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Archive for the ‘Opportunities’ Category

Produce Geek: Summer’s sumptuous offerings

In Everyday Living, Opinions, Opportunities on July 17, 2014 at 4:38 am

Here are more delicious produce notes from The Produce Geek. U-m-m-m! You may want to visit the Website (click on the logo) and take another peek. The Produce Geek’s also got other recommendations there!

Local Sweet Corn

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR | VALUE PRICED

Summer is for Sweet Corn. Sweet, flavorful, juicy, and yeah, you can eat it with your hands – nice features for a veggie.

corn

Corn-on-the-Cob is pretty much required eating at picnics, parties and BBQ’s – and nobody is really complaining about that, right? Oh, some may complain about getting kernel skins stuck in their teeth, but that usually doesn’t stop them from enjoying it. Maybe you can keep toothpicks handy for them. If you want to go beyond picnic food, here are some cool Sweet Corn recipes to try. Peak season for Local Sweet Corn has arrived in the Mid-Atlantic region and will continue through the summer. Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania growers are now picking their super-sweet varieties daily. In my neck of the woods, Lancaster County, PA grown White and Bi-Color Corn is tasting fantastic – explosively juicy and bursting with sweetness – I can eat it raw!

Sweet Corn Tips

  • SELECTING: Choose Sweet Corn that feels full up and down the cob and has green husks.
  • STORAGE: Sweet Corn will last in your fridge for about a week when stored in a plastic bag, but will dehydrate and lose flavor every day it sits – so try to use it right away.
  • BOIL: Over-cooking Sweet Corn can lead to toughness and less flavor. 3-5 minutes in boiling water is really all it takes for perfect Sweet Corn on the Cob.
  • MICROWAVE: Microwave on high in the husk for 4-6 minutes. If fresh corn is already husked, wrap in a damp paper towel and microwave on high for about 5 minutes.
  • GRILL: Pre-heat Grill to high. Remove loose outer leaves of Sweet Corn. Rinse the husks with water to add some moisture. Grill for 8-11 minutes, flipping 1-2 times. Remove from heat and husk it just before serving. This method adds a smokey flavor to your corn and makes removing the silk a breeze.

Click here to see many more summer favorites at “What’s ripe now?” suggestions from the Produce Geek.

What’s wrong with a little nepotism?

In Education, Everyday Living, Government, History and Heritage, In Columbia, Opinions, Opportunities on July 13, 2014 at 4:28 am

nepotism

So what is wrong with a little nepotism?

What’s wrong with wanting to help a relative get a job?

What’s wrong with using vested power to spread the spoils of position or information?

Why shouldn’t a teacher get hired when a close blood relative is on the school board?

Curiously, Pennsylvania’s state law allows the practice as long as the relative on the school board “recuses” himself from the hiring decision.

“In Pennsylvania, it is legal for a school board to hire a relative of a board member if the board member had no role in the hiring and abstained from voting.

“The Pennsylvania Schools Boards Association stresses to its members to follow state law, including school code: ‘No teacher shall be employed, by any board of school directors, who is related to any member of the board; as father, mother, brother, sister, husband, wife, son, daughter, stepson, stepdaughter, grandchild, nephew, niece, first cousin, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, uncle, or aunt, unless such teacher receives the affirmative votes of a majority of all members of the board other than the member related to the applicant who shall not vote.’

“Under the state’s ethics act, conflicts of interest are sharply defined. ‘Conflict of interest’ is ‘use by a public official or public employee of the authority of his office or employment or any confidential information received through his holding public office or employment for the private pecuniary benefit of himself, a member of his immediate family or a business with which he or a member of his immediate family is associated.'”

C’mon, what are the cronies on a school board expected to do – vote against the hiring of the school board member they converse with about every school board decision?

In case you want to know more about nepotism, these articles are helpful:

This one is helpful because of the huge number of reader comments following the article: Few school districts have anti-nepotism policiesScranton Times-Tribune

What’s wrong with nepotism?  The author of this article at cityethics.org, lists these areas:

  • Nepotism includes many of the basic government ethics issues:  conflict of interest, misuse of office, preferential treatment, and patronage.
  • Nepotism undermines public trust by making government look like a family business run not for the community, but for the families in power.
  • Nepotism is bad for morale within the government organization. It goes far beyond hiring. It remains a problem every time raises and promotions occur.
  • Nepotism and its cousin, hiring friends, are the leading methods of keeping other ethnic and racial groups out of local government.
  • Nepotism puts officials in an awkward position when they don’t want to hire a relative, but feel it’s expected of them. Nepotism laws protect officials as well as the public.
  • Nepotism also exacerbates problems. A culture of loyalty and secrecy flourishes within families. As does crime. Nepotism in government naturally leads to nepotism in contracting, which means a failure to competitively bid, or bid-rigging. This can cost taxpayers millions of dollars a year.

