Help needed

June 21, 2008

Have a little time on your hands and want to help those less fortunate than yourself?

Well, the Fayette County chapter of the American Cancer Society needs help with its Road to Recovery program. This program provides transportation for cancer patients who need help getting to their various doctor visits and treatments. Many of these folks are like you and me, but they can’t drive and have no way of getting to their doctors on their own. It could mean a trip to a hospital or doctor in Pittsburgh, or it could mean a trip to Uniontown Hospital. You can do whatever fits your schedule. And it could save someone’s life. Some of these people can’t get much needed medical treatments without transportation. So, please consider volunteering for this wonderful program. For more information call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345.

Also, remember the next Look Good Feel Better class will be held on July 21. Trained volunteer cosmetologists help female cancer patients deal with the side effects of treatment such as skin changes and hair loss. Persons with cancer are taught beauty techniques to enhance their appearance and self-image.

The class will be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Robert E. Eberly Pavilion in Uniontown. The class is free and offered to women in current cancer treatment can pre-register for the class by calling 1-800-227-2345.

The American Cancer Society is a wonderful organization dedicated to helping cancer victims and their familities. It has a number of great programs, including:Cancer Information – ACS specialists are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at provide comprehensive information about cancer and its treatment, as well as connect you with local community resources.

Their Web site: is an unparalleled resource.I Can Cope

– An education program designed to help cancer patients and their loved ones deal with their cancer experience.Man to Man – An education and support group for men with prostate cancer that offers information, discussion and support. Families also can attend.

Reach to Recovery – A volunteer program that matches breast cancer survivors with anyone who has a concern about breast cancer. Volunteers provide information and support.

Cancer Survivors Network – A virtual community created by and for cancer survivors to connect with one another, share experiences and provide support. It is available online at

Research – The Behavioral Research Department of the National American Cancer Society conducts research on the quality of life of persons with cancer. For example, one study follows what persons with cancer report as physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs and functioning over a ten-year period.

Advocacy – Cancer is a political issue as well as a medical issue. The ACS is proud to be the leading advocate working to influence public policy to improve funding for cancer research and improve access to early detection and prevention programs at the local, state, and federal levels.

Here are some ways you can get involved as an ACS volunteer:

1) Provide support and hope to newly diagnosed cancer patients and their families.

2) Become a volunteer for one of the many American Cancer Society Patient Services programs.

3) Contact legislators regarding cancer related legislation.

4) Raise funds to support cancer research, services, and programs.

5) Help identify community needs, assets, and solutions as a community assessment team member.

6) Distribute information about the American Cancer Society 800 number, services, and programs.

For cancer information or to find out how you can make a difference call 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit

You can also contact the American Cancer Society, Western Region,

320 Bilmar Drive, Pittsburgh, Pa 15205

Call toll free -1-888-227-5445 ext. 1082.

Contact Mary Ann Ealy

Also, don’t forget about the Relay for Life being held Aug. 9-10 at Laurel Highlands High School. If you haven’t made it to a Relay for Life, now is the time to check one out. You won’t believe the fun and enthusiasm. Everyone’s having a great time for a great cause. You’re bound to see someone you know. If you haven’t been to one in a few years, you’ll be surprised by all the changes that have taken place over the past couple of years. It’s still not too late to start your own team. For more information call (724)437-0545. Remember we still have a ways to go, but we’re winning the war against cancer. You can make a difference in this fight. Your effort might just be the thing to put us over the top.


Tim Russert remembered

June 16, 2008

Hope you had a chance to read my column Sunday about Tim Russert. He was an inspiration to all journalists. A true giant, he will be missed. Here are some links if you want to read more about him, including a story about an intervew with his son.

 “I spoke to him at least two to three times a day,” says son Luke (msnbc)
> “It wasn’t a stone face asking a pre-prepared list of questions” (Newsweek)
> Carr: My father scheduled Sunday mass around “Meet the Press” (NYT)
> Ifill says Russert was never queasy talking about race with her (Root)
> Russert most enjoyed watching a Bills game with his family (
> Costa recalls when Russert told him to “get out there and do it” (WSJ)
> NYT’s Nagourney on a lesser known chapter in Russert’s career (NYT)
> New York lawmakers want to name part of a highway after Russert (AP)


Happy Father’s Day

June 13, 2008


Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. Being the father of a son and a daughter, Father’s Day is always very special to me. More than any gift or present, though, is just being able to talk to my kids. Of course, I still call them kids even though they’re both in their middle 20s. They’ll always be my kids no matter how long they live. I’m sure most dads are like myself in that we’d much rather be giving presents rather receiving them. But part of being a good dad is being able to show thanks for an item no matter how big or small. But really all we want is for our families to do well. That’s the best present we can ever receive. My daughter’s coming home from Harrisburg this weekend and it will be great to see her. I’m sure I’ll get a call from my son. He can’t make it home but we’ll be seeing him soon. So, it will be great just talking to them and catching up on things. They’re both doing very well professionally and that makes me proud. But I’m even prouder of the fact that they’re both very good people, as anyone who knows them will attest. They’re both friendly, personable, intelligent and honest. A dad really can’t ask for more. Not sure how much I had to do with that, but I’m just proud to have them as my “kids.”  They both have also found their soulmates and it’s great to have them in our lives too. A little later in the day, I’ll be calling my own dad. He’s not doing too great. At the age of 87, he doesn’t get around too well these days. He can hardly see or hear, but he’s hanging in there. And just when you think he doesn’t know what’s going on, he pipes up with something that makes you smile. I called him on his birthday, May 22, and he asked if I went to the Pirates opener. He misses my mom who died five years ago, but my brothers and sisters are always around and do their best to keep him comfortable. We’ll be going up to Monaca, Beaver County, where he lives next week and it’ll be great to see and talk to him. Hope your dad is still living.  I learned so much from my dad, and he was a great father. He set an example that I try to live by today. Let me know if anyone out there has any dad stories they’d like to share.

