Monthly Archives: February 2013

Local Heroes Far Outnumber Local Zeroes

  I’ve been told I’m a pessimist by quite a few people. I’ll admit that when I smell flowers I do tend to look around for a casket. Isn’t a pessimist just an optimist with experience? I’ve just had one of those days where it is hard to be a pessimist. I talk a lot about the value of community and wanting a better world for my kids. Today I came out of my winter hibernation looked around and saw that community was alive and well. Sometimes if I squint hard enough I can make the bad look tolerable. I did not have to squint today at all. All I had to do was look around and see some great local heroes planting the seeds of community. The first seed sowing I arrived at today was at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown. This is a congregation that realizes deeds are actually more important that creed. Many of the churches members are involved in organizations to better our valley. They also open their doors for the church and church hall to be used for organizations that need a meeting place. For instance PFLAG met there for many years before finding their own site.

  This weekend People Fighting Famine did a three-day vigil at the church.  They had speakers, panels, discussion and a movie about Global Hunger. This quote tells what they are all about, “We are dedicated to telling the story of the famine afflicting our sisters and brothers who are starving to death in Eastern Africa.” Terry and Vicki Vicars and Dan and Peggy Eicher are our community heroes who started this organization. You can see Dan and Terry interviewed on WFMJ TV right here.  We Americans are the largest market for products from other countries. We desire many products that are destroying the natural resources and environment of many Third World countries. Global corporations in places like East Africa have leased land and are growing food for Western nations while the people of these countries are starving. We need to wake up people in the USA to see the real price tag of our “wants” is the lives of other nation’s people. The best weapon against Global exploitation is to raise global awareness. That means we need to realize that the idea of community needs to be expanded to include the world. That is what I believe Terry, Vicki, Dan and Peggy are trying to accomplish. I bless them and wish them much success. To find out more about People Fighting Famine check them out at this blog or at this Facebook site.

  The speaker I saw today at the vigil was local activist Staughton Lynd. Staughton along with his wife Alice can be counted on more than anyone I know in this valley to come to the rescue of those in need. They’ve helped steelworkers whose health care and pensions were stolen. A number of years back our valley’s economy went from steel mills to incarcerating men behind steel bars. The Lynd’s followed  Jesus’ creed that asked his followers to visit those behind the steel bars. They are folks that know that creed means nothing without the deed. They are a couple of community building heroes of the highest order.

  Downstairs in the Unitarian Universalist Church it was Saturday so it was Northside Farmers’ Market day. The market’s purpose is best summed up by its organizers as “The Northside Farmers’ Market exists to provide a regional market for area producers and to provide Youngstown and nearby localities a place to come together, rebuild community, and buy fresh regional produce.” The market has gone on for a number of years and it was started by  Jim Converse, Pat Rosenthal and other church members. They are more local heroes working hard to build community.

  Mrs. E and I went to lunch today at a fairly new restaurant. It is called, the Santa Fe Southwestern Cafe and is located on Mahoning Ave. in Youngstown. We went there today because of another one of my community building heroes. That is Karen Schubert who started, The Youngstown Cash Mob a year ago. Karen said this about founding the Youngstown Cash Mob, “We were inspired by the Cash Mobs in Cleveland, where people gather and instead of singing, as in Flash Mob, they pump money into a locally owned business, just by buying something.” My dad was a crafts person who had his own business for over 50 years. That means I can really appreciate an organization that wants to support local mom and pop stores. Come along with the Youngstown Cash Mob and support local businesses. Find out more here.

  I also want to send a shout out to the local folks that worked hard to get signatures for a proposal that would make it illegal to drill for gas and oil in Youngstown. The group needed 1,562 valid signatures to place the proposal on the May 7 primary election ballot. They worked hard enough to get about 4,000 signatures. I was told that even some people who were for fracking signed the proposal. They stated that it was only fair to let the voters decide. When you have even a few of that type of fair-minded people you have a community to be proud of.  Some of the folks in the group that worked on getting signatures were: Ray and Susie Beiersdorfer, Lynn Anderson, Diana Ludwig, Doug Fowler and many more. Whether the voters pass it or not these folks are community heroes because they used their time and effort to promote democracy. 

