On March 15, Senator Sharon Runner published this message: “Dear Friends, by now I’m sure you have seen the news that I will not be seeking another term in the State Senate. My doctors have stressed that I cannot continue with the schedule I feel is necessary to give you the representation you deserve, and I have decided to listen to their advice. This is a difficult letter to write, just as it was a difficult decision to make… While I grieve that when my current term ends in December I will no longer be your elected representative, I look forward to many more years of continuing to serve our community together…” It is with profound sadness that I tell you that Senator Runner could not complete her current term. She suffered with Limited Scleroderma (CREST syndrome), and she died on July 14. This is a treacherous autoimmune disease that takes many forms, and there is no known cure. A simplified explanation is that scleroderma is a condition that literally means “hardened skin.” Most often skin at the lower arms, hands or feet thickens and gets hard. In some cases, it can affect internal organs. In Senator Runner’s case, it attacked her lungs. In February 2012, she underwent double lung transplant surgery, and it was very successful. She recovered fully. In her terms in the California Senate, she was a loyal supporter of motorcycle rights organizations. Senator Runner had a close and loving family and many friends. She will be sorely missed and long remembered… Happy birthday to all riders who celebrate in September. Happy birthday to ABATE Local 17 members Paula Machen McBride, Steve Fallon and Ron Vonsild. Happy birthday to my friend, E Linderman in Watsonville. Hey, E! I haven’t seen you in a long time. I hope all is well with you and yours. Happy birthday to Peter Crowell in Santa Cruz and to Wayne Andlovec, a member of the San Gabriel H.O.G. chapter. Happy birthday to Robert Allen in Glendale, and happy birthday to Kellen Yee. Kellen, you have been back in California from Portland for a long time now, and I don’t know where you settled in. Are you back in the Bay Area? The THUNDER PRESS crew has a couple of birthdays to celebrate. Happy birthday to the THUNDER PRESS Editor-in-Chief Terry Roorda, and happy birthday to Marjorie “Shadow” Kleiman, THUNDER PRESS East Editor. Happy birthday to the man and wife team, David and Ann Miller. David and Ann both hold positions in the American Legion Riders, Chapter 50, in Paso Robles. David is president of this chapter, and Ann is the founder and past president of the Auxiliary. Happy birthday to Karen Aldridge, Co-manager of Jamestown Harley-Davidson. Karen is also the daughter of Art Mitchell, of Mitchell’s Modesto Harley-Davidson. Congratulations to the Mitchells on the anniversary of 25 years in business as the very successful Modesto Harley-Davidson dealership. Happy birthday to celebrity riders Bill Murray, Keanu Reeves and Michael Madsen… Congratulations to Jason Patrick Gorter and best wishes to THUNDER PRESS Managing Editor, Cristy Pazera. They were recently married and gave birth to beautiful baby girl named Laurel Catherine. The little dear is already being gifted with a Harley-Davidson onesie and THUNDER PRESS News Team bib… I rarely check around in Facebook, but I did take a look at Mardi Moore’s post. Mardi is pictured with Cash, her Tennessee Walker. Mardi, Cash is so pretty. You say in your post that you got him in 2009. Isn’t this the same horse that caused some Indian reservation “security” to hold you up for hours with the idea that you stole him? With all the paperwork you carried, the scrutiny was ridiculous. I’m sure it wasn’t funny at the time, but can you laugh about it now?… Sam Wheeler from Arcadia is a name you may know. Sam once held the record for land speed motorcycle racing when he reached speeds greater than 300 mph. The current land speed record for a motorcycle is 376 mph, and Sam was striving to beat that and set a new record in excess of 400 mph. Sam built his bike with his own hands. Bill Lattin, president of the Southern California Timing Association, said that Sam was a perfectionist who knew aerodynamics, and he knew what he was doing as he built and modified his bike. Tragedy struck in late July when Sam was testing his bike. He was going about 200 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats when his bike fishtailed, slid and then went airborne before crashing down on the caged section where Sam sat. Sam survived the crash but died just hours later in the hospital. Sincere condolences go to Sam’s family and friends. He was loved, and he will be missed by all who knew him… As I passed by the Sacramento Valley National Veterans Cemetery, the primary American flag was flying at half-mast. To see the flag at half-mast always inspires a feeling of reverence in me. The clear message is that there is a funeral for a veteran in progress. When I say “primary American flag,” I am thinking of the one atop the tallest flag pole. In addition to that flag, there are multitudes of American flags flying at all times. The sight moves me with patriotic pride. I wondered, and then I saw the line of motorcycles lining the roadway. The Patriot Guard Riders were at their post. At the request of a fallen veteran’s family, the Patriot Guard Riders will stand sentry to ensure that privacy and respect are accorded to the family throughout the burial ceremony. What an honorable mission!