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Local Commentaries

Heart Month

I think of February as “Heart Month.” Everywhere you look, you will see hearts these days. Although the red, white, and pink hearts have little to do with heart function, they are a great reminder to be kind to one of the larger organs of our body, the heart. The jury is still out on ...

Stealing the ink

I am a pen thief. I don’t really mean to be, but acquiring pens just sort of happens. I recently came to the conclusion that it’s part of a pattern that began in childhood – not of theft but of irresponsibility and the semi-comatose state that I have been living for lo these many ...

Why did we ever do away with trains?

I learned to love trains from little on. Grandma's house was just a short way from the tracks so we heard the trains. Actually, unless we were outdoors, we really did not hear the trains. I guess we just got used to the sound so we never heard it. I do remember when they went from the old ...

Better accommodations

When I was growing up in Erie, our family had properties we were concerned with besides our residence on the city's southwest side. As I now look back on those years, I am somewhat dismayed by realizing that one of those properties was shrouded in mystery. The mystery property was my ...

A history with sled dogs

When my son was growing up, we had a white German Shephard. It was not the ideal dog since we lived on a farm. That beautiful white fur was often covered with grease or animal waste depending on where she was. When I went to the hospital to have a baby the dog refused to eat. I had been ...

Anywhere on the planet

If you could go anywhere on the planet, where would it be? Tuesday was international travel day in the newsroom. Sometimes, what starts as a perfectly legitimate discussion of a newsy topic quickly makes its way down a rabbit trail. Census 2020 has been in the news recently and will ...

Meet me in Dreamland

Occasionally I get a good night’s sleep - sometimes as often as two or three nights a month. My typical hopeful night means crawling into the feathers between 11:00 and midnight, and reading for 20 minutes or so before the eyelids slowly grow heavy. Most nights I turn the lamp off just ...

We want to read what you think

Public discourse. A phrase that can be attributed to many things being posted on Facebook, Twitter, or any form of social media or otherwise in this day and age. We publish editorials every day on page A4 of the Times Observer. We publish letters to the editor on whatever subjects you feel ...

The influence of teachers

It is always a thrill for teachers when former students do well. I keep track of many of them because their parents are still around even if they are not. Conversely, I always say a prayer for those whose names make the police blotter. Most of them do not surprise me. If they were a ...

A swim I decided not to take

When we go on a morning canoe ride from our cabin on the Althom Eddy during the warmer months of the year, my wife often asks, "Are you going to swim today?" The reason for her query is that if I respond in the affirmative, she will take a magazine along to read while I am taking my dip. (She ...

Why read?

Winter seems to be the perfect time to cuddle up with a book to read. I always enjoyed it when we had a snow day. That meant I would have time to read. Now, I love to read but that was not always the case. When I was growing up, I read what I had to for school, but neglected the ...

Please continue to hold…

My day began with a simple plan. Resolve a few questions on the phone. Make a few appointments then finish my column. This is not the column I started. You’ll see. I got side-tracked ... “Please continue to hold – our representatives are currently assisting other ...

We want to read what you think

Public discourse. A phrase that can be attributed to many things being posted on Facebook, Twitter, or any form of social media or otherwise in this day and age. We publish editorials every day on page A4 of the Times Observer. We publish letters to the editor on whatever subjects you ...

A different Christmas

It's over. All the hoopla. Christmas 2019 is now in the memory banks and I have to say that for us, it was a very different holiday. Our family Christmas is usually here, at home, in Warren. And for me, that's the way it should be. I know, I know, you're supposed to share your ...

Rudder broken?

Mark Twain said, "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and day you find out why". Have you ever wondered why you were born? What you were placed on this earth for? What your purpose is? Thomas Carlyle said "The person without a purpose is like a ship ...

Where will you be at the end of 2020?

I have kept a diary for more than forty years. Of course, I do not have everything that ever happened in there, but I do have many things. A few years ago, I began doing a wrap-up piece each year. That helps me see at a glance the important things that have happened that year. I also do ...

A very strange and endlessly complicated organism

"If you suspect you might have extramammary Paget's disease (EMPD), I encourage you to see a doctor. Don't put it off and don't be embarrassed!" — Steve Schroeder (EMPD patient) Up until the late spring of 2019, I figured that for a relatively old codger, I was in pretty good health. I ...

This fungi I know…

‘Tis the season of death, or at least a long rest, in nature. The trees are bare, the grass has stopped growing, and the stems of plants brown, shriveled, and lifeless. Many in New York find the season dreary and mundane. Yet we are all guilty of not realizing how important this time of year ...

Fruit of kindness

This article was first published in the Boston Sunday Globe Magazine, December 6, 1998. It was the first article I ever sold. I’ve been told that it made a lasting impression having been used as the basis for Christmas church sermons and in a few Sunday School classrooms in Massachusetts. In ...

For the size 17 Vince Carter shoe

The Publisher and Managing Editor punished their employees this week. Oh, it wasn’t your normal workplace discipline. But it’s becoming an annual thing. On Sundays, during fantasy football season. This weekend, the first-place or championship matchup of the Times Observer Laid Back ...