Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Jake's Diner Chargers

Well, they lost their last two games but that did not temper the pride in the hearts of the parents and grandparents on the sideline of the game on Sunday. They all held equal pride for that team of young men and one very brave girl. They fought very hard.

In the second half, one of their defenders came through and made a devastating hit on one of our guys. The boy lay there on his back after the powerful crunch. We all strained to see the number and my heart sank as I realized it was Jay. I know how hard it must have been for Carrie to not want to run out on the field. Jay is not one to just lay there so I knew he was hurt. So, I walked around the field to visit with my brave warrior. He had been hit hard and complained of his shoulder. Sitting next to him in equal misery was his friend and the coaches son, Luke. I have known Luke and his energetic personality for years. I asked him how he was and he began to tell me all of the parts of his body that hurt.

I looked at both of the boys and said, 'you both are tough, aren't you'. They both acknowledged me and I headed back to my spot on the other side of the field. I left just as the game was winding down with a kiss on top of Carrie's head and a request to let him know how proud I was of him.

We began setting up for the party about an hour before the diner closed. We cleared off one of the counters for the two chaffing dishes that were to be filled with stuff that all footballers love. Grilled cheese, Fries, Chicken Nuggets, and my favorite, Mini corn dogs.

My friend, Rick Steber (the author), stopped in to say Hi just before they got there. I wish that I had more time to visit with him but things needed to be set up and organized and before I knew it, Rick was gone.

The team began to arrive and sat around the tables in the middle of the room while the parents sat around the edge. Carrie put some pictures of the team on the TV to entertain the kids as they all showed up.

My favorite (outside of the obvious most favorite Jay), David Prickett came over and gave me a signed sports card of him. I was so honored by that gesture. I truly believe that the core spirit of this team was this young man. He not only gave 100% while he was out there on the field but he was also a leader and an encourager. I watched a touchdown for the other team right in front of me. One of our own guys inadvertently cut off David who was bearing down on the runner with no doubt in my mind a crunching tackle. As the team ran back to the huddle after the play, David openly patted the other teammate on the back letting him know that it was OK and he knew not meant. What a great gesture. I turned to the parents around me and openly said "That is why I like that guy so much. He is a not only a tenacious player but a good teammate also."

The feed started and the cooks strained to keep up with all of those young mouths. They chowed down on the buffet goods quicker than the cooks could fry more. I loved looking over the tables at all of those well mannered children having such a good time laughing and eating. Judy and the waitresses strained to keep up with their drinks. One of them ordered a strawberry lemonade. I started to protest while Judy corrected me. "This is our team", she stated as I got the strawberry juice out of the fridge to highlight the lemonade.

The coaches (five of them in all) got up and began to hand out the certificates with something to be said for each one of the valiant young warriors. Afterwards, Mark, the head coach called me forward to thank me for my support. Judy did not want to come so I grabbed her hand. Some of the parents noticed and encouraged her also. We shook the hands of all of the coaches and the kids presented us with a card that they and all of the parents had signed. I gazed over the many signatures but was not able to truly read the card until yesterday and actually teared up a bit reading it from the acknowledgements and thanks from the parents on not just the support of the team but of our community support. Those notes of thanks and encouragement validate that we are doing the right thing and I will always treasure that card.

Another good season and another picture plaque to put up on the wall.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

World Series Final Day

The day was a bit hectic working up to the final evening. All the last minute thoughts and preparations were being brought together while at the same time answering questions and solving problems of the day.

I was dealing with a headache that I wonder if it were caused by that latte that I drank in the morning. I recall as I drank it, that I realized that I was ordering a regular latte when I usually order a decaf. The headache worsened as the day progressed and I ended up going home for a short nap as Judy and the kids left for Eugene and their concert.

Jim asked about a group that normally uses the backroom on this day of the month and checking the calendar I found that their was one scheduled by mistake. A quick call to that group solved my dilemma in that many of their group were away on vacation and they choose to put off their meeting for the month.

