Saturday, February 28, 2009

Very Sad Day, a shepherd's Lament

The Shepherd's Lament by Andrew Melrose

It is a very ,very sad day for us. Our dear friend Dan had a horrible barn fire last night and lost all his sheep and goats and his guard dog. What a horrible loss. The Scottish Blackface ewes we sold him were killed. We are just so, so sorry, we know how we would feel. No words seem to be right to express how our hearts goe out to you, Dan.

Friday, February 27, 2009

O' Winter by: William Blake (1757-1827)

O Winter! bar thine adamantine doors:
The north is thine; there hast thou built thy dark
Deep-founded habitation. Shake not thy roofs,
Nor bend thy pillars with thine iron car.'

He hears me not, but o'er the yawning deep
Rides heavy; his storms are unchain'd, sheathd
In ribbd steel; I dare not lift mine eyes,
For he hath rear'd his sceptre o'er the world.

Lo! now the direful monster, whose 1000 skin clings
To his strong bones, strides o'er the groaning rocks:
He withers all in silence, and in his hand
Unclothes the earth, and freezes up frail life.

He takes his seat upon the cliffs,--the mariner
Cries in vain. Poor little wretch, that deal'st
With storms!--till heaven smiles, and the monster
Is driv'n yelling to his caves beneath mount Hecla.

A Very Interesting Blog on Christian Mystics

At The Very Heart of Jesus

Jan 28th, 2009 by Brian Robertson

I think we can all agree that Jesus now comes in a rather impressive variety of flavors.

I have said it before and will say it again — we have lost site of the fact that the spirituality OF Jesus has become the religion ABOUT Jesus. It has disintegrated to the point where the original teachings and intentions from Jesus have been lost in countless interpolations, in imaginative adaptations to fit specific political needs (both governmental and within the Church) and certainly in countless other influences, many of which have taken a 180 degree turn from what the original tenor and tone and teachings of Jesus must have been.

So, while Christianity waxes and wanes, have we buried Jesus? in some cases, yes, such is the case. I maintain that at the heart of it all, however, we can build from one very solid fact reflecting Jesus’ experiences and attitudes, his teachings and his challenge. If I had to put all of that into one particular starting point, it would be this — God consciousness.

It’s that simple, that revolutionary, and that challenging. It so much so that we fight about the construction and architecture of the house and fail to live in it. At the root of Jesus is the unmistakable notion of God Consciousness, of the awareness of God’s Presence. It is not as if God had a kingdom in which we might one day aspire to after our deaths, but, rather, that the kingdom of Heaven is here, now, within and without. We do not see it and in fact, many do all they can to fight against that central Presence rather than live it. That’s no surprise. Jesus lived it and was killed for it. There are countless other examples of people who attempted to have that God Consciousness and paid the price because, well, people like that can make people like us uneasy — not by what they do but by what they show that we do, just by being who they are.

Jesus called upon us to develop and to live from within that God Consciousness that is the living heart of Christianity in its truest form. The Bible is fine, as is any road map to help you start to get your directions, but, just as one lives in a real town and not the city map, simply living with the smug pride of knowing the Bible as a closed book and the last Word is just as delusional. Jesus’ challenge was not to believe this point or to live in such a way as to gain some sort of heaven but, rather, to be the very book, the book of Love. To be so aware of God — God Consciousness — that the very Source of Divine Love animates our entire being and radiates, not like a lamp hid under a basket but, rather, like the sun which shines on all, the wicked and the good.

We fall short, yes. In my own case, I know, shamefully short. Yet the promise given to me is simple — if I realize and celebrate the Presence of God in each moment, each face, each silence, each word I speak, I have no enemies, no hatred, no fear, no demand for control, no book, no church that can equal the treasure found amidst the great field of life.

A Christian mystic, then, in the sense to which I am speaking, is a person who believes that from the center, which is Jesus, spins a Voice and a Love that is so very close to us that we cannot see it or hear it with the same eyes and ears that behold the world. A Christian mystic knows that words on a page, no matter how lofty, are nothing compared to the wordless sideways glance from the Beloved in the chambers of our heart. A Christian mystic is not lofty and gratified to hold a high position of power in a church organization — because each one of us is Church and Book. There is, as Alan Watts once said, “The Wisdom of Insecurity.” Ego will not get us to God Consciousness. Certainty is not what will lead us to be, as another writer called his book, “Surprised by Joy.”

These are dangerous, frightening times we live in yet, thanks be to God, it is a time in which a tattered vestige of Hope appears beneath the headlines and is made to shine forth from the most unexpected, lowly places. Where that manger is for you is for you to decide and discover, not this writer or not that book or not some Church, as well meaning and community-driven as they might be.

We are Christian mystics because we find Jesus to be the clearest example of what it is to live in the Presence of God and, therefore, to shine forth with Love. We are not content with reading books about taking a journey to a foreign land, we believe we are led to travel to that far away land which, paradoxically, has been with us all the time, nurturing our every step.


Rev. Brian Robertson

“When people say that the authority of Scripture or the centrality of Jesus is in question, actually it’s their social, economic and political system that has been built in the name of Jesus that’s being threatened.” Rob Bell

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Caffeine May Kill Some Skin Cancer Cells

Caffeine may kill some skin cancer cells
Finding could lead to new creams that repair damage from ultraviolet light

By Andrea Thompson

A cup of joe a day may help keep skin cancer away: A new study shows that caffeine helps kill off human cells damaged by ultraviolet light, one of the key triggers of several types of skin cancer.

The finding, detailed in Feb. 26 online issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, could one day lead to the development of caffeine creams or ointments to help reverse the effects of UV damage in humans and prevent some skin cancers.

Nonmelanoma skin cancers, which rarely metastasize or cause death, are the most common form of cancer in humans, with more than 1 million new cases occurring each year in the United States alone. (Melanoma is, however, one of the deadlier cancers.)

Exposure to ultraviolet light is one of the most important factors in causing nonmelanoma cancers. The rays cause DNA damage to skin cells, which then mutate or become cancerous.

Several studies have shown that people who regularly drink coffee or tea seem to have lower incidences of nonmelanoma skin cancers. One recent study of more than 90,000 Caucasian women found that with each additional cup of caffeinated coffee consumed, there was an associated 5 percent decreased risk of developing one of these skin cancers (decaf coffee had no effect).

Caffeine also seemed, in another study, to have a protective effect on mice that had been exposed to UV light, whether they ingested it or it was applied to their skin.

But researchers didn't know how caffeine exerted its cancer-preventing influence, said Paul Nghiem of the University of Washington and a team member of the new study.

Cellular suicide
The normal cellular response to DNA damage is to activate a protein, dubbed ATR, that helps initiate repair.

But when damaged by UV light, some cells will initiate a kind of cell suicide program, which keeps them from becoming cancerous. Adding caffeine seems to stimulate more cells into triggering their suicide sequence (called apoptosis) — while only about 1 out every 500 cells will undergo apoptosis when exposed to UV, about 1 out of every 200 do when caffeine enters the picture, Nghiem told LiveScience.

By examining the effect of caffeine in human cells (for the first time), Nghiem and his colleagues determined that ATR was caffeine's target in the cell. Cells that are damaged, precancerous or dividing have more need of ATR, and if you suppress ATR with caffeine, "you can selectively kill the cells with those features," Nghiem said. So the cells most likely to become cancerous are killed before they can do so.

