Category Archives: In the News

Your Kids: Making Sense of This Madness

Lola Lauri

beatcrime[1]We are in the midst of an unprecedented manhunt, and our kids are hearing lots of frightening things about it. Some may have no idea what is going on, and some may know way more than you would like, but one thing is certain; when they return to school, they will talk and everyone will know more than they did before. And even if you think your child remains unaffected, you may be surprised. My neighbor just told me that she thought her son was fine until he took his BB gun out in the driveway to meet his uncle “because it made him feel safe.”
So how do we talk to them in ways that will make them feel safer? I have some ideas to suggest, and I hope you might consider them and share your ideas as well.
Kids need to hear about the situation and the way adults are dealing with it in ways they can relate to, so I believe that it is helpful to find situations that they have been in to explain the actions of others.
When your children ask why they have to stay inside, ask them if they think it is easier to do some really hard homework in a quiet room or in the middle of a party. At a party, while they are reading, part of their brain is listening to the music and they are also probably watching the kids playing ball out of the corner of their eyes. They can smell the yummy food and feel the vibrations from the other children moving around. Their brain is doing a lot of things at once and can’t work completely on the studying. For the police, they need to use their whole brain and all of their senses to find this man, but they can’t do that if they also have to worry about who is playing in the yard and who is hunting in the woods and who is driving to the store. We help them do their job by staying out of the way so they can focus on keeping us all safe.
If your child wonders why the police can’t just run into the woods and grab this guy, tell them that one thing police officers have to be is really smart hunters. And really smart hunters do not just run into the lion’s den and start attacking. Ask them if they think they could close their eyes at home and still find the bathroom. Of course they could. And if a friend came over who had never been to the house before, and they also closed their eyes and your child and his friend both raced to find the bathroom, who would probably get there first? In any game of hide and seek, the person who knows all the hiding places is at an advantage. Then tell them that the very smart hunter does not go into the lion’s den without first learning all the hiding places, so the police have instead surrounded the hiding places and are moving very slowly and carefully so that they don’t miss a hiding place.
Children who are worried about returning to school need to hear that all the teachers and the principals and other adults in the building are all working on a plan to make sure that nothing bad can happen to the children when they come back. Remind them of the fire drills and weather emergency drills that we have had in the past. Those are all different kinds of plans to keep the kids safe. But this is a new situation, so the school and police are working on a plan and, until they are absolutely sure that they have a really good one, they will not open the school and when they do open the school, it is because they have done a lot of work to make it work.
The reason we have police is to stand right between all of us and the “bad guys”, and the fact that you can see them right outside the door this week only means that they are doing exactly what they are supposed to do, and we are very lucky to have such smart and brave people willing to keep us safe. They are experts in making plans and finding ways to protect us, and the very best thing we can do to help them and help keep them safe is to follow directions quickly and stay out of their way while they do the job they are so good at doing.

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Gun Control: Can We All Just Get Along?

Opinion

by Buz Whelan

 

     The arguments on gun ownership and whether there should be new limits images[2]placed seem to be producing no movement on either side. Gun proponents, led by the NRA, resist any change in the status quo. The most extreme gun control advocates would allow only hunting weapons, controlled and licensed. And the arguments are beginning to appear to be irrelevant. Red state senators and congressmen and women know they cannot vote for any meaningful gun law and not expect a primary challenge. In most densely populated states where hunters are a small minority, gun laws are already strict by NRA standards. Realizing the futility of debate, I am nevertheless presenting my own view of the firearm landscape. What follows are my thoughts on the subject developed from a little research. I’ve divided this piece into three parts for easy digestion.

 

Part I: The Second Amendment

 

“A well established Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

 

     Seems direct enough, does it not? But throughout the life of our republic, we second-amendment-flag[1]have disagreed on its precise meaning. Some feel it guarantees unrestricted gun ownership, while others point to the opening phrase. A careful reading of the entire Constitution reveals a certain economy of words. The entire purpose statement, called the Preamble, consists of only 51 words. Why, then, did the framers include the words “A well established Militia” in the statement? Why not just write, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” and leave it at that? Why mention “Militia” at all?