  I want to mention a couple who were set up selling birdseed at the Northside Farmers Market. When the market was over they rushed to take part in the Youngstown Cash Mob. That would be Jack and Sandy Slaina. Jack and Sandy are retired and spend lots of time volunteering for many community organizations and events. They are a couple of community heroes and Mrs. E and I only hope we have half as much energy to volunteer for things when we retire. Jack also runs a damn good valley site you can see here.

  When I think of retired people I think of Tony Budak. Tony retired and became one of my community heroes by making his dream a reality. He has spent the last few years working tirelessly building community by establishing the TimeBank Mahoning Watershed. The vision of the TimeBank from their website isAt the TimeBank Mahoning Watershed our vision is a network of communities developing through reciprocity where individuals are using their assets in order to enhance their lives, neighborhoods, and communities.” It’s an organization where each member can be a community builder and it is much-needed in these hard economic times. Go on their website and become a member of a growing community that is making a difference in our valley. I’m also glad to have met a bunch of great activist from Occupy Youngstown, the Dorothy Day House and I love the gang at the Emerging Community.

  The two-party system just doesn’t represent the working class anymore. That is where some more local heroes come in. That would be the members of the Mahoning Valley Green Party. I want to thank Jim Villani, Dennis Spisak  and Howard Markert for running as Green Party candidates in the recent past. I also want to thank long time activists Terry Esarco and Susie Beiersdorfer for running for local offices in the next election.

  Jim Villani is owner of Pig Iron Press in downtown Youngstown. Jim is trying to save his building and business from some real loan shark bankster types. I was proud to see the community rally to have a fundraiser to help Jim save his business. I was under the weather and missed the event. I now have a chance to attend another event for him and hope you can attend also. It is March 1, 2013 and here is more info.

  I have just written about all the local heroes that make me feel optimistic now on to some of our valley’s zeroes. I was just thinking the name Villani reminds me of the word villain. One of the most anti-worker villains in our community is Warren Tribune Chronicle Editor Frank Robinson. Just today Frank took a shot at the good folks at the local Green Party. In his weekly “Orchids & Onions” column he included them in his onion to the local GOP. He said, “To the Trumbull County Republican Party for failing to produce a single candidate in the May primary. Even the Green Party produced two – probably in an attempt to stymie the oil and natural gas industry. Trumbull County’s Republicans must be completely satisfied with how county and local government is operating.” Frank is upset that the Green Party puts community safety ahead of corporate greed. The Greens actually care about the environment and don’t want Frank’s beloved fracking companies pouring toxins in the Mahoning River. The GOP doesn’t waste any money running area candidates as our community is smart enough to know the GOP hates working people. I will talk more about that in next week’s post.

  The buffoon of the week is one of Editor Robinson’s personally chosen right-wing Community Columnists.  That would be Teabagger  Dan Moadus. Dan is a Girard resident and has served several times as a Girard councilman. The “Trib” has endorsed him in the past even though they called him a loudmouth. Dan was not happy with the last elections results. He then wrote a column that said there are people who shouldn’t be allowed to vote because he feels they are not smart enough. Dan is just one of those businessmen that has a real problem with democracy. I have proof that area voters are highly intelligent. That is the fact that Mahoning Valley voters rejected Dan as our next congressman. He is a Teabagger who fooled no one by registering as a Democrat and running in the primary against Rep. Tim Ryan. Dan’s most recent column went into great detail about an event he did not attend. I was at the event and was disgusted with his insinuations about people at the event. Dan is now angry about the proposal to ban fracking in Youngstown getting on the ballot. As I said Dan just hates democracy and the fact that citizens have a right to vote. I’ll speculate like Dan loves to do and say that if Dan had won Tim Ryan’s seat he’d have pushed for a Fascist government that would take away the right to vote. Dan’s latest column can be read here and in the comments section below the article I reply to him using the name Heartland. I end being very optimistic about living in our valley as the community heroes vastly outnumber the zeroes.