Of course, this finding doesn't mean that you should start guzzling down coffee and tea.

"We are by no means recommending that people change their beverage habits," Nghiem said. It would take regularly drinking six cups of coffee a day to decrease the risk of incidence by just 30 percent, and tea has only half the potency of coffee, he added.

But the finding could be used to develop a topical application of caffeine that could be targeted to at-risk skin cells, as it seems to make those cells more killable and because "caffeine itself is a potent sunscreen," Nghiem said.

That application is still years away though, Nghiem cautions.

The new research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, a Harvard Skin Cancer SPORE Career Development Award, and Shiseido Corporation.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Face Off

I joined Facebook last night to see what it's all about. So far its OK. I found a few people I know. Let's see how it goes. I have heard so many people going on about it I thought I would give it a try. I guess it won't hurt because I have tied my You Tube videos, my website, and my blogs together and it seems to help, I think, direct traffic to my webpages. It's kinda funny to run into people on Facebook you haven't talked to in years.

Lent has begun

Lent, in some Christian denominations, is the forty-day-long liturgical season of fasting and prayer before Easter. The forty days represent the time Jesus spent in the desert, where according to the Bible he endured temptation by Satan. Different churches calculate the forty days differently.

The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer—through prayer, penitence, almsgiving and self-denial—for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the events linked to the Passion of Christ and culminates in Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In Western Christianity (with the exception of the Archdiocese of Milan which follows the Ambrosian Rite), Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and concludes on Holy Saturday. The six Sundays in Lent are not counted among the forty days because each Sunday represents a "mini-Easter", a celebration of Jesus' victory over sin and death.

In those churches which follow the Byzantine tradition (e.g. Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholics), the forty days of Lent are calculated differently: the fast begins on Clean Monday, Sundays are included in the count, and it ends on the Friday before Palm Sunday. The days of Lazarus Saturday, Palm Sunday and Holy Week are considered a distinct period of fasting.

Lent starts today Wednesday, the 25th of February and will continue for 46 days until Saturday, the 11th of April. This is of course Ash Wednesday it it the seventh Wednesday before Easter and the first day of Lent, on which many Christians receive a mark of ashes on the forehead as a token of penitence and mortality.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My Shrove Birthday Party.

Today was my 51st birthday so just for kicks I went to the Shrove Tuesday Pancake dinner at the local Methodist Church and had some pancakes, sausage and apple sauce. It was really fun I invited 9 of my good friends, my husband and my Mother to join me at 5:30. We sort of hijacked the pancake supper and made it into a birthday party. No one there seemed to mind at all. It was a lovely sunny day here but cold. We have about 7 inches of snow is all but the nights have been quite cold. It felt great to get out of the house I have cabin fever I think from such a long hard winter. I stayed for the communion service afterwards which was very lovely.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Scottish Bannock Bread

For 6 to 8 Bannocks

4 oz (125g) medium oatmeal
2 teaspoons melted lard
2 pinches of bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
3/4 tablespoons hot water
Additional oatmeal for kneading

Mix the oatmeal, salt and bicarbonate and pour in the melted fat into the centre of the mixture. Stir well, using a porridge stick if you have one and add enough water to make into a stiff paste. Cover a surface in oatmeal and turn the mixture onto this. Work quickly as the paste is difficult to work if it cools.

Divide into two and roll one half into a ball and knead with hands covered in oatmeal to stop it sticking. Roll out to around quarter inch thick. Put a plate which is slightly smaller than the size of your pan over the flattened mixture and cut round to leave a circular oatcake. Cut into quarters (also called farls) and place in a heated pan which has been lightly greased. Cook for about 3 minutes until the edges curl slightly, turn, and cook the other side. Get ready with another oatcake while the first is being cooked.

An alternative method of cooking is to bake them in an oven at Gas5/375F/190C for about 30 minutes or until brown at the edges. The quantities above will be enough for two bannocks about the size of a dessert plate. If you want more, do them in batches rather than making larger quantities of mixture. Store in a tin and reheat in a moderate oven when required.

Bannocky Day

Scottish Cockfight 1785

In parts of Scotland, Shrove Tuesday is called Fasten's E'en, or Bannocky Day, but these days is not celebrated much, though cockfighting used to be common.

A crowdie, or dinner was traditionally held on this day. A ring was put in the basin or porringer of the unmarried people, and whoever found it had an omen of marriage. Then the Bannich Junit, or ‘sauty bannocks’ were brought out. They were made of eggs and meal mixed with salt to make them ‘sauty’, then baked on a gridiron. Some article was mixed with the dough, and whoever got it in his bannock would be married within a year. Bannich brauders were dreaming bannocks and contained a little soot; the baker had to bake these in silence. Each person would take one, slip off silently to bed, lay his or her head on the bannock, and be assured of dreaming about his or her sweetheart.

Bannocks Recipe

Before we start perhaps I should give you an idea what a traditional Scottish Bannock is. Quite simply it is a cross between a chewy oatmeal cookie and a biscuit. Best served fresh from the oven (clearly allowing to cool slightly) on its own, or split and toasted . Excellent for breakfast or with a cup of tea. Bannocks are best the day they are baked.

Highland Hearth by Edwin Douglas

Pinch of salt
3/4 tablespoons hot water
4 oz (125g) medium oatmeal
Additional oatmeal to be added when kneading
2 teaspoons melted fat (bacon fat is best, if available)
2 pinches of bicarbonate of soda

Shrove Tuesday Buns

Shrove Tuesday Buns

The day before Ash Wednesday is called Shrove Tuesday. People customarily confessed on this day and were called shrove or shriven as a result - thus the name. Shrove Tuesday concluded the prelenten carnival in many countries. (Mardi Gras is one.) These cream-filled buns are a Swedish delicacy for this day. In Sweden the celebration is called Fettisdagen. It comes from the word "fett" (fat) and "tisdag" (Tuesday). Originally, this was the only day one should eat "Semlor" (Semla) (fat Tuesday buns), but these are now found in many grocery stores and bakeries preceding the holiday, and up until Easter


1. Combine 2 cups flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and cardamom in a mixing bowl.

2. Heat milk and butter to hot (120-130 degrees). Add milk mixture to dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly.

3. Add egg and enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.

4. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth - about 10 minutes.

5. Punch down dough. Shape dough into 12-inch rope and cut into 1-inch pieces. Shape these into smooth round buns.

6. Place on greased baking sheet. Let rise until double - about 30 minutes.

7. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven 10-15 minutes or until done. Cool on wire rack.

8. When cool, slice top off each bun and scoop out center with a fork, leaving a shell 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. Set crumbs aside for filling.

9. Make filling: Mix reserved crumbs, chopped nuts, confectioners' sugar, light cream, and vanilla or walnut extract.

10. Spoon filling into buns. Add a heaping spoonful of whipped cream to each. Put tops back on and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.

Recipe Source: Festive Bread Book, The by Kathy Cutler, Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 1982

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cruel Treatment of Poor Shepherds in Modern Times

In Wyoming, Tending the Flock

Little has changed in 100 years.


