Cottage Grove sentinel. (Cottage Grove, Or.) 1909-current, January 27, 2017, Page 4A, Image 4

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For the past 10 years, Jon Stinnett highlighted all aspects of our
community while striving to elevate the journalistic level of the
Sentinel with every edition he put to bed. Working with a small
writing staff and limited budget, Jon managed to turn out a quality
small town paper every week. Who knows how many thousands of
words he wrote, events he covered, and miles he walked to keep us
informed and aware of the people and activities in and around Cot-
tage Grove. I want to express my gratitude to Jon for the love and
dedication he has shown to our town with with his honest reporting
and heartfelt editorials. The Sentinel and Cottage Grove are better
for Jon's efforts, and we’re fortunate he will continue to call our
community "home."
Cristina Hubbard
Cottage Grove
Have an idea for a story? Has something in
town caught your attention? Want to vent
about an issue in the community? Write a
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Editor every Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Backstage
Offbeat Oregon History
For Milwaukie gas station owner, bomber trip was wild adventure
For the Sentinel
Art Lacey was in serious trouble.
It was the summer of 1947, and he was about
50 feet above an Oklahoma airfi eld, at the con-
trols of the biggest airplane he’d ever fl own — a
four-engined B-17G Flying Fortress, one of hun-
dreds of the heavy bombers that the government
was selling as surplus in the wake of the Second
World War. This one was his; he had just bought
it for $13,000. But now the landing gear were
stuck in the retracted position, and it looked like
he was about to crash it.
This wouldn’t have been such a big deal if it
weren’t for his “co-pilot.” Art, not wanting to
bother with getting someone to tag along with
him, had brought a dressmaker’s mannequin
borrowed from a friend, dressed it in fl ight gear
and propped up in the seat, to fool the airfi eld
manager into thinking there were two guys in the
cockpit. After crashing the plane and ‘fessing up
to this bit of deception, Art knew he would be in
a less-than-optimal bargaining position vis-à-vis
the defect in the plane he’d bought.
Still, that was all in the future. For now, the
number-one goal was to not die in a giant fi reball
following a botched attempt at a gear-up landing.
He lined the plane up as best he could with the
runway and prepared to do his best.
Art’s whole crazy scheme had its genesis
when he fi rst learned about the surplus B-17s.
They were super-cheap, selling for not much
above their scrap value, because there just
weren’t very many practical civilian uses for an
obsolete heavy bomber. Art, already a success-
ful Milwaukie businessman, had started stewing
over how he might take advantage of the low
prices on the big warbirds. The more he thought
about it, the cooler he thought it would look to
have one of them perched above the gas pumps
at his gas station on McLoughlin Boulevard. The
wings could serve as a roof over the pumps, and
there would be room for a lot of them. And best
of all, it wouldn’t cost that much more than a
stick-built structure of similar size.
According to Art’s daughter, Punky Scott, in
an interview with KATU-TV Channel 2 News,
the scheme he developed remained just a scheme
until someone put money on the line. At his
birthday party, he shared his vision of a “Bomber
Gas Station” with a friend, who laughingly told
him he was dreaming. Art promptly put up a $5
bet, which was just as promptly accepted, and
just like that the whole crazy dream was turned
into a serious plan.
Art immediately turned to a friend who, Punky
suggested, was well connected with the dark side
of Portland business — untaxed liquor, gam-
bling, pinball machines, that sort of thing. “Got
any money on you?” he asked. “I need $15,000.”
“And the guy had it on him,” Punky said in her
interview. “I don’t know how that translates into
today’s money, but it’s got to be a lot.”
It is. $15,000 in 1947 is the equivalent of
$160,000 today — a pretty impressive wad for
“walking-around money.”
Loaded down with this borrowed loot, Art
made the journey to Oklahoma to buy his B-17.
He had $13,000 for the plane and $2,000 for fuel
and miscellaneous expenses on the way back.
Trouble started immediately upon arrival.
