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LAFAYETTE, La., May 12, 2009 -- I had an uncle, growing up in the foothills of North Carolina, who could make anything. On many a visit to his place he would make us something to play with. "Let's mosey (his word) over to the shed (his place of solitude and attached to his barn) and find something to do," he would say.
We made tabletop pecan crackers, yard rings to run and push, the first two-wheel wheelbarrow I ever saw, and many other very practical items.
On arriving at the shed, the first thing he would do would be to pull his real leather apron from its place on the wall and put it on over his bibbed Oshkosh's. He would then say, "If somebody needs something, somebody will make it." That was his version of "necessity is the mother of invention"
Recently a tiny speck of my uncle's influence revealed itself. I needed to make something and I had an idea. I was teaching three little boys to throw a baseball and I did not have any yoyos. I needed some wooden yoyos. .
During my baseball summer camp days, I taught the very young players, 5, 6, and 7 year olds, how to throw a baseball. Using a baseball to teach throwing a baseball is not always the best method. A baseball, thrown properly, will have true backspin. The very young have to be taught this. Often their throws have more of a side-ways or tumbling spin. The young thrower cannot always see or understand this looking at a sphere. To overcome that barrier, I would have them throw wooden yoyos with no strings. If the backspin was not imparted on the yoyo, it wobbled -- something these youths could see.
An athletic seven-year-old grandson offers me opportunities again, to work with the young players. Teaching the three boys how to throw was one of those opportunities. I needed my yoyos, but had long since given all of them away. Plastic yoyos don't work well for my purpose and wooden ones are now next to impossible to find. I needed to make some. Remembering my uncle, I made six, two for each boy.
The photo shows the outcome. I call it a "Throw-Yo". My "Throw-Yo" works better than any of the wooden yoyos I had used in the past. The three boys took to it real quickly. Their interest was such that I was encouraged to make more "Throw-Yos."
I am now passing along my "Throw-Yo" to anyone who wants one. I include instructions on how to use it along with other throwing drills. Any dad, mom, granddad or grandma can use the "Throw-Yo" to teach a youngster how to throw a baseball.
I do not think I have invented the 2009 version of the Hula Hoop, but one never knows. I would love to see just how many youngsters across this country we could get to use the "Throw-Yo".
Baseball is not being played in the backyards of America to the degree it once was. Maybe we could revive the interest and get more dads and sons playing games of catch in the backyard. Improving the skill level always make the endeavor more fun. The "Throw-Yo" may just help do that.
would like a "Throw-Yo" contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All you need to do is cover the shipping and I will send you one. Send
me a check for $5, which includes postage and handling, and I'll send
you a "Throw-Yo" of your own!
MAY 12, 2009 -- Here are some notes from a recent visit to Washington, D.C. They could be useful if you plan a visit to the nation's Capitol.
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Washingtonians know about it, and also do veterans of the Marine Corps. For a first-class military show, check out the Friday night Evening Parade at the Marine Barracks, at Eighth and Eye Street, S.E. These performances take place at 8:45 each Friday night this year from the first of May through August 28.
Admission is free, though reserved seats are all taken for this season, and the first parade was last Friday. However, show up at the Barracks about 6:30 p.m. on the Friday you want to attend, and a limited number of free general admission tickets are available. We got ours and sat within three rows of the parade ground, albeit in the "end zone." Those finding tickets on the Internet (for 2010) can get a far better view from the bleachers. The seating capacity is approximately 1,000. (After getting your tickets, enjoy some of the good restaurants along Eighth Street before the parade.)
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No matter what you are doing in Washington, it's possible in most cases to take the subway and walk a few blocks, since parking is such a problem (and also so costly.) We got a tip you might appreciate if you're heading to the very good Washington Zoo.
Don't get off the Metro at the Woodley Park-Zoo station. If you do, you'll have to walk several blocks uphill before descending to the zoo. Instead, get off at the next (Cleveland Park) station and walk to the zoo downhill! Then, when you have completed your zoo tour, walk to the Woodley Park-Zoo station, also a downhill walk!
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Around waterfronts in big cities of the nation, there are often seafood eateries. That's the case in Washington along the Potomac, just south of the main bridges from Virginia into the city, a place where you see mounds of fresh and cooked boiled crab, shrimp and other seafood for sale to take out from the riverside stalls. (There are also several large seafood emporiums offering high-quality table service.) But the stalls are most colorful, and usually thronged with people.
It took me more than 30 minutes of waiting in line, ordering, and finally walking away with our prepared seafood purchases. And the quality is high. We were lucky in another way, in that we just happened upon a nearby parking place right by the market stalls. Good food and parking: two Washington treats.
