Browsing articles tagged with " Motivational speeches"
Apr 23, 2014
Ann Thompson

Lives on the Edge


Bethany

ACT Theatre

Tues-Thurs at 7:30 pm, Fri-Sat at 8 pm, Sun at 2 and 7 pm. Through May 4.

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After the financial collapse of 2008, some theaters reacted by dusting off old playwrights whose work reflects the current crisis—Chekhov’s real-estate obsessions, Arthur Miller’s busted American dream, Dario Fo’s slapstick class warfare. But Bethany, by Laura Marks, is one of the first plays in which every character and every line is soaked in 21st-century economic anxiety.

Physically, Bethany floats in a void. Director John Langs and set designer Carey Wong have set the play in the round and carved a moat around the perimeter of the stage, with dim blue light shining up from below—a visual reminder that each of these characters, at every moment, is standing near the edge of a precipice.

Crystal (Emily Chisholm), a single mother and saleswoman at a doomed Saturn dealership, breaks into a house in foreclosure, hoping to squat there long enough to fool Child Protective Services into thinking she’s financially stable—a requirement to get her daughter Bethany back. But the house already has an occupant, a skittish man named Gary (Darragh Kennan). They’re both financial refugees, but Crystal still wears a skirt and suit jacket, where Gary’s bristly beard, body odor, and paranoia about “society” and “the government” going down the tubes are an omen of where she might be headed if she’s destitute long enough.

Meanwhile, she’s determined to sell one last luxury car—and collect one last commission—before the dealership closes. Her customer is a sleazeball named Charlie (Richard Ziman) who has a habit of standing in front of the mirror rehearsing motivational speeches about how the universe will make us all rich if we only act entitled enough. He can smell the desperation behind Crystal’s pasted-on smile and wonders how far she’s willing to go to sell him that car. She’s beginning to wonder, too.

Ziman plays Charlie as a pillar of smug, lecherous smarm, the polar opposite of smelly, unstable, and helpful Gary. The main gap between them is hope: Charlie believes the world still owes him some favors, while Gary is under no such delusion and is nicer for it. Crystal hangs between them, keenly aware of the abyss surrounding her, hoping that one more lie, one more scheme, will return things to normal. Chisholm plays Crystal with an exoskeleton of forced cheerfulness, a mask that only occasionally slips. But when it does, her face goes through masterfully fast contortions of emotion—relief, sorrow, fear, exhaustion.

None of Marks’s characters are mysterious or complicated—what you see is what you get—with the small exception of Toni, the CPS inspector, played by Cynthia Jones. The other characters might take extreme actions, but it’s always the logical extension of where they were headed anyway. Toni is the only one with the flexibility to change course and make surprising decisions—because she is the only one who isn’t desperate, the only one with the financial and psychological luxury to change her mind. In Toni, we see that a little security helps keep people sane.

Apr 23, 2014
Jane Underwood

Motivational journalist makes it big across the border

Sheik Phiri at work in the television studios.
Sheik Phiri at work in the television studios.

Seemingly a natural all-rounder, Phiri has been using his talents in motivational speaking, television presenting, column writing and poetry.

The Zimbabwean Muslim has become a real draw at ITV Studios Channel 347 Dstv on Friday and Sunday evenings.

Phiri’s televison speeches and newspaper columns aim to educate young people about the dangers of drug abuse and the importance of loving, lasting relationships. He writes for The Fever newspaper, where he’s been a columnist for the past 10 years.

“I was born a motivational speaker and would like to help change the world in my small way through my speaking skills and the pen,” said Phiri, who has been involved in 52 television episodes designed to teach listeners about various aspects of life and to advocate for peace and unity among communities. Phiri said journalism was the most appropriate vehicle for communicating messages to the world and that he enjoyed every moment of his career.

According to Phiri, he is among the few black motivational speakers to run their own talk shows to an estimated audience of 10 million around the globe.

Phiri said people appreciated that moderate Muslims could make a difference in people’s lives, in contrast to the negative views engendered by extremist Muslims. “As a moderate Zimbabwean Muslim, I educate people across religions and culture,” he said. “Journalism has its own challenges, but I find strength in God and pray five times every day.”

He has become a celebrity who attracts public attention, but Phiri says he prefers to be identified as a role model. He is the founding director of the Ahmad Religious Information Centre charity, and he would like to see the project grow and benefit thousands of needy people.He intends to open a similar organisation in Zimbabwe as a way of giving back to the nation that nurtured him.

Motivational talk shows back home are on the cards through willing Zimbabwe broadcasting channels and, to reach a wider audience, Phiri said he was set to launch another satellite talk show on Channel Top TV.

His career started when he was spotted by the chief executive officer of ITV, One Farhad, giving a motivational speech. He was taken on board on an internship.

