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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Country Cousin

Farewell...

Hi Folks!

Recent nights have been frosty, and the days not a whole lot better. Kind of hard to take after the beautiful weather in March. Will Spring ever get here, or have we already had it for this year?

LOCKED OUT?

Recently was informed by friend Joanne that at least one handy e-mail hint making the rounds does work. Anyone with two automatic door openers for their car need never again worry about being locked out. At least, not for long, provided they have telephone access to the person holding their spare opener.

Joanne says several friends have tried this out, and have opened their car doors and trunks long distance.

If you have lost your opener and keys or locked them in the car, call home, using your cell phone. Hold your cell phone about a foot from the lock, and have your helper on the other end press the “unlock” button while holding it near the phone on their end. Distance is no problem. You can unlock the car door or trunk from hundreds of miles away.

A FINAL FAREWELL

The world, at least Marinette County’s corner of it, bid farewell Friday, March 30 to Roger Molander, a local boy who made a big splash in the world of arms control. He was founder of “Ground Zero,” an organization that sought to educate and mobilize the American public about the nuclear threat.

Molander and his twin brother, Earl, grew up in Marinette. They attended Merryman Elementary School, and then Marinette High School, where their father taught. Both boys were highly successful students, popular with their classmates and powerful athletes until Earl was stricken with polio when he was in fifth or sixth grade. He eventually recovered but it took years to regain his physical strength.

Roger died Sunday, March 25 in Washington, D.C. of liver cancer, and memorial services were held in his hometown on Friday, March 30. Earl survives, along with Roger’s wife and two daughters. Donations in his memory may be made to the Earl and Roger Molander Scholarship Fund at the University of Wisconsin at Marinette.

Roger earned his doctorate at Berkley. He trained in nuclear engineering at the height of the Cold War, and was a specialist in arms control strategy. He spent his career trying to help the United States avert a nuclear war. He served on the National Security Council from 1974 to 1981 before starting Ground Zero.

As a senior member of the National Security Council staff, Dr. Molander coordinated the work of Washington officials who supported the negotiators trying to reach an agreement with the Soviet Union on a second round of strategic arms limitation talks known as SALT II. According to the Washington Post, “In that role, he won a reputation for fair-minded, rigorous staff work.”

He and Earl co-authored several books, including the 1982 primer “Nuclear War: What’s in It for You?’’ which sold hundreds of thousands of copies.

Some critics praised the work as “an accessible book, providing the reader with the basic information needed to think and talk intelligently about nuclear war,’’ while others referred to “liberal sentimentalism run amok.’’

Whether you agree or disagree with his politics, it seems strange to think that a man who rose to such high levels on the national and international scenes got his start playing “take away,” tag football, sandlot baseball and “glassie” marbles on the playground of Merryman School in little Marinette.

But then, everybody starts somewhere. Abraham Lincoln grew up in a log cabin. And Merryman School had some exceptional teachers.

Farewell, Roger. It is a privilege to have known you!

WATCH THE BIRDIE!

Hope our fine feathered friends living in the Harmony Arboretum area are wearing their finest plumes on Tuesday, April 24. “Discover Wisconsin” film crews will be there to shoot parts of an upcoming episode that includes birds and bird watching in Marinette County.

ACHIEVEMENTS

Folks who accomplish amazing things have some things in common, although it may not look that way at first glance. More than one adviser has come up with the following suggestions, in different words but with basically the same ideas. They include:

*Follow your instincts. Pay attention to the inner voice, whether you call it “a gut feeling” or “women’s intuition. That inner voice might in fact be God offering some advice, and it’s in your best interests to listen.

*Be the solution yourself instead of waiting for someone else to do it. Act locally, in your own home and in your own community, and the global will take care of itself.

*Make your dreams into blueprints. Envision the results you want, and then work toward them. If you want something badly enough, and put in the time, effort, and faith, you can make miracles happen. It only took a lifetime of work and sacrifice, but look what Sister Elizabeth Kenny finally accomplished by her fight against the devastating effects of polio.

GET RICH

J. Paul Getty offered more good advice for getting rich: “If you get up early, work late, and pay your taxes, you will get ahead — if you strike oil.”

