Community, Patches' Pieces

Annual Quilt Show a Winner

Over 100 quilts were on display for Scraps & Threads annual quilt show.  In addition there were several special displays including Quilts for Cops, PIGS, Veteran Quilts, and the Star Baby Quilt Class. Quilts for Cops is a project spearheaded by Melody Casey. The guild is providing “small quilts for cops to keep in their cars.  The quilts could be used to provide some comfort for someone in need.”

Eureka Patrolmen accepting quilts from Melody Casey for the Quilts for Cops program
PIGS, Projects in Grocery Sacks

Veteran Quilts are quilts “made for veterans in VA facilities here in Montana. This is a project started by Bunny Franklin to provide quilts to the veterans at the Fort Harrison VA Hospital in Helena.”

Quilts for Veterans
Quilts for Cops

PIGS are “Project in a Grocery Sack.”  Guild members select 4 fat quarts that are placed in a “sack along with their names secreted inside the bag. Guild members randomly choose a bag not knowing whose they choose and in a given amount of time create a quilty item of some kind for the person whose name is found inside the bag.  At the end of the specified time all the PIGS are gathered together at a regular guild meeting and the sacks are returned to the rightful owners with a finished project inside.”

Ribbons were awarded in 5 categories. Winners in the large quilt category were: 1st. Sandy Mason with Mineral Matrix, 2nd. Melody Casey, and 3rd  Melody Casey. Winners in the medium category were: 1st. Lucy Ravitch with Teach me, 2nd. Annie Dueker, and 3rd  Melody Casey. Winners in the small quilt category were: 1st. Annie Dueker with Spiral Galaxy, 2nd. Renata Schroeppel, and 3rd  Kathie Elenberger. 

Winners in the Mini’s quilt category were: 1st. Annie Dueker with Great Ball of Fire, 2nd  Annie Dueker, and 3rd  Susan Crandall.  Winner in the other quilt category was Terrie Philips with Compass Rose Table Runner. The Best Theme quilt went to Annie Dueker with While Momma’s Away. And the People’s Choice Award went to Annie Dueker with Spiral Galaxy. -Patches


Frog Eggs and Toad Eggs

Spring seems to have finally arrived, and soon the pond will be full of little frogs. As it turns out, frog eggs and toad eggs are different, and far easier to tell apart than the tadpoles.

Toad eggs (left) and Frog Eggs (right), both from the pond, though the toad eggs are from a previous year.

Frog eggs typically form nice clumps. -this years batch are particularly muddy. Toad eggs, however, will generally be in strands. While the eggs will typically hatch within two weeks or so, it’s still possible to tell the difference in the next stage.

Tadpoles: The frog version will typically school. Eating eggs (or smaller tadpoles) is less common in frogs, and so there’s less reason to avoid the relatives. And, safety in numbers! After all, tadpoles are definitely small enough to be on the menu for dragonfly larvae.

Our local toad tadpoles seem to be far less inclined to form large schools. While not typically seen alone, they are generally doing their own thing and not associated with other tadpoles. Since toad tadpoles are willing to consume pretty much anything smaller than them (including younger tadpoles), this makes some sense.

Other than using behavioral clues, toad tadpoles are somewhat stockier than the frog tadpoles. It is, all things being equal, far easier to make the identification from the eggs.


The Power Elites

About the time I was learning to read, C. Wright Mills was writing the sociological classic The Power Elite.  Like his The Sociological Imagination, it is a text that remains insightful 60 years after his death.

Mills was a conflict theorist, strongly influenced by Weber and Marx . . . and I suppose it would be fair to say my own approach is strongly influenced by Weber, and Marx, and Mills.  He described the power elite of the mid-fifties as dominating the industrial, the military, and the political segments of our nation.  It seems like stating the obvious now – but it wasn’t so obvious in 1955.  Eisenhower was President – a West Point graduate, a five-star general in the European theatre of WWII, but before his appointment to West Point, his father worked as a railroad mechanic and in a creamery.  Ike looked more like a middle-class success story than any sort of elite. (and let’s remember, his outgoing speech, warning of a military-industrial complex)

By the late sixties, we were beginning to see recognizable figures in the Power Elite – John Kennedy, whose father had worked politics and industry wasn’t nearly so good an example of the power elite as his younger brother, Ted.  Ted Kennedy epitomized the ability of the Power Elite to screw up, to “sin” if you will, and get away with it.  Other politicians, less well connected (Wilbur Mills comes to mind) crashed careers with their conduct – but Ted continued on to become “the Lion of the Senate.”

