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The Farsider

December 20
, 2012

 

Bill Mattos, Editor and Publisher <bilmat@comcast.net>
Leroy Pyle, Webmaster <leroypyle@sjpba.net>

 

The Farsider is an independent publication that is not affiliated with the San Jose Police Benevolent
Assn. The SJPBA has allowed the Farsider to be included on its web site solely for the convenience
of the retired San Jose Police community. The content of this newsletter does not represent or reflect
the views of the San Jose Police Benevolent Association's Board of Directors or its membership.




 

BETTY HANDFORTH


An e-mail with a funeral notification from Chaplain Bridgen was sent to all Farsider readers on Tuesday. It provided the date, time and location of the services scheduled for Terry Handforth's wife, Betty, who passed away at Stanford Hospital on Monday of this week. This is Betty's obituary that was published in yesterday's (Wed.) paper...

Betty Handforth



Resident of San Jose

Betty passed away Dec. 17th with her family by her side. She was born in San Jose to Ralph and Wilma Wyckoff. Survived by her husband Terry of 35 years, children Kris (Evan) and Matt (Jennifer). A loving Nana to grandchildren Ally, Tyler, Hailey and Owen. She is also survived by her sisters, Maurine Wyckoff and Judy Chamberlain.

Services will be held at Oak Hill Friday, Dec. 21st at 2 p.m. with interment to follow.

Oak Hill Funeral Home & Memorial Park.
<
www.oakhillfuneral.com> 408-297-2447



 

IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM THE RETIREES' ASSN. PRESIDENT
 


 

Dec. 17th

Dear Members,

By now you have probably received a letter from the City asking you to provide authorization for the Department of Retirement Services to deduct your Association dues from your pension checks. You were supposed to have received a return envelope with the postage already paid. A mistake, however, was made in the mailing and the return envelopes did not have the postage provided. A new letter from Retirement Services will be sent to you containing the return envelope with the postage affixed.

If you have already returned your authorization form, you do not need to do anything else. If you have yet to return your form, you can save yourself the postage and return the form when the new envelope with the postage paid arrives.

Once again, it is critical that you send back this authorization to the City. If you do not return the authorization the City will no longer deduct dues for you. This will cause significant financial harm to the Association.

If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to call or e-mail me. As I stated above, this issue is critical to ensure we have the resources we need to protect your interests.

Sincerely,

Jim Spence, President
<president@retiredsjpoff.org>
Association of Retired San Jose Police Officers & Firefighters
PO Box 28041, San Jose, CA 95159
408-559-1573


Following is a message Jim sent out earlier about the dues deduction form that may answer some questions members may have.

Dec. 13th

Dear Members,

You will soon receive a letter from the City asking you to provide authorization for the Department of Retirement Services to deduct your Association dues from your pension checks. It also asks that you agree to allow your dues be set by the rules governing the Association.  

It is critical that you send back this authorization to the City. If you do not return the authorization the City will no longer deduct dues for you. This will cause significant financial harm to the Association.

The following are answers to likely questions you might have.  

I already have my dues deducted from my check, why do I need to do it again?

The City has determined that in order to provide the most legal certainty in allowing dues to be deducted from your retirement checks, a new, express authorization be given. Even if you recently retired, we still need you to return the authorization form.

What permission am I giving for future changes in dues?

By returning the authorization stating that you agree to have your dues deducted at rates based on the rules of the Association, you are essentially maintaining status quo as to how the Association has operated previously.  

All dues increases and decreases will be subject to a vote of the full membership, following the Association's by-laws and with all the requisite noticing called for in the by-laws. This is how the Association has operated previously, but it will now be formalized on the City's end.  

We apologize for the inconvenience of having to re-submit paperwork we all believed that we've already submitted to the City when we joined the Association. However, this is the only legal avenue provided by the City to continue the convenience of the automatic dues deduction. We've worked hard with City staff to make this as easy as possible on you.  

If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to call or e-mail me. As I stated above, this issue is critical to ensure we have the resources we need to protect your interests. 

Jim Spence, President
<president@retiredsjpoff.org>

 

 

THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF SAN JOSE AND THE SJPD


Look who's in the news...again. While San Jose's working cops and all other City employees took a 10 percent pay cut — including Police Auditor LaDoris Cordell — guess who got her 10 percent cut reinstated...

Auditor’s Raise Stirs Debate

—City Council praises Cordell but worries about fairness issue—

By John Woolfolk
<jwoolfolk@mercurynews.com>
Mercury News — Dec. 19, 2012

SAN JOSE — By most accounts, San Jose Independent Police Auditor LaDoris Cordell has done fine work in what is often a difficult job monitoring how the cops handle public complaints about themselves.

But in a city struggling to retain top talent amid pay and benefit cuts to close chronic budget deficits, Mayor Chuck Reed’s proposal Tuesday to raise Cordell’s pay nearly 10 percent to $170,446 for the next four years drew fire — from critics and allies alike.

“Chuck Reed’s public safety plan consists of pay raises to political appointees and pay cuts for police officers,” said San Jose Police Officers’ Association President Jim Unland. “His policies are destroying the San Jose Police Department.”

The City Council easily approved the raise on a 9-2 vote, with Pete Constant and Pierluigi Oliverio opposed. But the issue ignited debate over how San Jose will handle similar demands for higher pay from its top officials and unionized workers as it approaches yet another multi-million dollar budget shortfall in June.

“Now every single person in the organization,” said Constant, “is going to be raising their hand saying ‘me too!’ ”

Stellar performance

Reed explained that in a few months, the city manager will bring proposals for awarding performance-based pay raises throughout the city, as he called for in his June budget outline. The council will decide how much money it can set aside for merit raises and, for the top officials the council directly appoints, who should get more pay. In Cordell’s case, Reed argued, she has improved public trust in the police auditor and its working relationship with the police department. “She’s done an excellent job,” said Reed, who along with Constant had opposed Cordell’s appointment in April 2010. “She’s been a stellar performer.” It was an assessment of the retired judge that none on the council disputed. “She has engendered trust like no one I’ve seen before,” Councilwoman Nancy Pyle said. But council members acknowledge the thorny issues Cordell’s higher pay raises. City leaders in recent years cut pay and benefits 10 percent throughout the workforce, all the way up to the city manager, mayor and council, to limit layoffs amid record budget deficits. This year Reed won voter approval to reduce pension benefits — a key deficit driver — but court challenges have limited the savings so far. And city officials have projected a $22 million deficit in the upcoming budget.

Bargain new terms

Meanwhile, highly trained employees — chiefly cops and wastewater plant workers — bristling under the pay cuts have bolted to other cities, worsening staffing shortages as San Jose scrambles to hire replacements.

On Tuesday, Assistant Police Chief Rikki Goede announced she’ll leave to take the chief’s job in Piedmont, even as San Jose searches to replace retiring Chief Chris Moore. Unland said a half-dozen more San Jose officers left the department Tuesday to become investigators for the district attorney.

Constant, a former officer himself, argued that if the city can give out raises, it should start with the police department “where we’re having most staffing difficulties.” Further, he noted that other top council-appointed officials, such as the city manager and city attorney, are just as deserving as Cordell.

Councilman Ash Kalra said that while he felt Cordell merited a raise, “it does bring up an interesting issue of how we move forward.”

Cordell, who also took that earlier pay cut, said that because the city’s council-appointed auditors serve fixed, four-year terms, “should the Mayor and City Council desire us to stay on after our terms expire, we are left to renegotiate the terms (duration and salary) of our reappointments” in a manner different from other city employees.

“I am appreciative of the nine council members who voted in favor of my compensation package,” Cordell said.
 

• • • • •



Cordell's approximate $17,000 a year pay increase raised the eyebrows of the paper's full-time columnist, who had this to say in yesterday's Mercury News...

‘Openness’ Pledge Clouded



<sherhold@mercurynews.com>
Mercury News — Dec. 19, 2012

Don’t get me wrong. LaDoris Cordell, San Jose’s independent police auditor, deserves a pay raise. The city attorney and the city auditor deserve pay raises. I’m absolutely convinced City Manager Debra Figone deserves more money. Frankly, I deserve a pay raise: I can make a good argument. I work hard, I entertain readers, I strive to keep politicians honest. I’m willing to bet that 95 percent of the people attending council meetings think they deserve raises.

Of all those people, only Cordell got a pay raise approved by the council Tuesday. And it was done in a peculiar way that cast doubt on Mayor Chuck Reed’s commitment to openness. If this was transparency, the mayor’s windshield wipers were broken. Every veteran government reporter knows that a wealth of questionable moves can be buried in the consent calendar, particularly at the last meeting of the year. So it was with Item 2.28 on Tuesday’s agenda, a missive from the mayor.

