PostHeaderIcon 4th Circuit – Taser Use Unconstitutional: Officers Forced to Say Pretty Please


The 4th Circuit (federal) Court of Appeals has ruled it a violation of the 4th Amendment for officers to use a Taser on any subject unless they are a clear and immediate risk. This includes the use of the device in “drive stun” mode (stun gun). This ruling, so far, applies to the states within the 4th Circuit—North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. The court says the pain caused by Taser use is excessive force.

I guess officers in those states are now forced to return to the days of painful and sometimes injury-inducing baton strikes, clouds of choking pepper spray, and a dozen or so officers piling on top of unbelievably strong suspects who resist arrest. After all, extreme combativeness and violently resisting are generally not considered to be “risks.”

Here’s a fun fact – Believe it or not, wearing a badge and uniform does not give an officer super-human strength, and the minimum amount of defensive tactics they’re taught in the academy is of little use when attempting to arrest The Incredible Hulk on meth, a person who typically feels no pain and who pepper sprays often do not affect.

So stand by for a new wave of cellphone/YouTube/agenda-driven media videos, and for a list of officers who’ve been treated or hospitalized for injuries received while attempting to handcuff someone twice their size who’s doing whatever it takes to prevent their arrest.

Police Officer - definition: uniform-wearing human designed as a punching bag for anyone and everyone who cares to take a swing. Hated by all until they’re needed. Not to be confused with politicians, who are rarely needed.

Politicians - definition: gun-hating people who surround themselves with gun-toting police officers as a means of insulation from people who want to punch them in their lying mouths.

Lying Mouth - definition – untruths spew violently forward with each movement of the lips. 1st requirement to become politician. Also a known trait of narcissists and people who blatantly steal the ideas of others (these are often one and the same).

Agenda-Driven Mediadefinition: lying mouths who are sometimes former politicians. Never needed but you can’t make them go away. Taser use encouraged.

But yeah, Taser use in the 4th Circuit, in all but extreme cases, has indeed been ruled to be a use of excessive force. Therefore, police officers are now required to say “pretty please” as the first step in each encounter with suspected criminals. “Pretty please, stop punching me in my face.” Pretty please, let go of my gun.” Pretty please stop strangling your mother.” Pretty please, remove your hand from my chest cavity.” “Pretty please, remove your knife from my intestines.” “Pretty please, help me find the teeth you knocked from my mouth with your extremely large fists.”

This new development reminds me of the good old days when cops carried little more on their belts than a six-shooter, a pair of handcuffs, a flashlight, and a radio (if there were enough to go around). There was no pepper spray to squirt, nor were there Tasers to light up the eyes of the guy who was bashing your brains out onto the pavement.


Back in “the day,” officers didn’t have the luxury of non-lethal devices. Instead, we had to rely on fast talking and sheer muscle power to get out of jams.

Sometimes, the only thing that kept us from getting hurt, badly, was to use a flashlight as a tool to deliver a properly-placed “love tap” to an attacker’s thick skull (an aluminum shampoo). Of course, that’s no longer an option, but the tactic saved my butt more than once. And there’s one such event will forever stand out in my mind.

While arresting a very big and unruly man, a guy who just happened to be twice my size (and I’m not small), my future prisoner decided he was allergic to handcuffs. And, during a brief struggle, my neck somehow wound up in the gentle grasp of the behemoth’s skillet-size hands. In other words, he was “hands-around-the-neck” choking me with every ounce of strength he could muster. I couldn’t breathe, and I knew then how it must feel to be icing inside a pastry bag, because he was squeezing so hard that I thought my eyes would pop out of their sockets at any moment.

The thug had me pinned against a wall in a position that made going for my gun (a .357 in those days) impossible. However, I finally managed to get a hand on my metal Maglite. So I starting swinging (short strokes because of the odd angle), hoping to force the guy to release his grip. Finally, after a few hard whacks to his head, he let go. And, as they say, it was game on!

