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December 4, 2013     Sentinel Tribune
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December 4, 2013

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SENTINEL TRIBUNE VIEWPOINT Wednesday, December 4, 2013 Page 4 BETWEEN THE LINES By Tom Merchant - Sentinel Tribune- Black Friday witness... Oh no, I actually caved in to the trappings of Black Friday even after stating last week how I thought the Thanksgiving holiday was the last bastion of commercially free holidays. I was sucked into the glitz and attraction to an unbelievable bargain. When we received two daily papers last Wednesday loaded with about four or five pounds of glossy advertising supplements, one item caught my eye at one of the area&apos;s big box stores. It was a 32 inch LED flat screen TV for 98 bucks. Of course then I thought about all the horror stories of Black Fridays past, people getting trampled when the doors to some stores open, pushing, shoving and fighting often broke out. But then the more I thought about it the more I wanted to go down on Thanksgiving evening to try and get my flat screen TV. It would be nice to replace the 20 some year old venerable CRT television near my computer desk. I almost always work on Fridays, so Black Friday has never been an option for me, but this was different the really good sales all seemed to be on Thanksgiving day! Well I thought, hey maybe it won't be as busy as Black Friday. So I decided to forego our spaghetti supper until Friday. I talked it over earlier with Best Friend and she thought I should leave before 4 o'clock, but in my infmite wisdom I thought if I left at 5 o'clock that would be fine. At about three o'clock I started thinking about Best Friends suggestion, and decided maybe her advice was probably better than my judgement, as this often happens, she was right. I thought since we also were planning on replacing our Christmas tree I could look at those while I was waiting for the flat screen TV. Got to the box store about a quarter after four. I saw a couple of man- agement looking guys in the small appliance area, and proceeded to ask them where the flat screen TVs would be, and they told me over by the baby supplies. I thought the ad said something about handing out wrist bands at 6:00 O'clock. But I thought, well I might as well go over there to check it out, setting my compass for northeast, I headed over there and found they were already handing out wristbands for the TVs so was able to get one. Of course then I had almost an hour and a half to wait before they actually handed out the TVs. So while I wait- ed, I decided to grab a sandwich to kill some time, then returned about a quarter to six to get in line. I was in line with a lady and her adult son, so I struck up a con- versation with them, and by the time they started handing out the TVs we both knew a lot about each of our families. About the only problem I noticed was that some people didn't realize they had to have a wrist band to get the TV that night, although they could get a voucher to purchase it that evening for later store delivery. Otherwise the only thing I noticed was the store isles were so crowded it was difficult to get up to the check out. But despite that I was out of the store by about 6:30. Since then I have talked to a few people that said at other places the parking lots were so full and in some cases lines formed outside the stores. Also I heard that the big Black Friday sales were pretty much a bust in most places, so I guess all they are doing is robbing Peter to pay Paul. All in all it wasn't a bad experience for me, but I am not likely to do it again unless the planets come together again in perfect align- ment. Oh yeah, Friday night Best Friend and I enjoyed our Thanksgiving spaghetti supper. Have a great week and do good! Radon -Is. your home m=s=ng your lung cancer risk? Mention radon to most people, and you'll get a blank stare. But mention lung cancer, and you've got their attention! Most people don't know that exposure to radon, an invisible odorless gas, is the lead- ing cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers. Minnesota is recog- nized as having a very high risk of radon, so we at the American Lung Association want you to know how to protect your family. A simple test in your home can tell you if you need to take steps to reduce the risk to yourself and your family. November, Lung Cancer Awareness Month, is a perfect time to learn more and test your home. Radon, a radioactive gas from the soil and rock beneath many homes, keeps itself well hidden. You can't see it, smell it or taste it, but accord- ing to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. are radon-related. November is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month, but any- time is the right time to fmd out if radon is a health threat in your home. Radon can build up in any house - old or new - and perform- ing a radon test is the only way to find out if your home has unsafe levels. Homeowners can use do-it- yourself radon testing kits. To find out where to buy a kit, call 1-800- SOS RADON (1-800-767-7236), or visit the EPA website: www.epa. gov/radon < radon>. If you have high levels of radon, mitigation systems can be installed that effectively pull radon out of your home. If you're building a new home, consider installing a simple, inexpensive ventilation system that can protect your family from radon gas. The Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced that they will require testing for radon in any multi-family housing that receives HUD fmancing or refinancing. If high levels of radon are found, HUD will require that the building be repaired to reduce indoor radon lev- els. This is great news that will protect thousands from deadly radon exposure. But more needs to be done. The Lung Association is working to make sure that all homes get tested, and those that have high levels get fixed. We are working to make sure that new homes are built with these low-cost radon protection systems in place. Because we know all too well the cancer radon causes. KVi eterans Hos iitear IsS Iling Our So p SIo' ,ly By Glenn Mollette My wife's grandpa survived the Bataan Death March in the Philippines. He was away from home forty-two months as a pris- oner of war. When he came home the Veteran's hospital killed him. He died at the age of 65. When Lyle started having symptoms of lung cancer he did as Veterans do, he went to the Veteran's hos- pital near his home