 

     There were two important Supreme Court decisions on the Second Amendment during the 19th century. In the first, US v Cruikshank (1875), the court ruled that the Second Amendment “has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the national government.” This was reiterated in Presser v Illinois (1886) with the court stating that the Second Amendment “is a limitation only upon the power of Congress and the National government, and not upon that of the States.” These decisions state clearly that individual states and, by extension, such municipalities as New York City, Chicago, Washington, et. al., may impose whatever restrictions on gun ownership that they may deem necessary and prudent.

 

     In a later case, the court ruled on the National Firearms Act of 1934. This law, passed in response to public outrage over the carnage being wrecked by ‘Tommy guns’ (automatic weapons), authorized excise taxes to be placed on certain types of weapons (e.g., automatic weapons, parts for same, sawed-off shotguns), ordered the registration of these weapons, and forbid their transfer across state lines without special permit. In the case of US v Miller (1939), the court upheld the law, but did so in conjunction with Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, which grants the power to congress “To raise and support armies” and further, “To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions.”  The court seemed to be indicating that the right guaranteed by the Second Amendment was tied to having an available militia, not non-affiliated personal ownership.

 

     In its most recent ruling the court upheld the right of the individual in a narrow five to four decision. In the case of “District of Columbia v. Heller (2008)”, the majority ruled that the individual had a right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes such as self-defense. A complete ban on handguns and a requirement that guns in the home be disassembled or trigger-locked by the District was thus declared unconstitutional. The majority stated that the initial phrasing about militia stated a purpose but was not a limiting phrase. Writing a dissent, Justice Stevens examined historical evidence and concluded that the amendment protects militia-related interests.

 

     So, where are we now? The decisions indicate that individuals have a federal right to possess firearms, but that lower governments may impose reasonable limitations and restrictions on that right, and that ordering the registration of guns is constitutional.

 

Part II: Why I Need an Assault Rifle with Extended Ammunition Magazines

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     For me, at least, the silliest argument for assault rifles and magazines that hold more than ten rounds is protection from the United States government. Not only is oppression of the general population by our own government unlikely in the extreme, should such a thing ever come to pass, resistance by the people would be utterly futile. The idea that a ragtag bunch of civilians could in any way hamper a military operation is as realistic as Ralphie holding off Black Bart and his gang with a Red Ryder air rifle.

 

     When I returned from combat in Viet Nam my first assignment was as 443077-Royalty-Free-RF-Clip-Art-Illustration-Of-A-Cartoon-Running-Marine-Soldier[1]company commander of an infantry training unit in Fort Polk, Louisiana. Upwards of 90% of our graduating trainees would be going directly to the combat arena. All of us cadre, drill sergeants and officers, took our training responsibilities seriously. Nevertheless, we often found amusement in the ineptness of the trainees. And these were folks who already had 8 weeks of basic training before we saw them. It would take 9 weeks of intensive training with us, then a period of adjustment with their combat unit before they were competent soldiers. Civilians with Bushmasters? Ridiculous.

 

     In warning against the possibility of a government takeover, examples such as China, Russia and Nazi Germany are often cited.  But both the Russian and Chinese revolutions were essentially civil wars. In Russia, the Bolsheviks battled the Czarists, and both armies were heavily armed. In China it was the communists under Mao Tse-tung against the nationalists under Chang Kai-shek. Again, both armies were heavily armed. In neither case did an existing government suddenly make war on its citizens. The German example is even more ludicrous. Hitler was appointed chancellor by President von Hindenburg after the Nazis elected the most delegates to the Reichstag. There was no war against civilians. And if you watch newsreels from the era you will see huge crowds deliriously cheering their Fuhrer.  