I had produced some bug eyes and a hat that I was intending to use on the final table. I had confidence that I could make that table. I know that I am a good player even though good players must have more than skill, they must also have luck. I had my outfit ready, however, just in case.

Frank showed up around four or so to help me set up and we quickly got all or our tables ready for play. We set up a display on the big table of the final table prizes and put our heads together on how we were going to seat our tables. We decided to alternate every person on the list and thus giving us the ability to keep family members at different tables to start out.

We then sat down and ate some supper while we waited for the players to arrive. A quick check of my totals showed me that the 24th player to sign up would be the one that would take us over the $19,000 mark and so I decided to award that player with a free meal courtesy of Jake's.

The players began to stream in and we let them sit where the wanted knowing that we would adjust them later before we started. Just before we did this, we made a couple of announcements going over the prizes including some booby prizes that Frank had come up with . He found boxes of Candy Boogers that he lovingly placed the World Series logo on the boxes. These were for the first few players to go out.

Stan Schliep was our 24th player and was applauded and given his free meal. Frank then assigned players to their tables and the play began. I was placed at the first table along with my marine buddy, Zin and Leslie James from the twins. I knew all of the players at the table and knew that it would be a strong and hard fought one.

I started off slow building my chip stack carefully with good hands and shrewed bets (yes, I did bluff from time to time when I felt myself in a strong position to do so). My chip stack grew as the blinds went up and I soon had the strong stack at the table. Zin was doing quite well on his own and I recall the one push that I felt confident on with a suited Ace/Four in my hand. Zin thought it over and I was hoping that he would fold since my bet matched his chips putting him all in. Zin thought long and hard before accepting my challenge and flipping over his Ace/Eight. Zin won that hand but I still had a healthy stack of chips.

Carrie and Jay showed up and Carrie began taking pictures of which I will load on when I get the chance. Jay got a kick out of ringing the bell and handing out the booger booby prizes. Leslie was short stacked and I soon took her out and our table was split up and moved. I found myself to the right of last years champion and considered the most feared player there, Bob Head. Bob and I have played each other many times and I think pretty much know each other fairly well. My stack continued to grow and I was looking very strong as a candidate for the final table.

Then it happened. I looked down at pocket kings. I tripled the bet hoping to push everyone out. Bob raised me and went all in with his remaining chips. I thought it through carefully. Unless he had pocket aces, I was in immediate command of the hand and since he was right next to me, the odds of the happening are rather slim. I accepted his challenge and watched as he flipped over an Ace/Ten. My heart sunk as another ace showed up on the flop and Bob soon had most of my chips. I tried to hold on with my three remaining chips but soon found myself in the position of having to go in on one of the next two hands. There were ten players remaining. Just two away from a final table prize. I had a suited 5/6 come up and I pushed all in. I sprinted to the cashier station and retrieved my bug eyes and cap. My table laughed as I sat myself down for my last hand. A four and a seven on the flop gave me a open ended straight draw and I thought I might be able to survive but no card came to my rescue and I was knocked out in tenth place. Another strong player was soon knocked out and we had ourselves a final table.

Since most of our players are male, it was a treat to find that we had three women players at that final table. Bob Head, who we acknowledge as making the final table in each of the three years was there along with Davie, Jimmy, Frank, and my buddy, Zin joined the three women, Mindy, Sue, and Ann. One by one, the awards were given out and we were happy when the fifth place beauty aids award from Kings Razor actually went to a women, Ann. Frank went out at fourth, leaving a hanging on Dave against two strong stacks of Jim and Zin. Dave soon went to third place and we had our heads up. I helped Jim with his chips as he sometimes gets confused about keeping them in order which makes for a quicker game. The two battled back and forth before Zin finally won an all in battle that just barely took Jim out and our new champion was crowned.

