Thursday, July 10, 2014

Idaho Falls Author Details Untold Valor: Forgotten Stories of American Bomber Crews over Europe in World War II

For the men of the Army Air Corps in early World War II, the chance of surviving the obligatory twenty-five missions without death, injury, or imprisonment was one in three. In this groundbreaking book, Rob Morris has sought out remarkable but little-known stories of the air war from the men who lived and fought it.

Celebrities and Stars blog recommends Untold Valor: Forgotten Stories of American Bomber Crews over Europe in World War II. 

Rob Morris is a high school teacher and military historian who lives in Ammon, Idaho. His first book, 'Untold Valor: Forgotten Stories of American Bomber Crewmen over Europe in World War II' (Potomac, 2006), is now in its fifth printing and remains a popular book in the genre. Morris next co-wrote 'Combat Bombardier' with 95th Bomb Group bombardier Leonard Herman in 2007. In 2012, his seminal history of the WWII 95th Bomb Group, 'Wild Blue Yonder and Beyond' (Potomac 2012), commissioned by the Group, was published.

Based on hundreds of interviews with American veterans and their families, Untold Valor illuminates the courage of airmen whose exploits have until now remained untold. Read about Jewish aviators’ experiences as POWs in German camps. Learn about American airmen who were imprisoned, even killed, by the neutral Swiss and about two Air Corps enlisted men who changed U.S. policy toward liberated concentration camp survivors. Also discover the unusual story of Luftwaffe commander Herman Goering’s nephew, who flew B-17 missions against Germany. While some of the stories cover major events, most are about incidents and individuals misrepresented or overlooked by history books. Yet their efforts were vital, their lives forever changed.

A reviewer wrote: "This strong collection of tales of heroism is long overdue, for it salutes airmen who conducted Medal of Honor-worthy acts of courage, but whose stories were never told. Rob Morris does a terrific job of bringing these stories to life, and the variety of his subject matter is both intriguing and entrancing."

In 2013 Morris added to his writing credits, including 'Untold Valor: World War Two in the Pacific' (Fonthill); 'The Battle of Gettysburg' (Instinctive); 'Presidents of the United States' (Instinctive); and 'The Civil War Chronicles (Instinctive).

In 2014, Morris elected to attempt to publish as an Independent (or Indie) author as an experiment. His first offering was 'Marinell: The Story of a P-51' and the People Who Knew Her, published in June. His second, due in July, is a revised and expanded edition of Dan Culler's classic POW memoir 'Black Hole of Wauwilermoos'. Other 2014 projects include helping AFL/NFL legend Ron McDole write his memoir about the Golden Age of Football, finishing his bomber novel, and researching a book about the AC-47 Spooky Gunship in Vietnam.
Morris has also written numerous magazine articles for World War Two History Magazine, Idaho Falls Magazine, and Dispatches: The Magazine of the Military Writers of America. He is the Grand Prize winner of the 2013 'A Novel Approach' Writing Contest sponsored by the Military Writers of America and writer Jack Woodville London. Morris contributed to the book '501 Jazz Greats'. He is a pilot, has been married for nearly 30 years to the same girl (Geri), and together they have three children and five grandsons.

Rob is a 1981 graduate of the University of Montana, Missoula. He has taught school for 28 years in Medicine Bow, Wyoming and Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Detailed and moving, Untold Valor is certain to interest the serious air historian and the casual reader alike. The book includes a foreword by the editor of B–17s Over Berlin.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Experience the legendary Kenny Rogers at the Morrison Center for The Performing Arts

The legendary Kenny Rogers has enjoyed a 55-year-career as a Grammy Award-winning recording artist, distinctive vocalist, and consummate  entertainer. Amazingly, Rogers has charted a record within each of the last seven decades and scored a hit single in the past six.