 

      Here’s a last example. During Operation Desert Storm in 1991, the U.S. military and its allies faced Saddam Hussein’s ‘elite’ Republican Guard staffed by battle-tested veterans of the 8 year Iran-Iraq War. They lasted fewer than 100 hours against the coalition forces. Again, I point out the absurdity of civilians facing down the American military.

 

     And finally, let me point out the most obvious fact: the federal government is already in control. There is no imaginable reason for them to war on their own people.

 

Part III: Making the Perfect the Enemy of the Good

 

     There are no perfect solutions to the problem of gun violence in America. There is no law proposed or extant that would have prevented all the terrible mass murders we have experienced or that would absolutely preclude the possibility that another will occur. But we also know this: doing nothing will not improve the odds. And yet that seems to be the argument that so many proponents of unrestricted gun ownership advance. To any suggested measure that would provide some increased restriction on the type of weapons available or place some limits on who may own guns, they say, “That wouldn’t stop all gun violence; that wouldn’t have prevented Sandy Hook or Aurora or Columbine.” Here, we’ll break down some of the suggested remedies and the arguments for and against them.

 

Proposal: That all sales and transfers of weapons be subject to a background check on the recipient.

 

     The counter argument goes that ‘criminals will still get guns; only legitimate buyers will be hampered.’ And it is true that some, even many, criminals will imagesCAVDSRC8find ways to obtain guns. It’s also true that legitimate buyers may have to expend some extra effort obtain guns, but is this really too much to ask? But will all criminals have the same ease of obtaining weapons that they have today? Certainly, mobsters will find a way. But are mobsters the problem? The massacres of the last generation have not been done by career criminals. They have been perpetrated by disaffected individuals with little or no criminal backgrounds. Petty criminals, the type that hold up gas stations and liquor stores, do not have the connections that the ‘made guy’ has. If background checks were universal, it would make it more difficult for anyone with a criminal record or a history of psychiatric problems to obtain a weapon. Not impossible; just more difficult. And for the kid who just wants a gun because it thinks it would be ‘cool,’ the increased difficulty would often be enough to discourage him.

 

 Proposal: That assault weapons and magazines holding more than 8 rounds be declared illegal.

 

     ‘There are already more than a million assault rifles in private hands. Further, an experienced shooter can change a magazine in seconds, so limiting the capacity would have little, if any effect. Banning the weapons and magazines would only affect legitimate sportsmen.’ But what ‘legitimate sportsman needs an assault rifle? These weapons will fire a round with every trigger pull. They can fire at a rate of over 100 rounds per minute. The one time when a shooter is vulnerable is when they are changing magazines. If this must be done every 8 shots there will be more and sooner opportunities to stop the shooter, either by return fire, tackling  the shooter, or for victims to run to safety. A ‘sportsman’ who needs more than 8 rapidly-delivered shots to fell his prey is not much of a sportsman. And as far as the number of weapons already in private hands, the same argument was made against restricting the sale of Tommy Guns, those fully automatic weapons favored by gangsters. But the National Firearms Act of 1934 was passed. It took years to make a difference, but how many Tommy Guns are around today?

 

     There’s one more argument that must be examined. Over and over I hear gun advocates say that Chicago has the strictest gun laws, but the highest gun violence rate. But the problem with the Chicago gun ordinances is the Indiana gun laws, just as the problem with New York City regulations is the lack of Virginia gun regulations. As long as individuals can game the system by simply crossing state lines, the big cities will continue to have the greatest gun crime rates. And loosely-regulated but sparsely populated states like Wyoming will be used as examples of how more guns per capita equal less crime. It’s a false statistic, but it isn’t going away.