Kevin Moloney for The New York Times

Lorenzo Cortez Vargas lives in a 5-foot-by-10-foot trailer without running water, a toilet or electricity.

Mr. Vargas, a sheepherder from Chile, spends his days and nights on lonesome stretches of the Rockies, driving 2,000 sheep across Colorado and Wyoming as part of a federal temporary worker program he signed up for more than a year ago.

But like the other sheepherders, or “borregueros,” in the West, Mr. Vargas has barely any contact with his new country, where he earns $750 a month for working round the clock without a day off.

He lives alone in the crude 5-foot-by-10-foot “campito” with no running water, toilet or electricity, save for a car battery he has rigged to a small radio. A sputtering wood-burning stove is his only source of heat in winter, a collection of faded telephone cards his only connection to home.

“They never tell you exactly what it’s going to be like,” Mr. Vargas, 28, said in Spanish. “But you’ve got to stick it out here. What are you going to do?”

Sheepherding has long occupied the bottom rung of migrant labor. Most borregueros speak no English; many have only a vague idea of where they are and no knowledge of their legal rights as documented immigrants. The herders enter the country under the H-2A temporary agricultural worker program, which allows companies to hire foreigners if no Americans want their jobs.

The harsh, solitary lives of foreign sheepherders in the American West have remained virtually unchanged for more than a century. And government oversight of their circumstances remains piecemeal.

Ranchers say that paying the workers more would crush an industry long in decline. But over the past year, legal and immigrant rights groups have begun a campaign to improve the treatment of borregueros in Colorado and Wyoming, states where their plight is particularly unforgiving.

“It’s like going back in time,” said Thomas Acker, a Spanish professor at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colo., who hopes to persuade the state legislature to raise herders’ wages and to require ranchers to improve their standard of living. “That these men are required to live under these conditions for such long periods is inhumane.”

Their ramshackle campitos often leave the men exposed to the bone-chilling winds and searing summers of the high desert and mountain regions where they toil. Miles from even the smallest town, sheepherders bathe with melted snow or water that is trucked in and use shovels to bury their waste. They eat canned food and the occasional meat, which is also hauled in by ranch workers, but the food often freezes in the winter and spoils in the summer.

“The living conditions are bad,” José Ruiz, a former sheepherder from Chile, said in Spanish. “The food is bad. The access to bathrooms, showers is nothing. In some ranches, it’s horrible.”

Since the end of the 19th century, men from the Basque region of Spain have been herding sheep in the American West, attracted by a shortage of local workers who would endure such a life. William A. Douglass, emeritus professor of Basque studies at the University of Nevada, Reno, said in an interview that sheepherding “placed a man in a situation which at times bordered on total social isolation.”

By the mid-1980s, with improved economic conditions in Basque country, ranchers turned mostly to South American sheepherders who qualified for H-2A visas.

Because the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 exempted sheepherders from having to be paid the minimum wage, the Labor Department has relied on statewide surveys to determine their prevailing wage. In Wyoming, ranches pay herders $650 a month. Colorado ranches, like the one Mr. Vargas works for, pay $750.

Peter Orwick, the executive director of the American Sheep Industry Association, said that because of the growing cost of fuel, feed and other necessities, the number of sheep raised by ranchers had declined by 60 percent since 1993. Paying higher wages to the 1,500 sheepherders working in the United States would force many ranches to close, Mr. Orwick said, adding that sheepherders fare better here than in their home countries.

“Because they get food and board, they have no fixed costs other than their phone and postage,” Mr. Orwick said. “If it weren’t an attractive job for them, they wouldn’t be here.”

Besides low pay, Mr. Ruiz said, sheepherders endure harsh working conditions and sometimes abusive treatment from the ranchers who hire them.
ver the past decade, the Wage and Hour Division of the Labor Department has conducted more than 100 investigations into mistreatment of sheepherders. But because of the itinerant nature of their work, it is nearly impossible to study and document what is occurring. Colorado and Wyoming inspect campitos annually, but federal standards require only the barest amenities.

Advocacy groups have been trying to improve the treatment of sheepherders in Colorado and Wyoming, but ranchers say higher pay would hurt the industry.

Even some ranchers acknowledge the tough working conditions.

“The first thing that comes to mind is that this is a modern day form of indentured servitude,” said Jennifer Lee, a lawyer with Colorado Legal Services, which has been lobbying for improvements. “It is shocking how these men live.”

Of seven sheepherders interviewed, four said they had not been paid, despite being on the job up to eight months. Current and former sheepherders told of contracting tick-borne illnesses and also of sustaining serious injuries after being thrown from horses. Rarely, they said, did they receive prompt medical treatment.

Virtually all the herders agreed that their working and living conditions were worse than in their home countries but that they needed the money. Wages here, they said, ranged from slightly to significantly more than they earned in South America.

Most borregueros are too frightened of losing their jobs and of being punished to complain, Ms. Lee said, and rarely do they know whom to complain to other than their bosses.

In 2000, the Labor Department filed a lawsuit accusing a Colorado ranch, John Peroulis & Sons Sheep, of beating, starving and exploiting its sheepherders for 10 years. But a settlement required the ranchers only to pay back wages and a $3,000 fine and to submit a manual on how to treat workers.

Last year, Colorado Legal Services filed six complaints with the department on behalf of sheepherders, accusing ranchers of providing abysmal working conditions. In one, a sheepherder said he became so hungry that he ate part of a rotting elk carcass. According to the complaint, his boss accused him of poaching the animal and dropped him off at a local immigration office for deportation. A federal agent there took pity on the man, bought him lunch and helped him contact the state labor department, the complaint said.

Dennis Richins, the executive director of the Western Range Association, a ranching group that recruits sheepherders to the United States, said any rancher caught mistreating a sheepherder was thrown out of the group.

Mr. Richins, a rancher himself, acknowledged that working conditions were tough but said they would be difficult to improve because sheepherding was so transitory and remote. “It’s a hard, lonely life,” he said. “But why do the sheepherders want to come back a second or third time if things are so bad?”

On a recent weekend, Dr. Acker, the Spanish professor, led a group documenting the lives of Western sheepherders to various campitos in southwestern Wyoming, perched alone or in pairs on the horizon like covered wagons. The bleary-eyed herders were shocked to see the group. Most are not allowed to have visitors, not that many people go to such desolate territory.

Grateful for the visitors and what they brought, the men smiled, clasped their hands and dived into the winter clothes and fresh fruit that Dr. Acker handed out.

One sheepherder, who would not give his name because he feared reprisal from his boss, said the unending loneliness made his life hard. “I think about my family,” he said quietly. “I sometimes think I’d like to go back just to be with my family.”