After selling him the plane, the manager told
him to bring his co-pilot the following day and
he’d have the bird gassed up and ready. But Art
hadn’t realized he’d need a co-pilot, so he hadn’t
brought one.
He also hadn’t given much thought to the fact
that he’d never fl own a four-engine bomber in his
life. He was a skilled private pilot of single-en-
gine planes, but this was very different.
Still, Art was determined to have his plane. So
he returned the next day with the borrowed man-
nequin, strapped it into the copilot’s seat, breezed
into the manager’s offi ce and walked out ready
to fl y home.
Hoping to familiarize himself with the big
aircraft a bit before he started fl ying it for real,
he started out with a few passes, touch-and-gos,
and gentle turns — the yoke in one hand and the
fl ight manual in the other. And it was going pret-
ty well, he thought. But then he realized that the
landing gear was stuck.
He fl ew the plane around for a while, trying to
fi gure out how to get it unstuck. If his co-pilot
hadn’t been a dummy, he could have sent it down
to try to pry something loose or bang on things;
but that wasn’t an option, and he certainly wasn’t
comfortable leaving the controls to try it himself.
Finally he realized he’d just have to bring the
plane in on its belly and hope for the best.
So down came Art Lacey in his new, doomed
warbird, landing in a shower of sparks with a
screech of tearing metal.
Although the cat was now out of the bag, the
manager felt bad about the broken landing gear
— and probably a little relieved, too, since his
customer wasn’t dead.
“He turned to his secretary and said, ‘Have
you written up the bill of sale yet on that B-17?’”
Punky recounted. “And she said no, and he said,
‘Worst case of wind damage I’ve ever seen.’ And
so he sold him a second B-17.”
The second plane set Art back just $1,500 —
a special deal the manager made him, knowing
he’d spent all his money on the fi rst one.
Of course, faking the copilot was no longer go-
ing to work, so Art called his wife long-distance
and asked her to send two of his friends down
with a case of whiskey. The booze was to be used
to bribe the local fi re department to pump the fuel
out of the old B-17 and into the new one using
their fi re truck, and it was a powerful enticement;
Oklahoma was still a dry state at the time.
Everything worked as planned, although Art
had to kite a check in Palm Springs to refuel the
big plane; luckily, he made it home to cover his
paper before it could bounce.
But when he got home, Art found his troubles
had just begun. The city of Portland wouldn’t is-
sue permits to bring the plane from the airport. It
was just too big, even after the wings were dis-
But Art was in so deep now, there was no turn-
ing back. He scheduled the move for the dark of
night, well after the bars had all closed. He hired
two teenagers with hot cars to accompany the
motorcade, with instructions to fl oor it and race
The importance of Vitamin D
For The Sentinel
bout 10 million Americans already have
osteoporosis, and 34 million are at risk.
Contrary to popular belief, low intake of calcium is not the primary
cause of osteoporosis. Americans have some of the highest calcium
intakes in the world, but we also have one of the highest hip fracture
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rates in the world. Calcium
taken into the body is either
deposited into bone or ex-
creted in urine. The standard
American diet – including large
amounts of salt, caffeine, sugar,
and animal products – causes
much of the calcium that Amer-
icans consume to get excreted in
their urine. Milk and other dairy
products are no exception. The
Nurses’ Health Study followed
72,337 women for over 18 years
and found that dairy intake did
not reduce the risk of osteoporo-
sis-related hip fractures. In con-
trast, vegetables, beans, fruits,
and nuts are rich sources of
phytonutrients (including calci-
um) that do not promote urinary
loss of calcium.
Vitamin D also plays a critical
role in regulating bone density.
Vitamin D enables the absorp-
tion of calcium in the intestine
and stimulates activity of bone
building cells. The most nat-
off recklessly into the night if the police should
appear — the idea being to draw the cops away
from the plane. The truck drivers were instruct-
ed that under no circumstances were they to stop
before they arrived at the gas station, no matter
who ordered them to. And he promised to pay
any tickets anyone was written by any cop for his
or her part in the move.
