Bits 'n' Pieces: Alaska Air Group honors local pilot

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Even when he was a boy riding his bike along the Columbia River, Jay Haldeman knew he wanted to become a pilot.

The 49-year-old used to watch planes fly in and out of Portland International Airport every day as he delivered newspapers near his Vancouver home.

After a 29-year career with Alaska Air Group, Haldeman has certainly lived that dream — and he’s just been awarded the company’s highest honor for his work and for keeping the community he came from ever present in his mind.

The Legends Award was given to 12 out of about 10,000 employees this year. Winners are nominated by their peers and those nominations are reviewed by a committee before getting approval.

Haldeman, who still lives in Vancouver, got his award for numerous community service efforts in both Portland and Clark County.

“It’s a big honor,” Haldeman said. “It’s not something I ever expected to get in my career.”

On our side of the river, Haldeman has worked with the Green Eggs and Ham project with Beaches Restaurant, which provides first-graders with breakfast, a hat and books by Dr. Seuss to encourage reading. He’s also participated in Share efforts for the homeless and has helped local Boy Scout troops with aviation merit badges.

“We (Alaska Air Group) needed to get out in the community more,” Haldeman said. “It’s easy to write a check from the corporate level. It’s harder to get people out there to really support the community.”

When he’s not flying $55 million airplanes for his company, Haldeman likes to fly closer to home with his son, Adam, 16, in a Piper J5 Cub two-seater plane that’s based at Pearson Field.

“I love this community,” Haldeman said. “It’s where I was born and raised.”

Washougal man’s book takes aim at proper use of rifles

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After hunting for almost 50 years, there’s not much that Mac McLeod doesn’t know about rifles and shooting.

The 62-year-old Washougal resident and former Camas paper mill worker has been gathering technical data, statistics and other information on how to get the best accuracy for years, he said.

After looking around for a single source of that information on the Web, though, McLeod came up empty, so he decided to help out his fellow hunters by writing a book.

“Every gun is different, every bullet is different, and there are just so many variables,” McLeod said. “My book is all about the technology it takes to pick the right powder, to pick the right bullet and to build a rifle to get the best accuracy.”

The self-published “Making a Case for the Right Rifle: Who Can Own Just One?” is printed by Silver Star Mountain Press.

The book helps hunters decide which type of rifle is best for their build or for the type of animal they’re hunting, McLeod said.

That includes information about a gun’s action, trigger, barrel, head space, stock and scope, among other things, he said.

“If you have a slight build, for instance, you don’t want a rifle with a lot of kick,” McLeod said. “Everybody’s a little different, but there’s no need to go deer hunting with an elephant gun.”

The 404-page book costs $24.95 plus $4.95 shipping and handling, and can be ordered from McLeod’s website at http://www.rwmcleod.com.

Bits ’n’ Pieces appears Mondays and Fridays. If you have a story to share, call 360-735-4457 or email features@columbian.com.