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Archive for the 'Journalism' Category

Osama Bin Laden killed hiding in plain site

Posted in Editorial, Global, Internet, Internet Video, Journalism, Media, Military, National, News on May 2nd, 2011

Obama makes late night announcement of the successful operation to kill Osama Bin Laden
It was reported late evening Sunday that Obama was going to make an announcement from the White House at 10:30 pm. but when the news broke , many could only speculate as to what the announcement might be. I was monitoring the White House live feed waiting for the President to come on while moving from news site to site when I learned that the announcement was going to be about the death of one of the United States most wanted persons. Osama Bin Laden had, after all, been on the wanted list for almost 10 years and with a bounty of 25 million dollars. The live address scheduled for 10:30 pm did not take place until nearly an hour later from the White House when the President announce live on television that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan.

In fact, as of this post Osama Bin Laden remained on the FBI top ten most wanted list. The President warned Americans in his announcement that while this was a major milestone, it would not end the threat of Al Qaeda. Immediately after the announcement all U.S. Embassies were put on high alert around the world. The news from the white house brought almost an immediate reaction of people gathering at the White House and Ground Zero in NYC of people carrying flags, singing and shouting USA, USA!


The crowds grew quickly and contrary to one Pentagon leader saying the crowd was small only a handful of a younger crowd gathering and he opposed the celebrating of the death of Bin Laden. The large crowds in DC and NYC quickly proved him wrong, the gatherings closing the streets to local and police traffic in both spots.

After the live announcement from the White House, the news began to break out of the early morning assault by U.S. operations with scattered chunks of what happened. Still only small amounts of details were being released a little at a time of how the raid was constructed and when it had been determined that a million dollar compound did actually house one of the most wanted men in the world. It has been reported that the assault happened by helicopter and one of the helicopters crashed and had to be destroyed. However, there were no American casualties reported.

Later on in the early morning more details broke out of the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. It was reported that there were other people killed in the early morning raid that included two other males and one female. It has been reported that one of the men may have been one of the sons of Bin Laden and a courier. The woman killed was said to have been used as a human shield in what was called heavy resistance within the compound that was described as a high security compound with walls up to 18 feet and barbed wire. It was also reported that the original intelligence about the whereabouts of Bin Laden had been learned in August, but the confirmation of where he was living did not come until mid-March. The President signed the order for the operation on Friday before he left to visit the devastation of the storms in Alabama.

Many of the news agencies still trying to get the break on what really happened while in New York more and more people gathered at Ground Zero singing God Bless America and the Stars Bangle Banner. Questions began to pop out about how long Bin Laden may have been living in a mansion less than 60 miles from the Capitol of Pakistan. It was learned that the mansion was built for Osama nearly 5 years ago but only speculation as to if he had lived there that long.

This was great news to hear that our troops have finally prevailed in a long battle and our intelligence officers were able to gather the information that lead them to where Bin Laden was. The strike force was successful in their mission and carried it out without any reported injuries of the task force. There will still be a battle for our troops and I pray for the safe return of them all.

UPDATE!!! AP has just reported that the body of Osama Bin Laden has been buried at sea.

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Patriot Guard Riders a security risk?

Posted in Editorial, Florida, Internet Video, Journalism, Military, Motorcycle Events, Motorcycle News, Motorcycles, National, Opinion, Politics, Rants and Raves, Sanford, Titusville on August 28th, 2010

I try to stay away from political commentary on this blog, but I am making this post for a few reasons.

  1. I recently read a news article that is still eating at me (to be discussed below)
  2. I have not made a post in a long time. I have been busy.
  3. There are a lot of things going on in this country that can’t continually be overlooked.
  4. This post is about dignity, dying , veterans and a motorcycle organization of honor.

Recently I stumbled across an post entitled Obama Tells Patriot Guard Get Lost. Yes, it is kind of an old article, April of this year, but not old enough to raise a valid concern over it. First off, the title of the post is a little misleading as no one apparently no for sure who called off the Patriot Guard Riders from being allowed. One thing was for sure the families of the 29 miners killed in a West Virginia mine accident asked for and welcomed the riders. Evidently so did the Governor of the state. So to set the scene a little better, on April 5, 2010 there was a huge coal mine disaster that took the lives of 29 miners. A memorial was planed for late April and the families of the miners asked the Patriot Guard Riders to attend and escort with honor their loved ones. Somewhere along the line a message was sent that the Patriot Guard were to “stand down” for this mission as Obama and Bidden were to attend. Again, no one has come forward with who actually issued the order, but I am sure it was relayed through the secret service.

Whoever made the decision is under a huge misconception on what this group of people stand for and exactly what it is that they do. They certainly would not have posed any type of a security risk for Obama, if anything security would have been tighter. They are a nationwide organization many of which are law enforcement officers and veterans. What possible threat could they have posed. Did they see them as a motorcycle gang, just because they ride motorcycles? Was there some sort of paranoia fear that some rival gang might ride in and have a big shootout? By far, the Patriot Riders are not a gang, they are motorcycle riders period. It is the mode of transportation that they choose and I speak from experience when I say that they add a great deal of honor and dignity to a funeral procession and memorial. My brother died on the streets a homeless vet in July of 2005. I asked the Sanford Chapter of Rolling Thunder if they would give my brother Lonny one last ride before I scattered his ashes in the water at the Veterans Memorial Park in Titusville. My brother loved and respected the grounds of this park and spent a lot of time there. On the day of his last ride along with Rolling Thunder there were also members of the Patriot Guard riders. I have the deepest respect for what they did that day and how they honored my Brother. I have some pictures of that day that I would like to share with you, this is what the Patriot Guard is

These people took the time out of their life to honor my brother and asked for nothing in return

over 30 motorcycles lined up for the memorial service

A short service was given before I set my brother free

 This is what the Patriot Guard Riders mean for me. They brought honor and dignity to the last ride and memorial service for my brother Lonny Odom. For the families of the 29 miners to be denied the same honor and respect was wrong. Whoever made the decision not to allow these people their rights were very wrong. My heart goes out to the 29 men who lost their lives and the loved ones they left behind. Now I share with you a documentary on the Patriot Guard Riders, who they are and what they stand for. How could these men and women have been considered a threat?

