Friday, April 30, 2010
OK, everyone knows I love cats.
And if you didn't know, Reporter chief photographer Geoff Patton LOVES bobcats -- if you ever see one, give him a call.
So when I saw this Associated Press story that combined the two, I just could not resist.
I present it to you here, as written by AP staffer Page Ivey.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
In just a few months, three baby bobcats found in South Carolina could be a danger to a gray tabby named Zoe. But these days, the fuzzy felines are just members of the family for the nursing mother.
The bobcats, orphaned after the abandoned house they were living under in Newberry County was demolished, are being nursed by Zoe at Carolina Wildlife Care near the Saluda River a few miles northwest of downtown Columbia.
The nursing is expected to last about four weeks and is intended to give the bobcats a feline on which to imprint, said Joanna Weitzel, executive director of the wildlife rescue group. "It's important they get that nurturing and care from a species similar to their own."
After five weeks, though, their razor-sharp teeth and claws could hurt Zoe and Zoe's kittens — an orange tabby and a calico that now dwarf the three bobcats in their kennel. The bobcats are expected to grow over the coming months to the size of large dogs — about 22 inches tall and up to 70 pounds — while their adoptive siblings will likely max out around 10 pounds.
Once the bobcats are weaned, they will be put in a specially built habitat. The goal is to minimize their contact with humans.
"If they lose their natural fear of humans, it's almost like a death sentence," Weitzel said.
The habitat alone will cost about $2,000, not including the year's supply of live rodents the three will need to learn how to hunt and kill. Carolina Wildlife is hoping to raise enough money to provide the care the bobcats will need for up to 18 months when they should be ready to return to the wild.
The animals are being checked out by a veterinarian at nearby Riverbanks Zoo.
Also, check out Carolina Wildlife Care: www.carolinawildlife.org
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Ready to do your part on Friday to end distracted driving?
Then put down that cell phone.
No other than Oprah Winfrey is behind the drive to make April 30 the first national "No Phone Zone Day."
Joining her push are the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), FocusDriven, SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) and RADD, the Entertainment Industry's Voice for Road Safety.
How about joining in as well?
Again, just don't use your phone for talking or texting while driving. If you need to make a call, pull over.
Oprah and her Harpo Studios are launching a new public service announcement campaign to focus on the fact that distracted driving kills about 6,000 Americans each year.
It will also honor the victims of distracted driving.
"A call or text isn't worth taking a life," Winfrey said recently.
She may be stating the obvious, but she's right. And she is pushing to make cars a no-phone zone. Again, good idea, at least when you're driving.
Tomorrow, The Oprah Winfrey Show features a live episode focused on ending distracted driving. The "No Phone Zone" public service announcement campaign will be run during the show.
Maybe someone with her pull can finally make a difference. One can only hope.
If you'd like a few stats to back up the importance of this campaign, consider that a 2008 NHTSA study found that at any given moment during the daytime, more than 800,000 vehicles are being driven by someone using a hand-held cell phone.
A 2005 study for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that drivers are four times less likely to get into accidents serious enough to cause injury when they turn off their cell phones while behind the wheel.
If you want more information on "No Phone Zone Day," check out www.oprah.com/nophonezone.
You can learn more about distracted driving at www.distraction.gov.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Could not resist this simple, to the point video from the UK.
We've had a bit of rain the past few days... PEOPLE, TURN ON YOUR LIGHTS!
It's the law and it's for everyone's safety.
And please, don't speed or cut people off in traffic.
Watch this very short video a few times.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Montgomery Theater Photo
If you haven't had the great pleasure to take in Montgomery Theater's latest production, what are you waiting for?
"The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," now on the Souderton stage, is both hilarious and poignant.
The songs, dancing, personalities and moments that illuminate the stories behind the laughs will draw you into this comedy.
Just picture these kids whose fervent hope is to make it to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
At first blush you may think they're just an assortment of nerds whose only interest in life is spelling. But you'll be in for quite a revelation.
