Columbus Dispatch

More news on fracking

Did you read yesterday’s lead editorial in the Columbus Dispatch titled Shale’s Promise? It must be true what they say, “great minds run in the same channel” because it closely parallels my blog of the previous day titled Memo raising questions in the fracking fray. Or did they read my blog?

Prosperity is headed to our state, according to the editorial, not only in the form of what the wells are projected to bring in but also in the construction and steel industries. Plans are underway to remodel or build new plants to make the steel casings needed for the wells. Business leaders see this as an opportunity for a cheaper energy source, and the petrochemical industry expects a shale-gas boom to provide cheaper raw materials.

However, the editorial warns against a gold-rush mentality and cautions the industry to do things right. It quotes Ohio’s state attorney general, Mike DeWine, cautioning landowners to beware of sharp operators who might try to trick them into signing away rights to the gas and oil on their property too cheaply. The editorial also states that protecting the environment should be given equal priority to developing the business.

In a bit of encouraging news, the editorial says that Gov. Kasich sent a letter to dozens of oil and gas companies in May inviting them to consider the opportunities in Ohio, but also noted the need to protect public safety and the environment, asking them to make a “commitment to responsible corporate citizenship.”

The editorial closes by saying ,”Kasich declared himself “simply thrilled” to hear the bullish Chesapeake report, predicting a boom to the state and if the shale-gas reserves prove as rich as reported and can be extracted without damaging Ohio’s surface and ground water, he’s right to be. “

In other related news, Larry Wickstrom, state geologist, said that the shale resources can transform the state’s economy. “I believe that we could be at the beginning of a new and extended positive chapter in Ohio’s economy, and it’s essential that we properly marshal our economic development, job training, environmental and regulatory assets to make this work right and work well for Ohio,” he said.

In a “it could be good or it could be bad” category a federal panel just released a report approving the fracking process but qualified its announcement by saying the hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” can continue safely as long as companies disclose more about their practices and monitor their environmental impact.

The committee’s report could pave the way for more gas exploration but calls for new standards to limit harmful air emissions. In 2001 shale gas accounted for less than 2% of the total U.S. natural gas production, today it is 30%, and the Energy Information Administration projects that it will amount to 45% by 2035.

The U.S. Department of Energy says companies must do more to reduce air pollution and threats to groundwater. The report also says companies should follow best practices to limit leaks of methane and other air pollutants to safeguard streams and groundwater.

The report also calls for:

  • ·         Companies to use better seismic monitoring to ensure that only gas bearing shale is fractured
  • ·         Full disclosure on the chemicals used for fracking
  • ·         More research on the potential of shale gas to contaminate groundwater and drinking water supplies.

It is encouraging to see that some recommendations are coming out at the beginning of this boom, however, only time will tell if these recommendations carry any weight. It would be great if this country could become completely independent of foreign oil, maintain a cheaper supply of energy at home, and extract this fuel in a clean and safe manner. It is up to the public to maintain vigilance and continue to pressure the companies to provide a safe environment.

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/editorials/2001/08/10/shales-promise.html

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/national_world/2011/08/11/Federal-panel-to-endorse-fracking-in-gas-drilling.html

http://www.dispatch.com/content/blogs/science-environment/2011/08/fracking-panel-report.html

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/2001/08/07/memo-raising-questions-in-fracking-fray.html

 

 

Adios Jim Tressel

Ohio State Buckeyes college football head coac...
Image via Wikipedia

The bigger they are, the harder they fall

Jim Tressel brought a lot of things to Ohio State University but the last thing anyone expected was that he would bring shame to the school. Tressel brought winning seasons,
pride, a national championship, big name sports figures, the sweater vest
fashion trend, and money—lots of money!

Everyone loves a winner. The Buckeyes consistently placed in the top 10 nationally under
Tressel’s reign making him another OSU legend. He also did it with style and
grace. He avoided controversy at all costs always giving vague, non-committal
answers at press conferences earning him the nickname of The Senator. He preached
faith and family and wasn’t afraid to take the fatherly role and punish or “bench”
a player when needed. So how did he come to a forced resignation?