YouTube Preview Image

So now those who did not know may be a little wiser as to not only the Patriot Guard Riders and groups like Rolling Thunder, but the entire biker community in general. Respect is always given were respect is due. One more video of a funeral escorted by the Patriot Guard below. This video brings chills to me, just to see the endless line of motorcycles following in honor of a fallen military hero that has paid the ultimate sacrifice. 

YouTube Preview Image

Thanks again to those who came out to honor my brother, this post has been a long time coming. You don’t have to support the war folks, but always support our troops!

Dedicated to my dearly loved brother Marvin Lonny Odom

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Billy Lane DUI hearing cancelled, no new date set

Posted in Brevard County, Case Research, Celebrity, Chopper Builders, DUI, Editorial, Florida, Investigative Reports, Journalism, Law, Melbourne, Motorcycle News, Motorcycles, News on June 14th, 2008

June 12th was the hearing date scheduled in the William Lane DUI Manslaughter trial that an actual trial date was expected to be set. However, the hearing was cancelled because attorneys Gregory Eisenmenger and Robert Barry were out of town on another case. Judge Allawas had ordered that all motions be filed by the defense no later than June 6th during the last hearing so that she could proceed with a trial date.
Three motions were filed by Lane’s attorneys on June 6th to meet the court’s demand. All 3 motions are to suppress the blood evidence that may be crucial to the state to uphold the charge of DUI. Lane is currently awaiting ruling by the Division of Administrative Hearings regarding the sufficiency of certain rules. One of the motions filed alleges that the State of Florida and FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement) rules were not complied with and it is for this reason that the Administrative Hearing is in place and still awaiting a decision.
The motion further state that several critical errors were made in the handling and analysis of the blood evidence. First is that the blood kit was taken to the post office in Rockledge, Florida on September 5, 2006 and was sent by certified mail to the FDLE crime lab in Orlando and was not delivered until September 12th, 7 days later.
evidence delayed in Lane trial may cause problems in case
The delay, it appears, was due to the way the FHP mailed the blood kit (image above). According to the motion the FHP chose to send the evidence by certified mail rather than overnight or by courier. Florida rule does not require refrigeration of blood used as evidence if it is submitted for analysis within 7 days which apparently was very close in this case. The same motion goes on to state that the proper procedure was not used in the analysis of the blood by the FDLE examiner.
Although all of the 3 motions filed were to suppress the blood evidence in the case, none of them mentioned the expert witness or lab work completed in Colorado that had caused major time delays in the case previously.
So at this date there is no date set for the three motions to be heard, Lane still awaits decision by the state on Administrative Hearings and no date has been set for the start of the actual trial.

Update! on 6/18/2008 A new court date has been scheduled for July 10, 2008 at 11:00 am

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Biketoberfest in Daytona Beach?

Posted in Bike Week, Biketoberfest, Daytona Beach, Editorial, Entertainment, Florida, Journalism, Law, Media, Motorcycle Events, Motorcycles, News, Opinion, Ormond Beach, Volusia County on October 25th, 2007

Biketoberfest Daytona Beach Main Street

Biketoberfest ended on Sunday, but was the annual Florida motorcycle event in Daytona Beach? Not by the looks of the light activity on the famed Main Street in downtown Daytona Beach. The many Daytona Beach hotels still displayed bright neon lights telling of vacancy. The mass media newspapers and television stations all ran the same headlines days before Biketoberfest began “Biketoberfest roars into town”.

Motorcycle cops patrol for noise violations

But then again, if you decide to roar into town, you will get a ticket for the Daytona Beach noise violation ordinance. The city of Daytona Beach has spent a great deal of money to make sure visiting bikers know to keep quiet, while other recent laws and ordinances to remove the fun out of the event are in the making.

Biker Babe at Froggys Saloon in Daytona Beach

While topless protester Elizabeth Book of Ormond beach has battled the Daytona Beach nudity laws since bike week 2003 and won in appeal courts, Daytona Beach recently tried to add new ordinances banning nudity in establishments that sell alcohol such as Lollipops and the Pink Pony. The planned city ordinance included not only nudity, but also skimpy cover-up outfits, T backs and G strings.

Biketoberfest Beer Tub Girl 

 Welcome Bikers? With all the new attempts to remove the fest from Biketoberfest and other motorcycle events, the city of Daytona Beach will need to change their current signage that reads “we are glad you’re back to “please come back”!

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Blog Action Day Post – Gopher Tortoise

Posted in Bike Week, Biketoberfest, Blogs, Brevard County, Daytona Beach, Editorial, Florida, Internet, Investigative Reports, Journalism, Local, Melbourne, Motorcycle Events, Motorcycles, National, Ormond Beach, Rides, State, Volusia County on October 15th, 2007

Today, October 15th is Blog Action day. As a blogger I am supposed to write something about the enviroment. Bloggers get to pick there own subject to write about, but the post should be geared toward the enviroment. The choice for me was easy, finding a protected Florida wildlife species to photograph for the story was not as easy.