 

In Summation I should make clear that I am not against all gun ownership. I believe hunters have a right to their shotguns and hunting rifles and private citizens have a right to firearms for their own defense. But we must have some sane regulations to reduce the number of gun deaths and the ferocity of individual events such as Aurora or Newtown. If we ban rapid-firing assault rifles and magazines over 8 or 10 rounds it will take a generation or more for their numbers to be significantly reduced, just as it did with Tommy guns. But it will be a start. If we make all weapons transactions subject to background checks and registration it will reduce the number of guns going into the wrong hands and aid law enforcement in solving  murders. That alone may have a deterring effect. We do it with cars. I can’t transfer my car to my wife without going through DMV. Why should guns be different? Has our government ever gone house to house to seize anything? If we do all this we still won’t eliminate all gun crime. People who shouldn’t, will still get guns and guns, and magazines that are banned will still find their way into criminal hands. But people still murder, steal and speed on the highways. Would it make any sense to drop laws against those things as well?

 

Step One: Control Your Own Guns

Opinion

Lola Lauri

 

bth_gun_safety[1]    According to the Pocono Record, 14 guns were stolen from a Long Pond home last week.  They were subsequently recovered when a woman the thief had threatened reported him to the police.  Also, WNEP reports that a drug ring in the area was busted and, in the course of the investigation, many guns were taken into evidence. Just last month, one of our Long Pond neighbors was arrested at Newark Airport because he “forgot” about the loaded gun in his bag. And two years ago we had a Halloween party here in Emerald Lakes that ended in gunfire, injuring teenagers and terrifying residents.

 

Newtown may have awakened many to the dangers of guns in our communities, but it shouldn’t take a mass shooting to remind us all of how to be responsible gun owners. That tragedy and others like it, bring this issue to the forefront of our minds and hearts, and all too often they polarize our discussions, making it nearly impossible to find common ground. But we are, quite literally, sharing common ground here in Emerald Lakes, and we must do everything we can to make that ground safer for all. No matter where your opinion falls on the gun control debate, we should all be able to agree that proper care and storage of the guns that we and our neighbors own is the first step to keeping our families safe. I certainly don’t claim to be an expert, but there are very simple things that I have learned from reading and from the gun safety courses that I have taken that it seems many of our neighbors have forgotten. Too many excuses and instances of lazy gun ownership end up with weapons falling into the hands of those who would use them to do harm.

 

One very important consideration to remember is that child-proof does not always equal theft-proof, and nothing is fool-proof. No discussion about gun safety should overlook the simple fact that statistically you are more likely to be injured by a gun if there is a gun in your home.  Choosing not to have a gun is the safest choice of all.  However, I understand that statistics are simply not enough comfort for some, and not possible for others.  If you must have guns in your home, you must find the absolute safest way to store them that meets the needs of your household.

 

Collectors should choose the best cabinets they can afford. (Hint: if you can afford a collection, you can afford the best cabinets to display them.) Tempered glass, keypad locks, steel bars and reinforced wood are features that add to the safety of your collection in a way that still allows for their display.  Some of these features include methods of ensuring that your guns cannot be removed even if the glass is broken. Guns should be stored unloaded, with ammunition put away in a separate storage place. For hunters who don’t need to display their guns, heavy-duty gun safes, hidden and bolted to the structure of the house provide security that is both child-proof and theft-proof.

 

In the case of guns kept for home defense, owners must weigh the dangers of the weapon with the desire for quick access. A gun in the bedside table or a rifle behind the door not only pose dangers to children or other family members, but are also easily found and taken by burglars. They then become a danger to everyone.  When you are not home, these guns are defending no one, and the dangers are multiplied.  One habit that it will pay to cultivate is to store a home defense weapon in a gun safe in the bedroom.  Open the safe when you are at home or in bed and place your house keys and/or car keys in the safe with the door open.  This way, you will never forget to lock them away before leaving home.  Of course, this does not keep your children safe from discovery and misuse of your gun, and there is always the possibility of an intruder getting to your gun before you do.  Many safes are designed for quick access, and the added safety is well worth the few extra seconds it takes to get into it.  Whatever you do, do NOT underestimate the ingenuity of young children and teenagers to ferret out any hiding spot you may use.  (I have personally seen a toddler reach the top of a cabinet using the drawers to climb.)

