The Removal of Savage Rapids Dam on the Rogue River

The removal of Savage Rapids Dam had been a topic for years.  Justification was that it would help the salmon get up the river with one less obstacle.  Many landowners opposed it, because it would mean loss of land.  But, finally, a decision was made to remove the dam.  The process took a few years, and was not without its drama.  While removing part of the dam, an enormous wave was created in the center with fierce hydraulics and a boulder beneath the surface.  The video below shows how turbulent the river was at this point of the dam’s demolition.

When the dam was completed, Savage Rapids came into being, while it had been absent for about 100 years.  At first the rapids was Class3 as it rushed over a narrow ledge, capturing one human life in the process.  But later, the river widened its banks, and the one menacing rapid had become a mild Class 2 with a few boulders to dodge.  The river had changed once again.


For What it’s Worth

“You are the most precious thing you have.  If you don’t take care of yourself, who will?”

Francois Henri “Jack” LaLanne


The late Jack LaLanne had a simple life philosophy, but an effective one, because he lived to be 96, exercised to the end of his life, and died in his sleep.  He has been a model for me in my life, and I am grateful to him for putting me on a positive path.

When I had heart surgery for aortic stenosis at Cedar-Sinai in Dec. 2010, I was encouraged to use a Voldyne inhaler to strengthen my lungs and prevent infection.  It worked!  My caretaker at the time, Glenn Malapit, thought I should continue using the inhaler at home.  He encouraged me to do at least 100 inhalations at 1250 ml. before moving to the next 1500 ml. level.  Once I had done 100 inhalations at the 1500ml. level, I would move to the next level, and so on.  Now I do from 40-60 inhalations at the 2500ml. level level.  What is my point in all this?  My point is that for years I had severe allergies during March and April in Southern California, and since I’ve been doing the inhalations, they have mostly disappeared.  Now, I’m just one individual, and there may be other contributing factors.  However, for what it’s worth, at least you could blow out all your birthday candles with one hearty puff!

Let’s Hear it for Health!

The Fundamental Problem of Education(FPE) may be stated thusly:  How to create a learning environment in which all students achieve to the best of their abilities.  The beauty of this statement is that it encompasses all possible educational methodologies and approaches, and places the focus on learning, which applies to every individual.  The FPE also demonstrates how complex the educational process really is, and that is especially important in the U.S. where education is linked to numerous oversimplified, but catchy slogans, i.e.  “No child left behind”; “Preparing every child to learn”, etc.  There is also a plethora of educational programs in the U.S, whose proponents make grandiose claims of educational achievement.   But rather than attempt to unify such diverse programs, there has been an increase in “fragmentation”.  However, all approaches to education that neglect the inherent complexities of the learning process, are mere shadows.  Such approaches are splinters off the FPE.  Of course, the great teachers from Socrates to Korczak, from Pestalozzi to Sukhomlinskij, have always realized the many-facetedness of learning.

The term “learning environment”  represents any environment where learning takes place.  Perhaps,in the future, it may turn out that schools are not the best places for children to learn.  Learning through the internet is now quite common.  Home schooling is becoming more popular.  Nature, a meeting hall, or various clubs and organizations are all potential learning environments.  And the number of students involved might range from 1 to n. Thus the FPE could include a potentially infinite domain.

The FPE leads directly to the question:  How can we improve a learning environment?”  We might provide stimuli such as games, videos, stories, or anything that furthers a student’s concentration.  Or, we might try to reduce the obstacles to learning.  Such obstacles are either internal or external.  An internal obstacle might be a student’s limited genetics, possible brain disorders, etc.  There is little we can do in such instances, barring a lobotomy, radical brain surgery, or employing a technique we do not know at present.  External obstacles are another matter altogether.  Such obstacles may be treated with positive results.  Reducing external obstacles is similar to opening a clogged air vent that now allows the fresh rush of air.  Relaxation, concentration, meditation offer ways to deal with external obstacles, but it is important to know what they are.  It turns out that health courses which treat a student’s mental and physical being are seminal courses, because they have the potential to truly reduce the obstacles to learning in a meaningful way.  Let’s hear it for health!

Robber’s Roost

Robber’s Roost near Casey State Park, acquired its name from a policeman with a sense of humor.  He was Sprat Well’s son-in-law.  Sprat was an old-timer who once owned river property from Eastin’s Rogue Haven to the Obstinate J Ranch.  The Roost was a well-known steelhead hole, and Pat’s Fly and Tackle provided fishermen with licenses and the required accessories.  The rapid opposite the Roost had one of the largest whirlpools on the upper Rogue.  A boat might spin around for half a minute before the river relinquished its grasp, and the vessel could move on.  I knew the rapid as the Cottage Kitchen riffle, because there was a small restaurant above the Roost that I liked to frequent.  This restaurant and its co-owners, Mrs. Caroline Kelsey and Miss Allyn Goss, will be the subject of a future post.  In the meantime, please enjoy the video clip below of Robber’s Roost Rapid. The 1964 flood took the rapid away, and replaced it by a mild chute.


