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Let’s try a new recipe for a great feeling.  The ingredients are (1) having a good time, (2) meeting new people, (3) talking about a topic you feel strongly about, (4) working with new friends, (5) working with old friends, (6) helping others, (7) getting hold of the future, (8) making your community better, (9) learning about charity needs, (10) influencing others, and (11) accepting accolades for work well done.  This life dessert is a giving circle.  It has qualities similar to missionary and rosary societies, hometown fraternities and service clubs, alumni and retiree chapters.  Well okay, the giving circles are spicier and probably more caloric.  Think chocolate sauce on double chocolate.

The stuff you can get from Google is confusing and a bit intimidating, but I don’t think the idea is hard to understand or respond to.  You join with friends and family, coworkers and strangers to pool your charity giving around a broad topic of interest.  You meet and the money collected is divided into two pots, half for immediate giving and half for an endowment fund to impact the future.

Everyone makes sugestions and everyone’s idea is given a full discussion.  A vote is taken and instructions are passed on to the community foundation: “Set this amount aside for an endowment fund and pay this amount out immediately to these nonprofits.  Call on us if you or the nonprofits need help.  Report back.”

The rules don’t have to take long to settle on or do they need to be a burden.  The Clarion County Community Foundation can take care of complying with the law, keeping the records, and handling the money.  It can even call the meetings if asked.  The people creating the giving circle need to select a broad field of interest such as Women, Food, Veterans, Earth, and then invite others to join in the charitable effort.  Most giving circles set a minimum amount for everyone to give.  If a person wants to give more they do so annonimously.  Each year the circle renews itself and the work goes on.

Do you like the idea of a giving circle?  Do you have a field of interest you want to be involved in?  Good, the next step is to call us, Steve Kosak, Executive Director at (814) 677-5085, or Charles Marlin, Board President at (814) 797-2233.  We can put out publicity to recruit others and create a page on Clarion Friends to let the community know what you are doing and planning.

If you want to read about giving circles but not spend time searching, go to Forum Of Regional Associations Of Grantmakers at http://www.giving forum.org  Their Ten Basic Steps to Starting a Giving Circle reinvents the wheel but you will see that hitching a ride with CCCF is a lot easier and more exciting.  They have two longer documents you may wish to look at, More Giving Together: An Updated Study of the Continuing Growth and Powerful Impact of Giving Circles and Shared Giving by Jessica E. Bearman, and another by Angela M. Eikenberry, Giving Circles and Fundraising in the New Philanathropy Environment, published February 2007.  Eikenberry will have a book published by Indiana University Press this coming June, Giving Circles: Philanthropy, Voluntary Association, and Democracy.  Charles Marlin

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If I was not a music illiterate I could tell you a lot more about John Adams’ autobiography Hallelujah Junction: Composing An American Life.  The writing is lean and clean, personal and persuasive.  The life story I enjoyed.  When he wrote about the music I did a high school and waited until he came back to the life stuff.  I would believe someone who says the music stuff is wonderful.  I’m not dead, just musically out of it.  When he wrote about developing libretti it was with an authority and compassion I found compelling.  His web site www.earbox.com is not bad either.  If his music is good for you, go for the book.

I asked my friend Roger Horn to recommend a CD for someone looking for an introduction to Adams’ music.  I have cut and pieced together his response.  “I like Adams’ music, though quite selectively.  When I think about it my mind turns to Nixon In China first of all, anticlimactic though the last act may be, and then to The Chairman Dances, which is derived from Nixon In China.  Just hearing ‘I am the wife of Mao Tse Tung’ would make it all worthwhile, but there are lots of other goodies.”

Nixon In China (Nonesuch 79177) is an original cast recording with Edo de Waart conducting the Orchestra of St. Lukes, featuring James Maddelena as Nixon, Sanford Sylvan as Chou En-lai, John Duykers as Mao, and Carolann Page as Pat Nixon.  Charles Marlin

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Kevin D. Beichner has self-published a runaway best seller for the holiday season in Clarion County. His A Clarion County Collection: Post Cards & Photographs sells for $20 at locations scattered through out the county. By soliciting help from many residents he has images of every town and township. There are great shots of buildings and bridges, rivers, streets and stores, and Clarion University through its early years.

On page 167 he claims to have an early photograph of the Wayside Inn but if you use a magnifying glass the third man from the left looks like Chris Kurtzhal. Judge for yourself.

