The Morning Report

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

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Fort Larned National Historic Site (KS)
Fort Larned Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary

Over 400 visitors came to Fort Larned National Historic Site in Kansas on Saturday, August 30th, to help celebrate the park’s 50th anniversary as a National Park Service site. 

Park staff, volunteers and the park’s friends’ group, The Fort Larned Old Guard, helped commemorate the event with talks on the fort’s history as a military post and working ranch and on the extensive restoration work done by the NPS over the last 50 years. 

The Old Guard provided a free lunch at noon, immediately following the raising of a 20 by 36 foot garrison flag with help from military color guards from nearby Fort Riley and McConnell Air Force Base.

The 1st Infantry Regimental Band from Fort Riley entertained visitors in the afternoon with various songs commemorating the Army story.  They also played military marches as volunteers in period uniforms lowered the garrison flag at the end of the day in the traditional Army flag lowering ceremony known as retreat.  A video of that event is available on Fort Larned’s website.

As with other Labor Day weekends, the staff and especially volunteers, helped create the sights, sounds and smells of a working frontier fort by providing living history in many of the fort’s original sandstone buildings.  One volunteer also gave delighted visitors rides in his horse-drawn carriage.

Fort Larned was an active military post along the Santa Fe Trail from 1859 to 1878.  Although it was only in existence for 19 years, it played a significant role in protecting traffic along the Santa Fe Trail and in the conflict known as the post-Civil War Indian Wars. 

President Lyndon Johnson signed the legislation creating Fort Larned as a National Park Service site on August 31, 1964.  One of two pens on President Johnson’s desk the day he signed the legislation was on display in the visitor center. 

In the 50 years since President Johnson signed the bill creating Fort Larned as a national historic site, the employees, volunteers, and the Old Guard have all worked to make Fort Larned one of the premier frontier military posts in the country.

[Submitted by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger]

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Biscayne National Park (FL)
Boat Patrol Rangers Go Wireless

Law enforcement patrol boats at Biscayne National Park are being outfitted with rugged new computer systems.

The new technology allows park rangers to connect directly into a central database for tracking crime related information. It improves public and employee safety, and saves time and money in the process. The technology is the first of its kind operating on boats in the Southeast Region of the National Park Service and one of the first nationwide for the agency.

“This park is at the forefront of a wireless trend in the national park system,” said Chief Ranger Willie Lopez. “With the new technology it is quicker and easier to obtain necessary information. It cuts down on workloads and keeps everyone safer than before.”

Park rangers in remote areas no longer need to wait for radio contact in order to conduct their work. Citations may be printed and presented instantly on waterproof paper. The technology is working well for other law enforcement agencies.

The system is operational on one park boat and being expanded to other boats and vehicles. Background checks are more convenient, faster and thorough. Busy signals and wait times are being relegated to the past.

The weather resistant computer systems, manufactured by Getac, allow park rangers in remote locations to access the National Crime Information Center, a centralized information system that improves the flow of communication between numerous law enforcement agencies. Information is available instantly on fugitives, missing or wanted persons, stolen property and other subjects.

Funding for the installation of the computer systems was provided by the South Florida National Parks Trust, the park’s official, non-profit partner. The Trust supports the park through fundraising and community outreach.

[Submitted by Matt Johnson, Public Information Officer]

Historical Documentation Programs
Winners Of Peterson And Holland Prize Competitions Announced

Heritage Documentation Programs has announced this year’s recipients of the Charles E. Peterson Prize and the Leicester B. Holland Prize, both annual measured drawing competitions.

A student competition of measured drawings, the Charles E. Peterson Prize is presented jointly by the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) of the National Park Service, the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, and the American Institute of Architects (AIA). 

The annual competition, currently in its 32nd year, honors longtime NPS architect Charles E. Peterson (1906-2004), FAIA, a founder of the HABS program, and is intended to heighten awareness about historic buildings in the United States and to augment the HABS collection of measured drawings at the Library of Congress. 

To date, more than 3,500 students have participated on Peterson Prize teams, generating over 6,300 sheets of drawings for the collection.  The competition presented awards totaling $7,500 to the winning student teams.

Receiving first place in the 2014 competition were students from the School of Architecture at the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, who documented Casa Cautiño in Guayama, Puerto Rico.  Second place was awarded to students from the School of Architecture at Louisiana State University, who documented Fort Pike in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

The set of measured drawings of the Gooch Homestead in Gallatin County, Montana, undertaken by students from the School of Architecture at Montana State University, was awarded third place.  Honorable mention was awarded to students from the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at Clemson University/College of Charleston for their drawings of the Blacklock House in Charleston, South Carolina.

Additional information and sample images of the 2014 Peterson Prize can be found on the HDP Facebook page.

The Leicester B. Holland Prize, established in 2011, is an annual competition open to both students and professionals.  It recognizes the best single-sheet measured drawing of an historic site, structure, or landscape prepared by an individual or team to HABS/HAER/HALS standards and guidelines. 

