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January 1994 NearNormal News


Jim Jacobs


The votes are in, and the big decisions are made, at least for another year.For the first time, the NNG has new officers.

PRESIDENT: In a very close race, ournew President is...Norm Rogers of Peoria.

VICE PRESIDENT: At the October meeting, there being no nominees for VicePresident, we voted that the runner-up in the presidential race would serve asVice President. Following Norm by only twovotes, John Marquart of Charleston becomes Vice President.

SECRETARY: Brian Braye (Bloomington), running unopposed, was elected byunanimous vote.

TREASURER: Jim Jacobs (Bloomington), running unopposed, was elected byunanimous vote.

MEMBER-AT-LARGE, Executive Committee: Don Coons (Rutland), runningunopposed, was elected by unanimous vote.


We wish to thank the outgoing officers, President John Walther, VicePresident Kevin Rasmus, and Treasurer Marty Jacobs for their extraordinaryefforts in helping to guide us during the first two years of our existence.Their commitment, expertise, and all-around good humor played an enormous partin making the NEAR NORMAL GROTTO the best damn new grotto in the NSS.

New President NORM ROGERS has great organizational skills, as shown by hisrunning of the highly successful annual NSS Field Camp at Mammoth Cave. He hastaken an active part in grotto activities since joining, such as the workshopon caving equipment, has organized trips, and presented slide shows in which hecritiqued underground photographic and lighting techniques. He has alsocontributed articles to the NNN.

Incoming Vice President JOHN MARQUART has, from the very beginning, turnedhis industry and talent for research to the NNG's advantage. He has doneextensive research on the history of the Blackball Mine, and the hydrauliccement produced there. One of his projects, on the chemistry of carbide,resulted in an article posted on the Cavers Digest and reprinted in the NNNalong with responses from correspondents. Another, on computer networking forcavers, appears in this issue. He has also given extensive slide shows,organized many trips, and presented a demonstration on the chemistry involvedin the production of caves. He participated in the NSS Field Camp at MammothCave in August.

New Secretary BRIAN BRAYE became a working member of the grotto from themoment he joined. As co-editor of the NNN, he has been instrumental in raisingthe newsletter to new heights. He chairs the Grotto Logo Committee, and createdand produced the design which now graces our t-shirts. He is also an activemember of the Meeting Activities Committee, and with Kevin Rasmus, organizedand presented a workshop on cave photography. In August, he also participatedin the NSS Field Camp at Mammoth Cave.

Incoming Treasurer JIM JACOBS was the grotto secretary for its first twoyears, and continues as co-editor of the NNN. He has organized and participatedin many grotto activities, trips and committees, took part in the NSS FieldCamp, and with Marty, is working on a slide record of our Blackball Mineproject.

Ongoing Member-at-Large Don Coons is off caving again this winter, but willreturn in April to give us the benefit of his extensive experience andknowledge. This time, he is visiting Hawaii and Mexico as well as Lechuguillaand other U.S. caving spots. His work as head of the Blackball Mine ProjectCommittee has been crucial to our development as a working grotto.

The other important question on the November ballot, that of our meetingschedule, has been decided in favor of FRIDAY nights. Henceforth, our meetingswill take place on the FOURTH FRIDAY of each month except December. The firstmeeting under this schedule will be Friday, January 28, 1994 at the First ofAmerica Bank, East and Jefferson sts., Bloomington, IL at 7:00 pm.

Group photos will be taken, so EVERYBODY BE THERE! Norm Rogers will presenta video, "Lechuguilla, the Hidden Giant" (the caver's version)

Welcome new members D.C. Young, and Eric Rogers. D.C. is a mechanicalengineer who lives in Towanda, IL. I understand he will have a surprise for usas the meeting. Eric is another son of Norm. It seems as though good cavers runin the family!

You'll notice new by-lines on some of the articles in this issue. Thanks tothe wonders of the InterNet, I was able to pick up some articles of interestand publish them by permission. (An editor's dream). Of course the familiarnames are there, too; Norm Rogers first address as president, part 3 of KevinRasmus' series on vertical caving, John Marquart on computer networking forcavers, and of course, that guy who doesn't know a cave "from a hole inthe ground". Perhaps "Mad Dog" himself will leave a depositbetween the pages.

It seems that the struggle between gas drilling interests and LechuguillaCave has not yet been decided. The "Dark Canyon EIS" (environmentalimpact statement) was recently released, and a weighty tome it is. It examinesthe requests and arguments for allowing drilling near the cave, and sets outthe various alternatives (i.e., everything from "no drilling at allallowed" to "let 'er rip".) A two or three inch thick book tostudy, and *thirty days* to get your arguments together and make your positionknown! From the messages on the net, the alternative that seems most likely tobe chosen moves the drilling company a few hundred feet farther from the*known* boundaries of the cave than their original proposal, but not farenough, say those who argue that much more time is needed to further exploreLech. to determine the actual extent of the cave, and to accurately assess thepotential for damage.