The Wallflowers: “Reboot the Mission”

also: “Love is a Country”

Area Band: The River Saints

“One day there will be no borders, no boundaries, no flags and no countries and the only passport will be the heart” ~ Carlos Santana

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Buffoons, Lie Detectors and Popes

Here is a message to WKBN 57 radio talk show host, Ron Verb. From time to time you have conservative callers say, “Ron I disagree with you 99% of the time but as far as your stand today I totally agree with you.” What that should tell you is that you are definitely wrong about the stand you are taking at the moment.

Now on to the biggest buffoon of the week award. I used to think this guy was a huge liar but I came to realize he is instead one of the dumbest S.O.B.’s I have ever experienced. I nominate Ben from the “Tracey and Friends” radio talk show at WSOM. The other day Ben said, ‘If Obama is the Messiah I want to be Pontius Pilate.” The “Messiah” label is the title Rush Limbaugh sarcastically calls President Obama. I expect Rush to say idiotic things because he is a drug addict. Rush worships Ronald Reagan as God as do a lot of conservatives. Ben shows he is a Rush follower (a dittohead) by using the word Messiah when describing President Obama. Ben earns buffoon of the week not just for that comment but for another one also. He said, “Obama went to Harvard where they have the secret ‘Skull and Bones” organization. Obama was a member and they have ties with the Illuminate, Foreign Relations Council, New World Order and other secret organizations that are a bunch of lefties planning for world domination and enslaving the Earth’s population.”

I knew Ben was a mental midget but I had no idea that he must actually do that show while wearing a straight jacket. The fact is that President Obama could never have been a member of “Skull and Bones” at Harvard. That is because Skull and Bones membership is exclusively limited to white Protestant males. A better reason is because Skull and Bones is a Yale secret society not a Harvard one. The society is known informally as “Bones,” and members are known as “Bonesmen.” Some known Bonesmen are William F. Buckley Jr., Prescott Bush, George H. Bush and George W. Bush. Not quite a bunch of lefties at all. In fact, I’ll bet Ben voted for George H. and George W. Bush. I am not surprised Ben is a conspiracy nut as he is certifiable insane. I would call for anyone in the media on the left that was this much of a liar or this moronic to be fired as he is an embarrassment. As for Ben he is on the right and makes them look even stupider than usual so I hope he has a long career behind a microphone.

I have thought up an idea I am trying to promote. I want to have all right-wing radio and TV talking heads hooked up to lie detector tests during their broadcasts. The detectors would be hooked to loud sirens that ring when a lie is told. Drug addicts are notorious liars so Rush’s rants would be drowned out for his whole 15 hour work week. You would think the Emergency Broadcasting warning was going off. Ben, Sticks, Jeff and Tracey at the local “Tracey and Friends” talk radio show would have their lie detector siren going off so long they’d cause a power outage in three states. I think these sirens would make the ratings for right-wing shows skyrocket. Though, I’d probably have to quit listening to radio talk shows on the car radio. I wouldn’t be able to drive because I’d be laughing so hard.

Things might be looking up for me in the near future. That is because I am working on a resume for a new job that has opened up. I’m thinking I’d like to do me some Popein.’ Perhaps you’ve heard that Pope Benedict XVI gave his two weeks’ notice. The Pope is also called the See of Rome, the See of St. Peter and the Pontiff. I’ve had quite a few conservatives say I’m good at pontificating so I hope the cardinals doing the hiring “See” I’m qualified. Pope Benedict XVI is the leader of over one billion Catholics. I have to admit that is just a few more people than I have that read my blog every week.

I do have some great ideas to bring the Catholic Church out of the 14th century. I have an idea that I think would make quite a bit of money for the church. I think they should market that exercise plan they have parishioners do at mass every Sunday. It is the exercise program where you sit, sing, stand, kneel, stand, sing, sit, kneel, stand, kneel, sit, sing, walk up the aisle get communion, kneel sing, stand, sing, sit, stand, kneel and sing.  This is a 45 minute to an hour exercise program that is only done one day a week (Sundays). I’d video tape the 45 minute mass and market the tape on the Home Shopping Network calling it, “Mass Cardio” or “Catholic Cardio.”  Speaking about communion what is with those nasty tasting communion hosts? They need to be replaced with a scone or bagel. If you want to go health conscience at least make them gluten-free or out of whole wheat. Also if elected Pope I’d have to keep telling the folks in Italy to speak “American.”