John McCain returned from the Hanoi Hilton to be elected to the Senate, eventually even running for president.  One way of looking at him was as a popular war hero from an unpopular war.  Still, both his father and grandfather were Academy graduates and Admirals.  It’s easier for me to see John McCain as an example of the power elite.  If we glance at Mitch Romney – his father, George Romney was chairman of American Motors through the fifties, then governor of Michigan, the Secretary of HUD.  Like John McCain, Mitch could be used as an illustration in an updated version of The Power Elite. 

Nancy Pelosi’s father was a US Representative and Mayor of Baltimore.  The aunt of Gavin Newsom (governor of California) is married to Pelosi’s brother-in-law.  Examples abound of the interconnected elites.  Mills’ 1956 book is probably more relevant, and evidence supporting his hypothesis more prevalent now than when it was written. It’s not a conspiracy theory – just an outgrowth of Weber’s work on bureaucracy and Marx’ social conflict paradigm.

If I haven’t convinced you to get his book and read it, perhaps you would read  Scott Bonn’s 2017 article in Psychology Today at 

Ask The Entomologist

Thatch Ants

A question we received last month – our apologies for the delay in answering.

Thank you to Sandra Elster for prompting this piece.

Our mound-building ants in this part of the country are Western Thatching Ants, Formica obscuripes. 5′ by 5′ is quite an impressive mound! I suspect it had quite a few active queens in it at one time… These ants are rather special because they generally have multiple active queens in a single colony – the young queens often help out and reproduce at home, instead of founding their own new colonies.

While Thatching Ant queens can live about a decade, they will eventually die. And when they do so, if there aren’t other queens waiting in the wings, the whole colony will go down with them. I’m guessing this is what happened at your daughter’s place.

Workers at the entrance of a Western Thatching Ant nest near my home.
Busy despite the overcast day.

This species is most interesting to me when it sets about starting new colonies… You see, Western Thatching Ants often start out as social parasites! Queens of the red-colored wood ants, including our species of Thatch Ant, don’t start from scratch… They use others ants’ labor to get started.

The Queen is dead, long live the queen!”

A young queen of the Western Thatch Ant, instead of going to the backbreaking work of digging and founding a new colony all by herself, will tend to infiltrate nests of related ant species. Once inside, the young queen kills the old queen, acquires her smell, and steps into her role.

Over time, the new queen’s offspring will far outnumber those of the old queen, and the nest will eventually be a single species again. Fancy folks call this “temporary social parasitism“.

If the colony is very successful, it may divide into smaller colonies – a way new colonies sometimes form without using social parasitism. If a colony gets sufficiently large, daughter queens may take control of certain sections of it, forming a “satellite colony” instead of leaving to form an entirely separate one. Many linked colonies form a “supercolony”. The largest I’ve heard for this species is 210 linked colonies in eastern Oregon.

I wrote about wasp control not too long ago… Well, ants are your number one natural means of keeping wasps, and most other pest insects, in check. If a wasp colony is under stress, ants will often invade and carry away the baby wasps to be food for the colony. Controlling your Thatch Ants may lead to you having more wasp problems.

That said, if you want to exterminate your Western Thatch Ant colony, Washington State University Extension has some advice.

When they emerge, I’ll address Carpenter Ants & how to control them.

A Science for Everyone, Demography

An IQ Too Low for the Military

Jordan Peterson has a brief video on youtube describing the IQ cutoff the US military uses in recruitment. (Jordan Peterson | The Most Terrifying IQ Statistic)  He explains that the army doesn’t recruit for people who score below 83 because they can’t be trained. 

