not one of us signed up to never return to our family or loved ones. So where are the demonstrations for this single mom who cared for her elderly mother and her own three children?"

The 4,000 mourners stood and burst into sustained applause. Mr. O'Neill continued: "There is anger and sorrow, but why is there no outrage? Because Miosotis was wearing a uniform? Because it was her job? I simply do not accept that. Miosotis was targeted, ambushed and assassinated. She wasn't given a chance to defend herself. That should matter to every single person who can hear my voice in New York City and beyond." 

It should.

Unnamed but a clear focus of Mr. O'Neill's remarks was the radicalism and rage of the Black Lives Matter movement, coupled with a national media too often willing to paint the police, in any given incident, as guilty until proven innocent. This sets a mood that both excites and inspires the unsteady and unstable.

Mr. O'Neill: "When we demonize a whole group of people, whether that group is defined by race, by religion or by occupation, this is the result. I don't know how else to say it. This was an act of hate, in this case against police officers—the very people who stepped forward and made a promise to protect you day and night." 

We are not paying enough attention to what is happening to the police throughout the country. As this was being written, Newsweek reported the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund claims that the number of officers killed in the line of duty was up 30% for the 12 months ending June 30, compared with the preceding year. 

That number doesn't include Miosotis Familia. The head of the Memorial Fund said: "Officers have been targeted for the job they do, shot and killed, or hit with vehicles." It should be a major, sustained national story when cops are killed for being cops. Yet each incident never gels into a theme. The media caravan moves on. Orwell spoke of forcing inconvenient stories down the memory hole. It is a feature of our age that we now force them down the hole before they've had a chance to become a memory.

Peter Vega, Genesis Villella and Delilah Vega mourn their mother, Officer  Miosotis Familia at the World Changers Church in the Bronx, July 11. Photo by Associated Press

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Former Challenge Staffer Sander Cohen LODD

Deputy Fire Marshal Sander Cohen

The Secret List

We regret to pass on that two Law Enforcement officers (Fire Officer and FBI Agent) were struck and killed in the Line of Duty while standing on the shoulder of I-270 in Montgomery County, Maryland as the first arriving to the scene of a traffic crash.

Around 2200 hours one of the officers stopped on I-270 near the single-vehicle crash. He requested assistance and used his car to block the damaged vehicle from oncoming traffic. Both men moved over to the shoulder of the fast lane when a southbound vehicle began to approach them.

The driver of that vehicle swerved to avoid hitting vehicles in one lane and ended up hitting the officers. Both men were thrown over the jersey wall to the northbound side of I-270, where it appears at least one of them was then struck by a northbound vehicle.

One officer died on the scene and the other was transported to Suburban Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The driver and one passenger in the vehicle that struck the men were taken to Suburban Hospital.

A second passenger in that car was taken to Shady Grove Hospital. The driver of the northbound vehicle that struck one of the men reported no injuries.

Montgomery County Fire PIO Pete Piringer said that a Deputy Chief fire marshal and an FBI agent were killed in the crash.

"Sadly, @mcfrs learned this morning of the untimely passing of Sander Cohen".  Cohen was a Lieutenant with the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department and a Deputy Chief with Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office, Maryland State Police.

Police said there is no indication of alcohol involvement in these crashes. The causes of the initial crash remain under investigation. No charges have been filed at this time. Much more to follow.

Once again a tragic reminder of the risk we have when operating on roadways. Our condolences to
the Maryland State Police, the FBI, the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department and the Montgomery County Fire Rescue Department.

Sander was an employee of On•Target 10 years ago and a good friend of my daughter, Brittany.

Monday, December 4, 2017

John Paul II’s Prescient 1995 Letter to Women

From Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal 
© November 30, 2017

He wrote of ‘the long and degrading history . . . of violence against women in the area of sexuality.

Here is something to ground us in the good: Pope John Paul II’s 1995 Letter to Women, sent to the Fourth World Conference on Women, in Beijing. 

