Friday, February 24, 2012

Le Roy, NY: EPA moving barrels of tested soil

55 gallon drum

Since my last post (Still no definitive answer to Leroy students illnesses), testing has been done and is now completed on 235 (rotting) barrels that contained soil from wells drilled on the Lehigh Railroad Derailment Superfund site. (I am assuming here that this was when the clean-up after the railroad spill had commenced and they were making sure that the soil--then--was decontaminated.) 

According to WKBW, in 32 of those barrels of soil and rock, " some detectable concentrations of contaminants were found.  However, in all cases the levels of these contaminants were low and are below health-based levels."  In any case, these barrels were moved to a landfill that accepts hazardous waste in Belleville, Michigan.

“I am pleased the EPA is removing the barrels from this Superfund site,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee.  “The EPA must now continue testing and monitoring all areas around the site to assure residents there has been no further contamination.  Everyone in LeRoy and Genesee County must know that their community is a safe place to live, visit, work, and raise a family.”
So, even though we do have the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) 'supposedly' doing their still does nothing to get to the bottom of why these students/adult developed the strange ticks that they did. It begs to wonder if there really was/is an environmental problem there that hasn't been addressed. 

It seems that my thoughts are in line with Erin Brockovich's and her colleague Bob Bowcock's...

Bowcock’s stresses that his investigation is looking at a myriad of environmental concerns, including the natural gas wells on the grounds of Le Roy High School,  fill material used at the school, the routine complaints of fumes or odors in the school vent system, the school’s storm water system and biological and chemical concerns surrounding the school’s sports field.

According to what Brockovich told ABC, those barrels should have been moved within 30 days of them being filled, but essentially the EPA dropped the ball on that one and Le Roy fell to the wayside for all these decades (since 1970). She asserts that Le Roy is "the largest TCE (trichloroethene) Superfund site in the country" yet the EPA has failed this town and its residents.

“The EPA is failing – it is not protecting people, it is not protecting the environment,” Brockovich said.  ”Sadly, it takes citizens like me, and the people of the impacted communities, to speak up and fix problems that should have been dealt with years ago."

We can only hope that in time, something will be learned that can give the community and these teen's parents answers that they so desperately need...why/how did these almost two dozen teens become afflicted with this mystery illness.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hobby: Serial Killer?

From 'Journal of Secrets', 2/21/2012

I don't know how many you have heard of the site: "Journal of Secrets" but I have been subscribed to the site for some time now. The thought behind of the site is that anyone can post a "secret" anonymously...whether it be in just a word format or words added to a photo. (And in case you are haven't ever posted my own secrets there!)

Most 'secrets' are not too horrifying and sometimes, I can relate to whatever the poster has wrote, but every once in a while, I find one that sets me back on my heels. The 'secret' above in the photo is the most recent one.

Maybe...I just have a morbid imagination, but this one really creeps me out. Something inside my brain is calling "foul" and red flags are there a double meaning to this photo? Would it be not-so-surprising if there were one?

Can we take it at face value and except that whomever sent this in to Journal of Secrets is nothing more than a hunter? my mind...just doesn't fit with the terminology of someone being a 'serial killer'. Although, I suppose there are those who would say that hunters are...just of a different kind...but I honestly have never heard...or thought of hunters in that way.

Yet--we have heard of serial killers taunting police and the media with letters and messages via newspapers...would/could this be any different? Think about it. Seriously. This is what scares me to death!  The "what if?"

I would really like to hear your thoughts on this...please feel free to leave a comment! 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Silly things from my childhood

a child with a Hula hoop

It's been a  funny kind of day today for thoughts have been all over the place, and I have found that my emotions have been too.  I started out the day, feeling at loss over how far my children and I have drifted apart over the last few years...something that I hoped would never happen.

Then, it was thoughts about the progress I have made since my breakdown in 2001, and how I have to learn to let go...and let what will be take it's is out of my control. (I am a worrier and tend to take too much to heart sometimes.)

Tonight, I can't tell you what brought the thoughts on, but I have sat here for the past hour or so, thinking about all the other toys that I had as a child. Wow...finding the images sure brought back some very fond memories and fun times!

So here we go as I take you down memory lane...