 

If gun owners want to begin to curb the attacks and anger that come their way every time there is a tragedy, they must police their own behaviors and take the first step.  Assess the safety and practices of gun ownership in your own homes.  Be the model gun owner that you would want everyone to be.  Had those 14 guns stolen last week not been recovered by police, they would have been added to the growing number of guns in our community that are obtained illegally and often used to harm others.  While no one wants to blame a burglary victim for harm done by another, imagine the guilt you would feel if, due to your careless handling of your own guns, they were stolen and used to injure a member of your family or a neighbor.  Hundreds of thousands of guns are stolen in the US every year, but proper safety precautions and storage could greatly reduce this number and, in turn, increase the safety of our community.

Highest Scouting Honor Goes to Young ELA Resident

Lola Lauri

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,

Yum!

Yum!

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.

 

Buz wrote a Letter to the Editor

Our own Buz Whelan is in the Pocono Record today. Thought I would share it with you all.

Read about it here.

 

http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130308/NEWS04/303080319&cid=sitesearch
Editor, the Record:

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.

BUZ WHELAN

Long Pond

The Year in Review

You know those boring, annoying annual family summaries that some people sendil_fullxfull.288419109[1] along with their Christmas cards? Well, here’s our version all about the Emerald Lakes family, every bit as annoying, but perhaps a teensy less boring.

Merry Christmas, one and all.  This is your dear cousin Emmy (as in Emerald Lakes, get it?).  It’s the most wonderful time of the year and all, so I thought I would sit down and remind you of all the fun we have had this past year.

Our annual family reunion at the Pocono Mountain West High School went as well as could be expected; which is to say it was embarrassing.  It started when one of the twins (who can tell them apart?) complained that having to put her ballots into two different boxes was really hard and she didn’t think that our family was smart enough to handle such stringent requirements.   When we were done laughing, we got to vote, but nothing was passed.  Nothing.  After spending three years rewriting our bylaws so they don’t force the board to break the rules by requiring them to travel back in time each year to present a budget to the family in August that has to be passed in May, the very few folks that showed up said the new rules weren’t any good because they got cooties on them when some unsavory person touched them.  Also, the extended family that can’t show up to vote weren’t there to vote that they can mail-in their votes, so the meanies that did show up made sure there won’t be mail-in votes so they’ll never be able to vote. Guess they showed who’s boss here.

There was a changing of the guard this year, with Lola Lollipop’s hubby, Bobby deciding to step away from the fighting at the table at the end of his term, and later, Red Sox Johnny C stepping down too. They were replaced by Dapper Dan G. and the talkative, but lovable, Margie F.  We all look forward to seeing what kind of mark these two will leave on our fair family’s business dealings but, with the holidays, they haven’t had much of a chance to work. You know, between Labor Day and New Year’s, there is just no time to actually do anything. 

There have been big doings at the Community Center this year.  When the ratty carpeting became one big stain instead of hundreds of smaller stains, we finally got new tile flooring installed.  There were fights, with some insisting that mold was a lovely shade for a carpet, but they got the new beige floor in just in time for the Haunted House folks to bleed all over it.  They had crazy clowns chopping up bodies for the entertainment of parents who love to watch their kids pee in their pants.  It’s a great service these folks provide; for the rest of the year when the kids get out of line one only has to say “the clowns won’t like that.” and the kids will walk straight and narrow without argument (although a few are still wetting the bed). Anyway, for the maybe twenty days a year when we actually have more than five people in the dining room, this floor is an investment that will probably go paying for itself indefinitely.

