Friday, September 28, 2018

Highway Patrol – Week 2 – Part 2

Hello FFFs,
Have you ever started a week feeling like you had a mountain of things to accomplish and didn't know if you'd be able to get even a quarter of them done? That's how my week started. I had a project that really needed to be finished, but I also had a dozen or so other projects all wanting or needing to be worked on. After spending most of the day working on adding pictures to the collection of letters my grandparents wrote each other (in the 1940s) in high school and then some in college (my big project) and only getting half of the six years done, I was rather discouraged. I had hoped to get the proof copy of this book ordered last week. Now I probably wouldn't get it uploaded until Wednesday since all Tuesday morning is spent teaching. And did I mention the other projects were nudging me and begging to get worked on too?
I spent the morning teaching like I had planned. Then in the afternoon I got to work on the project. To my excitement I got the rest of the pictures added! Then, I finished the formatting and uploaded it! I got the cover done and submitted the project. I was thrilled! But the day wasn't over. I received my proof copy of my new Christmas story!
And I finished writing my November short story, finished reading a book for a reading challenge, and got a Read Another Page newsletter sent out! Talk about exciting.
While not quite as exciting as Tuesday, it was still great! I edited, formatted, and uploaded the October story for publication. (It's available for pre-order.) My sister and I finished listening to an audio book, I worked on blog posts for the Five Fall Favorites, re-read and edited my November story, and ordered my proof copy of the book I finished Tuesday.
I love it when so many projects get completed all at once. Now I have a few more to finish. The big one is of course making sure everything is ready for the Five Fall Favorites party. :) But I need to write the next Highway Patrol report from last night's class, and find get some other things done.

How was your week? If you need something to laugh about, just read the 2nd half of this report. I share some stories that still crack us up. :)

HP Report Week 2
Part 2

    We had a break after that and got snacks and drinks, and moved around and chatted some.
    Our next instructor was a good friend of Sergeant Leuckenhoff’s, Sergeant Steve Jones. He gave us a crash course on Impaired Driving Enforcement. They said they used to have some off duty troopers come in and actually get drunk, so we could see what happens, but I was glad Sgt. Lueckenhoff decided not to do that.
    Did you know that drunk driving is the #1 cause of death in the United States? Every 2 minutes someone is injured because of it, and every 51 minutes someone is killed.
    There are four lines of defense against drunk or impaired driving.
    1st line: Education and Prevention. This one is kind of obvious. If you can educate people about the dangers, you will lessen the likelihood of them being one of those drivers.
    2nd line: Close friends or family. If you see a family member or close friend who is not fit to drive, do everything you can to keep them from getting behind that wheel. Offer to take them home (unless you are somewhat impaired too), offer to call a cab or someone else.
    3rd line: Citizens. If someone stops for gas, and you can tell he shouldn’t be driving, call 911 and let them know. If you work at a gas station and just sold someone a 6-pack because you thought he was a passenger, but then you see him get in the driver’s seat and there’s a child in the back, call the police.
    4th line: Law Enforcement.
    If you ever see a vehicle being driven erratically (braking suddenly, swerving, slowing down and then speeding up), call 911, or *55 if you are on the highway. Let the dispatcher know what you see, what the car looks like, and which direction it is heading. You may feel like it might not be an emergency but you can tell them you don’t know if the person is just sleepy or if something else is going on. They can send someone to check it out. It could save a life.
    And no, just because someone swerves across the line once doesn’t mean they are drunk. There are all sorts of reasons that could happen (missing a turtle in the road, checking your phone, turning on the AC, looking at something out the side window, sneezing . . .). A State Trooper is not going to pull over everyone he sees that does something erratic once or twice. He has to have a reasonable suspicion that they are under some sort of influence.
    Two of our classmates put on the “drunk glasses” and attempted to walk a straight line. One of them kept taking them off when she was just standing still because she felt like she was going to fall over. Sgt. Lueckenhoff, who was assisting Sgt. Jones at this point, had to hold on to her arm to keep her steady.

