Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, August 18, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 5



Mountain Views News Saturday August 18, 2012

“What’s Going On?” 

News and Views from Joan Schmidt

By Christoper Nyerges

[Nyerges has led survival skills and wild food classes since 1974, was the editor of 
Wilderness Way magazine, and has written 10 books. He can be heard weekly on 
Preparedness Radio Network. For more information, go to www.ChristopherNyerges.



 Recently, Chief Neal Tyler retired from the Los Angeles County 
Sheriff’s Department after a remarkable thirty-seven years. He began 
as a Reservist in 1974-1975. A graduate of Academy Class 173 in 1975, 
Neal’s custody assignment was the Inmate Reception Center from 1975-
1979, then Lennox Station from 1979-1981. After promotion to Sergeant, 
assignments include Men’s Central Jail (1981-2), Lennox Station (1982-4), 
and the Sheriff’s Information Bureau (1984-6). In 1986, Neal promoted to 
Lieutenant, back to Lennox Station (1986-7), Temple Station (1987-90), 
the Advanced Training Bureau (1990-2), and the PSTD (1992-5). After a promotion to 
Captain in 1995, Neal‘s went to Advanced Training Bureau (1995-6), Special Projects (1997-
8) and Temple Station from 1998-2000. (As Temple Station Commander, Neal was “Police 
Chief ” to its five cities: Bradbury, Duarte, Rosemead, South El Monte, and Temple City, 
and overseer of the unincorporated Monrovia-Arcadia Duarte, East Pasadena and South 
San Gabriel areas! Neal never slackened in his command, and was very involved in ALL 
areas. He supported the Town Council and attended our special functions. In the City of 
Duarte, he learned the “special dance” as they competed for All-American City. In 2001, 
Neal promoted to Commander of Region I, a position he held until 2002, when he promoted 
to Chief of Region I, which he has held until his retirement.


I have traced the remarkable career of a unique man loved by many. 250+ coworkers and 
friends came to honor retiring Chief Neal Tyler!

 At the main table were our Sheriff Lee Baca and Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl 
Osby, who spoke highly of Neal and how the two agencies work so well together in many 
situations. Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, and Assistant Sheriffs Marv Cavanaugh and Cecil 
Rhambo also joined them.

 Sheriff Lee Baca said, “Neal Tyler is an interesting guy with a neat way of looking at life…
he is gracious, decent and a true professional.”

 Undersheriff Paul Tanaka said, “Thank you from all the people of L.A. County. You have 
been a great Chief and I will miss you.”

 Assistant Sheriff Marv Cavanaugh met Neal, “The most decent human being I have ever 
met who taught me a lot,” as a sergeant at Central Jail in 1981.

 Mark Estrella, Director, Department of Public Works, spoke of the 2004 Station Fire and 
working with Chief Tyler, from whom he learned a lot. 

 The big surprise was Orange County’s Sheriff Sandy Hutchens and Undersheriff Jack 
Scott. (Both are retirees of L.A. County Sheriff’s Department!) Sandy related that when she 
was a sergeant assigned to Temple Station, Neal was the Watch Commander and her mentor 
from whom she learned so much, and she was so grateful to him.

 Council Members Margaret Clark of Rosemead and Laura Olhasso of La Canada Flintridge 
also had accolades for Neal.

 Retired Chiefs/Commanders were Rich and Lynda Castro, Tom Sams, Jerry Schmiedeke, 
and Jon Engebretsen, who drove up from San Diego! Current ones included Tim Laing, 
James Lopez, Michael Grossman, Roberta Abner and husband Phil, Rich Barrantes, (Master 
of Ceremony) with wife Nora and daughter Deanna, Alex Yim, Bill McSweeney, David 
Betkey, Jacques La Berge, Gary Jones, Dan Finkelstein, and Ray Leyva. Captain Dave Silversparre & 
wife Kristen from Crescenta Valley, Captain Bobby Denham and Lt. Paul Clay came from Palmdale; 
Captain Bob Jonson from Lancaster, and Captain John Benedict from Altadena. Old Temple Station 
friends were Lt. Bob Wiard, Lt. Brain Moriguchi, Mike Rafter, Arlene Gray, Chris Reed and Joshua 
Thai. Director/Educational Services Richard Weintraub and COPS Director Natalie Salazar with 
hubby Danny Di Pace also attended. And there were many more! Family members included his two 
brothers, sisters-in-law and their families, his cousin and stepmom, Pauline . For me, the highlight of 
the evening was meeting Teri and Gabe Astorga. 

