Monthly Archives: June 2011

School Board Voting for Taxation Without Representation in Upper Oxford Pennsylvania

If we were black or all over the age of 60, we could claim discrimination and body slam the elected — that’s right elected – members of the Oxford School District with a law suit that would stop the redistricting scheme in a heartbeat.

But we’re not all black, not all over 60  We are simply more than 2,500 taxpayers who get hit with a school tax bill  paying in the mid to high $6,000 range every year.  And we are about to lose ANY representation on the school board.

This is America, you say,  Taxation without representation is why we fought the Revolutionary War, you add.  This cannot be happening in this sleepy, ruburb community.

It is.

Oxford School Board Member Joe Scheese presented the resolution saying the current division of the district into 3 regions was, “…very skewed and out of balance.”

Scheese wants board members to be elected at large –  all 9 of them.  And taxpayers in the respective districts would NOT be able to vote for specific representatives who live in their township, know their issues and can represent the people and problems specific to Upper Oxford, effectively.

If Scheese feels that we don’t deserve representation, then perhaps he, and the School Board, can do without the tax dollars of the 2,484 people they propose to disenfranchise.  Conservatively speaking, that’s only $1,242,000.

Cut us out of the process if you must but give us back our hard-earned money if you do.  No one should have to pay for being railroaded by an elected official, no one.

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Filed under Budgeting, Business writing, Home Ec on Acid

Remembering My Big Brother

As you get older, months take on different significance.  Months that used to be filled with birthdays, anniversaries and graduations now harbor dates where someone you love learned he was dying and months where father, brother, mother, died.

June is one of those months for me.  My brother Mike learned he would die of a brain tumor in June.  I think he suspected that he was dying but the doctors confirmed it on June 11th, 2007.  I spent the next 2 weeks living in Virginia, fighting for tests, for hope, because my sister-in-law could not.  She was in shock; she was  losing her husband of 43 years.  But there was to be no reprieve.

Every weekend for 8 weeks, my husband and I drove to Roanoke on Thursday evening or Friday morning and stayed with Mike and his wife.  We brought wine, and steaks, pies, homemade chocolates and our love.   Days and nights were spent holding his hand, talking, laughing, watching his favorite movies, listening to his favorite music, his only music — classical.

Poignant moments came at odd times like when he stood in his hall, looking at his CD collection and said, “No one will want my music when I die.”  Or the time he looked up and me and said, “Why my words?  Why is this tumor taking away my words?”

How do you answer questions like that?  I answered by taking his hand, holding it, telling him I loved him and slowly, slowly moving him back toward living and away from the edge of his own death.

During those last weeks, he and I completed his last project together – putting the rails on the stairs to his front deck.  Sounds like a simple job but it wasn’t.

Mike couldn’t calculate anymore.  My genius, electrical engineer, computer programming wunderkind brother could no longer do math.  I never could.  But for 8 hours, on a Wednesday, he and I struggled to space the spindles on the last remaining stairwell on the deck.  And we did it exactly correctly.

Oh I tried to do it easy – just aligning them with the spindles on the other side but Mike had lost his math skills, not his personal power.  So, slowly, carefully, dividing to a 13th of an inch, he and I put those spindles in place.  And when we were done, we sat on his glider, on his newly finished deck, poured the last of his 21-year-old Scotch and drank to each other, to the deck and to the day.

Michael died on August 8th, just 9 weeks after he received his death sentence – malignant astrocytoma – brain tumor.  But he lives on, those days and weeks live on, memories, celebrations to a life well and truly lived.

It is June and I celebrate you Mike.

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Filed under Healthcare, Life & Death

You Are What You Eat…Really!

I’ve been thinking about my brain a lot lately.  Why?

I lost both of my brothers to brain tumors, one of them just one year ago.  And I just got a chance to see Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuro anatomist, talk about her 8 year recovery from a massive stroke.

So, what’s been on my mind, literally, is how does this thing up there work and how can I keep from growing a brain tumor?

The answer that seems to rising to the surface these days is surprising.  You are what you eat and your food choices could be killing you.

Dr. William Li, President, Medical Director, and Co-founder of the Angiogenesis Foundation, works with other well-known scientists and physicians a unique approach to fighting and in some cases, preventing, some of the most debilitating diseases affecting men, women and children including cancer and stroke.

Angiogenesis, the growth of new capillary blood vessels, is a naturally occurring process in the human body.  But when capillary blood vessel growth is inhibited or stimulated, disease processes can begin.   Researchers at the Angiogenesis Foundation are successfully using drug therapies to treat cancer but despite tremendous successes, Dr. Li feels that instead of treating the disease, we should be preventing it.

One weapon we can use to try to restore balance to blood vessel growth is food.  In fact, over a year ago, during a TED talk, Dr. Li released a list of foods that might help in the fight against disease, foods that Dr. Li says, “…cut off the supply lines and beat cancer at its own game.”   His theory is that we can eat to starve cancer.

So, what’s on the doctor’s menu?

Blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, raspberries, red grapes, dark chocolate, olive oil, tuna, green tea and red wine, soy, kale, licorice, bok choy and grapefruit among other foods.  The point is that what we put in our mouths makes a difference not just in how we feel, how much we weigh, how much energy we have but in how our bodies stay healthy and fight disease.

So thanks to Dr. Li and the Angiogenesis Foundation and a tip of the hat to nutritionist Victor Lindlahr, who in 1942 published  You Are What You Eat: how to win and keep health with diet, who knew, 70 years ago that we really are what we eat.

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Filed under Healthcare, Life & Death