Saturday, September 17, 2016

Links to Dakota Inspired Designs and Articles

Hubpages: Dakota Inspired as GCRhoads

Zazzle Stores:

Monday, January 25, 2016

What are a grauntie and a gruncle?

Sometimes new words spring up in our language. Most are flash in the pan types - does anyone say "gnarly" anymore? But I hope "grauntie" and "gruncle" are words that never disappear.

What are graunties and gruncles?

Graunties and gruncles are great aunts and great uncles! 

I remember as a child referring to my grandma's siblings as "great aunt Alvena" or "great uncle Leonard." How cool it would have been to call them grauntie Alvena and gruncle Leonard. It would have added a level of familiarity and "coolness" to my perception of them.

I'm a great aunt now to three darling little great nieces and a great nephew. You can be sure I'm going to be Grauntie Gable to all four of them!

Now, if we can just come up with  cool words for great niece and great nephew. Griece and grephew just don't cut it!  

Friday, January 8, 2016

Making a Murderer: Timeline of Events surrounding the Murder and Subsequent Trials

Steven Avery's mugshot after his arrest for murder


Oct. 11 

  •  Lieutenant Lenk testifies in Steven Avery's wrongful conviction lawsuit stemming from Avery's wrongful conviction of rape.

Oct. 13 
  • Sergeant Colborn and Manitowoc Sheriff Petersen testify in Avery's lawsuit.

Oct. 31
  • AM:  Teresa Halbach, 25, of St. John in Calumet County, a photographer for Auto Trader Magazine, leaves a voicemail stating she can stop by for the photo assignment that afternoon around 2:00 p.m. "or even a little later." Later that day she goes to Avery's Auto Salvage to photograph a minivan.
  • 2:27 p.m.: Teresa receives a phone call from Auto Trader lasting 5 minutes. 
  • 2:30 p.m.: Bobby Dassey testifies he sees Halbach near Avery's home.
  • Approximately 2:30 p.m.: There are two phone calls from Avery’s cellphone to Halbach’s cellphone, using the *67 feature to block caller identification. 
  • 2:41 p.m.: There are no outgoing or answered calls on Teresa’s cellphone after this time. 
  • 3:30 - 3:40 p.m.: Lisa Buchner, high school bus driver, testifies she drops off the Dassey boys during this window and sees Teresa photographing the van.
  • 3:40 p.m.: Bobby Dassey testifies he departs at this time and Teresa’s vehicle is still in the driveway, but no Teresa.
  • 4:35 p.m.: There is a call from Steven’s cell phone to Teresa’s cellphone, not using the blocking feature which lasted 13 seconds. 
  • 5:36 p.m.: Steven receives a call from his fiancĂ©e Jodi from Manitowoc County Jail; they talk for 15 minutes.
  • 7:00 p.m.: According to Brendan’s final story (not the first story), this is when Steven calls and invites him to the bonfire.
  • 8:57 p.m.: Steven receives a second call from Jodi; she believes  he is already in bed.

Nov. 2 
  • 8 a.m.: Teresa’s voicemail account is accessed.

Nov. 3 
  •  The Halbach family reports Teresa missing.  
  • Sergeant Colborn calls in Teresa’s license plate to headquarters. 
  • At some time this day Sergeant Colborn questions Avery.

Nov. 4  

  • PM -  The police ask Avery for permission to search his residence and he agrees. No evidence is found.

Nov. 5
  • 10:20-25 a.m.: Pamela discovers Teresa’s vehicle on the Avery's property.
  • 10:59 a.m.: Sergeant Jason Orth arrives at the car lot.
  • 2:05 p.m.: During Steven's trial, Lieutenant Lenk testifies he arrives at the car lot at this time. (Under oath on August 9 Lenk testifies this is when he arrives at the lot at 6:30 or 7:00 pm.)
  • 2:45 p.m.: Sergeant Orth begins a log.
  • 6:30-7:00 p.m.: 10:41 p.m.: Lieutenant Lenk signs out of log.

Nov. 6
  • Brendan gives his first statement to investigators, indicating he has no knowledge of what happened to Teresa.

Nov. 8 : 
  • Avery tells reporters he fears authorities are trying to frame him for Halbach's murder because he sued Manitowoc County officials for $36 million for wrongful conviction. 
  • On the third search, the key to Halbach's RAV4 is finally found in Avery’s bedroom by Lieutenant Lenk. 
  • Some bone fragments are found on the Avery property.

