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SENTINEL TRIBUNE [IEWP(I00 x[T Wednesday, July 31, 2013 Page 4 BETWEEN THE LINES By Tom Merchant - Sentinel Tribune -- Doping -- is it fraud? Recently there has been a lot said about baseball players being suspended for using banned sub- stances. In particular allegations of Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees and Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball teams. Rodriguez has been accused of using performance enhancing drugs, and Braun has already been suspended from playing for the rest of the season. According to major news sources, in addition, about 20 some play- ers may be suspended in the com- ing weeks. In my opinion the players that have used or are using per- formance enhancing drugs should be charged with fraud! Plain and simple, they have used banned substances to enhance their per- formance to command multi mil- lion dollar contracts with major league baseball teams. To me that is out right fraud against not only the baseball teams, but also the fans who actually pay the freight for these extravagantly paid ath- letes. I would think, at the very least, these teams should be able to void those contracts, and receive restitution for the money the players fraudulently received. Perhaps the teams then could repay their fans with reduced ticket prices or free hot dogs. It is really a shame what this is doing to sports in general -- I for one simply do not have the passion for professional sports that I once had. Unfortunately this false sports superiority is trickling down to college athletes, and in some cases high school tmerchant@ ncppub.com athletes. I hope it doesn't come to testing of high school athletes. I do think it is time to start testing of college athletes, because the purity of athletic competence is having a doleful affect on athlet- ics overall. This is really sad because many young athletes dream of some day becoming a star player in college and perhaps a major league career. How many players that make it to the majors, using their God given talent and ability, are being overshadowed by some guy that bulks up and becomes stronger, using performance enhancing substances. As this becomes a bigger problem are younger ath- letes going to turn to this, because they realize that is what it takes to get the big contracts. What do they do with all of the accomplishments and records set by these players. I think they should be stripped of these honors because they were gained with less than honorable means. Sometimes I tend to take an abstract look at things like this, and I sometimes wonder why it seems I am the only one looking at it with a different perspective• Of course my sometimes skewed views of things, drives my Best Friend crazy, but I think on this one she agrees with me. It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out in the end. I hope in the end it has a positive affect on sports in general, so that our young athletes can participate in sports and keep their dreams alive. Have a great week and do good! Apply for disability benefits from the convenience, of.:home Elizabeth Anders District Manager Have you been thinking about applying for Social Security dis- ability benefits, but you are unable to visit a Social Security office to complete the interview? Or perhaps your disabling condition makes it difficult to visit a Social Security office. We have good news: you can complete your application for Social Security disability benefits from the convenience of your home. Get started at www.socialsecurity. gov/disability. The application process involves determining 1) whether you have sufficient work to be eligible for Social Security; 2) the severity of your medical condition; and 3) your ability to work. Because we care- fully review so many cases - more than three million each year - it can take us three to five months to determine whether you are eligible to receive benefits. The amount of time it takes to make a decision on your application can vary depending on a number of factors, such as: *the nature of your disability; *how quickly we obtain medical evidence from you, your doctors, hospitals, or other medical sources; and *whether we need to send you for a medical examination to obtain evidence to support your claim. We have several important ini- tiatives to speed up the process. For example, our Compassionate Allowances initiative allows us to fast-track certain cases of individu- als with very severe disabilities. Two hundred different types of dis- abilities qualify for this expedited decision, and the list continues to expand. Since Compassionate Allowances began in 2008, the agency has fast-tracked more than 250,000 disability applications, get- ting benefits to people in a matter of days instead of months. Learn more about Compassionate Allowances at www.socialsecurity.gov/compas- sionateallowances. Another way we speed up deci- sions is with our Quick Disability Determinations initiative, which uses technology to identify appli- cants who have the most severe disabilities and allows us to expe- dite our decisions on those cases. Read more about Quick Disability Determinations at www.socialsecu- rity.gov/disabilityresearch/qdd.htm. There are things you can do to help speed up the decision pro- cess too. The more information you provide up front, the less time it will take us to obtain the evidence we need - and the faster we can make a decision on your applica- tion. The types of information we need include: *medical records or documenta- tion you have; we can make copies of your records and return your originals; *the names, addresses, and phone numbers for any doctors, hospitals, medical facilities, treatment centers, or providers that may have informa- tion related to your disabling condi- tion; *the names, addresses, and phone numbers for recent employers and the dates you worked for each employer; and *your federal tax return for the past year. If you're not able to work due to a disability and getting to an office is troublesome, don't worry. You can apply online for Social Security disability benefits at www.socialse- curity.gov/disability. 