Cancer, you evil concept, someone is going to end you


The forever lovable Martin Forbes.

I’ve got three families on my heart right now: my own, the Forbeses, and the Richters. Cancer has touched several of my people, and I wish I were a scientist who could end this horrible scourge.

My buddy, Martin Forbes, is battling esophageal cancer, just like Ken Richter did. Every day Martin’s youngest daughter posts a family photo and an anecdote on Instagram. They bruise the muscle of my heart. Martin has the most delightful sense of humor and a laugh that warms a room. He reminds me of Ken in those ways.


Ken Richter

Ken’s boys are four years older than when they lost their dad, but their every day pain is as real as that of the Forbes family. My own family currently has the support of hospice for my Uncle Paul.

This period of time reminds me of 2007, when my beloved president Martha Anne Dow was struggling with cancer, as was my Aunt Betty. None of us get out of this life experience without having cancer touch us somewhere in the circle of connections. Then, as with now, it was the revival of connections that help make the watching and waiting bearable.

Never too far from my mind, Ken’s boys will always have a piece of my heart. I feel blessed to have had a cousin reach out to me recently, across the distance of geography. While he’s a grown man, in some ways he is still a boy to me. A blue-eyed gift from God, whose smile could change the Earth’s orbit. He was younger than Ken’s sons when he lost his mother to cancer. Now, he’s miles away and Uncle Paul is slipping from us.


Uncle Paul and his dog June.

The point of this post is to remind us to cherish those in our lives and to remember that most people are dealing with more on their minds than we will ever know.

Rejoice in today. We are one day closer to the end of cancer.


Bulldog & Brooklyn take DC: Day 3

bbdcNote: Jessica Dale (Bulldog) and Valeree Lane (Brooklyn) are in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn more about public health accreditation. Specifically, they are learning how to use the online system to upload Klamath County Public Health’s documentation for the Public Health Accreditation Board.

What a day we had. I learned that people here are not used to plainspoken directness. Some of our fellow trainees were getting anxious, and vocal, during today’s exercise. I, of course, jumped in to nutshell the fact that the Public Health Accreditation Board wants us to succeed, as much as we do. There will be enough stress later; training isn’t worth getting overly excited. The woman in question asked if she was that annoying. Nope. It just seemed like she was too stressed for the environs.

I also learned that the Secret Service will not pose with your toy unicorn, and the assistant director will become uncomfortable when it is obvious we crossed into a do not enter area because a length of fencing was down. What? My tax dollars pay for protection.

The National Christmas Tree is festooned in a light-covered netting, not unlike Cinderella’s Castle at Disneyland. You cannot get anywhere very close to the White House, and Ford’s Theater’s museum is probably interesting, but we missed its hours of operation.

Do not pool your ride for Uber, as the next passenger will be unprepared to get into the car the first time and leave the diaper bag behind the second time. Some people should not drink alcohol in public, especially when it brings out boisterous and rude behavior. Our hibachi chef was amazing, but the other individuals at our table were not. The chef was Vietnamese and he was obviously uncomfortable with questions being asked of him. Telling him once you want teriyaki is really enough.

The White House was tiny compared to the monuments from last night. At the end of the day, it’s just a house. I didn’t regale Jessica with Truman’s entire renovation of the interior, and his addition of the exterior balcony.

We leave the hotel, which declares it’s daily rate as $799 on a closet door placard, tomorrow at 1:45 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. I haven’t acclimated to the time zone, and we will both be exhausted by the time we get home.











Bulldog & Brooklyn take DC: Day 2

bbdcNote: Jessica Dale (Bulldog) and Valeree Lane (Brooklyn) are in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn more about public health accreditation. Specifically, they are learning how to use the online system to upload Klamath County Public Health’s documentation for the Public Health Accreditation Board.

It was not lost on us that we are three hours ahead of our friends on the West Coast. We did tough it out and feel prepared to meet the case studies tomorrow with renewed vigor. Today’s highlight, however, was the National Mall. Anyone, who can stand at those monuments and not feel patriotism and pride in our democratic republic, should be set out in the middle of the Potomac with a dingy and an oar to reach other shores.

All I can say is God bless the United States of America. It was my first time seeing these pieces of history up close. I hope it is not my last, but I could die tonight content in having seen these inspirations of the national character.



















Bulldog & Brooklyn take DC: Day 1

bbdcNote: Jessica Dale (Bulldog) and Valeree Lane (Brooklyn) are in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn more about public health accreditation. Specifically, they are learning how to use the online system to upload Klamath County Public Health’s documentation for the Public Health Accreditation Board.

The day started early and windy, high atop Vandenberg Road. A 4 a.m. trip to Medford to catch the first leg of flight schedule was uneventful, but wet. We found that written seat assignments mean nothing to some people.