    We really didn’t get a break before our next instructor, Sergeant Travis Hitchcock. He works in the Criminal Investigation Department. There are different types of investigations needed for different kinds of crimes. There are the usual things that people think of such as break-ins, thefts, or other things of a criminal nature. Then there are drugs, and there are also rural or agricultural crimes. I never think of rustling cattle as something that happens much these days, but it does. Or stealing such things as a combine!
    Sgt. Travis told us many stories of his years working on the Highway Patrol force. Here are a few that he told.
Story #1
    Sgt. Travis was a young trooper, and it was one of his first times out alone. It had been an easy day and his shift was almost over. Only about ten more minutes, so he decided to turn around and head back. He had to wait for a car to drive past before doing a U-turn and heading back in the same direction the other car was going.
    Suddenly the car that had just driven past him pulled over to the side of the road and the driver’s door opened.
    At this point, Trooper Travis wasn’t sure what was going on, so he pulled over too, at a safe distance, and cautiously got out.
    The driver in front of him climbed out of his car, threw up his hands and exclaimed, “I knew you’d catch me! I just knew it! I knew you’d get me!”
    Wondering what the man had done, Trooper Travis called back, “You shouldn’t have done it.”
    “I know!” the other man admitted. “I shouldn’t have. I knew you’d catch me.”
    Now Travis was really wondering who the man was and what he had done. He had to keep the man talking until he could figure it out. Somehow during the lengthy conversation Travis discovered that the man had a few warrants out and was driving on a suspended license. After placing the man under arrest and handcuffing him, Travis put him in the patrol car and they drove off.
    The man was still agitated and asked, “How did you know it was me in that car?”
    Glancing over at him, Travis replied, “I didn’t. I was just going home.”
    “Oh, man!”
    “Yeah, if you hadn’t stopped, I would never have known. And now you’ve made me late getting off my shift.”
    The man apologized.
Story #2
    One day when Sgt. Travis was working, he got word that a case of fireworks had been stolen. Now a “case” is a tent-load of fireworks. They were stolen by two employees who knew if they took some from this case and some from that, it would be discovered. So they just took an entire case instead of shipping it. It was pretty easy to find the fireworks because the thief had listed them on Craig’s List.
    Posing as a buyer, Sgt. Travis contacted the man, and they agreed to meet in a Wal-Mart parking lot to exchange money for the fireworks.
    When the day arrived, Sgt. Travis waited in the parking lot knowing that all around were other members of his team watching. Then he sees the man coming. The thief was driving a suburban loaded down so much that bottle rockets are sticking out the windows. Sgt. Travis said it looked like some cartoon. “Oh, great!” Travis thought, seeing the man approaching, “he’s going to know something’s up since there is no way all those things are going to fit in my small truck.”
    But he hadn’t reckoned on the fact that the thief who was dumb enough to list stolen items on Craig’s List, might not be smart enough to think of other things either.
    The thief arrived and eagerly started to help load the fireworks into the truck. The other officers moved up, but Sgt. Travis said it took the thief a while to realize that he was being arrested. Not a very smart thief. Oh, and the fireworks were all being stored in his grandma’s barn, so the officers went out there and recovered the entire lot.

Story #3
    Sgt. Travis told us that he likes to pull people over and just give them a warning. “You’d be surprised at how many criminals you can catch just from pulling them over for a tail light that’s out, or for driving too fast, or whatever.”
    This time he pulled over a car for a tail light that was out. Before he had time to get out of his car, the driver gets out of his car and starts walking toward him. Not a good sign. “Stop!” he tells the man.
    The man is acting really nervous and keeps asking, “What’s wrong, officer? What’s going on?”
    Sgt. Travis noticed a strange bulge in the pocket of the man’s pants. When the driver stuck his hand in the pocket, Sgt. Travis quickly grabbed his arm. He didn’t know what was in the pocket. It could be a gun. Quickly he felt it with his other hand and discovered it wasn’t hard. “What’s in your pocket?” he asked.
    The driver’s eyes widened and he looked down in shock. “I don’t know! Someone borrowed my pants!”
    (The room erupts into laughter at this point.)
    Sgt. Travis acted surprised. “You don’t know? Don’t you think we should find out?”
    “Maybe you should pull it out slowly.”
    “Yeah, okay.” Gingerly, as though expecting a frog to jump out or something equally startling, the man began to feel around in his pocket. He felt and felt.
    “Can’t you find it? It’s right there.”
    Slowly the driver pulled his hand out and opened his eyes in astonishment as he holds a bag of “weed” in his hand. “How did that get there?”
    (Probably from the guy who borrowed his pants.) Needless to say, the driver was arrested for possession of drugs. If he had stayed sitting in his car and acted normal, Sgt. Travis might not have even noticed.

