Beyond 90 Seconds Washington wildlife

Wintering bald eagles of Rockport at center of majestic mountain beauty


Bald Eagles along Skagit River in Rockport, WA (2009) from Mark Horner on Vimeo.



When I recently returned to my home state, I vowed I’d get to know Washington better than ever; that I’d attack it with the same curiosity and sense of exploration that I’d applied to southeastern Arizona, Door County Wisconsin and much of New Mexico.

It’s easy to take a lot of things for granted in life, isn’t it?  Time spent with our parents, for example.

Treasures only a short drive from our front door can be under appreciated, too.

The first time I moved to Tucson, in 1991, I’d been surprised to meet a few natives who’d never been to Sabino Canyon, let alone the Grander fissure to the north.

So, here I am.  Now living only a few miles from the neighborhoods that helped shape me. Familiar, yet unfamiliar, as much has changed here since I left for college, and then (after a brief stint managing a Skipper’s fish-and chips restaurant) onto a TV reporting job in 1987.

The video featured in this post is not the typical fare for this blog.  No crime, no cults, no floating feet.

sunrise_pic_2Instead, today’s video features pretty pictures of bald eagles, snow-capped mountains, river banks, a blue heron, a logging truck and photographers delighting in all of it.

It’s been more than 20-years since my only prior visit to Rockport to see the eagles that winter along the Skagit River. Back in the late 80’s, I’d made the trip with a friend and never left the roadside.

Last Thursday, I drove to Rockport with my brother, Jeff.  We did leave the road.  And often hiked through crusted snow to see what was around the next bend in the river.

During the winter, this stretch of the Skagit River attracts hundreds of bald eagles from Canada and Alaska.  Why?  Easy pickins.  Or, as a Seattle Times reporter put it a few years ago:

…to feast on salmon carcasses that wash up on the river’s gravel bars, the equivalent of a Las Vegas buffet for snowbirds: cheap, plentiful and, OK, maybe a little stale.

Jeff primarily shot still pictures, but used the same camera to shoot a bit of video, too.  I shot lots of video.

The first few scenes in this video were actually shot while we were still en route to Rockport.  The sun was rising as we were driving on a stretch of Highway 530 between Arlington and Darrington.  What words to reach for as I attempt to describe the unveiling of that new day?  Magical?  Mystical? Let’s just say, spectacular.

After the shoot, I used the GarageBand application on my Mac to create a piece of music for this video.  When I imported it into iTunes (so that I could access it with GarageBand), I felt compelled to give the song a name, Where Spirits Soar.

The 22nd annual Upper Skagit Bald Eagle Festival takes place this weekend, January 24th & 25th.  To learn more, please click here.


UPDATE (January 23):  Tonight, KING-TV’s (Seattle) Evening Magazine is featuring a segment titled, Eagles at home on Skagit River. You can watch that story here:  KING5 VIDEO


If you liked this video, you might also enjoy watching Snohomish River rising quickly.

(View Wintering bald eagles of Rockport at center of majestic mountain beauty on Vimeo HD)

Beyond 90 Seconds News Snohomish Snohomish River Washington

VIDEO: Snohomish River rising quickly



(Snohomish) Like so many rivers in Washington State today, the Snohomish is very much on the rise.

The National Weather Service now expects record flooding on the Snohomish River at Snohomish.

Forecasters say it will crest at 10 p.m. Thursday more than 10 feet above flood stage. –Seattle P-I/Associated Press

When I set-out with my video camera this morning, I thought I’d head for Arlington and the flooded Stillaguamish river.  However, as I first approached the Snohomish exit on Highway 9, I felt compelled to take a quick look in that town.

It wasn’t a quick visit.

What I saw was enough to keep me busy for a couple of hours, while conveniently removing the threat of encountering even higher water further north in Arlington.

If you enjoyed watching Snohomish River rising quickly, you might also like to watch Wintering bald eagles of Rockport at center of majestic mountain beauty.

Beyond 90 Seconds News Washington weather

Snowstorm blankets Western Washington


(Western Washington) Cold air and bands of snow clouds continue to blast through much of the Pacific Northwest, resulting in icy roads and numerous school closures. I thought I’d shoot a bit of weather video today and share it here.