One of the earliest memories I have is of poppit beads...mine were strictly all white, but I had a lot of them and made necklaces and bracelets all the time...back and forth...popping the beads apart and remaking what ever I wanted to make for me or my dolls.

bracelet made of poppit beads

colored poppit beads as you can buy them today

As a treat whenever we went to the store or when my mom went grocery shopping while I was in school, she would bring me home these candy cigarettes. To a child of about 5-6-7, I thought they were just the thing...although I can't ever remember liking the taste of them all that well! I guess that I equated them with being "grown up" like my dad who smoked back then!

candy cigarettes

the various "brands"

as they look in a bowl

Then came the beloved Easy Bake oven. The photo looks exactly like the one I had...same color and all. The thing I can remember most was that it got mighty hot...and I would get burned every time I used it...yet that still didn't keep me from baking cakes, brownies and cookies!

Easy Bake Oven...1960s

I can't remember how old I was when I got my View-Master...but it was another toy that captivated me to no end. Before my eyes, cartoons characters played out their stories, princesses danced and far-away places held me spell-bound by their beauty.


photo disc 

As I grew, so too did my wish  list. I received a Spirograph one Christmas and you'd have thought it was worth a million dollars!  I had that thing for years...well into my teens. I probably wasted a few reams of paper went the trees for my past time!


Last but not least, was the Fun Flower maker. I don't know how many people remember this specific kit, but maybe they better remember the boy's version: Creepy Crawlers (A photos down shows the inside of a Creepy Crawlers kit). 

Fun Flower Kit

I can remember making my mother bouquets of flowers...and having random flowers stuffed into houseplants and in anything that would hold the flower upright on its wire stem! 

The liquid goop

the metal trays that the goop went into to bake/make the flower pieces

Creepy Crawler kit with oven--bugs galore

And remember the Hula Hoop? Hours and hours I spent trying to get hoop to stay on my waist! When I finally got the hang of it, then I wasn't so interested in it anymore!  Same thing held true with the Klackers...bruised and battered until I could work them for several minutes non-stop!


I haven't thought about these things in a good 20+ years...yet they all came back to me tonight, as I thought about the differences between the toys from my youth compared to those we see now for today's children. Today's children see a whole big world of high tech toys, computers, and the list goes on.

It saddens me because I find that the children now don't use their imagination near as much as I (and anyone who is considered a boomer) did growing up. I know with a certainty that is where most of my creative talents came from...from a childhood well spent using my mind "creatively"!

Thanks for reading!

Wise words: One

I have always had a love of quotes, and over the last few years have acquired many that I have either added to various photos (my own or others), or have found online...specifically on Facebook. I'd like to share them with you...and let their beauty touch you as they have touched me...

[**None of these photos are mine and I claim no ownership of them.]

Thursday, February 16, 2012

When teachers go too far

Every week we are bombarded in the media with articles about teachers going too far in one way or another. For some time though, they have been mostly about teachers that have done the unthinkable: gotten into some kind of romantic and/or sexual affair with a student. 

This morning though, I came across an article about a teacher who is also a coach, that went too far in a different way: making "insensitive and vulgar comments in front of students and players", as well as picking on the students that have come down with the mystery illness at Le Roy school in upstate NY.

It seems that his insensativity led him to make up a chant while his basketball team (York) was playing against Le Roy's that went:  “One, Two, three, Tourette’s!” And supposedly this was said in the locker room and not on the basketball court.

Falk reportedly qualified his ‘joke,’ telling his players, “I’m just kidding.”

Well, his kidding cost him...he was removed from the coach position but maintains his job as an 8th grade Math teacher. Somehow...that doesn't sit well with me.

It makes me sick to think that these men and women, who have such positions of authority, abuse that for any reason to fit into an agenda that they might have going in their tweaked minds. Children are really no longer safe...because we don't know who that teacher will be that will step over the line...verbally, mentally, emotionally, and yes--even sexually. 

I know that school districts try as hard as they can to weed out any possible person that might not be quality teacher material...but I know that it's not a perfect system and sometimes, those teachers that do commit these offenses against students aren't always a newbie in the field but rather have been teaching a long time.

It seems like morals, common sense and children being sacred to us as a society has been tossed to the wayside. As I said makes me sick.

Unexpected company

Yesterday morning, I was watching TV (a program in ID--Investigation Discovery) when I heard a faint knocking at the door. I wasn't expecting anyone, but got up to see who was here...and it came as no surprise that it was a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses. An older man and woman...Bibles, a fancy leather folder and a carry-all bag in their arms.

Fortunately, the way our house is set up, I saw them through I window before I reached the door and decided right then I was not going to open the door. I have dealt with many of them over the years and I don't like the way they try to force you to listen to their spiel. Try to get a straight-forward answer from them about some more difficult aspects of the Bible...and they talk in circles avoiding the question...because they don't know the answer!