We were all very worried and excited when crazy Joanne found oil in the well, but after everyone in the world looked at all the wells around her place and found it nowhere else, I figure someone probably got mad at her for one of her late night, spirits-induced rants and just dumped a can of Valvoline’s finest directly into the pump. Which is a good thing, because we really don’t want all the wells around here tested.  Word might get out and our property values could plummet. (I prefer bottled water anyway, don’t you?)

The fight against fun has continued throughout the year, with some of our family members taking their noise complaints to mom and dad at the board. They were mad because some people partied on Summer nights. Oooh. Partying in the Summer? We’ll put a stop to that! Since they don’t have any fun friends like that, they don’t think any of us should be allowed to have them over or laugh and dance to music.  After listening to both sides, our esteemed Patriarch Al told us all that he didn’t see anything and couldn’t prove anything, so no one would be punished, but we  can be sure that he will make sure the babysitters at Public Safety keep an eye on things over there.  The Aunties were smirking, and I guess they are going to be looking for anything they can find to keep the noise down over there.  In the meantime, Mean Old Millie (MOM) got her friends at Rules and Regs to pass a “no loitering” rule, just to make sure everyone is in bed before dark.  Don’t get caught outside after dark, or you may get in big trouble!  And while we’re at it, if you have something to say, you better say it here and not on a sign on your lawn, because they also passed a rule about signs.  In fact, I am a little worried about my “Merry Christmas” sign.  Technically, it’s against the rules, isn’t it?  Oh, but wait, signs are okay if they say things that the Aunties like.  It’s only bad if it personally offends them.  You see, that’s the problem with the fight against fun; it’s only enforced against the family members that the older generation doesn’t like.

As for this blog, most of you know by now that crazy Uncle Buz and Lola Lollipop have been writing like crazy.  MOM and Auntie Carmen  got a bee in their bonnets and decided that they were talking waaaay too much about things they would rather forget and and that people were better off not knowing so, after trying enough times, they finally got a couple of the boys on the board to make a rule about the paper only telling their side of any story.  Since Uncle Buz and Lola Lollipop just don’t ever know when to shut up, they decided that the board could keep its silly little paper, and they would finally step out of the dark ages and write to you all online.  It seems to be working out pretty well, too, because they can talk everyday now, instead of waiting two whole months for the paper to be published.

Speaking of our little family’s online presence, let’s talk about the new website purchased with the TOPS system for more than $10,000.  This little beauty is supposed to do everything.  Billing, accounts, property records, newsletter, website, probably even the laundry, who knows?  This amazing piece of electronic wizardry managed to … well, there is a website now. Many of us remember the good old days, when we used Cousin Leon’s website. Of course, it was free, and you get what you pay for, right?  Leon’s website had lots of news and pictures, it was updated daily, and questions were answered promptly.  It had an easy to read format for finding information on events, committees, and board actions. It even  had contact numbers for the staff and the board. Yessir, cousin Bob did a bang-up job. So, of course, they fired him. Then they tried launching their brand new TOPS website. And the very first thing it did was publish all the names, addresses, home and work phone numbers and email addresses of every single member. Whoops.  It’s been about five months since they launched the new website, and well, let’s just hope the other parts of the system work a little better than the website module.  It should be working like they promised any day now.

We celebrate all the holidays here in Emerald Lakes, just not the way most families do.  There’s Independence Day (no fireworks, of course, that would be fun), Veteran’s Day (there was a lovely memorial wreath put out for 5 minutes to commemorate the occasion, but it had to be taken in so it wouldn’t be stolen), and Halloween. Now on Halloween we don’t trick or treat; we trunk or treat. In theory it’s a great idea. Kids go to the Community Center parking lot and generous townfolk open their treat-filled trunks to the costumed kids. It’s supposed to be for two hours, but what happens is that the early arrivals just keep circling the lot endlessly, going back again and again and filling their greedy little bags until all the treats are gone. It generally takes about 20 minutes. And then there’s nothing left for the later arrivals. Oh well. But this year, we are doing Christmas right.  Christmas caroling at the Main Entrance. (Just don’t stay too long, or you will get fined for loitering!) On December 22 from 1 to 3, Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit the Community Center and the children will perform in a play called “Help Santa Save Christmas”.  You should all come so we can talk about the ones that don’t show up.

