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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Chuck Shuck and Gabe in Spain Waiting for Orders to Iraq

My student - Chuck Shuck - from Lansford PA - is waiting in Spain for his plane to Iraq.

He says -

Hello Everyone..........As promised I finally got the pictures from Sevilla Elem School in Spain and decided these two were the best to send out. 2 days ago, Gabe and I went to the Elem school and gave a demostration on how military police dogs obey their handler with obediance. I did kindergarten through the 3rd grade and they all enjoyed it as you can see from the pictures, but Gabe and I enjoyed it even more. I also talked to the kids on studying hard in school, doing thier homework, respecting each other and listening to their teachers. It went so well that the principal asked me to come over tomorrow and do the 7th and 8th grade students at the junior high. We are excited and what a better way to pass time than to educate kids. As of now it is not looking like we will be leaving here in the next 48 hours, but we are in good spirits and still ready to do the mission.


Note - This is Chuck's third tour in Iraq.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Buddies George and Joel Dawson are in Peru for 2 Weeks

They sent this -

We have just spent 3 days and nights in lodges 100 miles from the nearest town.  It was cool, nearly 100% humidity, no electricity, but wonderful.  We are now in a lodge on the banks of the Amazon, just 25 miles from Iquitos.  The lodges are all part of a group established 40 years ago for the Ecotourist.  This last night in the Amazon is in the Ceiba Lodge.  Ceiba is the more common name of the Kapok tree.  This lodge is nice but not what Joel and I would prefer as it has air conditioning, heated swimming pool, water slide and wireless internet.   We are able to have laundry done which is good  as all that we have with us for this part of the trip.  All our clothes are soaked with sweat and covered in mud.

It will soon be time for lunch. 

Friday, August 25, 2006

Tamaqua man sentenced for stealing library books


"Why would you want to steal library books?" a judge asked while shaking his head in disbelief.

The question was put to Shane Titus Livingstone, 23, of 432 Hazle St., Tamaqua, who entered a guilty plea Wednesday afternoon before Judge John E. Domalakes in the Schuylkill County Courts. He had been charged by Cpl. John O'Connor, Tamaqua police, with library theft. The information filed to court claimed on Oct. 31, 2005, a total of 79 year books and 108 reference books were removed from the Tamaqua Free Public Library.

Domalakes also asked Livingston, "Why take the books because there was no apparent benefit to you and you denied the residents of the community use of the books?" Livingstone's only answer was that he was "on drugs." It was also told the court that there were a number of persons involved with the theft. "It would have to be around a dozen to carry away so many books," commented Domalakes.

Livingstone was sentenced to pay a fine of $150, pay costs of prosecution, make restitution of $700 either in its entirety or his share if the others pay and serve 12 months on probation.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Not Much To Report

I guess no news is good news. The carpenters are installing all the trim and putting in the kitchen - cabinets - shelves - drawers. Just a few odds and ends. When they are done - we will touch up the paint bit - and start decorating the guest suite.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Lehigh University Class President Goes to Prison for Robbing Wachovia Bank

By Debbie Garlicki Of The Morning Call

Former Lehigh University sophomore Gregory J. Hogan Jr. said he had a ''sick mind'' poisoned by online gambling when he handed an Allentown bank teller a note saying he had a gun and would shoot. A judge on Thursday acknowledged Hogan's addiction but deemed the robbery a serious crime that warranted 22 months in a state prison.

Hogan, 20, turned to family and friends, who were sniffling and sobbing in the gallery of a Lehigh County courtroom, before deputy sheriffs clamped handcuffs on his wrists and took him to the county jail. ''I love you,'' he mouthed to his family, as his mother, Karen Hogan, shook and wept.

Hogan's family had asked the judge not to make ''a criminal'' of the young man who was president of his class at Lehigh and a gifted musician. Tellers who were in the Wachovia bank on Dec. 9 implored the judge to treat him as just that — a criminal like any other.