And at each performance a few audience members even get to become part of the bee -- yes, on stage.
I don't want to spoil the story for anyone who hasn't already enjoyed this performance, but I do want to urge you to get there before the final curtain falls on May 8.
This is a topnotch play that you won't want to miss. For times and tickets, call (215) 723-9984 or check www.montgomerytheater.org.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Maybe Forrest Gump said it best:
“My momma always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
We all know that’s pretty much how it goes.
You have your vision of what a moment, a day or even a lifetime will bring, only to be brought back to reality with a bit of a thud.
Sometimes it’s a dire life-changing situation; sometimes it’s something that, eventually, you’ll look back on and laugh.
At least you hope so.
That’s kind of what happened last Sunday, when my daughter and I traveled up to Catawissa to visit with my sister and her family, and then take in a photo show in Bloomsburg that included works by one of my nieces.
The day was chilly, but beautiful. We made good time on our trip up there, stopping occasionally so my daughter could shoot a few photos.
We had a great visit and the photos featured in the display were wonderful to examine and enjoy. I know I’m prejudiced, but I liked those by my niece the best.
By late afternoon it was time to start the trek home. Again, a few stops for some photos — you can never go through Centralia without stopping, can you? — and then it would be a clear drive home.
At least that was the plan. That was the “chocolate” of choice.
But after pulling out onto Route 61 in Ashland, about two hours from here, for one last photo, plans changed.
Apparently the car decided it was time for the alternator to die and so we were going nowhere. At least I was able to pull back into another parking spot.
And thank goodness for my AAA membership. A tow truck operator arrived fairly quickly and yes, we were allowed to ride with him.
That’s where it got interesting.
He had a crew cab truck and my daughter volunteered to sit in the back. But the truck also had another feature — the driver’s black Lab, who accompanied him everywhere, he said.
She was sweet, but obviously a “farm” dog, by her aroma. And she was very friendly.
As for the truck driver, let’s say he also was interesting. He was a retired police officer and was a little “rough around the edges,” you could say.
But he also regaled us with recipes and his love for cooking. Then he’d call home to check about a loaded gun he had left in his car or say something else that took us aback. But that would quickly be followed by comments about the beautiful flowers and trees, or baby talk to his beloved dog.
Yes, it was an interesting two-hour ride.
But as my daughter told me when I realized we’d be making the trip with a dog on board, “Just think of this as a story we can tell later.”
So consider this just a taste of that story — from quite a varied box of chocolates.
P.S. THANK YOU to all the kind readers who helped “bail me out” as I raised funds for the MDA!!
A-Day 2010 starts today at Delaware Valley College, Route 202, Doyelstown.
If you've never been, make it a point to go today, Saturday or Sunday. This student-run event is terrific for the whole family, with highlights that include pig races, homemade milkshakes, hayrides and a concert with Shooter Jennings and Ernie Halter at 7 p.m. today.
It runs from noon until 8 p.m. today; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
There are so many animals, activities, food and just a general sense of fun.
Admission is free, parking is $10 per car. You can get the complete schedule at www.delval.edu/aday. Call (215) 489-2329 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
It's hard to believe, but this is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.
Have the commemorations made a difference?
I'd like to hope so, but considering the plight of wildlife, natural resources and humankind itself, you have to wonder.
That's why it's important that we all make a difference.
Do you really need to put chemicals on your lawn? Can you cut back on buying, buying, buying?
Can you feed the birds, learn to live a bit more in harmony with nature, clean up along the roads or in area streams?
Check The Reporter and thereporteronline.com today for ways to help the Earth as well as to celebrate the environment.
And make every day Earth Day. Become more aware and take action.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
You know that pothole you love to hate? Or maybe it's a traffic signal that's just not timed correctly.
Now The Reporter can help you get them fixed.
The Reporter and our parent, Journal Register Co., have a partnership with SeeClickFix.com that will give you the power to report issues in our communities to the appropriate authorities.