Nov. 9 

  • Avery is arrested and, based on past convictions for burglary and other crimes, charged with possessing firearms as a felon. Authorities say two guns were in his trailer home.

Nov. 15
  •  Avery is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and mutilating a corpse.


Feb. 14
  • Avery has settles his lawsuit against Manitowoc County officials for $400,000.

Feb. 27

  •  Investigators questions Avery's nephew Brendan Dassey, at the local high school. They question him later that day at the  police department.

March 1
  • Brendan is again interrogated, and  arrested after saying he was involved in Halbach's murder.
  • The police, including  Lieutenant Lenk, return to Steven’s property to search for evidence.

March 2
  • The police—again including Lieutenant Lenk—continue searching Steven’s property. For the first time, a bullet fragment, supposedly containing Halbach's DNA is found in Steven’s garage. 
  • Brendan Dassey  is charged with  first-degree intentional homicide, mutilation of a corpse and first-degree sexual assault. 

May 12
  • Dassey is pressured by  Len Kachinsky's (his attorney)  investigator Michael O’ Kelly, to stick to his final confession and to make drawings of the alleged crime scene.

May 13
  •  Dassey is interrogated by investigators  for 3 1/2 hours at the invitation of his attorney.
  •  Dassey calls his mother to tell her he was guilty.


Jan. 29 

  • A judge dismisses sexual assault and kidnapping charges against Avery

Feb. 12 
  • Avery's trial begins.

March 12 
  • At the close of the trial, the judge dismisses a false-imprisonment charge, saying he doesn't think the jury has enough evidence to find Avery guilty. 

March 18 
  • Jurors find convict Avery guilty of first-degree intentional homicide and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Avery is found not guilty of mutilating a corpse.

April 16 
  • Brendan Dassey's trial begins.

April 25 
  • Dassey is found guilty of being party to first-degree intentional homicide, mutilation of a corpse and second-degree sexual assault after 4 1/2 hours of jury deliberation.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Court records and other documents for "Making a Murderer"

Steven Avery's 2005 mugshot.

The Netflix documentary "Making a Murderer has generated a lot of conversation nationally. I myself have doubts about convicted murderer Avery's innocence, but I am  disturbed by  the Manitowoc County's Sheriff's Department involvement in finding previously overlooked evidence.
 After viewing the official interrogation videos of Brendan Dassey, Avery's nephew, I do have serious doubts about Dassey's involvement.

I have decided to compile a page of documents relating to the Steve Avery/Brendan Dassey trials for my own, and hopefully your, convenience.

It is a work in progress and documents will be added as I find them.

A who's who list of people who are important in the documentary "The Making of a Murderer."
Who's who?

A timeline of events:

Avery's Wis. Stat § 809.30(2)(h) Postconviction MotionThe motion argued that Avery should be granted a new trial because he was not allowed to present alternate suspects in his trail. The suspects are named, including his brothers!

Transcripts concerning Brendan Dassey

  • Written transcripts of phone call between Brendan and his mom. I this call Brendan tells his mom he was involved in the murder:     Brendan61306
  • Written transcript of the initial police interrogation of Brendan, Brendan says he saw body parts. Brendan tells the officers that Steven admitted to stabbing Ms. Halbach in a Jeep: Brendan's first interrogation
  • Transcript of the nest police interrogation. Brendan tells the police he was actively involved in the rape and murder: Brendan transcript March, Video of interrogation:  Video of interrogation
  • Transcript of Dassey and is lawyer's "investigator. DasseyInvest 
  • Transcript of interrogation which happens after Brendan's first lawyer allows the defense interrogator to coerce Brendan into writing an account of what happened. Brendan's lawyer allows the police to interrogate Brendan without the lawyer's presence. Brendan gives another account which is totally inconsistent with his third account. Brendan transcript 4 May
Dassey's court documents

Photo of blood found near the ignition on the RAV4

Kenneth Kratz

  • Supreme Court regarding disciplinary proceedings relating to Kratz's sexual harassment of  a domestic violence victim: Kratz supreme

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Riding bareback - a poem

I feel your sweat
"Mishimala forma d'un sentit" by Lali Masriera - originally posted to
Flickr as mishima:la forma d'un sentit.
 Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Between my thighs,
As your muscles
Bunch and loosen.

