Saturday, April 25, 2009

City of Prayer

If Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right, Try Three

The retired Clairtonian: Many readers of the Clairton component of this blog are retirees. The following story was sent to me by one of those types. You know - the ones who retire to Florida and attend the annual Clairton reunion where they meet former classmates and other alums and lie about how cute their grandkids are. Well, be sure to share the one about the retired couple and the traffic cop:

What Do Retired People Do All Day?

“Working people frequently ask retired people what they do to make their days interesting.

Well, for example, the other day my wife and I went into town and went into a shop. We were only in there for about 5 minutes.

When we came out, there was a cop writing out a parking ticket.

We went up to him and said, 'Come on man, how about giving a citizen a break?'

He ignored us and continued writing the ticket.

I called him a Nazi bastard.

He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having worn tires.

So my wife called him a shit-head.

He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first.

Then he started writing a third ticket.

This went on for about 20 minutes.

The more we abused him, the more tickets he wrote.

Personally, we didn't care........ We came into town by bus.

We try to have a little fun each day now that we're retired. It's important at our age.”

The Ghost of Clairton Past: Clairton celebrated its Silver Anniversary in 1947. The event was commemorated with the publication of a book called, “Memories of the City of Clairton – 1947” and is available at the Clairton library as well as in the private collections of several of my readers. One of the interesting facts has to do with the number of churches. We all remember the sign “Welcome to Clairton, City of Prayer,” that was displayed prominently in the opening scenes of the “Deer Hunter” movie. Our City is so called for good reason. The Silver Anniversary book of 1947 lists some 20 congregations including:
 Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, corner Walnut Avenue and Fourth Street
 St. Paulinus Roman Catholic Church
 First Presbyterian Church
 First Methodist Church
 United Free Gospel Mission, corner Park Avenue and Reed Street
 First A.M.E. Church
 Wilson Presbyterian Church
 Clairton Christian Church, I.O.O.F. Hall, Pennsylvania Avenue
 St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church
 Morning Star Baptist Church, Shaw and Boundary Avenues
 Pine Run Methodist Church
 The First Slavish Roman Catholic Greek Rite Church
 St. Clare's Roman Catholic Church
 Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, 908 Vankirk Street
 Christian Missionary Alliance, 337 Shaw Avenue
 Mount Oliver Baptist Church, 439 Park Avenue
 Church of God in Christ, 439 Park Avenue
 Greek Church, 431 Halcomb Avenue
 Serbian Orthodox Church, 336 Wabash Avenue
 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 145 New Jersey Avenue

A review of data shows the following active churches in Clairton today:

St Clare of Assisi Parish Elm & N 4TH, Clairton, PA,
Morning Star Baptist Church 307 Shaw Ave, Clairton, PA ,
Pine Run United Methodist Church, 901 N 6th St, Clairton, PA,
First AME Church, 177 Mitchell Ave, Clairton, PA,
First United Methodist Church, 500 Thompson Ave, Clairton, PA,
First Presbyterian Church, 501 Mitchell Ave, Clairton, PA,
Gethsemane Church Of God In Christ, 200 Crest St, Clairton, PA,
Kingdom Come Ministry, 241 Maple Ave, Clairton, PA,
Morningstar Baptist Church, Boundary Ave AT Shaw Ave, Clairton, PA,
Church Of Jesus Christ, 508 Reed St, Clairton, PA,
St Anthony Greek Orthodox Church, 424 Miller Ave, Clairton, PA,
Episcopal Church, 447 Halcomb Ave, Clairton, PA,
Ascension of Our Lord Church, 318 Park Ave, Clairton, PA,
Mt Olive Baptist Church, 451 Park Avenue, Clairton, PA,
St Mary's Serbian Orthodox, 524 3RD St, Clairton, PA,
Come Ministry, 411 Mitchell Avenue, Clairton, PA,
Wilson Presbyterian Church, 400 N 4TH St, Clairton, PA,
Living Hope Assembly, 901 Worthington Ave, Clairton, PA,
Living Waters International Church, 337 Shaw Ave, Clairton, PA,
Bible Baptist Temple, 1415 Worthington Ave, Clairton, PA,
Jefferson United Presbyterian, 716 Gill Hall Rd, Clairton, PA

Looks like the City of Prayer is still praying – the same number of churches but with half the population.

More Clairton Stuff: Readers of this blog frequently ask me where I uncover the trivia and other items for the Clairton blog posts. Many suggestions come from readers who tell me about Clairtonians they remember or accomplishments of those with whom they’ve gone to CHS. Others have been kind enough to forward resumes, news clips, and photos of current and former Clairton citizens. There are also several websites that include Clairton history and current topics. includes many photos and discussion topics. is an active site maintained by Jim Hartman and includes a wealth of information about the area including Clairton. Old photos and interesting facts abound at their site. Current news stories and forums can be found at another website, The City, School District, and Library all have their own websites. There is lots of neat stuff about Clairton floating around in cyberspace.

Clairton Juggler: Finally today we’ll talk about Clairtonian Howard Mincone. Howard still lives in the area although he works venues across the country and he walks on water – well, actually he performs on cruise ships. He’s a comedian, magician, and juggler as well as a corporate seminar speaker. Howard not only juggles his schedule, but during his corporate workshops and seminars he demonstrates then teaches the fine art of juggling objects. It is a natural analogy since corporate executives need to juggle workplace activities from budgets to human resources. The seminars result in improved communication skills, productivity and morale, as well as providing self-confidence and problem-solving abilities, according to Mincone.

Although Mincone did not graduate from CHS – he went to Catholic school in McKeesport - he spent much of his time working in the family grocery store in Clairton. His philosophy of life is reflected in learning to juggle – when you start a task you drop a few balls. But through focus and practice, one soon becomes proficient. Howard Mincone, Clairton boy.

A little blogging music Maestro... “My Hometown” by Bruce Springsteen.