‘Till next year,

Merry Christmas from Aunt Emmy and the Emerald Lakes Free Press!

Pa Man Claims He Never Fantasized On Lottery Win

SMALLTON, Pennsylvania (FNS) A local man has told friends and neighbors that he has never once thought about what he would do with the money if he won the lottery even though he admits he occasionally purchases tickets, especially when the prize is over $100 million. Boris Meeh, who operates a light bulb repair business out of his home in this sleepy Northeastern Pennsylvania town, says he thinks it’s a waste of time to dream of such things. “Hey, if I win, I’ll figure out what to do with the money. Why bother with dreaming? It’s just a waste of time.”

Neighbor Sue Spishus isn’t so sure. “He’s always saying stuff like that. I mean he says he never mentally undressed a woman. Claims he never wished nobody dead. You believe that? I’ll sell you that crick down yonder if you do.” But best friend Howdy Thinkit says it just might be true. “Bo is a different sort of guy. You know, he told me he’s never masturbated. That’s pretty unusual around these parts. I mean, there ain’t much to do on Saturday nights. Or any other nights, if you get my drift. And another thing, he says he never, ever thought about what happens to you after you die. So, just maybe, he never did no thinkin’ on winning the big one. I sure have, though.”

“Party House” – Another Perspective

Lola Lauri

Last month, we reported here on the concerns of some of our residents regarding the behavior of the renters and owners at a few particular homes in our community. (Read about it here and here) These residents made their case at an open board meeting, and the board members and our GM have been investigating.  The Emerald Lakes Free Press has been investigating too, and we have found, as in most situations in life, there are two sides to this story.

I spoke extensively to Cari and Eric Lovelace, the owners of one of these so-called “party houses”, and they have described their anguish and upset over this characterization of their home and of their supposed lack of concern for what goes on there and in ELA. 

At the most recent board meeting, President Al Leslie reported that Read the rest of this entry

Inside the Obama ‘Ground Game’

Barack Obama presidential campaign, 2008

Barack Obama presidential campaign, 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Buz Whelan

Much was made of the Obama campaign’s ‘ground game’ by analysts in the months leading up to election day. The vaunted machine was supposed to be a difference maker, yet Republicans paid little heed to the David Plouffe-designed system. On November 6th, they paid the price for that insouciance.

Read the rest of this entry

Obama Campaign Demands Recount

Map of number of electoral votes by state afte...

Map of number of electoral votes by state after redistricting from the 2000 census. Modified by User:Theshibboleth for the font to be consistent with electoral maps. Edited with Inkscape. Reuploaded by User:King of Hearts to correct spelling (vs. Image:Electorial map.svg). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CHICAGO, Illinois (FNS) The Obama campaign, though not the President himself, is demanding a recount of the election results. Top advisors were stunned by what they judged as the closeness of the final tally and have so far refused to believe the totals. Particularly excised are the two Davids, top advisors Axelrod and Plouffe. Said Axelrod, “I can’t believe this guy got 206 electoral votes. I mean this is a party that believes life begins at last call. I’m very disappointed. I figured he might get a hundred votes, but I expected Goldwater numbers.” Strategist David Plouffe was equally surprised. “I know the polls showed it was going to be a close election, but those were from Read the rest of this entry

Reform PA Charter Schools

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thoughts on education by Grant Wiggins

With A Brooklyn Accent

"Because you CAN handle the truth."

Reclaim Reform

by Ken Previti

Americas Education Watch

A child is like a butterfly in the wind. Some can fly higher than others, but each one flies the best it can. Why compare one against the other? Each one is different. Each one is special. Each one is beautiful.

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