As a document, it has more or less fallen through history’s cracks. But it’s deeply pertinent to this moment and was written with pronounced warmth by a man who before he became a priest hoped to be a playwright. Here is what he said:

You would never be so low as to abuse women if you knew what they are and have been in the history of humanity: “Women have contributed to that history as much as men and, more often than not, they did so in much more difficult conditions. I think particularly of those women who loved culture and art and devoted their lives to them in spite of the fact that they were frequently at a disadvantage” in education and opportunity. 

Women have been “underestimated, ignored and not given credit for their intellectual contributions.” Only a small part of their achievements have been documented, and yet humanity knows that it “owes a debt” to the “great, immense, feminine ‘tradition.’ ” But, John Paul exclaimed, “how many women have been and continue to be valued more for their physical appearance than for their skill, their professionalism, their intellectual abilities, their deep sensitivity; in a word, the very dignity of their being!”

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Annual Survey Monkey Results: Part 1

You’ve probably noticed that seemingly every webpage comes with a survey. And, maybe we’re suffering from survey fatigue. Or, maybe everyone was joyously pleased with the event in Louisville. Well, not everyone.

Twenty-six people returned the survey. And, yes, I’m aware that we can’t please everyone. Believe me, they’ll let you know. For example, on the subject of the Lion’s Den Dinner, one attendee said that the food was the worst ever, counterbalanced by another who said it was the best. Were they at the same place?

Since the survey is anonymous, I have no way of reaching out for clarification. So, with the hope that you who did make your thoughts known, this is the best forum to say that we read every comment.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll address the wide range of positive suggestions. Some were downright excellent. That’s why we ask. We can’t think of everything.

The biggest challenge is attempting to get the word out to everyone on site, or on their way. The Daily Briefing will return. You may recall in the past that during or Wild Card Eliminations, we’d ask all Competitors to sit in the bleachers. Getting everyone’s undivided attention was the best method of ensuring that you knew that there were goody bags that contained the Program Guide. These, we never ran out of; you just needed to know that they were available.

And, yes, we did screw up the sizes of the Lion Competitor Tees. But, despite our announcements, some never got the word that Thursday, they all showed up. And your ticket stub could be used for redemption.

Seating in the Lion’s Den was limited to 400. As was announced, you need to show up on time if you wanted to sit as a group. The wait staff did attempt to accommodate the small number who arrived too late to claim a table. In a few short weeks, I’ll be doing an advance to Sacramento with the hopes that we can find a venue large enough for perhaps 500.

Topics coming up will be Rule changes, Competition Categories, and a few other housekeeping items. There’s always a forum for getting your thoughts known. Calling the office or sending an email works as well.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Jeff Ellis, former Firefighter Combat Challenge World Champion

From Martha Ellis, Jeff’s wife

Jeff was in a serious motorcycle accident last night. (Nov 15) He was rushed into surgery to control internal bleeding. They are keeping him in a medically induced coma, cycling him out every hour to test motor function and command response. If they feel he's stable enough tomorrow, they will be putting in a rib plate to stabilize the multiple broken ribs he has. If all indicators are good, they will also sew up his abdomen, which they left open in case there was additional internal bleeding. They are closely monitoring his head injury with CT scans every 6 hours. Several surgeries still to come. All indicators are that he will remain in the ICU for at least 2 weeks, then on to rehab. Thank you for all the calls, texts and posts. Long road ahead. 

No visitors or phone calls at this time. 

I’ll update Jeff’s progress as details become available. 


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Muscles recover better after exhausting exercise if they are warmed than if they are chilled, a helpful new study finds.

© 2017, New York Times
By Gretchen Reynolds
Nov. 1, 2017

Muscles recover better after exhausting exercise if they are warmed than if they are chilled, a helpful new study finds.