Buddy Rogers, of Bent Arrow Caving Supplies on Eller Road, near Buckner'sCave is selling some nifty hand-made cave packs. They are made of a highlyabrasion resistant rubberized cloth, seem very well made, and are reasonablypriced.

Happy birthday to us..........happy birthday to us.........jj

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Bruce Anderson


November 6, Brian Braye and Bruce Anderson took another dad and daughtertrips to Illinois Caverns. Last fall, four dads and daughters went. This year,only Bruce/Carma, Brian/Brandy and her friend, Christie went.

We woke up to light snow, and it continued all the way to the cave. it feltgood to descend the stairs out of the cold, biting wind into the "warm",moist, familiar darkness. Since I was out of carbide, I decided to try myhelmet mounted 2AA MiniMag and a second identical light on a loop around mywrist as my operating light sources.

We headed out immediately for our first goal; to find and photograph"The Dragon". Brian had his tripod, camera, and some remote flashgizmos he was anxious to try out. Since we had three fourteen year old girlswith us, one of whom was a pure rookie, we stopped along the way to play in thewaterfalls and slip and slide on the mud slides.

Somewhere beyond Rimstone river, we met a group of teenage girls led by aveteran NSS caver from MMV. We swapped stories and acquaintances with him andthen discovered the teenagers were from an LDS (Mormon) church group nearO'Fallon. After swapping LDS youth adventures with the man and woman leaders ofthe group, we moved on toward the Dragon.

By now, we were beyond where any of us had been, so we moved more slowly,looking for this formation. I was pleased that the standard map we had wasaccurate enough and that we could read it with a compass check to find theDragon, right where the map said it would be. We took some interesting photosof it with remote flashes, and also of Rimstone River.

On purpose, we saved Carma's and my favorite, Cascade Canyon for last, sothat we wouldn't be cold for the bulk of the trip, or deeper in the cave incase of injury. Carma had become very confident, so she led the group all theway back from the Dragon. As she led up Cascade Canyon, she was a bright blueflashlight on the floor through about 3 1/2" of clear water. On our wayout, she "dove" for it after finding it with our feet in the waterthat we had muddied on the way in. It's an inexpensive turquoise double D-cellwith a little rust, but a neat memory. No, it did not work in spite of theDuracells.

Our last picture before climbing the stairs shows the five of us withdistinguishable water lines on Brian and Bruce about chest/waist deep(respectively), but no clear waterline on the girls. Just barely discernibleare the wet hair tips at should level. Nice day of caving with the girls.

PS. By the way, while at the Dragon, I got out my little can of Sterno and ahuge 39 gallon garbage bag, and demonstrated how a hypothermic caver could bewarmed by putting the bag over the body with the head sticking out a hole inthe top like a raincoat, then directing warm air from the sterno into the bagfrom below. I'd carried that can of Sterno on many caving and canoeing trips,but had never tried it. It worded great - perhaps too good. I think a candle orcarbide lamp might be enough heat to do the job. Question for Marquart - Doesburning Sterno produce toxic fumes or just consume the oxygen supply?

PPS. I decided that I like more light than my two MiniMags gave me, buthaving that side mount on my helmet for a backup headlamp would be veryadequate for an exit in case of carbide failure. For those who would like toduplicate my mount - it's an old holder for a dental drill!

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by Steve Kaub


The first weekend of November brought freezing temperatures and snowflurries. What better time to practice a cave rescue? After all, you can't planfor perfect weather during an actual rescue.