George Henry Durrie (1820-1863) , Painter

George Henry Durrie (1820-1863)

Durrie and his older brother John (1818¨C98) studied sporadically from 1839 to 1841 with the portrait painter Nathaniel Jocelyn. From 1840 to 1842 he was an itinerant painter in Connecticut and New Jersey, finally settling permanently in New Haven. He produced c. 300 paintings, of which the earliest were portraits (e.g. Self-portrait, 1839; Shelburne, VT, Mus.); by the early 1850s he had begun to paint the rural genre scenes and winter landscapes of New England that are considered his finest achievement. His landscapes, for example A Christmas Party (1852; Tulsa, OK, Gilcrease Inst. Amer. Hist. & A.), are characterized by the use of pale though cheerful colours and by the repeated use of certain motifs: an isolated farmhouse, a road placed diagonally leading the eye into the composition, and a hill (usually the West or East Rocks, New Haven) in the distance. By the late 1850s Durrie¡¯s reputation had started to grow, and he was exhibiting at prestigious institutions, such as the National Academy of Design. In 1861 the firm of Currier & Ives helped popularize his work by publishing prints of two of his winter landscapes, New England Winter Scene (1858; Mr and Mrs Peter Frelinghuysen Carleton priv. col.) and the Farmyard in Winter (untraced). Two more were published in 1863 and a further six after his death.

George Henry Durrie (1820-1863)
American (Connecticut)

And Cooper Again as winter Grinds on for Man and Beast.

Thomas Sidney Cooper (September 26, 1803 - February 7, 1902)

Shrove Tuesday

The word shrove is a past tense of the English verb "shrive," which means to obtain absolution for one's sins by confessing and doing penance. Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the shriving (confessing) that English Christians were expected to do prior to receiving absolution immediately before Lent began.Shrove Tuesday is the last day of "shrovetide", the English equivalent to the Carnival tradition that developed separately in countries of Latin Europe.

In countries of the Carnival tradition, the day before Ash Wednesday is known either as the "Tuesday of Carnival" (in Spanish-speaking countries, Martes de Carnaval, in Portuguese-speaking countries, Terça-feira de Carnaval, in German Faschingsdienstag) or Fat Tuesday (in Portuguese-speaking countries Terça-feira Gorda, in French-speaking countries, Mardi Gras, in Italian-speaking countries, Martedì Grasso, in Sweden, Fettisdagen). In Estonian, Vastlapäev.

The term "Shrove Tuesday" is no longer widely known in the United States outside of the Episcopal Church Tradition because of the increase in many immigrant populations and traditions since the 19th century. Mardi Gras was always the tradition among French Catholics.

Shrove Tuesday this year is also my 51st Birthday, Feb. 24.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ringing of church bells

Ringing of church bells tonight will pay respects to victims of plane crash
By Gene Warner

Town of Clarence officials are asking churches throughout Western New York to peal their church bells at least 50 times at 10:20 p.m. tonight — exactly one week after the crash of Flight 3407.

"Hopefully, the symbolism of the bells ringing will help bring some healing to the community," Supervisor Scott A. Bylewski said after this morning's media briefing in the Clarence Library.

Bylewski noted that 50 people died in the crash last Thursday night and that one of the victims was about seven months pregnant.

"So we're asking the churches to ring their bells at least 50 times," the supervisor said.

Officials opened today's media briefing with 50 seconds of silence, once again to honor the memory of those killed a week ago.

Bylewski met with surviving members of Douglas C. Wielinski's family. Wielinski was killed when the Continental Connection plane crashed into his home.

The supervisor said much of what was said in the meeting will remain private, but the family did want him to pass on its thanks for the community's thoughts and support since the crash.

"They also wanted the public to know that they do not want a home or house to be rebuilt on their property," Bylewski said.

He added that it's too soon to determine what kind of memorial, if any, will be erected at that site.

Also at this morning's briefing, Clarence emergency services coordinator David Bissonette reiterated the timetable for the roughly dozen families that have been displaced by the crash to return home.

"It is still our goal to accommodate residents to be back in their homes this weekend," Bissonette said.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Sporting Painting by Edwin Cooper

A Sportsman with Shooting Pony and Gun Dogs, a painting by Edwin Cooper.

A little about Guns and Crime in the USA

Prevalence of homicide and violent crime is greatest in urban areas of the United States. In metropolitan areas, the homicide rate in 2005 was 6.1 per 100,000 compared with 3.5 in non-metropolitan counties.In U.S. cities with populations greater than 250,000, the mean homicide rate was 12.1 per 100,000. Rates of gun-related homicides are greatest in southern and western states not in the east! In 2005, 75% of the 10,100 homicides committed using firearms in the United States were committed using handguns, compared to 4% with rifles, 5% with shotguns, and the rest with a type of firearm not specified. Do the math the areas where most people are farthest left-leaning have the most gun crime. Time to stop drugs and poverty not gun ownership. Social justice lowers crime not removing weapons. Where I live almost every house owns long guns and there in no violence. This country is vast and made up of many subcultures. Passing across the board gun laws is crazy! Guns are not the problem I can tell you, in society. A gun is a tool like any other. I think I have changed allot since I was young. I used to be very anti-gun. I married a man who knew how to shoot and slowly I came to understand the difference between hand gun crime in highly populated areas and the guns kept by honest peace-loving people in small towns and rural America. The reason this topic was on my mind today is because allot of people are attacking our new senator,Kirsten Gillibrand because she owns guns and does not want to see broad gun control bills passed limiting the 2nd amendment. I think Gillibrand is a great person and she is an expert on Asian culture. She was a wonderful choice by Gov. Paterson! Gillbrand really understands rural and small town New York. I use a rifle myself and I enjoy being a gun owner.

Edward Hicks the Painter

Edward Hicks (1780-1849), one of the best known American folk painters, was a lifelong resident of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and a devoted Quaker missionary and preacher. His images of The Peaceable Kingdom, inspired by the Book of Isaiah's prophetic vision of a peaceful world in which "the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid," are among the most beloved in all of American art. For Hicks, painting portraits or other "vain" and "self-indulgent" forms -- though relatively lucrative -- was incompatible with his religious beliefs. To satisfy his creative impulses and his Quaker convictions, Hicks devoted most of his energies to painting inspirational and instructive subject


William Penn, America's First Great Champion for Liberty and Peace

Edward Hicks (1780-1849)

William Penn was the first great hero of American liberty. During the late seventeenth century, when Protestants persecuted Catholics, Catholics persecuted Protestants, and both persecuted Quakers and Jews, Penn established an American sanctuary which protected freedom of conscience. Almost everywhere else, colonists stole land from the Indians, but Penn traveled unarmed among the Indians and negotiated peaceful purchases. He insisted that women deserved equal rights with men. He gave Pennsylvania a written constitution which limited the power of government, provided a humane penal code, and guaranteed many fundamental liberties.

For the first time in modem history, a large society offered equal rights to people of different races and religions. Penn's dramatic example caused quite a stir in Europe. The French philosopher Voltaire, a champion of religious toleration, offered lavish praise. "William Penn might, with reason, boast of having brought down upon earth the Golden Age, which in all probability, never had any real existence but in his dominions. "

Penn was the only person who made major contributions to liberty in both the New World and the Old World. Before he conceived the idea of Pennsylvania, he became the leading defender of religious toleration in England. He was imprisoned six times for speaking out courageously. While in prison, he wrote one pamphlet after another, which gave Quakers a literature and attacked intolerance. He alone proved capable of challenging oppressive government policies in court--one of his cases helped secure the right to trial by jury. Penn used his diplomatic skills and family connections to get large numbers of Quakers out of jail. He saved many from the gallows.