Not many artists, if any at all, can lay claim to those extraordinary chart accomplishments. A trailblazer for Country Music, he was the first Country artist to consistently sell out arenas and quickly became a pop superstar as well – his 28 Billboard Adult Contemporary Top 10′s is fourth-best all time among men, trailing only Elton John, Neil Diamond, and Elvis Presley. With 24 No. 1 songs (such as “The Gambler,” “Lady,” “Lucille,” and “Islands In The Stream”) and 12 No. 1 albums to his credit, Rogers is the RIAA’s 8th best selling male artist of all time with sales of more than 120 million albums worldwide. He will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame during a special Medallion
Ceremony in Nashville this October.

Please note new date. Concert, originally scheduled for Sunday, February 23, 2014, has been rescheduled to Sunday, June 8, 2014. Tickets issued for February concert will be honored at June show.

See Misc Event Info tab at if you are unable to attend rescheduled date.

Kenneth Ray "Kenny" Rogers (born August 21, 1938) is an American singer-songwriter, photographer, record producer, actor, entrepreneur and author, and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Though he has been most successful with country audiences, he has charted more than 120 hit singles across various music genres, topped the country and pop album charts for more than 200 individual weeks in the United States alone and has sold over 130 million records worldwide, making him one of the highest-selling artists of all time.

Two of his albums, The Gambler and Kenny, are featured in the poll of "The 200 Most Influential Country Albums Ever". He was voted the "Favorite Singer of All-Time" in a 1986 joint poll by readers of both USA Today and People. He has received numerous such awards as the AMAs, Grammys, ACMs and CMAs, as well as a lifetime achievement award for a career spanning six decades in 2003.

Later success includes the 2006 album release, Water & Bridges, an across the board hit, that hit the Top 5 in the Billboard Country Albums sales charts, also charting in the Top 15 of the Billboard 200. The first single from the album, "I Can't Unlove You," was also a sizable chart hit. Remaining a popular entertainer around the world, the following year he completed a tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland, telling BBC Radio 2 DJ Steve Wright his favourite hit was "The Gambler". He has also acted in a variety of movies and television shows, most notably the title roles in Kenny Rogers as The Gambler and the MacShayne series as well as his appearance on The Muppet Show.

 - See more at:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Ballet Idaho Announces 2014/15 Performances

10296020_674594039269195_3078738912222795542_oExperience the creativity of the company dancers as they express themselves as choreographers. New choreography challenges dancers to regenerate themselves through new technical and expressive goals. Be a part of the audience in the intimate Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy’s performance studio and be prepared for the unexpected.  NEW DANCE is an experience that puts you so close to the action you can almost touch it. This new work is passed like a torch from the choreographer to dancers to audience and the new ballet of today becomes traditions of tomorrow.     – See more at:

The mission of Ballet Idaho is to enrich lives through a dynamic tradition of classic ballet, reaching out to all generations and social groups to instill a life-long appreciation of the arts.  Collectively, Ballet Idaho is building a strong cultural institution based on professional ballet performance and dance education serving Idaho and the Intermountain West.
A scene from Alice in Wonderland, April 2014
A scene from Alice in Wonderland, April 2014
Ballet Idaho has been performing in Idaho since 1972. Currently it has an artistic staff of 25 dancers, a professional teaching staff of ten, a professional costume designer and a production staff of three.  Up to 40 musicians from the Boise Philharmonic and two pianists provide musical accompaniment for Ballet Idaho’s performances, rehearsals and classes depending on the production or project.  Ballet Idaho offers a full season of 14 performances of four main stage ballets, a professional Academy of Dance, training students in classic ballet and extensive educational outreach programs for students in Boise, the Treasure Valley, and throughout Idaho.  As the only professional ballet company in Idaho, Montana or Wyoming, Ballet Idaho provides important artistic opportunities and experiences that greatly enrich the creative vitality of the Idaho community.  Ballet Idaho served a total audience of 23,871 this past year and its educational outreach programs served over 10,000 students during the 2011/2012 Academic Year with the vast majority being residents in the city of Boise and the Treasure Valley.
Friday, November 14 at 8pm
Saturday, November 15 at 8pm
Friday, November 21 at 8pm
Saturday, November 22 at 8pm</p>
Friday, March 6 at 8pm
Saturday, March 7 at 8pm
Friday, March 13 at 8pm
Saturday, march 14 at 8pm
Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy 501 South 8th Street, Boise
Principal dancer Angela Gibson as Dew Drop in the Nutcracker.
Principal dancer Angela Gibson as Dew Drop in the Nutcracker.
Programs and Services
Ballet Idaho Academy of Dance: offers professional training in ballet and other dance forms with year-round open enrollment. Classes are held in five state-of-the-art studios at Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy in Downtown Boise, and in our West Boise location near the West YMCA. Youth Ensemble School.
Performances: led by Ensemble Director, Sarah Morris, academy students tour local schools and community venues with a selection of dances and a lecture demonstration.  The production is designed with interactive elements and its aim is to engage and educate the audience on dance history and performance.
Academy Concerts:  upper and lower level classes present end-of-year performances in June 2014.
Learning Through Dance: A ten-week Artist-in-Residence outreach program for third-grade classrooms in Boise, and the Treasure Valley with unique curriculum developed by Ballet Idaho.
By Special Invitation:  Our program provides an opportunity for individuals represented by local organizations from a wide array of socio/economic/ethnic backgrounds to attend a full production of Ballet Idaho’s mainstage performances free of charge.
Summer Intensives, Summer Camps, Summer Classes in Ballet Idaho’s Academy.
Ballet Idaho and Ballet Idaho Academy
501 South 8th Street
Boise, ID 83702