I think he has simplified the explanation – the ASVAB is the military test.  While it is not technically an IQ test, it correlates closely.  I’m not about to fact-check Jordan Peterson on a technicality.  He explains that 10% of the population have an IQ below 83, and the chart shows that 11.5% of the population score 82 or below.  Definitely close enough for a short lecture.

I think back among my students, and recall asking the slowest veteran I ever had in a class what he did in the army.  He replied he had been a gama goat driver.  The photo suggests that he probably had skills that would transfer to operating a rubber tired skidder – but probably lacked the forest experience.  My experience tells me that he would have been a good, reliable tail chainman on a survey party – but even at that time, electronic measuring devices were replacing the chains.

All told, I think I understand why Jordan Peterson called it “The most terrifying IQ statistic.”  If he was close to correct – and I suspect he was – we’re looking at somewhere around one person in nine that can’t be trained to perform a minimum military job adequately.  I suspect the civilian world isn’t any more merciful.  Years ago, I had the privilege of knowing Doug.  The army had released him because of a low score – whether IQ or ASVAB makes no difference.  He was in his fifties, and remembered vividly the date when he learned he wasn’t good enough.  He made a living as a ranch hand, mostly working cattle, haying and fixing or building fences . . . he was conscientious and reliable at handloading ammunition, and a cautious, safe driver.  As I watched Peterson’s video, I realized how few jobs there are for folks like Doug.   There was a place for Doug in north central Montana, but few areas have that opportunity.  Doug couldn’t have made it in the urban technical world.   Anything that finds one person in nine untrainable is a terrifying statistic. 

A Science for Everyone, Demography

Non-reproducible research

About 20 years ago, I realized that I had a fairly unique opportunity to test the hypothesis that 4-H was strongest where it was multigenerational – 4-H members grew up to be 4-H leaders, and the program was strongest where the multi-generational membership was the most common. 

I was working with 22 counties, and 4 of them had Extension secretaries with 30 or more years of experience, and full records.  Complete records is more challenging than you might think – when I worked as a County Agent, the records were in the basement, and a cracked sewer line helped me make the decision that they couldn’t be recovered.  Obviously, if I had only 4 counties out of 22, reproducing the research would be difficult at best.  On the other hand, if it didn’t get done in the next year, retirements would make it impossible to do once. 

In 1950, 18% of rural youth belonged to 4-H, with the membership plateau ending in 1976 (Putnam 2000, Bowling Alone), with a 26% decline in membership between 1950 and 1997.  And I was listening to folks who told me that the problem was a shortage of volunteer leaders.  It looked like I could find the numbers in those 4 counties with the oldest secretaries. 

I was on a roll – the secretaries showed that 151 4-H families had at least one parent who had been a 4-H member as a child, 78 families where neither parent had been a member, and the parents of 6 families could not be determined.  We defined 4-H members who had belonged to a club four years or more as persistent, and contrasted their statistics with first-year members.  None of the six families whose 4-H history couldn’t be determined had any persistent members, so the sample, while not particularly large, was clean.

Well, the stats were simple – Chi square was calculated at 45.03, the probability of the distribution occurring by chance was less than 0.001.  The data supported the hypothesis that parental involvement in 4-H (as a club member) is the greatest single predictor of member persistence in 4-H.  Two thirds of the persistent members (4 years or more) had parents who had been 4-H members in their youth, while two thirds of the first-year members had parents who had not been 4-H members.   The kids most likely to drop 4-H were kids whose parents had not been in 4-H and were not 4-H club leaders. 

The evidence was pretty solid that a multigenerational 4-H identity helped keep kids in 4-H – but it was equally solid that 4-H membership wasn’t random . . . it was hereditary, like the British nobility.    Still, making a conclusion about a national program from a sample of 334 people in 4 counties seems to be a stretch.  As I look at the Harry that was once an English prince, I wonder about researching the worldwide decline of royalty.