in Lexington, Kentucky. They performed surgery, but they denied him any of the usual post-operative cancer treatments. The cancer spread. Following two additional surgeries and still no fol- low up treatments, he died unneces- sarily prematurely in their care. The constant delays and denial of treat- ments assured his death. He sur- vived World War II. He could not survive our government's medical treatment we dish out to retired sol- diers. C N N broke the story earlier this week about the Bryan Dorn Veterans Medical Center in Columbia, South Carolina. Veterans have to wait months for simple procedures such as a colonoscopy or endoscopy. Many of these Veterans have been dying because their cancers aren't caught in time. The VA has con- ftrmed six deaths but other sources closer to the facility say it could be more than 20. The veterans had to wait too long for diagnosis and treatment at this facility. The most recent records indicat- ed there are over 4500 Veterans on waiting lists for various treatments ' at the Columbia, South Carolina facility according to CNN. Where is the medical care in delaying a treatment that could save someone's life? I fear this is the kind of health care that all of America may be in store for. The answer is to close down most of the VA hospi- tals. We need to keep the skilled care facilities that treat our war wounded and train people to walk and function again. The govern- ment budget for funding Veteran's Affairs in 2014 is 152.7 billion dollars. Let's eliminate half of the budget by shutting down two thirds of these soldier-killing hospitals: " Next, give Veterans a medical card that allows them to go anywhere in the United States for medical care. These men and women have served our country and should not be treated to a lesser medical care than fellow Americans. Glenn Mollette is an American colum- nist read in all fifty states. Contact him at "Stories from the Batt Cave" Moseying to Alaska by way of Minneapolis, Toledo, Chicago, Minneapolis again, Salt Lake City and Seattle I fear brake lights while driving to airports. Their glow is similar to when people tell you something for your own good. Shining brake lights never bring good news on a busy highway. I made it through airport security and headed for the gate. There, I found a group of sad-eyed people milling about as their energy drained. No carefree non-planners there. Tom Petty's ,'Runnin' Down a Dream" was rattling around in my mind. I'd just gotten to this part, "Workin' on a mystery, goin' wher- ever it leads. I felt so good like anything was possible." That's when I decided to use my keen powers of observation to see whom I'd been sitting by for 15 minutes. On one side of me, sat a young woman wearing a T-shirt reading, "I don't care." She was eating a sandwich bag's worth of celery. She probably didn't have time to floss. On the other side was an older fellow who saw that I was look- ing his way and told me that he had two more flights to sit through before his arrived at the gate. He'd gotten there early so he could con- stantly check his boarding pass. The custodial crew was hard at work, filling what needed to be filled, emptying what needed to be emptied and placing plastic sand- wich boards outside doorways to let folks know that restrooms were being cleaned. That's a good thing. No one wants to do unintentional splits on a wet floor. That's playing flushin' roulette. Airports are noisy. There are announcements, blaring TVs that I can't turn off and cellphone users bellowing at someone in Beloit. There isn't much room on air- planes. The seats are cramped on Sardine Airlines. I'm a tall guy, but I don't recline my seat. IfI did, I'd announce my intention and then feel guilty. The secret is to recline slowly, not surprising the person seated behind. I boarded an Alaska Airlines plane. This airline had the indus- try's best on-time performance for the third consecutive year in 2012, with 87 percent of flights landing on time, according to FlightStats. The Juneau Airport is sandwiched between 3,000-foot mountain .... peaks and at the end of a 15-mile- long channel notorious for gusty, shifting winds and thick fogs. In 1926, Congress forced the Post Office to cede airmail routes to private operators, a moment widely considered the birth of the airline industry. Alaska Airlines began in 1932, when Linious McGee bought a three-seat airplane. This airline hauled cargo after World War II and participated in the Berlin Airlift in 1948. In the 1950s, it was among the first to offer inflight movies. In the 1960s, it chartered flights to the Soviet Union, tricky business at the height of the Cold War. I moved, not effortlessly, from plane to the Alaska Maritime Highway. The price of a ticket on the ferry is always fare. A fellow traveler on the ferry told me that he was from a small Alaskan village that had the highest accident rate in the country. There were only two cars in the village and they were involved in a two-car accident. I love to travel. That's why I keep bags under my eyes. I'm thankful for them. Last year's Thanksgiving repast was a legendary meal. At least that's what they called it down at the emergency room. The cook left the turkey out over the weekend. It cooked at room temperature. The meat fell offthe bones. Despite that, something smelled good. "Do I detect a hint of rosemary?" I said. An oven mitt had started on fire. The meal was gluten-flee for some, glutton-free for none. I watched a lot of running, block- ing, kicking and tackling. It wasn't football. It was in pursuit of gravy. I maintain a gratitude for gravy. After dragging my'gleeve through gravy, I know it'll be there ifI feel peckish later. Thanksgiving teaches. If I want someone to hold the door for me, I should carry a covered dish. Those who do not finish their turkey are doomed to repeat it. Life is like stulTmg a turkey. You get out of it what you put into it. I'm thankful for pockets. I shud- der at the thought of a world with- out pockets. I'm thankful that many cold days are sunny. That I know so many good people. Trying to remember all that I should be thankful for is like herd- ing cats. On the flight home, I dozed unskillfully in my seat. I opened my peepers and was thankful that I had eyes. AI Batt 2013 71622 325 St. 1-1, MN 56042 ............................................ n I 11111111 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 ceuntdes 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. 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