Archive for July, 2010

Clarion County Community Foundation will have an information table at the Oberlander Baby Boomer Expo on Friday, August 6th from 10am to 1pm, at The Meisinger Center of the Immaculate Conception School, Main Street, Clarion.

Enter The Meisinger Center through double doors at the back of the beautiful school building.  I will be there to autograph printouts of different posts from Clarion Friends, and to pose for photographs with every visitor who wants one.  Be sure to bring your camera.  Other CCCF on-air personalities will be there to take the picture for you.

Don’t worry or try to cut inline, I will stay as long as I see a camera.  Give yourself time to also visit some of the other tables.  We don’t want any hurt feelings.

And yes, there are door prizes provided by the exhibitors.  Charles Marlin

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                 Mr ? Man

#7  What is a field-of-interest endowment fund?

Mr?Man senses this question is going to need more than two sentences to answer.  Field-of-interest is a term used by Clarion County Community Foundation as well as other community foundations to identify trust funds dedicated to broadly stated charitable purposes such as family abuse, children and youth, food and nutrition, shelter, conservation, the arts, science education, veteran support, animal care, libraries and literacy.

These charitable purposes may be a part of the mission of one or several nonprofits active within the county.  Grants made from such a fund may go to one or more nonprofits who applied for grants, but a grant is never given automatically to a specific nonprofit.

#8  What is a fund contract with a community foundation?

When a donor sits down with the community foundation representative, the donor is encouraged to talk about what they want their gift to achieve, how they want their fund to operate, and what they would like the fund to be named.

If their fund names a specific nonprofit, or is for a charitable purpose that may be different or even gone in a hundred years, the donor is encouraged to identify a field-of-interest as a beneficiary in a sunset provision.  For example, if the nonprofit named in the fund or its successor ceases to exist or reside in Clarion County, the fund shall go to a field-of-interest named by the donor.

The donor may also want to describe how the fund committee is set up.  For example, who will decide who receives a grant?  What will be the criteria used in making those grants?

All this is written into a contract that is eventually signed by the donor, the Board President of CCCF, and the Board President of Bridge Builders Community Foundations.  This prevents anyone from later deciding to rework your fund into something entirely different.  Your fund stays as you created it.  Charles Marlin

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Out of rock and loneliness, pain and joy, imagination and fantasy, Edward Morgan Forster slowly, often in secrecy, crafted a life and literary career that shined light in dark English-speaking closets everywhere.  Although he always suffered repression of his work, he gave others a vision of expanded freedom.  He taught that human affection is central to any life worth living.  He taught himself how to write beautifully and truthfully in many forms.

E. M. Forster wrote a great deal that he saw published, much was posthumously published, and a vast private library of diaries and letters.  He worked on Maurice for decades as his philosophy developed leaving it to be published after his death.  Others have written a great deal  about him, and now a fresh and wonderful addition from Wendy Moffat, A Great Unrecorded History: A New Life Of E. M. Forster.

The author gives warmth and wit to the story of Forster’s life, never casting her shadow over the subject and keeping the reader ever alert.  Few authors are as interesting as their best work, here however, is a life worth reading and a primer to follow in rediscovering Forster’s best work.

I enjoyed every page.  Charles Marlin

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My grandmothers were educated at home.  My mother taught in one-room schools.  My high school science room had one alcohol burner.  The library was a corner of the study hall walled off with chicken wire and one-by-two framing.  American public school education has been on a roll from the very beginning.  Rolling, rolling, rolling.

No one has a clear notion of what it will be like in fifty years.  Staff, buildings, teaching methods, content, school taxes, and graduation may not even go by these names or exist.  What will remain for sure?

There will be children to educate, neighborhoods and communities as homes for our families, and the powerful need to come together to better our children’s education.

Taking what we know will endure, I propose a new concept of endowing our schools that goes beyond the restrictions of scholarship funds, library support funds, and support for athletic facilities.  Combine all the interests into an endowment fund to support the public education of children in the community, or district if you want to keep a term that may become obsolete.

