On Nov. 28, 2001, someone stole some of the Christmas lights from in front of our house.
I am a disabled American veteran, and live with my disabled mother, and my nephew who moved here in order to go to college. One of my biggest joys has always been to put up a few lights for the holidays. I enjoy seeing them, and I think that everyone who drives by will too. It has been my way of helping to spread a little Christmas cheer.
We do not have much money and I saved for several months in order to buy these new red rope lights to add to the lights I had from previous years. My nephew and I put them all up over the course of two to three weeks, right after Halloween. I have all the lights on a timer, and they were there on Tuesday night. On Wednesday afternoon when I went to leave to go to town, they were gone.
This is sure a sad time when you can not even display a few lights in your own yard to celebrate the Christmas holidays without someone violating your peace of mind. It has really made an impact on me and my family. We can not afford to replace them, and now I feel like nothing is safe anymore. Those who did this have destroyed my faith in people, and that is not something that will be easily replaced.
Here in our home we do not have much, living on a fixed income does not allow for a lot of extras. What we do have, we take pride in, and have taken care of. What is more important is that we have always felt blessed, and sought to share what we have with others. I still feel blessed by my family, and friends, but can not help but wonder what society is coming too... Maybe someone can answer this for me?
Have a safe and blessed Christmas.
Deplorable road conditions
When driving to work this morning I was really excited to see that both the state and county highway crews had been out and had all of their streets cleaned and salted and in excellent driving condition. Then I arrived at Oak Street where my business is located, and my good feelings all passed away. The city had not touched Oak Street, no plowing and no sand. This is a main artery for traffic, and there is no excuse for this poor maintenance; and we should not see a decline in the maintenance just because the city has taken over the maintenance, for they receive State Aid to maintain this street. The state and county had everything done prior to 6 a.m. to facilitate the traffic.
I do not fault the city maintenance crews, but I do fault the leadership of the city engineering department. They should not have accepted the maintenance of this street, for they could not take care of what they previously had. It should have remained with the state or at the very least, the county. This is a main feeder artery and is used by everyone and needs intensive maintenance that the city is not capable of.
The condition of the road surface is deplorable, and the city engineer has taken no action to correct it; there are lots of fancy words and promises, but no action.
Don't blame HART
I can sympathize with the woman who wrote recently about finding a stray/abandoned kitten near her home. My wife and I also are caring for a young cat that was abandoned near our home.
Rather than blame HART or the city's animal control officer, I want to lay the blame directly where it belongs -- to the person(s) who, first, allowed their cat to reproduce and second, decided that dumping these animals in the country would absolve them of their responsibilities toward these animals.
The cold, hard facts are simply that there aren't enough homes (good or otherwise) for all the dogs and cats in this county. Unless you have a damn good reason for breeding an animal, do everyone a favor and get them fixed. You'll make life easier on yourself and your pet.
As far as HART is concerned, they are an excellent organization that has an impossible task -- not only dealing with people's unwanted animals out there, but having to put up with the perception that they can take every animal brought to their door (immediately and at no charge, to boot). It cannot be done! HART operates primarily on donations from the public, fees charged for adoptions, surrenders and other services, and a very small stipend from the county (not enough to cover one month's expenses). HART has tried to balance a reasonable amount of time to adopt out an animal with the reality that many of the animals that they care for, and sometimes get very attached to, will not find homes and have to be euthanized.
If you want to do a good deed, please support HART with a donation. Better yet, if you have an intact dog or cat, have them spayed/neutered. -- It would be a Christmas present to everyone.
(Former HART board member/president)
Setting a good example
On Dec. 10, Jews everywhere will begin observing the festival of Chanukah. The festival commemorates the heroism of the Maccabees, the early defenders of Israel. In recent times, it has served as an occasion for Jewish children to receive holiday gifts. But Chanukah also offers important insights into the Jewish dietary tradition.
The deeply religious Maccabees lived on plant-based foods during their struggle for freedom. They practiced the admonition of Genesis 1:29: "Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed -- to you it shall be for food." Indeed, the traditional foods associated with Chanukah are potato pancakes and donuts fried in vegetable oil.
Since then, concern for personal and public health, compassion and respect for animals, and preservation of natural resources have been deeply rooted values in the Jewish religious tradition. Many religious leaders, including two chief rabbis of Israel, were vegetarian.
The Hebrew root of the worked Chanukah means education, and the prophet Isaiah called on Jews to be a "light unto the nations." This year's observance provides all Jews with an uncommon opportunity to set a good example for their friends and neighbors by celebrating a vegetarian Chanukah festival.
Mary Benson of Brainerd, a beautiful, gentle, peaceful woman, is sitting in a federal prison. I dreamt about her last night.
Her crime was lawfully and peaceably protesting against evil, criminal organization sponsored by some of those who govern and control us. Whatever it's currently called, it's still the School of the Americas, located in Georgia.
What distorted, disturbed mind running free in our government thought of calling this a "school?"
Sen. Wellstone is aware, and indicated he's "supportive" of Mrs. Benson. Supportive is a cop-out word, and nearly turns my stomach every time I hear it. Where has your sense of outrage gone, Senator?
When he first went to Washington, he was fiery and outspoken. He has just become the lesser of two evils, at best. I apologize if I'm being judgmental.
He supported George Bush's call to fight, kill and destroy for freedom. What happened to Mrs. Benson's right to freedom of speech, peacefully assemble, address her government? Her incarceration is an attempt by her government to silence her voice.
Many others just like her are also in prison. All these people are political prisoners. A cleverly crafted legal device put them there, but that doesn't make them any less political prisoners.
Are we becoming the "Evil Empire" that Ronald Reagan was raving about? We'll be the last to know. Nations, like people, are always the last to see themselves honestly and clearly.
Nazi Germany saw itself as good -- the savior of Europe at the beginning of WWII.
The government of my country says it will silence -- no, make that "review and edit" -- statements made by Arab peoples to our media, to be spoon-fed to us.
When people are ignored and unheard, some turn to extreme or violent means.
Mrs. Benson was not one of those.
A. J. Martin
With Sept. 11 still very fresh in our minds, the ACLU is demanding that schools stop displaying the phrase, "God Bless America." This frightens me a lot more than flying or opening mail. They see it as a religious statement and, I believe it's extreme to consider "God Bless America" religious. It's more historical than religious, reflecting the beliefs that were used to free and found this nation, the most tolerant and diverse that's ever existed. Granted, it could be considered offensive to other religions and atheists, but America's settlers came to escape religious persecution, to worship their God in their way. This motivated these people to found the greatest nation in history, and "God Bless America" is an anthem of their labors. If you reject references to America's beginnings, you are not much of an American. Should we file off "In God We Trust" from 220 years of coins?
I want my children to hear the pledge of allegiance and the national anthem, not because of God, but because it's our heritage, which gives every nation its character. Revising history dishonors every American who died for freedom's sake. National anthem -- final verse:
"Oh, thus be it ever when free men shall stand,
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation;
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Power that has made and preserved us as a nation,
Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust;"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave."
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