The results should bring succor to participants in this weekend’s New York City Marathon and other strenuous events this fall who, like me, would rather ease afterward into a sybaritic hot tub than an ice bath. Science is with us.

Athletes and others involved in sports training have long debated how best to help tired muscles recover after draining workouts and competitions. Some experts tout icing. Others prefer ibuprofen tablets. Still, others swear by TENS machines, which use a mild electrical current to stimulate nerves and supposedly reduce soreness.

Little, if any, scientific evidence supports these methods, however. In fact, a number of recent studies have indicated that many of these techniques, especially the use of anti-inflammatory painkillers, can slow muscles’ recovery after harsh exercise and do not reduce soreness.
Other research has shown that icing, which remains the most popular way to treat overworked muscles, does not reduce inflammation in the tired tissues, although it remains a popular choice for many athletes.

Faced with these largely disappointing experimental results, researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and other universities began to wonder recently about heat. Might warming muscles after hard exercise help them to regain strength and power?

To find out, they invited five fit, young men and women to a human performance lab and sat them in front of arm-pedaling machines. Then they asked each volunteer to spin the pedals through a series of brief but grueling intervals, followed by 20 minutes of easier but almost nonstop exercise, while the researchers tracked their heart rates and power output.

This routine was designed to exhaust the volunteers’ arm muscles. Many processes are involved in muscular exhaustion, but the one that is best understood is the depletion of the muscles’ glycogen, which is the name for their stored carbohydrates. Once the muscles burn through most of this fuel source, they become weak, tired and cranky, like toddlers in need of a snack.

The Swedish scientists suspected that finding ways to rapidly replenish these stores might help the muscles to recover relatively rapidly from their fatigue.

So they asked their volunteers to consume large amounts of carbohydrates in the two hours after their session of hard pedaling but not to otherwise coddle their muscles.

Then on subsequent visits to the lab, they had the young people repeat the pedaling workout twice more, and immediately afterward, slip long cuffs over their arms that could be heated or chilled with water coils. The cuffs were warmed during one session to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit and chilled during another to about 5 degrees. The volunteers wore the cuffs for two hours while also downing carbohydrates.

Finally, at the end of each session, the men and women repeated the interval portion of their original pedaling, since it was the most tiring.

And each of them could pedal hardest at that point if their arm muscles had been warmed beforehand. Their power output then was “markedly better” than after the other two sessions, the scientists write in their paper, suggesting that their muscles had better-regained strength. Their power was worst after their muscles had been cooled.

But these results, while interesting, could not explain why heat might be goosing recovery, so the inquisitive scientists next turned to individual leg-muscle fibers obtained from mice. They attached the fibers to a mechanism that could record the strength of contractions and then zapped the fibers with electricity so that they contracted, over and over. The researchers noted when these contractions slowed, indicating the fibers had grown pooped.

They then tired other fibers before dousing some of them with glycogen and subsequently warming or cooling all of the fibers and restimulating them a final time.

They also examined whether warming or cooling had affected how much glycogen the muscle tissue absorbed.

As with the young men’s and women’s arms, the muscle fibers turned out to have recovered best after being heated — but only if they also had been exposed to glycogen. When the fibers had not received any refueling after their exercise, they did not regain their original power, even after pleasant warming.

The lesson of these findings, published in the Journal of Physiology, seems to be that “warming muscles probably aids in recovery by augmenting the muscles’ uptake of carbohydrates,” says Arthur Cheng, a researcher at the Karolinska Institute, who led the study.

This study looked only at one aspect of recovery after exercise, however, concentrating on how tired muscles might best regain their ability to generate power. It cannot tell us whether warm baths might lessen muscle pain after long, hard exercise. (Unfortunately, most recent studies suggest that nothing substantially reduces this soreness, except time.)

But the study does provide a rationale for filling your bathtub with warm water after a marathon or other hard exertion, grabbing a sports bar or chocolate milk to replace lost carbohydrates, and settling in for a long, revivifying soak.