The new school endowment fund would encompass all athletics, cheer leading and dance, theatre, marching band,  science organizations, library service, physical activities at every grade level,  all subjects,  special needs programs, and scholarships.  If you think of something left out, consider it added.

Given this new endowment fund a fund committee drawn from those who contribute to the fund and live and work in the community.  Ensure the fund committee is free of board of education directors and family, administration members and family.  Pledge them to be open to alternative views and priorities.  Pledge them to open communication with students, faculty, administration, families, and community.  Pledge them to hear the lone student as well as the organized parent supporters.  Pledge them to listen not only to current staff but also the retired staff.

This is a great idea with the flexibility and stamina to protect the community interests regardless of the changes that come upon us.  Give it some thought.

Would you consider giving a planned gift or bequest to the Clarion County Community Foundation for such an endowed fund in your community?  Even if you’re not there, the fund will keep your name ahead of  the game.  A community foundation endowment fund serves in perpetuity.  Charles Marlin

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My grandfather lived in Ripley County, Missouri and was a farmer, Baptist preacher, and fox hunter.  As a child I remember he smoked a pipe often and he had an ever present cough.  To treat the cough he medicinaly applied a bit of whiskey each evening.  One of his hunting buddies would take his canning jar and glass lid to a blind tiger known to those who needed to know.

It was a stump on property owned by a “big city lumber company.”  The stump faced an open, sometimes cultivated field and dusty road.  To the back was thick brush and trees leading into swampy bottomland.

Sometime in the afternoon you put your money on the stump with the jar on top.  You came back early the next morning and picked up your filled jar, leaving by a route different than the one coming in.  It was not considered neighborly to create a path.

Stories about Prohibition and moonshine are fun to tell, but the truth is grim and dark.  Accustomed to the movie and television versions, Daniel Okrent’s Last Call: The Rise And Fall Of Prohibition will remake your history of the period.

Okrent writes in the Epilogue, “In almost every respect imaginable, Prohibition was a failure.  It encouraged criminality and institutionalized hypocrisy.  It deprived the government of revenue, stripped the gears of the political system, and imposed profound limitations on individual rights.  It fostered a culture of bribery, blackmail, and official corruption.  It also maimed and murdered, its excesses apparent in deaths by poison, by the brutality of ill-trained, improperly supervised enforcement officers, and by unfortunate proximity to mob gun battles.”

The author begins with the reform movements that built into the temperance movement, and covers the religious and political maneuvers that finally led to the enactment of the Eighteenth Amendment and the Volstead Act.  He covers the metastasised evil of it all that met its end with the Twenty-First Amendment.  It’s a lot to cover which he does with great skill.

The myth of mobster/bootlegger lives on.  In today’s Wall Street Journal, July 20, 2010, there is a story by David Kesmodel about the bickering extended family of Al Capone and of a strange person who dresses like Al Capone and claims to be a grandson.  The extended family wants nothing to do with him or his request to exhume Al Capone’s body for DNA tests.

One myth the author deflates is that of Joe Kennedy, bootlegger and mob associate.  Those pages, 366 to 371, are Kennedy gold.

You’ll be glad you read the book.  Charles Marlin

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If you are a peacock lover, delighted at every sighting, then I have the rental movie for you.  Go to Netflix for Peacock, naturally set in Peacock, Nebraska.  I checked my ’92 Rand McNally Road Atlas, but could not find the town so I don’t know what that story is.  Charles Marlin

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Don Wilson, new president of the Clarion Chapter of the  Association Of Pennsylvania State College & University Retired Faculties has canceled our annual summer picnic because of the heat wave he claims.  What happened to all those tigers who were going to change higher education for ever?  Are they now without teeth and other beastly qualities?  I recall some once had firm attractive bodies.  I fear my colleagues have aged.

I shall spend the afternoon in question chopping wood.  If anyone wants to call me in the evening, first try the Clarion Hospital.  Charles Marlin

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A friend called yesterday to report that a scan showed storm clouds, she and her companion were leaving their summer home in Venango County for Illinois and their personal physician.  I said I would hang something on my spirit tree for them, so the photographs are  firstly for them and my tired stories for everyone else.