I finally got that big moose handcuffed and then promptly delivered him to the jail. But, my car was not equipped with a cage to put him in for safekeeping (none of our cars had cages back then), so I made him ride up front with me. And I made a point to let him know that my gun was in my hand with my finger on the trigger, and if he so much as looked at me wrong I’d shoot him. He behaved nicely on the ride in.

We must have been a real sight when we arrived at the jail—clothes torn, badge ripped from my shirt, bloody lips and clothing, flashlight-shaped knots on his head, fingerprint-shaped bruises on my neck, and more. But that’s how it was back then.

Yep, those were the good ‘ol days.

If only we’d had Tasers back then. Maybe then we’d have lost less blood and suffered fewer injuries, both to officers and suspects. I know, I know. The mere sight of a Taser could hurt someone’s feelings, and we can’t have that, right?

Oh, I know, we could have safe spaces for violent people who want to don’t want to feel the effects of a Taser, pepper spray, and/or handcuffs. That’s the ticket. Hmm… Is it okay to say ticket, or is that too offensive?

I’m going to close my blinds and shut my office door so I don’t have to deal with this stuff. It’s too scary…

*This post, although mostly factual, was meant to be slightly humorous. Please don’t turn it into a cop-bashing, religion-shunning, politically-driven argument on gun control and “I hate everything and you offend me.”


PostHeaderIcon California Wine: Target for Terror Attack?


We can all sleep a bit easier tonight knowing that Homeland Security has saved us from a super-duper, mega-colossal attack right here on good old U.S soil.

The plot began in the southernmost U.S. territory, American Somoa, where tuna is the main export and, apparently, the destruction of human life in the U.S. is high on the radar of these vile villains of the worst kind.

As we here in America went about our daily lives, doing the fun and simple-life sort of things we do—hating, killing, vandalizing people’s property, blocking streets, highways, and bridges, stealing, raping, robbing, stabbing, beating, complaining, bashing anyone and everyone who doesn’t agree with our causes du jour, cop bashing, politician bashing, race bashing and baiting, agenda driving, road raging, controlling guns (or not), president hating, potential president hating, using Facebook as the ultimate guide to life, and, for some idiotic reason, listening to and believing, without question, the things said by celebrities who offer uneducated opinions about current events—the evil-doers from American Somoa were plotting to destroy America, starting with the state of California. And this was their SECOND attempt within the past 60 days!

Thank goodness for the quick thinking of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents who were stationed at the Port of Oakland this month. It was they who nabbed the pair of adults who were in charge of the ring of killers. With them were approximately ten dozen terror-inducers-in-training.

The captured thugs, while hiding on the docks among a stack of wooden pallets, were resting from their long journey inside a shipping container. The scene must have been intense as agents moved in. However, intensive training and cool heads prevailed. Not a shot was fired.

So we can all rest easy, until the next attempt. For now, though, the captured pair of African Snails and their hundred or so eggs have been safely collected and delivered to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for testing. The shipping container in which they traveled was sterilized before offloading from the vessel.

By the way, African Snails can grow to 8 inches in length with a diameter of 5 inches, and they eat 500 types of plants, including garden vegetables. They love, among lots of others, sweet corn, lettuce, blackberries, cucumbers, strawberries, melons, and GRAPES! Did you see the California danger level rise to the red zone when I typed GRAPES? These slime-trailers also enjoy a nice hearty meal of stucco, plaster, and paint, and even raw meat if it’s available.

In addition to wiping out crops and buildings, these, the most dangerous snails in the world, also carry, among other creepy-crawly parasites, a nematode that can lead to meningitis in humans. Unfortunately, it is unclear what happened to the monstrous snails and their young after the testing was complete.

I understand the #snaillivesmatter organization has planned a march from San Francisco to Oakland, via the Bay Bridge. The parade of angry, protesting snails from all across Northern California and beyond will come together today at 4pm for a slime-in at the Federal Courthouse in Oakland. Commuters are advised to avoid the Bay Bridge. Reports say traffic there is already reduced to no more than a “snail’s pace.” Pedestrians are reporting that walkways and pavements are a sticky, gooey mess.

