Saturday, November 03, 2012

In Other News...

No matter who you listen to, no matter where you surf or what you watch, it’s impossible to escape the predictions or feelings of doom, of our lives being ruined. Through an almost unimaginable confluence of events, forces have merged to challenge the very nature of our existence. And if we don't take immediate action, there's no telling if not only we, but our children and our children's children, will ever be able to claw our way back from the dark ages into which we might be thrust.

Now, depending on who you believe, whether you were affected by the storm or feel bad for those folks over there, the name of that force is either Sandy, Barack or Mitt. But while all that is going on, hard as it is to believe, life continues to muddle forward off the front pages. And so, as a public service to those of you who have tired of hearing about how your little piece of heaven will be ruined by the most destructive force imaginable, be it Democratic, Republican or Natural, here are a few other stories from around the country that might have made the grade at other times, but are most decidedly flying below the radar this week.

Nebraska Third Grader Dresses "In Character" Every Day For School. In Omaha, 8-year-old Stella Ehrhart starts every day by looking in her closet and thinking about who she's going to be. According to her mother, it's not about "dressing in costume," but "dressing in character." As described by in the article, "All it takes is a black dress and a red-tissue paper flower in her hair and she's jazz singer Billie Holiday. Or, she's Jane Goodall with a flannel shirt and stuffed chimp tucked under her arm. With a khaki shirt emblazoned with a police badge she's her Aunt Pam, a police officer." And what's her plan for Halloween? "I'm not sure yet," Stella said. "I haven't really thought about it yet as a special day, so probably whatever I had planned."

Traverse City, MI Listed as the 6th Best City for Book Lovers. According to the website, TC was named partly because it has three bookstores, "including downtown's large Horizon Books, which includes the Rise and Shine Cafe." It joins other accolades the town has collected, included being listed as having America's best ice cream in Moomer's, one of America's best foodie towns as picked by Bon Appetit magazine and the 2011 Good Morning America viewer poll recognition of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as one of most beautiful places in America.

Local Girl Scout earns Gold Award. Krisha Desai of New Territory, TX (Rainbow Stars Service Unit-Troop 721) got the highest achievement a Girl Scout can earn, symbolizing outstanding accomplishments in the areas of leadership, community service and advocacy. Her signature project was a Healthy Living Clinic for Refugees in conjunction with the Refugee Week Health Fair held by her church. It's quite an accomplishment: only 5.4% of Girl Scouts nationally complete the award.

Residents Object to Site Picked for Animal Shelter. According to the Macon, GA Telegraph, neighbors living near a site chosen for Bibb County's new animal shelter are voicing strong opposition. At an evening hearing, they raised concerns from noise to unpleasant odors, all of which might lead to reduced property values. According to Commissioner Lonzy Edwards, the chairman of the site selection committee, a number of sites were considered but disqualified because of cost and environmental concerns. The center is expected to handle 3,600 to 4,000 animals each year.

Lame Duck Taos County Commissioner pockets $550 for Jail Training. It turns out that while Taos County NM Commissioner Nicklos Jaramillo's term is up at the end of the year, he recently spent five days attending a training class designed for jail employees, collecting $554 in per diem and travel expenses for the trip (that's $85 per day, plus $129 for driving to and from Albuquerque). While there's no question of legality, since he's only in office for another few months, the question is whether or not it was a good use of funds. But County Attorney Barbara Martínez said that "The commissioners don't ask for the county manager's approval on travel expenses," so nothing was technically illegal.

And there's more: did you know that there was a 3.9 magnitude earthquake in Arkansas on Monday? It was centered just southwest of Parkin in Cross County and happened around 7:39 a.m. local time. Thankfully there was no damage, just some alarms set off. Even so. Move over Sandy, sit down Mitt and stand aside Barack:  the world continues to turn.


Marc Wollin of Bedford is tired of hearing about politics and storms. His column appears regularly in The Record-Review, The Scarsdale Inquirer and online at

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