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

Skating...

Hi Folks!

Dear Vice-President Biden: If Global Warming is indeed a fact, and you have managed to not only get it under control, but have hidden it away somewhere, please, please, couldn’t you release a bit of it for us to enjoy in northern Wisconsin? Things have been pretty bad here lately, what with subzero temperatures and life threatening wind chill levels of recent days. Even the sunshine feels pretty chilly.

If you folks down south don’t want any Global Warming, that’s okay. Just send it up here. We’ll gladly keep it. Promise!

Incidentally, sending some Global Warming up north would save on energy consumption. We wouldn’t need nearly so much oil, natural gas, propane and electricity to keep our homes and businesses warm. Then the money we don’t spend on that would help stimulate the economy, so you see, it would be a win/win situation for all of us.

THIS WILL END

On the bright side, whether we get some of that Global Warming or not, weather men say the current cold snap will start easing up a bit toward the end of the week. Nothing to crow about - but maybe the mercury will be a few degrees above zero at night, and closer to normal during the day. Something to look forward to, anyway.

Meanwhile, we can either cower indoors with our blankets and television, or we can make the best of things. Bundle up, go out and play.

For those who enjoy outdoor sports there are ATV and snowmobile rides, ice fishing and cross country skiing. Even a walk on a brisk winter day can be exhilarating, especially if the sun is shining and the snow is sparkling!

From 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9, Copper Culture State Park in Oconto will host a free Candlelight Hike and Snowshoe event through the woods and along the Oconto River on a 1-mile trail lit with luminaries. Hikers are invited to gather at the shelter and enjoy a warming fire and hot chocolate after their hike. Sponsors are the City of Oconto and the Copper Culture Historical Association.

Gov. Thompson State Park west of Crivitz boasts some fine cross country ski trails, and on Saturday, Feb. 16, the park will host a Candlelight Ski and Hike event from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Woods Lake Shelter. The area and trails will be lit by candle luminaries and accented with ice sculptures. An easy 1-mile loop candlelit trail groomed for both diagonal striding and skate skiing weaves through the woods. Non-skiers are welcome to hike/snowshoe another 1-mile candlelit trail with scenic views over Woods Lake. Hikers and pets are not allowed on the ski trail, but are welcome on the hiking trail. Warming fires and hot chocolate will be available for everyone in the Woods Lake Shelter.

Watch newspapers and bulletin boards for ice fishing derbies and other wintertime outdoor festivities. There are lots of events scheduled in Marinette County and other areas in the next month or so, including hopefully some ice boat races, and crazy stuff like ice bowling.

SKATING WEATHER

Love to skate? Some recent winters were so warm that TIMESland communities had a hard time keeping their outdoor ice rinks in skatable condition. That’s not the case this year, so sharpen up those blades and skate away.

One place to enjoy skating this weekend, or to enjoy watching others skate, is at the Crivitz Fire Department and Rescue Squad’s annual Christmas Tree Burn and Ice Party from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, behind the fire house, across from the Crivitz Post Office. Folks are invited to bring their Christmas trees to stoke the fire, and then enjoy watching them burn while sharing food, fellowship and refreshments with friends and neighbors. It’s always a good time!

WOLF MOON

The first full moon of 2013 is scheduled to appear on Saturday, Jan. 26. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the January full moon was known to most Native American tribes as the Wolf Moon, because it appeared on the days when wolves were most likely to be howling in hunger outside their villages.

Also according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the best days for fishing this month started on Jan. 11 and will end Jan. 26.

If you raise chickens, best days left for setting eggs this month should be Jan. 30 and 31.

Saturday’s sky will boast the first full moon of the year, and the Almanac says a bright first Moon promises rain and a bountiful harvest, while a red-tinted First Moon means a dry year. Let’s see what kind of first moon we get this year.

ON THE SOAP BOX

GUN CONTROL


We all know that the recent school shootings have spawned another batch of demands for gun control, as well as for increased security in schools.