Dr. Forgot

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

I just received the email below from a friend in California. Not sure of the author, but plenty of things in California are already extinct - or headed that way fast, such as a good 5 cent cigar, single digit sales tax, roads, schools, librarians, and public services. But the author comes up with a couple of dozen other items - some I agree with, some I'm not so sure. Read it and weep.


24. Yellow Pages
This year will be pivotal for the global Yellow Pages industry.
Much like newspapers, print Yellow Pages will continue to bleed
dollars to their various digital counterparts, from Internet
Yellow Pages (IYPs), to local search engines and combination
search/listing services like Reach Local and Yodel Factors like an
acceleration of the print 'fade rate' and the looming recession
will contribute to the onslaught. One research firm predicts the
falloff in usage of newspapers and print Yellow Pages could even
reach 10% this year -- much higher than the 2%-3% fade rate seen
in past years.

23. Classified Ads
The Internet has made so many things obsolete that newspaper
classified ads might sound like just another trivial item on a
long list. But this is one of those harbingers of the future that
could signal the end of civilization as we know it. The argument
is that if newspaper classifieds are replaced by free online
listings at sites like and Google Base, then
newspapers are not far behind them.

22. Movie Rental Stores
While Netflix is looking up at the moment, Blockbuster keeps
closing store locations by the hundreds. It still has about 6,000
left across the world, but those keep dwindling and the stock is
down considerably in 2008, especially since the company gave up a
quest of Circuit City. Movie Gallery, which owned the Hollywood
Video brand, closed up shop earlier this year. Countless small
video chains and mom-and-pop stores have given up the ghost

21. Dial-up Internet Access
Dial-up connections have fallen from 40% in 2001 to 10% in 2008.
The combination of an infrastructure to accommodate affordable
high speed Internet connections and the disappearing home phone
have all but pounded the final nail in the coffin of dial-up
Internet access.

20. Phone Landlines
According to a survey from the National Center for Health
Statistics, at the end of 2007, nearly one in six homes was
cell-only and, of those homes that had landlines, one in eight
only received calls on their cells.

19. Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs
Maryland's icon, the blue crab, has been fading away in Chesapeake
Bay. Last year Maryland saw the lowest harvest (22 million pounds)
since 1945. Just four decades ago the bay produced 96 million
pounds. The population is down 70% since 1990, when they first did
a formal count. There are only about 120 million crabs in the bay
and they think they need 200 million for a sustainable population.
Over-fishing, pollution, invasive species and global warming get
the blame.

18. VCRs
For the better part of three decades, the VCR was a best-seller
and staple in every American household until being completely
decimated by the DVD, and now the Digital Video Recorder (DVR). In
fact, the only remnants of the VHS age at your local Wal-Mart or
Radio Shack are blank VHS tapes these days. Pre-recorded VHS tapes
are largely gone and VHS decks are practically nowhere to be
found. They served us so well.

17. Ash Trees
In the late 1990s, a pretty, iridescent green species of beetle,
now known as the emerald ash borer, hitched a ride to North
America with ash wood products imported from eastern Asia. In less
than a decade, its larvae have killed millions of trees in the
Midwest, and continue to spread. They've killed more than 30
million ash trees in southeastern Michigan alone, with tens of
millions more lost in Ohio and Indiana. More than 7.5 billion ash
trees are currently at risk.

16. Ham Radio
Amateur radio operators enjoy personal (and often worldwide)
wireless communications with each other and are able to support
their communities with emergency and disaster communications if
necessary, while increasing their personal knowledge of
electronics and radio theory. However, proliferation of the
Internet and its popularity among youth has caused the decline of
amateur radio. In the past five years alone, the number of people
holding active ham radio licenses has dropped by 50,000, even
though Morse Code is no longer a requirement.

15. The Swimming Hole
Thanks to our litigious society, swimming holes are becoming a
thing of the past. '20/20' reports that swimming hole owners, like
Robert Every in High Falls, NY, are shutting them down out of
worry that if someone gets hurt they'll sue. And that's exactly
what happened in Seattle. The city of Bellingham was sued by Katie
Hofstetter who was paralyzed in a fall at a popular swimming hole
in Whatcom Falls Park. As injuries occur and lawsuits follow,
expect more swimming holes to post 'Keep out!' signs.

14. Answering Machines
The increasing disappearance of answering machines is directly
tied to No 20 our list -- the decline of landlines. According to
USA Today, the number of homes that only use cell phones jumped
159% between 2004 and 2007. It has been particularly bad in New
York; since 2000, landline usage has dropped 55%. It's logical
that as cell phones rise, many of them replacing traditional
landlines, that there will be fewer answering machines.

13. Cameras That Use Film
It doesn't require a statistician to prove the rapid disappearance
of the film camera in America. Just look to companies like Nikon,
the professional's choice for quality camera equipment. In 2006,
it announced that it would stop making film cameras, pointing to
the shrinking market -- only 3% of its sales in 2005, compared to
75% of sales from digital cameras and equipment.

12. Incandescent Bulbs
Before a few years ago, the standard 60-watt (or, yikes, 100-watt)
bulb was the mainstay of every U.S. home. With the green movement
and all-things-sustainable-energy crowd, the Compact Fluorescent
Lightbulb (CFL) is largely replacing the older, Edison-era
incandescent bulb. The EPA reports that 2007 sales for Energy Star
CFLs nearly doubled from 2006, and these sales accounted for
approximately 20 percent of the U.S. light bulb market. And
according to USA Today, a new energy bill plans to phase out
incandescent bulbs in the next four to 12 years.

11. Stand-Alone Bowling Alleys
BowlingBalls. US claims there are still 60 million Americans who
bowl at least once a year, but many are not bowling in stand-alone
bowling alleys. Today most new bowling alleys are part of
facilities for all types or recreation including laser tag,
go-karts, bumper cars, video game arcades, climbing walls and glow
miniature golf. Bowling lanes also have been added to many
non-traditional venues such as adult communities, hotels and
resorts, and gambling casinos.