Years ago while going through a bad patch, I walked into the woods to find something or resolve something for which I had neither words, images, or directions.  Returning to the house still clueless I walked by a Dawn Redwood I had planted in a most ungodly place.  Under a tall canopy of Hemlocks, one when struck by lighting had come down and taken out the top of its stunted cousin, the tree lives on rocks and clay.

I knew.  “Stay here,” I patted the tree.  “I will be right back.”  The first useful material I found was a ball of red yarn.  I put up a strand for myself.  A strand for another.  Since then there have been a lot of yarn, ribbon, and small personal tokens go on the tree.

I do it for myself and friends when facing health issues, lost jobs, wayward lovers.  I do it to celebrate good turns, a friend’s book published, and lovers come home.  I do it when a friend dies and when I lose an artist or writer I cared about.

I don’t think of the spirit tree as a religious activity.  Perhaps I don’t care to figure it out.  I just do it.  Two conservative Presbyterians, too dear for me to be coy, saw the tree.  “Why is there stuff hanging in the tree?”  “Oh, it’s my remembrance tree.”  “That’s nice.”

You don’t need to hide your spirit tree unless you want to.  You can use your corner magnolia or a tree you enjoy on your morning walk.  Most people, if they notice, will understand.

In early history, I went to a graduate student party at Indiana University where the host displayed two small figures he claimed to have found at the base of a big tree in an Indiana state park.  The skeleton was wood and the body was wire wrapped around the wood.  Fashioned as male and female, each had a personal item attached.  One had a small wooden spool with faded thread.  The other a very worn pipe stem.  We all howled, but who gives credence to the young and drunk.  If I saw those figures today I would remain silent.  Charles Marlin

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The Clarion News for Tuesday, July 13th shows a senior lady being arrested for sitting in a rocking chair while her beloved South Street is denuded of shade trees.  There is concern bordering on panic about the future of rocking chairs in Clarion Borough.

The rumor is that city council leaders have asked the borough solicitor to research the strongest charge and penalty for possession or use of a rocking chair within the borough.  It is not clear if rocking chairs within the confines of home or business, or on the Clarion University campus, will be exempted from the potentially new ordinance.

In Michelle’s they have preemptively removed all rocking chairs.  This panic may spread.  Porches may give way to uncomfortable, straight-backed, static chairs.

Before the shade and pleasure of summer are fractured and lost, cooler-headed political leaders must step forward.  I say, don’t turn Clarion into a hot Tea Party.  Charles Marlin

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Early in the spring I found this Wheatland Pipe flag and brought it home.  Originally I thought I would hold it hostage until a ransom was paid to Clarion County Community Foundation.  It seemed like a good idea until I did a little research.

Wheatland Pipe is really Wheatland Tube Company, part of behemoth John Maneely Company majorly owned by The Carlyle Group.  I may be dumb and old but I am not sending a ransom note to a “group” that has its own seat at the United Nations.

Next I thought of contacting Barry Zekelman, Executive Chairman, but it appears he does not like to take prisoners.  A car dealer tried to stiff him on a purchase of a red ’09 Bugatti and he set his junkyard lawyer on the car dealer and the car company.  He has a beautiful new home in Arizona that people are whispering about.  The rumor is that Obama will make it his Western White House during the Federal occupation of Arizona.  I am not sending a ransom note to a man with those problems.

Next, I thought I would check out their new Chief Executive Officer Frank A. Riddick III.  The name looked approachable until I found out he is very in with World Wrestling Entertainment and may on occasion go in the ring.  Spooky.

So I have decided not to send any ransom notes.  Wheaty, yes last month I gave it a name.  Wheaty gets lots of fresh air and almost every morning waves as I first walk by.  The black bears leave him alone.

It is generally accepted scientific opinion that flags never evolve a personality, but that may not be true in this case.  On windy days he seems to respond.  If you want to send him a vacation postcard, address it to Wheaty c/o CCCF, Suite A, 21 North 6th Avenue, Clarion PA 16214.  Charles Marlin

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