Here were the major learnings from today:

  1. Cats do not like to fly. (We think it might have been a comfort companion, but the yowls were not comforting.)
  2. A Mask-It makes a good unicorn saddle blanket. (Photo to follow later.)
  3. A complex combover can come undone, even with a smooth flight.
  4. Men should zip up before leaving the lavatory.
  5. Lint from Valeree’s red sweatshirt can appear to be a serious forearm rash.
  6. Sit by the lavatory and the whole world will pass by your seat.
  7. Having an American Express Platinum Card doesn’t guarantee easy use of technology.
  8. Washington D.C. is a long way from Klamath.
  9. Snoring is the universal language.

We arrived after dark, but got to our hotel and saw some of the city before calling it a day. The three-hour time difference will catch us tomorrow morning.

Below are some photos from this evening.


There was a bulldog in the lobby to greet Bulldog.


There was a model horse in the back of an antique pickup.


Delicious meal at Gadsby’s Tavern, where George Washington would stop on his way to Mount Vernon. Jefferson’s inaugural ball was held here, too.


Bulldog went for the pork chop. You cannot go wrong with hearty tavern food.


The Spite House is only seven feet wide.


Christchurch was amazing.



Real cobblestones on Prince Street.


It’s good I have supervision. I’ve loved Georgian brick architecture most of my life. The history nerd would be knocking on doors.

So long, Bridgette


Justin and Bridgette Griffin Azevedo.

I’m heartsick, again. I know Bridgette Griffin Azevedo was right with God and is now in Paradise with our Lord and Savior. However, knowing the void she is leaving in so many lives, not the least of which is her youngest son who is still in his mid-teens, makes hers a very hard loss to intellectualize.

My first memories of Bridgette are from Alf Peterson’s accounting class at Oregon Institute of Technology. She and Pati Horton sat at the front of the classroom; I was at the back, near the door. Their lifelong friendship has seen many joys and discomforts, but they each knew they had each other.

Bridgette would leave OIT and graduate from University of Oregon. Ironically, she would complete her graduate work at University of Washington. The athletic rivalry between the schools had no bearing in providing her with an unrivaled education.

We would meet up again through Kiwanis. She was one of several bankers in the Klamath Falls club. When her time as president came, she was steadfast in the expectations she had for members and those with committee chairs. Her requirement for service beyond committee logistics found one member erroneously rueing the day women were allowed into the club. He made a mistake in sharing that information with me; I’ve thought less of him since.

She brought many people into the club, including her sister, Melinda, whom you could tell was Bridgette’s pet. Life was not always easy, as she lost her beloved mother and her first marriage, but she endured and tried to make a difference wherever possible. Meeting the Alaskan woman who received her mother’s donor heart was a moving milestone. I’m not sure that many people know that Bridgette offered a kidney to an ailing Kiwanian on dialysis.

I was preparing to reach out to Bridgette and ask her to speak about her new business to the Linkville Kiwanis club. Alas, I’m too late.

She walked away from Kiwanis when we no longer prayed over our meals. Her belief in honoring and thanking God weighed heavy in a time that many people have turned their backs on what is noble and true. I would have liked to have her know that Linkville still prays.

I grieve for her family and close friends, but also for the entire community. She was president of the chamber of commerce and chair of the United Way’s annual campaign. These posts were assumed with the vivacious spirit for which she was known.

I hope she left few tasks undone. Her son, Wyatt, is a grown man, but Austin still has to complete high school. Bridgette’s husband Justin will help her boys find their way in this world. She will be waiting for them in the next.

Hers was a glad reunion with family and friends in Paradise. I hope she knows how revered she is to those of us who missed the chance to tell her in this life.

Historic youth summit finds Klamath Tribal Youth Council established

IMG_7115 (2)River Rondeau, 6, center, was one of the youngest participants in the social pow wow that kicked off the first Klamath Tribal Youth Summit the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 21.

While the rest of the world was debriefing about the eclipse, history was made quietly this week on the Oregon Tech campus.

The Klamath Tribes has pursued a youth initiative since early this year, and the first Youth Leadership Summit was held from Monday afternoon through Thursday noon. Ranging in age from 12 to 20, a total of 42 youth participated in workshops and activities meant to encourage leadership and educational opportunities.

Klamath Tribal Youth Council members

A highlight was the election of 15-year-old Ashia Wilson as the first Klamath Tribes Youth Council chairwoman. The Chiloquin High School sophomore was particularly inspired by Tyler Barlowe’s presentation on the evolution of Klamath and Modoc and songs.

“He spoke truth to us and was real. He influenced me in my candidate’s speech. I couldn’t read my notes, and I knew that speaking from my heart was the way to be authentic,” Wilson said.

Barlowe used his session to remind those in attendance that the songs and dance experienced at the previous day’s social pow wow were merely mimicry. The displays were taken from Plains Indians, who use these artistic expressions as entertainment for others. Modoc songs are shorter and simpler, and sung for a purpose.

The elder was raised by his grandparents, who were the children of Modoc War survivors. He told a standing room only group that the laws of nature do not allow for forgiveness, self-pity or shame. The young women were encouraged to pursue their education and career goals before having babies and committing to a man. “A man will want to be cared for, too, like a baby,” Barlowe said to hearty laughter.