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AP Araceli Camacho Gomez Associated Press Beyond 90 Seconds crimes against children fetus Kennewick law enforcement murder News Pasco Phiengchai Sisouvanh Synhavong police television Tri-Cities true crime video Washington

A baby cut from a mother’s body…again

(July 2) There is much yet to be learned about a recent murder in the Tri-Cities of south central Washington.  But some people have already heard enough.

The details are that gruesome.

Kennewick police say a 23-year-old woman named Phiengchai Sisouvanh Synhavong murdered a pregnant Pasco woman…and also removed a nearly full-term baby boy from the the victim’s body.

As of this early morning hour (July 2, 2:50am, PST), the Tri-City Herald is reporting that the baby remains in critical condition.

27-year-old Araceli Camacho Gomez was found dead around 1am Saturday at a Kennewick park.  Investigators believe she had been murdered Friday night.

“The autopsy indicated additional cuts in the area of the uterus consistent with the cutting of the body to remove the child,” police spokesperson Mike Blatman told the Associated Press.

The AP story also mentions evidence:

According to documents filed in court, blue mechanic’s gloves soaked in blood, a boxcutter, bloody paper towels, yarn, a mucus bulb, baby bottle and baby socks were found in her purse. The court filings did not indicate whether the boxcutter was used to cut or stab Gomez.

A local television station, KEPR (CBS), has managed to interview family members on both sides of this story.  The TV station has also interviewed the victim’s fiancé.  Videos of KEPR’s coverage can be found here.

As this story continues to heat-up in the glow of the national media, stories about the murder will be all over the Web.  This post takes a different turn.  And aims to end on an uplifting note.

First, a bit more about the type of grisly crime allegedly committed by Synhavong.

Unfortunately, we’ve heard similar stories before; including the strangulation of a 23-year-old Missouri woman named Bobbie Joe Stinnett nearly four years ago. Lisa Montgomery confessed to that murder and also to having removed a fetus from Stinnett’s body.

Less than two years ago, an Illinois case turned out to be even more horrific (hard to imagine, I know).  24-year-old Tiffany Hall didn’t stop at removing a fetus, she also drowned her victim’s three children.

I’ve been searching the Internet for additional examples of this type of crime and have just come across a truTV article titled, Fetal Snatchers.  The article is extensive and includes sections concerning the Montgomery and Hall cases. The bibliography also provides a rich source of related reading material.

However, the first thought that came to my mind after hearing about the Kennewick case Tuesday concerned a story that ultimately unfolded in the Manzano Mountains east of Albuquerque, New Mexico two decades ago.

In 1987, Darci Pierce abducted a young mother from an Albuquerque parking lot. Pierce used the victim’s car key to perform a Caesarean section on the dying body of 23-year-old Cindy Ray.

Just three years ago, USA Today had this to say about the Pierce/Ray case:

It was the first recorded case of what a July 2002 study in the Journal of Forensic Sciences would call “newborn kidnapping by Caesarean section.” Ann Burgess, a professor of nursing at Boston College and the study’s lead author, says the women behind such attacks have a “childbearing fantasy” but are “cold, calculating and extremely self-centered.”

I worked in Albuquerque as a TV reporter for ten years.  The Pierce case was old news by the time I had moved to New Mexico in 1995.  But it was one of those cases that people spoke of from time-to-time.  A case that most people could never forget.

Then, in 1997, New Mexicans would actually hear and see the child who’d been carved out of Cindy Ray’s womb a decade earlier.  Anchor Tom Joles and then-Chief Photographer Carrie Moots of KOB-TV visited the child (by then, age 10) and her father.

11 years have now passed since KOB-TV first aired that story, but it is still very much worth watching (please view below).  It’ll also deliver an uplifting end to this post, as promised above.

(Please allow a few seconds for the video to load)

additional reading: New York Daily News list of similar cases

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B.C. mystery feet Beyond 90 Seconds British Columbia Campbell River Canada Fraser River law enforcement mysteries mystery feet News Newsweek RCMP Royal Canadian Mounted Police Seattle Seattle Times Strait of Georgia true crime unsolved unsolved mysteries Vancouver Vancouver Island Washington

Truth yet to surface in human feet mystery

(Update, July 9, 1:30pm PST): Breaking News: Police to hold news conference about human feet mystery

(Update, June 28, 8:59am PST)“Pig video lends insight into B.C.’s human feet mystery”


(June 26, 2:23am PST):  “Police delay update on feet mystery” –Seattle Times

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has delayed a news conference on the case of the five feet that have washed ashore along the Strait of Georgia over the past year.