10. The Milkman
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 1950, over
half of the milk delivered was to the home in quart bottles, by
1963, it was about a third and by 2001, it represented only 0.4%
percent. Nowadays most milk is sold through supermarkets in gallon
jugs. The steady decline in home-delivered milk is blamed, of
course, on the rise of the supermarket, better home refrigeration
and longer-lasting milk. Although some milkmen still make the
rounds in pockets of the U.S., they are certainly a dying breed.

9. Hand-Written Letters
In 2006, the Radicati Group estimated that, worldwide, 183 billion
e-mails were sent each day. Two million each second. By November
of 2007, an estimated 3.3 billion Earthlings owned cell phones,
and 80% of the world's population had access to cell phone
coverage. In 2004, half-a-trillion text messages were sent, and
the number has no doubt increased exponentially since then. So
where amongst this gorge of gabble is there room for the elegant,
polite hand-written letter?

8. Wild Horses
It is estimated that 100 years ago, as many as two million horses
were roaming free within the United States. In 2001, National
Geographic News estimated that the wild horse population had
decreased to about 50,000 head. Currently, the National Wild Horse
and Burro Advisory board states that there are 32,000 free roaming
horses in ten Western states, with half of them residing in
Nevada. The Bureau of Land Management is seeking to reduce the
total number of free range horses to 27,000, possibly by selective

7. Personal Checks
According to an American Bankers Assoc. report, a net 23% of
consumers plan to decrease their use of checks over the next two
years, while a net 14% plan to increase their use of PIN debit.
Bill payment remains the last stronghold of paper-based
payments -- for the time being. Checks continue to be the most
commonly used bill payment method, with 71% of consumers paying at
least one recurring bill per month by writing a check. However, on
a bill-by-bill basis, checks account for only 49% of consumers'
recurring bill payments (down from 72% in 2001 and 60% in 2003).

6. Drive-in Theaters
During the peak in 1958, there were more than 4,000 drive-in
theaters in this country, but in 2007 only 405 drive-ins were
still operating. Exactly zero new drive-ins have been built since
2005. Only one reopened in 2005 and five reopened in 2006, so
there isn't much of a movement toward reviving the closed ones.

5. Mumps & Measles
Despite what's been in the news lately, the measles and mumps
actually, truly are disappearing from the United States. In 1964,
212,000 cases of mumps were reported in the U.S. By 1983, this
figure had dropped to 3,000, thanks to a vigorous vaccination
program. Prior to the introduction of the measles vaccine,
approximately half a million cases of measles were reported in the
U.S. annually, resulting in 450 deaths. In 2005, only 66 cases
were recorded.

4. Honey Bees
Perhaps nothing on our list of disappearing America is so dire;
plummeting so enormously; and so necessary to the survival of our
food supply as the honey bee. Very scary. 'Colony Collapse
Disorder,' or CCD, has spread throughout the U.S. and Europe over
the past few years, wiping out 50% to 90% of the colonies of many
beekeepers -- and along with it, their livelihood.

3. News Magazines and TV News
While the TV evening newscasts haven't gone anywhere over the last
several decades, their audiences have. In 1984, in a story about
the diminishing returns of the evening news, the New York Times
reported that all three network evening-news programs combined had
only 40.9 million viewers. Fast forward to 2008, and what they
have today is half that.

2. Analog TV
According to the Consumer Electronics Association, 85% of homes in
the U.S. get their television programming through cable or
satellite providers. For the remaining 15% -- or 13 million
individuals -- who are using rabbit ears or a large outdoor
antenna to get their local stations, change is in the air. If you
are one of these people you'll need to get a new TV or a converter
box in order to get the new stations which will only be broadcast
in digital.

1. The Family Farm
Since the 1930s, the number of family farms has been declining
rapidly. According to the USDA, 5.3 million farms dotted the
nation in 1950, but this number had declined to 2.1 million by the
2003 farm census (data from the 2007 census hasn't yet been
published). Ninety-one percent of the U.S. FARMS are small Family

A little blogging music Maestro: "So Long, Its Been Good to Know You," by Woody Guthrie.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Guns Don't Kill People???

A Drop of Ink Can Make a Million Think

Where Have All the Weapons Gone: Much has been written lately about guns. The National Rifle Association continues to scare people to be in fear of their lives from bad guys and from their own government and they’ve continued to do it successfully. We simply cannot understand their logic. A person who was in a restaurant when a shooter came in said had she had her gun the shootings would have stopped. Ever thought of the chances you will be confronted by a gunman and have the opportunity to defend yourself without getting injured, maimed, or killed? Astronomical. Here are a few thoughts on guns:

Since out troops have been in Iraq, about eight years, there have been more than 4,000 soldiers killed. Back home gun violence has taken about 240,000 lives during the same eight year period. In the past month the following headlines have been banners:

3/10/09: A CRAZED gunman killed 11 people then himself as he went on a shooting spree in two towns at night. Cops in Alabama found the body of the killer’s girlfriend in his burnt out home.
Two of the dead found earlier were a cop’s wife and child

3/20/09: Spartanburg, South Carolina - Police are still looking for suspects in a shooting that killed a teen-ager and wounded three women late Friday night in Spartanburg’s Collins Parks Community, a police spokesman said.

3/21/09: Oakland, California - At least three police officers in Oakland, California, were shot and killed Saturday afternoon after a man pulled over for a routine traffic stop opened fire and then battled SWAT officers at a nearby building, police said. A fourth died later.

3/28/09: Carthage, North Carolina - North Carolina police are investigating whether the man accused of killing eight people in a nursing home shooting spree may have targeted the home because his estranged wife worked there, according to The Associated Press.