Protected Florida Gopher Tortoise

Meet the Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus), a protected wildlife species found mostly in northern and central Florida and some parts of southern Georgia but have been found to be declining in numbers.

Erna Nixon Brevard County Park

I took a ride over to Erna Nixon Brevard County Park to see if I could find a gopher tortoise to photograph. This county park is known to have this particular form of protected wildlife roaming the area. I asked the ranger where I might find a gopher turtle, but she told me that they are usually not out until later afternoon.

Gopher Tortoise feeding on grass

I decided to walk my way up the nature trail and see if I would get lucky even though it was just after twelve noon. I walked up the path til I reached the wetland area of the park with no luck. Then took a walk up the opposite side of the trail to the wetlands and still had not spotted a turtle. As luck would have it, as I was exiting the trail just past the main pavilion I spotted this big guy chomping on some grass.

Ormond Beach loop ride

Many bikers and motorcycle enthusiasts ride the “loop” when visiting the Volusia County area including Ormond Beach and Daytona Beach during the two big Florida Motorcycle events every year. Bike Week and Biketoberfest attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to this area and most will make plans to ride the loop during these events.

The Loop is a favorite ride during Bike Week and Biketoberfest

Many of you readers have noticed the signs “Save the Loop” posted in homes and along the 23 mile stretch of road from Daytona to Ormond Beach. The loop is a natural habitat for the gopher tortoise and like the turtle, this land is threatened by development. One such development called Plantation Oaks brings threat to this enjoyable natural Florida scenic ride as well as the lives of over 900 gopher turtles. Read Permit to Kill to see more on how this developer bought his way through a permit loop hole.

It is sad to see more and more of the natural Florida ecosystem losing out to high dollar homes and multi-million dollar golf courses. Along with the natural beauty and surroundings of this land we are also killing off our wildlife, like the gopher tortoise.

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Geoff Thomas, completes the lap around the USA to promote Lupus awareness

Posted in Daytona Beach, Exercise, Florida, Health, Journalism, Lupus, Melbourne, National, News, Travel on October 9th, 2007

Geoof Thomas

Australian cyclist Geoff Thomas spent 156 days and traveled over 9,000 miles on the very same bicycle that he used to ride from coast to coast in his homeland, Australia. Geoff set out on his bicycle towing the custom single wheel trailer from New York City on April 28th 2007. His goal? To ride his bike on a “lap” around the USA.

The bikeusa2007 bike

Geoff told me that he wanted to accomplish more than just riding from coast to coast across the United States as many have done. Geoff set his goal much higher. He wanted to do an actual lap around the US by mapping out his course from New York up into the northern states and then continue on until he reached the west coast in the state of Washington.

cycle saddle bags showing the wear of thousands of miles travel

Then bike south down the west coast before heading back east to cross the lower southern states traveling mostly on side roads and ending his southern ride here in Melbourne, Florida before heading up the east coast returning to his original starting point New York City.

Geoff Thomas rides to create Lupus awareness

Now, of course Geoff has cycled long distance rides before and although he had set this lap around the USA as a personal goal he wanted to put it all towards a cause. Geoff was diagnosed with Lupus in 2003 and quickly learned that the disease is not only mysterious, but it is also not well known. It is for this reason that he began to contact different Lupus organizations about sponsoring his lap so that he could raise a bit of charity money for them, but more importantly to create a better awareness of the auto immune disease.

single wheel trailer for the lap

I first learned about Geoff Thomas, The Lap and Bikeusa2007.com  when I found an article about him in The South Bend Tribune. By this time he had already put over 800 miles behind him and he was still looking for a charity to contact him so that he could promote their cause. Being a member of Lupus.org and reading his story, gave me the idea that I wanted to help Geoff establish a communication with the Lupus Foundation. I sent an email to Geoff and contacted my local chapter for the Lupus Foundation trying to help get them together. I was delighted to receive a response from Geoff by email and we continued to communicate from then on. Very shortly after, Geoff had finally made contact with the Lupus Foundation and he posted the news on his web site www.bikeusa2007.com that he was riding for the Lupus Foundation. As Geoff continued on his journey, he began to pick up even more charity organizations as well as a few more dealing with Lupus. He also began to draw the attention of some of the mass media and local newspapers and television stations would catch up with him when he rode into town.

I was happy to learn that Geoff’s plans were to bike on into the southern part of Florida and I would get a chance to meet him as he was going to be stopping in to Melbourne, Florida. The”other Melbourne” as many refer to my city, as opposed to the Melbourne Vic Australia. Geoff and I communicated by email and then later by telephone and he had expressed that he wished to do a lap on the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. I thought that was a great Idea and it would seem that something of this nature would generate a great deal of media attention which would benefit promoting Lupus awareness and give the Daytona Speedway some attention for something that had not been done before.

I started the task of trying to make contacts with the media relations department at the speedway. When I say it was a task, I mean I spent 3 days being tossed from one department to another and from one person to another and nothing accomplished but leaving unanswered voice messages on speedway executive’s voicemail boxes. It seemed I was hitting nothing but dead ends in getting this accomplished, so I turned to a mass media reporter for help. It seems nobody ever wants to talk to you once you announce you are an independent news writer and journalist. Of course making contact and getting a mass media journalist to hear you out is another task as well. However, I did finally talk to a real person at a local news station for Daytona and Orlando area. WESH channel 2 news reporter Claire Metz was good enough to answer my telephone calls and sent me the names of media contacts at the Daytona speedway. She seemed interested in the story, if I was going to be able to get Geoff on the track.