Often have wondered where all the money goes when there’s a financial downturn, like the one we’ve been having in recent years. Maybe it hides in a closet, or sinks back into a hole in the ground.

Today, though, there’s no mystery. Our nation’s money is going swiftly to the oil producing countries in the Mid-East, while our own huge underground oil reserves remain untapped.

ON THE SOAP BOX

Saw a poster aimed at the folks who want to unseat Gov. Scott Walker in the June recall elections - mainly Teacher’s Union folks. Poster says:

“Scott Walker fixed it! Don’t Falk it up... We can’t Barrett.”

At least one recent survey seems to bear out the beneficial effect last year’s controversial budget bill had on Wisconsin school budgets, and even the very liberal Wisconsin State Journal admits the statewide ratio of students to teachers hasn’t changed much. A recent article in their publication says the number of students to teachers, librarians and counselors increased from 13.27 last year to 13.5 this year, which is still lower than in some previous years and below the national average. That’s less than a quarter of a student added to each classroom!

To a survey on how they balanced their budgets, 59 districts said they increased class sizes. That’s far below results from the previous decade, when the districts reporting increased class sizes ranged from a low of 68 to a high of 75. For 2012, only 11 districts cut programs, compared with 55 or more districts in each of the preceding nine years.

Meanwhile, school property taxes all across the state went up far less than they did in any of the preceding 10 years, which means parents in those districts will have more money to spend on their own youngsters.

A PENNY SAVED

Tawra Kellam, author of “Living On A Dime,” says with a little effort, families with young children can save up to 50 percent on their grocery bills with only a little effort.

“Next time you scrape those half eaten plates of food into the trash,” she says, “think about this: 30% to 50% of the food and drinks we buy, whether we eat at home or eat out, get thrown away. If you don’t believe it’s true, observe your own family this week. How many half full bowls of soggy cereal do you throw away? What about half empty glasses of juice, milk or pop?”

She notes it’s is easy to forget that children under the age of four only have about a quarter of an adult’s body weight, and should be getting smaller portions. “Do you use that large serving spoon and dump a full spoon of food on your child’s plate?” she asks. When deciding how much food to give your kids, start small and work your way up. Remember, if they eat what is on their plates you can always give them more. Use the same method for drinks. Even a small sippy cup should only be filled half full. This not only reduces the amount that you throw away, but also reduces losses from spills.

Other suggestions are:

1. Cut the crust off your child’s sandwich before you give it to him. Kids usually won’t eat the crusts, so don’t give it to them in the first place. Cut off the crust, then throw it in a bag and save it to use for bread crumbs or croutons. Then the kids will eat their entire sandwiches instead of just that hole in the middle and you won’t waste the sandwich filling that would have been tossed out with the crust.

2. Cut kids’ sandwiches into small squares or triangles. Their hands are smaller then ours. Cut anything they have to hold in their hands to eat into sizes they can manage.

4. Start giving your little ones only half of items like candy bars, gum, and popsicles. When you go out to eat, split a hamburger or order of fries between two younger children. You can even ask for an extra cup, then order the large size of milk shakes and other drinks and split them.

5. Control snacks. Don’t just let the kids graze all day on candy and chips. Give them healthier things to fill them up, like popcorn or a piece of fruit at specific time intervals.

6. Don’t throw out those dabs of leftovers. Feed them to toddlers and preschoolers for lunch. All those bits hardly seem worth saving are usually just the right amount for younger children.

FULLY TAXED

Income Tax filing deadline has come and gone, but the pain remains with us. For most of us, but particularly for hard working single adults, the tax bite is hard and deep. One young man in Marinette, a hard working foundry worker who put in many hours of overtime last year, hoping to get ahead, saw $14,000 of his income go to Dear Old Uncle Sam and his cronies in the state Internal Revenue Service, and stay there. No refund for him. Talk about taxing the rich!

COOKIN’ TIME

BROCCOLI RONI

Normally don’t approve of packaged dinners, but this is an exception. Way too easy to be gourmet, but oh so good!