Don't get me wrong here...I don't have a problem with anyone being religious regardless of what religion that might be. What I do have a problem with though, is having people come to my door and trying to convince me that I need to learn about "their" religion, and I certainly don't like having people trying to shove religion down my throat.

Seriously, what is up with that?

Anyway, they stood there on the porch for a good 5-8 minutes, repeatedly knocking on the door and carrying on a conversation between themselves. In the meantime, there was at least one other person sitting in the vehicle, patiently waiting...perhaps for his turn at the next house they stopped at.

Finally though, after missing about 10 minutes of my program...they left. Talk about persistent! The way they stood there and knocked and could swear there was an emergency they needed help for. 

Well...maybe it was an emergency: to find another lost soul to bring into their flock.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day:

As a child in grade school, I can remember the excitement of coming home a day or two before Valentine's Day to find a brand new, unopened box of those little miniature Valentine cards (with those tiny little envelopes) that I would hand out in school during our party to my classmates. There was nothing like looking through all the cards and sayings while breathing in the smell of new paper!

On the day of the party, there was so much excitement when handing out the Valentines to my classmates, sticking each one into a handmade Valentine mailboxes or huge heart-shaped envelopes (depending on the teacher and what we chose to make) that we had made and scotch-taped to the front of our desks. It was a lot of fun delivering them, but even more so opening the ones that I'd received!

Once in Junior High (7th & 8th grades) those parties ceased. If I gave out Valentines it was strictly to those friends that I was close to...primarily my best friends and friends that were on my bus to/from school, as well as teachers and favorite bus drivers.

In Senior High, giving out Valentines ceased entirely. It was too "childish" and I didn't have a boyfriend that was romantic enough to buy a card or even a gift for me. Not that it upset I later learned, my husbands were forgetful or lacked charm and be bothered.

Over the years, it's just become another day with no special meaning for me...and honestly, I don't mind at all! I enjoy being single and with that, am able to 'treat' myself according to my whims and desires. I think that's more 'fun' for me than receiving a random gift or a romantic card!!!

However for those of you that do celebrate the day with your loved ones and significant others...Happy Valentine's Day! 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Religious beliefs: Christianity

July 25, 2011 (NY)

Religion has always been a touchy subject for me, having grown up in a dual-religion household: Protestant and Catholic. As a child, my parents wanted me to know both of their religions, my dad hoping I would remain a Catholic and my mom wanting me to chose which one was right for me. Problem is...I never did chose...and have been anything but religious all these years.

Don't get me wrong...I am not an atheist...but consider myself scientifically oriented and hopefully logical. I am a person that needs concrete proof that something does exist...specifically "God". The Bible alone doesn't cut it for me.

I do not disrespect anyone who does believe in God or any of the other is their choice. Trust me...there are times that I wish I could believe in God...but I struggle too hard against my own logic to attempt believing in something as vague as God. 

An interesting opinion/editorial was written by a friend of mine, which is titled "Are you a Christian?" The article brings up some interesting points, and he and I have had several conversations about various aspects of religion/Christianity and the Bible over the last few years that I have known him, but this article really opened my eyes to things I never knew before. (My studies in church school were not comprehensive as maybe they should have been and my time going to church was limited to just a couple of years in grade school.)

Recently, a pastor that I knew of, told his congregation that the reason the America is falling apart such as it is, is due to the fact that we--as a country who was founded on God's word/beliefs--have wandered away from being believers. He blames our economy and all our other troubles (rise in crime of all kinds) on the fact that America no longer believes in Jesus Christ and God. He doesn't take into account that we are now a country that is not just strictly Christian any more.

In another Sunday sermon, this same pastor feels that our children are being raised...and have been for the last couple of generations...without the knowledge of God and the Bible in their lives. This may be so, but I think that a lot of it has to do with the fact that science has brought so many things to light and made people question their religion(s) even more.

I can say that I am guilty of raising my own children without a religious background, but it made no sense to me to make them go to church when I could not find it in myself to believe even what I had been taught. I always believed--and have been proven correct--that if it was something my children wished to investigate...then they would. Of three children, two have done exactly that...and are born-again Christians and I hold nothing against them for their choices.

I think that the thing that bothers me most, however, is the very fact that each Christian religion puts the others down, claiming theirs is the "true" religion and all others are 'false'. No wonder we have the wars that we do...with that ideology...there is going to be anger, hatred and mistrust. Blend that with whatever other issues that might be going on...and all Hell is going to cut loose...just as we are seeing worldwide.

The other thing that bothers me too about many of our so-called religious and/or political leaders, is the fact that they DO lie and are very deceitful. Where does that fit into the scheme of being Christians? Talk about role models going bad...we seem to have a whole country filled with them! 