After a photo op of the winners, Frank and Jason helped me set up the tables for the next morning before they too left. Kara informed me that the Pepsi drain was not draining properly and I began working on that problem as the crew finished up it's clean up. The clog was in an awkward spot so I had her flag the bin to not put any ice in it in the morning until I could fix the problem and we set the alarms and left.

I arrived at home exhausted. I figured that I would not eat or drink anything that might wake me up later and I drew myself a bath and was fast asleep upon hitting the pillow. But, to my dismay was wide awake just a few hours later probably since I am in the house all alone. Maybe placing this blog will allow me to get back to some of that needed rest.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

World Series Update

Four tables full of poker enthusiasts joined us Monday night for the official prequalification tournament for this years big World Series of Holdem for Habitat event. Four new people qualified including Leslie James from the Twins who qualified on the final day for the third year in a row. It didn't look good for her for a while, however, as she was pitted against another pretty good lady player at her table who seemed to have her beat out in chips most of the evening but Leslie's patience lasted out in the end and she eventually overcame her opponent.

The pink frog was crippled early on by my buddy, Zin, at my table but lasted out eventually and I ended up winning out at my table for the evening as every table was a final table for the evening.

Tomorrow's main event now has 45 potential qualifiers with a few of them including my son, Casey, not able to compete due to other commitments.

Tomorrow's event should officially take us over the $19,000 threshold for our contributions to build houses for needy vets. Every person on tomorrow's final table will receive a prize including a Habitat for Humanity T Shirt.

We have some pretty great prizes including a weekend for two on the Oregon Coast at the beautiful Sandcastle Motel right on the beach, A Marine Discovery Tour in Newport, and two meals at the Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City.

Other prizes include a Leading Edge Helicopter ride over Bend with my friend Chris Jordon donated by Printer Resources, $100 gift card by Missing Links golf course, $100 worth of product from Kings Razor, a $50 gift Chevron gift card from American Energy, Six lines of bowling from Lava Lanes, a poker for dummies book, and a sentimental small wishing well building built by the late Bob Cheney. Bob passed away earlier this year after a bout with lung cancer. Bob, a local vet and friend, was the man who built the small Habitat for Humanity house that sits on my counter and holds the donations for the weekly tournaments.

It looks to be a very exciting climax to another year of our weekly tournaments that will start all over again next Monday evening.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dealing with the DA

Now, I know that he is an elected official and that his office is suppose to be out there advocating us and that I always try to remain positive but I have a hard time remaining positive when I think of Mike Dugan and his associates down at the district attorney's office. In the past few years, I have had three dealings with his office. In fact, they are the only dealings that I have had with them and all three have left a bad taste in my mouth. I guess the best way for me to explain myself is to go over the three events and leave the determinations up to all of you.

My first goes back to our first year in our new location. I had not even had the chance to have all of my fencing up when the first burglary happened. I had a very heavy old safe in my office. I did not imagine anyone attempting to steal it or I would have surely done something to secure it better. It was extremely heavy taking three to four of us to put it into place. I kept the back up money for the tills along with some money of my own in it. I remember well being called that morning and the sinking feeling that it gave me to know that someone had broken in and stole it.

The burglars had left quite a mess but had left my computers in place and it was obvious that they knew exactly what and where they were going which told me that there was some inside information which bothered me even more. They obviously had some problems loading the safe up as they left behind a lot of shattered glass that seemed to be from their getaway vehicle. The burglars were soon apprehended due to their own stupidity when they tried to get a friend to fix their glass on the sly after they told him they had broken it on a safe that they had stole. The safe was found out on the Alfalfa road and although the back up money was gone, my small bag of cash was still sitting inside of it as they seemingly overlooked it. The team of robbers ended up being three ex employees along with one of their spouses. The inside informer was never caught.

Mike Dugan himself decided to take on the case and called me to inform me of this. I told him that I appreciated his personal attention to it. And indeed when he decided to plea bargain with the spouse who was merely a look out for the other three, he called me to see how I felt about the deal. I agreed that a deal of getting merely theft instead of burglary in exchange for giving up against the other three was a good deal.

