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Sawbill Newsletter Archives: February 2014
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « January 2014 | March 2014 »

2/28/14 - Our fabulous guides, Dave and Amy Freeman, were featured today in Minneapolis Star Tribune article.

2/14/14 - Here is this week's edition of the Cook County West End News from WTIP, North Shore Community Radio.

Here is an excerpt:

Last week, I mentioned my epic fall off the peak of my house. I got a number of emails and comments about my inventing the new Olympic sport known as roof diving. It got me to thinking about other West End winter sports that could be included in future winter Olympic Games.

One event could be Cold Weather Dog Walking. This would be judged on the dog's form and skill at walking while holding one or more freezing paws off the ground. Points could be awarded for maintaining speed while walking with one, two, or at the pinnacle of skill, three paws in the air. Extra points are awarded for successfully "taking care of business" with one or more paws off the ground.

Another sport could be competitive car starting. Athletes would each be provided with a 1992 Toyota Camry with two hundred and thirty thousand miles on it and a four-year-old battery, cooled down to 32 degrees below zero. Points would be awarded for the least time elapsed from leaving the house to pulling out of the driveway. Style points would be added for combinations of starter fluid, gas pedal pumping and application of jumper cables. Needless to say, at the Olympic level, only batteries with the tiny little side-mounted terminals would be allowed. Points would be deducted for failure to make a solid connection or having the jumper cables pop off just as you turn the key. You are disqualified if you leave your choppers sitting on the air cleaner when you slam the hood.

The final new event could be that ultimate test of speed, agility and strength that we call roof shoveling. Points would be awarded for speed and style, with extra points being added for the size of each block of snow pushed over the edge of a low pitch cabin roof. The judges will want to see a few graceful roof diving moves, with points being added for the length and loudness of the scream and the gracefulness of the landing. Veterans of this Olympic sport, like me, would delight the crowd with our perfect belly flop techniques.

This all gets me to thinking that the West End should submit a bid to host the 2022 winter games.
- Bill

2/13/14 - Former Sawbill crew member (and our daughter), Clare Hansen, is featured in the University of Montana News article below. - Bill

UMSL ABA Negotiation Team Invited To National Competition

(pictured above, left to right: 1L, Nick VandenBos [Bozement, MT] 3L, Clare Hansen [Tofte, MN] and Prof. Klaus Sitte, Coach).

UPDATE February 10, 2014:

The UMSL ABA Negotiation Competition Team of Clare Hansen and Nick VandenBos competed at the National Negotiation Competition in Chicago this past week. Nick and Clare advanced to the semifinal round before succumbing to the University of Minnesota Law School team which eventually took 3rd place. The ABA does not officially ranked teams below the final 4.

Clare and Nick are remarkably gifted negotiators. Clare's appearance in the Saturday morning round marked the end of her amazing 3-year competition career. She is one of only a handful of students who has competed in the Regional Final round twice in successive years, followed by a national competition appearance. I have had no other Neg Team member who has accomplished that feat in 22 years. Those of you who have had her in class are witnesses to her talent and competence. Nick, as a 1L, was notable just by his mere presence, let alone unique skills: not many 1Ls make it to national competition, of course. His ability to sense Clare's next sentence is quite uncanny.

As you can tell, I am resoundingly proud of these 2 UM Law Students. Not only are they amazing ambassadors for UMSL, they are incredibly fun to work with. Please join me in congratulating their impressive achievement. - Prof. Klaus Sitte

2/7/14 - Here is the latest edition of the Cook County West End News from WTIP, North Shore Community Radio.

Below is an excerpt:

I am particularly happy to be able to report the West End News this week, because by all rights I should be either be in an intensive care ward or attending my own funeral.

Last Wednesday, I fell off the peak of my roof, plunging 22 feet straight down on to rock-hard frozen ground.

I was up there to clear a frozen sewer vent, which is something that a lot of West End residents have been doing lately. To access my roof, I climb the latticed radio tower that is bolted to the high peak of my two-story home. At the peak, there is a steep eave about 18" wide that I have to step over to reach the much flatter main roof area. When I committed my weight in that first step, the snow on the eve broke loose and avalanched down and off. I wasn't too worried because I still was holding the tower with both hands and my other foot. Unfortunately, the physics of the avalanche took a large chunk of dense snow off the flat part of the roof with it, including my foot that was buried within it. The huge mass of the moving snow plucked my hands off the tower like you would pluck a mosquito off your arm. Meanwhile, the foot that was still on the tower became momentarily wedged in the latticework and in the blink of an eye, I was spun around and launched into mid air 22 feet above the unforgiving earth.

I'm here to tell you that good old gravity accelerates a falling object frighteningly quickly. It's one thing to observe an object dropping from the heights - and quite another thing to be the object.

I've often wondered what would pass through my mind if I were facing sure death with only a few seconds to ponder my fate. Would my life flash before my eyes? Would I think of my children, spouse, family or beloved friends? Would I feel regret or fear? Well, now I know. I had one thought and one thought only as the ground rushed toward me. Calmly and without fear, I thought to myself, "This is really going to hurt." - and it did.

As it turned out, I was incredibly lucky to land a perfect belly flop on absolutely flat ground that was covered by 25 inches of soft snow. Thanks to the cold weather, I was wearing multiple layers of thick clothing. That combination saved my life. I had the wind thoroughly knocked out of me, but once I recovered from that, I had only a moderately sore shoulder and foot to show for my adventure.

The experience definitely did change my outlook on life. I was stupid, then lucky, and that's a combo that you don't get to repeat too many times in one life. After the fall, you can be sure that I've thought often about my children, spouse, family and beloved friends. - Bill

Here is the divot that is created when an outfitter and radio commentator falls 22 feet.

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