Oakland resident, Ima Steponem, told reporters she’s sick and tired of snail privilege and wants to see “every damn one of them” in handcuffs by the end of the day. Oakland police chief Sammy Salamander says he’s looking forward to a meeting with the head snail.

Meanwhile, restaurants all across the Bay Area are hurrying to add “jumbo” escargot to their menus.

Chief Salamander urges everyone to remain calm and to not take matters into their own hands. Oakland and San Francisco police are both on high alert as just moments ago panicked citizens began running for cover when someone shouted, “They’re coming! To arms, the snails are coming!”

But, everyone in San Francisco quickly came to their senses, knowing full well that people are not allowed to use guns to commit crimes in their city (San Francisco has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, and they still saw a huge increase in the number of homicides in 2015—over 70%—when compared to the 2014 murder rate).

Oakland residents, however, were last seen running for the hills as the snails continued their relentless “flat-foot” march toward the courthouse. An Oakland resident who asked to remain anonymous, told a Graveyard Shift reporter, “Ain’t nothing worse than a slimy-ass snail with a gun.”


*This is a true story…well, the part about Homeland Security agents discovering the dangerous snails is true (now you know what it is these agents do—snail patrol). However, the protest and slime-in scheduled for today…not true. It takes place tomorrow.

Chief Salamander is, of course, fictitious. Salamanders, in case you were wondering, are natural predators of snails.

Escargot is indeed featured on the menu of many Bay Area restaurants. Now you know where they get their snails. Yum…


PostHeaderIcon Edgar Nominations: The Heat Is On!


It’s January 19th and I’m extremely apprehensive about viewing any news or social media sites. I’m certain this sense of foreboding arose because I’m not sure how much more of the “bad” I can take. Sure, there’s good news floating about today—the Edgar nominations were announced (congratulations to each of the nominees).

I especially follow the publications of Seventh Street Books. Actually, I have one entire shelf filled from end to end with books published by Seventh Street, so it’s especially nice to see a nod to their authors.

This year, three Seventh Street writers were nominated for Edgar Awards. Lori Rader-Day for Little Pretty Things (The Simon and Schuster – Mary Higgins Clark Award). Gordon McAlpine – Woman with a Blue Pencil (Best Paperback Original). And Adrian McKinley – Gun Street Girl (Best Paperback Original).

So yes, congratulations to all three of these wonderful authors.

But, for me, the joy of the Edgar nominations is a bit overshadowed this morning.


The day began with deep gray skies and steady rain here in our little corner of California. The air is still and void of the usual chirps and whistles of the multitude of birds that visit our backyard for their morning and evening meals. Many of the surrounding trees are bare and nothing more than fat trunks with gangly and gnarled limbs that click and tick against each other when the evening winds push them about. Grapevines have also lost their foliage, leaving behind seas of carefully placed sticks standing in perfectly aligned rows that follow the contours of the hills and valleys.

And Glenn Frey is dead. Glenn Frey of the Eagles is gone. THE Glenn Frey.

David Bowie also left us. Alan Rickman died a few days ago, as did René Angélil (Rene’ is Celine Dion’s husband. Dion’s brother also died within the past few days),  Mott the Hoople drummer, Dale Griffin, died Sunday at the age of 67 (he’d been suffering from Alzheimers for quite a while), and Dan Haggerty (Grizzly Adams) succumbed to cancer. Natalie Cole passed away on New Years Eve. Lemmy Kilmister, Motorhead’s frontman died a month ago. And Mic Gillette, founder of the group Tower of Power, died last weekend. I met and played music/jammed with Gillette and a small gathering of Bay Area musicians several years ago. What a tragic loss to the music world and to his family and friends.

And, sadly, Joey Feek (Joey and Rory) is soon to leave this world. She has maybe a month left before her body gives in to the cancer she’s been fighting for so long. Joey’s husband Rory has been chronicling Joey’s day-to-day life on his blog, This Life I Live. The story is amazing, but I caution you to have a box of tissues handy before settling in to read and watch the videos.