On page 75 he has a great early photograph of Seminary Hall, perhaps earlier than the post card reproduced here. When I came to the campus Seminary Hall was still in use. I didn’t teach in the building but I did administer final exams there. When the dunderheaded administration decided it was in the way, appeals did no good as administrators know best because they are administrators. Al Pfaff made a great photographic record of their effort over several unscheduled days to bring down the “unsafe” building. What they put on the site was and remains ugly.

A later administration erected a faux bell tower near the site but even students’ whose parents were not born when Old Seminary came down can sense that the faux tower neither stands nor rings in a league with what was lost. The faux tower will serve a purpose if it reminds the present and future administrations that heritage is not a commodity and that savaging heritage is antithetical to the being of a university. Charles Marlin

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Midway through making these hors d’oeuvres they may look like something Sherman stepped on marching through Georgia, but not to fear.  With these balls, Dixie never tasted as good.

6 ounces pork sausage

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) butter, room temperature

3/4 cup grated or shredded Chedder cheese, room temperature

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

36 pecan halves

Gently cook the sausage but stop before any of it gets hard.  Drain, cool, and crumble.

With a spatula cream the butter and cheese together until smooth.  Gradually blend in the flour and salt to make a dough.  Crumble the sausage over the dough and mix in with your hand.  Chill until firm or about 20 minutes.

Make small balls no bigger than the end of your thumb.  The balls need to be big enough to press a pecan halve into the center, but no bigger.  You should get close to 36 dough balls.  Place on a cookie sheet.  Bake in the oven 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Serve warm or store in the refrigerator.  Charles Marlin

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In David Guterson’s The Other a happy, productive high school teacher tells the tortured story of his blood friendship with a high school friend who seeks, finds, and wallows in madness.  Both lives are given their due, and you realize living and enjoying being a high school English teacher and husband can be a high accomplishment.  You don’t buy this, you earn it.  I wish he had been my high school English teacher.  Charles Marlin

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This recipe is easy and you don’t have to be exact.  Remember Sister Bridget who taught Home Arts?  If you didn’t measure each ingredient to within dust and check it off in your cooking journal, she went into a snit for a week.  You can with sweet memories cook this in her honor.

2 1/2 lbs beef stew in 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces or any cut of beef you prefer

4 to 6 slices of bacon, quartered

Olive oil

All purpose flour

Salt and Black Pepper

14 oz can of beef broth

2 cups of red wine

6 oz can of tomato paste

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons of herb – either marjoram, parsley, thyme, tarragon, or chives. Select one.

1 to 2 cups cut carrots

15 oz jar of drained pearl onions or frozen pearl onions

8 oz mushrooms, cut in half if large

Lightly coat beef with flour and set aside.  Begin bacon in stockpot over medium heat, then increase heat and brown half of beef and remove.  Brown the other half of beef and remove.

Add half of beef broth to stockpot and deglaze by scraping the bottom with a plastic spoon and stirring for 1 to 2 minutes.  Stir in red wine, remaining beef broth, tomato paste, garlic, herb, salt and pepper.  Return all the beef to the stockpot.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.

Add carrots and onions, cover, and simmer for another 30 minutes.  As the last step, add mushrooms, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Serve over noodles or rice or with crusty bread.  It looks and tastes great.  Charles Marlin

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If you let the authors’ silly wordplay bother you, you may not get past philanthrocapitalism, Billanthropy, philanthropreneurship, philanthrocrats, and celanthropist which they credit to Time in Matthew Bishop and Michael Green’s Philanthro-Capitalism: How The Rich Can Save The World.  The book can not be faulted as a scholarly work as the authors are not historians.  They skitter through with no footnotes, biases ablaze, and at magazine depth.  If they judge something to be fresh and discovered by them, they sing its praise, everything else is outmoded and anecdotal.  Their anthem is that today’s wealthy entrepreneurs and venture capitalists must and will save the world by eliminating all inequity and need if the reactionaries will be cooperative or at least step aside.

On the management of risk in the market, Bishop and Green write on pages 77 and 78, “in the past few decades there has been a revolution in finance that has allowed a much deeper understanding of risk and generated more efficient ways of managing it.  This has resulted, overall, in a massive increase in the productivity of capital, the lifeblood of capitalism, and has benefited most of us, by driving faster economic growth, as well as handsomely rewarding its most capable practitioners.”  Well, we are lucky.  Charles Marlin

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