Ashland’s Lithia Park

IMG_1410 ASituated beneath the Siskiyou Mountains is a 93 acre refuge called Lithia Park.  The park was built in 1915 by John McLaren, and retains some of its original features.  It is in the town of Ashland Oregon, and meanders along the sparkling Ashland Creek.  In recent years, crowds have become a major problem, so weekdays are best.  The lower part of Lithia Park features a pond of floating swans that marks the entrance to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  The upper part offers a waterfall, a pond of ducks, a band shell, used for concerts, and a series of intriguing steps and bridges.  Lithia Park is a favorite spot for hikers, actors, who want to rehearse in the shade of trees, and families seeking a beautiful picnic spot.  Children love to play in the shallow, clear water of Ashland Creek, and are heard often, laughing and cavorting.  I offer some photos of the upper part of Lithia Park.

An aside:  For visitors that are new to Southern Oregon, one must realize that the towns of Medford and Ashland are like different countries, so great are the differences.  Ashland has had a teacher’s college for years(Southern Oregon College).  It recently became Southern Oregon University.  However, it is a university in name only.  It offers no doctoral programs.  That was the agreement reached with other Oregon universities to avoid competition for students.  In general, Oregon has been a state of ecological awareness, but poor education.  At one time, it ranked 49th out of all the states, outranking only lowly Louisiana.  But the Oregon Shakespeare Festival brought in many people from the arts, and Ashland offers more educational opportunities than any other Southern Oregon town.  People throng daily to walk the streets, and investigate the many shops the town offers.  By contrast, Medford is not a town of walkers, and does not attract many visitors.  West Medford is notorious for crime, poverty, and drug use.  Type 2 diabetes is the illness of choice for women, since obesity is rampant.  Alcoholism is the illness of choice for men.  The youth prefer pot or meth, because of its availability and relative cheap cost.  Medford abounds in single mothers with multiple fathers, while Ashland has the region’s largest gay community.  The poverty is so bad in Medford, that during a recent teachers’ strike, the Medford Superintendent, Long, stated that more than half of the children were either receiving free lunches or were getting them at a discount.  This does not mean there are no poor people in Ashland.  Just that they are less visible among the teeming citizens.  Ashland is the most liberal community in Southern Oregon.  Medford, and all other communities in the region are far more conservative.  A friend of mine, when he arrived from the Bay Area, told me he thought of Medford as a different country.  And, in a way, he’s right.IMG_1235IMG_1243IMG_1248IMG_1249IMG_1306IMG_1269IMG_1341IMG_1285IMG_1355IMG_1408IMG_1234

The Amazing Dodie Hamilton: One of Medford’s Treasures

“My art is my life, and it has been since I was very young, scribbling away at drawings on every scrap of paper I could find…”DH 2DH 1


Glendora “Dodie” Hamilton has been a major part of the art community in the Rogue Valley since her arrival in 1982.  I have had the privilege of working with her on a number of projects, from small town histories to the study of form, and she has always embraced my work with enthusiasm and a willingness to do something new.

Her indefatigable spirit led a Missouri girl to the distant state of California where she taught English and art for many years.  During her California stay, she attended many art courses and workshops, working primarily in oils, acrylics, and pen and ink drawing.  When she came to the Rogue Valley, she began to focus on watercolor.  Her favorite subjects are the flowers and landscapes of the Rogue Valley, but she has also done children’s illustrations,  and abstract renditions of shapes.

Dodie is now in her nineties, but she continues to paint, offer art workshops, and she remains an active executive member of the Art and Soul Gallery in Ashland.  Despite her age, she loves to travel, and recently held two workshops in Mexico.   She also takes workshops with other artists.  The amazing Dodie Hamilton continues to surprise with her zest for learning, her willingness to share, and her desire to explore new horizons.  Dodie, who now lives in East Medford, is indeed one of Medford’s greatest treasures.  Please visit her website at:  dodieart.comDH 9ADH 8ADH 15DH 14 DH 13DH 12

And a Little More Russian Humor

The following examples of Russian humor were taken from the Russian magazine, Laughter All-Around.

1.  –I heard that you decided to back to your husband.

– Yes.  I could no longer stand to see him enjoying himself so much!


2.  Little Elsie was finishing her prayer.

–And one more thing, Dear God.  Please send some clothes to those poor naked girls that Daddy looks at in his magazine.


3.  –Just imagine what a catastrophe!  Yesterday my three-year-old son threw fifty pages of my new novel into the fire!

–What!  He read it already?


4.  –Mommy!  Why did the wolf eat the grandmother instead of Little Red Riding Hood?

–Go to sleep, my precious one…Maybe he wanted dried fruit.


5.  A married couple was taking a stroll through the forest.  The wife says:

–  What a wonderful spot to rest and have a snack!

–  You know.  You may be right.  Fifty million ants can’t be wrong.


6.  From a theater review:

–Art demands victims, and the hall was soon filled with them.


7.  A wife, who had just gone fishing with her husband, speaks to her friend:

–It turns out I did everything wrong!  I spoke too loud.  I didn’t bait the hook properly.  I didn’t cast the line in the right place.  I didn’t get a strike the right way.  And what’s more:  I caught more fish than he did!



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