Story #4 (I told you he had a lot of stories.)
    Sgt. Travis was doing a traffic stop on a car and had the driver out talking to him. He could tell there was something in his pocket, so he told the man to take it out. The man took a really long time but finally pulled his hand out with the object tucked under his thumb trying to palm it. Quickly he dropped it on the ground between their feet and then jumped back in shock.
    “What’s that?” he exclaimed.
    Sgt. Travis is a great actor. For a moment he stared down at the object, then slowly he looked up into the sky before looking with wide eyes at the man. “I think God just framed you,” he said slowly.
    The man stared, not quite sure what to do next.

    All these stories made Sgt. Steve Jones, who was still there, want to tell one of his “war stories”.
    “I was a young rookie,” he began. “I was driving down the highway late one evening and ended up pulling over a car that was driving too fast. Before I had a chance to get out and approach the car, this lady jumps from her car and runs back to me. Now my first thought was, ‘Oh no, she wants to kill me,’ since that’s what’s been drilled into our heads at the academy. But thankfully she didn’t.
    “She starts talking about how she was late for work that day and had to clock in late, and that meant she lost two points and if she lost three than she’d lose her job. And these other problems had come up at work, and her son was having problems, and her water heater had broken. Then she starts going on about these UFO lights she had seen coming down low over the highway and about aliens. She just kept talking and talking and getting more excited.
    “I really didn’t want to deal with her, so I said, ‘Lady, the county line is about five miles that way,’ and I pointed. ‘I think you need to get in your car and get there.’
    She agreed, jumped back in her car and left.”

    Sgt. Travis asked, “When was this? About 20-25 years ago?”
    “Yeah,” Sgt. Jones agreed.
    “Then,” Sgt. Travis said, “for the last 20-25 years this lady has been telling all her friends about how she got out of a speeding ticket by talking about aliens.”
    (I wouldn’t suggest you try it because the trooper who pulls you over might be a seasoned trooper instead of a rookie.)
    There was a little talk after that about next week’s class. We get to shoot their guns, and Sgt. Lueckenhoff told us he has 100 rounds for each of us! We also get the SWAT guys next week, so I hope you’ll come back for the next report. See you next week!

Do you lend your pants to anyone?
Have you ever accomplished more than you thought possible?
Are you coming to the FFF party next week?

Friday, September 21, 2018

Highway Patrol Report – Week 2 – Part 1

Good morning FFFs,
It was raining when I woke up this morning, but things are quiet now. I think there's a chance for more rain, but we'll see.
This has been a good week. Rather exciting in some ways, even if I didn't quite get everything done I wanted to.
  • I got my proof copy of "His Law Is Love" ordered!! *squeals* I've only been waiting since January to get it put together and ordered. Now I just have to wait until it arrives. I know it's been shipped, so  . . .
  • I've been making steady progress on the last things for the Five Fall Favorites party. It's hard to believe it's coming up so quickly! I hope you all are ready for new stacks of books to add to your To-Read shelf.
  • I finally got to start writing my short story for November. I'm not very far into it, but it's started. That should count for something, right?
  • Writing classes were taught.
  • I posted the first "letter" from Priscilla de Silvosa yesterday from Tennessee. Not sure anyone's going to read it, but I posted it. If you read it, leave me a comment and let me know.
  • Last night my Dad and I attended our 3rd class with the Missouri State Highway Patrol Community Alliance. We got to shoot their guns and climb inside their SWAT vehicle. But you'll get more on that another time.
  • The one thing I didn't get finished that I really wanted to, was the book of letters between my grandparents from the 1940s. I did get the pictures all cropped, and know which pages of their scrapbooks need scanned. Then I have to add everything. We'll see how it goes.
And that's pretty much my week. How was your week?
This report was LONG. As in over 3k words long. So I decided to divide it into two weeks. Today you get the first half of our class, and next week the 2nd half. I hope you enjoy it.