During one of my Pasadena 
City College survival classes, 
a student asked me to list the 
items that should be carried in 
an evacuation bag, also known 
as the “bugout bag.” In other 
words, if she had to immediately 
leave her home for some reason, 
what should her survival 
bag contain. Of course, this led 
to a big portion of that evening’s 

 “First,” I responded, “what 
scenario are we talking about?” 
The student was thinking of a 
serious emergency where even 
a car wouldn’t be useful, where 
you’d have to evacuate on foot. 

So my first order was to convey 
the fact that one would rarely 
choose to leave one’s home – 
where everything is familiar 
and where you know everyone 
in the neighborhood – unless 
you absolutely had no other 

 “You would rarely want to 
choose to leave your home and 
randomly wander the streets 
after an emergency,” I replied, 
“because you are now entering 
into the chaos and randomness 
of street mobs and possible violence.” 
I tried to impress upon 
the class how dangerous it often 
is to wander on foot in the 
aftermath of a major disaster – 
whether it be an earthquake, or 
the results of war, or flooding.

And though the effects of nature 
can be devastating, the fear and 
chaos that will possess other 
people could be your greatest 

 OK, we established that wandering 
around may not be your 
best choice but if you have no 
choice, then what should you 

 Before I tried to answer that 
question, I asked all the students, 
“If there was an emergency 
tonight after you get home 
and you had to evacuate, where 
would you go? And why would 
you go there?” Most had no idea 
where to do, and in all probability, 
would follow crowds to 
some likely safe place, or would 
simply follow the orders of 
whomever happened to be giving 

 I urged each student to obtain 
topographical maps of 
their local area and to begin 
to learn about their local environment. 
Find out where there 
are sources of water, reservoirs, 
pools, train lines, etc. In a disaster, 
your knowledge is far more 
important than your stuff. Next, 
I urged each student to get involved 
in their local Neighborhood 
Watch, and to do the 
CERT trainings, and Red Cross 
emergency first aid. In other 
words, we need to realize the 
fact that other people in our 
community, and our relationships 
with them, is a far greater 
“survival tool” than merely having 
a pack with some knick-
knacks in it.

 Most people would be surprised 
to learn the level of preparedness 
that already occurs in 
most cities, and within various 
agencies such as the Red Cross, 
Police and Sheriff departments, 
and City Hall. It is to each of our 
advantage to get to know what 
has already been planned in our 
own towns. 

 Everyone was getting the picture. 
Get to know your town, 
your geography, and get to 
know who’s who in your town, 
and learn about systems that 
have already been established 
in the event of emergencies. Of 
course you must still do your 
own home preparedness, but 
just don’t do it in a vacuum.

But the student persisted. She 
still wanted to know what to 
carry. So I polled the students 
who’d already been in my class 
for several weeks. What should 
one carry in a survival pack? 
Someone said a knife. Yes, I 
wrote that on the board. You 
should carry some sort of useful 
knife that you’re comfortable 
with, like a Swiss Army knife, a 
Leatherman, and so on. Someone 
suggested that a bow and 
drill be carried for fire making. 
No, I said. We learn how to 
make fire with those primitive 
methods so we can do it when 
there is nothing else. 