This article, Favoritism, Cronyism and Nepotism, from the Santa Clara University Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, includes the basic premise: “One of the most basic themes in ethics is fairness, stated this way by Artistotle: ‘Equals should be treated equally and unequals unequally.’”

One of the most basic themes in ethics is fairness, stated this way by Artistotle: “Equals should be treated equally and unequals unequally.” – See more at: http://www.scu.edu/ethics/practicing/focusareas/government_ethics/introduction/cronyism.html#sthash.nLYMk8Kw.dpuf
One of the most basic themes in ethics is fairness, stated this way by Artistotle: “Equals should be treated equally and unequals unequally.” – See more at: http://www.scu.edu/ethics/practicing/focusareas/government_ethics/introduction/cronyism.html#sthash.nLYMk8Kw.dpuf

Fracking: “much worse than initially thought”

In Everyday Living, Government, History and Heritage, Opinions, Opportunities, People, The Susquehanna on July 13, 2014 at 3:41 am

“Don’t BS the public!”

Leaky WellsThis July 27, 2011 file photo shows a farmhouse in the background framed by pipes connecting pumps where the hydraulic fracturing process in the Marcellus Shale layer to release natural gas was underway at a Range Resources site in Claysville, Pa. In Pennsylvania’s fracking boom, new and more unconventional wells leaked far more than older and traditional wells, according to a study of inspections of more than 41,000 wells drilled. (Keith Srakocic)

Fracking is defined by Investopedia as: “A slang term for hydraulic fracturing. Fracking refers to the procedure of creating fractures in rocks and rock formations by injecting fluid into cracks to force them further open. The larger fissures allow more oil and gas to flow out of the formation and into the wellbore, from where it can be extracted. Fracking has resulted in many oil and gas wells attaining a state of economic viability, due to the level of extraction that can be reached.”

This article from The York Dispatch posits that “Pennsylvania’s former health secretary says the state has failed to seriously study the potential health impacts of one of the nation’s biggest natural gas drilling booms.”

‘The lack of any action speaks volumes,’ said Avila, who is now the public health commissioner for Orange County, New York. ‘Don’t BS the public. Their health comes first.’”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

Fracking may also bring adverse financial impact to the property owners. So, what’s the future for Pennsylvania as thousands, or tens or thousands or hundreds of thousands of law suits are filed against the property owners and the state  which allows fracking on state-owned lands.

Fracking_diagram_jpg_800x1000_q100Another article, Fracking: Friend or for for the homeowner, from InsuranceQuotes.org, suggests that “some homeowners can find themselves liable for any unwanted aftermath of fracking, such as water contamination.”

a step toward “collective impact”

In Everyday Living, In Columbia, Opinions, Opportunities on July 10, 2014 at 4:15 am

Yesterday, we attended an afternoon workshop exploring the big picture dynamics of effecting social change. We and others got a look at “Collective Impact.”

As the Stanford Social Innovation Review states: Large-scale social change requires broad cross-sector coordination, yet the social sector remains focused on the isolated intervention of individual organizations.”

In simpler terms, it’s a process of bringing a bunch of disconnected entities who may have similar goals for social change together to establish “a common agenda for solving a specific social problem, using a structured form of collaboration,” according to Wikipedia.

Last evening, while looking through The Merchandiser, we thought this article about two local organizations that came together for a common goal,  represented a sort of “micro-version” of the collective impact that remembers noted Columbia artist, Lloyd Mifflin.

collective impactSOURCE: The Collaborative Impact Forum

At least one other person who shares a vision of what could be for achieving social change locally attended the workshop too. Others – elected public servants, municipal employees, school board members, economic development volunteers, boaters, renters, landlords, home owners, business owners and all community shareholders – would benefit from learning more about collective impact.

Maybe, just maybe, collective impact offers the platform that Columbia needs to achieve positive social change. It’s certainly worth a look at:

  • a common agenda,
  • shared measurement metrics,
  • mutually reinforcing activities,
  • continuous, open, transparent communications with all shareholders and
  • a team without ulterior motives, dedicated to orchestrating the work of the group to a common good.