September 13, 2018
Our second class of the Missouri Highway Patrol Community Alliance began at six with Sgt. Lueckenhoff saying a few things, checking on who would do what if there was an emergency, and then introducing our first instructor.
    Trooper Tony Sandoval began by a bit about himself. He was raised in New York City, but moved to Missouri since his wife’s family lives in Oklahoma, and the Missouri HP would mean the family would be close. After this introduction he began on the history of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
    In the 1920s and 30s citizens began asking for more law enforcement on the new roads that were being built because there were more cars being driven. Pennsylvania was the first state to start a highway patrol, but others began soon after. The biggest supporters of the new law enforcement agency in Missouri were the Missouri Bankers Association, the MO Auto Club, and Governor Caulfield. Those who strongly opposed the idea were the Labor groups, the bootleggers, and the sheriffs. The sheriffs were afraid a highway patrol would encroach on their job and undermine their authority. Finally, on April 24th, 1931, the Missouri State Highway Patrol was begun. The force started with only fifty-five men–49 Troopers, and 6 Captains. The pay was $125 per month. From the beginning the Missouri Highway Patrol worked under two guiding thoughts:
    “Gentlemen who enforce the law”
    “When in doubt, don’t.”
These two guidelines are still a part of the patrol to this day. All officers and troopers are expected to act like gentlemen as they carry out their duties. And if they are ever in doubt about something, be it making an arrest or stopping a car when they are the only trooper at work, they don’t.
    Trooper Tony told us that there have been times when he’s decided not to do something because he couldn’t get backup should he need it.
    The general Headquarters for the Highway Patrol started out in the state capitol building.
    At the beginning, in 1931, the troopers had no radios. Instead they used a “point of contact” such as a certain gas station or store. Every hour they were expected to go to that place and call up HQ to see if they had any calls they needed to take care of.
    Here is a look at some of the important dates in the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
    1933- The HP started using the public AM radio station. If a call came through for a trooper, it was announced on a certain station that the troopers had on all the time in their car. There was no way to make sure the message was received. A trooper might be out of his car at the time it came through. Later that same year the HP began using a state-owned radio station-WOS. But there was still no way to tell if a trooper had received the message.
    1936- The Police Radio began operating 24 hours a day for the first time. A crime lab was also created in two rooms of the Broadway Building in Jefferson City.
    1937- A Drivers License was first required and cost twenty-five cents. There was no test to prove you could drive, you just paid your money and got your license.
    1940- The Safety Squadron was started. This squadron, with its all white cars, motorcycles, and trailer, traveled to different cities and educated people about road safety.
    1942- The Missouri State Patrol created its first car door emblem. Also in this year, the Highway Patrol began Commercial Vehicle Enforcement, making sure that those vehicles complied with specific laws and regulations.
    During WWII the speed limit was 35 mph across the nation. No traveling 70 or above down the highway. This was done partly to conserve gas as it was a rationed commodity. With so many men off serving in the war, the HP began using women in communications.
    1946- The police FM and Repeater system was created. (This system was used until around 2007.) The hand-held radios the patrol officers carried were only 5 watts. This was not strong enough to be able to send a signal very far. However, their cars were equipped with a repeater system and 45 watts of power. This meant that if an officer used his radio away from his car, the message went to the car and then was repeated over the higher powered radio to HQ. During this year the first patrol aircraft was used.
    1947- School Bus Inspections started.
    1948- Car to Car communication became available. There was also a change of the emblem on the patrol cars to what it is today. (It was designed by a trooper who used to be an artist.)
    1952- They started having examinations to get a driver’s license. (I guess they decided people should know how to drive if they have a license.)
    1954- A riot broke out in the prison in Jefferson City, and a call went out at 7 p.m. to ALL Highway Patrol cars in the state. By 11:30 a.m. 265 State Troopers had arrived on scene. They had driven at maximum speed to reach the capital stopping only long enough to fill up their tanks with gas. As they neared the city the orange glow of the fire could be seen in the night sky. One leader in the riot refused to do as he was ordered and told the HP Lieutenant he wouldn’t comply. He was given one more chance, but when he again refused, the lieutenant shot and killed him on the spot. That act sobered the rest of the prisoners and the rioting stopped. As the inmates of the prison were marched to another building, the State Troopers were lined up along the street with their rifles in their hands just in case something started again. Nothing did. The prisoners realized that these men meant business.
    This year was also the beginning of the unmarked patrol cars.
    1959- The first helicopter came into use.
    1960- The first portable scale trucks were brought into use.
    1963- Headquarters moved from the state capitol building to it current location.
    1960-66- The Underwater Recovery Unit was formed.
    1965- Breathalyzer Training and Implied Consent law was enacted. This was also the year that the first black Trooper joined the force.
    1967- Motor Vehicle Inspections began.
    1970- Undercover Narcotics Units began operating, and the Missouri State Highway Patrol Academy Building was opened.
    1971- The Bomb and Arson Squad was formed.
    1974-75 brought the national speed limit up to 55 mph. It also saw the introduction of the moving radar (which is used to tell how fast a moving vehicle is going) and allowed left-handed troopers to be left-landed. Up until then, there were no left-handed holsters issued, and no one was allowed to wear their gun on their left side. Everything had to be done and worn just like a right-handed person would do and wear it.
    1975- This was the year the first two female state troopers joined.
    1982- Marijuana Eradication Program started. They said it was easier to spot the hidden fields where it was growing from the air, though Trooper Tony said everything looked the same to him from the air. It was all green.
    1983- DWI Checkpoints started to be used.
    1986- Drug Interdiction Program started.
    1988- K-9 Program began.
    1991- They changed the weapon the troopers carried.
    1997- The Major Crash Teams were formed. There are 16 teams state-wide, and these teams focus only on major crash scenes.
    2007- CVET Program (Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Team) started.
    2008- Motorcycle Program started again. These are only used in larger cities where there is heavy traffic, and the need for smaller, more maneuverable vehicles is greater.
    January 2011- This saw the merge of the Water Patrol with the Highway Patrol to become what is now known as Marine Operations.
    From the start of the Missouri Highway Patrol in 1931 until now (2018), 32 State Troopers have given the ultimate sacrifice.