The move’s only mishap was a drunk driver
who, seeing an airplane bearing down on him,
thought he’d accidentally driven out onto an air-
fi eld and panicked and skidded into the ditch.
City Hall offi cials were, of course, furious.
But after their initial attempts to punish Art re-
sulted in some very unfl attering newspaper cov-
erage, they gave it up, fi ned him $10, declared
victory and went home.
Art was able to pay half his fi ne with the $5
collected from his friend. He promptly had his
airplane mounted above the gas pumps and re-
named the place “The Bomber.” And there it
sat for the next 63 years, bringing in hundreds
of thousands of curious gawkers and customers
Over the years the Laceys added a restaurant
and a small hotel. In the early 1990s they closed
the gas pumps, and the big B-17 started to look
increasingly forlorn up there, exposed to the
weather and the occasional predations of van-
Then, in 1996, the family decided to do some-
thing about it — and the B-17 Alliance was
born, dedicated to restoring the “Lacey Lady,” as
they’ve dubbed the bomber.
Currently the bomber is in the B-17 Alliance
Museum and Restoration, located at McNary Air-
fi eld in Salem (3278 25th St. SE). The museum is
open Fridays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2
p.m. The multi-million-dollar restoration still has
a ways to go before it’s successfully completed,
and the Alliance is working to raise the necessary
funds to get it done; when it is, the Lacey Lady
will be one of just seven B-17s remaining in fl y-
able condition. Full details of their project are at
Column fi rst appeared in The Sentinel on Jan. 28, 2015
ural way to obtain Vitamin D
is through sun exposure, but
because of indoor jobs, our cli-
mate, and skin cancer risk it is
very diffi cult to achieve optimal
levels of Vitamin D safely from
the sun. Vitamin D supplemen-
tation is the best option.
Since Vitamin D and calci-
um work together to maintain
healthy bone, how much of each
are necessary to protect against
osteoporosis? Most Americans
take inadequate amounts of Vi-
tamin D and excessive amounts
of calcium.
Not enough Vitamin D:
Vitamin D supplements of
800-2000 IU were effective
in medical studies to protect
fractures; however most multi-
vitamins contain only 400 IU,
and about 50 percent of Amer-
icans have insuffi cient blood
Vitamin D levels. According to
a review of the research on the
subject, Vitamin D blood lev-
els (measured by a 25(OH)D
test) should be range between
36-48 ng/ml in order to achieve
maximal health benefi ts – Vita-
min D is not only important for
bones, but also for cardiovascu-
lar health, mood and cancer pre-
vention – Vitamin D has actions
in every cell of the human body.
I recommend getting a blood
test and supplementing accord-
ingly to keep Vitamin D levels
in the range of 35-50 ng/ml. If
you have not had your blood
tested, 2000 IU is a reasonable
dose to supply your body with
adequate Vitamin D.
Too much calcium:
Taking too much calcium is
a concern because excess calci-
um may actually interfere with
the bone-protective effects of
Vitamin D. In an analysis of
several studies, low-dose cal-
cium supplements (500 mg)
combined with Vitamin D were
found to reduce osteoporosis
fracture rates, but high dose cal-
cium supplements (1000 mg or
more) combined with Vitamin
D did not reduce fracture rates.
Furthermore, recent research
has revealed that high-dose
calcium supplements may in-
crease the risk of cardiovascular
disease. Much of the scientifi c
community agrees that calcium
recommendations for Amer-
icans have been set too high.
The World Health Organiza-
tion advises an intake of 500
mg, whereas the U.S. Institute
of Medicine recommends 1000
mg. Calcium should not be tak-
en in excess, and I recommend
limiting supplemental calcium
to 400-600 mg. Most of your
calcium should be derived from
a diet laden with vegetables – a
healthful plant-based diet plus
vitamin D supplements and
exercise is the best strategy for
bone health.
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