Non-reproducible research isn’t necessarily bad research, and it can provide some interesting conclusions – but it is better when you know it’s non-reproducible from the beginning.


Comparing Annual Meetings

InterBel Telephone Cooperative held its annual meeting on Saturday.

Registration- two lines

It was a bright, sunlit morning and a well attended meeting; 311 people were registered when the meeting began (Unlike Lincoln Electric’s Meeting with only 97 members registered).

Attendance: InterBel definitely had better attendance- but more about whether or not that’s a virtue for attendee’s later.

Registration: The lines were definitely longer for InterBel; Unlike Lincoln Electric, InterBel had a single registration point. Of course, they were handing out capital credits at that point, so the reason for the lengthy line was pretty self-explanatory.

The Radio: InterBel wins this one. Unlike the static of Lincoln Electric’s pre-meeting, when visitors sat in cold cars and wondered if they had the right station, InterBel provided a concert. By a local musician, no less!

Length: About equal, actually. And they felt equally long. InterBel’s had what felt like longer stretches with people talking, but the cold and nasty weather made the Lincoln Electric Meeting feel long as well.

Content: If you wanted to learn what was going on, InterBel held the better meeting. It was almost a shame to attend in person and miss the livestream, because there was a video and presentation.

The representative of the audit firm didn’t just state that they’d provided an unbiased opinion (which was the case for Lincoln Electric) but actually explained some of the features of the balance sheet. While seeing the graphs would have been helpful (printouts next-time?) it was a fairly clear, easy to follow, useful explanation.

In related news: InterBel is working on converting the Eureka business corridor to fiber optics, extending fiber to the West Kootenai, and expects to have fiber access to most of Eureka by the end of the year.

Trustees Election: When was the last time we had an election? And I don’t mean election by acclamation, I mean an actual election where people voted. Neither meeting had an actual election with voting. No, not even Lincoln Electric- there was literally no more candidates than vacancies, despite the mail-in ballot members received.

Prizes: Lincoln Electric definitely had more available. InterBel had 8 total (Including the grand prize). The odds were also better at the Lincoln Electric Meeting -far lower attendance! With only 97 people registered, and over ten prizes, the odds of winning something were at least 10% (and increased as each winner was removed from further drawings). The prizes for InterBel were a bit larger though.

My preference was for the InterBel meeting, which ran smoothly, included plenty of content, and for the most part seemed better planned. But folks interested in winning prizes (any prizes) would definitely have been better served by attending the Lincoln Electric Meetings. Not to mention the Luck of the Draw scholarships which Lincoln Electric provides.

One complaint: No bathrooms- this does limit the people who are able/willing to attend somewhat.

Community, The Crispy Cluck

Yum Yum and Then Some! Eating and Drinking with the Crispy Cluck

Tired of beer & wine? Well, then pull up those britches and tighten up those straps and trot, bike, drive or giddey-up to the STAHL PEAK DISTILLERY

Tired of beer & wine? Well, then pull up those britches and tighten up those straps and trot, bike, drive or giddey-up to the STAHL PEAK DISTILLERY

Located at 45 Front Street #5 which is just a wee bit north of Eureka, Mt, next to Route 93 Pizza. Founded in 2019 by Greg Hartley and Jeremy “Chunky” Sharp. This distillery is a proud producer of BIG SKY APPLE MOONSHINE and TEN LAKES VODKA.

On my first, I ordered the Ten Lakes Martini (extra dirty)! Contains Ten Lakes Vodka with vermouth and shaken or on the rocks. It was served in a martini glass with garlic/jalapeno stuffed queen olives. Generous pour, ice cold and delicious.

Inside the Distillery you will find friendly staff and plenty of seating. Decor is “woodsy” meets “hunting/wildlife” motif.

Hours are:

  • Wed/Thursday 4-8
  • Friday/Saturday 12-8
  • Sunday 12-6
  • Closed Monday and Tuesday

The drink menu offers 11 different drinks ranging from the Stahl APPLETINI to a Ten Lakes Bloody Mary or Caesar (made with their homemade tasty mary/caesar mix). Check out the drink menu at or on Facebook. Soon to be on Instagram!