3/29/09: Dorchester, MA - The gunman who opened fire on a car on a Dorchester street early Sunday, killing three of four passengers inside, may have been smarting after getting spurned by one of his victims who had just left a late-night party, a police source said.

3/30/09: COMPTON, California — Homicide detectives Monday were investigating the fatal shootings of two men and a woman in an apartment. Neighbors contacted authorities after hearing gunshots in the apartment about 7:15 p.m. Sunday, said Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Oscar Butao.

4/3/09: Binghamton, New York - A gunman killed 13 people at an immigrant counseling centre where many of his victims were studying to become US citizens. The carnage at the American Civic Association, a language and help centre for immigrants settled in New York state, had all the hallmarks of being premeditated.

4/4/09: PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania — A gunman wearing a bulletproof vest and “lying in wait” opened fire on officers responding to a domestic disturbance call Saturday, killing three of them and turning a quiet Pittsburgh street into a battlefield, police said.

4/7/09: TEMECULA, California — A gunman opened fire at a Korean Christian retreat center on Tuesday night, killing one and wounding three others, authorities said.

4/16/09: LONG BEACH, Calif. – A hospital worker shot and killed two employees and then killed himself at a medical center Thursday, sending panicked people fleeing, police and witnesses said. The gunman was identified as Mario Ramirez, 50, of Alhambra, who died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.

TOTAL MASS MURDERS FOR MONTH: Nearly 50 dead including 8 police officers and dozens injured. But every victim leaves family, loved ones, friends, children, parents, etc. so the total number of victims is in the hundreds. Pretty sad, huh? But wait, there’s more - oftentimes those who kill with guns, especially if they kill loved ones, are cowardly enough to take their own life. In the past month, in addition to the above...

3/28/09: Firestone, Colorado - A suspected murder-suicide left three people dead early Saturday morning in a Firestone subdivision.

3/29/08: Santa Clara, California - Police found was one of the worst shooting scenes in Santa Clara history: six bodies were scattered around the three-story townhome, four were dead, including a42-year-old man whom police suspect was the shooter. Two handguns were found nearby. Paramedics performed CPR on a 4-year-old girl, but she too died at the scene.

4/4/09: Miami Lakes, Florida - The Miami Lakes Chamber of Commerce is mourning the violent and disturbing death of its president, David Waud. According to media reports, police said Waud shot his wife, Carol Waud, and himself on Saturday in their Hialeah home.

4/5/09: GRAHAM, Wash. – A father apparently shot to death five of his children, ages 7 to 16, at their mobile home and then killed himself near a casino miles away, police said Saturday. Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff, called it a domestic violence situation and a murder-suicide.

4/5/09: West Kendall, FL - Jose and Nolvia Salazar lived quiet lives in their shady West Kendall neighborhood. The silence was shattered early Sunday when the couple and Nolvia Salazar’s daughter, Karla Valle, 27, were found shot dead in a scene that Miami-Dade police called “domestic in nature.”

4/5/09: Casselberry, Florida - Marie Moore, a 44-year-old woman from Florida, has fatally shot and killed her 20-year-old son before killing herself at a shooting range. Marie Moore and her son Mitchell Moore were at central Florida gun range ‘Shoot Straight’ Sunday sharing a firing when Marie killed her and then herself.

4/7/09: Green Hill, Alabama - A man facing a divorce trial shot and killed his estranged wife, their teenage daughter and two other relatives in rural north Alabama before returning to his home in a nearby town and killing himself, authorities said Tuesday.

4/9/09: Roanoke, Indiana - The couple found dead in their Roanoke mobile home Thursday died in a homicide-suicide, presumably from a domestic dispute that turned violent, according to the Huntington County coroner. Investigators concluded that 26-year-old Jeremy Stroh shot his girlfriend, 25-year-old Nicole Scheiber, multiple times inside their home at Castle Hill Mobile Home Park then turned the gun on himself.

4/9/09: Tucson, Arizona - A divorced couple who still lived together ended up dying together Thursday night in an apparent homicide-suicide, a Pima County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman said. Ana Delia Rios, 44, and her ex-husband, Martin Rios Gonzales, 44, were found shot to death in their Southwest Side home about 10:30 p.m., Deputy Dawn Barkman said.

4/10/10: DEARBORN, Mich. - Two people were killed at Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn Friday afternoon in what police are calling a murder-suicide. Deputy Police Chief Gregg Brighton said Henry Ford Community College was locked down in the early afternoon, but the campus has since been secured and the lockdown was lifted.

4/11/09: Dallas, Texas - A man and a woman were found fatally shot inside a Frisco home late Saturday, hours after a police tactical team responded to a report that a man with a gun was inside the home. Their names were not released, pending notification of relatives.

4/12/09: COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Police say the weekend shooting deaths of a man and woman in a central Colorado Springs home were the result of an apparent attempted murder-suicide. Colorado Springs police Sgt. Steve Noblitt on Monday said the two had been identified as 38-year-old Fidencio Ordaz Gonzalez and 36-year-old Paula Ordaz, both of Colorado Springs.

The above headlines represent just a smattering of the total carnage. We are killing each other in America with our guns at a rate of about 2,500 Americans per month, or about 85 each day. Perhaps it is time to rethink the NRA’s position.

A little blogging music Maestro… an oldie from the Brenda Lee, “Tragedy”

Dr. Forgot

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

To Your Health

Today’s post is the 330th Olio entry. The title of this blog, Olio, was selected because it is defined as, “A collection of various artistic or literary works or musical pieces; a miscellany.”

I’ve invited a guest blogger and fellow Clairton High School alumnus to contribute. Read and enjoy.

I was asked if I’d like to write a “guest” blog, and at first I refused because I didn’t think I had anything interesting to say. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that what began as a career choice five years ago has become a passion, and I feel the need to share it.