Bobby Kennedy

June 11, 2008


I hope you had a chance to read my Sunday column about 1968 and what a crazy year that was. I wrote a little about Bobby Kennedy and how the Democrats have never really have had a politician like him since. I could have written a whole column just about him. He had a charisma about him.  He was able to unite all different types of people. He was very idealistic and people seemed to really like that about him. If he had lived, he probably would have won the Democratic Party’s nomination and beat Nixon in the fall. This country would have been much different and better if Bobby had won.  He certainly would have ended the Vietnam War much sooner than Nixon. Thousands of American lives would have been saved along with hundreds of thousands of lives of the Vietnam people.  I always remember that train ride as Kennedy’s body was transported from New York City to Washington, D.C. It was very eerie seeing all the people who came out to pay their respects. It was a very moving tribute to him. I also remember Ted Kennedy giving a very elegant eulogy of his brother.  I have four brothers so maybe I could relate to the speech a little more. Of course, we had our share of arguments growing up. We were all close in age and did everything together. I remember watching the eulogy and my father asking what would we have to say about each other.  Would we criticize each other or would we talk about each other’s good points? He said real brothers got along and helped each other like the Kennedys did. It left a big impression on me obviously as I still remember it 40 years later.  Does anyone else out there remember anything about the funeral or 1968 for that matter?

Obama will pick Hillary as his running mate

June 5, 2008


With Barack Obama having won the Democratic Party’s presidential primary campaign, the focus now moves to his pick for the vice presidency. And of course the question on everyone’s mind is will he pick Hillary to be his running mate?

On the one hand, it seems pretty unlikely because of the tough race the two ran and the hard feelings that resulted from it. Hillary certainly didn’t help herself by continuing to run against Obama even when she didn’t have a chance of overtaking him. Why she did that, who knows? The theme of Obama’s campaign has been change and that could be a problem since Hillary represents the past.

On the other hand, Hillary is by far the best and well-known vice presidential candidates. Sure, she generages negatives, but she also has a lot of supporters out there. She could definitely help Obama in places like Fayette County, which the Democrats could lose for the first time since 1972.  She could definitely help Obama with groups such as women and the working poor, whom he’ll need to beat McCain. Hillary could also add some experience to the ticket and be an asset with her knowledge of foreign affairs. You have to think if Obama made some overtures, Hillary would find them hard to reject. After all win or lose, it would enhance her standing in the Democratic Party and position her for another run for the presidency in either four or eight years.

I think in the end that Obama will pick Hillary as his running mate. Now whether or not that wil be the dream ticket is another matter that we’ll discuss in a future post. For now, let’s hear who you think Obama will pick as his vice president.

How Obama beat Clinton

June 5, 2008


Well, it’s pretty clear now that Barack Obama will be the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate this fall. Hillary has announced that she’ll making a speech Saturday and all indications are that she’s going to throw her support behind Obama. What took her so long is anyone’s guess.  Everyone could see that the math was not in her favor. Personally, I knew she was cooked when she won Pennsylvania (with Fayette County giving her the highest percentage of any votes in the state) but gained only 12 more delegates than Obama.  Say what you want about the way Democrats pick their presidential candidates, but the fact is that Obama followed all the rules and won the most delegates. The only problem is that Obama can’t employ the same strategy to win the general election.  Win one state in the fall and you win all of its members of the electoral college. So, he won’t be able to come close and still pick up support in the electoral college. He’s going to have to come with some new strategy. Here’s an interesting story about how Obama won at the Washington Post’s Web Site. “Almost from the beginning, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s superior name recognition and her sway with state party organizations convinced Barack Obama’s brain trust that a junior senator from Illinois was not going to be able to challenge the Clinton political machine head-on.

The insurgent strategy the group devised instead was to virtually cede the most important battlegrounds of the Democratic nomination fight to Clinton, using precision targeting to minimize her delegate hauls, while going all out to crush her in states where Democratic candidates rarely ventured.

The result may have lacked the glamour of a sweep, but last night, with the delegates he picked up in Montana and South Dakota and a flood of superdelegate endorsements, Obama sealed one of the biggest upsets in U.S. political history and became the first Democrat since Jimmy Carter to wrest his party’s nomination from the candidate of the party establishment. The surprise was how well his strategy held up — and how little resistance it met.” Read the full story here:

Beer at the Fayette County Fair

June 3, 2008


Not sure if anyone read my column in Sunday’s paper on selling of beer at the Fayette County Fair.  I know there are people who are really against alcohol out there, and I respect their opinions.  However, I really think it’s not fair for these folks to demonize Bill Jackson and the other fair board members who are supporting the selling of beer at the fair. They’re not trying to hurt anyone.  They’re just trying to raise some much-needed money to support all the activities at the fair. These folks have worked their whole lives to build up the fair. They’re not going to let it degenerate into a beer brawl. They said they will close it down the first night if there are problems. And we will hold them to their word. I think it’s worth at least giving it a chance. They’ve been doing this at the Washington County Fair and there haven’t been any problems.  I think you have to wonder how many people the critics represent. I like to hear from those on both sides of this issue. So, jot something and let me know what you think.