“I would like to encourage Zimbabweans, since they are generally educated people, to spread their knowledge and skills across the globe and make a difference,” he said.

Apr 22, 2014
Ann Thompson

Last But Not Least

It’s only three weeks into the season, but it’s not too early for a closed-door team meeting media event: Terry Francona called a locker room get-together after the Indians’ loss on Saturday and gave them a speech about, among other things, how much he cares about them as people and as a team. As self-evident as most might think that should be most of the time, it’s still a nice thing to hear, as are the majority of things said during pep talks and motivational speeches. There’s no particular science to whether or not these things help, but the Indians would at the very least go on to win on Sunday and Monday.

That’s a decent enough outcome, considering that going into Monday’s games they were still last in the American League Central. Though the Indians had eight wins to every other team’s nine, they’d lost ten games — while Detroit had only lost six, the Royals eight, Minnesota nine, Chicago matching them with ten. By now those numbers have changed a bit, but that only underlines that the AL Central is very much wide-open — and that Cleveland only needs a moderately sustained hot streak to get back into the action. It’s not even time for the league’s five win teams to panic yet, let alone the eight-win Indians.

There are still reasons for concern, however. First, it appears the Central itself has gotten better around them, with the White Sox mostly notably leading the charge. The Minnesota Twins are also hitting very, very well to begin the season, but it’s less likely that they’ll be able to sustain that on the backs of Josmil Pinto, Chris Colabello and Jason Kubel then the White Sox will with Alexei Ramirez, Jose Abreu, Adam Eaton and Adam Dunn. The Indians are still the third-best hitting team — perhaps close to the second-best hitting team — in the division on paper, but it’s no longer the clear, sure thing it was last season, when it was fairly clear the divisional pecking order was Detroit, then Cleveland, then everyone else.

The big problem remains the rotation: Justin Masterson is a good pitcher but he isn’t a credible ace, and Corey Kluber, Zach McAlister, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar are basically back of the rotation arms — though both Kluber and Salazar still have top of the rotation potential. The Indians are still hoping that Trevor Bauer can get his head screwed on properly and turn into that kind of a guy, and early signs are encouraging, with Bauer pitching six innings and allowing one earned run in a spot start earlier this year before being sent back down to AAA. If Bauer makes good on his potential this year and bumps someone like Carrasco out of the rotation, then the Indians’ chances in the Wild Card or even the divisional hunt this year are going to look a lot better going down the stretch.

Other than Bauer, though, there’s not a lot of impact, near-ready pitching talent in the Indians’ high minors. The next closest guy is Cody Anderson, whose timetable has him set for arrival in 2015. On the position player side of things, though, top prospect Francisco Lindor should see his first major league action by the end of the season. Lindor is a shortstop, which means he might find it difficult to see regular playing time up the middle — the team already has veteran Asdrubal Cabrera established at short and Jason Kipnis, a breakout star after last season, isn’t moving off of second base anytime soon. Still, there are scenarios where Lindor gets time at short, Cabrera shifts over to third and the current third baseman, either Carlos Santana or Lonnie Chisenhall, gets a day off or DHs. Given team needs and composition, however, it might not be the worst idea in the world for the Indians to test the trade waters with Lindor as the centerpiece of a package for some pitching. Lindor alone wouldn’t be able to land David Price, for example (nor is David Price available at the moment barring some ridiculous overpayment in talent), but he’d get most of the way there, and Cleveland has two other well-regarded if not elite shortstop prospects in Ronny Rodriguez and Dorssys Paulino.

So far the team is getting by with offense from unlikely places. Jason Kipnis is hitting just as well as he hit last year, but other than him, the top Cleveland Indian bats at the moment are David Murphy, Lonnie Chisenhall, Michael Brantley and Nyjer Morgan. Yes, Nyjer Morgan has returned to the major leagues. He stepped in for an injured Michael Bourn in center, and he’s hitting .348/.484/.348 to start the season, which is one of the odder small sample size triple slash lines you’ll see — and there’s no real concern about whether or not he’ll sustain it, since with Bourn’s activation from the DL a few days ago, Morgan was optioned back to the minors.

That’s the bad news: one of the team’s most productive early hitters was an injury call-up who was just sent back down. The good news is that at least the other guys on that list — Murphy, Chisenhall, and Brantley — aren’t going anywhere, and while they’re not going to keep up their torrid hitting, it’s unlikely that big-ticket guys Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana are going to continue to hit around replacement level, either. If Chisenhall and Brantley, in particular, have made legitimate steps forward in their development as hitters — if even one of them takes half the step forward at the plate that Kipnis did last year — and the rest of the team starts hitting like it should, the Indians are not only the clear second-best offense in the Central, but they might even challenge the Tigers for the top spot.