My intent here isn't to belittle anyone for what they believe...I am only expressing my thoughts and maybe encouraging some feedback from anyone that would like to add their thoughts. 

Be well...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Has Winter arrived?

Feb. 11, 2012
Today, as you can see by the photo above, is a dreary kind of stay-inside-kind of day. Not only is it snowing, but it is very cold...some 26°F. (-3°C.) and slightly windy. We aren't expecting a lot of snow over-all...maybe about 3" (76.2 mm) by the time it quits snowing between tonight and tomorrow.

I thought this would be another good opportunity to show some photos that I took just this morning...

A look toward the hill...
Across the valley from us...look at the rolling field...
Snow catching on the pine branches...
and building on tree limbs...

A closer view...

A lone leaf blowing in the wind...

These pines are lacy-looking with snow on top... 
Another tree that's catching the snow.

We have been very lucky this Winter with not getting a lot of snow. A local news station, WETM explains: 

The jet stream has predominantly been further north this winter season. This has kept cooler air to our north across Canada and has allowed milder conditions to reach the northeastern United States. Compared to last winter, average temperatures across the region for January and February have been anywhere from 8-10 warmer. We have also had a drier winter season. As of February 9, we have only received 5" of snow at the Elmira/Corning Regional Airport. By this time last year, we were up to 32" of snow.

I haven't run into anyone yet that has complained that they are upset due to the lack of snow...even though we live in an area that is used to all kinds of snow storms and snow depths through the Winter season. I know I won't complain...I'm all for snow when it comes to the Christmas season...but after that...I am sooo ready for Spring!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

An act of kindness: Afraid to help?

In an article I read yesterday, it spoke of someone who had stepped-up and helped a freezing man who was a long ways from home. A "good Samaritan". An act of kindness that isn't often reported. 

The story goes that the man had gone to the Seneca Niagara Casino, in Niagara Falls, NY with a friend, but had gotten stranded at the Tonawanda Reservation when the 'friend' had left him stranded without his wallet, identification and his cell phone. Try as he might, no one would help him or let him use their cell phones so he could call for help.

So off he walked and hitch-hiked...landing in Hemlock, NY. By the time he ended-up on the gentleman's doorstep...he had been exposed to the elements for some 17 hours, wearing only "work boots, good jeans and a New York Yankees sweatshirt".

Joe Cicero...although cautious...helped the man, warming him up in his garage by having him stand near glass ovens, and fed him left-overs from the supper he and his wife had shared earlier. But the stranger, Barry Moore (37) started shivering uncontrollably, was having difficulty swallowing and becoming incoherent. An ambulance was called.

Moore was treated for hypothermia and exposure at Thompson Hospital in Canandaigua, then released and hopefully is now at his home (some place between Syracuse and Utica, NY) recovering.

I've thought about this story a lot in the last 24 hours and it saddens me that we have become so stigmatized that we are afraid to help others for fear of our own lives. I am no different...strangers frighten me because I don't know what their intentions are.

I am not afraid of people, per se, but there IS so much danger out there in the world any more that it IS hard to trust others. I find this depressing and terribly sad that we have evolved to this point. 

Most people I realize are good people, and would do no harm to you if you offered to help them...but do we know whether they are or not? All it takes is to look at the news and even the most ordinary looking people are robbers...or...murderers.

I would help someone, but ever so cautiously, taking the needed precautions to protect myself. Luckily we live in a time where most of us carry our cell phones on us...which makes all the difference in the world. 

For them.   For me.

Still no definitive answer to LeRoy students illnesses

There are still no answers forthcoming as to what has caused 19 students in LeRoy, NY to develop uncontrollable twitching. In the past week, a new theory was suggested: that social media is to blame.

As a form of mass hysteria, experts are now suggesting that the use of Facebook and other various forms of social media are spreading these symptoms through the students like wildfire. According to Dr. Laszlo Mechtler, chief of neurology at the Dent Neurologic Institute in Buffalo, these students know each other...some are best friends...their bodies are picking up these symptoms and it's going from one student to the next and on to the next.

That means that the brain is actually subconsciously mimicking the twitching felt by others. While the exact neurologic pathway is still unclear, researchers believe the common factor is stress and anxiety. Mechtler emphasized that the girls are not faking their twitching.

And it all comes back to the original ideas that this is part of conversion disorder, mass/collective hysteria. Is it possible? 