    Here are a few fun facts about the MO HP: Their uniforms were patterned after the New Jersey State Police with the Sam Brown belt that crosses over their chest. They don’t wear badges, but they have them and carry them with them.

Will you be back next week?
What do you know about Your Highway Patrol?
Are you eager for the Five Fall Favorites party?

Friday, September 14, 2018

HIghway Patrol Report – Week 1

Hello, FFFs,
I don't have fiction for you today, but I do have something new. But before we get to that, let me tell you a bit about my week.
It was an average week. Nothing too exciting, or different. Writing classes went well. And, for those of you might have read the Travels of Priscilla blog, it's about to start up again. You see, the students in one of my writing classes are going to put what they've learned into practice by "joining" Priscilla on her travels. I hope to get the first letter up sometime soon. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, it's a virtual tour that a fictional character, "Miss Priscilla de Silvosa," is taking across the United States, spending 7 days in each state. You can learn some fun things about the states if you read the blog.

Today starts a busy weekend. Later this afternoon my grandpa is supposed to arrived on his bicycle having ridden the last stretch of his bike ride down from KC. We're also babysitting my 7 nieces and nephews this evening.
But tomorrow!
Tomorrow is the Big Bike Ride! The reason my grandpa came down, is to do this ride. And tomorrow my aunt and grandma are driving down from KC so my aunt can ride too. There's a trail near our house that used to be a railroad. It's a 3 1/2 mile stretch now of walking/biking path. We are going to have a 4 generation bike ride on Saturday. Grandpa (generation 1), my aunt, and dad (generation 2 even if my dad is an in-law), my brother and I (generation 3), and 5 of my nieces and nephews (generation 4). The ages will range from "Buddy" my 5 1/2 y-o nephew, to my 89 1/2-y-o Grandpa. At the end of the trail we'll head to Culver's for lunch and to celebrate my oldest niece's 12th birthday.
Whew! Like I said, busy.