President Judge William H. Platt gave Hogan a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, saying he wanted Hogan to be under court supervision for a long time. Platt said he expects Hogan will be released from prison after serving his minimum sentence of 22 months.

Standing on the courthouse steps after the hearing, Hogan's father, the Rev. Gregory J. Hogan Sr. of Ohio, expressed disappointment but said, ''My son is facing the decision he made.'' He said he is grateful his son is alive and didn't commit suicide as a child in his state who had gambling debts had done.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Latinos file suit against Hazleton immigrant ordinance

From The Morning Call

A Latino activist group has followed through on its threat to sue the coal-region city of Hazleton over a new ordinance targeting illegal immigrants, calling the law a throwback to the worst days of American sentiment against newcomers.

The ordinance, which was adopted July 13 and takes effect in September, will punish landlords who rent to illegal immigrants and business owners who hire them. It also establishes English as the city's official language.

The Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund filed suit today on behalf of 11 Hazleton residents and business owners, claiming the ordinance has already fostered anti-Latino sentiment in the city and led at least one shop owner to suffer a 50 percent drop in business.

Hazleton is 10 miles north of Tamaqua PA - our old hometown.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Click Here to Read Chapter of "Shoeless Joe" by WP Kinsella

"If You Build It He Will Come" - Kevin Costner Visits Field of Dreams for the First Time

Kevin Costner - the star of the 1989 movie "Field of Dreams" visited that Iowa corn field for the first time in 17 years. "Field of Dreams" is one of my all time favorite movies.

Click on the headline to see the story.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Primer on the Guest House Walls

Yesterday we spent a full day primering the walls of the guest house. The primer is tinted to look like the final color. Also we primered the baseboard - door trim - and bathroom door. The trim will be ultra white and installed Monday.

Today we plan to put the final coat of paint on the walls.

Later Note - It was stupid having the primer the same color as the paint - you can't see where to start and stop.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Chuck Goes to Iraq for Third Time Tomorrow

Dear friends and Family,

I hope this email finds everyone in great health and spirits. First and foremost Gabe is great! Besides my friends and family, Gabe is the single most important thing in my life now and I know I would put my life on the line in a second to save his. This will be my final note to you all till I put boots on the ground in Baghdad and find a computer. My cell phone will be turned off next Friday so if you try calling after that, you will get no answer.

Tonight I went and saw the movie World Trade Center and if the movie did anything for me, it reassured me why I am going back to Iraq and why I would go back 100 more times if needed. I know many people may not agree with that, but thats how Gabe and I feel. I cannot give out timelines and flight info, but if everything goes as planned I will be in Baghdad 10 days from now. I want to share the following with you all because I am so proud to be an American soldier. This is called The Soldiers Creed

I am an American Soldier.

I am a Warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values.

I will always place the mission first.

I will never accept defeat.

I will never quit.

I will never leave a fallen comrade.

I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills. I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.

I am an expert and I am a professional.

I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.

I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.

I am an American Soldier.

Last, but not least, if you are ever in Lansford and you see my mom or my 2 little brothers, please stop and give them a hug and tell them it's from Chuck. The next year is going to go by quickly because for one, before we know it the Philadelphia Eagles will be SuperBowl champs and second I have the best 2 guardian angels any soldier can have watching over him, My Dad and Grandmother.

Until next time, take care, be safe and May God bless us all.......His American soldiers and Gabe

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Alaska in Trouble for Oil Money

Earlier this week, BP said it would shut down Prudhoe Bay -- the biggest oil field in the nation -- because of a small leak and severe pipeline corrosion. Energy officials have said the pipeline repairs are likely to take months, curtailing Alaskan production into next year.

The expected loss of 400,000 barrels per day at today's oil prices means the state is losing about $6.4 million a day in royalties and taxes, Revenue Commissioner Bill Corbus said.

The state receives 89 percent of its income from oil revenue; Alaska has no state sales tax and no personal income tax. The Prudhoe Bay shutdown will cut in half Alaska's total oil production and the resulting revenue.