I grip your thick mane
With shaking hands
And breathe in your
Sweet, salty scent.

The steady rhythm
Of your movements
Makes time and place
Pass in a frenzied blur.

Two racing as one
Winded and exhilarated.
In a rush we arrive home
And, slowly, I dismount.

Friday, December 26, 2014

What writing site is next to fail?

Many writing sites have shut down this past year, not the least being Yahoo Contributor Network.
In 2015, HubPages announced it had acquired "the best of Squidoo's" writing.

I was a little dismayed over this as I always felt that much of Squidoo was not actual writing but only thinly veiled sales capsules. I also did not agree with Squidoo's policy of only paying a select few writers. So far Hubpages hasn't adopted that payout policy

I do have faith that HubPages will continue to be the quality site that has allowed me to earn extra money each month. This last Panda update was rough, but views are again on the rise.

Is Bubblews going to be the next site to fail? My residual income is about a nickel a week over there, and new posts get no views at all. More and more people are complaining of not getting paid, and I feel Bubblews, too, is on shaky ground. (Update: Bubblews failed November 15, 2015.)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Visit Fort Macon located on Atlantic Beach, North Carolina

I had the pleasure of living and working in Eastern North Carolina for over a quarter century. I spent many hours lying on the beach or playing in the Atlantic Ocean with my children.

But there is much more to Eastern North Carolina than just the beautiful beaches. If you plan to visit Carteret County or the surrounding area, you must make time to see beautiful Fort Macon.

The entrance to Fort Macon

Fort Macon State Park and Atlantic Beach

Fort Macon is located in Fort Macon State Park just east of Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. The fort was built at the farthest end of Bogue Banks, a 21 mile long barrier island that is a popular North Carolina tourist destination.

Fort Macon State Park offers beaches, salt-water fishing, nature trails, a refreshment stand and a bathhouse. There is no fee for parking, fishing or visiting the fort.

Atlantic Beach has beautiful beaches facing south onto the Atlantic Ocean. It also has beautiful views of Bogue Sound, the stretch of water separating Bogue Banks from the mainland.
Catering to tourists in the summer, Atlantic Beach is a laid-back small town in the off-season.

Early Forts Protecting Beaufort Inlet

Fort Macon was built to protect Beaufort Inlet and to defend the town of Beaufort from invading forces. Beaufort was ransacked by Spanish forces in 1747 and then Great Britain in 1782. The U.S. government realized the entire East Coast's ports were vulnerable to invading armies and pirates. A series of forts were eventually planned and built along the entire eastern shoreline.
The first fort designed for the Beaufort Inlet, Fort Dobbs, was started in 1756 but was never completed.
A second fort, Fort Hampton, was eventually completed in 1807. It was used to protect Beaufort Inlet against the invading British during the War of 1812. Fort Hampton was later abandoned and was washed away by the Atlantic Ocean in 1825.

Fort Macon's namesake

Fort Macon was named after Nathaniel Macon, a United States Representative and later Senator from Warrenton, North Carolina.
He was elected in 1785 to the Continental Congress but declined the office. He was elected again and served from 1791 to 1815.
He resigned from Congress after being elected to the US Senate, where he served until 1828.
Nathaniel Macon was instrumental in procuring the funds necessary to build the new fort.
An aerial view of Fort Macon. Beaufort Inlet is to the east.

The Construction of Fort Macon

The construction of Fort Macon was started in 1826 by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps of Engineers utilized both paid and slave labor during the building of the fort.

The fort was designed as a pentagon and was built to be not visible from the sea. The waters to the east, north and south could be monitored from the fort, preventing enemy ships from attacking the port at Beaufort.

From the start the building project was beset by problems. When digging started (done mostly by slaves), the holes quickly filled with groundwater. The first bricks made were of poor quality and were not suitable for building. The problems were eventually overcome, and in 1836 the fort was completed for a total cost of $463,790. Further modifications were done in the ensuing years.

Ironically, Robert E. Lee, who was later a general in the Confederate Army, designed a series of erosion control in the 1840's.