1 pound beef sirloin steak, or venison, cut cross grain into

thin strips

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Dash red pepper or small, small pinch crushed red peppers

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 package Beef Flavor Rice-A-Roni

2 tablespoons salad oil or olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, cut into thin wedges

2 cup water

1 cup broccoli florets

1 medium red or green bell pepper, cut into strips

Early in the day, or even the night before, toss the beef strips with the soy sauce and pepper. (It slices easier if you freeze it just a bit first. Don’t freeze too hard, though.) About 20 minutes before the family gathers to dine, put oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and add the onion, beef, broccoli and bell pepper strips. Saut about five minutes, or until the broccoli is just starting to soften. Turn out into a large bowl. Melt the butter in the same pan and when it starts to sizzle, stir in the Rice-A-Roni. Saut until the vermicelli is golden brown, stirring frequently. Slowly stir in water and seasoning packet; bring to a boil. Cover; reduce heat to low. Simmer 15 minutes. Stir in beef and vegetables. Cover and return to a simmer. Simmer to 5 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender crisp. Stir before serving. Pass additional soy sauce and Tabasco.

Asparagus-Dijon Chicken Fettuccine

Here’s another recipe that breaks the no mix rule, but it too is worth it. This rich main dish has just a hint of Dijon mustard and is easily prepared using Chicken Helper Fettuccine Alfredo mix. It’s too early for asparagus from the garden, but if you just can’t wait for a taste of spring, this is the perfect vehicle to deliver it.

2 tablespoons butter

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into

1-inch pieces

1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)

1 can (4 ounces) mushroom pieces and stems, drained

1 package Chicken Helper Fettuccine Alfredo

2 1/2 cups hot water

1 cup milk or half and half

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 package (9 ounces) frozen asparagus cuts, thawed and drained, or equivalent tender fresh asparagus

If using fresh asparagus, clean it and keep only the tender parts of the stems and tips. Cut into approximately 1” pieces, on the diagonal. Melt butter in a 10-inch skillet over high heat. Add chicken, onion and mushrooms and stir fry 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until outside of chicken turns white. Stir in Sauce Mix, hot water, milk and mustard. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Stir in uncooked Pasta; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender. Stir in asparagus, then cover and cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally; remove from heat. Uncover; let stand about 5 minutes or until sauce is as thick as you’d like. The sauce will thicken as it stands. Stir before serving.

TIE DYE TUTI FRUITY CUPCAKES

Makes 48 cupcakes. Perfect for a spring party.

1 package (2-layer size) white cake mix

1 package lemon flavor gelatin dessert mix, 3-ounce size

1 package lime flavor gelatin dessert mix, 3-ounce size

1 package strawberry flavor gelatin dessert mix, 3-ounce

size

2 containers ready-to-spread vanilla frosting, 16 ounce size, or use whipped topping or whipped cream with dry gelatin dessert mix sprinkled on top

Prepare cake batter as directed on package; divide evenly into three bowls. Stir different flavor dry gelatin mix into batter in each bowl. Spoon some of each type of batter into each paper-lined muffin cup. Don’t be fussy about percentages. Each cupcake should be slightly different from the others. You should have enough for 48 cupcakes. Bake as directed on package for cupcakes. Cool completely. Frost cupcakes. (If you want to make only 24 cupcakes, you could bake the rest in regular cake pans and freeze for later, or use only one box of cake mix, and measure about 1/4 cup (half a package) of each type of gelatin dessert mix to mix with the cake batter. To use the remaining dry gelatin dessert mix, the three half packages in a medium bowl. Add 1-1/2 cups boiling water; stir 2 minutes, or until mixes are completely dissolved. Stir in 1-1/2 cups cold water. Add drained fruit if you like. Refrigerate several hours or until firm. Whether you use whipped topping or frosting mix, save some of the dry gelatin dessert mix powder to sprinkle on each cupcake for a colorful presentation. Keep refrigerated.

Thought for the week: We all like to help the poor, and we don’t want anyone going hungry. But somewhere, somehow, our lawmakers need to understand that providing for those folks is charity, and it should not be forced. We cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealth out of prosperity, and we cannot multiply the wealth by dividing it. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. Does that sound fair?

COUNTRY COUSIN


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