That’s all speculation and what-ifs at this point, however. What the Indians need right now is to buckle down and win some games, and the easiest way to do that is to combine a solid offensive effort from top to bottom with good starting pitching, which the Indians did Monday night with Zach McAlister on the mound. Cleveland is a good enough team at the plate that they don’t need their starters to be perfect, they just need to keep hitting, get six innings of three-run ball from the starter, and wait for reinforcements. Do that, and Cleveland should be fine.

Apr 22, 2014
Jane Underwood

Helper Junior High FCCLA does well in state contest

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Helper Junior High FCCLA (Family Career and Community Leaders of America) under the advisement of Mrs. Susan Heller attended the State Leadership Conference on March 26 in Layton along with 1,500 other FCCLA members from across the state.

The students listened to motivational speakers, participated in community service projects and participated in STAR (Students Taking Action with Recognition) Events competition.

Individual awards included Food Innovations, Jaylee Cox, Mason Rogers, and Canden Stockdale. They created “Choco Nana Butter Bites” a frozen healthy treat for parents to give to their children. They earned a gold medal and received first place in the state.

Shaubre Stockdale and Crystal Nef competed in life event planning in which they planned and conducted a birthday party for a friend. They received a gold medal and received first place in the state.

Katrina Edwards competed in Recycle and Redesign in which she created “TREADS”, a flip-flop made from old tires. She received a gold medal and received third place in the state.

Raychel Briseno competed in Chapter in Review in which she show cased all the activities of the Helper Junior High FCCLA Chapter. She received a gold medal and received first place in the state.

Abagail Maddox and Jordan Lupo competed in Illustrated Talks. The girls conducted Music in Education and presented to 5th graders at Sally Mauro elementary. The team received a bronze medal.

Six of the Star Event competitors earned the opportunity to attend the National Leadership Conference (NLC) July 6-11 in San Antonio,Texas. They are Shaubre Stockdale, Crystal Nef, Jaylee Cox, Canden Stockdale, Mason Rogers and Raychel Briseno

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Apr 21, 2014
Ann Thompson

It was a 16-foot fall, 16 years ago. She has soared much further.

ELLSWORTH, Wis. — When someone told her to move out of the way during a scene change for “The Wizard of Oz,” Tasha Schuh took one step back.

Schuh, a junior in high school at the time, fell 16 feet through a trap door in the stage of the Sheldon Theater in Red Wing, Minn. She landed on her head on the concrete floor, breaking her neck, crushing her spinal cord and fracturing her skull.

Doctors told her she would never walk — or sing — again. That was 16 years, five months and nine days ago.

But Schuh, who is paralyzed from the chest down, says she wouldn’t change a thing.

“Ironically, I have accomplished more sitting in my wheelchair than I ever thought I would do walking,” Schuh, 33, said during a recent interview in her home office in Ellsworth, Wis.

Tasha Schuh and Doug Michaels on their wedding day on August 17, 2013. Schuh is an inspirational speaker who was paralyzed from the chest down in freak “Life is so wonderful if you just hold on and press through the difficult times. The best is yet to come.”

Schuh, who was crowned Miss Wheelchair USA in 2012, has taken that message on the road.

She’ll perform “Over the Rainbow” in two concerts with the Croix Chordsmen Saturday at Stillwater Junior High School.

An inspirational speaker, she shares her message with thousands of people each year at churches, schools and businesses around the country. She gave 74 speeches last year — to audiences ranging from a dozen people to more than 2,000.

She starts each speech by introducing her electric wheelchair — a Permobil C-300 from Sweden, which features rear-wheel drive.

“I call this the Lamborghini, and just like a Lamborghini, it can go from zero to 60 in three seconds,” Schuh said. “It’s actually zero to 6, but I want them to know that I’m normal, just like them, and, yes, I use a wheelchair, but this is the Lamborghini of wheelchairs. It’s got the headlights, hazard lights, blinkers, horn. I mean it can do anything and everything, but this hasn’t always been my life.”

NEVER GIVE UP

Schuh, the youngest of three children, was a happy-go-lucky teenager who loved to sing, play piano and compete in volleyball and basketball. Her parents, Duane Schuh and Kathy Schuh, now divorced, owned DK’s IGA grocery store in Ellsworth. They taught her an important lesson: Never give up.

“If I went out for a sport and halfway through the season I wanted to quit, they said: ‘No, you don’t. You don’t have to go out next year, but you have to finish the season,’ ” Schuh said. “They were very hard workers and instilled that work ethic in us: ‘You don’t quit. You persevere, even if difficulties come.’ ”

Duane Schuh, a tenor in the Croix Chordsmen and other groups, was the “wedding and funeral singer” in Ellsworth, Tasha Schuh said. “Every group that had singers, he was in it. He was in a country group. He was in a choir. I always hoped that when I grew up I would inherit just a little bit of talent, because he was a very good singer.”