The Civil War

At the time the Civil War started in April 1841, Fort Macon was empty except for a ordnance officer and his wife. Two days after Confederate forces fired upon Fort Sumter in South Carolina and started the Civil War, a group of militia members from the town of Beaufort seized the fort from the United States.
Confederate forces occupied the fort for the next year, bringing in reinforcements and new armaments.
In early 1862, General Burnside defeated confederate forces in eastern North Carolina. He then sent General Parke and his troops to seize Fort Macon. Parke's union soldiers effortlessly occupied nearby Morehead City and Beaufort, and then demanded the surrender of Fort Macon.
Colonel White, a young man with epilepsy, declined to surrender the fort and his 400 soldiers. The Union forces began a two day bombardment of the fort, firing mortars and the newly invented rifled cannons. Flagmen stationed across the inlet in Beaufort aided the union forces with their aim on the fort.
The relentless bombardment heavily damaged the fort. When Colonel White saw the gunpowder casements were in danger of being breached and causing a catastrophic explosion, he raised the white flag of surrender.
Union forces occupied Fort Macon for the remainder of the war. Beaufort became an important port for the repair of Union ships and the delivery of supplies.
If you visit Fort Macon today, you can still see the cracks in the bricks and mortar caused by the bombardment of the fort. You will also find a cannonball embedded in an interior wall, and will see the path a cannonball took as it made its way down a cement staircase.


Post Civil War to Present

Colonel James Young commanded an all
 Black regiment at Fort Macon
Fort Macon was manned by the army until 1877. During this time it was used as both a military and civilian prison.

Spanish-American War

After 1877, Fort Macon again fell into disuse until the start of the Spanish-American War. In the summer of 1898, some of the Third North Carolina Volunteers, an all-Black regiment was stationed at the fort.
They were led by Colonel James Young, who is thought to be first African-American to earn the rank of colonel in the United States' military.


Fort Macon Becomes a state park

Fort Macon was abandoned again to the forces of time and weather. In 1923, Fort Macon was offered for sale as military surplus by the government.
In 1924, Congress turned over Fort Macon and its surrounding acreage to North Carolina for use as a state park.
In 1934, the Civilian Conservation Corps, a federal program enacted to provide work for Americans, began the work of clearing and restoring the old fort. A few years later the American people began to enjoy the park and its surrounding beaches.

World War II

1941 saw America enter into WWII. German submarines cruised the eastern coast of the United States, sinking ships and striking fear into the hearts of coastal residents. Fort Macon was again put to military use when the Army leased the fort from N.C.
Coastal Artillery regiments were assigned to the fort, and a steady stream of olive-green trucks loaded with men and supplies started to arrive. The casemates were again full of American soldiers who were ready to defend the inlet and American lives.
Though the soldiers saw no direct action, many ships and a German submarine were sunk just off the North Carolina Coast.
On October 1, 1946, Fort Macon was again returned to North Carolina for the public's enjoyment.
The old brick archways inside Fort Macon
is a photographers dream.

Fort Macon Today

Fort Macon has been fully restored to her previous glory. Static displays which showcase life at the fort have been set up in many of the casemates. The original cannons were long ago sold for scrap metal, but they are slowly being replaced with replicas.
During the summer there are many activities planned at the fort. Every weekend musket firing will be demonstrated. An occasional reenactment of the Siege of Fort Macon will be held with men and women dressed in period costumes.

 Concerts are held on some evenings, and there are free guided tours available seven days a week. Many couples chose this historic location for their weddings. The list of scheduled activities can be accessed at this link: Fort Macon.
In addition to the beautiful fort, there is a new building which houses a theater/education center, a bookstore, and a large display room dedicated to the coast's ecology.

Fort Macon is free!

There are no fees to park or tour the fort, but there is a donation box located just inside the new building. The funds are used by the non-profit group Friends of Fort Macon to ensure the fort is well preserved and the public is informed about Fort Macon's long history.
Most of the fort is handicapped accessible and wheelchairs are available upon request. Do keep a close eye on your kids though. As the sign near the fort's entrance says, "Fort Macon was made for war, not safety." There are many steep drop-offs around the inner and outer perimeters.
When you are done touring the fort, you can drive a short distance to the park's beach access. There is plenty of parking, and you can change into your swimsuit and enjoy a dip in the Atlantic Ocean.
Don't forget the sunscreen!