Despite the remarkable clarity of Penn's vision for liberty, he had a curious blind spot about slavery. He owned some slaves in America, as did many other Quakers. Antislavery didn't become a widely shared Quaker position until 1758, 40 years after Penn's death. Quakers were far ahead of most other Americans, but it's surprising that people with their humanitarian views could have contemplated owning slaves at all.

There were just two portraits of Penn painted during his lifetime, one depicting him as a handsome youth, the other as a stout old man. A biographer described young Penn's "oval face of almost girlish prettiness but with strong features, the brusqueness of the straight, short nose in counterpoint to the almost sensuous mouth. What gives the face its dominant character are the eyes, burning with a dark, luminous insistence ... it is known from verbal descriptions that Penn was fairly tall and athletic. Altogether, the young man must have been both handsome and impressive."

William Penn was born on October 14, 1644, in London. The most specific description of his mother, Margaret, came from a neighbor, the acid-tongued diarist Samuel Pepys who described her as "well-looked, fat, short old Dutch woman, but one who hath been heretofore pretty handsome." She did the child-rearing, since her husband, William Penn Sr., was seldom at home. He was a much sought-after naval commander because he knew the waters around England, could handle a ship in bad weather and get the most from his crew. Admiral Penn had a good personal relationship with Stuart kings and for a while served their most famous adversary, the Puritan Oliver Cromwell.

Left mostly to himself, young William became interested in religion. He was thrilled to hear a talk by Thomas Loe, a missionary for the Society of Friends derisively known as Quakers. Founded in 1647 by the English preacher George Fox, Quakers were a mystical Protestant sect emphasizing a direct relationship with God. An individual's conscience, not the Bible, was the ultimate authority on morals. Quakers didn't have a clergy or churches. Rather, they held meetings where participants meditated silently and spoke up when the Spirit moved them. They favored plain dress and a simple life rather than aristocratic affectation.

After acquiring a sturdy education in Greek and Roman classics, Penn emerged as a rebel when he entered Oxford University. He defied Anglican officials by visiting John Owen, a professor dismissed for advocating tolerant humanism. Penn further rebelled by protesting compulsory chapel attendance, for which he was expelled at age 17.

His parents sent him to France where he would be less likely to cause further embarrassment, and he might acquire some manners. He enrolled at l'Académie Protestante, the most respected French Protestant university, located in Saumur. He studied with Christian humanist Moïse Amyraut, who supported religious toleration.

Back in England by August 1664, Penn soon studied at Lincoln's Inn, the most prestigious law school in London. He learned the common law basis for civil liberties and gained some experience with courtroom strategy. He was going to need it.

Admiral Penn, assigned to rebuilding the British Navy for war with the Dutch, asked that his son serve as personal assistant. Young William must have gained a valuable inside view of high command. Admiral Penn also used his son as a courier delivering military messages to King Charles II. Young William developed a cordial relationship with the King and his brother, the Duke of York, the future King James II.

Penn's quest for spiritual peace led him to attend Quaker meetings even though the government considered this a crime. In September 1667, police broke into a meeting and arrested everyone. Since Penn looked like a fashionable aristocrat rather than a plain Quaker, the police released him. He protested that he was indeed a Quaker and should be treated the same as the others. Penn drew on his legal training to prepare a defense. Meanwhile, in jail he began writing about freedom of conscience. His father disowned him, and young Penn lived in a succession of Quaker households. He learned that the movement was started by passionate preachers who had little education. There was hardly any Quaker literature. He resolved to help by applying his scholarly knowledge and legal training. He began writing pamphlets, which were distributed through the Quaker underground.

In 1668, one of his hosts was Isaac Penington, a wealthy man in Buckinghamshire. Penn met his stepdaughter Gulielma Springett, and it was practically love at first sight. Poet John Milton's literary secretary Thomas Ellwood noted her "innocently open, free and familiar Conversation, springing from the abundant Affability, Courtesy and Sweetness of her natural Temper." Penn married Gulielma on April 4, 1672. She was to bear seven children, four of whom died in infancy.

Meanwhile, Penn attacked the Catholic/ Anglican doctrine of the Trinity, and the Anglican bishop had him imprisoned in the notorious Tower of London. Ordered to recant, Penn declared from his cold isolation cell: "My prison shall be my grave before I will budge a jot; for I owe my conscience to no mortal man." By the time he was released seven months later, he had written pamphlets defining the principal elements of Quakerism. His best-known work from this period: No Cross, No Crown, which presented a pioneering historical case for religious toleration.
The Conventicle Act
He wasn't free for long. To curb the potential power of Catholics, notably the Stuarts, Parliament passed the Conventicle Act, which aimed to suppress religious dissent as sedition. But the law was applied mainly against Quakers, perhaps because few were politically connected. Thousands were imprisoned for their beliefs. The government seized their properties, including the estate of his wife's family.

Penn decided to challenge the Conventicle Act by holding a public meeting on August 14, 1670. The Lord Mayor of London arrested him and his fellow Quakers as soon as he began expressing his nonconformist religious views. At the historic trial, Penn insisted that since the government refused to present a formal indictment--officials were concerned the Conventicle Act might be overturned--the jury could never reach a guilty verdict. He appealed to England's common-law heritage: "if these ancient and fundamental laws, which relate to liberty and property, and which are not limited to particular persuasions in matters of religion, must not be indispensably maintained and observed, who then can say that he has a right to the coat on his back? Certainly our liberties are to be openly invaded, our wives to be ravished, our children slaved, our families ruined, and our estates led away in triumph by every sturdy beggar and malicious informer--as their trophies but our forfeits for conscience's sake."

The jury acquitted all defendants, but the Lord Mayor of London refused to accept this verdict. He hit the jury members with fines and ordered them held in brutal Newgate prison. Still, they affirmed their verdict. After the jury had been imprisoned for about two months, the Court of Common Pleas issued a writ of habeas corpus to set them free. Then they sued the Lord Mayor of London for false arrest. The Lord Chief Justice of England, together with his 11 associates, ruled unanimously that juries must not be coerced or punished for their verdicts. It was a key precedent protecting the right to trial by jury.

Penn had become a famous defender of liberty who could attract several thousand people for a public talk. He traveled in Germany and Holland to see how Quakers there were faring. Holland made a strong impression because it was substantially free. It was a commercial center where people cared mainly about peaceful cooperation. Persecuted Jews and Protestants flocked to Holland. Penn began to form a vision of a community based on liberty.

He resolved to tap his royal connections for his cause. With the blessing of King Charles II and the Duke of York, Penn presented his case for religious toleration before Parliament. They would have none of it because they were worried about the Stuarts imposing Catholic rule on England, especially since the Duke of York had converted to Roman Catholicism and married a staunch Catholic.
The Founding of Pennsylvania
Penn became convinced that religious toleration couldn't be achieved in England. He went to the King and asked for a charter enabling him to establish an American colony. Perhaps the idea seemed like an easy way to get rid of troublesome Quakers. On March 4, 1681, Charles II signed a charter for territory west of the Delaware River and north of Maryland, approximately the present size of Pennsylvania, where about a thousand Germans, Dutch and Indians lived without any particular government. The King proposed the name "Pennsylvania" which meant "Forests of Penn"--honoring Penn's late father, the Admiral. Penn would be proprietor, owning all the land, accountable directly to the King. According to traditional accounts, Penn agreed to cancel the debt of £16,000 which the government owed the Admiral for back pay, but there aren't any documents about such a deal. At the beginning of each year, Penn had to give the King two beaver skins and a fifth of any gold and silver mined within the territory.