This is a real example of "citizen journalism" and we hope you'll participate.
You can find the seeclickfix widget at the top of our home page at TheReporterOnline.com. It’s also found on the left side of the home page, just below the featured story box.
Here you can identify and report problems on an interactive map. You also can monitor the progress of reports. Once you “click it,” you’ll be guided through the steps of reporting a problem.
Here are a few examples already listed by our readers:
LANSDALE: “Due to the numerous traffic detours in the area as well as the train, Hancock Street (toward Broad Street) gets backed up every day in Lansdale. The green light should be longer at the intersection of Hancock and Broad so more people from Hancock can get through that intersection. Other drivers are trying to turn into the businesses right near the intersection, and the whole place is a mess.
NORTH WALES: “School Street is a mess. They did some work digging up the road but never paved over correctly.”
So join in the conversation and we'll alert our area municipalities that this is now in operation -- and follow up to see what is being done. Check out thereporteronline.com/seeclickfix/
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Have one of these old beauties in your home? Wishing you knew what to do with it?
Just head out on Saturday to the community recycling day sponsored from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. by SAVE -- Students Against Violating the Earth.
The environmental club from Souderton Area High School is holding the event at Indian Valley Middle School, 130 Maple Avenue, Harleysville.
SAVE members will help you unload your recyclable material, including all types of paper, cardboard, scrap metal, car batteries, cell phones, ink cartridges, clothing, computers, electronics, oil-based paints, household hazardous wastes and oil.
They will take tires, but a $3 fee will be charged for each; $4 with rim.
But please patronize this free event -- and consider making a donation to SAVE so they can continue their good work.
Questions? Call SAVE at (215) 723-4989.
Monday, April 19, 2010
OK, I know this is a stupid gripe, but it's really bugging me -- pun intended.
I can't stand these new Volkswagen commercials where everyone is saying "blue one" or "black one" and punching the person next to them as some unrecognizable model of a VW is going by.
The punch buggy game is to be played ONLY when you see a VW Beetle pass by. THAT is a "punch buggy."
Having been the proud co-owner of two Beetles during my lifetime, much to my dad's dismay, I know how great they can be. But those were the real Beetles, back in the day.
These new "punch" commercials as minivans and every other imaginable Volkswagen drives by are simply irritating. They are not "bugs"; they are not punch buggies.
Hope other Beetle fans feel the same.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Hey, now that Tax Day is behind us, guess what today is?
It's National Stress Awareness Day -- yes, another one of those days that no one knows about.
And really, the promotions sent out about this day reveal nothing new.
Consider these crazy facts from a recent survey:
Nine in 10 doctors say relaxation is important to reduce stress.
Ninety-six percent of these doctors say sitting at home in a reclining position promotes relaxation.
Doctors recommend an hour of relaxation each day, plus other healthy behaviors, to relieve stress.
WOW -- who knew?
Of course, this particular press release was released by La-Z-Boy -- you know, that recliner manufacturer. And they commissioned the survey of the doctors.
OK, so it's a bit, shall we say, biased.
But not many of us will disagree that we sure could use a lot more relaxation.
At least this Stress Awareness Day is a Friday... the weekend's almost here!
I had to chuckle to myself when I heard the news earlier this week that the Vatican had finally "made peace" with The Beatles.
Really? This is at the top of their "to do" list, with all the other horrific problems they should be addressing? Well, should have addressed for decades..
But the Vatican newspaper took great pride in saying the members' "dissolute" lives and John Lennon's "boastful claim" that the band was more popular than Jesus are now all in the past -- and apparently all is forgiven.
I'm sure all of this kept The Beatles up at night for years, and that Paul and Ringo, the two surviving Beatles, still toss and turn over this.
And, after all these years, it would have been great to hear that they stopped taking John's comment out of context.
In tackling this vital issue, Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano honored The Beatles with two articles and a front-page cartoon that represented the famous cover of the "Abbey Road" album.