At the plea for one of the principals, Mike met with me out in the lobby of the courthouse and again acknowledged his personal handling of the case. I thanked him for his personal attention and, to be honest, was very impressed with it. But that was my last impressed dealing with his office that I have had.

Mike went on vacation and left the case with one of his associates. I was informed by mail that the case and sentencing for two of the defendants had been put up on the docket without anyone calling me and that one of the burglarers had been given the same plea bargain as the spouse. The associate had read the notes from Mike wrong and had asked for merely theft on both of them and their lawyers had gleefully accepted.

I called the DA's office in anger asking how something like this could have happened. I was called with an explanation and an apology from one of the DA assistants. I was also informed that because that other man had received the lesser charge that the court would have no alternative but to give that same charge to all. After all, that was the only fair thing that the court could do. I was incensed and wrote the DA and the judge. The judge asked the DA to call me and indeed Mike did with an "I'm sorry" but there is really nothing that can be done at this stage. One of the other two remaining was underage and would not be dealt with leaving the last defendant who was glad to receive that same theft charge. I was informed of her sentencing and was called and allowed to not only confront her and her friends in the courtroom but to also challenge the court with my thoughts and feelings. The judge seemed concerned as to what had happened to me but as I already was warned felt that it was only fair that the court give this defendant the same deal. Only fair! Where was the fairness in what had happened to us?

I let this go and left it behind me. A couple of years later, Judy's car was sideswiped by a woman who lived just up the street from us. I was turning into our street just after it happened and actually saw her vear away from the car and almost hit mine. I did not at first think that it was her as her car was green and the paint on the side of Judy's car was white and primer. Then I noticed that on the back side of her car was paint the same color and scrapes that were the exact height as the molding on the side of Judy's car. The police came and interviewed her getting conflicting stories that led them to arresting her for hit and run.

The case was one day away from court when the DA's office called me to inform me that they were throwing the case out. The assistant who had the case had left the DA's office and the new assistant who was calling me on the phone was informing me that he could not see any chance of winning the case and that he was throwing it out rather than waste tax payers money since I had not actually seen her hit Judy's car. The paint and scrapes seemed to not mean anything at all to him and I was left with not even an apology.

Now, two more years later, a high well published case, and we once again must deal with that office again. My first frustration was not of their doing when one of the two burglars was let go at the jail with no bail. He was arrested a couple of days on a lesser charge and was given a pittance bail on that charge of which he paid and then quickly left town before the grand jury convened two days later.

I met the DA assistant, Jonathan Char, in charge of my case at that grand jury hearing. I sat across from him and looked him in the eye as I told him of my lack of confidence in the office that he worked for and why I felt that way. He had no explanation why the other burglar had been released but assured me that there would be an arrest warrant put out for him To this date, the other man has not been picked up although he has been back in town. We will have to wait for him to be arrested for some other reason and hope that those authorities see the arrest warrant out for him on this charge.

Mr. Char gave me papers to fill out regarding how much I wanted to be involved in the case. I checked all of the boxes in the papers including, if I remember right, the opportunity to confront them in court when and if they are sentenced. He assured me that I would be kept appraised at every thing that happened in the case and that I would be informed of every court date so that I could be there.

I went to the first court only to have it be put off. Just before the next court date, Mr. Char called me to let me know that the case would probably just be put off again due to the fact that their lawyer was asking for copies of some of the surveillance cameras at the other site that they had burglarized. Off of his suggestion, I did not go to that courtroom only to discover that they had asked to have the case go to trial. I called Mr. Char and was told the defendant had that right to have the trial done in a certain time frame and that it was probably done to keep them from gaining more evidence against him.