Schuh, a soprano, was in the choir and band at Ellsworth High School. She landed the role of Sandy in “Grease” during her sophomore year and was cast as a chorus member in “The Wizard of Oz” the next year. The play was to be rehearsed and performed at the nearby Sheldon Theater.

A few days before her accident in November 1997, a friend asked about the worst thing that could ever happen to her.

“I had just seen a celebrity fundraiser featuring Christopher Reeve, and I remember thinking that if that was ever my life — if I was ever paralyzed, confined to a wheelchair, couldn’t walk — I couldn’t do it,” Schuh said. “Three days later, doctors told me I would be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.”

After they got the call saying their daughter had been in an accident, Duane and Kathy Schuh raced to the hospital in Red Wing. When they walked in, they saw a nurse they knew.

“She looked up and saw us and said: ‘Oh, my God. I’m so sorry,’ ” Duane Schuh recalled in a phone interview from his home in River Falls.

Tasha Schuh was flown by helicopter to Mayo Clinic’s intensive care unit at St. Marys Hospital in Rochester. She spent almost six months there, including eight days in a coma.

“She had septic shock, which most people don’t live through,” Duane Schuh said. “The doctors told us at Thanksgiving time that she was just hanging on by her little-finger nails, and we should go in and give her a kiss and pray for her.”

Tasha Schuh said she never lost consciousness when she fell.

“I remember hearing my neck break. It was horrible,” she said. “But I didn’t know what that meant. I come from a really small town, so I didn’t know anyone with a spinal-cord injury, so it was very, very crazy when they told me what my life was going to be like.”

Her first reaction was denial.

“When they told me I was going to be a quadriplegic, I was, like: ‘Oh my goodness, no. I did not sign up for this and this cannot be my life, and I refuse to live this way,’ ” she said. “I thought: ‘Yeah, this is what they say, but I’ll get myself out of it. Mind over matter. I am a strong person.’ ”

The fall nearly severed Schuh’s spinal cord. She was left with limited movement in her arms and wrists but cannot move any of her fingers.

When her doctors at Mayo learned she could move her wrists, they were ecstatic.

“I was, like: ‘Are you kidding me? So I can move my wrists, so what?’ ”

Schuh includes that story in her speeches. “I speak about the little things in life and about attitude and about how this is such a huge movement,” she says, moving her wrists in a circular motion. “This allows me to do everything that I do today.”

She can drive, move her wheelchair, feed herself, put on makeup, use a computer and sign copies of her book “My Last Step Backward,” published in 2012 — all because she has movement in her wrists.

A MENTOR

After more than five months at St. Marys, Schuh lived at the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester for a month while undergoing therapy. “Seeing those kids at the Ronald McDonald House really made me realize, ‘You don’t have it so bad, and you’re going to be here,’ ” she said. “These kids don’t even know if they’re going to be here tomorrow with their illnesses and their diseases. That really is what started it — just realizing: ‘Yeah, this really stinks, but it’s not going to change, so move on. Stop the pity party, and focus on all these wonderful blessings of your family and your friends who were supportive … and your wrists.’ ”

But she said she certainly had her share of bad days, days when she asked “Why me?”

WCCO-TV reporter Darcy Pohland visited Schuh in Rochester and became her mentor. Pohland was in a 1983 diving accident that broke her neck and left her paralyzed from the chest down. She died in 2010 at age 48.

“She inspired me in so many ways and told me all the things that I would still be able to do,” Schuh said. “She said, ‘You’re going to be able to go to college, get married, have kids. Your life is going to be awesome. Is it going to be easy always? No, but regular life isn’t either. It’s just an added challenge. You’ll find a new normal.’ ”

“I easily could have sat home and felt sorry for myself, but where would that have gotten me?” she said. “Thankfully, I just had this little voice on the inside of me saying ‘Obviously you should have died, and you didn’t, so you must be here for a reason.’ I found out all that I had on the inside of me. It forced me to find out who I am.”

Schuh finished high school, graduating in 1999, and enrolled at Winona State University. She planned to major in psychology until a professor suggested she major in communications studies and become an inspirational speaker.

“Like every other college student, I was trying to figure out what I should do with my life,” she said. “It had been 2 1/2 years since my accident. … It was just, like, this moment. The light bulb went off, and I said, ‘Oh my goodness, that’s it.’ ”

She spoke publicly for the first time about her accident and recovery during her sophomore year at Winona State.

“I was 19 or 20, and I was crazy, super nervous,” she said. “After I was done, all these people came up to me and said, ‘Oh, my goodness, your story touched me. It really changed my life,’ and I thought to myself: ‘I like this. I like this feeling.’ ”

Said Duane Schuh: “You know those tests you take in school to find out what your strong suits are and what you might become? Well, Tasha’s came out that she was going to be a priest. Needless to say, we were Lutheran, so that was kind of a shock.”

