Hopefully the severe storm season is over in TIMESland for this year. Hopefully the Monsoon Season also will soon be over. Enough rain already! Groundwater is replenished. So is surface water. Mosquito larvae that have been high and dry for decades have had their chance to hatch and multiply. Bats and night birds should be happy. Humans not so much.
Weather keeps showing its schizophrenic Wisconsin nature. On a recent day, had to turn on the air conditioning to keep the place livable. Turned it off before going to bed. Woke sometime around dark thirty to hear the furnace running. And the thermostat was set at 55 degrees! Was sweltering again by the next afternoon.
Sadly for some farmers, fields in more than a few places are still filled with mud, standing puddles, and stunted corn a few inches high when it should be well past the farmer's knees by now.
Frequent rains notwithstanding, most of TIMESland's big community celebrations this summer have been blessed with sunshine. Coleman has its big annual Fireman's Picnic on Friday and Saturday, July 14 and 5, with the parade, fireworks, and live music at the park on Saturday.
Apologies to Athelstane. Neglected to mention last week that their big annual Fireman's Picnic and parade would be held on Saturday, July 8. Was there to enjoy it, though, and it was great. Lots of units in the parade, and the picnic and raffles that went with it were well organized. Booyah was delicious. So were the French fries with a grand selection of toppings to choose from, including cheese sauce, as well as the mandatory burgers and brats. And the ice cream treats were something to write home about. All at good prices, too. Must make plans to be there again next year!
Often summer storms hit without a lot of warning, and it's good to have at least a bit of advance notice. Marinette County residents can register with the Marinette County Office of Emergency Management for "take cover" phone calls through its automated system by calling 715-732-7660, or if you're a Marinette County resident or property owner, buy a NOAA All-Hazards Alert Radio at their office in the Law Enforcement Center on University Drive (County T) in Marinette for $22.68, which is half the retail price. Call first to make an appointment for pick-up. If you bring five AA batteries along they will even program the radio for you! There's limit of one per household. The radio acts sort of like a smoke alarm for storms.
By the way, U.S. citizens can also sign up for terrorist attack alerts using email, Facebook, Twitter through the Department of Homeland Security's National Terrorism Advisory System.
Speaking of storms, those of us who live in rural areas need to plan ahead and have at least a few gallons of water on hand for when the lights (and our pumps) go out. Actually, advisors say we should have enough supplies to get through three days without power, but that can be difficult. One of the storms last month left some of us without electricity, and therefore without water or refrigeration, for nearly three days. We were fortunate enough to have a neighbor who managed to rent a generator that he shared to help us get through.
A friend in another area was not so fortunate. They had to haul water for livestock. Luckily, roads were cleared quickly and remained passable most of the time.
Marinette County has experienced 23 tornados since 1958, including two in 2007, both occurring on June 7th, in different parts of the county, within the same hour. On Friday, August 19, 2011, a tornado touched down in the Wausaukee area, killing one man.
However, tornadoes are not the only storms that can be dangerous. The June 11 storm this year was just a storm, with high winds and lightning, and it wreaked damage all across the county. Other high wind storms with damaging lightning have also been striking with considerable frequency, and if you're outside when they hit, seek shelter. Tornado or high winds, if you're at home, head for the basement if you have one, or an area indoors away from windows if you do not.
We're told that mobile homes are not safe, and people who live in one should find shelter elsewhere when tornadoes threaten. A safe vehicle is described as one that is enclosed, metal-topped, with windows up. During a storm do not not touch any metal surfaces or electronic devices.
ON THE SOAP BOX
SEX OFFENDER JUSTICE?
Recently learned that Judge Michael W. Gage in Outagamie County has ordered Aristole E. Farmer, Jr., a known violent sex offender, to be moved into a residence in a rural Town of Pound neighborhood where 18 youngsters make their homes. This man, who has no ties to Marinette County, is being placed on supervised release from from the state's Sandridge Secure Treatment Center at Mauston (a mental hospital).