Just before that date, I received a call from the DA's office of a plea agreement made to the man who was still in jail. I was angry over not being informed when Mr. Char had promised to keep me appraised of every change in the case. Mr. Char called me with the explanation. He said that their were two reasons for the expediency of the decision. First, he was going away on vacation and did not want to have any confusion regarding it with another assistant taking the case and that he had not asked for my opinion on the plea because it was just what he had gone over with me at the grand jury as to all that he hoped to get the man for. I asked him why the man who agree to something like that and he said it was because they had found evidence of him in another burglary and so he agreed to plea before getting hit with yet a higher sentence.

I was assured by Mr. Char that although he did not have a date for sentencing that his office would inform me probably in writing well before that date so that I would have the opportunity to be there and to have my say in court. I informed him then that I wanted that opportunity and he once again promised me that I would have that.

On Friday, I received a message from Mike Dugan himself that I still have on my phone. He was calling me at 9:15 to inform me that at 9:30, that man was going to be sentenced and that if I wanted to say anything that I needed to come right down. I got that message at 10:00. I called Mr. Char's office to only get his voice mail. So, I called victim's assistance. I was called by a lady who had taken the case who first left me a message telling me that I was not called because only the victims were given that information. She then called leaving me a message apologizing as she did not realize that I was the victim.

I called her back and vented to her all that I have written in this post. She apologized for the misinformation that Mr. Char had left her with regarding my status and desires. She informed me of the sentence and once again apologized that I was not afforded my rights laid out to me. She seemed to be surprised when I informed her of Mr. Dugan's call and agreed that he must have seen something in the file that lead him to believe that I wanted to be there and was not informed. I asked her to relay my disappointment to him and she agreed to do so.

She was very gracious and I assured her that I had nothing personally against her but was very disappointed with the over all dealing of the case by her office and she said that I certainly had the right to be angry.

So, there is my case to you and I hope that I have shown why I have no confidence in the office of an important supposed advocate for the state and the victim I actually don't see much assistance to the victim at all here, do you?

Friday, October 2, 2009

An Update

First off, I need to apologise to all of the people who read me for not posting in so long. You might take from that that I have not been up in the middle of the night but you would be wrong. The truth be know, I have been up and written many times but just have not felt that writers spark that takes an entry from being just informational to informative. Because of that I have written my blog entries only to delete them at the end of a long session of sitting in my 'man' room and listening to music as I am right now.

Allot of things have happened in the past few weeks and a couple of big events are in front of us also. I will try and capsulize those past events and touch on the ones coming up and am determined to just hit send at the end of this time of typing whether I like what was written or not.

Judy has taken on the role of entertainment director of sorts and has taken the crew on a few very fun adventures in the past weeks. With the change of weather, I see that coming to an end somewhat but I am sure that she will pull something out of that pretty sleeve of hers.

We took a group to Crater Lake and ended up with a young Chloe (Crystal's youngest) in our car. She entertained us during the trip with such dramatic statements as declaring that she had a wedgie to her informational statement that she knew where bees wax came from.....your ear. Chloe borrowed my camera during that adventure and Judy posted a collage of Chloe pictures that she took from her short perspective.

A week later, we took the biggest group of the year to Belknap springs on the McKenzie river and then stopping at Proxy falls on the way home. The secret garden at Belknap was a highlight of the trip as the group walked amongst its beauty of water and flowers. We found a small eating area in the corner of the group of gardens where we all had lunch before we walked back to the car and drove to the proxy falls trail head. We all walked into proxy and sat at the bottom looking at the splendor of it all while a couple of our younger crew members climbed to the top of the beautiful falls.

Judy's last adventure was one that I did not join in on as I had promised my grandson Jay that I would be at his soccer game and I stayed home to watch his team play. Judy took a van load of people over to Mollola so that two of our cooks could attempt something that many of us would love to do and yet probably would never attempt. The went up in and airplane and .....jumped out. Ted and Crystal went through the class needed and then boarded the plane. It was Crystal's first plane ride. No one faulted her when she did not jump. Just getting into that plane and lifting off of the ground was a new and exciting adventure for her. Ted screamed with glee as he drifted down towards the ground and then had his attached instructor behind him pull open the shoot. He said afterwards that it was intense and that he would probably not try it again. He is now planning his next jump while Crystal and Judy even toy with the idea of dropping out of the sky themselves.

