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

Issue Date: February 21, 2018

Gun or Shooter Control?...

Sometimes weather forecasters are very, very wrong. That usually happens when they're predicting the kind of weather we would like to have.

Other times, they can be spot on, like when they're predicting a blizzard. Monday night's ice storm - if you could exactly call it a storm - was one of those times. They predicted ice up to a quarter-inch thick, and sure enough, there it was in the morning, all over TIMESland. On the roads, on the sidewalks, covering cars and trucks and roofs and windows and entire parking lots in smooth, slippery, unbroken sheets of beautiful, clear, smooth glare ice, the kind that can kill you if you try to drive or walk on it.

Was finally able to dislodge the ice coting from my vehicle by noon on Tuesday. Didn't really try before that. Sheets and chunks between a quarter to an eighth of an inch thick slipped off intact once they were loosened up. An entire sheet popped off one of the headlights in a single piece like a lens cover, unbroken and clear as the glass under it.

Have seen some ice storms in my days, but this time there wasn't even a real storm. Just misty rain falling and freezing and bringing everything to a stop. Everything was cancelled except bedtime.

FISH-O-RAMA

The annual Lake Noquebay Fish-O-Rama will be held Saturday, Feb. 24 at the Timberline Resort on the South Shore of Lake Noquebay east of Crivitz.

Registration starts at 6 a.m. and continues until 4 p.m., with door prizes, raffles, food, and a heated tent to make everything more fun. Cash prizes will be awarded for various fish categories.

A special 50/50 Shoot-Out event during the Fish-O-Rama will run from 9 a.m. to noon, with 100 holes available at $50 per hole. Registration for this event starts at 7 a.m. at the resort headquarters

The Lake Noquebay Anglers Partnership, sponsors of the event, is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to improving the public use of Lake Noquebay by improving the fish population and habitat, water quality, public access and overall recreational use.

ON THE SOAP BOX

SCHOOL SHOOTING


Hearts go out to the friends and families of the 17 students and staff members in Parkland, Fla. whose lives were snuffed out by a deranged shooter Valentine's Day.

It's a knee jerk reaction for students and their mentors to demand stronger gun control laws in response to the shooting, which was done by a deranged former student who had been expelled from the school after years of misbehavior as a student.

As the billboards used to say, "When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns." If Cruz hadn't been able to buy a gun legally, he would have gotten one illegally. If he hadn't been able to buy a gun at all, he could have used a homemade bomb or found some other way to cause death and destruction.

DRUGS FOR MENTAL PROBLEMS

The gun didn't do the shooting, Nikolas Cruz did. News reports say Cruz was a problem for school authorities for years before he was expelled. In a previous incident when Cruz had cut his own arms and threatened to buy a gun, investigators concluded there were "some implications" for Cruz's safety but determined he was receiving adequate support from his school and outpatient care from Henderson Mental Health in Broward County.

WISCONSIN REACTS

On Tuesday, Feb. 20, the Wisconsin Assembly passed a law that will provide funding for grants to schools that want to hire armed guards to protect their students. Those opposed argued that by the time a guard could get to the right door a potential shooter could be through it and somewhere in the building. Or the guard could be shot.

The new law will go into effect if it is also passed by the State Senate before the current legislative term ends on Thursday, Feb. 22.

Opponents in the Assembly were mostly Democrats who preferred stronger gun control laws instead. The bill does strengthen penalties for purchasing a gun for someone prohibited from owning one, but efforts to mandate background checks for all gun sales were rejected.

ALLOW ARMED STAFF?

Earlier on Tuesday, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said he's open to allowing teachers and others to be armed in schools if they choose to do so, and suggested the legislature should allow local school districts to make that decision for themselves. That would take a change in state law. Speaker Vos said he was open to the idea, but it wouldn't happen this year.

Schmiel questioned effectiveness of gun control legislation. "Law-abiding gun owners don't go out and shoot up schools. When you make a school a gun-free school zone, the only person that you're stopping is the law-abiding gun owner that doesn't want to get in trouble."

PROTECT OUR RIGHTS

Maintaining the United States Constitutional right of ordinary, everyday United States citizens to keep and bear arms is vital to the continued freedom of this land. We have a right to possess the weapons we need to protect ourselves. Police cannot be everywhere. Generally, by the time help is called for and arrives, the best the police can do is capture the culprit.

But mainly our forefathers protected our right to bear arms because of their own experiences as disarmed citizens ruled by armed British overlords. They knew that to be free, people need to be able to protect themselves from their own government. The first effort of every despot who has taken over in other nations of this world has been to disarm its citizens. We cannot allow that to happen here.

But we can encourage incarceration and proper treatment of those with severe mental problems. And we need to look harder at the effects of mind bending drugs that sometimes cover up problems instead of resolving them.

We also can and should insist that the school our child attends holds shooter drills that include not just hiding under desks, but actions to disarm a shooter, and to escape from the building entirely. Schools hold fire drills regularly, and have pre-designed plans for escape. Shouldn't they also be effectively prepared to survive a shooter attack?

As to Attorney General Schmiel's suggestion that properly trained school personnel be allowed to bring their weapons to school, had that Florida teacher who died trying to protect his students been armed, he might have lived and the shooter might have died.

BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS

Ironically, during Schmiel's listening session in Marinette County a few weeks ago there was considerable discussion on problems with dealing with problem families in Wisconsin. Cruz apparently was not an abused child, and news reports do not connect his family with drug abuse problems, but those problems do exist.

Marinette County officials at the Feb. 7 meeting with Schmiel talked about how long it takes to correct bad family situations in Wisconsin. Judge Jim Morrison pointed out that it can take years to terminate parental rights, even when the family is known to be abusive, and/or to use and abuse drugs in and out of the home.