I finally was able to talk to the lady that organizes track activities and I explained how I wanted to get the track opened for just a small amount of time in order for Geoff Thomas to ride a lap on his bicycle around the speedway track. I pointed out that this was for a good cause and how we wanted to try and bring more awareness to the disease. This lady blew me away when she told me that she would have to charge me mega-bucks for just those few minutes and it would not be worth my effort. Okay, so much for the Daytona International Speedway being a charitable corporation. So much for being able to get any type of news coverage in the Daytona Beach area. I really hated having to tell Geoff that I had met a total dead end in Daytona, but he took it well and continued on toward Florida.

As he approached the Melbourne area in Brevard County, I tried to get some coverage in the local newspaper Florida Today. I called the chief editor and explained that I had a really great human interest story and told him about how Geoff was riding his bike around the USA and had already covered 8,000 miles. I told him about Lupus and how the disease was not well known though it has developed in over 1.5 million Americans. Well, this guy proceeds to tell me how “people do things for charity all the time” and referred me to his cycling editor. This is just the type of apathy and uneducated people that I was trying to reach. The very same people that I was trying to get involved in the media, were just not interested! It is the same type of apathy toward Lupus with our government when funding is passed out for research on diseases.

Quick fact: 1.5 million US citizens suffer from lupus, the National Institutes of Health (NIH; Bethesda, MD, USA) allocated only US$88 million for research in 2005, down from US$96 million in 2003. Lupus will receive another US$25 million from non-profit organizations, according to Duane Peters, Vice President for Advocacy and Communications at the Lupus Foundation of America (Washington, DC, USA). There are about one million patients diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in the USA, and research received a total of US$2,981 billion from the NIH this year.

This makes no sense!

When Geoff arrived in Melbourne we talked by telephone and agreed to meet at the motel he was staying at in Melbourne Beach the following day. Geoff was diagnosed with Discoid Lupus, the very same type of Lupus that effects Cindi, the love of my life. Cindi and I went over to meet with Geoff and  spent an hour or so just chatting with him and talking about the many things that he had experienced during his ride around the country.

this bicycle has no pedals

As we were talking I started looking at this bicycle that had traveled across Australia and now was doing a lap around the U.S. I noticed this bike has no pedals! I have never been a big fan of bicycle riding myself, but every bike I have ever owned had pedals.

biking shoes

Seems that a real bicycle made for this sort of trip has no pedals. Instead, there are special shoes designed with a metal tab that slides into the clamp where a pedal should be. So, we learned a little more about Geoff and his equipment and talked about how people really need to be more aware of the disease Lupus. Meeting Geoff in person it was easy to understand how he was able to accomplish such a fantastic journey. He is in great condition, of course, but more importantly he is a very laid back guy. His out look on life, the trips he has experienced and all the obstacles he ran into along the way was you just got to keep movin on mate.

Geoff is an inspiration for both Cindi and myself and it was a pleasure to watch him meet his goal.

Lupus Foundation of America

So, what is Lupus?

Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that can target your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, heart and lungs. The great majority of people affected are women. For reasons that aren’t clear, lupus develops when the immune system attacks your body’s own tissues and organs. Three main types of lupus exist — systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), discoid lupus erythematosus and drug-induced lupus. Of these, SLE is the most common and serious form of the disease, frequently causing swollen, painful joints, skin rash, extreme fatigue and kidney damage. In rare cases, mothers can pass antibodies to their babies during childbirth (neonatal lupus erythematosus), though the mothers themselves usually show no signs of lupus. The outlook for people with lupus was once grim, but diagnosis and treatment of lupus has improved considerably. With proper care, most people with lupus can lead normal, active lives.

No two cases of lupus are exactly alike. Signs and symptoms may come on suddenly or develop slowly, may be mild or severe, and may be temporary or permanent. Even the distinctive rash that gives the disease its name “lupus” is the Latin word for “wolf” because doctors once thought the rash resembled a wolf bite doesn’t occur in every case. Most people with lupus have one thing in common, however, and that’s the tendency of the disease to get decidedly worse in episodes called flares and then to improve or even disappear completely for a time.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means that instead of just attacking foreign substances, such as bacteria and viruses, the immune system also turns against healthy tissue. This leads to inflammation and damage to various parts of the body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels and brain.

Someone YOU know has Lupus!

Like the disease itself can be mysterious and misunderstood, so too can the Lupus patient. Being supportive of your loved one or friend that has Lupus is important, but understanding them is very important. Aside from the effects of the disease itself, the Lupus patient will be effected by the medications that they have to take. Understanding that just because they don’t look sick, they are is important. If they say they do not feel well, understand that they truly do not and be supportive of them. I love Cindi very much and I am supportive of her and understand her when she can’t sleep or is emotional. If you have a friend or loved one that has Lupus, show them that you care by listening to them and understanding them. Join a support group in your area and attend the meetings with them. Get involved and become a Lupus advocate by writing the government. Explain your outrage to your congressman and senator in the amount of funding given to other groups with less effected. Remember, the noisy wheel gets the oil!

Be sure to visit Geoff Thomas’ web site www.bikeusa2007.com and read more about his lap around the USA. His site is full of interesting stories and facts like the fact that he had 44 flat tires during his journey!

Read more on Lupus and get involved at www.lupus.org

Participate in the up coming Walk for Lupus Now!

Meet Cindi Odom

Source: Mayoclinic.com

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Investigation continues into Melbourne Apartment Explosion

Posted in Brevard County, Florida, Journalism, Local, Melbourne, News on April 14th, 2007

Melbourne, Florida Apartment Explosion

Melbourne, Florida – The Melbourne Fire Department has completed gathering evidence on the scene of an explosion that happened early Wednesday at the Tucker Heights Apartments, 1101 Mathers St that claimed the life of two people and injured seven others. The victims of the explosion were sleeping in the apartment at the time and are listed as Joshua Leigh Jackson, 18 and 11 month old baby Ja’Miya Jackson.