We’re reminded of another great management illustration, a classic parable about the value of having a common vision and getting there.

“Please, would you tell me,” said Alice, a little timidly, … “why your cat grins like that?”

“It’s a Cheshire cat,” said the Duchess, “and that’s why.”

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where –” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“– so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.

“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”

“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.

“You must be,” said the Cat, “otherwise you wouldn’t have come here.”

SOURCE: Alice in Wonderland, an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll.

Saturday morning – Infant & Child Car Safety Seat Check

In Education, Everyday Living, In Columbia, Opportunities on July 9, 2014 at 10:08 pm

car check

 

email from a landlord

In Lists, Opinions, Opportunities on July 2, 2014 at 1:35 pm

There’ve been so many comments bandied about at Websites and facebook pages about the problems in Columbia being created by “them” – “those” – and others.

One landlord with multiple properties in Columbia sent this in an email to Columbia news, views & reviews:

“Everyone wants to bash Columbia Landlords. Why not help them get good tenants?

Here is a link that shows all Evictions and cases that a person had. I use (the site) to screen possible tenants

http://ujsportal.pacourts.us/DocketSheets/MDJ.aspx

I enter “Search Type” = “Participant Name” and then enter last and first name( with possible spelling changes) and then for County I put Lancaster and York in 2 different searches”

Columbia news, views & reviews regularly refers to the Website; several Columbia residents, including homeowners, are listed there, too.

We applaud the landlord for the due diligence process he’s using and suggesting.

July’s a great month to come to the Library

In Everyday Living, In Columbia, Opportunities, People on July 1, 2014 at 5:01 am

01 - pennies

 

02 - bug

 

02 - wed - movie

and so it begins …

In Education, Everyday Living, Government, History and Heritage, In Columbia, Opinions, Opportunities, Treasures on June 25, 2014 at 1:53 pm

the series

click on the above graphic to read the LancasterOnLine special report on Columbia.

One commenter says: “This is fantastic high-quality journalism!”

Indeed, it is! … and some are recanting earlier suspicions.

Questions about things

In Everyday Living, Government, In Columbia, Opinions, Opportunities, People on June 24, 2014 at 6:37 pm

Following Monday’s “council of the whole” meeting, several questions emerged. We’d like to share them.

  • Who is trashing the town and the River Park? The councillors debated the infusion of trash that’s been overflowing the municipality’s trash receptacles – at the River Park and along the streets in town. Someone suggested the trash containers could be emptied every day. Someone suggested that the “island people” in the Susquehanna River were the trash dumping culprits. Someone else said that it’s the boaters. More than one person actually suggested that the borough remove all trash cans. What then? Invite people to just throw litter, including hundreds or thousands of cigarette butts, where? Here’s a picture taken a few hours ago today, Tuesday.

trashtire

  • Why do people who profess to love the River love to trash it? Yesterday afternoon, we watched a young man fishing from one of the floating docks; he nonchalantly flicked his cigarette butt into the River. A few steps away, two young men were dropping their boat into the River from the launch ramp. One of them flicked his cigarette butt into the River too. That’s some tough love, killing the fish and the River that provides so much recreation for so many. Surely there’s no sewage going into the River?
  • Do the spy cameras work? The mayor told everyone about the damaged chain link fence that protects River Park visitors from the railroad tracks. He said the damaged fence was not the result of vandalism. Instead, he said, during the morning on Monday, a boater was attempting to launch his and had an apparent heart attack. Consequently, the victim’s vehicle lurched forward and knocked into one of the light poles, bending it and breaking the glass atop the pole and the vehicle continued up the grade into the chain link fence. According to the mayor, the police arrived on the scene within 15 minutes and the “gentleman” driving the vehicle was deemed to have had a heart attack. Surely the spy cameras in the River Park and around town digitally captures “trash-tossing” terrorists and the tragic accident. Don’t they?

crash

crash too

bent pole

AED

  • Who will be invited to the big “to do?” Did you get your invitation to come to the Route 441 Relocation Project Ground Breaking Ceremony slated for July 11, 2014 at 9:00 am at a “to-be-determined” place?

441 bypass

  • Ever heard the phrase “300 years of tradition unimpeded by progress?”

Artist reception on Fourth Friday at Jonal Gallery

In Everyday Living, In Columbia, Opportunities, People on June 23, 2014 at 6:04 am

jonal 2

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