The prize honors Leicester B. Holland (1882-1952), FAIA, who in the 1930s was chairman of the AIA’s Committee on Historic Buildings, head of the Fine Arts Division of the Library of Congress and first curator of the HABS collection, a co-founder of the HABS program, and the first chair of the HABS Advisory Board. 

It is administered by the Heritage Documentation Programs and the Center for Architecture, Design & Engineering at the Library of Congress, and is supported by the Paul Rudolph Trust, and American Institute of Architects.  The competition presented awards totaling $2,000 to the winners.

First place in the 2014 Holland Prize competition was awarded to Paul Dennehy, AIA, of Dennehy Architects, Inc., for his drawing of the Broadview Park Pavilion in Fort Worth, Texas. 

Two honorable mentions were also awarded.  Jean-Guy Tanner-Dube of Appleton & Associates, Inc. received an award for his drawing of the Streetcar Depot at the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in Los Angeles, California.  An award was also presented to Steven Utz, adjunct professor at Allegheny College, for his drawing of Bentley Hall in Meadville, Pennsylvania.

Additional information and sample images of the 2014 Holland Prize can be found on the HDP Facebook page.

[Submitted by Mark Schara]

Intermountain Region
Passing Of Ben Hawkins

It is with great sorrow that we announce that Ben Hawkins passed away peacefully on September 4th following a long and courageous battle with a blood disease.

Beginning with the Denver Service Center in 1983, Ben spent 28 years with the NPS as a mechanical engineer, working through the ranks to become chief of facility management for Intermountain Region.

Ben worked in more than 60 parks, with a combined 19 years spent in the field at Yosemite, Rocky Mountain and Buffalo National River and additional working assignments in the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Denali.

In 2006, Ben moved back to the regional office as the regional chief of facility management, design and engineering for Intermountain Region. Before retiring, Ben served as acting associate regional director of operations and the newly created facilities and lands directorate. Ben was also actively involved as a member of the Servicewide and regional maintenance advisory committees.

Ben found joy, peace and solitude in fly fishing and on many occasions while at Rocky Mountain National Park was asked to host distinguished visitors on a day trip of fly fishing inside of the park -- one of the many benefits of his job that Ben treasured and enjoyed. Ben’s professionalism and easygoing personality earned him the respect and loyalty of many of the staff with whom he worked.

Ben loved people and valued his family above all else. He had a deep and abiding love for his wife Denny who loved, cared for and supported him through good and bad times, as well as his children Jo Beth and David.  He was immensely proud of the great people they have become.

Ben will be missed for his upbeat personality and leadership. He was a great mentor and advisor to many across the Service and will be dearly missed.

A memorial service is being planned for 10 a.m. on September 20th at the Boettcher Mansion. The service will in the Fireside Room, located at 900 Colorow Road, Golden, CO, 80401.

Cards and flowers may be sent to 5604 Orion Circle, Golden, CO 80403, or in lieu of flowers please send a donation in Ben’s honor to: Be The Match, 3001 Broadway Street N.E., Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55413-1753, or through

Please contact Bill Thompson, 303-969-2859, or Corinna Marshall, 303-969-2730, with any questions about the service.

[Submitted by Corinna Marshall,, 303-969-2730]

Yosemite National Park (CA)
Memorial Arrangements For Steve Thompson Announced

Arrangements have been completed for a celebration of the life of Steve Thompson, retired chief of the park’s branch of wildlife management, who died in an auto accident on August 26th (click on this link for the original report).

The celebration will be held at the El Portal Community Hall (5512 Foresta Road, El Portal, CA 95318) on September 20th from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Barbeque entrée will be provided; please bring a salad, side dish, or dessert to share (unless you are traveling).

Please RSVP at or the Facebook Event: Steve Thompson's Memorial. Please tell us how many will be attending and your entrée preference (beef, chicken, or vegetarian). 

Memorial contributions can be made to the Yosemite Conservancy in Steve's name at  

[Submitted by Scott Gediman, Public Affairs Officer]

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Midwest Region
GS-0025-13 Superintendent

Dates: 09/09/2014

Midwest Regional Office has issued an announcement for a superintendent for Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site.

Click on the link below for a copy of the announcement with full details on duties, area information, and procedures for applying.

The announcement closes on September 22nd.

[Submitted by Barbara Golden,, 402-661-1642]

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Manzanar National Historic Site (CA)
WG-4749-5 Maintenance Worker (Lateral)

Manzanar National Historic Site is currently seeking candidates interested in relocating to Independence, California, located 41 miles south-southeast of Bishop at an elevation of 3930 feet.

The person selected will perform simple and routine work involved in the maintenance and repair of grounds, exterior structures, buildings, and related utilities, requiring a variety of trade practices associated with occupations such as carpentry, masonry, plumbing, electrical, cement work, painting and other related trades.

If you are interested and have questions in regard to the position, contact Facility Manager, Troy Strawn at (415) 296-3337 or

If you would like to be considered, please submit a current resume and a current SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50 needed to confirm time-in-grade and eligibility) to Human Resource Assistant Christopher Sears at no later than Friday, September 19th.