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Win a Family Pack: 4 FREE Tickets to See Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible No Good, Very Bad Day at Morrison Center

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible No Good, Very Bad Day is coming to the Morrison Center Sunday, May 18, 2014 2:00pm

Virginia Treat, events and marketing manager for the Morrison Center, is giving away a Family Four pack of tickets.


Go to Michael Strickland's Facebook page and answer this question:

What was your favorite show from the Morrison Center (any year)? And tell us why you liked it so much.

The winner will be chosen from among the answers on the Facebook post.

Velma V. Morrison Family Theatre Series
Sponsored by Boise State University President’s Club

Ticket Prices (service fees not included):
$8.50 – ALL

Group discount: Save 10 percent off the ticket price for parties of 10 or more – contact the Morrison Center Box Office 208.426.1110.

Have you ever had a really rotten day? Alexander has… He wakes up with gum in his hair, he trips on a skateboard, and then he accidentally drops his sweater in the sink – all before breakfast! Alexander can already tell – it’s going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day!
Alexander’s day continues to go downhill as he gets smushed in the car on the way to school, his teacher doesn’t like his drawing of an invisible castle, and Paul doesn’t want to be his friend anymore. There’s no dessert for lunch, there’s lima beans for dinner, and even worse: there’s kissing on television! It’s enough to make you want to move to Australia!

Laugh and sing along with Alexander’s misadventures in this hilarious musical, featuring book and lyrics by Judith Viorst, author of the best-selling classic book. Discover along with Alexander that sometimes, everyone has a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. (One hour in length, recommended for grades K -3)

Everyone through the door, regardless of age, requires a ticket. Babes in arms are not free.

All seats are reserved. Latecomers will be seated at the discretion of Management.


- See more at:

Monday, April 28, 2014

Why You Should Vote for Tom Dale for Canyon County, Idaho Commisioner

by Michael Strickland

Here are some reasons why Tom Dale is the right pick for Canyon County Commisioner.

"Fiscal Conservative."  What does it mean in reality?  It is not simply reducing services as a means of lowering taxes.  It means taking care of business in a responsible, sustainable fashion.  It means anticipating future needs and making provision to meet them in a timely fashion.

 Regarding the county jail - his opponent has stated; "Well the voters voted down a new jail- they don't want it so that's that..."  It seems in her mind since the commissioners' $70 million jail proposal was rejected the jail overcrowding problems can be dismissed.  We are turning people loose who should be held longer to serve their time, based only on the fact we don't have room for them.  We are paying other county jails to hold Canyon County's prisoners because we can't.  This is not fiscal conservatism, it is Fiscal Foolishness.