 You must have fire, but keep 
it simple. Carry a Bic or a magnesium 
fire starter. Water. Yes, 
you need it, and should carry 
at least a quart container and a 
water purifier. And you need to 
know where to find water. And 
we continued this way – first aid 
kit, small flash light, etc. It was 
more important to get people to 
consider their individual needs 
than it was for me to list things 
that someone else thinks are 

 Survival can be deadly serious, 
but it can be a very enjoyable 
pursuit along the way. Learn 
what you can little by little, but 
apply your knowledge as you go. 
That way, your skills are useful 
and your confidence level is increased. 
It is never sufficient to 
say “I saw that on YouTube” and 
think that you know what it’s all 

For some idea of what you might carry, 
look at Francisco Loaiza’s blog spot, 
where he describes 30 essential items that 
he recommends to his Boy Scouts. http://
For more ideas of what to consider in a 
kit, you should check out John McCann’s 
“Build the Perfect Survival Kit,” as well as 
my own “How to Survive Anywhere.”

Neal Tyler, Bob Osbourne and Mike Grossman



 Two of three key signs of changes expected to occur at the boundary of interstellar 
space have changed faster than at any other time in the last seven years, according to 
new data from NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft.

 For the last seven years, Voyager 1 has been exploring the outer layer of the bubble 
of charged particles the Sun blows around itself. In one day, on July 28, data from 
Voyager 1’s cosmic ray instrument showed the level of high-energy cosmic rays 
originating from outside our solar system jumped by five percent. During the last half 
of that same day, the level of lower-energy particles originating from inside our solar 
system dropped by half. However, in three days, the levels had recovered to near their 
previous levels.

 A third key sign is the direction of the magnetic field, and scientists are eagerly 
analyzing the data to see whether that has, indeed, changed direction. Scientists 
expect that all three of these signs will have changed when Voyager 1 has crossed into 
interstellar space. A preliminary analysis of the latest magnetic field data is expected 
to be available in the next month.

 “These are thrilling times for the Voyager team as we try to understand the 
quickening pace of changes as Voyager 1 approaches the edge of interstellar space,” 
said Edward Stone, the Voyager project scientist based at the California Institute of 
Technology, Pasadena, Calif. “We are certainly in a new region at the edge of the solar 
system where things are changing rapidly. But we are not yet able to say that Voyager 
1 has entered interstellar space.”

 The levels of high-energy cosmic ray particles have been increasing for years, but 
more slowly than they are now. The last jump—of five percent—took one week in May. 
The levels of lower-energy particles from inside our solar system have been slowly 
decreasing for the last two years. Scientists expect that the lower-energy particles will 
drop close to zero when Voyager 1 finally crosses into interstellar space.

 “The increase and the decrease are sharper than we’ve seen before, but that’s also 
what we said about the May data,” Stone said. “The data are changing in ways that we 
didn’t expect, but Voyager has always surprised us with new discoveries.”

 Voyager 1, which launched on Sept. 5, 1977, is 11 billion miles from the Sun. 
Voyager 2, which launched on Aug. 20, 1977, is close behind, at 9.3 billion miles 
from the Sun.


 MEANWHILE, A LOT CLOSER TO HOME but still very far out, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is alive and well and has gone about 2/3 of the way on its long journey to Pluto and beyond.

 New Horizons was launched in January, 2006, directly into an Earth-and-solar-escape trajectory with an Earth-relative velocity of about 36,000 mph. Thus, the spacecraft left Earth at the greatest-ever 
launch speed for a man-made object. It flew by the orbit of Mars in April, 2006, the orbit of Jupiter in February, 2007, the orbit of Saturn in June, 2008, and the orbit of Uranus in March, 2011. Currently, it 
is roughly two billion miles from Earth and a billion miles from Pluto. Its estimated arrival date at the Pluto-Charon system is July 14, 2015.

More about the Voyager spacecraft:

New Horizons artist’s image:

New Horizons trajectory to Pluto:

You can contact Bob Eklund at:

This artist’s concept shows NASA’s two Voyager spacecraft exploring a turbulent region of space known as 
the heliosheath, the outer shell of the bubble of charged particles around our sun. 

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech