Dream to dust…….

Front row: Adam Hardman, Michael, Trudi and Kaci Hardman.
Back row: Aaron Hardman, Dakota Watson, Andrew Harman, Hunter Watson

“We must lift each other up during this difficult time,” stated Terrell Independent School District Superintendent Michael French.

The Hardman family had always talked about taking their blended family to Disney World and on Nov 19 2014, they and their six children left their Terrell TX home sometime after 7 pm headed to Florida.  At approximately 10:45 pm their 2005 Chevy Tahoe crashed on Interstate 20 just west of Calhoun LA and five members of the family were dead.

The police report that they believe the driver, sixteen year old Andrew Hardman apparently fell asleep at the wheel and the Tahoe veered to the left.  He then overcorrected the vehicle to the right and the SUV rolled over, ejecting six people who were not wearing seatbelts.  Five of the Hardman family were pronounced dead at the scene.  The dead were identified as Michael and Trudi Hardman, Dakota Watson, 15, Adam Hardman, 7 and Kaci Hardman, 4.  Andrew was wearing a seatbelt and only suffered minor injuries while Aaron Hardman, 12 is in critical condition.  Hunter Watson also suffered only minor injuries and was released from the hospital the next day.

Michael and Trudi married five years ago and brought their children from previous marriages together.  Kaci was the youngest and the only child that they had together as a couple.  Michael taught second grade in the TISD and had been employed by them for two years.  He also coached Little League baseball and is said to never turn a kid away from participating.  Trudi was a kindergarten teacher at Willis Point Primary School and had worked for the WPISD for ten years.  The couple had been planning the trip for the past nine months and were excited to be able to take all six of their children there.

Andrew has been charged with reckless operation of a vehicle and the police do not believe that he was impaired even though they did take a sample for a toxicology test.  They have stated that they believe that he may have just fallen asleep while driving.  They did add that they believe that more of the family could have survived the accident if they had been wearing seat belts as required by law in both Texas and Louisiana.  I do believe that it probably was just an accident due to to inexperience but the damage it may have caused could last a lifetime.

There has been a go fund me site set up to help with expenses for the surviving children.  No funeral arrangements have been announced as of yet.

Related story on this blog:






Update Nov 22 2014:

The police have stated that Andrew had to be charged with a motor vehicle infraction as a point of law but he has only been charged with the misdemeanor of careless operation.  This charge means that he would only be facing a small fine and a mark on his newly acquired driver’s license.  They added that there is a very good chance that the charge will be dropped in the future since he has certainly suffered more than any punishment could do for what looks to be just an accident.

There has not been any announcement as to funeral arrangements but people in Wills Point have gathered to remember the five who died in the accident.



Update Nov 23 2014:

The only arrangements that have been planned as of this date is a memorial sometime after Thanksgiving.


Update Nov 24 2014:

The memorial service for the Hardman family has been set for Wednesday Nov 26 2014.  It will be held at the Lakeshore Church, 5575 Highway 205 in Rockwall.  The family will begin receiving friends at 10 am that morning.

The district attorney in Louisiana has stated that all charges against Andrew have been dismissed.  Aaron is still reported to be in critical condition but stable at Shreveport Hospital in LA at this time.


Can we keep it?

The three of them had spent Labor Day, September 3 2007, fishing without any luck. They were headed back to the boatlaunch near Mine Falls, on the Nashua River NH, when their luck suddenly changed.

Anthony Grauslys, 40 of Hudson NH, his 9 year-old son, Ash and Steve Summers, their neighbor hadn’t caught a thing all day until Graulys’s line snagged something. He initially had thought a pickerel had grabbed his hook and rubber worm and he fought it up to the boat. It only took one look he said, to realize he hadn’t caught a prize-winning fish.

“We’re city cops. We don’t know what to do with these things,” stated Lt Bruce Hansen.

Grauslys stated that he realized he had dragged in an alligator and he knew that he could just release it again, since no one would probably want an alligator hanging around. Him and his fishing crew headed for the dock with the alligator fighting the whole way. By the time they had made it to the dock, three Nashua police officers had arrived put the alligator in a large utility box, half filled with water.

The state Fish and Game conservation officer, David Eskeland, stated that the 18 inch, approximately 1 year-old, american alligator is now safe in a Massachusetts facility that handles reptiles. He stated that it would not have survived the winter months and temperatures if it had stayed in the river. They could only guess that it had possibly outgrown someone’s bathtub and that was why it was dumped in the river.

Grauslys didn’t have to turn the alligator over to Eskeland, it is legal for New Hampshire residents to own an alligator. I’m sure that his neighbors wouldn’t be that happy to see him taking it out for a “daily walk” though.






It began with the adoption of a 4 month old brussels griffon mixed puppy from the Mutts and Moms adoption agency. By October 16 2007, it became a national media story.

When a representitive from the adoption agency called Ellen DeGeneres to check on Iggy’s welfare, she found out that the pup had been given to Ellen’s hairdresser. That had been in violation of the contract that Portia de Rossi had signed when adopting the puppy, which stated that the dog had to be returned to the agency.

Iggy wasn’t dumped on the street but had been given to a family with two young girls, ages 10 & 12 and had been taken care of very well. This had happened after Ellen had paid approximately $3,000 in vet bills, neutering and training of the pup and he still didn’t get along well with her cats.

It seems that Ellen had been told to immediately return the dog to the agency or they would go and seize the dog. That is exactly what a representitive of Moms and Mutts did, with police presence, she removed the dog from the home and children because of a violation of the contract. Ellen pleaded for the return of Iggy to the children, the agency stated that they would make sure that the children didn’t receive the dog and the situation spun out of control.

Ellen was visably upset about the events, the owner of Moms and Mutts was as well. Marina Batkis, a co-owner of the rescue group, had stated that they “may” have considered the new placement if Ellen had asked them to do so before putting the puppy there. I think that is a very large “maybe” on their part, since they state the agency has a rule barring placement of small dogs with families with children under the age of 14.

Iggy it is now reported, has been placed with another family, which is rather nice that the agency could rush him out the door that quickly during this dispute. It has also been reported that Iggy would not be returned to Ellen because her name had not been added to the microchip he has. That seems a bit of a double standard, the agency states they have a contract and follow it to the letter but they use a technocality to claim Ellen can’t prove the puppy is hers?

My final thoughts……… if this agency has a policy of not adopting small dogs into families with children and they evidently monitor their placements militantly…… what happens when a couple adopts a small dog and two years later, has a baby? Does Moms and Mutts point to their policy in the contract and have police stand by as they yank the dog out of the home?

Of note:

Ellen and Portia may well have broken the contract that Portia signed with Mutts and Moms, a contract that it seems now, that many pet adoption agencies have, Marina Batkis’s sobbing on television has done little for me to believe that she had Iggy’s best interests at heart. She publically stated that there was no way that she would have placed Iggy back with Cheryl Mark’s family because of the publicity and the fact that there were “young” children in the home. That can be shown by how fast Mutts and Moms were to place Iggy with another family as soon as they had him back in their grasp.

What has been revealed though from “Iggy-gate” is that there are numerous pet adoption agencies out there, some with little more that the local governement’s approval to operate because their facilities meet certain standards. Those standards though often do not include how well trained they are in placing animals and most solicate donations for their “good” works.

The “Smoking Gun” posted several of the emails exchanged between both parties and while some may point to their relevance, I found little in them that excited me…….. Batkis evidently felt that not hearing an update for more than 30 days on the placement of one of their pups was excessive and I do wonder…….. does anyone who adopts a pet from Mutts and Moms have to send an update every two weeks or so for them to feel confident of the care their former charge is getting?

For a look at those emails, go here.

Update: November 13

“Iggy’s doing famously, very well and in a loving home,” stated Keith Fink.

It seems that Iggy is destined for some sort of fame at the moment, he is now being paraded on television to prove what a good job Moms and Mutts has done in placing Iggy after the tears and hate of last month. I had no doubt that they would find yet another family to care for the now 5 month-old pup and one that would allow them to exploit him as well.

What isn’t being addressed though is the policy that they have, one which many agencies it has been revealed has and specifically, their policy of not placing a dog in a house with small children. That alone would have most likely kept the agency from allowing Iggy to stay with Ellen’s friends, especially after it was publically stated that the would be no way that they would get the pup back.

I personally feel that the family who now has Iggy, who is doing famously and probably with the help of the couple thousand Ellen spent on training him, should be living quietly at home…. not paraded on “stage” by Fink, the lawyer for the agency.

At all costs……..

“We have discovered an important battle site that is part of the Battle of the Atlantic,” stated Joe Hoyt.

On Oct 21 2014, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that it had discovered the wrecks of two ships that had been involved in the Battle of the Atlantic.  The wrecks were found after lying on the bottom, within 240 yards of each other, more than 72 years after the battle.  One ship, the Bluefields, was part of a 24 ship convoy heading from New York to Virginia to Key West FL and finally to Havana Cuba when it was sunk on July 15 1942.  The other wreck is the German U-Boat U-576, was sunk minutes later during the battle.  Both of the ships were located about 30 miles off of the coast on North Carolina, in the area known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.”

The Bluefields was a motor merchant class ship completed in 1917 by the Manitowoc Ship Building Corp in Manitowoc WI.  She was first launched as the Norwegian ship Motor I but was requisitioned by the US Shipping Board and when it was completed in October 1917, she was renamed the Lake Mohonk.  In 1919 it was renamed again as the Astmacho III after Astmacho NY and that was followed by it being renamed yet again in 1921 as the Ormidale after the Ormidale SS Corp of Wilmington DE.  She was sold two more times, in 1927 and 1937 to different companies in New York and in 1938, she was sold to Honduras and was renamed the Jupiter.  In 1941, she was sold once again and renamed for the last time as the Bluefields and was carrying a cargo of two cars, empty burlap bags and drums of oil and carbide when she joined the convoy.


The 19 merchant ships in that convoy were delivering cargo to aid in the war effort and were accompanied by five US Navy and US Coast Guard escorts.  It was by this time, the safest way for merchant ships to move along their shipping routes, since the German U-Boats had been destroying them in huge numbers when they had been traveling solo earlier in the war.

Hans-Dieter Heinicke had radioed back to his commanders in occupied France on July 13 1942, that his ship was damaged and they would be heading back to Germany.  The U-576 had been on patrol for about a month and had not had much success in sinking US ships.  This was Heinicke’s fifth patrol against Allied shipping and he had not managed much success at all, so when his U-Boat crossed paths with the convoy, he saw an opportunity.  Even though his ship was damaged, he saw the chance for possible redemption if he was able to sink some of the Allied ships in convoy KS-520.

At approximately 4:15 pm, U-576 attacked the convoy when it was not too far from Ocracoke NC and within four minutes, three ships had been hit.  The Chilore, an American cargo ship built in 1924, was hit by two torpedoes and the J A Mowinckel, a Panamanian tanker built in 1930 was struck by one torpedo.  Both of these ships were damaged but did not sink, while the Bluefields which was hit by one torpedo, sunk within minutes.  The Armed Guard crew which was manning deck guns on the Unicoi, a mobile dry storage ship built in 1920, opened fire on U-576 when it surfaced about 350 yards away from it.  They scored a direct hit with at least one shell and two US Navy Kingfisher aircraft that were escorting the convoy dropped a series of depth charges that sent the U-576 to the bottom.  It lay there, next to the Bluefields, undiscovered until this year.


J A Mowinckel

The Chilore and the J A Mowinckel were damaged and far from safe at this point though.  They both managed to stray into a minefield off of Cape Hatteras and were damaged further.  The tugboat Keshena was attempting to salvage the boats and it too struck a mine and sunk.  The Chilore would later sink but the Mowinckel was finally towed into Hatteras Inlet, pumped out and floated so that it could eventually be towed to Baltimore MD for repairs.  The Allied casualties consisted of two crewmen from the tug Keshena, a naval gunner and a merchant seaman.  The entire crew of  45 on the U-576 perished in the sinking of the submarine.

Crew of U-576

The German U-Boat 576 was launched on April 30 1941 and was a Type VIIC submarine.  Her Captain, Hans-Dieter Heinicke was born May 18 1913 and commanded five patrols with the U-Boat.  The first two patrols of U-576 led to no encounters with Allied ships but by the third patrol, they sank one ship, the Empire Spring off of Nova Scotia.  Their fourth patrol led to the sinking of the Pipestone County off Cape Henry VA and the sinking of the Taborfjell off Cape Cod MA.  It was this dismal record that led Heinicke to risk everything to take on the convoy, since a commander’s record was what led him up the ladder of command.


The discovery of the Bluefields and U-576 was the result of a partnership formed in 2008 between the Bureau of Ocean Management and NOAA that was meant to document and survey WWII ships that were lost along the North Carolina coastline.  They had conducted a survey earlier this year based on historical data and returned to the site later to identify and map the location of both wrecks.

They had not expected to find both ships lying so close to each other even though they had been lost within minutes of each other.  Both ships are protected under international law and because the U-576 went down with her entire crew, the site will be considered a war grave.  As such, it is not to be disturbed and will most likely not allow recreational diving but there may be further exploration of the wrecks for scientific purposes.

The U-576 is not the only German U Boat that has found a watery grave off of the coast of North Carolina.  The U-85 was sunk at around midnight on April 13 1942 after the USS Roper spotted it on radar while it was patrolling near the Bodie Island Lighthouse.  The U Boat was on the surface at the time and tried to head south to escape the USS Roper.  The two ships exchanged gunfire before it managed to get below the surface of the water.  The U Boat was sunk by depth charges and went down with all 46 of her crew.  Twenty nine of their bodies were recovered soon after, some of them dressed in civilian clothes and they were buried in Hampton VA.  The hatch was recovered and is on display at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the enigma machine that was on board is on display at the Graveyard of the Atlantic museum in Hatteras NC.

On May 9 1942, U-352 was destroyed by the US Coast Guard off of Cape Lookout in North Carolina.  The U Boat was launched on May 7 1941 and Hellmut Rathke was awarded the command of her almost immediately after he completed submarine training.  It spent a very uneventful first cruise in the North Atlantic and then was readied for a second cruise that would take it to the waters off of the North Carolina coastline.


The U-352 came across the SS Freden, a swedish merchant ship far off the coast of NC and attempted to sink her but all they were able to do was cause the crew to abandon ship twice.  The crew drifted all night the second time and actually drifted up to the Freden, which was untouched, so they reboarded her and continued on their way.  On May 9 1942, U-352 spotted the USCG cutter Icarus and fired.  The torpedo either malfunctioned or hit the sea bed but the Icarus responded by dropping depth charges.

The charges badly damaged U-352 and Rathke chose to play dead on the bottom in an attempt to hide from the Icarus.  Eventually though, it was forced to the surface and damaged so heavily that it sank.  The crew of the Icarus approached after a short time and rescued 33 of her crew who became the first German prisoners of war on US soil.  They were taken Charleston SC where they were imprisoned.  The wreck was rediscovered in April 1975 after many years of searching for her and lies south of Morehead City NC at about 115′ deep.

On July 7 1942, U-701 was sunk near cape Hatteras NC and became the last U-boat to be sunk in those waters during WWII.  The U-701 was launched on April 16 1941 after delays in her construction and refitting.  Her captain Horst Degan and many of her crew were assigned to her even before she was launched and assisted in the completion of her construction.

The U-701 was far more successful than the other two U-Boats on her patrols and is credited with damaging four ships and a destroyer, sinking four auxiliary warships and five ships on her three patrols.  She arrived off of the east coast of NC on June 11 1942 and deployed her cargo of magnetic mines near the Chesapeake Bay and then set about trying to find targets to sink.

They engaged several targets and received minor damage.  At one point, her air scrubbers were not functioning properly and Degan was forced to surface more often to clear the air within the sub.  The US had several ships become damaged or sunk by the mines Degan had set and they were on alert to the possibility of a U-Boat in the vicinity.  On the afternoon of July 7 1942, Degan surfaced to clear the air again and they were spotted by an A-29 from Cherry Point NC that was on routine patrol.

Even though a air alert was sounded, the U-701 was trapped at the surface and bombed from overhead.  The air assault was fatal, tearing open the pressure hull and she headed for the bottom in minutes.  Seventeen men including Degan survived the sinking but there were only seven alive two days later when they were spotted by a blimp and rescued.

The wreck of U-701 lies about ten miles off Avon North Carolina in the unpredictable waters of Diamond Shoals.  The wreck lies about 110′ deep at the bottom and conditions are ever changing because of the currents that run there.  It is not a deep wreck to dive but it certainly an advanced dive due to the conditions that exist on site.












You had to expect it……..

“I’m not willing to stand here and let my civil rights be violated when it’s not science based,” stated Kaci Hickox.

Kaci Hickox, a nurse who had been working with Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, arrived at Newark Airport NJ on Oct 24 2014.  She was detained at the airport for 7 hours and then was placed in an isolation tent after a second temperature reading on her showed that she had a fever.  Hickox immediately complained that her isolation was unfair as well as the conditions in the isolation tent, which had no running shower and a port-a-potty were sub-standard.  She spent the weekend waging a media war with Gov Christie’s 21 day quarantine policy for returning health care workers.  Hickox tested negative for the virus and was allowed to leave for her home state on Maine on Oct 27 2014.

I applaud all that the health care workers are doing to treat the patients with Ebola in West Africa and I had actually been on her side for a few days but her defiant whining has left me standing on the opposing side of her argument now.  I find it difficult for someone who evidently knew about Ebola and the 70% fatality rate that it has been shown to have, to travel and work with these patients….. to not think that there would be some kind of ramification upon yourself when you did return to the United States.  I also can not believe that you had no clue as to what had been happening in the US after Mr Duncan’s death from Ebola.  Common sense would dictate that there had to be some sort of check instituted for exposure and future risk after that incident.

I lost respect for you when you went home with a continued defiance and threats to sue over your “loss of civil liberties” rants.  You should be very happy to know that while the US health care system is struggling with how to deal with the possibility of further instances of Ebola in the US, they have an ironclad set of rules governing disease management and livestock.  Yes, Kaci……….. the government cares a lot more about animals here than they do about you.

I will start out easy then………..  I want to travel from the east coast of the US to the west coast to stay with friends for a couple of months.  Since it is a long trip, I will be bringing my dog Mumbles with me.  The rules state that Mumbles has to go in baggage since he unfortunately will not fit under the seat in a carrier until I run him through a blender.  In order for my dog to be loaded on the plane, he has to have the required carrier etc, etc as well as health papers.  That means that I have to take Mumbles to the veterinarian, at cost and have him sign off on a complete health exam stating that he is disease free.  On his return flight, he may also be required to have an updated health check since we stayed so long in another state.

Now for the more difficult regulations……… let’s say that my friend in New Mexico has invited me to trailer my horse up there to spend a week or two trail riding from my imaginary home in Texas.  I can just throw caution to the wind, hook up the trailer and head off into the sunset, hoping that I am not pulled over after I cross the state lines or I could actually follow the regulations in place.  Those regulations include….. basic CVI (certificate of veterinary inspection) which includes identification of the horse and has the horse’s temperature recorded on it.  The certificate must be made no more than 30 days before the planned trip.

In addition, there must be proof of ownership, proof of a negative C-ELISA test, a negative Coggins test, state the testing lab used, dates tested and results, it has to be free of ticks and showing no symptoms of equine piroplasmosis.  Here is the kicker though and I suppose I could whine that the state would be impeding my right to travel freely and enjoy my vacation……… there are six specific counties that horses are not allowed into from Texas if there has been a, as in only one, confirmed case of equine piroplasmosis.  That means that the one confirmed case could have been miles from my horse and it had never had any contact at all with mine but I am still barred from crossing the state line with my horse.

The reason states do this is to prevent the animals in their state from possibly being exposed to an infection that may not exist within their borders.  The result of an infected animal coming in contact with other livestock can be catastrophic.  The “cure” in the US for an outbreak of hoof and mouth disease is eradication, as in all the animals that may have had any contact with the infected ones are killed.  If the farmer next door were to import an infected animal by bending the rules of importation a bit, that infected animal could potentially lead to the destruction of several surrounding herds and leave those farmer’s holding the financial loss.

Hickox has now gone home to Maine and has taken the stance that she will defy any self quarantine directives and has threatened to sue the state now.  Just this morning, her and her boyfriend took a 40 minute bike ride followed by the police.  I don’t agree that she should be locked away in her home since they do live in a very rural area and the exercise would be good.  I do not agree with her defiant attitude though and that makes me nervous about how far she will push the envelope of no contact.

There are those who feel that the states are imposing quarantines are denying an individual of their personal liberty is wrong and I side with those who do not find it wrong.  The treatment of Ebola is evolving almost on a daily basis but there are still many questions as to how it is transmitted or even what is “safe.”  A restriction of contact with other people for 21 days is not unreasonable and actually is safer for the masses.  When the needs of the masses outweigh the needs of one individual, a state or nation has to rule in favor of the masses.

One specific example of how much the government cares for “livestock” more than it does returning citizens who may have been exposed to diseases would be the race career of a South African horse named Variety Club.  In 2013, after winning the prestigious Queen’s Plate in South Africa, the owners petitioned the Dubai Racing Club for an exemption of the quarantine rules so that the horse could ship directly there to compete.  The request was denied so they could not race in several important races there.

They also were forced to abandon their hopes of bringing the horse to the US to race in the Breeders cup races as well.  Their horse would be forced to stay totally indoors, with no exercise or sunlight…. at an airport for 60 days.  They had requested that the horse be allowed a treadmill but that was denied as well and it was decided that it would not be fair to their horse to have to endure that for just one race.

The traditional trip for a horse to race in Dubai is about six months….. not 21 days.  It begins with a 3 week quarantine in Cape Town followed by three months in Mauritius, one month in England and then additional restrictions once the horse arrives in Dubai.  The European Union requires this restriction because of an African horse sickness that is similar to malaria in people.  It is vector-born, not contagious, is seasonal and only found in the south of African in the wet summer months.  They keep a disease free zone in Cape Town where any horse is quarantined and shipped from and that is surrounded by an observation zone to further protect the free zone and in this way, no case has ever shipped out of Africa.  In 2011 though, there was a breach of the observation area and the European Union instituted the restrictions now in place.

Once a horse has made it through the six month process to international status, they are free to travel with the lighter restrictions and quarantines that are imposed but that means it will be months before the horse ever returns to it’s native soil, if ever.  Evidently, the hopes of an owner for a chance at millions in purses is not enough to have a quarantine reduced or modified but if you are returning from an active Ebola area and stomp your feet enough, they are bent for you.

The states have an ability to reasonably protect their citizens and in this case, from a disease that has a high mortality rate, is expensive to cure and still is not very well understood in how easily it seems to be transmitted within healthcare workers.  Her quarantine is also not false imprisonment because the state would have to be shown that they were completely erroneous in their reasons for wanting her to not have contact with other people within a specific time frame.  Mr Duncan’s family cried that it was so unfair in how he was treated until two of his nurses had to battle the same disease.

We do owe a great debt to those heath care individuals who donate their time to help world-wide but we do not have to be placed at possible risk when they return from an area that is dealing with a deadly, contagious disease.

Hats off to Bayou Renaissance Man for the story idea.

Related post on this blog:











Update Nov 3 2014:

A judge in Maine has given into Hickox’s foot stomping and has ruled in her favor.  The judgement applies only to her and her whining about being quarantined for possible Ebola exposure.  It states that she does not have to submit to the stricter rules of the quarantine but must instead submit to direct active monitoring, notify officials of any change in her health status and must coordinate her travel outside of the home with officials.  She has also stated that the fight has not ended for her and she will continue to press for the more lenient versions of monitoring for returning individuals.


Update Nov 10 2014:

Hickox and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur, have announced that they are both leaving Fort Kent ME after her 21 day quarantine ends this week.  Wilbur has withdrawn from the college that he was enrolled at there and they have only stated that they will be traveling to southern Maine first.  Wilbur it seems was upset that the University of Maine had requested that he not attend classes for a period of time.

The university has stated that they were sorry that they were not able to accommodate Wilbur in the manner he prefered and he now characterizes their efforts as insufficient.  They added that they have gone to great lengths to educate individuals about the threats of Ebola but that they still had concerns about the health and security of individuals.  They tried to accommodate his wishes but were unable to please him.

Sadly, again……… did you not see this coming?  If you vocally state that you are going to make your own rules about how you should be treated after exposure to Ebola, do you really think others are going to trust you or want to risk their future health by being with you?  I think this all could have been avoided if you had just quietly accepted the quarantine in the first place.


He should still rock ‘n’ roll

On Wednesday, August 29 2007, Duffy dozed off while the arguments were heard Northumberland County Court PA. The argument centered around whether Duffy would face a life of leisure or be able to continue to generate income, the only way he knows.

“He’s a valuable breeding dog,” stated Karen Robertson, of Paxinos and Duffy’s original owner and breeder.

Duffy, a five year-old french bulldog and known in the dog show world as Champion Rock ‘n’ Roll Use Your Illusion, is worth an estimated $10,000. He commands a $1,000 stud fee and his puppies sell for $3,000. Robertson stated in court that she had earned $73,000 in the three years that she had been breeding Duffy.

The origins of the french bulldog are unknown but it is commonly accepted that the playful, affectionate and good natured bred was bred primarily as a companion animal and brought to France by English workers. The breed first appeared in the U S in 1896 and was first registered with the AKC in 1898.

Robertson testified that in October 2006, after finding that she was unable to give Duffy enough attention, she agreed to give him to Susan Serovich, of Kulpmont. She also stated that the agreement was on the condition that he be kept intact and available for breeding for another two or three years.

Serovich testified that she had only agreed to have Duffy bred one more time and then he would be retired. She also stated that a veterinarian had recommended having him neutered. That veterinarian, Dr Patricia Kitchen, testified by telephone and stated that she had recommended neutering Duffy after she had been informed that he would be used for breeding. She added that neutering him would also make Duffy less aggressive.

Northumberland County Judge Charles H Saylor noted that Duffy had quietly napped through the whole proceeding, only a few feet from his bench. He ruled that the women had to seek a second veterinarian’s opinion on whether Duffy needs to be neutered for his own well-being. If they could not do that, he ruled that Serovich is Duffy’s rightful owner and that Robinson has the right to breed him for “as long as the dog is able and it’s not compromising the dog’s health and comfort.”

I can understand why Robinson wanted this settled legally, he is a valuable dog and she had given him with what she felt was a fair agreement. I don’t understand why Serovich, who was given a valuable dog to keep as a pet, would feel she should go against what seems to be a fairly easy agreement. As for Duffy, he evidently slept through any chance of testifying about his wishes….. at least now though, it looks like he will still be able to enjoy those special “dates.”

Someone has to stop him……

Nearly fifty years ago, Mark Alton’s father hired Michael Molnar as an architectural draftsman. After Molnar applied for a PA state architectural license in 1960, he opened his own in Uniontown PA.

Alton complained in 2004 to the Architects Licensure Board, accusing Molnar of misrepresenting his college career in Hungary. He cited a statement from a college in Budapest that stated that there were no records of Molnar studying there. Molnar stated that the reason there was no record was that Hungary’s communist government would not grant him a diploma after he completed his four years of education and his thesis.

In November 2006, the Commonwealth Court upheld the Board’s dismissal of Altman’s complaint against Molnar. Now this may seem like a simple case of a son being upset with a former employee and now rival, having a competing office. It may very well be just that but Altmon is determined to find a way for Molnar’s license to be revoked. John Gismondi, a Pittsburg attorney, has stated that Altman will have to prove to the court that the case could have future reprecussions on state licensing practices for his lawsuit to be heard by the Supreme Court.

“If the goal of the litigation is to stop Mike Molnar from practicing architecture, the good Lord has done that by taking him to the other side,” stated Gismondi.

That is correct, Molnar died in May at age 77 and unless I am mistaken…… he isn’t going to be building anything for a very long time.

It’s supposed to be who???

“I want to put a bag over her head.  That would be a quick fix,” stated Richard Kogut.

Take just a few moments and examine the sculpture………… take in the “artistry” of it and try to guess who it is supposed to be…………..

The piece was privately commissioned Jetta and Mark Wilson and has stood overlooking Chautauqua Lake in Celoron NY since 2009 when they donated it to the town.  It is a tiny town of about 1,000 residents and it is also the town where this woman spent much of her youth.  If you are still stumped, I will give you another shot at it, just to be fair.

The 400 pound lifesize bronze statue had been created by David Poulin who had his first encounter with bronze sculpture in 1978 while studying at Bethany College KS.  He completed a MFA in Sculpture at Alfred University and then spent eight years teaching at St Bonaventure University.

He left teaching in 1997 to pursue his art and has since produced over 120 pieces, many of which have been placed publically in New York and Pennsylvania.  He has so far declined to comment about the feelings the public has had for years about this particular sculpture.  The Wilson’s, village trustees, the mayor and many town residents have stated that they do not like it.  His only statement has been that if nobody likes it, then take it down and put it in storage.

Enough hints or tired of guessing yet?

Jetta Wilson, whose office overlooks the park that the statue was placed in, had wanted to honor Lucille Ball and have a statue of her placed in the park that is named for her.  That’s correct……….. the statue is supposed to look like childhood resident, Lucille Ball.  The sculpture was part of a complicated real estate deal that he had made with the Wilson’s and it took much longer to be delivered than they had expected.  When it arrived, the details of it down the buttons and label on the bottle were wonderful but the head………. well the head is a major problem.

Mayor Scott Schrecengost has tried repeatedly to have Poulin repair the face at no cost to the town and he has so far refused to do so.  I agree with the mayor’s statement that since he is the artist and knows that it is sub par, he should take some pride in it and want to fix it.  He estimates that it would take between $8,000 and $10,000 of taxpayers funding to replace just the head with a more lifelike version of it and he does not believe that the taxpayers should pay to fix it.

The interest has been renewed recently when an anonymous Facebook page was set up for comments and to discuss the solutions to fix the sculpture.  Many on the page agree that the face is scary and have even gone so far as to suggest that it could be an extra for the Walking Dead program.

Many in town do not like the sculpture but do not wish to publically state that saying that they want to stay in business.  that is a fair statement after the recent events that have unfolded for Memories Pizza in Indiana.  The hope is that maybe this recent discussion of how awful the statue looks will entice people to donate towards a permanent fix of it.  Village trustee Richard Kogut has gone so far as putting temporary putty in it’s eyes and mouth in an attempt to make it less scary looking but that did not really help much.

Frankly……… the face on this is so bad that Poulin should be embarrassed and want to fix it, since it is a reflection of his abilities, or lack of.