The Morning Report

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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Valley Forge National Historical Park (PA)
Man Electrocuted In Attempt To Steal Copper Wire

A man broke into an electrical transformer box located outside of the park’s Kennedy Supplee building around 4 a.m. on Saturday, September 13th. He was attempting to steal heavy gauge copper wire from within the transformer box and was electrocuted in the process.

The box was secured and labeled with “Warning: High Voltage” stickers prior to his entry.

The 41-year-old man was from the local area. Theft of copper and metal scrap at this site, which is currently unoccupied, has been an ongoing issue over the years.

[Submitted by Gregg Tinkham, Chief Ranger]

Chickasaw National Recreation Area (OK)
Domestic Dispute Investigation Lead To Murder Charges

Rangers Heather Hamilton and Jim Churchman contacted Kendra Lefors and Bryan Ross of Ada, Oklahoma, during a physical domestic fight they were having in the Panther Falls parking lot on Friday, August 29th.

During a frisk of Ross, Hamilton removed a bloody hunting knife from his person. She also observed that Ross had blood on his shoes. When asked about the blood, Ross said that he had been killing rabbits. Lefors said she had recently smoked methamphetamine.

Ranger Kane Seitz, working with drug K9 “Boomer,” discovered methamphetamine paraphernalia in the car. Lefors declined to provide her true identity at the time and assaulted rangers when she was taken into custody. Ranger Emily Henderson found methamphetamine that had been hidden in Lefors’ buttocks. Two rifles, a shotgun, stolen checkbooks, and credit cards were found in the vehicle.

The checkbooks, credit cards, and the vehicle belonged to Gary Gray, a resident of Ada, Oklahoma. Churchman and Hamilton attempted to make contact with Gray, but were unsuccessful. They therefore asked the Ada Police Department to conduct a welfare check on Gray. He was found in his residence with his throat slashed and blunt force trauma to his head. He was still breathing and was flown to the OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City, where he succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday, September 5th.

Lefors and Ross were charged with numerous felony violations and extradited to Pontotoc County. They later admitted to law enforcement that they were responsible for Gray’s injuries and are being held without bail. They have been charged with first degree murder, conspiracy to commit and felony, first degree robbery and larceny of an automobile. 

[Submitted by Aaron Shandor, Chief Ranger]

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (CA)
Pilot Rescued After Plane Crash In Park

On Tuesday, September 16th, rangers participated in the successful rescue of a 67-year-old man from San Jose whose plane crashed in a remote area of Sequoia National Park. The plane was reported missing when it failed to arrive as scheduled in Lone Pine, California, on Monday afternoon.

The park was notified around 3 a.m. on Tuesday morning that a transponder signal had been traced to the Forgotten Canyon area of Sequoia National Park. At approximately 9 a.m., the wreckage was spotted near Funston Lake by the Civil Air Patrol and visual contact was made with the pilot.

The park helicopter was used to insert a parkmedic and investigators at the crash site. The pilot was treated and transported to the Ash Mountain helibase, where he was transferred to a waiting SkyLife air ambulance and flown to an area hospital.

The National Park Service is coordinating the investigation into the cause of the crash with the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration.

The California Office of Emergency Services and Tulare County also assisted with this search and rescue operation.

[Submitted by Jana McCabe, Public Affairs Officer]


Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine (MD)
Star-Spangled Banner’s Bicentennial Celebrated

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine commemorated the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore and the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner with a week of commemorative activities. 

More than 50,000 visitors visited the park from September 8th through 16th, arriving by foot, bike, vehicle and boat.

From the Star-Spangled Banner framed by a spectacular display of fireworks to the quiet moment of anticipation before the raising of the flag over Fort McHenry at the precise moment that it happened 200 years earlier, the bicentennial anniversary of Defenders’ Day was a tremendous success.

The events began on September 9th, when 6,600 students representing 56 elementary and middle schools from across Maryland created the largest 15 stars and 15 stripes Star-Spangled Living Flag ever assembled. 

Other events included a 9/11 commemoration program and the display of the World Trade Center’s National 9/11 flag, referred to as this generation’s Star-Spangled Banner; an international parade of sail, featuring 35 international tall ships and naval vessels; the release of the new Fort McHenry Forever Stamp; and an air show, featuring the Navy’s Blue Angels. 

Most notable among the many visiting dignitaries was a private visit on Friday, September 12th, by President Obama, who viewed the Francis Scott Key’s original handwritten of the Star-Spangled Banner. The document was on display in the visitor center during the anniversary thanks to a generous loan form the Maryland Historical Society. Superintendent Tina Cappetta and Chief of Interpretation Vince Vaise escorted the president during his visit.

Vice President Joe Biden addressed the thousands who attended Saturday evening’s commemorative program, concluding his remarks as the fireworks display opened over Fort McHenry. The fireworks, the largest ever seen in Baltimore, featured a pixel-by-pixel pyrotechnic display of Old Glory in the sky above the fort, a 21st-century reimagining of the sights and sounds that inspired America’s National Anthem.

American Idol winner Jordin Sparks sang the National Anthem. Others participating in the Saturday’s program included Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, and the park’s congressional delegation. 