I would also suggest the church find another way of hiring priests. Recruiting them from the sex offender list has been one of the church’s worst ideas since inquisitions. More than previous popes I will be speaking out against the Death Penalty and any wars. I’d also be smart enough to accept the fact Catholics are using birth control and that it is no sin. Q. What do you call a Catholic that uses the accepted means of birth control the rhythm method? A. A parent. That is a joke and so is the rhythm method. At confession instead of telling people they sinned by using birth control make a little money for the church and sell the confessors some contraceptives. I had a priest friend tell me that he is sad that the Catholic Church doesn’t speak out more against wars. He suggested that the church would be more outraged if planes were dropping condoms instead of bombs. I’d also promote Liberation Theology which the church now is against. Previous popes have written encyclicals saying workers and unions should be respected. Then the church shows its hypocrisy by union busting at Catholic schools and hospitals. The church has been allowing married Episcopalian and Anglican clergy to become priest. That is hypocritical when the church won’t let Catholic priest marry. It is high time to let priest marry and let women become priests. The church has been misogynist in their treatment of women and keeping them in secondary roles in the church. While we are on it the church needs to start marrying gays. God made some people gay so who are we mere mortals to deny them rights?

I’d also make Bishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador a saint. He was assassinated by a right-wing dictator for speaking up for human rights in his country. I love the social action part of the Catholic Church that believes in social justice, peace, feeding the poor and visiting prisoners. You know, those kinds of things Jesus Christ asked his followers to do. In that vein I’d make Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin saints as they were Catholics who best illustrated what social action can do for others.

I do have some things that might hold me back from getting the pope job. I am a former Catholic; I wear size 12 EEEE shoes and a size 7 3/4 hat. I think they might be looking for a guy that fits the hats and slippers they already have. I am also not a former Hitler youth. I do think I’d be the kind of pope people would like to have a beer with. I’d be wearing a robe with no pockets for a wallet so I’m sorry but you’ll have to buy the beers. I think Pope Elecpencil has a nice ring to it. I could be the first in a long line of Pope Elecpencils. I know I can do a better job of Popein’ than any of these 10 Popes. So Pope Benedict XVI I wish you good health but keep that papal chair warm for me.

Shane McGowan and the Popes: “Paddy Public Enemy No. 1”

The Smoking Popes: “You’ll Never Walk Alone”

Area band: Jones for Revival

“I firmly believe our salvation depends on the poor.” ~ Dorothy Day

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We Need to Dump the Dumpers.

  “Personally my wife is from Youngstown, this is one of the reasons I volunteered to relocate here. You see, I am what the industry calls a facilitator, a motivator, one who mobilizes and reaches the goal rapidly if required. I also am …..a hatchet man, if I see a fake, I call him out. An eliminator, if one is not producing….elimination. A resolution man, a strategist. Bottom line I was sent up here to make things happen for the betterment of community.” “We exist because you need us, want us, you are the reason we are here in the matrix.” “Man, no wonder why Youngstown is the poorest in the nation, there are no smart people left. Don’t worry, us energy people will get you straight, we love the place.” “My YSU coworker engineers warned me about the remnants up here, they even renounce your type.” “You are lucky we in industry kept innovative and perfected horizontal drilling to enable us to come up here and produce what you and your ilk aren’t educated to do.” “BP, Consol, CHK, CNOOC , Hess, Shell, this is only the beginning of free enterprise coming in to move the entitled out of this energy rich land. You entitled ones neglected your land for all these decades. Now Big Oil is taking over.” “Let me assist, since they banished me from Texas to assimilate into the entitled society of Youngstown.” “What the hell do you people make, ……….more entitled babies? You certainly produce very little and take so much.” “O Youngstown, bring me your food card, free housing, heat, phone, elect, clothed entitled masses, I have an oil pipeline ditch for them.” “I’m beginning to learn why Youngstown today is the armpit of Ohio.”