But “all of her friends, whenever they were in trouble, would always call her, because she was a problem solver. She’s always been that way. She’s always been very gifted in speaking and talking to people.”

THE ROLE OF FAITH

Tasha Schuh, who attends Abundant Life Church in River Falls, Wis., began speaking at churches in southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

After graduating from Winona State in 2003, she decided to go back to school and get another bachelor’s degree — in theology — from Maranatha Christian College in Brooklyn Park. She graduated in June 2007.

“Faith has been a huge part of my journey,” Schuh said. “I became a Christian one year after my accident. I would not be where I am today without my faith — and my attitude — because you can have all the faith in the world, but if you don’t have a positive attitude, the glass is always half empty.”

Her favorite Bible verse is Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

“Every hard thing that I have been through, I have seen him turn it to good,” she said.

Schuh’s singing is an example of God’s work, she said.

“When I had my accident, my doctors said I would never sing again,” she said. “It’s fun that I got to prove them wrong.”

“It’s really a miracle because my stomach muscles are paralyzed … making it physically impossible for me to sing,” she said.

Her signature song — the one she often uses to end her motivational speeches — is “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” It’s fitting, she said, because her accident occurred during a rehearsal for “The Wizard of Oz.”

She practices it in her home office, using her computer to play the music.

“I love sharing that song,” she said. “It’s about wondering if things are ever going to get better and seeing your dreams come true. It’s my full-circle song. I feel I am the most blessed person on this Earth. I have learned to focus on what I have, rather than what I have lost.”

NEWLYWEDS

In 2012, Schuh met Doug Michaels, who was a meteorologist for WQOW-TV in Eau Claire, Wis., through Christian Mingle, a dating website. They married in August.

“I saw her profile and thought it was very inspiring — her honesty and her being forthright in where she was at in her life with her injury,” Michaels said. “Just the fact that she wasn’t trying to hide anything. And her faith, obviously — that is something that is big to me. It was just a combination of attraction and honesty and how good of a heart I could tell she had.”

The couple plan to have children but say they are in no rush. “One of the first questions I had after the accident was, ‘Can I still get married and have kids?’ ” Schuh said. “They said ‘Yes,’ and I was, like, ‘OK, this life may be worth living.’ ”

Caregivers come to Schuh and Michaels’ house each morning and night — about four hours a day. When Schuh’s not traveling, she spends her days writing speeches, responding to emails and practicing her singing.

Michaels, who now travels with Schuh and helps handle her speaking schedule, said his wife’s story resonates with people.

“People can see that through her life and her struggles and journey, there’s always hope, no matter what your circumstances,” he said. “I think it challenges people who really listen to her message to challenge themselves on a daily basis.”

Schuh said she allows herself “two bad days a year.”

“Like anybody else, you have days you think, ‘Oh, my goodness, this stinks,’ and ‘Yes, this isn’t fair.’ I just don’t allow myself to stay there.”

Like Pohland did for her, Schuh serves as a mentor to people who have suffered lower-body injuries. “I tell them, ‘I’m not special. I’m human just like you are, but if I can do it, so can you,’ ” she said.

Schuh said she now celebrates the anniversary of her accident.

“I thought that was the worst day of my life for many years — the anniversary was such a sad day,” she said. “But that was really just the beginning of the most amazing life, and I honestly, genuinely mean this when I say, ‘I am thankful that that happened, and I would not be who I am today without it.’ Some people think ‘Oh, I bet you’d go back in a heartbeat.’ Absolutely not. I wouldn’t want to go back, because it really forced me to learn who I was and what this life is all about.”

Mary Divine can be reached at 651-228-5443. Follow her at twitter.com/MaryEDivine.

IF YOU GO

Tasha Schuh will perform with the Croix Chordsmen at 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday at Stillwater Junior High School. Tickets are $12; $10 for groups of six or more. Part of the proceeds will go to the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester, Minn. For more information, go to stcroixvalleychapter.com.

Apr 21, 2014
Jane Underwood

Casper Calendar for April 21, 2014 – Casper Star

April 21, 2014

Public Library

* Info: 577-7323, www.natronacountylibrary.org.

* At 4 p.m., Tween Monday for grades 4-6.

* At 6:30 p.m., Longmire Month: Wyoming Territorial Sheriffs. Learn about real-life sheriffs of Wyoming’s territorial days.

Clubs meetings

Alcoholics Anonymous

* 6:30 a.m., 917 N. Beech, open, nonsmoking.

* 10 a.m., 328 E. A St., Eastsiders, smoking; 500 S. Wolcott, Ste. 200. A Sufficient Substitute Group

* 6 p.m., 500 S. Wolcott, Ste. 200, Spiritual (Big Book Study), nonsmoking.