Last night my dad and I attended the 2nd class of the Highway Patrol Community Alliance. Hopefully I'll be able to get my report for that written for next week. This week you can start off with a short news clip about the program. (Yes, you might be able to find my dad and I. Dad has a white beard.) And then you can read the report for the first week. Enjoy!

September 6, 2018
This was the start of the Missouri Highway Patrol Community Alliance program my dad and I had signed up for. The five-week class was designed to educate the local citizens about the aspects of the Highway Patrol that most never think or hear about. Since I had already attended the Citizens Police Academy and the Sheriff’s Citizens Academy, I was eager to see and hear about the Highway Patrol.
    It was a beautiful evening when Dad and I arrived. After finding the room where the class would be held, we found seats and waited for the final people to arrive. All together there are fifteen in the class.
    Once everyone arrived Sergeant Lueckenhoff introduced himself. (He is the one in charge of the program.) After a few quick remarks, he turned the class over to Captain David Hall who told us he was going to give us “the wow factor” with his presentation on MIAC. He then proceeded to do just that.
    MIAC stands for Missouri Information Analysis Center. To put it briefly, MIAC is the main hub for intelligence for the cities, counties, and State of Missouri. It also serves as the designated center for contact with federal agencies such as the FBI and the CIA across the United States, as well as INTERPOL. It is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Captain Hall said that someone is always there, but he couldn’t promise they were always awake.
    However, MIAC doesn’t just provide access to all that data, they add to it. They also have to put information from different sources together, much like trying to work a thousand puzzles without boxes that you got at garage sales, and you don’t know if all the pieces are there. That put things more in perspective. That’s a lot of brain work going on.
    Sgt. Lueckenhoff told us that if he were working a crash scene where a single car crashed into something and the driver fled on food leaving his passenger for dead, twenty or more years ago they wouldn’t be able to do much. Now, however, the sergeant said he would call up MIAC, tell them the car VIN, the license plate number, and the identity of the passenger. Within thirty minutes or so, MIAC would be able to tell him if the plates were stolen or not and who they belonged to, who the vehicle that crashed belonged to, and tell who the probable driver was, his parents’ names, where they lived, where the driver worked, lived, and his potential associates, and where the suspect was known to hang out. Talk about mind blowing! If someone saw the driver, MIAC could even do a photo line-up with other similar faces.
    Captain Hall did assure us that, while many people think that the government and law enforcement agencies are monitoring their every call, and know all about them, they don’t. “Wal-Mart knows more about you than we do!” he said. Now if you’ve been involved in criminal activities, that might be a bit different. They only collect information on suspects that hold a reasonable suspicion of being criminal.
    MIAC also receives tips and complaints from citizens in regard to criminal investigations, public health emergencies, homeland security issues, and natural disasters. That’s a lot of information from a lot of different places! MIAC is all about making connections because when you make the right connections, you can find that criminal, help that child, or even prevent a terrorist attack.
    We were encouraged to send in concerns or suspicious activity to our local law enforcement officials or to MIAC. There is an app called “see-send” that allows you to do that from your phone. There is a website with more information where Captain Hall told us they have pictures of wanted people on the side. “We’ve gotten many of these people just from putting their picture up here,” he said. “Someone sees the face and realizes they know where that person is, and call the police.”
    Do you know what the top two crimes are in the United States? The first is drug trafficking, and the second is human trafficking. There are people working at restaurants, hotels, and other jobs who are slaves. Someone else paid for them to come over, and the person is now working as an indentured servant, only they don’t know how much they have to pay, and they don’t know when they will be free.