  “Youngstown” an example of what happens when free enterprise no longer is understood. An example of the rise of the entitled takers, and their forty-year reign.” “And yet here is Youngstown, stronghold for the recipient class. Their leaders are so unqualified the only energy company leasing in this urban S%$&hole withdrew from leasing despite Youngstown being encircled by the Global energy companies. The oil company got tired of trying to teach this Third World City how all their non taxpaying land is now valuable.” “The energy companies are moving in to produce for a population that take. Either the takers produce or the energy companies will ….with the abandoned lands of Youngstown, which includes most of the City lands and parks. So the City says “here is some land you can give us money on but the park down the road is off-limits. Let me help the City since the brains drained a long time ago. It doesn’t work that way. The energy companies need all the lands in Mahoning County because it sits on the wet gas zone. You can’t pick and choose.”

  “On Jay Williams: When the true Americans, the silent majority produce a landslide this election, my only fear is this unqualified bureaucrat would reappear in Youngstown. But…..the free enterprise oil companies should just about be in place then and would shut the gate on this entitled politician.” “Who says I’m going back to Texas Son? And give up this wide expanse to exploit, are you kidding? You’re right, it is the year for the return of the carpetbaggers.” “Investing into Youngstown has always been a liability” “Great to see investors put their money where their mouth is………..unlike the preachers here who talk with no action of their own.” “Read all my post and see how the problem is with the inept unqualified leaders of Youngstown. No educated oil and gas concern wants to even sit in the same room with these uneducated recipients.”

  “Down south, the businessmen stand up and kick politicians butts when they suck on the hind tit of the government.” “Whew! you locals need to throw all these bums out of leadership and get you some business people here to run and lead you.” “In Texas, we always had the business people watching that the politicians didn’t get out of hand.” “….. your politician Hagan……man why do you guys allow someone like this guy to lead you? Can’t you do better than this guy……..for heavens sake he is a train engineer for God’s sake. You have to be smart enough to see that things are really gonna be different up here now that all these Global companies bought all your mineral rights? These boys don’t play, look at Dallas oil money has millions of us working, no more room for the lazy leaders and followers.” “The Valley’s true majority conservative democrats are on the rise and will no longer back the smaller liberal bent in their party. With the rapid growth of the new industrial base stimulated by the vast amount of energy in Ohio’s Utica, the industrial roots of the conservative democrats will vote for the businessman. The republicans and the conservative democrats in the Valley know now is the time to oust the liberal experiment for the past four years, they will close ranks.”

  “All the past steelworkers and their offsprings need to rise and replace any leader that is inept in understanding the valley’s position in the global economy.” “Teachers, nurses, policemen and fireman feel entitled. Many in my family are teachers and nurses, but I will with sadness in my heart say that they have become the problem inadvertently. You see the global economy has produced these same professionals in other countries and they are willing to out compete these same professionals for their jobs and this is what WE and America has exported to the world, free enterprise. ” “I think you need to revisit Rand again or live for a while in a third world country Rand clearly made no attack on the truly weak but the takers and subsidized able-bodied whom you call weak. Yes Rand predicted in a way what has become of urban society in America and industry flight decades ago. Rather than debating theory, I know the right course for this debate is to reference the Valley’s society today and it will mirror Rand’s philosophy.” “….we maybe able to assist you and educate you. You see we are all about community and WE DO IT, the right way.”

  “The fool fractivist are little fleas in the perspective of things.” “YSU needs to retire Biersdorfer and her hippie husband too. They both are an embarrassment to the University.” “Hey Frackerface, you do not want to debate me on Nuclear science my friend, 25 years ago I held a top-secret and secret clearance in the defense industry.” “love it! as the protestors shrink in numbers, more rigs keep lining up in Mahoning Valley. Check out the huge rig in Poland’s landfill, at night it looks like a steel mill and notice all the permits on the PA line.” “Leave it to the braindrained City of Youngstown protestors to protest a God send to their wasteland of a City.” “And our unqualified leaders of Youngstown sit and do nothing as the water runs under the bridge.” “Now it is Youngstown’s turn, the center of the Wet Gas and Oil play. Y all won’t notice the progress in the next few years as it hits your decaying town like Gen. Lee slammed into Grant.”