I can only guess that they picked this time because it coincided with the 40th anniversary of The Beatles' breakup. Hmmmm...
Guess I shouldn't be surprised it took this long for a tribute, considering the Vatican still hasn't faced up to its own problems.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Last week we were sweltering in the high 80s ... maybe 90, it seemed that way.
This morning I go out to leave for work and there's frost on my car windows!
I'd rather have it that chilly ... but I fear for the flowers that we recently planted.
And no, there wasn't THIS much frost, like that in the photo. But it was such a lovely photo, offered free on the Internet. I do want to give credit to photographer Magnus Rosendahl of Kungsängen, Sweden, for this beautiful photo ... and allowing its free use.
Don't worry; we'll probably be sweltering again in no time.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Interviews with Jackie Kennedy will finally be released.
According to reports by the Associated Press, the interviews were done in 1964, months after President Kennedy had been assassinated.
They were conducted by historian and family friend Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
Jackie reportedly discussed her marriage and her White House years, among many other topics. They had been kept sealed, at Jackie's request, according to the AP, for an indefinite time.
Now daughter Caroline Kennedy is allowing the conversations to be released.
Reportedly, the transcripts will be released by Hyperion in September 2011.
With that, we'll actually get to hear Jackie's voice once more ... something to look forward to by anyone who remembers that brief shining moment that was known as Camelot...
For the book, Caroline Kennedy will edit and write the introduction.
As for me, I'm looking forward to all of this.
Friday, April 9, 2010
Just in case you were wondering, no, life isn't fair.
Proof? The announcement that, just when you might have thought it was safe to watch TLC again (if you avoided the Palin/Alaska show) comes this news:
Kate Gosselin is coming back.
With not just one show, but two.
The oh-so-talented dancer will be featured on a series that profiles everyday women facing personal challenges.
I'm sorry; no self-respecting woman should want to be on the same show as she is.
But yes, "Twist of Kate" (or should that be "Twisted Kate"?) will follow this diva as she visits the homes and workplaces of her subjects (well, she IS royal, right?). There, according to an AP report, she will "exchange insights for living."
You will have to wait for late summer for this 12-episode season, TLC said.
But don't fret -- she will have a series starting in June dubbed "Kate Plus 8," with her brood.
In other Kate news, her ex-husband Jon is suing her for primary custody of their eight kids, saying her appearance on "Dancing With the Stars" has led her to neglect her kids.
Yes, but he's been an attentive parent.
These kids deserve real parents. Jon and Kate? They deserve each other.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
I’m going to jail and I need your help.
OK, before you all start gasping in horror and wondering what heinous deed I committed, let me explain.
Recently I was asked to represent The Reporter at the MDA Lockup, a fundraising program for Jerry’s Kids — you know, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, which is working to fight 43 different neuromuscular diseases.
So this Wednesday, local “jailbirds” who are participating will be rounded up at a designated time and hauled off to “jail.” In our case, that actually means we go to Cravings Cafe in Lansdale, where we try to raise more funds.
The really good fundraisers will have met their $3,000 goal before Wednesday, I’m sure, and will be able to enjoy some refreshments and chat with the others in the local program.
Um, I don’t fall into that category.
When I was asked to participate, no one mentioned exactly how much money your goal would be.
I have to admit, I was a little taken aback by the $3,000 figure when I was sent the full information.
But I was optimistic, sent out a lot of e-mails, bugged other people and hoped for the best.
Now, suddenly, Wednesday is looming. And I have a long way to go to reach my goal.
A long way...
OK, I have discovered that fundraising is not my calling, but I really want to help out the MDA.
So if anyone out there is interested in donating just a little bit to this good cause, it’s really very easy.
Just put this into the address bar of your Internet browser —
www.joinmda.org/lansdalelockup2010/nbreaux/ — and you’ll be taken to my “jailbird” page, where you can make a donation online.
And please be sure to watch the video — trust me, it’s worth it.