Without money coming in from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska's government can operate for only about two months before going into the red, Corbus said.

FSU student finishes in the Money in Vegas Poker

By Jennifer Jefferson

Call him the new million-dollar baby.

Florida State University student Leif Force Jr. will be returning to Tallahassee a rich man after placing 11th in the World Series of Poker Tournament in Las Vegas this week.

His $10,000 buy-in and tight game earned him $1.154 million "in the largest live poker event that's ever been held anywhere," said Dave Curley, spokesperson for the World Series of Poker. "To make it past the first day is a big deal. To make it to 11th place is almost beyond words."

He was up against 8,773 players who were all vying for a portion of the $82 million pot.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Drywall is Up in the Guest House

The drywallers have been busy the last couple of days. They used 9/16 inch thick drywall - they have it all taped and the first coat of spackling plaster is on it. Tomorrow they come back to do a second coat. Then they sand it.

After that we paint it - then we install the wood floor. Finally they put the bathroom and kitchen fixtures in - then the furniture.

The project has been a lot of fun - but after 4 months - we are anxious to get it done. The room ended up being 15 x 23 feet.

Pictures -
1 - The street entrance door and window.
2 - The French doors and balcony overlooking the pool - lake - woods.
3 - The balcony.
4 - The kitchen will fit in that nook - 2 cabinets - sink - microwave - frig - counter. The bathroom is around the corner thru that door.

Click pictures to enlarge.

Talladega Nights on a Tallahassee Morning

Nancy and I got to see the movie "Talladega Nights - The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" today. This is what "retired" Florida grayheads do at 10:30 AM. Note the time and price on the ticket.

Gangs Taking Over Poconos

This story appeared in the Miami Herald today.

Gangs quietly infiltrate Pocono region
Associated Press
TOBYHANNA, Pa. - When New Yorkers and Philadelphians want to get away from the noise and crowds, they often come to the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania.

It's a bucolic, tourist-friendly place of forests and streams and lakes, a place where you can play a round of golf, take in a show, angle for trout or simply lose yourself on a country road.

A place where a Crip or a Blood would seem ... out of place.

Click on title for full story.

Friday, August 04, 2006

FSU's Bunkley Signs Guaranteed $10 Million Contract with the Philadelphia Eagles

Brodrick Bunkley agreed to a six-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday, ending the first-round pick's two-week holdout.

Bunkley, the 14th overall selection in the NFL draft, agreed to a deal worth $13 million, according to an official within the NFL. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because terms weren't publicly disclosed, said $10 million of that money is guaranteed, and the maximum value of the contract could reach between $25-$30 million with incentives.

The 6-foot-2, 300-pound defensive tackle missed 16 days of camp, and won't play in Sunday's game against Oakland. The negotiations between the Eagles and Bunkley's agent, Gary Wichard, were prolonged because the team insisted on making it a six-year contract.

Bunkley played for the Florida State University Seminoles.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Motorcyclist Impaled on Mailbox

Syracuse, NY -

A motorcyclist was rushed to University Hospital with a mailbox pole impaled in his left leg after a two-vehicle crash at 2:20 p.m. today in Fulton.

Witnesses who gave statements to state troopers said the Honda motorcycle crashed into the rear of a Chevrolet van that was turning left off state Route 3 onto Stingray Alley near the railroad overpass on the east side of the city.

The motorcyle bounced off the van and careened into several mailboxes on the southern side of the road, said Michael Bonnell, who was walking along state Route 3 at the time.

The driver of the van was not injured. The motorcyclist was conscious and gave the phone number of a relative before being rushed by ambulance to Syracuse.

Group Formed to Oppose Coal to Oil Plant in Schuylkill County

A while back I wrote a story about John Rich's developing a plant in Schuylkill County to turn coal into oil. Since there is a 400 year supply of coal in Schuylkill County - the project seems like a positive solution to part of our energy problems.

A group in Frackville opposes the plant. They have developed a web page to oppose the project. Click on the above headline to see the web page.