  The above are some of 394 comments made at Vindy.com by someone with the tag UticaShale. As you can plainly see why he earns my major ahole of the year award. The “water under the bridge” that Youngstown leaders are now dealing with is the Mahoning River that just had 40,000 gallons of Heaven knows what toxins dumped in it. Ben W. Lupo, a partner in several companies that share an address at Salt Springs Road, directed employees there to dump wastewater down a storm drain. A year ago an injection well operated by Lupo’s D&L Enery company, was linked to a series of earthquakes in the area. That well, and four more in a seven-mile radius, are under indefinite suspension. Here is what UticaShale posted on Vindy.com as a comment about Lupo’s dumping: “After all this whining from non producers we find out it may be less than a car wash would drain down the sewer.” What is 40,000 gallons of toxins to Mr.UticaShale as he will be off to poison another U.S. community.

  My hero of the week is the whistleblower who blew the lid off the illegal dumping. A couple more heroes are Ohio state Rep. Bob Hagan of Youngstown, D-60th and  Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, D-33rd who pushed the issue to get  answers from the state. “This is one of the issues I fought on when Senate Bill 315 was being drafted because of this misinformation, this lack of ideas on the chemical content,” Rep. Hagan said. He added, “We have to stop letting this industry run roughshod just for the sake of jobs and economic development. First it was earthquakes, and now it’s dumping waste into the Mahoning River. What’s next?” Well, according to UticaShale they are going to turn us into their bitch and make us one big Texas. The waste we need to dump is trash talking UticaShale and his corporate polluters. We also need to imprison Lupo for decades to set an example.

  We’ve got some local “fractivists” that UticaShale hates because they won’t let him and his gas & oil corporate masters have their way with our community. These local fractivist and Occupy members rate as heroes because they want to protect and better our community. They aren’t spectators who sit on the bench they are instead long distance runners in the race to save the human race and our planet. I’d love to name each one of them but fear misspelling names or leaving someone out. You know who you are and I love and respect you all!

  The people in this valley welcome business and jobs. We will not buy a pig in a poke no matter how much lipstick the Regional Chamber corporate lap-dogs put on the pig. UticaShale I know you Texans love revisionist history but Grant kicked Lee’s ass and Lee surrendered at Gettysburg. This past steelworker is going to rise up and stick his size 12 EEEE boot up your dumb ass. I have Ohio work boots not those Texas “Sidewalk Cowboy” boots where the horse shit is on the inside. If you really did work for the Defense Department I am shocked that our nation is not speaking Chinese now. Mr UticaShale it is time for you to pack up your Marlboros, ten gallon hat and big belt buckles and get Texas bound. Go back and help Texas secede and remember if at first you don’t secede “try and try again.”

  I want to thank James J. Sobien II, another community hero from Austintown, Ohio. Mr. Sobien protested by himself against a greedy school board that wants to hire scabs. Read about this lone warrior here.

A Well Water Drillers Perspective on Fracking

Frackfree America National Coalition (based in Youngstown, Ohio)

Local Band: The House Band

“If I owned Texas and Hell, I would rent out Texas and live in Hell” ~ Phillip Henry Sheridan

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Community Angels

I want to take a more positive attitude this week. That is why I am picking a “Best Area Citizen of the Week.” My pick is Hubbard, Ohio school superintendent, Richard J. Buchenic. He is giving up his $85,000 salary and working for $1 for the next year. His salary will go towards renovations needed at the Hubbard school system. Buchenic has not had a pay raise in nine years, but his intention is to pay back the Hubbard community where he graduated. “I learned from my mother that there are certain things you do in life, and education has been good to me,” he said, calling his contribution a small one. In these days of administrators retiring and coming back to “double dip” I find Mr. Buchenic’s generosity refreshing.

As we get older priorities change for most people. Maybe like me you find you don’t need a lot of “things” and have realized that “things” weigh you down. If you are like me you find yourself bagging up those “things” you worked so hard for and donating them. You reach a stage in life where your values change and you start thinking about whether you’ve done any good for anyone with your life. You wonder if there are still things you could accomplish that might make a difference. As you age it becomes harder to make friends because you’ve reached an age where you’ve become very serious about the world.  You are no longer at an age where the most important thing is to get together with others and “partaaay.” I talk a lot about community because I’ve reached that age where I know it not only takes a “village to raise a child” but that it takes a village to nurture life from birth to death.