So yeah, it’s still raining here and, while the emotions are a mixture of both sad and happy, the day somehow has a feeling that’s a bit peaceful and easy because I know we’ll all be okay. There’ll be more Edgar Awards to celebrate, and, sadly, we’ll lose more of the folks who bring joy to our lives.

But we’ll move on, life will go on, and, well, I’ve stood on a corner in Winslow, Arizona and it made me smile when I did. Couldn’t help it. It just felt good. And, while standing there with Denene at my side, I could hear that Eagles song playing inside my head. Today, others will stand on that same corner, and many more will do the same for many years to come, and each time someone does I’m sure they’ll experience the “peaceful easy feeling” I felt.

Life is good so live it. And to those of you who were nominated for Edgar Awards, well, The Heat Is On!




Edgar Nominations


The Strangler Vine by M.J. Carter (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
The Lady From Zagreb by Philip Kerr (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Life or Death by Michael Robotham (Hachette Book Group – Mulholland Books)
Let Me Die in His Footsteps by Lori Roy (Penguin Random House – Dutton)
Canary by Duane Swierczynski (Hachette Book Group – Mulholland Books)
Night Life by David C. Taylor (Forge Books)


Past Crimes by Glen Erik Hamilton (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
Where All Light Tends to Go by David Joy (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll (Simon & Schuster)
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Atlantic – Grove Press)
Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm (Penguin Random House – Viking)


The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter by Malcolm Mackay (Hachette Book Group – Mulholland Books
What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
Woman with a Blue Pencil by Gordon McAlpine (Prometheus Books – Seventh Street Books)
Gun Street Girl by Adrian McKinty (Prometheus Books – Seventh Street Books)
The Daughter by Jane Shemilt (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)


Operation Nemesis: The Assassination Plot that Avenged the American Genocide by Eric Bogosian (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown and Company)
Where The Bodies Were Buried: Whitey Bulger and the World That Made Him by T.J. English (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
Whipping Boy: The Forty-Year Search for My Twelve-Year-Old Bully by Allen Kurzweil (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper)
Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA and More Tell Us About Crime by Val McDermid (Grove Atlantic – Grove Press)
American Pain: How a Young Felon and his Ring of Doctors Unleashed America’s  Deadliest Drug Epidemic by John Temple (Rowman & Littlefield – Lyons Press)


The Golden Age of Murder by Martin Edwards (HarperCollins Publishers – HarperCollins)
The Outsider: My Life in Intrigue by Frederick Forsyth (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Meanwhile There Are Letters: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and Ross Macdonald by Suzanne Marrs and Tom Nolan (Arcade Publishing)
Goldeneye: Where Bond Was Born: Ian Fleming’s Jamaica by Matthew Parker (Pegasus Books)
The Lost Detective: Becoming Dashiell Hammett by Nathan Ward (Bloomsbury Publishing – Bloomsbury USA)


“The Little Men” – Mysterious Bookshop by Megan Abbott (Mysterious Bookshop)
“On Borrowed Time” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Mat Coward (Dell Magazines)
“The Saturday Night Before Easter Sunday” – Providence Noir by Peter Farrelly (Akashic Books)
“Family Treasures” – Let Me Tell You  by Shirley Jackson (Random House)
“Obits” – Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King (Simon & Schuster – Scribner)
“Every Seven Years” – Mysterious Bookshop by Denise Mina (Mysterious Bookshop)


Catch You Later, Traitor by Avi (Algonquin Young Readers – Workman)
If You Find This by Matthew Baker (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Curiosity House: The Shrunken Head by Lauren Oliver & H.C.Chester  (HarperCollins Publishers – HarperCollins Children’s Books)
Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands  (Simon & Schuster – Aladdin)
Footer Davis Probably is Crazy by Susan Vaught (Simon & Schuster – Paula Wiseman Books)