We have no space in the old jail for rehabilitative counseling services.  We are turning people loose after serving their time without the benefit of counseling that could help change the behavior that got them into trouble.  Fiscal Foolishness.

Meet With Tom Dale

Canyon County Commissioner candidate Tom Dale would like to meet the people of Canyon County to hear their thoughts, concerns, ideas, and answer questions they might have.

What: Meet With Tom Dale in Nampa
When: Thursday, May 1, 2014
Time: 4:30-5:45 PM
Where: First Presbyterian Church
400 Lake Lowell Ave., Nampa

Light refreshments will be served. 
Commissioners purchased land on Nampa Caldwell Blvd. as a site for a new jail, then sold it.  They then purchased land west of Caldwell as a site, without first creating a plan, and are now proposing to sell it at a loss to taxpayers.  Fiscal Foolishness.

Let's look at the operation of the County landfill.  Due to commissioners' refusal to accept bio-solids from Canyon County cities, county residents who live in a city with a wastewater treatment facility are being forced to pay more every month on their sewer bills. This is because they are being forced to pay for trucks and drivers to haul the material all the way to Mountain Home, then pay Elmore County to take care of it.  Is this a dangerous or extremely difficult material to deal with? No.  It could easily be handled at the Pickles Butte facility, creating a revenue steam for the county, and saving county taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars by virtue of a much shorter haul.  Current practice - Fiscal Foolishness.

Tom's opponent 
has said in budget hearings that they get 200,000 miles out of their farm vehicles, so why can't the sheriff patrol cars go that long?  Good fleet management policies determine that at a certain point in a vehicle's service life, it costs more to maintain that vehicle than it is worth.  Conservative fiscal policy replaces vehicles before they reach that point.  It's Fiscal Foolishness to keep county vehicles too long. 

Great ideas like these are in line with Tom Dale's approach. 

That is why he is the best pick.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Who is Quentin L. Cook?

I love how his work and testimony speak of freeing people from bondage. Using examples raging from -- Guiseppe Verdi's operas, to the Old Testament, to the Book of Mormon and family stories -- this leader demonstrates how God is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Quentin L. Cook
  • Quentin LaMar Cook is a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Currently, he is the thirteenth most senior apostle in the ranks of the church.

Elder Quentin L. Cook was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on October 6, 2007. Called as a General Authority in April 1996, he served in the Second Quorum, the First Quorum, and the Presidency of the Seventy. 

 As a Seventy, he served in the Area Presidency in the Philippines, as president of the Pacific Islands and the North America Northwest Areas, and as Executive Director of the Missionary Department. 

 At the time of his call to be a General Authority of the Church, he was vice chairman of Sutter Health System. Previously, he was president and chief executive officer of a California health care system. Prior to that, he was a business lawyer and managing partner of a San Francisco Bay Area law firm. He has been a board member of several profit and not-for-profit corporations. 

 He has served the Church as a bishop, stake president and counselor in the San Francisco California Stake, and regional representative and Area Authority in the North America West Area. As a young man, he was a missionary in the British Mission. He is a native of Logan, Utah, where he was born on September 8, 1940. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Utah State University and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Stanford University. He married Mary Gaddie on November 30, 1962. They are the parents of three children. 

Here are excerpts from one of his General Conference talks from October 2013, 

Lamentations of Jeremiah: Beware of Bondage:

Bondage, subjugation, addictions, and servitude come in many forms. They can be literal physical enslavement but can also be loss or impairment of moral agency that can impede our progress. Jeremiah is clear that unrighteousness and rebellion were the main reasons for the destruction of Jerusalem and captivity in Babylon.