The Melbourne Police department is continuing their investigation into the explosion and are asking residents who might have taken video or photographs to please contact the Department at 321-409-2200.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the Melbourne Police Department at 321-409-2200 or Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS. 

The investigation continues into the deaths of the residents in apartment D.  The gathering of evidence has determined that the dryer from apt C was illegally removed and found by Detectives in apt D.  The Melbourne Police Department has completed gathering all evidence and will continue with their investigation.  Police will be on scene throughout the weekend providing security to prevent tampering with any debris or resident’s belongings.

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Interview with Byron Morelock

Posted in Brevard County, Editorial, Florida, Global, Investigative Reports, Journalism, Media, Melbourne, Motorcycles, National, News, State on March 20th, 2007

Mike and Byron meeting on the beach

Today, I am speaking with Byron Morelock. Byron, is the brother of Gerald Morelock the motorcyclist killed on September 4th 2006 when he was hit head-on by an oncoming Dodge Ram pickup in a no passing zone on State Road A1A in Melbourne Beach, Florida. It was later discovered that the driver of the Dodge pickup, William D. Lane, did not have a valid driver license and was driving while intoxicated. Lane and female passenger Erin Derrick were injured in the crash, but were released from the hospital later. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement crime lab reported that Mr. Lane’s blood alcohol level was at .192 which is higher than the legal Florida limit of .08. Mr. Lane’s driver license was under current suspension for refusing to submit to a breathalyser test in June of 2006 after he was pulled over by State Police in Rowan County, North Carolina for driving on the wrong side of the road and not wearing a helmet.

 

There has been quite a bit of local news coverage on the crash of September 4th in Brevard County, Florida that took the life of Gerald Morelock because as fate would have it William Lane, known as Billy Lane of Choppers Inc. is a motorcycle builder based in Melbourne Florida and he is popular in the motorcycle industry. It was later discovered that Billy Lane did not own the Dodge pickup that he was driving when the crash occurred. The Dodge Ram pickup was one of 3 promotional vehicles owned by
DaimlerChrysler Corporation and had been loaned to Lane to promote Dodge products. All 3 vehicles had custom paint that prominently displayed the Dodge name, Choppers Inc., Billy Lane and the Dodge ram trademark.

Sean Morelock looking at ocean

One of the most important issues in this tragedy has lacked news coverage and that is what are the thoughts, the feelings of the family that has lost a loved one. That is what I want to discus with Byron Morelock today. I did this interview by telephone, but was invited out to meet with Byron and his son Sean on Melbourne Beach. To meet them in person and talk was very touching. Sean is very quiet and walked off while his father and I spoke. I took Cindi along and she took some pictures as we talked. The following is the interview that took place by telephone.

 Good afternoon, Byron

Byron: Mike, can I say a word or two first to clarify something??

MNO: Sure.

Byron: Thanks.. I have always been a slightly shy kind of a guy. Not bothering anyone and expecting that in return. We all dream about being a movie star or getting in the news for doing something great…Maybe its just a human thing.. I never would have dreamed in a million years that I would have to stand up and publicly Talk about and defend my family and our situation.
I guess that it is something that I must do. Too much hurt and pain have interrupted our lives. The sword has been passed to me. Mostly , we have heard from thousands of caring souls telling us that they too have lost a loved one and that somehow sharing our problems with others might help some one else. That’s why I’m here with you Mike. I wish I wasn’t,. not that you are a bad guy or anything !! I mean that I would much rather be fishing on some beach, waiting for Gerry to come walking up and saying “Hey Bro…whats up”

Ok ..fire away !

MNO: Where do you live? Are you from Florida?

Byron: My son and I live in Indialantic ,Florida now. My daughter Chelsey also lives in Melbourne. Actually Mike, I have been coming down to Florida since I was a baby. My Dad had an Aunt that lived locally so we were drawn here by family. We grew up in Ohio.

MNO: When did you move to Florida?

Byron: I moved to Florida in 1992.

MNO: Gerald Morelock was your brother?

Byron: He sure was….

MNO: Where did Gerald live? Was he from Florida?

Byron: Gerry lived 3 miles south of us in Melbourne Beach. Gerry was from Ohio like me.

MNO: When did Gerald move to Florida?

Byron: Gerry moved down here in 1988. We were always close so I moved down a few years latter.

MNO: Was Gerald older or younger than you?

Byron: Gerry was my big brother…always my big brother. Even though I became a bit “bigger”I always looked up to him as my big brother.

MNO: What was Gerald like in his youth?

Byron: Gerry was always into music & art. We both grew up with the most beautiful Mom & Dad. Kinda like a Rockwell painting. Dad always took us out fishing & hunting. We both loved the outdoors..

MNO: Are there any other brothers or sisters in your family?

Byron: Yea, I have a little sister “Squirt”…I mean DAWN….She always wanted to hang out with us so Gerry & I started calling her Squirt.

MNO: And where does she live?

Byron: She lives up in Ohio about 10 miles from MOM.

MNO: Tell me about your parents, are they both still alive?

Byron: Mom is still kicking….that’s for sure!! Dad died in our arms in
1984 with pancreatic cancer. That was horrible…but I was glad that we were there for him… Dad brought us into to this world and we thought it was our duty to help him out…..Gerry too. Matter of fact …I thought at the time that it was the worst thing that would ever happen to me ……unfortunately ……I was wrong …………As for our Mom: (I call her “BUG” because her name is JUNE )….get it ??? “JUNE BUG”Well she is my saving grace…Always there for both Gerry & I as well as my family. She fell in love with my Dad as a teenager and stuck with him …even to this day…she never remarried. She always says: “Once you’ve had the best …you don’t want the rest!!”

