Sunday, July 31, 2016

Do We Appreciate What We Have?



 
In the August issue of Northern Connection magazine, I started the conversation about some of the things we as Americans can take for granted such as fully stocked shelves in grocery stores. I told the story of some refugees from Bosnia that were completely amazed at our supermarkets. How much we have – and how much we waste.

Whenever I turn on the TV anymore (which is starting to be very rare) I am hit with so much violence and hatred. I distinctly remember in elementary school, the teachers having us sing over and over again “All we are saying is give peace a chance.” What happened to that dream? Where did it go?

I do know that violence begets violence and so I worry and dread - where is all this violence going to end? Other countries envy how good we have it and how much we have. It is why they hate us and why terrorists attack us. Isn’t this enough of a problem? Whenever we as Americans attack each other, it delights our enemies. We are playing right into their hands. Christ, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, all said peaceful protest is the way to change. How many times do we need to be told this?

But as always, what do you think? Please leave comments below, email me at NorthCon@consolidated.net or send me a “Letter to the Editor” at P.O Box 722 Wexford, PA 15090-0722 attn: Marianne Reid Anderson.





Friday, July 1, 2016

Where Does the Buck Stop?


In this month's issue of Northern Connection magazine, I shared an unpleasant conversation I experienced. Fundamentally, a professional interaction had become very unprofessional when a certain person refused to take responsibility. I wanted to fix the situation. She wanted to play the blame-game. SO it got me wondering, where does the buck stop?

The phrase the "The Buck Stops Here" became popular when Harry S. Truman had the sign placed on his desk in the oval office. Of course the back of the sign read, "I'm from Missouri" aka the "Show Me" state or "prove it," - which is one of my favorite sentiments.

Of course, mistakes do happen and I believe how we handle recovery from those mistakes it what separates us. For example, on the extremely rare occasion when I miss a fact-check, the magazine issues a "correction" in the next issue. Not exactly a happy circumstance but at least between the convention in the industry and the power of social media, I can disseminate the correct information very quickly. The NY Times has an entire page of their website devoted to corrections. They apparently realize the importance of owning-up to one's mistakes and not try to cover it up or blame others.

In the movie Apollo 13, about the difficulties surrounding that particular space launch. When the first disaster strikes, two of the astronauts start arguing on who was to blame and the commander Jim Lovell, played by Tom Hanks, yells at them and  says, "All right, we're not doing this, gentlemen. We are *not* going to do this. We're not going to go bouncing off the walls for ten minutes, 'cause we're just going to end up back here with the same problems! Try to figure out how to stay alive!"

I absolutely love that scene. Of course, my experience was nothing so life or death by any means but it really shows the importance of staying grounded and giving up the hope of a better past.

As good friend of mine always says about difficulties, "It is what it is, let's move on."

But what do you think? You can enter your comments below or feel free to email me at NorthCon@consolidated.net or send me a “Letter to the Editor” at P.O Box 722 Wexford, PA 15090-0722 attn: Marianne Reid Anderson.






Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Restroom Privacy Controversy


In this month’s issue of Northern Connection magazine, Starting the Conversation, I wondered how much privacy is needed in a public restroom, and I proposed the solution that what is actually needed are more family restrooms.
In addition to my anecdotal evidence that supports the family restroom (and diaper changing stations in men’s rooms) as far as parents are concerned, I have also noted over the years how fed-up women are with restrooms that are too small with lines that are too long.
One reason for this phenomenon is that architecture is a male dominated field and therefore the two restrooms are the same size even though women need larger restrooms for the demand. I know many women who are so fed-up with this situation that they either refuse to wait or biologically can’t wait and so at sporting events, concerts, theaters where the women’s line is so long, they just give up waiting and use the men’s room.
I also wonder, when is it safe to use a public restroom alone? Is it ever? For anyone?
But what do you think? You can enter your comments below or feel free to email me at NorthCon@consolidated.net or send me a “Letter to the Editor” at P.O Box 722 Wexford, PA 15090-0722 attn: Marianne Reid Anderson.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Is There Still a Taboo over Mental Illness?




It has come to my attention, that there have been a series of suicides in our community. Many committed by and effecting our high school students. It has also come to my attention, that in some of these cases, grief counselors and other support structures are not in place to help students cope. Coping with stress, peer pressure, bullying and the loss of their fellow students can lead to intense feeling of hopelessness and despair.

So, in this month’s Starting theConversation, I wanted to know your thoughts on mental illness, suicide and if you know any resources for our community, to please share them so we can help create awareness.

In Pine Richland school district, a petition was started regarding the ongoing suicide issue.  Go to http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/suicide-prevention-in-pine-richland-school-district to learn more and to find out the answers to these questions in your own school district.