Our health today is in crisis. We spend over $2 trillion a year on medical care, which represents one-sixth of the U.S. economy. This money is spent almost exclusively on treating the symptoms of illness. It has very little to do with preventing illnesses or with making people feel stronger or healthier. Studies show that 90% of pharmaceutical sales are for maintenance drugs which people will take the rest of their lives, and only 10% is for drugs that will cure a disease.


1. In 1980, 15 percent of the U.S. population was obese; in 2000, it rose to 27 percent, and today it is over 34 percent. Add to that the 33 percent who are overweight and you find that approximately two-thirds of all Americans need to lose weight. Moreover, overweight and obesity are symptoms of poor nutrition. Typically, someone who is obese is vitamin-deficient and suffers from fatigue and arthritis or other ailments that all stem from improper nutrition. Our food industry, which represents about one trillion dollars annually, exacerbates the problem by catering to the “lowest common denominator” of poor nutrition.

2. As a result of the obesity epidemic, 18 million Americans have diabetes. Sixty-five percent of people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke, and the medical costs alone to treat diabetes now exceed $100 billion a year. By 2010 diabetes is expected to exceed both heart disease and cancer as the leading cause of death through its many complications. From 2005 to 2007, the prevalence of diabetes increased 13.5 percent and if current trends continue, it is predicted that one in three Americans will develop the disease in his or her lifetime.

3. Anyone with a fasting blood glucose level between 100 and 125 milligrams is classified as pre-diabetic, which means their blood sugar is high enough to significantly increase their risk of developing diabetes. 57 million people in the U.S. have pre-diabetes and most of these people will develop type 2 diabetes.

4. Approximately 47 million Americans have metabolic syndrome, which is a combination of symptoms that includes at least three of the following: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high triglycerides, abnormal cholesterol levels and excess body weight (especially abdominal fat). Many have no idea they have it. Having metabolic syndrome increases the risk of developing heart disease by more than 30 percent and diabetes by nearly 50 percent in both men and women. Metabolic syndrome appears up to 10 years before the onset of heart disease, diabetes or related conditions.

5. For the first time in two centuries, children in America are predicted to have shorter life expectancies than their parents. This is due to the rapid rise in childhood obesity which, if left unchecked, could shorten life spans by as much as five years.


1. Increased consumption of more energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods with high levels of sugar and saturated fats.

2. Reduced physical activity.


1. Lose weight. Weight is often the mothership of many health issues. Losing just 5-10 percent of your weight improves blood pressure, fasting blood glucose and cholesterol, putting a major dent in metabolic syndrome factors and helping you lose the dangerous “apple” shape formed by belly fat accumulation. To get weight loss started, reduce portion size of foods to decrease calories you consume and exercise at least 30 minutes most days of the week.

2. Lower blood pressure. Weight loss gives you a jump on that goal along with a diet low in salt and saturated fats. Up your intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts, as well.

3. Improve cholesterol. Replace saturated fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

4. Lower blood sugar. Elevated blood sugar can wreak silent havoc on your body for years before the damage becomes apparent — or you’re diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. To lower blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity, exercise regularly and lose weight. And add more whole grains, nuts, and legumes such as beans or peas to improve blood sugar levels.

So, how does all of this tie in with my career choice? Five years ago I began taking a nutritional product that has greatly improved my health. At the age of 59, I do not take any medications and that is the way I intend to live the rest of my life. As soon as I realized this was a company of integrity with a heart, I joined the business and started helping others improve not only their health, but also their financial situation. Our goal is to “nourish our world” and through a foundation that is funded totally by our associates, we are feeding 42,000 undernourished children a day around the world with our products. For many of these children, this is the only nutrition they will receive and they are seeing fantastic changes in their health. Our products bridge the gap between what our bodies need and what we are receiving (or not receiving) from our food.

We’ve spent years calling doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies the health industry, when in reality these businesses are truly the sickness industry. The wellness industry is products and services that promote wellness rather than respond to illness—this includes nutritional supplements, super foods and juices, personal trainers and “alternative care,” such as chiropractic. I am proud to be associated with a company that is at the forefront of the wellness industry.

Jill Hogan Urso

Clairton High School Class of 1968

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Money Problems/Piracy Problems

Budgets and Pirates

A budget: Go without to stay within: These days everybody seems to need to find ways to save their Benjamin’s. A few quick tips include eating at home more often; meaning eating out less, and when you eat out, bring home the “doggie bag.” Make your own coffee instead of buying a $ 5.00 latte, although the chain that made a living on that latte now offers a coffee and oats breakfast for under $ 4.00. If you still have a job, at least a few days per week, pack your lunch instead of going out. When grocery shopping, first make a list, never shop when you’re hungry, and always shop when you’re in a hurry. Also, buy generic.

Look at your monthly budget. I’ll bet you’re giving money to banks or credit cards in the form of fees and interest. Find a bank that has no fee checking, use their debit card, and don’t overdraw. Pay down your credit cards and don’t pay late. Those two tips alone can save you hundreds per month. Reduce your cable offerings and ask your company fur “bundled” packages that include internet, cable and even phone at a substantial savings. Use the library instead of the bookstore. If you’re a student buy used. Not only are used books cheaper, somebody has already underlined for you. Some schools are now leasing books. Many bottled water companies use tap water so you’re paying for the bottle! And bottled water costs more than gas for your car. Bottle your own water and try using regular gas in your tank. Sign up for every “Rewards” program available, even if you shop at a place occasionally. You’ll hear about bargains that others don’t. Rent CDs for the family instead of going to movies. They’re cheaper and you’ll save a ton on popcorn alone. And remember the saver’s mantra: “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without.”