There are about as many theories for what is causing these spates of violence as there are guns, but several things are certain:

1) A gun by itself never killed anyone. Blaming guns for shooting deaths makes about as much sense as blaming obesity on frying pans.

2) Anyone planning to shoot someone, in a school or otherwise, is not going to worry one bit about whether or not it is legal for them to be carrying a gun in the first place.

3) Anyone determined to kill someone is going to find another way if a gun is not available.

4) Having adequate means of defense is the best way to prevent a demented person from committing mass murder.

5) Limiting the amount of ammunition is a very bad idea. Suppose you have a gun for defense of yourself and your family, but are allowed to possess only five rounds of ammunition. Then suppose you are attacked by a gang of six thugs - and your first two shots miss.

5) Our Bill of Rights guarantees the right to bear arms for very excellent reasons, and the main one was to enable Americans to defend ourselves against a tyrannical government if it ever became necessary. Our forefathers lived under conditions where only the agents of the tyrannical King George were permitted to have guns and they wanted to be sure that never happened again in the new nation they were forming.

6) The Swiss believe that an armed population keeps violent crime down, and experience shows that it works. They have a gun related crime rate of .05 per 100,000 people, as opposed to the U.S., where the rate is 5 per 100,000. In this country, cities where gun ownership is prohibited have far and away the highest rates of gun-related crimes.

That is so much the case that Vermont State Rep. Fred Maslack recently proposed a bill to register non-gun-owners and require them to pay a $500 fee to the state. This would make Vermont the first state to require a permit for the luxury of going about unarmed and for the privilege of not owning a gun, on the theory that these people depend more on the state to defend them.

Maslack is said to believe that universal gun ownership was advocated by the men who wrote the Constitution as an antidote to a monopoly of force by the government as well as criminals.

Vermont’s constitution states explicitly that the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the State and further states that those persons who are conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be required to pay such equivalent. Thus Maslack proposes to charge a fee to those who decline to be armed.

Incidentally, Vermont is currently the only state that allows citizens to carry concealed firearms without permits, and the rate of gun ownership there is extremely high. Guess what? Vermont has the third lowest crime rate in the nation. Accident? Don’t think so!

But what is causing the increased violence of recent years elsewhere?

Some blame it on video games and TV shows, and they may be right. Some blame it on lack of discipline in early years, and they may be right. But another explanation, probably closer to the truth, is that laws have changed so society as a whole is less protected than it once was. Individuals with twisted minds who in the past would have been locked up where they could do no harm to themselves or anyone else are on the streets.

Despite plenty of warnings, it is impossible today to have someone involuntarily institutionalized until after after they commit a crime. By then, it’s usually too late, as it was with Laughner in Newtown, James Holmes in Colorado and Seung-Hui Cho at Virginia Tech.

Reports are that all of the shooters mentioned above had shown clear signs in advance that they were threats to society, capable of harming people for no visible reason. At least one had even asked for help. People died because there was no way to stop them.

VOTE EARLY AND OFTEN

Haven’t heard much lately about laws to prevent voter registration fraud, but the need still exists. Hope our legislators get to work on it soon.

Judicial Watch says more than 24 million invalid voter registrations remain on the rolls nationwide.

There are over 1.8 million dead voters still eligible on rolls across the country, and some of them voted.

More than 2.75 million voters are registered to vote in more than one state.

In the November elections, at least three voters in New York communities and one in Oklahoma City finally got to the front of the line to vote - only to find that someone using their name and identification had voted before them.

Judicial Watch (JW) has active lawsuits against Indiana and Ohio over dirty voting rolls, and JW President Tom Fitton pledged that the magazine will continue to support any effort by election officials to clean up voter registration rolls and ensure that every vote cast is legitimate and lawful.

ON AGING

A friend has become an expert on the subject of growing old. Says she’s had lots of experience.

