Monthly Archives: March 2013
Three years ago, my husband and I took the Emerald Lakes Boy Scout troop to summer camp in New York. One of the remarkable young men that came with us was Christopher Joseph. On March 17th, 2013, Chris was awarded Boy Scout’s highest rank – Eagle Scout. In order to achieve this, he had to earn 21 merit badges, including first aid, citizenship in the community, world, and nation, communications, personal fitness and emergency preparedness. He also had to demonstrate leadership in his troop and lead a service project for his community.
The Eagle ceremony is deserved recognition for years of hard work and dedication. With all the choices and paths that young men can choose to take, for good and for bad, scouting is one that not only helps them achieve their goals, it also helps the communities in which they live. For his Eagle service project, Chris planned, organized and built an outdoor concession stand for the sports fields at Monsignor McHugh School. He held fundraisers to pay for the supplies, and led the project from start to finish. At a time when so many children are choosing video games and television for their free time, Chris chose to work hundreds of hours to improve his skills and help his community.
That first summer at camp, we could see in Chris the qualities that would lead to this special day. He was helpful and friendly. He took care of his fellow scouts and consistently attended his merit badge classes. He loved tending the fire and spent most evenings sitting in the fire pit and feeding the fire and looking like Cinderella’s soot-covered, hard-working younger brother. He wasn’t feeling great the last two days of camp, and I noticed he was itchy (but who wasn’t? The mosquitoes were everywhere.) He didn’t complain, and we thought he was just tired, but when he developed a fever, we sent him to the infirmary where they told us he had the chicken pox. Even as we were concerned for Chris,
he was apologizing to us and his fellow campers for what he thought was a terrible inconvenience to us. What he really gave to all of us that year was a wonderful example of how to roll with the punches and remain cheerful in spite of adversity. Even though he left camp a day early, he still managed to complete all of his merit badge requirements and earn all the achievements he had set as his goal for that summer.
Only about one in four boys in America will ever join the scouting program, and of those, only about 5% ever make it all the way to the rank of Eagle. The goals and ideals taught in the scouting program continue to inspire boys for a lifetime, and we are very lucky to count Christopher Joseph as one of our own. Please join me in congratulating this remarkable young man on his accomplishment.
WASHINGTON, District of Columbia (FNS) The Republican-dominated Conservative Political Action Conspiracy, or CPAC (pronounced see-pack) held its annual jamboree here March 14 – 16. All the usual suspects were there in a festival of denial and resentment. The theme of the gathering, while not explicitly stated, was that the nation’s electorate misspoke last November, electing that horrible liberal, socialist, communist tree hugger Obama almost by mistake. Over and over, speakers who sounded like they slept through the Presidential campaign, railed and ranted that failed candidate Mitt Romney simply wasn’t conservative enough, that veering even further to the right would have pulled in all those left-leaning voters. But the real head-scratcher came on the second day.
Led by such intellectual luminaries as half-Governor Sarah Palin, Texas Governor Rick “Ooops” Perry, chief NRA crazy Wayne LaPierre and world-class self-promoter Donald Trump, the science hating group doubled down on its paleo-positions regarding modern thought.
The CPAC’s dogmata include the belief that homosexuality and lesbianism are curable lifestyle choices that can be reversed by prayer and will power. There was never a Big Bang, as that theory describes the sudden destabilization of a singularity. Rather, the great Everything began with a call for luminosity by a deity (“Let there be light”). The Earth, generally believed by scientists to be approximately 4.5 billion years old, is really only a little over 6,000 years old. This means dinosaurs and humans coexisted at one time, a sort of Flintstones vision of early Earth. Evolution? Don’t be ridiculous. How could humans and all other species be the result of hundreds of millions of years of evolution if the world is only 6,000 years old? Besides, the Bible says that the first man was made from dust, and the first woman was made from one of his ribs. You know, “From dust thou art; to dust thou shalt return.” Which, of course, begs the question, “Why don’t dead women return to being ribs?”
Speaker after speaker also charged that global warming, the gradual but inexorable and measurable trend toward higher and higher average global temperatures, is not caused by human activity, does not really exist at all, and is, in fact, nothing more than a giant conspiracy by the world’s leading scientists for some sinister but unspecified purpose. It is a card-carrying member of this conservative bunch that recently claimed that the bodies of raped women automatically shut down the possibility of pregnancy.
Second day speaker Sarah Palin received an enormous standing ovation when she pulled out her Big Gulp cup, an apparent homage to sugar and a poke in the eye to NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “Trying to cut down on obesity and diabetes, Mr. Mayor?” she seemed to be saying, “Well, take that!” She then went on to speak on the rights of the unborn, presenting the opinion that life begins at Last Call.
But wait; there’s more.