The culmination of the events was Sunday’s program, “By Dawn’s Early Light.”  At 9 a.m., the precise moment that the fort’s 30-foot by 42-foot garrison flag was raised on September 14, 1814, the 3rd U.S. Infantry (the Old Guard) raised a modern reproduction of the garrison flag over Fort McHenry. Provided by the Maryland Historical Society, the flag was hand-stitched by volunteers in the City of Baltimore using the same techniques, materials and dimensions from 200 years ago.  General Colin Powell, accompanied by other local dignitaries, shared his thoughts about the meaningful words of the National Anthem with the crowd. The event was televised live by C-SPAN. 

While thousands enjoyed the events on site, traditional and social media greatly expanded the reach of the park programming. Stories published in newspapers, online and broadcast on television reached more 260 million individuals, while Facebook had a total online reach of more than 2.5 million.

Among the national media were stories on CBS Sunday Morning, a feature on Fox Sports’ Sunday NFL pregame show, and live shots from Fort McHenry during Thursday night’s Ravens-Steelers game, seen by 16 million viewers and when 70,000 fans in attendance. The Fort McHenry Guard was also featured as the color guard during Sunday’s ESPN broadcast to approximately 2 million viewers of the Orioles-Yankees game. 

The NPS Eastern Incident Management Team supported park staff in the planning, preparation, and execution of the week-long anniversary events.  The team coordinated with park staff and numerous partners, including the Baltimore Police Department, Baltimore City Fire Department, Maryland Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security and Secret Service to handle a complex event attended by high ranking dignitaries. 

Led by Incident Commander Mark Musitano, the team of more than 200 hundred NPS staff from NER, NCR, and SER provided a successful and memorable bicentennial celebration. 

Click on the following for more information:

[Submitted by Robin Snyder, Eastern IMT Information Officer]

Everglades National Park (FL)
Park Firefighter Conducts Video Chat With Students At Fort Scott

On August 6th, park firefighter Katie Corrigan and Everglades environmental education staff conducted a video chat that connected students in Fort Scott, Kansas, with Everglades National Park in Homestead, Florida, almost 1500 miles away. 

The students, ages 9 through 12, were participating in the Fort Scott National Historic Site’s Trailblazer program, where students spent one week learning about cultural and natural resource protection, interpretation, and fire management in the National Park Service.

During the video chat, Everglades staff discussed the role of fire in Everglades and prairie ecosystems, how fire is managed in the National Park Service, and how different ecosystems can benefit from fire. Students then had the opportunity to ask questions about fire training and jobs, firefighter safety, and fire equipment. 

“The distance learning was a very valuable learning experience for the children.  It was a great compliment to the activities planned,” said Kelley Collins, chief ranger for Fort Scott National Historic Site. 

Students participating in the video chat also completed some tasks necessary for finishing the Everglades Junior Firefighter task book.  

Video chats provide a unique opportunity for students to learn about a national park that they may not get to visit and to interact with the people that care for these special places,” says Allyson Gantt, Everglades National Park’s education and outreach coordinator. 

Everglades fire management and environmental education staff hope to offer more video chats to connect students with firefighters working in prescribed fire, fire effects, and fire suppression starting this fall.

For information on Everglades Fire Management, please visit:

For more information on Everglades Environmental Education program, please visit

[Submitted by Rick Anderson, Fire Management Officer, and Allyson Gantt, Outreach and Education Coordinator]


Pacific West Region
GS-0025-11 Chief Ranger (Detail/Temporary Promotion)

Dates: 09/16/2014 - 10/06/2014

An announcement has been issued for a detail/temporary promotion to a chief ranger position at Lava Beds National Monument and the Tule Lake Unit of WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument. The detail will likely be from early November until February.

The person selected will lead the visitor and resource protection program, fee program, Cave Rover program, conduct field patrols, and serve as the technical lead for incidents including SAR, EMS, LE and other types of emergency services. The chief ranger also serves as a key member of the senior management team, helping make park wide decisions, including decisions about Tule Lake, one of the newest units in the system.

The person selected will also help formulate the FY15 budget, assist with programmatic shifts in the fee program, work with the management team on updating the strategic plans for both units, and assist with the ongoing general management plan for Tule Lake.

During this assignment, salary will continue to be paid by the selectee’s home park/office. Travel and per diem will be paid by the receiving park. Government housing is available for this assignment. This is a detail opportunity, as well as an opportunity for a temporary promotion.

Candidates must currently possess the following:

  • A level I law enforcement commission
  • Experience with managing some aspects of a fee collection program
  • EMT-Basic or higher

 To apply, please submit the following:

  • Resume with professional references
  • SF-50 showing your current grade/step and tenure
  • Copy of your Level 1 commission (picture omitted)
  • Copy of EMT-Basic certification or higher
  • Brief memo of support from your current supervisor

Application packages must be electronically received in the Human Resources Office by COB on October 6th Please send application packages via email to   Please list in the subject line of the email:  LABE/TULE Chief Ranger Detail/Temp Promotion Opportunity.

[Submitted by Mike Reynolds, Superintendent,, 530-667-8101]