Or, if you would consider donating by check, you could make it out to MDA and mail it to me at The Reporter, 307 Derstine Avenue, Lansdale 19446. If you have questions, you can e-mail me at email@example.com.
I hope you won’t be offended by this plea to help the MDA, because their work does so much, including funding clinics, research, support for patients and their families, and camp programs.
The MDA has even provided some examples of how various donations are put to use: $30 equals a flu shot; $85 funds one minute of research; $100 provides one support group session; $200 funds professional fees for a diagnostic workup at clinic; $800 sends one child to MDA summer camp.
I certainly would never ask anyone to donate hundreds and hundreds of dollars — even though that would be great! — but any amount you might want to contribute to help MDA patients would be greatly appreciated.
Together we can all help Jerry’s Kids.
Nona Breaux is executive editor of The Reporter. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Perhaps you work a later shift in the day. Perhaps you're retired. Perhaps you don't work outside the home.
And perhaps you're looking for a way to volunteer.
Well, if you like cats and are able to handle a little bit of labor, perhaps you'll consider volunteering with Stray Cat Blues, a local nonprofit cat rescue with kitty adoption cages at PetSmart, off Knapp Road, Montgomery Township.
The group is in need of volunteer cage cleaners for morning shifts (8 to 9:30 a.m.) Monday through Friday.
If you love cats and can spare about an hour and a half one or two mornings a week, the group could use your help.
And, of course, the kitties would love you for it.
Keep in minde that cage cleaning does require some physical activity, since you have to stand to clean out the 10 cages, scoop litter boxes, and fill food and water bowls.
But it's also great exercise... and you get to pet the cats! Just look at these two cuties here -- how can you resist?
You will get training, so don't worry about that.
If you are interested and available, e-mail email@example.com, or call (215) 631-1851.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Perhaps you have a few old bicycles that you don't need anymore. Or maybe an old lawn mower, washer, piles of nails or other scrap metal.
If so, this Saturday is your chance to get rid of all that stuff.
The St. Paul’s Green Team Environmental Ministry is holding a scrap metal recycling event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, in the parking lot behind St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, South Main Street and Lincoln Avenue, Telford.
You can drop off these items free of charge: All scrap metal including steel, iron, brass, copper, aluminum and products such as lawn mowers, benches, bicycles, washers, dryers, water heaters, car batteries, nails and more. They also are collecting used ink cartridges and cell phones.
But don't bring tin cans, paint cans, refrigerators, air conditioners, car tires, hazardous materials or electronics.
Interested? For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or check http://home.comcast.net/~greenteam107/.
Monday, April 5, 2010
OK, it's just a photo and story that are too cute not to share.
The Associated Press carried this photo taken by Lucy Schaly of the Beaver County Times, showing a Siamese cat named Amanda, owned by Debbie Girting from Beaver, Pa.
Amanda is nursing her two newborn kittens plus an orphaned litter of puppies.
According to the AP, Amanda gave birth to three kittens, but one was undersized and died.
Girting's Maltese Pomeranian dog, Lucy, gave birth to seven healthy pups on the same day.
Unfortunately Lucy died, but Amanda adopted the orphaned puppies.
Let's hope the whole family turns out to be healthy and happy!
OK, you can't get much more beautiful than this photo snapped during an Easter Egg Hunt in Souderton by Reporter photographer Mark Psoras.
This little girl, framed by the lovely flowers, just says it all.
With the warm weather visiting the area, this should spur us all to get outside and enjoy.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Friday, April 2, 2010
OK, this is it. The kickoff of Lansdale's First Fridays presentations.
The art, music and kids activities run from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. today in Lansdale and it will be a beautiful evening.
Check out full details at www.thereporteronline.com.
And this evening, check out our Web site for live streaming of various features of the evening.
The Reporter will be offering the live stream, and I will be out there with lifestyle editor Aixa Torregrosa, doing our best to let you see what's going on.
We want you to check out the live stream -- but please, head out to First Fridays as well.
See you there!