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The Capitol is full of monuments, always heavily visited by tourists. Besides the main ones (Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials near the Basin), one, which we always find delightful, is the FDR Memorial. It is not large and overpowering, but more subdued and linear, with several different exhibits commemorating the four terms of our 32nd president, all to the music of flowing fountains. A favorite of many, and great for picture taking, is the depiction of several figures in a bread line, symbolizing what our nation was going through when FDR was president. There's an overall good "feel" for this exhibit, which is by the Potomac, about halfway between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials.
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Best of all in Washington, since it is the Capitol, are the many extensive and free museums, many of them part of the Smithsonian Museum. Though there are many other attractions, the museums alone make visiting Washington most distinctive and worthwhile.
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Editor, the Forum:
As a long time resident of Capitol Hill, I think you need to be aware that you painted a far rosier picture of entry level "city livin'" than is reality for many of us Washingtonians. Specifically, you cited housing prices as related to the size of living spaces.
A $500,000, 1,500 sq. foot row house would be a steal in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, even in this economy. Most row houses you described -- the two to four story structures, ranging anywhere from 700 to 3000 square feet, start at an entry price of $600,000 on Capitol Hill. In fact, a recent sale -- as recent as in two weeks ago -- was of a 773 square foot, two bedroom row house for $589,000 (you'd be surprised what we can pack into our small, confined spaces). To give you an idea of the market, this house was under contract five days from the day it was listed.
Now, certainly some homes in this neighborhood are not selling. Homes over $1.2 million are harder to sell than homes under $800,000. And it is easily possible to purchase a condo in this neighborhood for the prices you noted. And, to be fair, you can purchase a home farther out from the buzz of Eastern Market at a more reasonable rate (realizing of course that those disregarded homes of old are "cheap" but need major overhauls inside and structurally). Regardless of the expense, however, the Capitol Hill neighborhood is truly one of the gems of the nation's capitol and those of us who have the opportunity and the means to live here have a quality of life that is unmatched in most areas of the country.
They'll be raising the woof when the fourth annual "Petapalooza" comes to Town Center Park Saturday, May 16. This pet party in the park will include dog agility, Frisbee, and flyball demonstrations; pet contests (costume, cutest, and biggest and smallest); inflatable for human children; pet adoptions; more than 30 pet vendors; and musical performances.
The tail-wagging fun begins at noon; admission is free. Dog demonstrations will be on the hour from 1-3 p.m. The musical line-up features State of Man, which will take the Town Center stage at 7:15 p.m. and also includes Sunset Love Affair (4 p.m.), Joe Stevenson Band (5 p.m.), and Edison Project (6:15 p.m.).
Dogs, cats, birds, ferrets, and iguanas as well as their humans are welcome; all pets must be on a leashes. Pet as well as food and beverage vendors will be on hand. Parking is available at Suwanee Town Center, located at Buford Highway and Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, and across the railroad track in historic Old Town along Main Street.
Lawrenceville ghost tours are back weekends until September
Like a visit from an old friend, the Aurora Theatre's Lawrenceville Ghost Tours are back.
If you are someone who enjoys great weather, local history and ghosts, we invite you to help us get the ball rolling with the Atlanta area's most popular Ghost Tour. You can hear vivid stories of the strange and supernatural, a costumed guide leads ghost tour groups on a 90-minute adventure on the Historic Square in downtown Lawrenceville every Friday and Saturday at 8: 30 p.m. from May until September. The Tours are priced at $12 for adults and $9 for children. (During October, the tours are offered nightly.)
There's free parking at the Lawrenceville Downtown Parking Deck at 153 Crogan Street. For reservations call 678-226-6222 or visit www.scarystroll.com.
Quinn House golf tournement to be held Tuesday, May 19
Signs and Wonders Inc, which operates The Quinn House, a full-service non-profit and volunteer outreach serving Gwinnett County, invites golfers to their second annual Golf Tournament. This event will be held May 19 at Royal Lakes Golf and Country Club in Flowery Branch, Ga.
Gene Brinkley, executive director of The Quinn House, says "Our Golf Tournament participants help raise funds for our outreach operations in Lawrenceville. Our services include food distribution to those in need, along with a residential program for men and women that helps them regain a stable lifestyle after a crisis situation. Knowing you've helped another person in these difficult times while enjoying a great round of golf is a wonderful and productive way to spend the day and help those in need at the same time."
The Quinn House is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and all contributions are tax deductible.
information on sponsorship and participation opportunities, contact Jeff
Renfroe, tournament director, of Dacula, at 770-378-9541 or via e-mail:
Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center is slated for an expansion
using sales tax funds from the voter-approved 2009 SPLOST program that
went into effect this month. A $2.8 million contract for design and construction
administration has been won by Pieper O'Brien Herr Architects, Ltd., of
Alpharetta. They will work closely with DLR Group-Orlando, a justice market
specialist. These two firms had the highest scores of 14 bidders for the
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County has acquired two parcels of land to expand existing park and greenspace
Gwinnett students win scholarships for financial management
Two Gwinnett students as recipients of the 2009 Sanders Financial Management scholarships. They are Jerry Fong, a student at Norcross High School, and Zack Radermacher, a student at Wesleyan School. Each has received scholarships valued at $500. Owen Malcolm, chief operating officer at Sanders Financial Management, says "Sanders Financial Management is committed to investing in the community where we live and work, and a key focus of our commitment is support for education."
