Monday, July 28, 2014


Monday, July 28, 2014

We've heard the stories or read articles about how animals can help military veterans living with combat-related post- traumatic stress disorder adjust back into civilian life and lead a more productive life.

The Service or Therapeutic Companion Dogs, most of which are rescued from local shelters, are the most common. The veteran and dog train together to build a trusting relationship, thus helping to save two lives at once.

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Christmas gift given to me when I was in the second grade, "Maverick" was one of the first hardcover books I ever owned.

Our television channel choices back then were limited to the Big Three Networks, so everyone knew Maverick as the popular TV western hero.

In true comic book style, the cover of the book had splashy colors to catch the eye of an impressionable kid hungering for role models. The scene showed a confident James Garner, six shooter at his hip, confidently striding to confront some tough outlaws in the Wild West.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Within the past few days, we got a police report of a woman, driving by herself, getting pulled over on Route 248 near Palmerton by who she thought was a police officer.

The "cop" asked for her credentials. She suspected it wasn't a real policeman so she declined, at which time he displayed a revolver.

The woman was fortunate enough to speed away without further incident.

It's not the first time there have been complaints about fake police officers terrifying innocent motorists usually women.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

On July 25, 2012, Taliban fighters in Kunar province in Afghanistan successfully targeted an American Army CH-47 helicopter with a new generation Stinger missile. The American pilot was able to nurse the crippled craft to the ground in a hard landing.

The next day, an explosive ordnance disposal team found one fragment that contained an entire serial number and the Stinger tracked back to a lot that had been recently signed out by the CIA.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the nation's worst drivers are in the south.

Six of the top 10 worst driving states are in the Deep South with Louisiana leading the pack, having a top five ranking in three different categories – Failure to obey traffic signs, ticketing rate, and careless driving. It was followed by South Carolina, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama.

Being ranked at or near the bottom affects insurance rates. Louisiana drivers pay the highest premiums in America, according to the independent industry site

Monday, July 21, 2014

In 1998, a retired scientist from Brooklyn visited Schuylkill County and fell in love.

Valerie Macdonald had no local ties or connections; she'd come to the area to visit a friend's parents.

Macdonald saw Shenandoah and Schuylkill County in a different light from many local folks. She adored the strong, ethnic coal region fabric and decided to stay and demonstrate her admiration.

What did she do?

First, she became part of the community by opening a small shop, Caledonia Antiques.

Friday, July 18, 2014

We have no idea what it's like to live in a country surrounded by enemies and under the constant cloud of war.

With about 170,000 rockets and missiles now pointed at their tiny nation from enemies on all sides, Israel has been under the threat of attack since becoming a nation in 1948. Thanks to an Iron Dome missile defense system, most of the rockets currently being fired into Israel are being intercepted.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The amount of recent media coverage about illegal immigrants flooding through our southern border has deflected attention from the reported problems at our veterans' facilities.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

With all we hear of the wasteful spending in Washington and how big government continues to throw money at problems, it's good to know that there are some officials on the state level who are thinking outside the box.

Last week, we learned that goats were hired through Eco-Goats, a Maryland firm, to clear weeds and invasive vines from a Pittsburgh park as the first stage in a restoration project. The nonprofit group Tree Pittsburgh is spearheading the effort to improve and plant more trees in the city's Polish Hill neighborhood.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Schuylkill County government, it seems, has been besieged with more turmoil in the first seven months of 2014 than in any other time in its 203-year history.

In March, it was learned that the FBI, state auditor, and state police launched an investigation into alleged misappropriation of funds in the office of Clerk of Courts Stephen M. Lukach Jr. That office is where criminal court documents are processed.

Lukach, who'd held the job for 27 years, retired a month later.

According to Controller Christy D. Joy, irregularities surfaced during a 2012 audit.