Back in 1994 he was sentenced by Judge Gage in Outagamie County Circuit Court to 10 years in the "local jail" on a Felony U count of 2nd Degree Sexual Assault Threat or Violence. No details were available at press time on just what Farmer had done or why he was in Outagamie County when he did it. He apparently did not stay in the local jail, since subsequent court documents show he was at the Wisconsin Resource Center in Winnebago and then at the Sandridge Treatment Center in Mauston.
Judge Gage's order issued on June 23 came after Judge Michael Judge in Oconto Count Circuit Court ordered Outagamie County to procure a residence for Gerald Litscher, a child predator who came originally from there but was convicted for assaulting a young Boy Scout during a camping trip in Oconto County about 20 years ago.
An unnamed "vendor," from whom the State Department of Health rents homes for these individuals purchased the Town of Pound home a few months ago and will reportedly will be collecting $1,000 a month from Wisconsin taxpayers through the DOH contract. We taxpayers will also be providing food, medical care, yard maintenance, and supervised transportation for shopping, medical care and job searches. The rule says the offender on supervised release must seek employment, but surely someone from the state must realize that job opportunities in rural Pound are few and far between for anyone without access to a car or freedom to use it.
Need to question what kind of justice is practiced in Wisconsin? Our lawmakers are currently working to get some of the sex offender legislation changed, but think they also need to take a long, hard look at who profits from these arrangements.
When the state contracts to have a road built, it's done with sealed bids, and the contractor and contract price are readily available public information. Not so with these sex offender residences, where the DOH uses the word "vendor" in its contract and the purchaser is identified as a real estate firm, not a living, breathing human being, hopefully with a conscience.
The local community has no way to prohibit these violent sex offenders from being moved in. Unnamed doctors at the state mental institution have declared them "recovered" enough to be out in the community, but apparently they are still considered dangerous. They will be wearing "bracelets," that track their movements, must be accompanied every time they leave the house, and will not even be allowed to go out on the front porch, so living in a rural area is certainly no advantage. Certainly it is also a considerable added cost for the state's taxpayers.
These are predators who have served long prison terms followed by long stays in the mental hospital. Granted, they have served their prison sentences. Granted, they have rights. But do not the families who feel threatened by them also have rights?
Folks who live in rural communities give up some city advantages to live where they live, where their kids can play outdoors freely, ride their bicycles without supervision once they are old enough, and visit with neighbors that everyone knows.
Why do families have to give up those rights, give up that freedom, so that a known predator can live in a supervised situation, within four walls that he did not select, far from family and friends and opportunities to start a new life? Seems like this is a deal where everybody loses except the vendor. Seems like the predator would be better off staying in the institution, and certainly the neighborhood would be better off if he did.
Speaking of mental conditions, friend Maggie shared this story. Don't know where she finds them, but sure am glad she does.
An elderly couple was celebrating their 60th anniversary. They had married as childhood sweethearts and moved back to their old neighborhood after they retired. Holding hands, on their anniversary day they walked back to their old school. It was not locked, so they entered, and found the old desk they'd shared, where Jerry had carved, "I love you, Sally."
On their way back home, a bag of money fell out of an armored car, practically landing at their feet. Sally quickly picked it up. Not sure what to do with it, they took it home. There, Sally counted the money - fifty thousand dollars!
Jerry said, "We've got to give it back."
Sally said, "Finders keepers!" She put the money back in the bag and hid it in their attic.
Next day, two police officers looking for the money knocked on their door. "Pardon me, did either of you find a bag that fell out of an armored car yesterday?" one of the officers asked.
Sally said, "No!"
Jerry said, "She's lying. She hid it up in the attic."
Sally said, "Don't believe him, he's getting senile!"
The began to question Jerry. Asked him to tell them the story from the beginning.
So Jerry began at the beginning. "When Sally and I were walking home from school yesterday ...... "
The first police officer turned to his partner and said, "We're outta here!"
Don't know if the old couple lived happily ever after spending that $50,000 or if they spent their remaining years fighting over it. Story ends when the officers left. We need to make up our own endings.
Both of the Shirley Temple Cake recipes yield delicious results. On a day when it's cool enough to turn on the oven, try one, and then next time try the other. Decide which you like best.
BBQ PORK 'N' NOODLE BOWL
If appetites are large, but the budget is short and time is shorter, you should appreciate this quick and easy trick that turns Ramen Noodles into a full meal in a matter of minutes.