As I wrote earlier, Jay is in soccer and I love watching his team play. Many of the team have been playing together for a few years now and are used to playing with each other. There skills have been honed along with that and they are somewhat unstoppable. I kind of wish I would have sponsored that team but I gave Jay the choice of only one sponsorship and he chose the Jake's Diner Chargers. The Chargers played the Prineville Cowboys to a 6 to 6 tie last Sunday. The Cowboys always field a pretty good team and this one was no different with some pretty big boys on it. I was pretty impressed with our team especially our defensive line that is anchored by Jay and a name that Bend will certainly hear of a lot in the future in Bend sports, David Prickett. David is a relentless hard worker who will not stop giving 100% until the other team has been stopped in that particular play. I watched David run a man down from the other side of the field. At the end of the first half, the Cowboys were only a foot away from the end zone with fourth down. I turned to a parent next to me and said, 'if they try coming down the middle, they will not be able to make it.'. Their linemen stood tall over ours but our foursome plus the linebackers behind them would have nothing of it. Their line surge was met by ours who drove them back a few yards. Jay, Dave, and the rest not only held their ground but drove those bigger boys back. That one play made my day.

On Sept 20, Judy and I along with Jim and his wife drove down to Sunriver to the Oregon Restaurant Association's award ceremony where we were given the Restaurant Neighbor Award. We are very proud of this award which was given to us for our community support. I was the first person to speak at the ceremony and wanted to insure that I gave credit to Jim and to Judy who is such a good business partner (along with being a pretty one also). I found it funny that all of the other recipients that spoke after me also gave credit to their wives. I am not saying it was because I did mine but I guess I would like to feel that way. It felt weird standing up on that stage with my Hawaiian shirt and ball cap and looking out over a sea of suits but I was determined to just be me.

Now that pretty much brings us up to date on our past. And now for the up and coming events.

On Monday and Tuesday, we will be hosting our third annual World Series of Holdem for Habitat. Two years ago, Habitat came to me with the need to raise a larger amount for a particular project so since the World Series of Poker was going on the TV, I set up this special event that our weekly events now work towards each year. Tuesday night is the big night. All of the winners of our weekly tourneys are automatically qualified along with the top five in points. We give points for every place on the final table each week. We have added one more automatic berth this year and that is what we called the 49er rule. If someone came and supported most all of the year, they deserve that berth also. The last chance to qualify is Monday when we run our final prequalify event. Every table is a final table with the highest non-qualifier on that table now qualifying. The funny thing there is that in both of our last two years main event, some of the highest positions have come from that group. I will be there on Tuesday night with my pink frog ready to win that trip to the coast. This year, we have quite a few neat prizes for all of the final table including a helicopter flight over Bend, golf from Missing Links in Redmond, Hair products from Kings Razor, gas from the Chevron station in front of us, and bowling from Lava Lanes.

Next Friday we have agreed to work with the Family Access Networks walk up the butte for FAN. We will be giving our profits from any of the after walk breakfasts from any of the walkers. We jumped on at the end of this one but I see it as an event that seems to be right up our alley and have somewhat verbally committed to partnering in the future with this very important group in our community.

A week later, on a Sunday evening we will be hosting a Spaghetti feed for the American Legion. The American Legion president, Richard Smith has been a tireless helper in every event that Jake's has ever held. He has told me never to ask him if he wants to help but to merely assign him a spot. On Thanksgiving, Richard sits for hours with pies all around him dishing up those delicious deserts to happy seniors. I am hosting this event as much for him as for the organization that he heads.

So...there you have it. We are now officially up to date. Once again,I apologize for my lack of posting in the past few weeks and will attempt to be diligent in the future