Endangered by Lamar Giles (HarperCollins Children’s Books – HarperTeen)
A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis (HarperCollins Publishers – Katherine Tegen Books)
The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury (Scholastic – Scholastic Press)
The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma (Algonquin Young Readers – Workman)
Ask the Dark by Henry Turner (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – Clarion Books)


“Episode 7,” – BroadchurchTeleplay by Chris Chibnall (BBC America)
“Gently with the Women” – George Gently, Teleplay by Peter Flannery (Acorn TV)
“Elise – The Final Mystery” – Foyle’s War, Teleplay by Anthony Horowitz (Acorn TV)
 “Terra Incognita” – Person of Interest, Teleplay by Erik Mountain & Melissa Scrivner Love (CBS/Warner Brothers)
“The Beating of her Wings” – Ripper Street, Teleplay by Richard Warlow (BBC America)


“Chung Ling Soo’s Greatest Trick” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine 
by Russell W. Johnson (Dell Magazines)


Walter Mosley


Margaret Kinsman
Sisters in Crime


Janet Rudolph, Founder of Mystery Readers International

* * * * * *


A Woman Unknown by Frances Brody (Minotaur Books – A Thomas Dunne Book)
The Masque of a Murderer by Suzanne Calkins (Minotaur Books)
Night Night, Sleep Tight by Hallie Ephron (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)
The Child Garden by Catriona McPherson (Llewellyn Worldwide – Midnight Ink)
Little Pretty Things by Lori Rader-Day (Prometheus Books – Seventh Street Books)


The EDGAR (and logo) are Registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by the Mystery Writers of America, Inc.

PostHeaderIcon Personal Defense: Handgun Shooting Tips

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We, the Writers’ Police Academy staff, are extremely pleased to introduce you to Johann Boden. Johann, a law enforcement Specialist-Technical Lead at Federal Premium/Speer Ammunition, is a renowned expert in the terminal ballistics field. He is also a go-to expert resource for law enforcement agencies needing research/problem resolution in weapon/ammunition interface and function issues.

Johann has joined the already extremely impressive lineup of instructors for the 2016 Writers’ Police Academy. He’ll be presenting workshops on ballistics.

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Click on the video below to view a presentation Johann recorded for North American Hunter—Handgun Shooting Tips—Personal Defense.

Born and raised in Germany, Johann Boden entered Bundeswehr (German Army) as student in Militaerakademie (college program comparable with ROTC/Military Academy) and joined air assault unit. He volunteered and was accepted for a newly formed unit under auspices of Grenzschutzgruppe 5 & 9 (GSG9) to address the anarchist and terrorist insurgence in West Germany at that time, mainly consisting of the Baader Meinhof group, Brigade Rosso (Red Brigade) and Palestinian Fatah (Terrorist unit led by Yassir Arafat, widely held responsible for ’72 Munich Olympics terror attacks).

Johann emigrated to the US in 1986 after successful career and threat resolution in Germany. He married, immigrated and then naturalized US Citizen as part of the Taft Act before deploying to Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield with the USMC. He was educated in Germany, holding Collegiate degree commensurate with B.A./B.S. in US.

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 *Registration for the 2016 Writers’ Police Academy is scheduled for mid February. Date and time to be announced very soon. 

PostHeaderIcon Why the Militia Guy was Charged with Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle


Once again media clickbait headlines and agenda-skewing stories, including those on Facebook and Twitter, have people sharpening their pitchforks and lighting the torches. This time the induced hoopla is over the charge brought against the Oregon militia standoff guy, a chainsaw sculptor, who illegally used a federally-owned vehicle to go on a grocery run to a Safeway store, a business located 30 miles from the bird sanctuary his group occupied several days ago.

As a result of flame-fanning news reporting, many people, people who aren’t fully aware of the law, are practically jumping up and down because the occupying sculptor was arrested for Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle. It seems these folks are boiling mad because the charges were not for Grand Larceny, an offense that sounds far more evil than Unauthorized Use.

Let’s dig into this a bit and hopefully clear the mud and media-planted debris from the waters.

1. Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle is a charge that relates specifically to a person who takes, operates, exercises control over, rides in or otherwise uses a vehicle, boat or aircraft without consent of the owner. The key word here is “USES,” which means there was no intent to steal the vehicle (use – to put into service).

In the case of the militia member driving to Safeway, well, he used (put into service) the truck to go grocery shopping and his intention was to return, with supplies, to the bird sanctuary. As far as we know, he did not plan to steal the truck, permanently depriving the owner of the vehicle.

Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle (in Oregon) is a Class C felony that could earn offenders a sentence of up to five years in the state penitentiary.

2. Larceny (stealing the truck) is defined as wrongfully and fraudulently taking and carrying away the personal goods of another from any place, with a felonious intent to convert them to his (the taker’s) use, and make them his property. In other words, to take/steal something with the full intention of not returning it.

Theft in the First Degree (in Oregon) is basically defined as—a person commits the crime of theft in the first degree if the total value of the property stolen (larceny) is valued at $1,000 or more. Theft in the 1st degree is a Class C felony.

So, the two offenses—Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle and Theft in the First Degree are both Class C felonies, and both are punishable by up to five years in prison. They both earn equal spots on an offender’s criminal history, and both earn an offender the right to wear the same prison clothing, sleep in the same prison cell, and eat the same crappy prison food. The big difference between the two charges is that they’re…wait for it…NOT the same offense.

The militia guy did not commit the crime of Grand Larceny/Theft in the First Degree. If law enforcement had charged him incorrectly a judge would have no choice but to order a dismissal. Therefore, the correct charge in this case was indeed Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle. The names are different but the penalties are the same.

I hope this tidbit of information was enough to prevent an overdose of blood pressure medications by those who were so extremely upset after reading all the agenda-driven media stories. As always, I’m presenting fact, not opinion, so please do not attempt to read between the lines. I promise, there’s nothing there.

PostHeaderIcon Tami Hoag Named as 2016 Writers’ Police Academy Guest of Honor

Hoag_credit Jan Cobb

The Writers’ Police Academy is pleased to present our 2016
Guest of Honor, international bestselling author…
Tami Hoag!

With eighteen consecutive New York Times bestselling thrillers to her credit, Tami Hoag has more than 40 million books in print, published in more than thirty languages worldwide. A favorite of readers and critics alike, richly drawn characters and sharply written dialogue are the hallmarks of her work along with fast-paced plots and accurate police procedure.

Tami does not appear often so this is indeed a rare treat.


*The WPA is deeply committed to offering writers the finest and most authentic behind the scenes police, forensics, firefighting, and EMS training available anywhere in the world.

To further our goal of helping writers “get it right” we’ve moved to an international law enforcement training facility in Green Bay, Wi. Besides, we needed a spot to land our helicopter (doesn’t everyone?).

Wait, there’s more!

We’ve “doubled down” and made it possible for you to further enhance your WPA experience by choosing the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center as our event hotel.

The Green Bay Radisson is a modern hotel featuring multiple restaurants and the Oneida Casino where, after a fun day of cops and robbers, high speed pursuits, shootouts, and homicide investigations, you can choose to hang out with your friends at either or all of several bars, enjoy live entertainment, or play a few hands of blackjack. If that’s not enough there are plenty of slot machines to keep you busy!

So come for the ultimate research adventure at the WPA, or turn your trip into a weeklong fun vacation. Either way, the 2016 Writers’ Police Academy is THE experience of a lifetime!

We do hope to see each of you there.


August 11-14, 2016


Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
International Public Safety Training Academy
Green Bay, Wisconsin


Austin Straubel International Airport
Airport Code – GRB
Shuttles are provided between the airport and event hotel.

ONEIDA CASINO – Plan to stay an extra day or so to take advantage of this unique opportunity!

*Registration is scheduled to open in mid February. Remember, the WPA sells out quickly (last year the event sold out within one hour), so please watch for news, updates, and the date and time registration opens.

Please feel free to, and please do, share this announcement with EVERYONE!

As always, we thank each of you for your continued support.

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