Penn sailed to America on the ship Welcome and arrived November 8, 1682. With assembled Friends, he founded Philadelphia--he chose the name, which means "city of brotherly love" in Greek. He approved the site between the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. He envisioned a 10,000 acre city, but his more sober-minded Friends thought that was overly optimistic. They accepted a 1,200-acre plan. Penn named major streets including Broad, Chestnut, Pine, and Spruce.

Penn was most concerned about developing a legal basis for a free society. In his First Frame of Government, which Penn and initial land purchasers had adopted on April 25, 1682, he expressed ideals anticipating the Declaration of Independence: "Men being born with a title to perfect freedom and uncontrolled enjoyment of all the rights and privileges of the law of nature ... no one can be put out of his estate and subjected to the political view of another, without his consent."

Penn provided that there would be a governor--initially, himself--whose powers were limited. He would work with a Council (72 members) which proposed legislation and a General Assembly (up to 500 members) which either approved or defeated it. Each year, about a third of members would be elected for three-year terms. As governor, Penn would retain a veto over proposed legislation.

His First Frame of Government provided for secure private property, virtually unlimited free enterprise, a free press, trial by jury and, of course, religious toleration. Whereas the English penal code specified the death penalty for some 200 offenses, Penn reserved it for just two--murder and treason. As a Quaker, Penn encouraged women to get an education and speak out as men did. He called Pennsylvania his "Holy Experiment."

Penn insisted on low taxes. A 1683 law established a low tax on cider and liquor, a low tariff on imports and on exported hides and furs. To help promote settlement, Penn suspended all taxes for a year. When the time came to reimpose taxes he encountered fierce resistance and had to put it off.

Penn's First Frame of Government was the first constitution to provide for peaceful change through amendments. A proposed amendment required the consent of the governor and 85 percent of the elected representatives. Benevolent though Penn was, people in Pennsylvania were disgruntled about his executive power as proprietor and governor. People pressed to make the limitations more specific and to provide stronger assurances about the prerogatives of the legislature. The constitution was amended several times. The version adopted on October 28, 1701 endured for three-quarters of a century and then became the basis for Pennsylvania's state constitution, adopted in 1776.

Collecting rent due Penn as proprietor was always a headache. He never earned enough from the colonies to offset the costs of administration which he paid out of his personal capital. Toward the end of his life, he complained that Pennsylvania was a net loss, costing him some £30,000.

Penn's practices contrasted dramatically with other early colonies, especially Puritan New England which was a vicious theocracy. The Puritans despised liberty. They made political dissent a crime. They whipped, tarred, and hanged Quakers. The Puritans stole what they could from the Indians.

Penn achieved peaceful relations with the Indians--Susquehannocks, Shawnees, and Leni-Lenape. Indians respected his courage, because he ventured among them without guards or personal weapons. He was a superior sprinter who could out-run Indian braves, and this helped win him respect. He took the trouble to learn Indian dialects, so he could conduct negotiations without interpreters. From the very beginning, he acquired Indian land through peaceful, voluntary exchange. Reportedly, Penn concluded a "Great Treaty" with the Indians at Shackamaxon, near what is now the Kensington district of Philadelphia. Voltaire hailed this as "the only treaty between those people [Indians and Christians] that was not ratified by an oath, and that was never infringed." His peaceful policies prevailed for about 70 years, which has to be some kind of record in American history.
Defending Pennsylvania
Penn faced tough challenges defending Pennsylvania back in England. There was a lot at stake, because Pennsylvania had become the best hope for persecuted people in England, France, and Germany. Charles II tried to establish an intolerant absolutism modeled after that of the French King Louis XIV. Concerned that Pennsylvania's charter might be revoked, Penn turned on his diplomatic charm.

Behind the scenes, Penn worked as a remarkable diplomat for religious toleration. Every day, as many as 200 petitioners waited outside Holland House, his London lodgings, hoping for an audience and help. He intervened personally with the King to save scores of Quakers from a death sentence. He got Society of Friends founder George Fox out of jail. He helped convince the King to proclaim the Acts of Indulgence which released more than a thousand Quakers--many had been imprisoned for over a dozen years.

Penn's fortunes collapsed after a son was born to James II in 1688. A Catholic succession was assured. The English rebelled and welcomed the Dutch King William of Orange as William III, who overthrew the Stuarts without having to fire a shot. Suddenly, Penn's Stuart connections were a terrible liability. He was arrested for treason. The government seized his estates. Though he was cleared by November 1690, he was marked as a traitor again. He became a fugitive for four years, hiding amidst London's squalid slums. His friend John Locke helped restore his good name in time to see his wife, Guli, die on February 23, 1694. She was 48.

Harsh experience had taken its toll on Penn. As biographer Hans Fantel put it, "he was getting sallow and paunchy. The years of hiding, with their enforced inactivity, had robbed him of his former physical strength and grace. His stance was now slightly bent, and his enduring grief over the death of Guli had cast an air of listless abstraction over his face. " His spirits revived two years later when he married 30-year-old Hannah Callowhill, the plain and practical daughter of a Bristol linen draper.

But he faced serious problems because of his sloppy business practices. Apparently, he couldn't be bothered with administrative details, and his business manager, fellow Quaker Philip Ford, embezzled substantial sums from Penn's estates. Worse, Penn signed papers without reading them . One of the papers turned out to be a deed transferring Pennsylvania to Ford who demanded rent exceeding Penn's ability to pay. After Ford's death in 1702, his wife, Bridget, had Penn thrown in debtor's prison, but her cruelty backfired. It was unthinkable to have such a person govern a major colony, and in 1708 the Lord Chancellor ruled that "the equity of redemption still remained in William Penn and his heirs."

In October 1712, Penn suffered a stroke while writing a letter about the future of Pennsylvania. Four months later, he suffered a second stroke.

While he had difficulty speaking and writing, he spent time catching up with his children whom he had missed during his missionary travels. He died on July 30, 1718. He was buried at Jordans, next to Guli.

Long before his death, Pennsylvania ceased to be a spiritual place dominated by Quakers. Penn's policy of religious toleration and peace--no military conscription--attracted all kinds of war-weary European immigrants. There were English, Irish, and Germans, Catholics, Jews, and an assortment of Protestant sects including Dunkers, Huguenots, Lutherans, Mennonites, Moravians, Pietists, and Schwenkfelders. Liberty brought so many immigrants that by the American Revolution Pennsylvania had grown to some 300,000 people and became one of the largest colonies. Pennsylvania was America's first great melting pot.

Philadelphia was America's largest city with almost 18,000 people. It was a major commercial center--sometimes more than a hundred trading ships anchored there during a single day. People in Philadelphia could enjoy any of the goods available in England. Merchant companies, shipyards, and banks flourished. Philadelphia thrived as an entrepôt between Europe and the American frontier.

With an atmosphere of liberty, Philadelphia emerged as an intellectual center. Between 1740 and 1776, Philadelphia presses issued an estimated 11,000 works including pamphlets, almanacs, and books. In 1776, there were seven newspapers reflecting a wide range of opinions. No wonder Penn's "city of brotherly love" became the most sacred site for American liberty, where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, and delegates drafted the Constitution.