MNO: And you, do you have a family of your own?

Byron: I surly do. My son Seany lives with me and I have a beautiful daughter ,Chelsey , that has her own “pad” now. My ex-wife Carmen lives locally and is always involved with her children.

MNO: So your son, Sean lives with you? Tell me about him.

Byron: Well ….Seany and I are about as close as God allows. I know that sounds strange
to some of you but that’s the truth. If he is feeling sick then I start to feel sick. if I am worried then he too, worries. We are a kindred spirit. Everyone that knows us , tell us that they have never seen such a closeness of two souls. Lately though…..I have noticed him quiet, wanting to just slam our door closed when he comes home .maybe to escape our reality….. I don’t know exactly how to put into words. We constantly get bombarded with the realization that Gerry will never be here again. For me, it‘s horrible!!
…but to see my beautiful boy struggling to figure out all this crap just kills me.

MNO: I see, so this tragedy has had a big effect on Seany, your son?

Byron: Mike…..I don’t know you very well…….but I have to tell someone and I trust you ….my brother Gerry was not just an uncle to Seany…..He also represented his Grandpa, as well as a good understanding friend. Seany always would sit with Gerry and find the answers that he needed to hear. He would call him weekly .

You see, Gerry always helped both Seany and me in so many ways. He would LISTEN to us without judgment and try and understand how we felt . Sometimes a Dad & a son or daughter need Individual space , to be free to say what’s on their minds to someone that cares . Gerry always opened his heart to help us .

MNO: What other changes has all this brought to Sean’s life? School? Hobbies?

Byron: Both Seany and I were paralyzed when we were awakened at 2:59 am by 3 policemen pounding our door down last Labor Day. I didn’t sleep for 7 days…Seany finally passed out 5 days latter on the couch. My Mom flew down As fast as she could to help us. Everywhere we went , people would hug us and cry and ask us how we were doing.

 Our phones rang and rang. Emails after emails. All of these wonderful people were truly concerned about us. Seany could not make himself go to school. His school tried to fail him because of all this. He was devastated. I had to call the Governor’s office and vehemently defend my boy’s reasons. Three days latter I got a call from his school telling me that
Seany was welcome back to his school…….This was an awful thing for him. How dare anybody dictate a time for grieving !!!!!!!!!!

Especially to a beautiful boy caught up in a horrific tragedy. Both Seany and I really haven’t wanted to go out much since Gerry was killed. We use to always go to Sebastian Inlet and fish and play like we were on a deserted island. Build a campfire, and cook (hopefully) fresh fish and then Gerry would come over and eat and talk. I try to be a good example to my son Mike……

But I just can’t hide my pain and he knows it. Too many nights we both just lay in my bed….looking at the ceiling….not saying a word but knowing how much we need each other….He lost more than an uncle……that’s all I can say.….

(Cell phone rings)

Byron: Excuse me Mike.

MNO: Sure, go ahead.

Byron: Sorry, That was Seany….He calls me 5 to 8 times a day since Gerry’s death. We both always say I Love You a hundred times a day. I am not complaining at all . I truly love that boy so much ! He seems to be scared of …”WHATS NEXT ??” syndrome.
Maybe he is frightened with the possibility of loosing me ya know?….

MNO: And you? How has Gerry’s death effected your life?

Byron: (long pause)…

Gerry and I were not just brothers…we were best friends. Confidants of life. He would listen till 2 in the morning about all the crap I went thru and still not be judgmental. He studied all the religions in the world and always would come up with the perfect idea. I still almost stop by his place every day to say hi but then I remember…

Gerry didn’t like to cook , so Seany &I always did for him. If we were making killer lasagna, we would double the amount and take it over to uncle Gerry’s every week. A lot of the times Gerry would come over and bring his guitars and play the most beautiful music while Seany & I would be cooking.

Matter of fact, he played the most beautiful version of “GREENSLEVES “ in the whole world. Every time I would ask him to play that………… This Christmas did not come to Seany & Me .We both would get tears in our eyes listening to music….especially Greensleeves on the radio .14 years… we cooked for him and he always would say to me “I m so proud of you brother”…I miss that in my life now a days.

MNO: Do you think that this has been harder for you, your son and family because Gerald’s death involved a celebrity?

Byron: Of course,. So many more people know of the famous Billy lane. I mean , the first newspaper article barely mentioned my brother Gerry. They were more interested in the famous man that killed Gerry.

MNO: Did you know who Billy Lane was before this incident? Sean?

Byron: No. I really didn’t know of him. Seany and his friends new OF him.

MNO: And the rest of your family? What feelings have they expressed?

Byron: Mom has been devastated by all this !!! She doesn’t know what to think or do .She basically now hides in her home and tries to not think of this tragedy. Thank God that my little sister Squirt lives close by.

Mom doesn’t drive so Squirt picks her up and brings her to her home .Mom still just cleans around the home and worries about our families reality now that Gerry is gone. I am embarrassed to say that Mom probably worries too much for Seany & me and what we go thru here in all of this mess. I love my Mom so much and worry that this tragedy has broken her heart and the will to keep on.

MNO: Did anyone from the media try to talk to your Mom at her home in Ohio, I mean outside of Florida media?

Byron: No , I don’t think so Mike but then again , I am afraid to talk with her like I always use to. I don’t want to take a chance of getting her more upset.