2 packages (3 ounces each) ramen noodle soup mix (chicken flavor)
1 teaspoon oil
1/2 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into paper thin strips
2 Tbsp. Original Barbecue Sauce
1/4 cup Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup fresh bean sprouts
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Cut the meat cross grain into slices and then cut these into strips. Cut the green onions into thin slices, both the white and green parts. Remove one seasoning packet from soup mixes; discard or reserve for another use. Cook noodles with remaining seasoning packet as directed on package. Meanwhile, heat oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add meat; cook and stir two minutes or until done. Remove from heat; stir in barbecue sauce. Add dressing, soy sauce and lime juice to soup; stir. Ladle into 4 bowls; top with meat, sprouts and onions.
CRUNCHY RAMEN TACO SLAW
This quick an easy recipe marries oriental noodles and Texican flavors for a whole new take on Cole Slaw. Makes 15 servings, and goes together in 15 minutes or less. Perfect for a pot luck offering.
1/2 cup classic Ranch Dressing
1/2 cup hot taco sauce
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 pkg. (3 oz. each) ramen noodle soup mix
1 pkg. (14 oz.) coleslaw blend (cabbage slaw mix)
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 cup rinsed canned black beans
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
Mix dressing, hot sauce and lime juice until blended. Break Ramen noodles into large bowl. Discard seasoning packets or reserve for another use. Add remaining ingredients and dressing mixture to noodles; mix lightly.
SHIRLEY TEMPLE POKE CAKE
Made from scratch.
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
3 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs
3 cups flour
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Grated rind of one lemon
3/4 cup 7-Up or other lemon-lime soda
1 jar maraschino cherries 10 ounces, drained and juice reserved
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Grated rind of one lemon
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a bundt pan with shortening, butter or cooking spray and dust it with flour. In large bowl beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, and then beat in eggs until well blended. Add flour and mix again until smooth. Add lemon juice and soda and again mix until smooth. Then fold in cherries. It's a good idea to cut them in half first, but you don't have to.
Add in your eggs and continue to mix until blended. Spread the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 1 1/2 hours or until center is set. Allow the cake to cool for 10 to 15 minutes in the pan. Using a skewer or large meat fork, poke holes all over the top of the cake and pour the reserved cherry juice slowly over the top making sure the juice gets soaked up. When the juice is all absorbed turn the cake out onto a serving plate and let it cool completely. Meanwhile mix together the glaze ingredients and drizzle over the top of the cake and let it run down the sides. Top with more cherries if desired.
SHIRLEY TEMPLE POKE CAKE
This shortcut version is made with cake and pudding mixes and uses vegetable oil instead of butter. Which version is better? You decide.
1 box yellow cake mix
1 (4 oz) small box instant lemon pudding
3/4 cup 7-Up or any lemon-lime soda
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 (10 oz) jar maraschino cherries, drained and juice reserved
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon extract
2-3 tbsp milk
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 10-inch bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray, preferably the kind with flour in it. In a medium bowl, combine all the cake ingredients: cake mix, pudding, lemon lime soda, eggs and oil. Mix until thoroughly combined. Stir in the cherries. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan. Bake for about 45-55 minutes (until inserted toothpick comes out clean). Once it's finished baking, while still in the pan, poke holes all over the cake using a wooden skewer, and then pour reserved cherry juice into the cake. Allow the cake to cool completely. Once the cake is cooled completely, carefully remove from the bundt pan. Prepare icing by whisking together the powdered sugar and lemon extract, and then whisking in the milk slowly until it reaches the desired consistency. Drizzle icing over cake.
Thought for the week: It's still Fourth of July season and thoughts of freedom hopefully are still on our minds. Thomas Jefferson once said, "Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation and freedom in all just pursuits." Mental giant Albert Einstein demonstrated how greatly he valued freedom when he declared, "Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom." We're all too eager these days to call for regulations on everybody else, without realizing when we restrict the freedoms of others we're also restricting ourselves. Sometimes it's better to put up with neighbors doing a few things we don't like than to sacrifice our precious freedoms bit by bit on the altars of conformity.
(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 715-291-9002 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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