By creating Pennsylvania, Penn set an enormously important example for liberty. He showed that people who are courageous enough, persistent enough, and resourceful enough can live free. He went beyond the natural right theories of his friend John Locke and showed how a free society would actually work. He showed how individuals of different races and religions can live together peacefully when they mind their own business. He affirmed the resilient optimism of free people.

by Jim Powell

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Scottish Heart Brooch

When Jim asked me to marry him way back in 1977 I asked him if he would give me a luckenbooth not a ring and he did. A luckenbooth is a traditional Scottish love token. I still have that sterling silver brooch and have continued to collect heart brooches over the years. I like the very simple ones and even the busy Victorian agate and cairngorm ones of the late 19th Century.

The Luckenbooth Brooch is a traditional Scottish wedding brooch given to the bride by the groom on their wedding day, and subsequently pinned to the shawl of the first baby to protect it from "evil spirits". By the 18th century it had also became a common decorative symbol in Native American costume.

The Luckenbooth has figures very similar to the Claddagh Ring, and a similar purpose of being a love token. The luckenbooth charm also continues the traditional theme of heart and crown. The earliest records of heart-shaped brooches in Scotland date back to 1503. In the 18th Century, these brooches were often known as 'Luckenbooth' brooches because they were sold from locked booths in the jewellery quarter of St. Giles.

By the mid 18th century luckenbooth tokens also featured heavily as English trade silver items to the native peoples of the eastern woodlands, particularly the Iroquois of the Six Nations. As a result, luckenbooth brooches also became a common decorative symbol in 18th and early 19th century native clothing.

Another legend of the luckenbooth is that it was a symbol of love and devotion, which Mary Queen of Scots is said to have given to Lord Darnley. It has the St. Andrew Cross, the Scottish Thistles, and Entwined Hearts.

The early brooches worked with a tongue that peirced the garment one wore the piece on but latter they had a hinged pin and finally those today have a safty clasp. Many of the older luckenbooths were fashioned from a single flattened silver coin by tinkers.Some were single crowned hearts while others where two hearts with a single crown.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cati my little Blue Valentine!

I took these pictures of Cati my Cardigan Welsh Corgi today. She is my little love bug but quite a blue devil stirring up the homestead on every turn.

Victorian Cards

Old Valentines

Happy Valentines Day

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Celtic Prayer


My soul's Healer,
Keep me at even,
Keep me at morning,
Keep me at noon,
On rough course faring,
Help and safeguard
My means this night.
I am tired, astray, and stumbling,
Shield me from snare and sin.

Black Boxes from Plane Found

The National Transportation Safety Board has confirmed that investigators have located both black boxes, the data and in-flight voice recorders, from Continental Flight 3407 which crashed last night, killing 50. The crew of a commuter plane that fell out of the sky, killing all 49 people aboard and one person on the ground, noticed significant ice buildup on the wings and windshield just before the plane began pitching and rolling violently, investigators said Friday.

Officials stopped short of saying the ice buildup caused Thursday night's crash and stressed that nothing had been ruled out. But ice on a plane's wings can interfere catastrophically with an aircraft's handling and has been blamed for a number of major air disasters over the years.

Local Man on Flight

Capt. Joseph Zuffoletto, off-duty crew member from Jamestown. Our deepest sympathy to his family

Beverly Eckert, widow of 9/11 victim, was aboard Flight 3407

Beverly Eckert, widow of 9/11 victim, was aboard Flight 3407
By Sharon Linstedt and Dale Anderson

The usually joyful meet-and-greet area of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport was a corridor of tears and sorrow early this morning as family and friends of those aboard Continental Express Flight 3407 filed in to get official word of their loved ones' fates.

For Sue Bourque, the wait for confirmation regarding her sister, Beverly Eckert, was all too familiar. Eckert is the widow of Sean Rooney, a Buffalo native who lost his life in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Eckert was traveling to Buffalo for a weekend celebration of what would have been her husband's 58th birthday. She also had planned to take part in presentation of a scholarship award at Canisius High School that she established in honor of her late husband. Bourque said that while the family had not yet received official confirmation of her sister's fate, the reality was settling in. "We know she was on that plane," Bourque said, "and now she's with him." Eckert, Rooney's high school sweetheart, continued to live in their home in Stamford, Conn., after the terrorists' attacks of 2001. As co-chairwoman of Voices of Sept. 11, she pushed for a formal commission to investigate intelligence failures and for a proper memorial to the victims. Family members and friends identified two other people believed to be on the plane as Ellyce Kausner, a graduate of Clarence High School and Canisius College who was studying law at Florida Coastal University in Jacksonville, and Maddy Loftus, a Buffalo State College graduate who lives in New Jersey. Friends said Loftus was heading here for a weekend reunion of Buffalo State women hockey players. One friend said she may have been flying with other young women heading here for the same reunion. "You never think this is going to happen to you," Kausner's aunt, Susan Leckey, also from Clarence, said at Buffalo Niagara International Airport. "It always happens to somebody else, and you see it on TV." Those waiting to pick up passengers from the ill-fated flight at the time of the crash were ushered to the USAirways Lounge, where airline employees answered general questions and offered consolation, beverages and snacks. A chaplain also was brought in to calm the distraught loved ones. But formal conformation was not expected to be given until later this morning, when Continental corporate officials could be flown to Buffalo. "We know they're dead. Why can't they just tell us or take us to ID them," said one grieving man who declined to give his name.

Passengers arriving for early morning flights also were subdued. "I really don't feel like getting on a plane right now," said Runda Ry, who had driven from Toronto to catch a flight to Atlanta.

Crash Update

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) - Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital released the following information regarding Continental Flight #3407, which crashed late Thursday night in Clarence Center, New York.

Emergency department crews at the hospital are treating two females, who are believed to be residents of the Long Street neighborhood where the plane crashed.

They were transported by ambulance to Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital at approximately 11:35 p.m., with non-life threatening injuries.

Less than seven miles away, Millard Fillmore Suburban is the closest hospital to the crash site, which has been reported to be 6050 Long Street, Clarence Center.

For families looking for information regarding the flight or its passengers, they are asked to call the Continental Airlines hotline, 1-800-621-3263.

The Town of Clarence number is 716-741-8930. Hospitals officials early Friday morning also confirmed they are on standby in the event fire officials or any other patients need evaluation.

Millard Fillmore Suburban recently underwent a $64 million expansion, which includes a new, state of the art decontamination room.

The Bombardier Dash 8 (formerly the de Havilland Canada Dash 8, sometimes abbreviated as DHC-8) is a series of twin-engined, medium range, turboprop airliners. Introduced by de Havilland Canada (DHC) in 1984, they are now produced by Bombardier Aerospace. Since 1996, the aircraft have been known as the Q Series, for "quiet". Over 900 Dash 8s of all models have been built. Bombardier forecasts a total production run of 1,192 units of all Dash8/QSeries variants through the year 2016.

National Transportation Safety Board records show that a Dash 8 had never previously been involved in a fatal accident.

