Thursday, August 17, 2017


Friday, August 11, 2017

We made a fort out of sticks when I was 11. We called it our clubhouse.

“Now we need rules for who can come into our fort,” said Eddie.

“No girls allowed,” quipped Steven.

“We need a secret password,” I said.

“We need a president,” said Bobby. “That should be me.”

Friday, August 11, 2017
Barn swallows staging for their long trip, photo taken Aug. 15, 2016. The next day they were gone. BARRY REED/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

Wasn’t it just the Easter weekend? Oh, I guess that was four months past already. Even though the thermometer still reads the middle 80s, autumn is throwing some hints our way. If you use your nature “senses” you may have noticed a few. If not, I’ll toss in some reminders of the soon arriving fall season.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Observations from the drought-stricken Midwest.

When you fill your tank with gas, you expect to cover miles. It’s a given.

When you work, you expect to get paid. But for farmers and ranchers there is no guarantee you will get paid.

It is just guaranteed that they will work.

They stay up at night pondering the forecast, penciling their fate. Yet, at the end of 365 days their wrinkled, callused hands don’t grasp a paycheck. In these tough times, the farmers and ranchers pay to work.

Friday, August 11, 2017
Organizations, clubs, businesses and other groups in northeastern Pennsylvania are ordering custom license plates in honor of the Anthracite 250th Anniversary, such as this one from Carbon County. SCOTT HERRING/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

Anthracite coal began with a leaf-fall 300 million years ago.

Through heat and pressure, forces of nature, it turned into hard, sedimentary rock, but a rock that happens to be combustible.

Eventually, the richness of the precious commodity was discovered.

It became the symbol and identity of northeastern Pennsylvania, helping to warm homes, forge iron and build monumental bridges, towering skyscrapers and a nation.

In 2018, four months from now, that discovery and what it means to the region will be recognized.

Friday, August 11, 2017
Anthracite, or hard coal, has high carbon content and few impurities. It’s so valuable that it’s called a black diamond. DONALD R. SERFASS/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

In 1768, settlers planned their return to Wyoming Valley, an area claimed by both Pennsylvania and Connecticut at that time.

Returning with them was Obadiah Gore Jr., a blacksmith who was aware of coal outcroppings and their potential.

After experimenting at his shop near Pittston and Wilkes-Barre, Gore finally proved by forced draft that local stone coal attained very high, even heat — ideal for industrial use.

Newspaper accounts and word of mouth spread the excitement of his discovery.

Friday, August 11, 2017

In our church service, we have a part called “the handshake of peace.”

It’s a simple concept. Look at those around you and wish them the peace of Christ.

For years, that also involved shaking hands with those around you. Now, in our germ-phobia world, a handshake has become rather problematic.

Many mimic Howie Mandel. He doesn’t want to shake hands, doesn’t want hugs and doesn’t like anyone to touch him.

Hearing the constant barrage of information about germs we can get on contact, many opt out of the handshake of peace.

Friday, August 11, 2017
Lillie Eberly, 8, Slatington: “I want to play the game where I win the huge stuffed banana!”

What’s the first thing you want to do at the Carbon County Fair?

Friday, August 11, 2017

So the garden you planted or enjoy each day is flowering. Birds and animals are busy in your yard or neighborhood. And you’d love to capture all this natural beauty in photos.

It’s so easy these days to pull out a phone and take pictures of anything anytime, but a little time and thought can produce better garden and wildlife photos.

“There’s a big difference between that for-the-record shot that preserves a memory and getting a really nice image,” says Brenda Tharp, author of the new book “Expressive Nature Photography” (The Monacelli Press).

Friday, August 11, 2017
Red Cross First aid course online for pets

For more than 100 years, the American Red Cross has been training people to perform first aid skills so they could save the lives of others. Now, the organization announces the release of its new Cat and Dog First Aid online course so that owners will know what to do in an emergency until veterinary care is available.

Friday, August 11, 2017

St. Luke’s University Health Network’s popular Walk with a Doc series is coming to Tamaqua on Aug. 17.

Led by Dr. Joanne Calabrese, the 1-mile walk will also include free blood pressure screenings and fresh fruits and vegetables. It will start at 6 p.m. at St. Luke’s Internal Medicine Office, 120 Pine St., Tamaqua.

Walkers will be able to go at their own pace and have their health questions answered by a community physician.

Registration is recommended and made be made by contacting Kerri Quick by email at or by calling 1-866- STLUKES.