    After Captain Hall had finished, my brain was full. That was a lot to take in. Sgt. Lueckenhoff then had each person introduce themselves and tell a little about why they came to the class. He was going to do this at the beginning, but he forgot. That was okay as it was a good break. It was fun to see just how many of the class had participated in the Citizen’s Police Academy and the Sheriff’s Citizens’ Academy. There was also another father/daughter duo, and a father/son. The sergeant’s wife is also taking the class.
    After a fifteen minute break where we got to visit, have some snacks and such, Sgt. Lueckenhoff introduced us to a trooper who talked a little about what he does. He’s a special member of the Highway Patrol, and his job is to check the big trucks. He told us he likes to leave  the inspections of trucks on the highways to the weight stations and travel on the less used roads as that’s where most of the trucks that are trying to avoid such checks travel. It can take a good two hours for him to completely check a truck. He has special scales that he can put in front of each wheel and have the truck drive up on. That way he can check to make sure it’s not too loaded or too heavy on one side. If he stops a truck and is going to do a full check on it, he’ll call a regular trooper to help him as he doesn’t have the authority to make an arrest if need be, but also just to keep an eye on the driver. I mean, if the trooper checking the truck is in the back of the semi looking for narcotics or something, what’s to stop the driver from shutting the doors and driving off with him?
    This officer also carries all sorts of tools in his truck. We were taken outside and got to see the truck and scales.
    Outside we were also introduced to other members of the Highway Patrol. One did road work, doing the things we normally think of Highway Patrol officers doing. He’s also a member of the HP SWAT team. Yes, the Highway Patrol has its own SWAT team. I didn’t know that. We got to take a look at his vehicle, hold his big gun, and feel or even try on his SWAT vest.
    The other officer was a member of the HP Marine division. Did you know that the HP patrolled the rivers and lakes? Well, they do. This officer and another one patrol the Elk River here in the state, and he said it’s pretty bad. The river has gotten a reputation for the place to drink, do drugs, and party. We got to see one of the boats the HP offers use on the river or during times of floods.
    Class ended early as we were just looking at the vehicles and asking questions or talking. It was a beautiful evening to be out.
    I hope you will join us next week as we learn even more about the Missouri Highway Patrol. Until then!

Friday, September 7, 2018

What's Up?

Good morning FFFs,
Sorry, I don't have a fiction story for you today. I have one ready to post, but I decided to wait since I'm hoping that next week I can share the report from the first night of the Highway Patrol Community Alliance class my Dad and I are taking. Our first class was last night. It's already been interesting, informative, and educational. I learned about aspects of the HP that I had no idea they did! Another thing, besides learning all sorts of new stuff, that will be great, will be seeing how the HP operates as compared to the Police or the Sheriff's deputies. I look forward to sharing more about it next week.

This week has disappeared in a stack of projects! It's been crazy! I'm trying to stay focused but then comes the question of what do I focus on? And let me tell you, it is hard to know sometimes especially when it feels like everything needs done Right Now.
For example:
I need to get the rest of my monthly stories written so I don't have to try to do them when I'm working on Christmas stories, or things like that. But I also need to write a "letter of Priscilla de Silvosa" for the writing classes I'm teaching.
The blog posts for the Five Fall Favorites (invitation on this post) need done, but I need to get a few blog posts ready for the rest of this month.
I need to design covers for the month stories, but I haven't written them all yet, so I can only do a couple.
I need to correct a story, format it, and get it ready to publish, but I have another story, a Christmas book, that needs corrected, formatted, and uploaded so I can get a proof copy, so I can get it published by Christmas.
I need to work on the formatting of the book of letters my grandparents wrote in the 1940s, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to get it uploaded to CreateSpace with their move to KDP.
I need to prepare for next week's writing classes, but we may be changing things with one student, so I can't fully finish getting ready. And I need to print and format some "letters" from the "Travels of Priscilla" blog. But I have the 40s book that needs formatted. And other things that need edited, and I need to write the letter, but I need to write stories, but I need to write the report from the class I just took last night, and . . .
Yeah, now you know what my brain is doing! Spinning in circles trying to figure out what is the important, and what is urgent.

But that's that.
Here's the exciting thing coming up! The annual Five Fall Favorites blog party! Kate and I had fun picking this year's genres. And we have new bloggers who will be sharing their Top 5 books. So be sure to mark your calendar, and tell all your friends, relatives, acquaintances, book store employees–you get the picture. This invitation is meant to be copied and shared. So enjoy! We'll look forward to seeing you at the Literary Lodge!