By now we all know the story of what is being called “TattooGate”. A few players sold
some of their championship rings, gold pants charms, and uniforms to an owner
of a tattoo parlor (who is now under federal indictment) for money and
discounts on tattoos. When Tressel heard about the incident several months
later he covered it up rather than taking it to the university compliance
office and the Athletic Director.

I like to think that it all began very innocently on Tressel’s part. Judging from the
love and respect his players publicly profess for him and his leadership, I feel
his first reaction was to protect his players who he viewed as his family. The typical
first reaction would be to wait until later to see how big of a problem this
might be. Why alert the National Guard if it is only a small domestic
disturbance?

But, unfortunately, this small step grew into a slight stumble and then a huge fall.
The first big mistake was in September 2010 when he signed an annual statement with
the NCAA stating he did not know of any NCAA violations he had not reported;
even though he first learned of the problem the previous April. By the time everything
came to light in December there was a huge problem. Ohio State had won the Big
10 Championship and was preparing to go to the Sugar Bowl.

That championship was won with ineligible players but NCAA and Ohio State officials were confident the problem was limited to just a few players. They were given the
green light to play in the Sugar Bowl but would have to sit out the first six
games of the 2011-2012 season. This decision involved millions of dollars. The Sugar
Bowl stood to lose millions by changing teams at the last-minute and the Ohio
State fans, who had already booked reservations for the game, would lose tons
of money.

Ohio State won that game but now may have to forfeit the whole season. This story wouldn’t be as tragic if Jim Tressel hadn’t portrayed himself as Mr. Do-Right. This tale
isn’t over and we may never know the full details. Was it an innocent mistake,
a tragedy of errors, an out-right lie, or a sacrifice to protect others? Did Coach
Tressel fall on his own sword to protect his players or someone in the
administration?

Who or what is to blame for this debacle? Is it the poverty or greed on the part of a few
players? Is it too much worship at the feet of the Great God of Greenbacks? Is
it the immaturity and inability to make good decisions on the part of the
players? Is it poor leadership at the top? Is it the culture of big time
college sports? Is it the trend of entitlement of today’s young people?

Although Coach Tressel made poor decisions, he did not create the problem. That began with a handful of players at a place they shouldn’t be, doing things they shouldn’t
do. Tressel is their coach, not their babysitter.

I heard twice today on sport talk radio and TV about entitlement and posses (as in a sheriff’s posse or a group of people with a common purpose.). High profile players are coming into colleges and universities accustomed to privileges and expecting more of the same. They expect to be put on a pedestal and catered to. The idea of a posse is new to me but Colin Cowherd said today on his radio show, The Herd, that this is a part of sports. These players come with their own group of hangers-on who do everything for them from carry their helmets to whatever.

Many are questioning Terrell Pryor and his fancy sports cars and life style. They say
once he arrived on campus everything changed. Pryor received special favors and
privileges, according to those in the know. He is also under NCAA investigation
according to today’s Columbus Dispatch.

All of these incidentals aside, the very root of the problem is money. College football is
no longer just a couple of rival hometown college teams gathering on a Saturday
to play for a bell or a wooden turtle. It has grown to a billion dollar sport. Let
us not kid ourselves, Ohio State IS Columbus’s pro football team.

I’m sure we will learn much more about all this as the investigations continue. But, for now, let us go back to a more normal life. The center of the spotlight, Coach
Tressel, is gone. Let us take a moment to thank him for some great games and
wish him well. He had to resign to deflect the glare of the lights from the OSU
football program as they prepare for the fall season—whatever that may be.

NOTE–Please read the attached link below. The interview with Tressel’s QB in Youngstown gives a whole new slant on Coach Tressel and controversy.

 

NEVER TOO OLD TO LOVE A MUSTANG

Kühlergrill mit Ford Mustang

Image via Wikipedia

I am a grandmother and I drive a Mustang. So what?

There is something about certain cars that conjures up thoughts of sexiness, desire, and fun and the Mustang is one of them. However, it was never number one on my wish list until it fell into my lap one day when my nephew called and offered to sell it to me with a deal I couldn’t refuse. That was when he had more money than brains.

It has been over ten years and I’m still driving it and loving it. It is a ’98 Mustang GT V8 with just under 400 horses under the hood. It has less than 50,000 miles on it and enhancing the fun quotient is the leather seats, stick shift, and convertible roof. Nothing quite matches the thrill when the ignition clicks on and the horses underneath the hood begin to roar to life. It is a deep, guttural rumble that the whole court hears. I slip it into gear and restrain the horses as I ease out of the garage. I feel the pull when they are in full gallop racing down the highway. It is not for the timid driver. There is nothing like the feel of freedom running the back roads with the top down and the wind in your hair.

What is it about the Mustang that has made it one of the favorites for so many years? In the Monday, Jan. 24 edition of the Columbus Dispatch, staff writer, Terry Mikesell, wrote about the silver Mustang belonging to his two sons and the sad good-by his younger son endured when the older brother took it off to college. I suspect Dad might have had a twinge or two also.

One summer day, as I approached the window of a fast food drive thru a teenage boy complimented my car. I could see the envy in his eyes and I replied, “You probably think it isn’t fair a grandmother like me is driving such a car.” He sheepishly replied, “yes” and said he drives a station wagon. Horrors and the indignity of it all! I told him not to give up and someday he could have his dream car.

But, back to the question of why it has remained popular since it was introduced in 1964 at the New York World’s Fair by the New Christy Minstrels. Is it the sporty styling, quick response, sleek lines, peer envy, price, or hipness? I think part of it is the name. The name “Mustang” creates a vision of wild horses running free across the wide open plains of the west—America’s last frontier. A vision of cowboys (and cowgirls) sitting around an open campfire and chuck wagons. It creates a feeling of freedom; an escape from the pressures of today’s world.

Would the car be as desirable if it had been named after another kind of horse—the seahorse? Nope, just doesn’t sound sexy.

WHAT WERE THEIR MOTHERS THINKING?

The above picture is taken from the Columbus Dispatch multimedia site showing how Columbus citizens coped with the recent snow storm. It is filled with people bundled up, cars and snow plows on the highway, and even a cute squirrel in his cozy tree nest.

Then there is this picture of middle school students being released from school early so they can get home before the big storm hits. Look at the picture closely. If it weren’t for the dusting of snow on the ground one might think it is a fall or spring shot. No one is wearing a heavy coat, boots, hat, or gloves. In fact, one kid is wearing shorts and another is wearing a short-sleeved T-shirt.

I don’t understand the trend of young people wearing light clothing and no coats in winter and Ugg boots and knit stocking caps in summer. This fall I attended my grandson’s football game where the temperature was probably 110 degrees (actual—no exaggeration) in the stadium. In front of us were two middle school girls wearing heavy hoodie sweatshirts and jeans; however, one girl was smart enough to opt for shorts.

Some people have tried to explain to me that young people don’t feel the cold and heat the same way as us old folks. I can assure you I was not one of them. I don’t like to be cold so I bundled up in the winter. We weren’t allowed to wear pants to school therefore I wore hose and knee socks and I still froze. Unfortunately, I did not have a good pair of snow boots until college when I was working. I remember saving to buy a good pair of fur-lined boots, the forerunner of Uggs. 

So why aren’t the kids in this picture dressed for cold weather? Are they products of car pool nation and think they won’t be exposed to the cold any length of time? Are their parents working and don’t see what they are wearing before they go out the door? Or, are they trying to get pneumonia so they will miss days of school?