00rr..D tcAt.- FAC00 t_rr".,,, PrcW here I 01t AI Bart... "Stories from the BaH Cave" It's not the years, it's the moments I walked to the mailbox• I had letters to mail. I'm trying to save America, one stamp at a time. The faithful rural carrier had beaten me and the mailbox had been stuffed full. One of the things it held was an invitation to a reunion. I was pleased to receive it. It sang a song only I could hear, "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one." I'm fortu- nate that I'm invited to a goodly number of reunions. I attend some every year. Each year, I'm remind- ed that friends may come and go, but relatives accumulate. As much as I love the invita- tions, they have dark sides• They are mileposts of time's passage• I considered Andrew Marvel's words, "But at my back I always enlarged my mind• He's a poet warrior in the classic sense. I mean sometimes he'll, uh, well, you'll say 'hello' to him, right? And he'll just walk right by you. He won't even notice you. And suddenly he'll grab you, and he'll throw you in a comer, and he'll say, 'Do you know that 'if is the middle word in life?'" Typically, we hear something like that from the guy who tried to mimic Jimi Hendrix on an elec- tric guitar and neutered every cat within 12 miles• Have you ever been behind a vehicle adorned with enough bum- per stickers to convince you that the driver is a complete idiot and watched as that car turned into the same place you were headed? Then you discovered that not only is that person at your reunion, he or she is someone you know and like• Reunions can be illuminating• Reunions are assemblages where we sit around with people :: hoar, Time's wingfd chariot hurry- : who look like the parents of the .... ing near. °', ............ , ' " . expected to be hanging We attend reunions to ieli •folks we stories out with• It's an episode of the and to hear stories. We like "How "Twilight Zone." In high school, did you two meet?" tales• A friend met her husband in a coffee shop. She sat down with her bucket of coffee just in time to see his glass eye pop out when he sneezed• She snagged it on the first bounce. She returned his peeper and they began dating• He added, "There was something about her that caught my eye." There are those who try to enlighten at reunions. If we're lucky, it isn't a Ponzi scheme, but is someone like Dennis Hopper. In "Apocalypse Now," Hopper played a photojoumalist who said, "Hey, man, you don't talk to the Colonel• You listen to him. The man's white hair was on the teachers' heads, not the noggins of students. A schoolmate told me, "I ran into an old classmate the other day. She looked younger than she did when we graduated. She hadn't gained an ounce and didn't have a single wrinkle. So I ran into her again." Reunions are great memory prompts. I recalled John Edwards, a teacher back when a celebrity chef was a lunch lady and radios were all staticky, who tried teach- ing me chemistry and physics and once told the class, "I'm dropping this silver coin into a glass of acid. Will it dissolve?" "No," I said, never so sure of an answer in my life. "And why not?" asked Mr. Edwards• I replied confidently, "Because if it would, you wouldn't drop it in." I remembered an English teach- er, who taught me that I shouldn't start a sentence with "well" because it was a deep subject for such a shallow mind, that gave a unique writing assignment for each student. Mine was to write a response to, "What would you do if you had a million dollars?" In those days, a million dollars was some serious scratch, not a mere down payment on an SUV. My entire paper consisted of, "I'd hire someone to write this for me." It's good that we attend reunions. There are other things we could be doing. We could be at home, watching cat videos• Those things don't watch themselves. It's easy. to dodge a re unjgn i re. nd- ing that time hoping to amount to something better by the next reunion, but it's important to be with those with whom we've jumped off cliffs. The older we get and the more people we lose, the tighter we cling to memories. Nothing is fun for everyone, but I like being around the fight people. I fred them at reunions. Always remember that it's the nuts that make a family tree worth shaking. ©AI Batt 2013 71622 325 St. 1-1, MN 56042 http://albatt.net/ Sentinel Tribune Thomas Merchant Junette Merchant Joan Spielman (ISSN 8750-3905) Managing Editor Office & Production Ad Representative & Office Published every Wednesday at Westbrook, Minnesota 56183 Periodicals Postage Paid at Westbrook, Minnesota 56183 SUBSCRIPTION PRICE FOR THE SENTINEL TRIBUNE WILL BE: In the following counties: Cottonwood, Redwood, and Murray $42.00 per year. Elsewhere in Minnesota $46.00 per year. Out of the state $52.00 per year. Canada and foreign countries inquire at the Sentinel Tribune Office. If wrong amount is submitted subscrip- tion will be pro rated accordingly. "Snowbirds" may put their paper on hold at no extra charge while they are gone, or pay $5.00 extra to have it mailed out of state. Missed copies cannot be furnished because the cost of mailing single copies is about $2.00• Any request for a back copy must include $3.00. Newstand price is $1.00 per copy. © Copyright 2012 Sentinel Tribune a New Century Press Newspaper Mail Change of Address Notice to: P. O. Box 98, Westbrook, MN 56183 CALL WESTBROOK OFFICE 507-274-6136 FAX 507-274-6137 ' TOLL-FREE 1-800-410-1859 News Desk E-mail • sentrib@ncppub.com Editor tmerchant@ncppub.com DEADLINES All news 12 Noon Monday All Peach Ads 9 a.m. Friday Sentinel Tribune Ads 12 Noon Monday Classified Ads 9 a,m. 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