The RCMP had planned to update the public this week but has now decided to hold off until more of the investigation is complete, said Constable Annie Linteau, the agency’s spokeswoman. –Seattle Times

(June 23) It’s already happened five times in less than a year: a human foot found washed-up on a beach or floating in the waters within British Columbia’s Strait of Georgia.

One week ago, a foot was found inside a sneaker floating near Westham Island in the mouth of the Fraser River.

It was a left foot.

Four prior discoveries, dating back to August 2007, were all right feet.

It’s a story that appears in today’s Seattle Times.

So far, investigators have not been able to link any of the feet to people who’ve been reported missing.

British Columbia’s chief coroner says that–so far–there is no evidence of foul play.

Despite a tight-lipped stance from police, the case is now netting media attention from around the world.

Of course, theories are emerging from people trying to solve the mystery.  One theory is that the feet drifted across the Pacific Ocean after tsunamis or storms in Asia.

Others speculate that the feet are from people who’ve drowned or disappeared in the strait.

Another theory is that the feet are the result of a sick prank performed by someone who has access to cadavers.

And, yes, some people wonder if this is the work of a serial killer.

According to the Seattle Times, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is expected to hold a news conference about the case this week.  Although, the paper reports, it’s quite possible that the news conference won’t produce much new information.

subsequent news coverage:

(June 24): “Cold Feet: A bizarre mystery baffles British Columbia” –

The macabre discoveries have attracted armchair investigators from around the globe and inspired a couple of twisted pranksters. An anonymous posting on Craigslist last week urged readers to “have some fun” and “take a raw turkey drumstick, tie it inside one of your old running shoes and throw it in the ocean late at night when no one can see, or drop it off the ferry from the car deck. Then watch the news.” A sixth foot, found at Campbell River on June 19, turned out to be an animal appendage wrapped in seaweed and crammed into a shoe-seemingly a sick joke on the cops and local citizens, who are gobbling up any details about the story they can find. –

(June 24): “Feet theories abound, while 28 men are missing” –

We’re likely to get fresh news this week about the feet. At least, so says RCMP Constable Annie Linteau, the poor soul responsible for dealing with the monsoon of media calls from around the world about the feet-stuffed shoes washing up on our shores.

Actually, Ms. Linteau sounds a little star-struck by some of the calls she’s been getting. The king of talk, CNN’s Larry King, wanted her on his show to chat about the story. So did Mr. King’s CNN colleague, Nancy Grace. Constable Linteau graciously declined the invitations.

Jay Leno may be harder to turn down.  –

-prior news coverage:

( June 21, 2008 ) “B.C. floats endless foot theories” – (Toronto)

Eric Kunze, who conducts research into ocean physics at the University of Victoria, said it would be impossible for the feet to have travelled from Asia to the coast of British Columbia.

“If feet were coming through from there, we would have thousands of feet coming onto the shores of B.C.,” he said. “From an oceanographic standpoint, all we can really say at this point is they originated somewhere from the Strait of Georgia.” –

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Prudence Welch VIDEO interview


In a 46-minute *unedited* VIDEO interview with, former member of the The Lord Our Righteousness church, Prudence Welch, speaks about today’s arrest of church leader Wayne Bent.

Welch also shares her thoughts on the 15-years she says she spent in the church.

Why did she join?

Why did she leave?

What does Welch say goes on inside the church?

Why has she been so determined in recent years to “expose the truth” about the flock of worshipers at the Strong City property in northeastern New Mexico?

Who does Welch believe will head the church while Wayne Bent (aka Michael Travesser) is in custody?

This is by far Welch’s most in-depth and detailed video interview to date

And the video is unedited.

This interview took place about three hours after police arrested Wayne Bent, charging him with three counts of criminal sexual contact with a minor.

Video on this page is Windows Media Video (wmv) and may take a minute to load.

Other versions of this interview: QuickTime, mp3.

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