MNO: And you? What was the media attention like when this all first happened?

Byron: From the day after Billy lane killed my Bro all hell broke loose in our lives: .Reporters, photographers, journalists , policemen, coroners, lawyers, prosecutors, Florists, funeral homes, Doctors, …Ya get it ???

Reporters at Seany’s school, waiting for us at home,…a nightmare

MNO: Now?

Byron: Still get hundreds of emails from all over the USA everyday, and phone calls and letters and blogs …. Mostly supporting our cause.

MNO: I’d like to hear more about Gerald. Can you tell me what kind of a person was he?as a Brother?

Byron: He was my friend, my best friend as Seany let me know. You see , I have been a single Dad with my kids for along time. I happen to believe that my kids came 1st.

Therefore I didn’t go out a lot . I stayed at home and mostly spent time with Gerry. Yea, he was my big brother…and I mean big too. Every single time I saw him , he would give me a big Viking hug and say :”I’m so proud of you !!”

I was lucky I guess to have a bro and a friend in one .Gerry always tried to help. I mean help anyone. I really don’t believe that he knew just how much he helped so many others. To be truthful…I even didn’t know until he was gone myself how I depended on him just to be there.…We have gotten thousands and thousands of people around this great country telling us how Gerry and all this has helped them some way , some how. Many have told me that they have lost a loved one in a traffic tragedy like us. I only hope and pray that my sweet brother can see how much good he had done.

MNO: Did Gerald have a wife? Kids?

Byron: He was married at one time. His only kid you might say is my boy Seany. They had a wonderful relationship !!!!!!!!

MNO: And Gerald was a park ranger?

Byron: He worked at Sebastian Inlet Park and loved it ! Our Dad took us there as kids all the time when we vacationed from Ohio. I guess that’s like a big circle.

MNO: We know that Gerald had a Yamaha motor scooter. Did he have any other bikes?

Byron: He had a big ol BMW.

MNO: When did Gerald first start riding?

Byron: Not long I guess. Maybe a few years. He liked the wind in his face. But ya know what he really loved about bikes and bikers? He loved the idea of being a part of a group. A comrade. He would always tell me how great it felt when a bunch of Harleys would go by and WAVE to him……And now so many more are waving and supporting him and us……he was right,………..bikers are more than cool !!!

MNO: Gerald wore a helmet when riding?

Byron: The 1st day he got his bike I came over. We both went out
and found a killer helmet! He looked really cool in it too.

MNO: So, Gerry enjoyed riding motorcycles. Other articles I had read said that Gerald was thinking about selling his scooter?

Byron: Well , I was always trying to talk him into getting a sports car with some more METAL around him. He loved the feeling of a bike though.

MNO: I think I read somewhere that before this incident, you and Sean did not know much about the biker community?

Byron: I grew up with a lot of bikers but for some reason I was afraid to
ride myself. I always liked most of the bikers I met, kinda like fishermen….

MNO: And these days, what are your feelings towards bikers?

Byron: Both Seany and I as well as my Mom And Squirt now have only love and good feelings towards bikers all over this great country !!

MNO: Byron, you have a computer, correct? How long have you been “on line”?

Byron: Yes , got 2 of them. I’ve been on line for several years now. why??

MNO: I was wondering if you have been reading these forums, blogs and on line articles about what happened?

Byron: That’s a 2 bladed answer my friend.

MNO: Okay, have you become active in any of these?

Byron: Some….mostly to defend my brother!!!

MNO: Some of the threads seem to get out of control and it appears that you might have been hurt by some of the things said. Is there anything you might want to say about that?

Byron: What has happened to me and my family has happened to way to many others before us. Trying to get thru day by day is bad enough. But to get emails from all over with comments to look at a blog because of a hurtful remark is heartbreaking all over again…

I am at awe with the maybe millions that seem to be supporting our cause in this tragedy. From all our locals here on the beach, friends, M.A.D.D. and B.A.D.D. members from Germany to Japan!!! At the same time it only takes a few bad remarks or false statements said to bring this big Ohioan to tears. Maybe some do not understand the whole situation.

MNO: What about the way some have chose to turn certain threads into a mob scene and hateful remarks against Gerald, you or your family?

Byron: There are several reasons that I will respond to a few hate mails towards my Bro or my family.

One being that I promised my Son, Seany, that Labor Day night that I would never give up , NEVER

The other reason is to try and turn this tragedy into something positive to help others…Gerry would want that. But I guess the single and most important reason that I will fight for our cause is very simple and plain…..

” A BROTHER”S LOVE>>>IS A BROTHER”S LOVE”

MNO: And those who do so against Billy Lane?

Byron: I think that it is wrong. The man that killed my Brother has to go thru our legal and civil system. I once said this statement but not many picked up on it except you Mike..: “ No matter what happens …..Everyone looses in this tragedy “

MNO: I know you can not answer many questions about the civil action filed against Billy Lane and DaimlerChrysler, but I want to just point out some things. Would that be okay? If I ask something that you can not answer, just tell me so.

Byron: Okay.

MNO: Your mother has filed an auto negligence suit against Dodge and Billy Lane for the wrongful death of your brother Gerald, correct? Ur, well I should say DaimlerChrysler I guess.

Byron: Yes. Against Billy Lane because he was driving and broke the law, Dodge because they owned the pickup that he was driving when Gerry was killed.

MNO: So Dodge is involved because it was their pickup that Lane was driving?

Byron: Yes, but that is all I can say for now.

MNO: Byron, thanks for giving me the opportunity to speak with you about all this, I know it is a hard thing for you to talk about.