The National Cave Rescue Commission is a nationwide network of cavers,organized by regions, who perform rescues of unfortunate persons who becomelost or injured in caves. Training is a major part of what the NCRC does. Thereare several levels of training. This particular course was the weekendorientation which is a brief look at the many aspects of cave rescue, includinga mock rescue on Sunday. There are week long courses which are much more indepth - levels 1 through 4, with 4 being the instructor course. The weekendstarted early Saturday morning at the Perryville Fire Department. Afterregistering, we sat down for several hours of classroom instruction. DonPaquette introduced himself and allowed the instructors to tell a little aboutthemselves. He said one of the objectives of the course was to convince caversand agency people that it is possible to work together without killing eachother. Since the important thing is getting the patient out of the cave asquickly and safely as possible, everyone needs to contribute what they canwithout letting their egos get in the way. The instructors gave short talks onthings like communications from inside the cave to the outside, getting aninitial response team in the cave to locate the patient and assess thesituation, logistics and what to put in a medical kit. Frank Reid, thecommunications expert, talked about media interaction. He compared reporters tohyenas at a wildebeest kill. They need to survive and make a living likeeverybody else but they should be treated carefully. There should be a personassigned to the media to feed them information as it becomes available, butthey should be kept away from tired cavers. After a tasty lunch, we were allgetting a little drowsy so Frank Lamm woke us up with an energetic talk on psychologicalconsiderations. He said you don't talk about how bad the situation is aroundthe patient even if they're unconscious. If the patient starts getting scaredor depressed, you have to talk to them and find out their name, tell them yourname, and do what you have to do to get their mind off the situation. Next, wepracticed packaging and transporting patients inside the fire station. Then weput on our cave clothes and went to a park and moved a patient through a seriesof obstacle courses the instructors had set up. At first Lannis was our group'spatient, which was no problem. We had to look to make sure she was still inthere. Then we changed patients and Frank told me to be the patient. Everyonein her group whined loudly. I was nice and warm inside the plastic moisturebarrier and sleeping bag and it was a surprisingly smooth ride even over thewall of the outhouse. Later that night Mark Andrich and I went to the localPizza Hut and all the instructors were there plotting the next day's strategyto confuse and bewilder us at the mock rescue. The waitress seated us next totheir table, so they thought we had been sent in as spies to discover the cavelocation or whatever. That couldn't be further from the truth, we had plannedall along to eat pizza that night, it's not a cave trip without pizza! Anyway,we ate quickly and left none the wiser. That night some of the Perryvillefiremen were laughing around the campfire about being referred to as"agency" people. It was so cold I couldn't even get warm by the fire,so it was time to go to bed. In the morning, we went to the fire station towait for the call out. We heard it had gotten down to seventeen degrees thatnight, which explained the absence of my posterior. Instead of everyone showingup at the cave at once, our names were drawn and we were sent out in smallgroups to more closely simulate an actual situation. When Earl, Lannis and Igot to the cave, the initial response teams were inside. As more people arrivedon the scene, it suddenly got real confusing. I got stuck on the outside of thecave with the personnel job, putting together groups of people to go into thecave. I wanted to go in the cave to get warmed up since it was about twentydegrees warmer than outside. Klump Cave was the scene of the rescue, it has aneasy walk-in entrance that immediately splits into two passages. There wereinjured people in both passages so it was a good thing we had two sets of fieldtelephones to keep in contact with the two evacuation teams. The rescue teamsgot the two patients out so fast that the instructors threw in a third injuredperson. After the last patient was out of the cave we returned to the firestation for a critique of the rescue. Most of the instructors came from Indianato donate their time and expertise to familiarize us with what is involved in acave rescue. Rick Haley did an excellent job organizing the whole thing. Dontold us the main reason he is involved in cave rescue is for the caves. Since arescue usually causes negative publicity it sometimes results in thelandowner's closing the cave. But if the landowner sees that there areresponsible cavers, they may be more likely to keep the cave open. There were alot of MVG members in attendance, we were probably the largest group represented,and I'm sure we all learned a few things. One of the things I learned is howmuch is involved in getting an injured person out of a cave. So the best thingto do is cave safely so you can walk out instead of being carried out. Re-Printedfrom the "Caver" - Meramec Valley Grotto's Newsletter - 12/93 andposted to MoCaves - The Missouri Cavers

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November 22, 1993


Called to order at 7:23 pm. Present: Jim Jacobs, Marty Jacobs, Al Winston,Val Winston, Brian Braye, Tim Mikesell, Tim Sickbert, Deb Smith, Tim Shaffer,John Marquart, Larry Avery, John Walther, D.C. Young, Norm Rogers, DavidCarson, Jered Rogers, Kevin Rasmus.

The minutes of the October meeting were approved. The Treasurer's report wasapproved. John Walther and Brian Braye agreed to check the books against thetreasury, as Marty Jacobs declined another term. Jim announced that Dave Mahonhad called from Quincy about a possible trip to Missouri. Any interested, call.

Trip reports -- John Marquart described the Camp's Gulf Cave, TN trip.Traveling with Sara Goeking and Eli Rodemaker they stopped at Horse Cave, onthe way down, and checked out Hidden River Cave and the Cave Museum. TimShaffer reported on a trip he took with Tim Sickbert down to Ross Cave, TN.They also visited Camp's Gulf. John Walther coordinated an ISU campusrecreation trip to Kreuger's Dry Run Cave.

Voting for officers: Each of the three candidates for president gave a briefspeech. Votes were turned in and counted. The tentative results (subject tochange if eligible absentee ballots arrived in the next few days' mail):

President - Norm Rogers

Vice President - John Marquart

Secretary - Brian Braye

Treasurer - Jim Jacobs

Member at Large - Don Coons

The proposition to change our meeting nights to Fridays PASSED. Nextmeeting, January 28th.

All were astounded at the helmet/light combination put together by AlWinston. He adapted a neon light to the helmet. The books and treasury wereaudited and pronounced correct by John Walter and Brian Braye. Adjourned.

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