Go and enjoy a handcrafted beverage and get a tour from Chunky!

Who said supporting a small business has to be hard?


The Crispy Cluck

Laws, Ordinances & Regulations

Gun Control – The Miller Case

We have to look out for things that aren’t so.  Years ago, the dean I worked for explained that the Second Amendment allowed the National Guard to be armed and was a collective right rather than an individual right.   He confidently cited United States v Miller, and it sounded like he had a strong point.  Since he was also the chair of the local Democrats, I figured it was worth checking the actual case – there are people who sound good, but their facts aren’t always so.  If you want a good read that covers United States v Miller, it’s here.

The case was about a couple bank robbers taking a sawed-off shotgun across state lines, and it’s important to understand a few things about Jackson Miller.  He was a poor shot with a handgun.  He was a career criminal.  And, he was a snitch, an informant, a narc who had rolled over on virtually all of his buddies.  If anyone needed that sawed-off double to enhance his life expectancy, it was Jackson Miller. 

The abstract explains “Miller was a Second Amendment test case, teed up with a nominal defendant by a district judge sympathetic to New Deal gun control measures. But the Supreme Court issued a surprisingly narrow decision. Essentially, it held that the Second Amendment permits Congress to tax firearms used by criminals. While dicta suggest the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to possess and use a weapon suitable for militia service, dicta are not precedent. In other words, Miller did not adopt a theory of the Second Amendment guarantee, because it did not need one.”

Brian L Frye University of Kentucky College of Law

Basically, the whole Supreme Court Ruling is based on the actions of Heartsill Ragon, a conniving gun control former congressman and judge.   This excerpt has been sliced for better readability, basically with the intent to get you to read the whole story.

“ JACKSON MILLER AND THE O’MALLEY GANG Jackson “Jack” Miller was a gambler, roadhouse owner, and small-time hood from Claremore, Oklahoma. Born in about 1900, he grew into a hulking, 240-pound thug. By 1921, he was in trouble with the law. His troubles worsened on August 14, 1924, when he accidentally killed H.A. Secrest, a young court reporter from Tulsa, while working as a bouncer at the Oak Cliff Resort near Claremore.  Secrest was plastered and roughing up his date, so Miller decked him, breaking his jaw.  Unfortunately, Secrest died of septicemia a couple of weeks later. Miller turned himself in on September 11, 1924, and immediately posted $5,000 bail. 

But Miller did not hit the major leagues until he joined the O’Malley Gang in 1934. The Depression was the golden age of Midwestern bank robbery, and the O’Malleys executed some of the era’s most daring and successful heists. From 1932 to 1935 they claimed “most of the major bank robberies in the Southwest,” hitting banks in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and Illinois.  Originally known as the Ozark Mountain Boys, the gang consisted of a score of hoods, most of whom met in the Missouri State Penitentiary.

A reporter christened them the O’Malley Gang after the dashing Leo “Irish” O’Malley, notorious for his sensational but remarkably inept kidnapping of August Luer. In fact, O’Malley was only a bit player.  The gang’s real leaders were Dewey Gilmore, Daniel “Dapper Dan” Heady, and George Leonard “Shock” Short.

In the summer of 1934, Short moved to a rented farmhouse outside of Claremore. The rest of the gang soon followed. Heady recruited Miller as a “follow-up man” (lookout) and “wheelman” (getaway driver). Then the O’Malleys got to work.

On September 14, 1934, they hit the McElroy Bank and Trust in downtown Fayetteville, the oldest bank in Arkansas. While Miller and Art Austin circled the block, Gilmore, Heady, Virgil “Red” Melton, and Fred Reese broke into the bank before it opened, shanghaied the employees as they arrived, and made off with about $5,700.28

Then, on December 22, 1934, the O’Malleys robbed two Okemah, Oklahoma banks at the same time, one of the few successes.  They drove a Plymouth and a Ford into Okemah at dawn, wore bandages concealing their faces, and struck shortly before the banks opened. Gilmore, O’Malley, Short, and Russell Land Cooper hit the Okemah National Bank, while Heady, Melton, and Reese hit the First National Bank of Okemah.