Specifically:

-Does the district have a suicide prevention program, a suicide prevention coordinator, and what policies and procedures are currently in place to prevent suicide? (i.e., are staff members trained to identify children at risk for suicide, are there specially trained staff members that students know they can turn to when they are concerned for themselves or for someone else, when a student is identified at risk what are the next steps?)

-When a bullying incident occurs what is the procedure and how is it specifically handled? The current policy does not outline the consequences for bullying, (i.e., where should incidents be reported, are they documented, when are parents contacted, when are attempts made to resolve the issues, are the school psychologists involved, how do we effectively increase a positive, accepting school climate?)

Anyone, anywhere can go through a dark time and require help developing coping skills or medication to stop a chemical imbalance.
In Starting the Conversation, I mention the book “Am I Going to be Okay?” by Debra Whittam. If you are interested in Debra Whittam’s book, visit www.debrawhittam.com to purchase your own copy of the book, as well as, Amazon.com and bookstores nationwide. Also she will be having a book event for a ‘Meet and Greet the Author at Mars Coffee Brew House in Mars, PA on Saturday, June 4 from 9:30am until 1pm.

If you or someone you love needs help, it is perfectly alright to reach out. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or visit http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ to click to chat.
 

But, as always, what do you think? Enter comments below or email me at NorthCon@consolidated.net or send me a “Letter to the Editor” at P.O Box 722 Wexford, PA 15090-0722 attn: Marianne Reid Anderson.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Is Legalizing Medical Marijuana a Priority?


 

In the April issue of Northern Connection magazine, I started the conversation regarding the legalization of pharmaceuticals that contain extracts from the cannabis plant - also known as Marijuana.

As I pointed out in my column, I do not understand why it needs to go through the government. The FDA has proven beyond a doubt that the plant contains medical properties that help many different kinds of illnesses such as seizures and epilepsy. The medical properties can calm the electrical firing - or misfiring of the brain. So why can't a doctor just prescribe the medicine where he or she deems necessary?

Afterall, pain killers filled with highly addictive opiates can be prescribed without government interference and all these pain killers do is mask the pain. They don't cure or remedy anything. They also build up a higher and higher tolerance - not to the pain but to the pain medicine. So, patients require higher and higher amounts to kill the pain.

Unlike medical cannabis that actually does something for sufferers of certain illnesses and disorders.

But as always, I am interested to know what you think. Please feel free to leave your comment below or email e at NorthCon@consolidated.net or send me a "Letter to the Editor" at P.O. Box 722 Wexford, PA 15090-0722 attn: Marianne Reid Anderson


Source: Medical Marijuana Passes in the PA House of Representatives: http://patch.com/pennsylvania/cranberry/s/fnngd/breaking-medical-marijuana-approved-by-pa-house?utm_source=alert-breakingnews&utm_medium=email&utm_term=politics%20%26%20government&utm_campaign=alert

Monday, February 29, 2016

Sporting Concussions: Are We Too Violent?





In the March issue of Northern Connection magazine, I started the conversation on the violence in our society and wondered if it is because of the violence in the sporting industry - as with the illegal, dirty shot against Steeler, Antonio Brown. If you want to see the shot - take a look at the play via this youtube video: https://youtu.be/-tfLncD3pGM

As gut-wrenching as the cheap-shot was, it was compounded by the way the Bengal fans were reacting with the microphones picking up comments hoping he was actually dead! What kind of mind thinks that way? No matter how much money someone may have bet on the game, there is no justification for the psychologically demented comment.

Even scarier, is my fear of the impression all this violence has on the younger generation. Is this behavior and unethical even immoral thought-processes the new normal? Is the violence in professional sports merely a manifestation of the violence in our society? Do people not comprehend the finality of death and injury?

But as always, what do you think? Please leave your comment below or email me at Northcon@consolidated.net.


Monday, January 4, 2016

Technology, Children and Social Skills


For the 16th Annual Education issue of Northern Connection magazine, I started the conversation on technology, children and social skills. I made the point that in many cases, we, as adults, can be just as bad as any child when it comes to using technology. Afterall, no one under 16 has ever been in a driving accident for texting. But then I wondered how do we set our own boundaries as well as boundaries for our children and how do we make dedicated face time for one-on-one relationships without slighting everyone else we are connected to?

One example of a rule that I gave is that instead of money for chores, children earn “digital time” on any device they choose. For example, cleaning their room or unloading the dishwasher might earn your children 15 – 30 minutes on their gaming system. Which may work for children, but what should we, as adults, do to maintain our social skills?

I know several couples that when they go out to dinner, they all pile up their cell phones in the middle of the table and the first to reach for his or hers, has to pick up the tab. Unless, they all make it to the end of dinner, and in which case, they simply split the bill.

But what do you think of rudeness for a techno fix? Do you have any suggestions for our readers? Feel free to leave comments below or email me at northcon@consolidated.net.