The Wilberg Coal Mine Fire and Tragedy

The Wilberg Coal Mine Fire and Tragedy

“Our Secrets Belong To Us”

In the winter of 1984, 28 experienced miners went to work in an underground coal mine just outside of Orangeville, Utah. They dreamed of setting a “long wall” coal production world record at the Wilberg Mine. This championship endeavor would be rewarded with, a steak dinner for two, a $100 bonus and quality jackets emblazoned with the production record.

Instead, on December 19th, 1984 those miners set a modern record in the United States for deaths underground. Before the Wilberg Mine fire, I witnessed gross negligence and safety violations under the umbrella of Emery Mining Corporation (EMC), the employer and operator. Today those still responsible for the tragedy have still not been brought to justice.

A few days after the fire in 1984, on December 23rd, we in the mining community watched TV for any news about the fate of our friends and loved ones. A zealous media vulture who interviewed the wife of one of the trapped miners shoved the microphone in the face of the four year-old boy on his mother’s lap. The reporter purred, “What do you want for Christmas?” Tears streamed down the wife’s face as she valiantly tried to maintain her composure.

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Wilberg Mine Memorial

Murder Underground


While memorable is the hypocrisy of the State of Utah, and that of the Mining Safety and Health Administration; far more memorable are those words which came from mouths of UMWA District Local #22, Mike Dalpiaz and UMWA president Richard L. Trumpka at the memorial monument dedication one year after the mine fire:

Today is a day for remembering and contemplating, a day to pledge that we will never forget what happened a year ago, and to pledge that every once of strength we have will be used to strengthen safety regulations to make our mines a safe and healthful place for our members to work.” Dalpiaz

But the most lasting tribute and the most fitting epitaph we can give to those bothers and sisters and fellow workers who have died would be to work together with God’s help to make sure that we are never again called upon to gather together in sorrow as we are gathered today so that when the Wilberg disaster is remembered, people will recall that it was the last coal mine disaster in American history.” Trumpka

This work is dedicated to those who survived, who deserve to know the truth of what happened to their loved ones, neighbors, and friends; to know what really happened on December 19, 1984.

It has been alleged a compressor fire in the Wilberg Mine Disaster trapped and took the lives of 27 coal miners. If in any way that statement has substance, it is only symptomatic of the truth. Those with the information as to the true cause of that fire, the Industrial Commission for the State of Utah, the Mining Safety and Health Administration – Federal Government, Emery Mining Corporation, United Mine Workers of America, and Local 22 through its agents and its president, Mike Dalpiaz, were well aware of the underlying causes of that fire as much as a year before it happened. The mine superintendent George Bell for the Des Bee Dove portal complex managed by Emery Mining Corporation also knew of the underlying causes of this fire. He was told directly by the uncalled witness. Instead of managing the information he had, probably for the sake of his position with Emery Mining Corporation, a few months later his grandson, Phillip Bell, became one of the 27 who died in that fire.

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Synergism in Marketing

Synergism in Marketing

Author pundits bemoan changes the digital universe has brought to the reality of obtaining publishers. With few exceptions, today it is in the world of indie publishing, marketing ourselves, where one is more likely to find success. In that process, we get lost in the twists and turns of doing a job none of us hired on for. My father once told me, “Donnie, it doesn’t matter how good the mouse trap is, if no one knows you have it, …” Due to marketing misconceptions and failures, most of us know authors who in navigating perils of self-publishing, have sold few if any books. The following recent dialog with Dawn Mattox exploring marketing and the realities of being an author are explored. These few emails are provided for your entertainment and edification – maybe.

EMAIL #1 To Dawn

LOL LOL LOL! I have the four names already, Troi Jenae, Regina Dale, Kristin Allie, Amanda Jeri, and Jessi Wiles. I’ve not spent any time thinking about what their last names could be. I appreciate your comment on my cover. I paid for my new cover today, $240. I am anxious to get it back so I can send you a copy for your consideration. I am confused in that I don’t understand where you are getting your covers from and why you would be limited to 2 for testing. Can you fill me in? When I taught concealed handgun classes, I used to get paid for the class. Forty people at $110 each, is not rocket science. I usually sold around 15 books for an additional net of about $165. This last year for health reasons I have not taught many classes but things are doing a lot better now and I’m thinking about getting back into it. Of the book covers you showed me, I would give yours a nine due to a reservation for lack of detail. However, I’m sure full-blown, it would be a 10. When you speak in terms of 3, I am reminded of a good movie; GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY! When I think of book covers I think in terms of each time I have seen the movie. I do agree with you the layered cover should somehow show three things that draw interest to the substance of the book. I also think the three best things that can be shown are the protagonist, the antagonist, and the setting in some form. However, I do not think the cover is limited to those three things provided it is not too “busy.” Experience has shown that more promise built into the depth of the cover without making it too busy is much like a good murder mystery where the reader has an opportunity have all the relevant clues passed through his or her reading fingertips, yet the climax is still a surprise. But I ramble, and I am a drowning person you would not ask for a lesson on how to swim. I appreciate your time and wish you the very best based on both your skill and the luck I think you deserve. Trends are a gamble. If you can be on the front end, there is a lot of promise, but who can know whether the trend is the pot of gold or the metaphoric mill stone? Now there is a cover for you!!! LOL Don Note: Dawn Mattox can be found on Amazon – and following is one of her current book covers:

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Bill O'Reilly

Bill O’Reilly Termination

What the pundits did NOT say:

  • Allegations are just that, allegations. They are neither true nor false.
  • Settlements happen for ________, (you fill in the blank) often not going to the merits of the allegations.
  • The parties almost always agree no one is at fault and that further blame will not be tolerated.
  • The parties almost always agree they will not talk about the case.

For those who receive settlements, to talk about the case almost always has a clause that says they will receive no further payments under the terms of the settlement, and they have to pay back what they have been paid.

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