Will Hess, one of the summit organizers, said Barlowe was a definite favorite of the youth. “Sometimes it is good to be shaken. We need elders to make us think, and younger people to bring things out in a new way,” he said.

“Young people are the threads holding us together,” he said. Hess said that one thing he noted in his youth was a lack of follow through by older Tribal members. Knowing that the future is uncertain, he was committed to seeing the youth summit through to completion. “I didn’t want to see it pushed off.”

Hess is among a group of 20-something young professionals who are strong examples for the youth, and members of the Klamath Tribes. Cholena Wright presented a session entitled Navigating Indigenous Identity: Building an Intrapersonal Relationship to Nation. Her declaration that each individual has a unique experience in their identity, and there is no competition in who can be more Native than someone else, resonated with Klamath Tribal Chairmain Don Gentry.

“My experience might have different, when I was younger, if I had known that,” Gentry said.

Doctoral student Joseph Dupris shared Strong Leaders and Strong Languages: Borrowing and Expressing New Ideas. He has read the Klamath language dictionary and is captivated by how words are added to a language, including creating new compound words. Dupris inspired Henry Rondeau in writing an original Klamath-language honor song for Thursday’s retiring of the colors.

Meanwhile Ada Ball provided insight into Contemporary Native Issues and Resistance. In today’s society, where people of color, including Tribal people, are marginalized, the simple act of taking a selfie can become an act of resistance.

The young adults were not the only presenters, however. Kathleen Hill provided three examples of documented leadership within the Klamath Tribes: Seldon E. Kirk, Marie Norris and Charles E. Kimbol, Sr. She noted that Klamath leadership is usually defined through Captain Jack and Chief Chiloquin. “There are many ways to be warriors,” she said. “Sometimes you have to take actions which are uncomfortable because it is what your people said.”

She noted that Native heroes rely on others and serve their people.

Bringing relevancy to the youth summit, Wright stated that 32 percent of Natives are under the age of 18, compared to only 24 percent of the total United States population being under the age of 18.

The summit was sponsored by The Klamath Tribes, Klamath Tribal Health and Family Services, and the Oregon Tech Native American Student Union.

Cancer, you deviant destruction, you better take leave of Martin Forbes


Photo by Kristen Forbes

Martin and Carolyn Forbes with their grandchildren: Grace Mueller holding Greta Daems, and Ryan Mueller.

Twenty years ago I worked on the copy desk at the Herald and News. The newsroom was filled with an assortment of characters most people would assume were born of hyperbole and prevarication. No one could invent that rogue’s gallery, but only Martin Forbes could tell the stories of personalities, who had passed through the doors, in a manner that would lead to giggles and tears.

It’s amazing that deadlines were routinely met, given the interpersonal dysfunction that seemed intrinsic to a small-town newspaper.

Martin started as a reporter, moved to the city editor slot, and ended his stent there as news editor. He moved on to be managing editor of the Lake Oswego Review, but I’d left the H&N in 2000. I dreaded the thought of being there without Martin.

Many of us are rallying for him now, as he stares down the scourge of esophageal cancer. It seems as obnoxious as any bit player in the history of the newsroom drama — only it’s hit a good man who has made is mark on many lives with his loving nature, cooking finesse, and storytelling.

Since laughter is the best medicine, I encourage him to remember the characters writ large in the pantheon of those not ready for primetime journalism:

  • The copy editor of “the Hebrew persuasion”, who was asked point blank by a co-worker why his people had killed Jesus Christ.
  • A dog named Beau who committed suicide following an unsavory interaction with a reporter.
  • Said reporter’s randy nature and a famous car-based interlude with a stuttering paramour who had to ask for the law enforcement officer’s flashlight to be diverted.
  • The publisher who used the royal “we”, which became confusing in talking about “our” wife.
  • Random calls from a former colleague, who was part of the Herald & News’ Camelot era, asking: “Will you be my Valentine?”
  • Only mentioning his current stay in Folsom when talking about said former colleague, implying being incarcerated but actually employed in a public relations position.
  • The former colleague’s wife making off with the custom pottery centerpieces from Martin’s eldest daughter’s wedding reception.
  • A certain manager who used editorial shears for a pedicure.
  • The historical re-enactor copy editor, who threatened to shoot a 50-caliber gun through an education reporter’s home.
  • Pocket turkeys as a Thanksgiving bonus.
  • A photo department employee who spent hours preparing the submitted photos from the local strip club for weekly advertisements.
  • The photographer who broke into the strip club, but left his truck behind so the police could trace him and learn of his thefts in Wyoming.
  • A photo technician who dreamed of starting a pornographic magazine with the photographer/burglar.
  • Boris the Cat, who was able to successfully defecate in the publisher’s coffee mug.
  • Martin’s reprimand for featuring a sand sculpture of Zeus on page one, causing the entire community to be exposed to a large sand phallus.

Martin, you are loved and beloved. Keep your chin up, and your sense of humor. You’ve seen many of us through dark days; let us help buoy you now.