After pondering this question I think I finally have the answer. The mother to every under dressed kid is the woman I saw in the grocery store on a cold December night wearing flip-flops! (See “Why Do Women Wear What They Wear?”—December)

http://www.dispatch.com/live/foundation/slideshow.jsp?file=/multimedia/daily_slideshows/2011/01/snow/index.html&image=8&adsec=multimedia&tot=10&sid=101

TED WILLIAMS NOT AFRAID TO PROCLAIM GOD GIVEN TALENT

The man with the golden voice

This time last week the only Ted Williams anyone had ever heard of was the baseball player. Then a reporter for the Columbus Dispatch, Doral Chenoweth III, posted a short clip on the internet on a slow news day and overnight Ted Williams went from homeless to a star with job offers reportedly coming from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Oprah Winfrey, Jack Nicholson, Kraft Foods, and many more.

I don’t believe in blind coincidence. If things come together coincidentally, then I feel this is God’s signpost pointing us down the right path. And, there are so many things about this story that are coincidental. What drew the reporter and the homeless man together on that particular corner? Chenoweth claims he actually shot the clip a couple of weeks prior to posting it. Why did he hold onto the clip? If it had been posted before Christmas, it would, most likely, have been lost in the holiday shuffle. A slow news day at the start of a new year was a perfect time to place some “filler” on the newspaper’s web site. A feel-good human interest story will always attract some interest.

So, let’s say the stars were aligned perfectly to look favorably down upon Ted Williams. However, Ted Williams, himself, played a large part in this scenario by being prepared at the right moment. He was not afraid to do a little self-promoting on his sign. He proudly proclaimed on his sign that he had a God-given voice. There is that word again—God.

 In spite of all the suffering Ted Williams had gone through he still recognized that he had a special gift from God. When Chenoweth gave him the money and asked to hear his “God given voice” Williams not only launched into an impromptu audition but also thanked him for the opportunity and asked God to bless him. What kind of ex con and drug addict says something like that? One who was raised in a prayerful home. I have included links to several clips from the Columbus Dispatch video site. Be sure to watch the one of the reunion of Ted Williams with his mother. They both speak of their prayers over the years.

I have developed a unique belief—one I have never read or heard of from any other source. I believe God has given each one of us a special talent. It is up to us to find and develop that talent and use it for good purposes. Sometimes it is difficult finding our talent but each person knows deep within himself what that talent is. Usually teachers, parents, or other counselors help us discover it during our youth. It is then up to us to nurture and grow our talent to the best of our abilities. And, it is never too late to develop that talent. Remember Grandma Moses who didn’t take up painting until she was in her seventies?

I feel this talent is not only God-given but serves as our tie to our creator. Many times when I am writing I am deep in thought and concentration (or is it meditation) and when a piece is finished and I read it I often wonder where some of the words and phrasing came from.

The opposite side of this belief is that if we abuse or neglect our talent then we will suffer in some way. It is sometimes, but not always, physical suffering such as Ted Williams has gone through but it may be in the form of a spiritual dryness.

Putting all religious theories aside, it is wonderful Ted Williams got his second chance. He was prepared to take advantage of an opportunity when he saw it. However, now the hard work begins. Many problems often accompany overnight fame. Has he recovered from his drug and alcohol addictions enough to resist the temptations now before him?

Sadly, I see in today’s news that he has already garnered negative press. It seems he and his daughter got into an argument loud enough to cause others in the hotel to call police. He also admitted that during the press whirlwind he was nervous and asked for a nerve pill. I am asking all of you to join me in sending prayers his way to encircle him with positive energies to enable him to resist temptations and live a rich and rewarding life now that he is on a new path. He is going to need the help of many. I hope he doesn’t blow it.

http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/multimedia/video/video.html?videoUrl=http://www.dispatch.com/live/export-content/sites/dispatch/videos/2011/01/07/behind-the-story.xml?cmpid=aunews

http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/multimedia/video/video.html?videoUrl=http://www.dispatch.com/live/export-content/sites/dispatch/videos/2011/01/06/ted-reunifies-with-mother.xml?cmpid=aunews

http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/multimedia/video/video.html?videoUrl=http://www.dispatch.com/live/export-content/sites/dispatch/videos/2011/01/06/homeless-mans-camp.xml

http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/multimedia/video/video.html?videoUrl=http://www.dispatch.com/live/export-content/sites/dispatch/videos/2011/01/03/golden-homeless-voice-092457.xml