I did a post on Gerald Morelock back in November of 2006 that includes many pictures of Gerry and his family. You can see that post by clicking here.

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New date set for Billy Lane Case – clerical error at fault

Posted in Brevard County, Case Research, Celebrity, Chopper Builders, DUI, Florida, Investigative Reports, Journalism, Law, Local, Media, Melbourne, Motorcycles, News, Newspaper on February 26th, 2007

A recent article in Florida Today “breaking news” section seems to stirred up old news in the Billy Lane DUI Manslaughter case. The article entitled Lane scheduled for court appearance reports that two of the three charges Lane faced were dropped. The story seems to have spawned from an earlier report on February 23 by WFTV channel 9, Orlando reporting Two Charges Dropped Against Celebrity Motorcycle Builder. This is nothing new in the case and most that have been following the Billy Lane cases know that this happened months ago.

What caught my eye in the story was the date of March 16 being reported as scheduled for next appearance. Because I was present during the last docket sounding on February 2 and reported the next court date to be March 23, 2007, I wanted to know why the date had been changed. It appears that there was a clerical error made on all of the cases from the February 2nd docket setting them for the next date of March 23rd. When the error had been discovered in the conflicting dates, notices were sent out to all parties notifying them of the new date set to March 16th.

Aside the criminal case for DUI manslaughter Lane faces, there is a pending civil suit against Billy Lane and ChryslerDaimler for the wrongful death of victim Gerald Morelock. Billy Lane was driving a promotional vehicle owned by Dodge on the night of September 4th that struck and killed Morelock while attempting to pass 3 vehicles in a double yellow no passing zone along Highway A1A in Melbourne Beach.

Source:

http://www.wftv.com/news/11094035/detail.html

http://www.floridatoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070224/BREAKINGNEWS/70224004

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The right to blog The right to Speak The right to know

Posted in Announcements, Blogs, Editorial, Internet, Investigative Reports, Journalism, Links, News, Politics, Radio on January 21st, 2007

There are a lot of things going on in Congress and the Internet blogosphere right now that you need to know about. The Bill of Rights and Constitution of the United States are under attack! There are members of congress that want to amend laws that were put in place to govern and protect the rights of the people of the United States.

Earlier this week a poorly drafted proposal was turned down that would require bloggers that write about political issues to register as a lobbyist if their blog received more than 500 views a day. Section 220, would have required certain people engaged in “grassroots lobbying” to register with the government or face civil and criminal penalties, including up to 10 years in prison.

The S.1 Bill titled A bill to provide greater transparency in the legislative process was approved 96-2 with the amendment that removed section 220 from the bill. Senator Rob Bennett (Utah), the amendment’s sponsor, remarked “Let’s reaffirm that the zenith of the Bill of Rights is free speech, the right to petition your government for redress of your grievances, and the right to peacefully assemble, all of which are involved in grassroots lobbying and none of which should be criminalized,” the senator said in a floor speech introducing his proposal earlier this week.

The bill as it stood was noted as “massive” and section 220 seemed to be cleverly disguised within the large amount of words. However, Mark Fitzgibbons who runs the site http://www.grassrootsfreedom.com/ opposing the legislation that included section 220 of bill S. 1 along with a broad range of groups including the ACLU, the Free Speech Coalition, the Traditional Values Coalition and National Right To Life said it would hurt their own groups’ abilities to influence Congress and place unreasonable restrictions on Internet politicking.

Section 220 of bill S.1 was stripped from the bill and rightfully so. It was not properly drafted and the language of the proposal was unclear and confusing. Our First Amendment rights being threatened in this form is real and needs to be monitored for protection.

Another proposal that is being circulated in an attempt to create a bill would effect the Constitution of the United States in a big way. There are those who would like to amend the constitution to allow foreign-born person to run for president! This should raise concern with all of us.

Article ll Section 1 clause 5 of the United States Constitution bars foreign usurpers form becoming President. The Founders of our country forged Clause 5 of the first Section of Article II of the Constitution to protect America from a foreign-born President holding dual or treacherous alliances with other countries.

By now you are asking, who would want to change the Constitution so that a foreign-born person could be president? Why would they want any person that was not born in the United States to hold the highest position of our government, the President of the United States? But wait there’s more! Who is the person that these people would like to see President? His father was a SS nazi officer. He has publicly stated that he has dreamed of being a dictator and that he admires Hitler. This man is currently in office as Governor!

WHO? Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach; and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., proposed the amendment to the Constitution to allow immigrants to become president after being citizens for 20 years.

WHY? To amend the Constitution of the United States to allow foreign-born persons to become President. The people above would like to see the current Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jennifer Granholm, Governor of Michigan run for president. Both are foreign-born, both already hold an office.

This is not new news, Alex Jones has been talking about this and created a web site called Arnold Exposed, this site not only tells about the proposed amendment, it also shows many things about Schwarzenegger you would have never dreamed of. Alex Jones is a hard hitting investigative journalist that has made people stop and think watching his fact finding documentaries. Alex is probably best know for his 911 conspiracy theory and documentary, but he doesn’t stop there.

Take a look at the information that I have provided for you, please. Make your own decision by what you see, hear and learn in these videos and web pages. I am not trying to point to any particular party or platform in this post. It is my goal simply to inform my readers and let everyone make up their own mind by what they learn.

You have the right to know!

Source:

http://news.com.com/

http://www.grassrootsfreedom.com/

http://thomas.loc.gov/

http://www.senate.gov/

http://www.arnoldexposed.com/

http://www.infowars.com/

http://www.prisonplanet.com/

http://www.prisonplanet.com/

http://www.amendforarnold.com/

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