Miller “was stationed at the Okemah city limits to guard against possible breakdowns and to pick up members of the gang if their autos failed.” Armed with pistols and machineguns, the O’Malleys bound and gagged the unsuspecting bank employees as they arrived, then forced a bank officer to open the safe. The Okemah National Bank yielded $13,186 and the First National Bank of Okemah yielded $5,491.25.33 The police pursued, to no avail.

Miller returned to Claremore with his $2,100 share of the Okemah job, half of which he kicked back to Gilmore on the sly. But he soon grew restless. On the night of January 11, 1935, he and some friends decided to rob Joe Lewis’s gas station and café in Salina, Oklahoma.

Nineteen-year-old Percy Bolinger was alone behind the counter when Miller, Earnest Tennyson, Ray Anderson, Norman Hoch, Howard Bridwell, Cap Ellis, Bill Meyers, and Blue Culver sauntered in at about 2 a.m. They ordered coffee and started playing the slot machines. When they got unruly and started tilting the machines, Bolinger asked them to leave. The hoods returned a few hours later, accompanied by Jeff Armstrong, who promptly pistol-whipped Bolinger. They stole $23.71 from the till and $120 from four slot machines, which they dumped in Lake Cherokee.

A week later, the police arrested the whole crew in Claremore. It was the beginning of the end for the O’Malleys.  Today, Okemah is best known as Woody Guthrie’s hometown. On May 3, 1935, the O’Malleys hit the City National Bank of Fort Smith, Arkansas, stealing about $22,000.37 It was their last big job.

The police arrested Cooper as a likely suspect and struck gold. Cooper ratted out Gilmore, who was already on the lam. The police caught up with Gilmore on May 22, outside of Lancaster, Texas. Gilmore sang too, fingering the rest of the gang. The police pinched O’Malley and Heady in Kansas City, where they’d rented a swanky pad from James Maroon. O’Malley immediately confessed to the Luer kidnapping and was extradited to Illinois. But the FBI took Heady to Muskogee, Oklahoma, to face federal charges on the Okemah job. A couple of weeks later, the police nabbed Short in Galena, Missouri. And on August 8, they caught up with Melton and Reese at a fishing camp in Taney County, Missouri. The FBI took all three to Muskogee for trial.

In the meantime, federal prosecutors indicted the O’Malleys in the Eastern District of Oklahoma. The Oklahoma trial came first. Federal prosecutors charged Gilmore, Cooper, O’Malley, and Short with robbing the Okemah National Bank and Heady, Melton, and Reese with robbing the National Bank of Okemah. All seven pleaded not guilty and the trial was set for October 16. But on October 2, the United States re-indicted the lot of them, added Jack Miller to both counts, and postponed the trial to November 25.

Miller soon flipped, confessing to his role in the Okemah job and turning state’s evidence. Miller was the government’s ace in the hole. To preserve the surprise, federal prosecutors sequestered him in the county jail until trial. As soon as the trial began, Miller’s lawyer H. Tom Kight announced, “Jack Miller, my client, will testify only on condition that he be granted complete immunity.” Judge Robert L. Williams agreed, on the condition Miller “gives a complete and truthful account of the crime.” |

He did, and then some. “Miller, placed on the witness stand, identified the defendants as coconspirators and testified Dan Heady, charged with participation in the robbery of the First National bank approached him ‘regarding robbery of some banks.’ He testified the plan of robbing the Okemah banks was agreed upon and he was employed as a ‘follow-up man.’ He said he received $2,100 as his share of the loot taken from the banks.” Miller’s erstwhile companions branded him a “squealer,” Cooper even requesting to leave the courtroom while Miller testified.

The trial was over almost as soon as it started. On November 27, the jury convicted the seven defendants on all counts. Williams acquitted Miller as promised, but added an admonishment. “You had a narrow escape this time . . . and you won’t be so lucky again. Get into something honest and quit this gambling business.” Miller immediately returned to Claremore.