Somali hijackings: At this writing there is an American sea captain being held by four thugs. Nobody asked me but I will offer several plans to retrieve him and a plan to end the hijackings. First it is important to note that the ship owners have found it a better investment to pay ransoms to the thugs rather than end the problem. The cowards are those who hold human cargo for ransom but the bigger cowards are the ones who allow the continued escalation of the problem by paying millions in ransom to thugs and bullies. But I digress. A U.S. flagged ship was boarded by the pirates. The thugs were overpowered by the unarmed American crew and their pissant boat was sunk. The thugs somehow got one of the ship’s lifeboats and the ship captain, while the crew held one of the thugs. A deal was made. Send down the thug and the captain will be released. They lied. They now have their thug and the captain. Here are my solutions to retrieve him:

Solution 1: Send a couple of Navy Seals into the water and station four sharpshooters on the Navy ship’s deck. Have a Helicopter or two stir up the water to flip the boat and eject the occupants. Seals rescue hostage Captain and sharpshooters take out any of the thugs who threaten him or the ship, although chances are their weapons will be swamped overboard.

Solution 2: Navy Seals puncture holes in the lifeboat causing it to sink. Seals rescue hostage Captain. Sharpshooters take out any resisters.

Solution 3: Since the thugs and the hostage Captain are dependent on food from the Navy ship, lace the food with sedatives and wait for it to take effect. Seals board the boat, secure the bad guys, and rescue the hostage Captain. Now that the Navy has my plans for hostage rescue let me offer a plan to end the ship hijackings.


This will NOT be a U.S. operation: Phase 1 - This must be a multinational effort. Every country who has ships sailing under their flag or has crewmen of their country on board or either sends or receives goods on ships that pass through these waters must participate. The costs of the operation will be borne proportionately by the companies who use the shipping lanes.

First, all ships that pass through the Red Sea from the Suez Canal to the Gulf of Aden will be stopped during this operation. No cargo ships will pass into the Indian Ocean until the operation is over.

Phase 2: Warships from all participating countries will take part in a joint operation just as allied countries did during World War II. They will form a blockade off the Somalia coast. Troops from participating countries will be dispatched into Somalia and seek out the warlords who are directing the piracy and hijacking. They are well known to the victims of previous ship hijackings and are easily identifiable by the trappings gained from their thievery. Trappings include luxury homes, SUV autos, jewelry, drugs, fine art, and other items typically owned by despots throughout the world who prey on the less fortunate and those living in poverty. Monies will be confiscated as will any item that appears to have been purchased with ill gotten gains. Houses built with the fruits of the ransom will be destroyed. Known ringleaders will be captured and taken to an international court to be tried. Any monies confiscated will be used to develop the country. The above plan will cut off the head of the snake and as an ancient Arab proverb purports, “When you kill the head the body will die.”

Humanitarian Aid may follow: Once the perpetrators of the piracy are rounded up and sent to trial, the same coalition that brought an end to the hijackings should supplement humanitarian aid to a country that has not had a government for many years. Weapons must be confiscated, laws put into place, and a government elected by the Somali people. Schools should be build and food provided until the Somali land is replanted. But I emphasize, this must not be a U.S. Government operation but that of a coalition of all affected countries.

That is my plan and I offer it to any government official from any affected country.

A little blogging music Maestro… “We Are the World” written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie and sung by (alphabetically) Dan Aykroyd, Harry Belafonte, Lindsey Buckingham, Kim Carnes, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Sheila E., Bob Geldof, Hall and Oates, James Ingram, Jackie Jackson, LaToya Jackson, Marlon Jackson, Michael Jackson, Randy Jackson, Tito Jackson, Al Jarreau, Waylon Jennings, Billy Joel, Cyndi Lauper, Huey Lewis and the News, Kenny Logins, Bette Midler, Willie Nelson, Jeffery Osborne, Steve Perry, The Pointer Sisters, Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson, Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Dionne Warwick, and Stevie Wonder.

Dr. Forgot

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Clairton's Diverse Residents

A Community that builds heroes

Where heroes come from: We have highlighted Clairton residents past and present who have had an impact on the community and beyond. Clairton residents have gone on to make an impact in many areas; military, education, athletics, civil service, law, novel writers, and entertainment to mention a few. Today we will focus on three individuals with diverse backgrounds; a priest, a little lady who is just as sweet as honey, and a Hollywood artist.

Tale of a Tweener: Football coaches have an expression when describing certain players. Those who are too small to play one position but too big to play another they are called a tweener. The word comes from being between two sizes but is also used to describe one who has lived between two events. Don Nesti was a tweener. He graduated from Clairton High School after World War II had ended but before the Korean War or Vietnam raged to full fury. It is probably just as well too because by all accounts Don Nesti is a man of love and a man of God rather than a man of war. He also had other talents. He was an accomplished musician who played the French horn.

A student’s student: Don was a voracious student. He studied at Pitt, mastered the Italian language then went on to study at Rome’s Gregorian University and St. Mary’s Seminary in Connecticut. He completed his Doctorate and did further study at St. Edmunds College (London), Cambridge University, University of London as well as prestigious universities in Germany and again in Italy. He was a Visiting Scholar at Stanford.

Harkin to God’s call: In 1963 Don became Father Nesti when he was ordained a Priest. Father Nesti returned to Western PA and served as a professor of Theology at Duquesne University, then as the school’s president. He has a litany of accomplishments serving God and mankind as a leader and facilitator. He’s hosted symposia to bring together Christian, Islamic, and Jewish leaders and written on the Quaker faith. He’s published numerous books and articles and is in demand as a speaker. Father Nesti currently directs the Institute of Faith and Culture at St. Thomas University in Texas. Father Don Nesti, Man of faith, author, lecturer, leader, and Clairton boy.

Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop: Nell Kohler is not one to, as they used to say in Clairton, “mope around.” She’s a high energy female and always has been. She is also as sweet as honey and that personality trait earned her the nickname “Honey” Kohler. Honey and Jimmy Kohler, a Pittsburgh firefighter who died more than a decade ago did not have children, but she has a favorite niece, Darlene Large. Honey keeps herself busy by staying in touch with her niece and crocheting.