I want to talk about the latest case of community I witnessed. My brother’s wife, Pam retired last year at age 58. She was feeling stressed out after many years as a nurse. Her father is a widower who has lost both legs to diabetes and she felt she could spend more time helping with him. She was able to retire at 58 because my brother and her live in a small modest home that was paid off many years ago. They don’t drive new cars, they haven’t traveled outside the country and they have no children and live below their means. My brother, Dan worked at the same plant I did that closed in 1999 after he  and I put in 28 years each there. Like me he has a bunch of pensions that were stolen from a series of incompetent owners. Since 1999 until two years ago Dan worked for a few nickel and dime type of mills that had no pensions or health care. He had two fingers cut off and reattached in a mill accident in 2010 and has been out of work since. He has lost a lot of use of his hand and filed with a lawyer for a disability. That case has dragged on for years now and doesn’t look like it will be solved anytime soon.

My sister-in-law Pam has diabetes and being a nurse she should have monitoring it better. She had been feeling poorly for a few days and ignored it. On the third day of feeling poorly she could not move her right arm or leg and had to be rushed to the hospital as she’d had a stroke. She ended up in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital for several weeks of care and therapy. She couldn’t say enough good things about the nurses and care she got at St. E’s.  She is doing better but a total recovery will take much more therapy. They are also faced with some huge medical bills. Dan and Pam’s house has two bedrooms and they are both up steep steps. They have a small room off of their living room for a computer room. Dan set about cleaning up the room so Pam wouldn’t have to go upstairs.

My mother can be a forceful woman even in her eighties. She decided she was going to get Pam a hospital type bed. She found one in the newspaper for sale and called about it. The seller said she had bought it for her mother who had recently died. The woman had paid $1200 for it and wanted $500. She asked my mother why she needed it and mom told her about Pam having a stroke. The woman was very sympathetic about Pam being so young to have suffered a stroke. She offered the bed to my mother for $250. My mother bought it over the phone sight unseen. Mom told the woman that Dan and my father would come the next day with a truck to get it and pay her then. When my father and Dan arrived the next day the woman had the bed all broken down in parts and ready for them. The bed was loaded and my father gave the woman an envelope with the money. The woman then gave the money back to my father and said she did not want to take any money for the bed and was just glad someone would get use out of it. My father insisted on paying her but the woman would not hear any of that. The woman in fact brought out a walker and some other equipment she thought Pam could use and told my father to take it also.

As I said my mother can be a forceful woman even though she hasn’t been getting out after having a steel rod put in her back a year or so ago. My mother who is a great cook and baker baked up a big batch of cookies and her famous caramel candy. She then had my dad take the cookies and candy to the bed seller as a thank you. A few days later my mother received a long letter in the mail from the woman. I didn’t want to pry as to the contents but mom said the woman wants to visit her. My mother called her and the woman wants my mother to teach her how to make her caramels. Mom was more than happy to teach the woman how to make candy. After giving directions it came to light one of my mother’s neighbors is a friend of the bed seller.  In the end a villager came to the rescue of my sister-in-law and my mother has found a new friend.

I have said the following before and I am proud to have found another example to say it again. “People talk about how in the old days tough times rallied people into a sense of solidarity, of community, a sharing that said, we all matter and we’re all in this together. Community my brothers and sisters is anything but ancient history. It is all around us when we need a hand or are willing to lend a hand. These aren’t people who just talk about family values, but live them. These are people who have learned that giving of self is the way to true fulfillment.” We live in this valley which is full of people like the bed giver that appear like angels when help is needed. An area full of such willing angels makes us one of the wealthiest communities in the country. The Elecpencil is damn proud to live here!

Local musician Damian Knapp: “Lockwood’s Boogie”

“Tsunami Blues”

“Many people are good at talking about what they are doing, but in fact do little. Others do a lot but don’t talk about it; they are the ones who make a community live.” ~ Jean Vanier, Community and Growth

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