Marinette County's entire law enforcement community has established a drug court, and is actively working to set up a mental health court, which might have helped prevent the Florida massacre.

As to Schmiel's tour of Wisconsin to hear about local law enforcement problems, Morrison commented, "Here is a guy that gets out and about and is really trying to make a difference. I thought he was surprised how young the people are with drug problems, how young the children are when they are affected. If he could find a way to expedite termination of parental rights in really bad cases, so kids could be removed from bad situations a lot sooner, it might make a difference - sometimes neither mom, dad nor grandma should have them. Sometimes grandma is the drug dealer in town, and the parents are her best customers."

"I was glad he was here. I hope it was helpful for him. We all like to really have people care what we think," Morrison said.

CURE A FURNITURE SCRATCH

Scratches in maple or other dark-finished furniture pieces can often be cured with coffee.

This method is not recommended for fine antiques, but some scratches can be concealed with a paste of instant coffee and water. Just put some instant coffee in a small bowl and then sprinkle in just enough water to make a thick paste. Rub the mixture into the scratch. Let it dry and wipe away the excess. Then shine up the whole piece with ordinary furniture polish.

DESCENT YOUR CUTTING BOARD

Wooden cutting boards are notorious for absorbing smells and stains if not properly cared for. Onions particularly can leave your favorite wooden cutting board with a lingering odor that is not at all appetizing. Stains probably do not hurt any thing in real life, but they make the board look unclean, so you can't be sure.

To prevent stains, wash the board after each use and wipe it down with mineral oil to season it. Resist the temptation to use vegetable oil, even though it's probably handy; vegetable oil can turn rancid and ruin the board. If the stains are already there, rub the board with a paste of baking soda and water and then rinse. Or rub it with a piece of cut lemon, scour it with salt and rinse.

To remove odors (and stains) from the board, or even from your hands, rub with a piece of lemon. Then rub in some salt and rinse with cool water.

COOKIN' TIME

It's Lent, and baby, it's cold outside. Time for some good, warm, food with new flavors to enjoy!

CREAMY CHICKEN CHOWDER

Soup is good food, especially when the cold winds blow. Serve this chowder as a soup with crusty French or Italian bread, or leave the potatoes out of the basic recipe and serve the creamy chicken and vegetable mixture over a split biscuit, buttered noodles or a baked or mashed potato. If you leave the potatoes out the soup freezes beautifully. When you're ready to thaw and eat, either enjoy it without the potato, or simply bake a potato, dice it and add to the heated chowder before you put on the garnishes.

For the Roux:

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons flour

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup milk

For the Soup:

4 tablespoons butter

4 to 6 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/8" slices

2 celery stalks, cut into 1/8" slices

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

3 cups chicken broth

2 cups peeled, diced potatoes

3 cups milk, cream or half and half, or a mixture of cream and skim milk

2 tablespoons chicken base granules or several chicken bouillon cubes

teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon dried parsley or 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

3 dried bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon turmeric, optional

teaspoon paprika, optional

teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

4 to 5 cups cooked chicken, cubed or shredded (rotisserie chicken works well)

cup dry or semi-dry white wine; a good drinking wine

For garnish:

Shredded Gruyere cheese

Chopped fresh parsley

Make the roux by melting the four tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan. Sprinkle in the pepper, then stir in the flour with a whisk or fork until well combined. Let this cook until the mixture turns light golden brown, then quickly whisk or stir in the cold chicken broth and milk, and keep stirring until it comes to a boil and thickens. Remove from the heat and set aside. Then, in a large Dutch oven, heat the next four tablespoons butter. Add the carrots and celery and sauté 5 minutes; stirring occasionally. Add the diced onions and cook three more minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook for about another half minute. Slowly add a cup of broth while scraping the bottom of the pot to deglaze the pan. Add the rest of the broth. When that comes to a boil add the roux and stir until the mixture comes back to a boil. Add the milk/cream mixture and again return to a boil, stirring continuously. Reduce the heat to low and add everything else except the garnishes. Simmer 15 minutes then taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. You will probably want to add salt and pepper. Continue to simmer until the soup thickens, about 30-45 minutes more. (If the soup doesn't thicken to your liking, mix 2 tablespoons cornstarch with a half cup of cold milk or cream until smooth and stir into the simmering soup. Discard the bay leaves. At serving time, garnish with sprinklings of shredded Gruyere and fresh parsley.

BROILED TILAPIA PARMESAN

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup butter, softened

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)

1/4 teaspoon paprika (optional)

1/8 teaspoon celery salt

2 pounds tilapia fillets

Preheat broiler. Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil. In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside. Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to over cook the fish.

GLUTEN FREE, EGG FREE PANCAKES

Whether you're cooking for someone for food allergies or just want to try something new, these are worth eating!

1/2 cup gluten-free oatmeal

1 scoop protein powder (optional)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 banana

2 eggs

1/2 cup cottage cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Water as needed

Preheat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Blend oatmeal, protein powder, brown sugar, cinnamon, and baking powder in a blender until fine; dump into a large bowl. Blend banana, eggs, cottage cheese, and vanilla extract in a blender until smooth; pour into bowl with dry ingredients and mix into a thick batter. Stir water into the batter to thin slightly, as desired. Ladle between 1/4 to 1/2 cup batter per pancake onto the preheated cooking surface. Cook until browned on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip pancakes and continue cooking until browned on the other side and the center is set, 3 to 5 minutes more. Eat plain, with maple syrup, jam or fruit toppings. Your call.

Thought for the week: Lord, winter seems to be lasting forever, but Lent is speeding by. Help us put this season of renewal to good use to get our souls, as well as our homes, ready for the joys of Easter. Amen.

Country Cousin

(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 shirleyprudhommechickadee@yahoo.com.)


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