Williams set a sentencing date of December 9, 1935. But on December 3, Heady’s wife “Pretty Betty” slipped him a pistol during a visit. Heady used the pistol to break out of prison, escaping with Gilmore, Short, and Cooper, among others. During the jailbreak, Heady shot Muskogee Chief of Detectives Ben Bolton, who died a couple of days later.

A huge posse of Oklahoma police and federal agents, aided by bloodhounds and observers in airplanes, tracked the fugitives to Pushmataha County into the Kiamachi Mountains near Clayton, Oklahoma. On December 5, the posse caught Cooper while he was walking down a country road twelve miles north of Clayton. And the next day, they found Heady and Gilmore in a farmhouse near Weathers, Oklahoma.

When Heady and Gilmore refused to surrender, the police opened fire, killing Heady. Gilmore quickly gave up and led the police to Short, about a mile and a half away. Short was already dying, having been critically burned in an accidental fire the night before, and he drowned when a boat used to evacuate him accidentally capsized.

On December 9, Williams sentenced Gilmore, Cooper, O’Malley, Melton, and Reese to 25 years. Miller was terrified of the fugitive O’Malleys, so the FBI held him in a county jail during the manhunt. They needed their snitch alive for the Arkansas trial.

On January 10, 1936, federal prosecutors charged Dewey Gilmore, Russell Cooper, Otto Jackson, and Floyd Y. Henderson with robbing the McElroy Bank and Trust Company of Fayetteville and the City National Bank of Fort Smith, Arkansas.

At first, all four pleaded not guilty, but Gilmore flipped when Miller implicated him in the Fayetteville job, and the others quickly folded. On January 14, Judge Hiram Heartsill Ragon sentenced Gilmore, Cooper, and Jackson to 25 years, and Smith to 56. Short was very popular in Galena – over 1,000 people attended his funeral – and his death was controversial. The police denied shooting him, but a Galena undertaker insisted he found several buckshot wounds in the corpse. And on February 14, Gilmore and Cooper got another 99 years for murdering Bolton. That was the end of the O’Malleys. Melton, Cooper, Gilmore, and Reese started in Leavenworth and ended up in Alcatraz. O’Malley did his time in Illinois, but soon went mad and died in 1944. And Miller returned to his penny-ante ways.

In 1937, the United States Fidelity and Guarantee Company sued him for the proceeds of the Okemah job, to little effect. Eventually, he fell in with Frank Layton, another small-time Claremore hood. On April 18, 1938, the Arkansas and Oklahoma state police stopped Miller and Layton outside of Siloam Springs, Arkansas, en route from Claremore.  They had an unregistered, short-barreled shotgun in the car and apparently were “making preparation for armed robbery.” So the police arrested them.”

The postscript supports my belief that Miller wasn’t all that good with a pistol:

POSTSCRIPT   In the meantime, Miller resurfaced. On April 3, 1939, Miller, Robert Drake “Major” Taylor, and an unidentified accomplice robbed the Route 66 Club, a Miami, Oklahoma dive. Armed with shotguns, they stole about $80, superficially wounding two bystanders in the process.

Apparently, it was an inside job. Earl “Woodenfoot” Clanton, the uncle of notorious bank robbers Herman and Ed “Newt” Clanton, owned the bar. Taylor was a former associate of Newt Clanton’s, and a peripheral member of the O’Malley Gang. At about 9 a.m. on April 3, two or three men in a car picked up Miller at his home in Ketchum, Oklahoma. T|

he next day, around noon, a farmhand named Fisher discovered Miller’s bulletridden corpse on the bank of the “nearly dry” Little Spencer Creek, nine miles southwest of Chelsea, Oklahoma. Miller was shot four times with a .38, twice in the chest, once under the left arm, and once through the left arm. The .45 automatic next to him had been fired three times.  On April 6, someone found Miller’s torched 1934 sedan off a dirt road in the Verdigris River bottoms, about four miles southeast of Nowata. It was stripped and still smoldering. A farmer said he saw it burning shortly before noon on April 3.