Mass psychogenic disorder is a rare -- but not unheard of -- phenomenon. The disorder is usually characterized by the mysterious spread of a variety of symptoms without a discernible cause. It frequently occurs in isolated communities. Teenagers and girls are also frequent victims. Collective hysteria can spread when a fear exists of exposure to a disease, combined with a contained, stressful environment.

Parents are rejecting the diagnoses, still insisting that it is because of some kind of environmental-type of contamination. This morning, school officials have agreed that more testing needs to be done, and that there are experts coming in to test the air quality at the school. 

School administrators have insisted that they do not know the source of the troubles and that more testing is needed. “They need testing and more testing, leave no stone unturned as far as I’m concerned,” said retired LeRoy High School teacher Steve Kindred. “There’s a limit I know; a lot of the parents there are getting upset and reasonably so because there haven’t been answers yet. They want answers yesterday.”

In this morning's article, it also mentions that around the web, there has been some thought given that this might also be a side-effect from the HPV vaccination. However, when you do read through the listed side-effects...tics are not mentioned.

The fact is...the experts just don't know what is causing this in the students and at least one adult now. What might work as far as a diagnoses for one or two, won't necessarily work for others.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Rudely awakened: Dog poo

As I may have mentioned in an earlier blog, when I came back from Wisconsin last October, I moved in with my brother, my niece and their dog Tucker (a Springer Spaniel). Life here has been very pleasant for me, and very much different than having lived with my daughter and three grand-children.

I am used to living with dogs...I've had them most of my life, all kinds of breeds and sizes, so nothing really surprises me, except for their individual personalities. I am used to accidents they may make and have no problem cleaning them up...some one has to, you know?

Well, Tucker is no exception...he has his own unique personality, complete with quirks...which make us laugh! In this video is one of his quirks...going around and around and around...

Anyway, we changed dog foods about a week ago, which was a HUGE mistake. Tucker is already a very gassy dog and as anyone knows, there is almost nothing worse than dog farts. Ugh! This new food really made him even gassier and's been horrible!

This morning, I woke up around 4:00 a.m. and since my alarm wasn't due to go off until 5:00...I tried to go back to sleep and had just about succeeded when I heard this noise which almost sounded like Tucker was scratching at the carpet. But I knew that sound and shot up out of my bed...turned on the light and low and behold...I had a mess to clean up.

And boy-oh-boy did it ever smell!

Apparently, this food is also severely bothering his stomach as he has never done this before since I have been here. I ran him outside and he was far from through going potty...poor fella!

Once inside, I cleaned the mess...using "Resolve Spray and Wash" to remove the slight stain in the carpet. (Stuff works wonders!) I had to "Febreeze" the room though...the poo-smell just seemed to linger. Ugh!

So here I sit and it's just before 6:00...and I thought I would tell my little tale of being rudely awakened!

Have a great day!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mysterious illness hits 15 students in Leroy, NY

Leroy High School, Leroy, NY

A news story that I have been following for close to a month now, comes from a town about an hour away from me where 15 students (and now one adult) have been mysteriously afflicted with tics that are so bad that at least two female students have been pulled out of school and are now being home schooled.

What amazes me about this is that no one seems to agree as to what is causing the illness. The students have been checked by various doctors and the theories and diagnoses abound: Tourette-syndrome, PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections), and Conversion Disorder. However, no one knows for sure.

Is it something in the water? In the 1970's there was a railroad  spill of toxic chemicals: dumping a ton of cyanide crystals and gallons of Trichloroethene, or TCE’s. Even as I write this, more testing of the ground and water around the area continues.

Late last week, Erin Brockovich and Dr. Drew Pinsky sent in a team to do their own investigation. However, they were escorted off of school property because the school complained it was disrupting the school's activities having the team there with a film crew.

Rightly so, parents are angered and frustrated because there has been no definitive explanation as to why these children have come down with the tics. At a meeting, parents asked these questions:

— Why are just girls affected, especially when statistically such symptoms appear in boys at a 4-1 ratio? Young would say only that “it is unique.
— Why aren’t girls in lower grades exhibiting similar symptoms? Young said, statistically speaking, younger children should be showing symptoms. Tics occur in anywhere from 4 to 24 percent of children.
— What is the common denominator among the 12 (now 15) affected girls/(students)? Young would not say whether there was any.
— Why haven’t the parents of the affected children been brought together to discuss the situation and alleged diagnoses? Young said the medical concerns of parents should be discussed with their private practitioners.

The school continually says that it is safe and nothing is there that would harm the students. This may be true, but there is some "thing" going on in that township that has lead to this. It's too bizarre to think that all these cases are NOT related.

As more information comes in, I'll will update.

Thanks for reading.