* 7 p.m., Glenrock: 615 W. Deer St. (downstairs), nonsmoking.

* 7:30 p.m., Expect a Miracle, 500 S. Wolcott, Ste. 200. Closed, nonsmoking.

* 8 p.m., 328 E. A St., Eastsiders, smoking; Douglas: 628 S. Richards #5, Loft Group, (Big Book Study), smoking.

* Unless otherwise noted, all meetings are open. Casper info: 266-9578; Douglas info: (307) 351-1576.

Al-Anon

* Noon, 701 S. Wolcott, St. Mark’s Church, Brown Baggers, nonsmoking.

Narcotics Anonymous

* Noon, 500 W. Wolcott, 12-24 Club. Open meetings, topic and discussion. Nonsmoking, wheelchair accessible.

* 6:30 p.m., 500 S. Wolcott, 12-24 Club. Open, nonsmoking, wheelchair accessible. Topic and discussion.

* 8 p.m., 4700 S. Poplar (church basement). Open, nonsmoking. Topic and discussion.

* Info: 266-7154. Wyoming hot line: (866) 315-1861; Web site: http://www.urmrna.org.

NAMI

* 7 p.m., 133 W. Sixth St. Caring and Sharing Family Support Group. Info: 234-0440.

Teen Addiction Anonymous

* From 3:30-4:30 p.m., Boys Girls Club Teen Center. Info: 258-7439.

VITA

* From 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Senior Citizens Center, 1841 E. Fourth. Casper Volunteer Income Tax Assistance electronically prepares and e-files individual tax returns for senior citizens, low-income taxpayers and students for free.

Backcountry Crawlers

* 6 p.m., Platte River Restaurant, 321 E. E St. Backcountry Crawlers Off-road Club meetings for 4×4 enthusiasts. Anyone that is interested are welcome. Info: 472-5779 or www.backcountrycrawlers.com.

Adult Children of Alcoholics

* 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., 12-24 Club, 500 S. Wolcott St., Suite 200.

TOPS Weight Loss

* 5:30 p.m., Weight Loss Support Group TOPS #246, Wyoming Oil Gas Building, 2211 King Blvd. Motivational speakers and programs. Use NE door entry. Info: 265-1486.

Coming up

Public Library

* Info: 577-7323, www.natronacountylibrary.org.

* Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m., Storytime at the Mills Library; Tiny Tot Time at NCPL.

* April 22, 6:30 p.m., Family Night: Uno.

* April 22, 6:30 p.m., Teen Book Club for grades 9-12 at Metro Coffee Co.

* Wed., Thurs. Sat., 10:30 a.m., Storytime at NCPL.

* Wednesdays, 4 p.m., After School @ the Library at NCPL for elementary-age students with different weekly activities.

* April 23, 30, 6:30 p.m., Longmire Month: TV Show Screening of AE TV show based on Craig Johnson’s book series featuring Sheriff Walt Longmire in the Crawford Room.

* April 23, 6:30 p.m., mystery book discussion: “The Driftless Area” by Tom Drury.

* April 24, 6:30 p.m., Longmire Month: Meet author Craig Johnson. He will talk about his book “Spirit of Steamboat.”

* April 25, 2-4 p.m., Living Will Power of Attorney Clinic for low and middle-income individuals. Info: 766-6441.

* Mondays, 4 p.m., Tween Monday for grades 4-6.

* April 28, 6:30 p.m., Longmire Month: book discussion of “Spirit of Steamboat.”

* 1st Wed., 10 a.m.-12 p.m., Wednesday Writers at NCPL.

* 2nd Tues., 6:30 p.m., Never Too Old young adult book club for adults at Metro Coffee Co.

Artcore

* Wednesdays, 12:15 p.m., Bach’s Lunch Organ Recital at First United Methodist Church.

Events Center

* Info: 577-3030, www.caspereventscenter.com.

* April 23, 8 p.m., An Evening with Chicago. Tickets: $30.50-$76. Info: www.chicagotheband.com.

* April 24-26, WHSAA State High School Art Symposium.

* April 27, 4 p.m., Academic Awards Banquet.

Wagon Wheel Skating

* Info: 265-4214, www.wwskate.com.

* Friday, 7-9 p.m. 9-11 p.m., Saturday, 12-2 p.m., 2:30-4:30 p.m., 7-9 p.m. 9-11 p.m., Sunday, 1-4 p.m., Skating Sessions at Wagon Wheel Roller Skating Rink. Admission: $5 with own skates, $7 with rentals, additional $3 for inflates.

Rec Center

* June 2-Aug. 15, 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Summer Adventure Camp for kids ages 5-11 at the Rec Center. Registration is $750 for the full summer or $90 per week. Sign up as soon as possible, program fills to capacity early. Info: 235-8383, www.activecasper.com.