Other kinds of bondage are equally destructive of the human spirit. Moral agency can be abused in many ways.15 I will mention four that are particularly pernicious in today’s culture.
First, addictions that impair agency, contradict moral beliefs, and destroy good health cause bondage. The impact of drugs and alcohol, immorality,pornography, gambling, financial subjugation, and other afflictions imposes on those in bondage and on society a burden of such magnitude that it is almost impossible to quantify.
Second, some addictions or predilections, while not inherently evil, can use up our precious allotment of time which could otherwise be used to accomplish virtuous objectives. These can include excessive use of social media, video and digital games, sports, recreation, and many others.16
How we preserve time for family is one of the most significant issues we face in most cultures. At a time when I was the only member of the Church in our law firm, one woman lawyer explained to me how she always felt like a juggler trying to keep three balls in the air at the same time. One ball was her law practice, one was her marriage, and one was her children. She had almost given up on time for herself. She was greatly concerned that one of the balls was always on the ground. I suggested we meet as a group and discuss our priorities. We determined that the primary reason we were working was to support our families. We agreed that making more money wasn’t nearly as important as our families, but we recognized that serving our clients to the best of our abilities was essential. The discussion then moved to what we did at work that was not necessary and was inconsistent with leaving time for family. Was there pressure to spend time in the workplace that was not essential?17 We decided that our goal would be a family-friendly environment for both women and men. Let us be at the forefront in protecting time for family.
Third, the most universal subjugation in our day, as it has been throughout history, is ideology or political beliefs that are inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Substituting the philosophies of men for gospel truth can lead us away from the simplicity of the Savior’s message. When the Apostle Paul visited Athens, he tried to teach of the Resurrectionof Jesus Christ. Of this effort we read in Acts, “For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.18 When the crowd realized the simple religious nature of Paul’s message, which was not new, they rejected it.
This is emblematic of our own day, where gospel truths are often rejected or distorted to make them intellectually more appealing or compatible with current cultural trends and intellectual philosophies. If we are not careful, we can be captured by these trends and place ourselves in intellectual bondage. There are many voices now telling women how to live.19 They often contradict each other. Of particular concern are philosophies that criticize or diminish respect for women who choose to make the sacrifices necessary to be mothers, teachers, nurturers, or friends to children.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Theater Review: Wicked at The Morrison Center For The Performing Arts

Last night, my wife and I took a ride that defied gravity in Boise, as Wicked transformed the city into the magical land of Oz. The show was one of the most complete and satisfying musicals I've come across in a long time. Packed with spectacular coups de theatre and magical effects, Winnie Holzman's script keeps the gags coming as it cleverly subverts the film that spawned it.
The story of Elphaba, the titular Wicked Witch in Broadway’s smash hit musical, Wicked, has become as classic and engrained in our hearts as the original story of Dorothy from Frank L. Baum’s source material for the show, The Wizard of Oz. Composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz was immediately inspired to create a musical about Elphaba when he read the novel by Greg Maguire which expanded and twisted the universe and gave us another look into the world many of us grew up reading about and watching in the movies. The musical is a look into the land of Oz before that familiar girl from Kansas and her dog arrived in Munchkinland and shows that in life, not everything is merely black or white – or green!
The production was fortunate to boast a pair of ace leading women in the main roles. As Glinda,  Kara Lindsay delivered a sensational star turn, displaying a crystal-pure voice and sharp comic timing;  Laurel Harris loaned her powerful pipes to the tricky role of Elphaba. Wizard of Oz  fans will be fascinated by all the back stories. They answer, analyze and develop questions including: "Is Glinda really that good?" ... "Where did the flying monkeys come from?" ... "How did the Scarecrow and Tin man come to be?" Built on songs by Stephen Schwartz, the best thing about Wicked is its stars, whose talent casts a powerful spell.

Presented at one of the nation's best venues -- The Morrison Center for the Performing Arts -- the costumes, stage props, actors, music -- everything was top notch. Wicked is a seductive slice of popular entertainment. Thus, it has the potential  to help a younger audience develop  a lasting taste for musical theater. Like any good Broadway musical, it taps into every emotion in the book. The impeccable phrasing and timing combine with surprisingly ingenious humor and a gripping narrative. The play gave the material every chance to shine.

The emerald curtain will continue to rise through May 4, 2014. Wicked is a musical you can take the entire family to.