Darlene Large (as in the size of her heart): Darlene, another local girl, is the founder and CEO of Homes of the Indian Nation (HOINA) created to help destitute, handicapped, abused, and orphaned children in South India. Her organization provides shelter, food, clothing, medical care, education, and a caring family environment to some 200 children. In addition she has established services to support more than 60 elderly widows who had become displaced as a result of the 2005 tsunami. Many of the orphaned children of HOINA have become successful educators, artists, engineers and businesspeople. And her Aunt Honey crochets.

Wow! Does she ever crochet: When Darlene founded her organization she asked Aunt Honey to crochet some sweaters for the orphans. Honey made it her mission to crochet as many sweaters for the children as she was able. To date it is estimated that Honey has crocheted 13,000 sweaters and she is still going strong. Although she thinks of them daily she does not plan to visit the orphans personally; that is for her niece. Honey has never been on a plane and doesn’t intend to start now. Honey started crocheting to while away the hours during her firefighter husband’s long shifts.

A woman of faith: Honey is also a regular at her church and frequently invites those with less energy to her home for dinners. On one occasion, the night before a young couple was to come over it snowed. So Honey woke up at 5 a.m. and didn’t bother her landlord for the snow blower - she shoveled the walk herself so her guests would not slip on the ice! All of Honey’s traits make her an outstanding person, but most outstanding thing is that she is 95 years young. Nell “Honey” Kohler, Clairton gal.

Dreams of when we grow up: Johnny Moio was a shy, ruggedly handsome lad in high school. He had the classic Italian features that girls swooned over. He also had dreams of working in Hollywood so after graduation from CHS he followed Horace Greely’s advice and went west. Once in the sunny climes of LA he discovered a need for stuntmen in the movie business. So with a typical Clairton “Can do” attitude he jumped in with both feet. He also ran, jumped off buildings, got shot, crashed, and all the things stuntmen do. And he learned his trade very well.

Behind the scenes: One of his first credits was for the movie, The Hallelujah Trail. It was followed by stunt appearances in The Cincinnati Kid, Ice Station Zebra, The Great Waldo Pepper, In The Heat of the Night, The Sting, Zorro, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Me, Myself and Irene, Dr. Doolittle, and TV appearances in Dynasty, Murder She Wrote, Twin Peaks and many others. In fact John Moio was either the stuntman or stunt coordinator in more than 160 movies and TV shows. He is still active.

That’s not all, folks: John also directed. His credits include Bedazzled, Home Alone 4, What Planet Are You From, The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, I Spy Returns, Johnny Dangerously, and a host of others for a total of 29 pictures that he directed. But wait, that’s not all. John also became an actor and had acting parts in 18 films and TV episodes including Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Towering Inferno, Max Dugan Returns, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Billy Bathgate, and Everybody Hates Chris. He is an accomplished actor, stuntman, and director. John Moio, Clairton boy.

A little blogging music Maestro… “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Celine Dionne.

Dr. Forgot

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Untold Tragedy of War

A The Cost of the Iraq War

Iraq war by the numbers: The dollar cost of the Iraq war is astounding. Through mid-2009 the estimated cost of the war will be $ 800 billion or $ 12 billion per month or $ 5,000 per second. The cost of deploying each troop for one year is nearly a half million dollars. Some $ 9 billion of taxpayer’s money and an additional $ 550 million in spare parts shipped to contractors in Iraq remains unaccented for. More than 200,000 guns, over half of which are AK-47s are lost or missing. Also missing - $1 billion in tractor trailers, tank recovery vehicles, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and other equipment and items provided to the Iraqi security forces. An estimated $ 12 billion has been mismanaged or wasted including $1.4 billion in overcharges to Halliburton and $ 20 billion paid to Halliburton subsidiary KBR. The money wasted in Iraq is disgusting, but it is not the worst of U.S. losses.

Casualties of war: More than 4,200 American soldiers have returned home in body bags and flag covered coffins. Another 50,000 or so will return home wounded, missing limbs, blinded, unable to communicate with their families. These numbers are readily available on the internet. Many politicians, including President Obama have campaigned on issues surrounding the Iraq war and how it has been a drain on our economy and brave soldiers. Less reported is the fact that none of the soldiers fighting in Iraq are draftees. In many cases they are National Guardsmen whose purpose is designed to serve at home and respond to disasters in their respective states. Others are Reserves who have been called up to fight in a country that doesn’t want our troops to be there. Many of these brave soldiers have done multiple tours of duty and others have been held over beyond the time they were to have completed their obligation. But there is a more insidious cost to the war whose victims rarely show up on any of the reports. One such victim is Jason Klinkenberg. His wife was another victim of the Iraq war. Neither will be counted in any official data reports.

November 11, 2005: Senior Airman Klinkenberg was riding in a truck in a convoy somewhere in Iraq when a rocket propelled grenade hit one of the convoy trucks filled with diesel fuel. Jason raced to the damaged truck to find the driver, Daniel Jurn, on fire and screaming. Jason lunged toward the cab in an attempt to save his fellow airman but was restrained by the convoy commander. They were helpless and could only watch their comrade burn to death. The fire raged for seven hours until Jurn’s remains could be retrieved by Jason who hauled them back to the base.

Completed his tour of duty: In early 2006 the Senior Airman completed his tour of duty and visited his parents in Tooele, Utah. They noticed a change in Jason’s personality. The experience in Iraq had left him psychologically damaged. If any fire was lit in the house, whether birthday candles, fireworks, or the fireplace, Jason would react badly, often withdrawing and refusing to talk. According to his parents he was never the same after his return.

Tried to move on: Jason tried to get on with his life. He took classes at the local college. He wrote a paper for his Psychology class in which he graphically described the horror of the event that killed his fellow Airman. It didn’t help. He was haunted by the events he’d witnessed. Three weeks after he’d written the paper that was his biography, the post-war stress syndrome overtook Jason and he snapped. He shot to death his wife of 17 months then turned the .38 caliber handgun on himself.