To educate students, SFM launched the Sanders Stock Market Challenge in 2006. This initiative is a ten-week simulated stock market competition designed to teach students about economics and finance and better prepare them for careers in the business world.
Jerry Fong's simulated portfolio was up 21 percent in just 10 weeks. To put that in perspective, during the same time period the S&P 500 (which is a broad stock market average) was up less than five percent. Fong had prudent investments in a bank, and several Chinese companies.
Zack Radermacher's portfolio was up 15 percent in 10 weeks, for an annual return of nearly 80 percent. Radermacher had a diversified portfolio, including a shipping company, a global conglomerate, and a small regional bank.
Tampa youth starts walk to help Rainbow Village homeless
Zack Bonner, 11-year-old recipient of the President's Volunteer Service Award, technically began the third leg of his walk from Tampa, Florida to Washington, D.C. on May 11 in Atlanta. But the real walk began on Thursday, May 7, with a visit to some of the beneficiaries of his quest, the formerly homeless children and youth of Gwinnett's Rainbow Village.
In November 2007, Zach started his trek from "My House to the White House" to demonstrate how one person can raise awareness of the fastest growing group among homeless population---children---and make a difference in the battle to break the cycles of homelessness, poverty and domestic violence, to which Rainbow Village has been dedicated for 18 years.
Started as an outreach ministry providing transitional housing to homeless families, Rainbow Village gradually expanded its scope of services beyond the offering of safe homes to include individual case management, financial and personal life-skills training for adults and an after-school program focused on providing academic assistance, emotional support, and supervision in a community of staff and volunteers from every sector: faith-based groups, corporate initiatives, civic clubs, municipal leaders, and educational institutions. In the next three to five years, Rainbow Village will expand in another way, building an all-inclusive campus in Duluth, Georgia, where housing, services, and administration exist in the community together.
Since 1991, over 200 families with over 500 children have passed through Rainbow Village's one-to-two-year program. How can others help to eradicate youth homelessness? By writing letters to Zach via his website (www.LittleRedWagonFoundation.com), joining in advocating for the changes in policy, or donating to one of several Rainbow Village programs that directly serve children. Visit the websites to learn how you can begin to help end the blight of homeless children today.
John Milledge was one of the most important political figures in Georgia during the Revolutionary War (1775-83) and early national period, holding positions as governor, congressman for four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, and president pro tempore in the U.S. Senate. Milledge was also a principal figure in the organization of the University of Georgia. Milledge was on the committee that decided the location of the institution, and he later purchased and donated the land on which the university and the town of Athens now stand.
Born in Savannah in 1757, Milledge received the best education that his family's affluence could provide. As a young man, Milledge was privately tutored and practiced law at the colonial seat of power in Savannah.
In May 1775 Milledge's ardent support of the patriot cause led to his involvement in the seizure of the British colonial government's magazine in Savannah. When British troops seized Savannah in 1778, Milledge fled to South Carolina. Milledge rose to the rank of colonel in the Georgia militia.
In 1780 Milledge formally entered public service as the attorney general of Georgia. In 1789-90 he served in the Georgia General Assembly. In 1792 he was elected as a Jeffersonian Democratic Republican to the Second U.S. Congress. In 1801 Milledge (who was still a member of the Seventh Congress), Abraham Baldwin, and James Jackson were appointed commissioners to represent the state of Georgia in negotiations with the U.S. government over Georgia's western frontier.
year, in November 1802, Milledge was elected governor and immediately
set out to strengthen state institutions that would make Georgia's frontier
more stable and secure. He also sought ways to alleviate Georgia's debts,
the most successful of which was the sale of Georgia's land to settlers.
Although Milledge thought that the land was sold too cheaply, he signed
into law the first land lottery in the history of the state, which helped
to distribute territory seized from Georgia's Creek and Cherokee populations.
Milledge left the governor's office in 1806 and returned to national politics. He was elected by the Georgia legislature to the U.S. Senate and took his seat in June 1806. During the Tenth Congress, he served as president pro tempore of the Senate, ultimately resigning his seat in November 1809 to return to Georgia, where his wife, Martha Galphin Milledge, was gravely ill. During his final years, Milledge spent much of his time devising new farming methods, especially in the areas of animal husbandry and horticulture. He died at his plantation on February 9, 1818.
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