There was the Donald. This conspiracy-crazy model-marrying wingnut offered a new plank for the science-denying platform that forms the bedrock of conservative wisdom. “Don’t let anyone fool you,” he ranted, “the world is not round. It is flat. If it were round, stuff would roll all around, wouldn’t it,” shouted the Trumpster, “Here’s a challenge: put a ball on the ground. Does it roll or does it stay where you put it? It stays, of course, because the world is flat. But Obama doesn’t want you to know that.” Wild applause arose from the exhilarated assembly. And by acclimation, the world was declared flat. Who knew?
by Buz Whelan
Emerald Lakes, Pennsylvania (ELFP) Saturday, March 16th was a busy day for the Emerald Lakes Association Board of Directors. At 9:30 am they met with the Finance and Planning Committee for the presentation of the budget for fiscal year 2013/2014. After a discussion period the directors present agreed to accept the budget as presented and bring it to a vote at the open meeting which would follow. Directors present were President Alex Leslie, Vice President Millie Bishop, Treasurer Earl Frank, Director Joe Miller and Director Dan Glasgow. Secretary Carmen Broadnax and Director Margaret Fitzgerald did not attend. Following the budget discussion it was decided that the next F&P meeting, to be held on Saturday, April 20th would have as the sole agenda item the consideration and arguments for an enhanced revenue stream. This would include several different approaches to dues escalation, possibly tied to the Consumer Price Index. The board-set deadline for the committee to decide on a recommendation had been April 20th, but in consideration of the fact that that is the next meeting date of F&P the board members said they would extend the deadline for a brief, but not indefinite, period to be decided.
At about 11:00 am the monthly open meeting was called to order by President Alex Leslie with all seven directors in attendance. Mr. Leslie said that there has been a good response to the committee survey sent to committee members, but that he would appreciate those who had not yet returned the survey to do so as soon as possible. He also said that the board is seeking volunteers for the Real Estate Committee, moribund since around September of 2008, with a special eye to establishing a subcommittee to work on problems involving rental properties. He restated his hope that this committee could be made up of residents, landlords and renters, so all sides of the questions could be fully represented and examined. The manager reported that the dues statement mailings had been completed. He also reported that the engineers are completing their road study report and will have recommendations on repair by type and location.
Treasurer Earl Frank reported that we are still on track to come in under budget by approximately 10% and went on to report figures on the cost of operating the bar and grill, by his count around $8,000. Director Joe Miller took exception to both the amount and the necessity of the report itself. Mr. Miller’s objection was based on the fact that the bar and grill, taken jointly, is but one of several amenities, and the only one to produce a revenue stream. If there is a report on them, where are the reports on the other amenities? How much did it cost to operate the indoor pool year-to-date, he asked. The matter was eventually left unresolved.
During committee reports, Sherry Ornitz reported that the Events Committee has 13 events scheduled, with 7 additional events being considered.
There was a discussion on finding new and creative ways of dealing with delinquent accounts. A proposal from a collection agency has been received and will be studied. The board may then hold a Q&A with a representative of the agency.
Under New Business the board voted to accept the budget as prepared by the General Manager and submitted to the board by the Finance and Planning Committee. Directors voted in the affirmative with a single director, Margaret Fitzgerald, voting to oppose. No reason was given for her opposition.
Director Miller raised an objection to the report by Fred Spot Engineering on Quality Assurance/Quality Control citing a lack of specificity on many key elements. Terming the report “a joke”, he made a motion to require the submitter to issue an addendum of sorts that would include the missing and needed data. Following the passage of the motion, Joe agreed to work directly with Spot to ensure they understood and fulfilled association requirements.
A study is proceeding to produce a plan to upgrade the insulation rating of the indoor pool area, possibly by replacing windows with solid wall, among other possibilities. The outdoor pool shell needs to be sandblasted and cracks filled and then resurfaced.
During public comments member Heidi Castro stated that she has observed members bringing personal alcoholic beverages into the Community Center to be consumed with a purchased meal or snack. She further stated that on at least one occasion the person bringing the beverage was underage. The GM will alert staff to this, and a sign will be posted forbidding importation of personal alcoholic beverages into the center. It is against both association rules and Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board regulations and is considered a major violation by the LCB.
Melanie Balzano suggested that employees wear identification badges that they might be easily located when needed, and to be visible as employees when entering employee-only spaces such as behind the bar.
by Buz Whelan
Shortly after Ryan Culverson became Community Center manager in November of 2008 I stopped by to introduce myself. I was the board president at the time and I was anxious to meet GM Gil Werner’s new hire. Seeing him in his office (and fully knowing his proper name) I said, “You must be Brian.” “Ryan,” he corrected me. “Whatever,” I answered beginning our gag greeting that lasted until his final day on the job. I’ll miss him. So, this is my Valentine to Ryan, a good CC manager and a good man.
When Ryan arrived the Community Center had problems. In the dining room the food was of low quality, to say the least, and in the bar the atmosphere was tense and unwelcoming. Ryan had his challenges. But now, as he leaves us, the food is the best it has ever been (thank you, Chef Todd) and the bar rocks with laughter and fellowship drawing SRO crowds night after night. The Community Center has become the place to be on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. A large measure of the credit for this dramatic turnaround belongs to Ryan Culverson.