Details For Bombadier Q-400 (DH4) (Source: Colgen Air)

74-seat twin turboprop in single-class, four abreast configuration
Jet-like speed with state-of-the-art avionics
Performance profile allows operations below and away from congested airspace
"Q means Quiet" with advanced noise and vibration reduction
Full size cabin with 32" seat pitch and 6' 5" of headroom
Two flight attendants for passenger safety and comfort
Continental Airlines short and medium haul in-flight service
Arrives and departs at Terminal C at Newark Liberty Airport

Length 107' 9"
Height 27' 5"
Wingspan 93' 3"
Passengers 68-78
Engines 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada Corp. PW150
360 kts (414 mph)

49 people dead in plane crash in Buffalo!

15 Bombardier Q400 turboprop regional aircraft

Updated: Friday, 13 Feb 2009, 12:59 AM EST
Published : Thursday, 12 Feb 2009, 10:31 PM EST

CLARENCE, N.Y. (WIVB) - Continental flight 3407 has crashed into a house on Long Street west of Goodrich.

The aircraft has fifty to sixty seats.

We are told everyone who was in that house got out safely, but that house is engulfed in flames.

It's described as a 'massive fire' at the scene.

There is no word on the fate of the pilot of the plane or anyone else who may have been on board.

The first report of this crash came in about 10:20 p.m.

The area is shut down right now.

A command center has been set up at Roll Road and Goodrich, that is near the scene.

A Continental flight with 48 people aboard crashed into a home near Buffalo, New York at 10:10 tonight.

Everyone aboard, and one person on the ground, were killed in the tragic crash, which leveled a home in Clarence Center, a neighborhood about 5 miles from Buffalo International Airport, where there was light snow and light rain tonight.

The flight was Continental Express flight 3407 heading to Buffalo, N.Y. from Newark, N.J.

Relatives of passengers aboard flight should call 1-800-621-3263 for information

The crash is America's deadliest since a Comair commuter jet crashed in Lexington, Ky., on Aug. 27, 2006. That crash also claimed 49 lives.

Some residents have been evacuated to the Clarence Center fire hall.

Hard Times Call for Sheep!

Maybe Obama will do what Wilson did!

Sheep on the South Lawn, 1919

During World War I, sheep were brought to graze on the lawns to reduce groundskeeping costs, and their wool was auctioned to raise money for the Red Cross. The sheep stayed at the White House until 1920.

Woodrow Wilson and the Sheep on the Whitehouse Lawn

Scottish Wool Curtains for the Whitehouse!

I love this fabric and its the color I am using to decorate with right now! How cool is that. I don't expect I could afford to import this however!

Curtains for Obama, thanks to Scottish fabric firm

The Scotsman
Published Date: 13 February 2009
By Frank Urquhart
Opulent curtains, made by one of Scotland's leading textile companies, will grace the White House, it was revealed yesterday.
The order has been commissioned by Michael Smith, a Los Angeles-based designer brought in by the first lady, Michelle Obama, to refurbish the private family apartments in the east wing of the building.

And the specially made fabric, a mixture of
the finest wool and silk, has already been
shipped to America by MacNaughton Holdings, a Perth-based company established in 1783. The fabric was made at the company's main textile mill in Keith in Moray.

Blair MacNaughton, the managing director of the company, which is based at Inveralmond, said he had received a request for an urgent delivery of the material shortly before Mr Obama's inauguration.

He said: "Michael Smith is one of our customers and has two or three of our products which he buys on a regular basis.

"About a week before the inauguration, he contacted us to say that he had been asked to do the interior design for the new residents at the White House.

"He needed 120 metres of one of our products extremely urgently to go into the White House."

MacNaughton Holdings is the second Scottish company to be given a key role in redecorating the White House.

The Biggar-based Calzeat Ltd has also been asked by Mr Smith to supply bespoke fabrics for the Obama family.


By Karrie Gillett

FABRIC made in Scotland has been flown to America to be used for curtains in President Obama’s bedroom.

The pure wool cloth produced by a Perthshire company has been ordered to make up all the curtains for the Obama private quarters in the White House.

America’s First Lady Michelle Obama enlisted the services of a US-based interior designer who placed the huge fabric order with Macnaughton Holdings in Perth.

And staff at the firm’s weaving depot in Keith, Morayshire, was told who their famous client was just ten days before Barack’s inauguration.

Now, the order has been completed in less than four weeks and is on its way to Washington to hang in the private rooms of America’s top family.

Blair Macnaughton, managing director, said all 82 workers were incredibly proud of helping out their most powerful customer.

Mr Macnaughton said: “The United States represents a huge market for us with Americans loving the quality fabric which is 100 per cent Scottish.

“But when we were told we would be working for the most powerful man in the world we were understandably pretty chuffed.

“It is a really nice thought to know that our fabric is going to be used in the Obamas’ own rooms.

“The whole thing has given all the staff a really good boost to morale.”

The textile company has been designing interior fabrics and kilts since 1783 and Blair, 55, is the seventh generation boss.

The firm was contacted by interior designer to the stars Michael Smith who was hired to help revamp the family home in the White House vacated by the Bush clan.

Smith, a California-based designer, has a list of celebrity clients including Steven Spielberg, Dustin Hoffman and supermodel Cindy Crawford.

The order for the ecru stripe Scots fabric was placed just before Obama took up office when wife Michelle decided the White House needed a more “family-friendly feel”.

Mr MacNaughton said: “It really is a fantastic contract for us to get – we have the most powerful man in the world looking at our fabric every day.

“The cloth was made in Scotland with love and care and we’re sure President Obama will be very pleased with it.”

MacNaughton Holdings

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Koala Rescued

Koala Rescued From Australia's Wildfire Wasteland

It was a chance encounter in the charred landscape of Australia's deadly wildfires: A koala sips water from a bottle offered by a firefighter. David Tree noticed the koala moving gingerly on scorched paws as his fire patrol passed. Clearly in pain, the animal stopped when it saw Tree.

"It was amazing, he turned around, sat on his bum and sort of looked at me with (a look) like, put me out of my misery," Tree told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "I yelled out for a bottle of water. I unscrewed the bottle, tipped it up on his lips and he just took it naturally.

"He kept reaching for the bottle, almost like a baby."

The team called animal welfare officers to pick up the koala Sunday, the day after deadly firestorms swept southern Victoria state.

"I love nature, and I've handled koalas before. They're not the friendliest things, but I wanted to help him," Tree said.

Coleen Wood, manager of the Mountain Ash Wildlife Shelter where the koala was taken for treatment of second- and third-degree burns to its paws, said Wednesday that it was expected to make a full recovery.

Wood said there was no doubt the animal was wild, not domesticated, and that it would be released back into nature once a suitable habitat is found — the foliage in Sam's forest was all but destroyed.

"The hardest part is going to be trying to find enough habitat to support these guys," Wood said.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Animals said it was establishing shelters to care for thousands of pets and livestock affected by the fires.

More news from Australia on the Fires

This just in from my friend Lou in Australia

Deepest Sympathy to Australia
Bushfires raged through Victoria


If you can watch this if you have the bandwidth slide show from the link above. My God, it's hard to see this happen to the good people of Australia.

This video will give you a little idea but try the above link directly from Australia from the Sidney Morning Herald for a real idea of the scope of this horror.

Australia you are in our heart and prayers!

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