Family History Expo

* June 27-28, Family History Expo will take place at the Parkway Plaza Hotel Convention Center. Includes educational family history, genealogy expos, retreats, classes, exhibits, and more. Registration fee: $69 per person early bird (by April 18), $89 full registration, $55 Friday or Saturday only, $109 at the door. Info: www.familyhistoryexpos.com, 265-0486.

Apr 20, 2014
Ann Thompson

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter remembered as ‘selfless’ person

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the former U.S. professional boxer turned advocate for the wrongly convicted, has died. He was 76.

Carter, who spent almost 20 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted twice for a 1966 triple homicide, died in Toronto following a battle with prostate cancer. John Artis, Carter’s long-time friend and co-accused, said the former boxer died in his sleep Sunday morning.

Artis left the U.S. to act as Carter’s caregiver in Toronto after the former boxer was diagnosed with cancer three years ago.

During the last few months of his life, Carter had tried to accomplish as much as he could and had come to terms with his imminent death, Artis said.

“He didn’t express very much about his legacy. That’ll be established for itself through the results of his work. That’s primarily what he was concerned about – his work,” he said of his friend who helped to found the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted.

“He was a very selfless person.”

Carter and Artis were both convicted in the 1966 murder of three people at a New Jersey bar. Their convictions were overturned in 1975, but they were both found guilty for a second time one year later.

After a lengthy legal battle, Carter was freed in 1985, when a judge overturned the second conviction.

He later moved to Toronto, where he met Canadian Boxing Hall of Famer Charles “Spider” Jones.

The former professional fighter said Carter, who was known for his “explosive” punches in the ring, had a powerful personality.

“When he delivered his motivational speeches…he was very, very blunt. He did a lot of good,” Jones told CP24 on Sunday.

Carter’s legal troubles, however, had left its mark on the former fighter. Jones said the affair had made him “bitter in a sense,” but he was later able to use that bitterness to help others.

“He will be remembered for his fight…and the fact that he came out and spent the rest of his life… working with those that were perhaps convicted unjustly,” Jones told CTV’s News Channel.

During his fight to be freed, a group of Canadians befriended Carter and helped to keep his case in the spotlight.

Leon Friedman, who served as the chief appellant lawyer for Carter, said he’ll remember the former boxer for the unwavering determination he showed in the face of his enormous legal battle.

“Right from the start, he showed the same determination in fighting his case as he did in fighting people in the ring,”

Friedman told CTV News Channel Sunday. “He was determined, insistent and very convincing on the fact that he was innocent.”

Carter’s story has been widely detailed in news stories, books, music and film.

His 1974 autobiography, “The Sixteenth Round,” helped raise awareness for his case. One year later, Bob Dylan wrote the song “Hurricane,” inspired by the boxer’s plight.

Most famously, Carter’s story was the subject of the 1999 Norman Jewison movie “The Hurricane,” which featured Denzel Washington in the lead role.

When he moved to Toronto, Carter served as executive director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted from 1993 to 2004.

He eventually left the association after board members refused to condemn the appointment of prosecutor Susan MacLean to the Ontario Court of Justice. MacLean was a member of the prosecution in the case of Guy Paul Morin, the Ontario man who spent more than 10 years in prison for the death of Christine Jessop before DNA evidence helped clear his name.

Despite his split with the association, Carter never stopped speaking out for those he believed had been wrongly convicted.

In February 2014, Carter wrote an opinion article in the New York Daily News calling for a review of the case of David McCallum, a man who Carter said has been wrongfully imprisoned for 28 years.

In the article, Carter revealed that he was on his death bed and said the request for a review was his “final wish.”

The article ends with the former fighter reflecting on his own life and his hopes for the future.

“If I find a heaven after this life, I’ll be quite surprised. In my own years on this planet, though, I lived in hell for the first 49 years, and have been in heaven for the past 28 years,” he said.

“To live in a world where truth matters and justice, however late, really happens, that world would be heaven enough for us all.”

Carter’s family members, including two daughters, all live in the U.S., Artis said.

The former boxer’s personal artifacts, including his writing and photos, will be donated to a Boston university.

With files from The Canadian Press

Apr 20, 2014
Jane Underwood

At Dakota County jail, volunteers are helping inmates get a second chance



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    Bill Postiglione, 76, left, and Gaby Postiglione, 53, not pictured, taught fractions and decimals to inmates at the Dakota County jail in Hastings. The father-daughter team come to the Dakota County jail three times a week (Bill comes in a fourth day, too) to teach GED and college prep classes to inmates.

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    With GED classes, social etiquette training and life coaching, contract workers and volunteers aim to keep inmates from coming back.