Make no mistake: if you didn’t do your job, if you didn’t make members feel welcome, if you couldn’t provide food that pleased diners, and if you simply didn’t have good work habits, Ryan was your worst enemy. He was the type of boss who recognizes good service but is intolerant of something less than that. There is a raft of former employees who can attest to that fact. And it’s exactly what the association and the center needed. He standardized training and established a professionalism in the staff that will extend long beyond his time here. He did this with an eye to the details that make visits to the CC all the more pleasant.
Ryan’s parties were great, but the best was always Halloween…and it was Ryan’s favorite as well. I attended several and they were raucously happy affairs, indeed. Ryan was at his best in costume, obviously enjoying hosting the happy, laughing, costumed party goers. You could tell what a good time he was having and it was infectious. Memories are made of nights like those.
Sad as I am that Ryan is leaving, this isn’t an obituary. Ryan has completed the first level of his nurse training, obtained his A.A. in General Studies, passed his boards and is now a Licensed Practical Nurse. He also received the Evelyn Fallon Award for Clinical Excellence. He soon begins work at Pleasant Valley Manor, a nursing care and rehabilitation facility. He will simultaneously begin working toward his B. Sc. N., a four year degree that will result in his becoming an RN. His ultimate goal is to become a Nurse Practitioner, and though admission standards to such a training program are rigorous, there is little doubt that Ryan will achieve that ideal. You could go broke underestimating Ryan Culverson.
Goodbye, Ryan. Godspeed.
Our own Buz Whelan is in the Pocono Record today. Thought I would share it with you all.
Read about it here.
It seems public discussion in the Pocono Record has been elevated all the way to the heavens, wherever they may be. The writer of the Feb. 25 answer to any earlier article, which I missed, purports to give us the real facts on angels. Really.
Apparently this grownup actually believes in such things, and chastises those who would think otherwise. She uses the Bible as her reference. Now, I’m sure the people who wrote that holy tome were highly motivated folks who believed what they were writing, but they also believed that sickness was caused by evil spirits, demons possessed people, witchcraft and magic were real things and the world was flat. Using that good book as a source document for arguments on angels is like referring to the Harry Potter books to bolster one’s position on wizardry.
I realize it’s just possible that I missed the joke, that the letter was just a goof meant to amuse. But, just in the case the writer actually was trying to make a serious point, I have to ask: What is her position on faeries, trolls, elves and Santa Claus? Man, you can’t make this stuff up.
by Buz Whelan
The Finance & Planning Committee met today, March 2, 2013 to accept and review the 2013/2014 budget prepared by General Manager Alan Roth and his staff. The budget had actually been emailed to the F&P members the previous day in order to give them a chance to review the document before the meeting. The meeting went smoothly and aside from a few wording changes, the committee voted to recommend the budget ‘as prepared’ to the Emerald Lakes Board of Directors when they meet on Saturday, March 16th. At that meeting any questions, suggestions or amendments can be discussed and agreed upon so that the board will have a finished document to vote to approve at the March 23 Open Meeting. The budget will then be made available to the general membership for their review and comment before its final passage at the April Open Meeting. A final, board-approved balanced budget must be in place for the start of the fiscal year. This is defined as May 1st by the association bylaws. While members do not vote to approve the budget, any interested member may obtain a copy of the budget before its final passage and pass on whatever comments or suggestions they may have to the board. The budget will be available at the Administration Office following the March 23rd meeting and until the April 27th approval date.
HOLLYWOOD, California (FNS) Oscar after parties can be as interesting as the awards event itself. At the Vanity Fair gala, loser Steven Spielberg
could be heard describing actors as, “a bunch of phonies pretending to be people they’re not. I hate having to work with them, but at least I get to be their boss. That’s the best thing about directing.”
Jennifer Lawrence was out for revenge after being embarrassed on international TV by Seth MacFarlane’s opening number, “We saw your boobs.” She walked up to MacFarlane and sang in his face, “I’ve seen your package, I saw your lackage, I’ve seen your weenie, it’s really teenie.” The best actress and dress tripper then danced around the party for over an hour singing the ditty again and again.
Ann Hathaway told a reporter the best thing about the Academy Awards was that they were over. “Now I can gain that god damn weight I lost for “Les Miz.” A cupcake should do it.”
Over in a corner an earnest Ang Lee was regaling a noticeably bemused audience. The best director was saying stuff no one could understand, as usual. His listeners were smiling and nodding, no doubt hoping he wasn’t saying anything offensive. Lee didn’t seem to notice their confusion and talked on and on with great animation. Off to the side, Ben Affleck, winner for producing Best Picture “Argo” but snubbed for a Best Director nomination, snided, “There’s your Best Director. Brilliant conversationalist, no? You could learn from that guy…if you spoke pigeon English.”
At the buffet, catered by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, trays filled with hundreds of tiny things that nobody knew what they were went largely ignored by the consciously skinny crowd. At one end of the table little cards described such treats as Malaysian sea worm with truffles, toadstool cakes with eckleberry compote and truffles, braised bison testicles on roasted banana skins with truffles, and chopped lobster antennae on barley toast with truffles. Where, oh where, were the chicken lips?