Air Force Brat to Airman: Jason was a second generation Air Force enlistee. His Dad had served while Jason was growing up and the family moved often – Alaska, Utah, Kentucky.... Jason became known by the affectionate term of Air Force Brat, meaning he was the child of one who served in the Air Force. Instead of being inhibited by the constant moving Jason saw it as an adventure and used the experience to make new friends. He was a most personable youth. He was a class officer and athlete in high school. His motivation to join the military was not to follow in his father’s footsteps but to honor and serve his country. By all accounts Jason was the kind of guy everybody loved – honest, loyal, and brave. But when he finally returned from Iraq he was something more than that – he was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. His battle with the psychological syndrome was evidenced by his 38 visits to psychiatrists and psychologists over a two-year period. Four months before the tragedy he had attempted suicide.

Anatomy of frustration: Jason was the victim of the practice of the military extending duty tours and refusing to allow troops to be discharged when their hitch is up. The practice was started because of a shortage of available troops for an unpopular war. Jason’s tour had been extended by a year. It was extended again and he attempted suicide rather than return. Like so many victims of PTSD Jason was crying out for help, but the help was inadequate. The Iraq war has claimed several victims with the death of Jason and his wife Crystal, the devastation of their families, and the pain those remaining will feel for a lifetime over the loss of two promising lives. And none of this will be included in the cost of the war. None of the victims will be listed among the casualties of the Iraq war. But they are all victims just as sure as the truck driver who was immolated. This war must end for the good of our country, for the good of the country where the fighting is taking place, and for the good of mankind.

A little blogging music Maestro… This time, to honor Jason, his wife Crystal, and all who were affected by this tragedy, please play “Taps.”

Dr. Forgot

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Clairton Today

Not all Clairton stories are good news:

Another CHS alum who made good: Demonje Rosser lived for football, and for the kids he coached and mentored according to those who knew him. His elementary school teacher told of his million dollar smile and his easy way with both his peers and adults. He had many challenges that so often face kids from the projects, including an absentee mother much of the time. His Grandma raised him and helped him be something special and to rise above the fate that consumed many of his peers.

It was picture day and he was in the third grade or so. He’d been in a Tom Thumb wedding and his Grandma sent him to school in his tuxedo for the picture. Even at such a young age he was destined to make an impact on the world as he charmed all the teachers. By the time he graduated from Clairton High School in 1999 a new century was about to dawn and Demonje was focused on making an impact on it. He loved sports and was grateful for the role they’d played in his life. He decided to give back to the community and become a coach. He was the biological father to his four children but a second father to the many he coached from Midget League onward to varsity. Coach Rosser was known to show up on the doorsteps of the kids he coached and in their classrooms if he heard they were having problems.

Coach Rosser had made it. He had stayed in his hometown to make an impact on young lives. He was a family man who lived on a quiet street just around the corner from Clairton High School. But for some inexplicable reason his life ended in a flash and a bang. Coach Rosser was shot as he stepped from his truck in front of his two story home on Park Avenue. He died 30 minutes later at Jefferson Regional Medical Center. He leaves behind a wife and four children: a 12-year-old daughter; 6-year-old twins — a boy and a girl — and another son, age 4.

Everybody who was interviewed about Coach Rosser said essentially the same thing, "He was a joy to be around. He loved kids, and he'd go out of his way to help a kid in trouble. The little ones were his joy." He has been described as a friend, father figure and mentor. An inspiration to Clairton's youth.

Stories of Rosser's loyalty and generosity followed the news of his passing. A former Clairton football player who went on to coach the area's midget league team, the Bears linebackers coach always took care of his players. Whether it was buying food for a player who otherwise wouldn't have had dinner or giving fatherly advice to a player who came from a single-family home, Rosser was more friend than coach.

He was described “Mr. Clairton;" a father to a lot of kids who didn't have one and a second father to those who did have one. He always made sure kids who had nothing had something. Clairton has lost a legend. Rest in Peace, Coach Rosser.

More bad news on the doorstep: As if it were not bad enough that Clairton lost one of its native sons, U.S. Steel blamed the bad economy for cancellation of a huge project planned for Clairton Works. Back in October U.S. Steel announced a $ 1 Billion plant upgrade to the Coke Works that made Clairton a hive of activity in the post World War II boom. Governor Ed Rendell reacted to the initial announcement with great hope as did a community that has seen both its economy and population dwindle as steel mills closed up and down the Monongahela. But then came the good news. Workers would be called back and new ones hired as the Coke Works would be converted to the latest and best technology available.

But the euphoria and promise lasted fewer than five months. Plans for the $ 1 billion upgrade came to a grinding halt with the announcement. Along with the indefinite cancellation plans came dashed hopes for 600 new construction jobs, a lot for Clairton but a drop in the bucket compared to the 7,000 other laid off workers from U.S. Steel due to the economic slowdown.

The improvements would have also improved the air quality with reduced emissions at the plant. The upgrade was expected to include construction of two new coke batteries, or sets of ovens, which would have replaced less efficient batteries whose technology was half a century old. The project also included rehabilitation of other batteries that did not necessarily need to be replaced.

The plan was projected to take several years and included reducing the total number of coke ovens by 235 and by 30 percent the number of openings through which emissions might pass. The net result would be cleaner air for Clairton while adding new jobs to the economy.

Coke ovens, which make the product essential for production of steel are filled with metallurgical coal that's baked for hours at extremely high temperatures to remove impurities. Gases emitted during the coal baking process are captured and used as an energy source. The coke is then used as a fuel in blast furnaces.

Clairton has once again taken a hit on the chin. It will stagger but will, as it has over the past hundred years, refuse to fall.

A little blogging music Maestro, “”Wounded” by Good Charlotte.

Dr. Forgot