Taylor was a suspect in the investigation. On October 8, 1939, Sheriff Ellis Summers arrested him in Kermit, Texas, after he got in a “fight with an oil field worker over a dice game.” Ultimately, what happened on April 4 is unclear. Maybe Miller and Taylor disputed the proceeds of the robbery. Maybe Taylor shot Miller for snitching on the O’Malleys. In any case, Oklahoma charged Taylor with murder, but eventually dropped the charges for lack of evidence. Still, he pleaded guilty to armed robbery and got ten years in McAlester.

On January 8, 1940, Layton pleaded guilty to the reinstated NFA charge and Ragon sentenced him to five years probation. Ragon expected an appointment to the Eighth Circuit, but died suddenly of a heart attack on September 15, 1940. Layton’s probation ended on January 29, 1944.He died in 1967. Both Miller and Layton were buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Claremore, Oklahoma.”

As I read the article, Judge Heartsill Ragon was a former congressman of the gun control persuasion.  Wikipedia, the bio of Heartsill Ragon sums it up elegantly:

In 1939, Ragon authored an opinion in United States v. Miller, 26 F. Supp. 1002, stating that a federal statute violated the Second Amendment. Ragon was in reality, in favor of the gun control law and was part of an elaborate plan to give the government a sure win when they appealed to the supreme court which they promptly did. Miller, who was a known bank robber, had just testified in court against his whole gang and would have to go into hiding as soon as he was released. Ragon knew that Miller would not pay for an attorney to argue the case at the supreme court and so the government would have a sure win because the other side would not show up. The plan worked perfectly. His opinion was reversed by the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Miller (1939).”


Click the link, and download “The Peculiar Story of United States v Miller”. It really is worth reading, to help understand how the court ruling was achieved.  Miller, died a week and a half before the ruling.


Error in Eureka Elementary School Board Election resulted in many extra ballots being mailed

An error in the Eureka Elementary School Board Election resulted in many extra ballots being mailed. Registered voters in Trego, Fortine and Stryker recently received ballots for the Eureka Elementary School Board Election.

While Trego, Fortine, and Stryker are part of the LCHS high school district, none of the three communities are part of the elementary district (Trego and Fortine both have their own elementary school districts- Stryker is part of Trego’s School District). Consequently, residents are not eligible to vote in Eureka Elementary district elections. With a large number of people ineligible to vote receiving ballots (some of which may already have been sent in), it seems likely that this year’s election is going to be a bit complicated.

We don’t know yet how the district is going to handle this (if they’ve started opening the ballots they’ve gotten back, it’s going to be difficult to sort the valid votes from the invalid).

How did we hear about this? We (Mike) asked:

Greetings – I have received the official ballot for the school trustee election of May 4, 2021.  I would appreciate your assurance (your email is listed on the enclosure) that I am permitted to vote on the candidates for school district 13.

As a Trego resident, the elementary district in which I vote (and serve as a board member) is 53.  I recognize that Marcie Butts represents my area in the LCHS district, and that her election is by acclamation.

I may not understand (the explanation I recall is at least 50 years old) but before casting my ballot, I would like to know that I am doing so correctly.  I know that we don’t vote on Eureka elementary levies, so I would appreciate clarification – I can figure out justification both ways, but I suspect only one is correct.”

Mike McCurry (email to Onna Escobar, Eureka Public Schools)

What we’ve learned: This error originated with the county election department, which provided address labels to the Eureka School District. The error was not caused by the Eureka School District. (Eureka Public Schools and County Commissioner Josh Letcher were very helpful in providing information about the situation)

What probably happened is that ballots were issued to the registered voters in the high school district, instead of just the Eureka elementary district.

At any rate, we ought to learn more as the school decides where to go from here. In the meantime, we suspect that residents outside of the district can make life easier for the folks who have to handle this by not mailing in their (invalid) ballots.

Part of the mail-in ballot we received (for an election we cannot vote in, because we live in the Trego Elementary District)