    On this particular day, Bill and Gaby Postiglione are teaching a dozen or so inmates at the Dakota County jail about fractions, decimals and percentages.

    For some it’s easy; others don’t immediately grasp that four-eighths is the same as one-half is the same as 50 percent. With patience and humor, the father-daughter team take the men through it step by step and there are smiles and laughter all around when the light bulb goes off.

    “Mathematics is not about numbers,” Bill Postiglione tells the class. “It’s about relationships. If you understand the relationships then you can solve almost any problem.”

    The Postigliones have been teaching GED and college-prep classes at the jail three or four times a week for the past 16 years. Both know that their work is about far more than reading, writing and arithmetic.

    So do the others — like Jeff Wynne, 47, who brings in celebrities and motivational speakers to talk to the inmates and spends time one-on-one with the men “to make a difference.”

    “We don’t make any bones about it,” said Bill Postiglione, 76, a retired instructor at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College. “We want to give them alternative behaviors. If they have something that’s going to be a goal for them and they work toward it, it’s going to help them change their lifestyle. If they go back, they’re going to be a frequent flier. We don’t want that.”

    There are dozens of other volunteers and contract workers, too, who come to help the inmates learn how to function in society when they finish their jail or prison sentences. The myriad programs include social etiquette classes to teach the men how to look someone in the eye, how to shake hands, the proper attire for a job interview or even table manners. There are also Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings, job and motivational fairs, parenting classes and Bible study.

    Wynne brings the perspective of an ex-offender himself. He was born and raised in Hastings and was thrown out of school in the eighth grade, he said. He ended up in a treatment center at age 12. He bounced from odd job to odd job and crime to crime until he ended up in the Dakota County jail in 2008.

    He had “no direction in life, whatsoever,” Wynne admitted. “None, absolutely zero. I was on a mission just to be selfish. My life was about selfishness.

    “I was on a mission to die,” he said. “The alcohol had taken over, the drugs had taken over.”

    Then, from somewhere inside, something clicked, and through good behavior Wynne moved into the Inmates Motivated to Change (IMC unit). He started volunteering, scrubbing walls and floors.

    “One of the things a guard here told me years ago, he said, ‘Get up in the morning, make your bed, say please and thank you, take a shower every morning even though you’re not going anywhere. Try that once.’ ”

    Wynne wore a crisp blue shirt and tie when he visited the jail last week, and he repeated that guard’s words to inmates Shane Lloyd, Michael Dorman and Brandon Fraher outside the Postigliones’ class.

    “Sometimes you have to go back to the basics of life to get it,” he said. “So when I went back to the basics of life, I did get it.”

    By the time Wynne was released in 2009, he knew he wanted to come back. But this time it would be to make a difference.

    “They laughed at me, said nobody comes back without handcuffs on, Mr. Wynne,” he remembered.



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    • Every week, a dozen or so volunteers pass through the doors of the Dakota County jail to tutor inmates, help them learn basic social manners and more.

    • Bill Postiglione, rear right, and Gaby Postiglione, center, come to the Dakota County jail three times a week (Bill comes in a fourth day, too) to teach GED and college prep classes to inmates.

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    Apr 19, 2014
    Ann Thompson

    Peyton gets paid $105000 to speak at Oklahoma State

    PeytonAP

    Alabama coach Nick Saban got Peyton Manning’s time for free.  Oklahoma State had to pay a bit more.

    According to the Tulsa World, Manning received $105,000 for a 30-minute speech and a 30-minute question-and-answer session in Stillwater.  The money was paid by the OSU Speakers Board.

    So what did they get in return?  Apparently, a laundry list of fairly obvious lines that appear in any of the various motivational books that can be purchased for 99 cents on the clearance shelf.

    “I challenge each of you in this arena tonight to invest your time to become a game-changer.  A game-changer looks deeper and senses something others don’t and then acts on it.”

    “You either get better or worse every day.  You don’t stay the same.”

    “Enjoy the journey, not the destination.”

    “This is your world.  Own it.”

    Actually, this isn’t our world.  It’s Peyton’s world.  The rest of us are just paying the rent.  At $105,000 per hour.

    Seriously, though, we’ll never complain about a guy finding a way to get paid for his time.  We’re all worth whatever someone will pay, and OSU’s Speakers Board decided Manning is worth $105,000 per hour.  There’s not a thing wrong with Peyton collecting the cash.

    But here’s the bigger issue.  At a time when the NCAA and various member institutions are fretting about how to afford the inevitable obligation to pay student-athletes, the fact that $105,000 can be scraped together by Oklahoma State for 60 minutes of cliché and rah-rah reconfirms that, when the time comes to cough up fair market value to the kids who are bringing in millions, the schools will find a way.

    Apr 19, 2014
    Jane Underwood

    Outdoorswoman workshop takes place next weekend

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