Says the gleam in her eye is from the sun hitting her bifocals. Her little black book contains only names ending in M.D. She gets winded playing chess, and dialing long distance wears her out. She sits in a rocking chair and can’t get it started. Her knees buckle and her belts don’t. But she still walks with her head held high. She’s trying to adjust to her bifocals.

COOKIN’ TIME

Sincere apologies to anyone who followed the recipe for No Peek Chicken or Chops that appeared in the Jan. 9 issue of this column. And sincere thanks to the lady who called to tell me about it. She said she too had made the recipe years ago, and she wondered if the water had inadvertently been omitted from the recipe. It had. Leaving out the water meant that unless the meat was very exceptionally juicy the rice did not cook correctly. Actually, it came out pretty crunchy. Here’s the recipe again, this time with the water included.

NO PEEK CHICKEN OR CHOPS

2 cups raw rice

2 1/2 pounds or so of raw chicken, cut into serving pieces, or equal amount of pork chops or lean pork roast, sliced across the grain

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

2 soup cans water

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 package dry onion soup mix

Butter a sizable casserole dish, one with a cover if possible, but if not you can use aluminum foil. Mix the 2 cans of soup and the water with the soy sauce. Mix half of this with the rice and put into the casserole dish. Put the chicken or pork on top. Over this pour the remaining soup mixture, then sprinkle the packet of dry soup over the top. Cover tightly and bake for 2 1/2 hours at 350 degrees. Do not peek!

MEAT LOAF ITALIANO

One of the secrets to making a perfect meat loaf is to mix together all the other ingredients (except for the sauce) before adding the meat. It stays tender because you can work in the side ingredients without overworking the mixture and making the meat tough. For best results, all ingredients should be at room temperature. Serve the meat loaves with Italian Spaghetti, buttered gnocchi, or baked potato, a tossed green salad and hot, crusty Italian bread for an American meal that speaks Italian. Leftovers, if there are any, make great sandwiches.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 cup Provolone cheese, shredded

1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 cup plain bread crumbs

1/4 cup coarsely cut fresh italian parsley (or a tablespoon

dried parsley, crumbled)

1/2 cup tomato juice

1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried basil

1/4 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano

1 large egg

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon warm water

Small pinch each black pepper, garlic powder, dried basil

and dried oregano

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add onion, green pepper and garlic and cook until softened and very lightly browned, maybe five minutes. Let it cool. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine cheeses, bread crumbs, tomato juice, parsley, egg, mustard, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. When this is well mixed, crumble on the ground beef, and then add the cooled onion/green pepper mixture. Gently mix everything until evenly incorporated, but do not over work it. Divide the mixture into six equal clumps and on a buttered baking sheet with sides form them into six small meat loaves, with the sides not touching. (It’s good to lay a half slice of bacon on top of each one, but you don’t have to.) Bake for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, tomato paste and a pinch each of the black pepper, garlic powder, basil and oregano, and then add the warm water. After 15 minutes, remove meat loaves from oven, baste each with the tomato paste mixture. Turn heat down to 350 degrees, return to oven and bake another 30 minutes. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

ENERGY SNACKS

Pop a few of these into a plastic container for a healthy addition to lunch for work or school. These little treats fill the hole in the sweet tooth without too many carbs or calories, and provide real nutrition at the same time. Almost too easy.

1 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup oatmeal

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

1/2 cup nuts or sunflower seeds

1 tablespoon honey

Wheat germ

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and make into small round balls. (Works best if you use your hands.) Roll in wheat germ. Let set in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, but longer is just fine.

Thought for the Week: He who kneels before God can stand before anyone. Lord, let me kneel before You, putting Your commands before my desires. Guide me safely through the perils of life, shielded by Your strong arms. Amen.

(This column is written by Shirley Prudhomme of Crivitz. Views expressed are her own and are in no way intended to be an official statement of the opinions of Peshtigo Times editors and publishers. She may be contacted by phone at 715-927-5034 or e-mail at shirleyprudhommechickadee@yahoo.com.)

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