Reed recommended a new four-year term for the independent police auditor, who provides a check on police abuse, at $170,446 a year. She would be allowed to do outside work — Cordell, a former judge, does mediation — after checking with the mayor.

Missing from the mayor’s memo was any mention of just how much of a raise, if any, Cordell was getting. The correct figure is 9.65 percent. But it wasn’t until Councilman Pete Constant did the math and asked for open discussion that the public knew that. It turns out that the mayor cut the deal with Cordell himself. And there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. Cordell is one of five city officials whose hiring is approved directly by the council. Almost everyone agrees Cordell has done a good job, and she has had a big impact, warning city officials that cleanups of homeless camps could subject the city to lawsuits if done incorrectly. Like other top officials, she had to swallow a permanent 10 percent pay cut in 2011. Yet these are tough economic times for San Jose. And you could make the same argument on behalf of the City Attorney Rick Doyle, who stood up to a highly questionable libel lawsuit. Or for City Manager Figone, who, in my book, earned combat pay when protesters visited her home.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Constant asked Reed why the deal was done with Cordell before the others. “We have a responsibility to treat all of our employees equally,” Constant said, explaining that job reviews for the others were similarly favorable.

Reed responded with a weak rationale. He said he had been in favor of a system of merit increases in a budget message last June. But there was no system to this raise. It was a bargain between the mayor and a powerful and canny official the city wants to keep.

That was good enough for the rest of the council members, who admire Cordell. They voted to approve the new contract 9-2, with Constant and Pierluigi Oliverio dissenting. But I think some of them knew they were flunking Human Relations 101.

“We’ve got the cart before the horse,” said Constant, talking about a merit system he had not seen. “I’m disappointed with how this went.”
 

• • • • •

 

One or two of the local news channels briefly covered this story Tuesday night. If it was in the Mercury News we somehow missed it. A Google search turned this up...

San Jose’s Assistant Police Chief To Become Piedmont’s Top Cop

By Mike Colgan
<http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/tag/rikki-goede/>
CBS SF Bay Area — Dec. 19, 2012

SAN JOSE (KCBS) — San Jose police officers have been leaving in droves since the passage of the pension reform measure earlier this year. Now the force will suffer the loss of another member of its command staff.

San Jose Assistant Police Chief Rikki Goede has accepted the top job at the Piedmont Police Department, officials from both cities announced Tuesday afternoon.
 


According to the San Jose Police Department, Goede is leaving after 16 years at the department to accept a conditional job offer as Piedmont police chief that begins in January.

Piedmont city officials said Goede was chosen unanimously by the City Council from a field of 51 candidates.

Goede’s appointment will be formally made at a Jan. 7 City Council meeting.

Goede, who joined the San Jose police force in 1996, was appointed assistant chief in August 2011 by Chief Chris Moore.

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Goede said, “It’s with a heavy heart that I leave the San Jose Police Department…I was lucky enough to work alongside some of the best cops in the country. I’m excited to have the opportunity to lead a professional department like Piedmont’s.”

Goede started her law enforcement career in San Diego before working in San Jose. She attended Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Goede’s departure comes as the department also looks for a replacement for Moore, who is retiring from the department in January.

Police Union President Jim Unland said it isn’t just departures at the top.

“We’ve had about 30 officers leave in the last two months and we still have more that are looking, more that are in the hiring process with other agencies and I don’t think that the upper command staff stops just at the assistant chief and chief level,” Unland said.

With Goede’s departure, the next chief will most likely be coming from outside the department. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed told KCBS that it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“I think it would be good at this time to bring somebody in from the outside with a fresh perspective,” Reed said. “We’ve had great success in the past with chiefs on the outside like Chief McNamara.”

He added that chiefs from the inside have been a success as well. “We’ll find an excellent chief who wants to come in and manage this great department,” Reed said.

The city manager has said she hopes to have a new police chief hired before Moore leaves at the end of the next month.


• • • • •



The title of this story from the front page of the Local section of last Sunday's paper fits the article to a "T."

Crime Stats Stir Unease

—As police force shrinks on tight budget, image of ‘safest big city’ fades—

By Robert Salonga and Mark Emmons — Staff writers
Mercury News — Dec. 16, 2012

For years, San Jose basked in the welcoming image of being the nation’s safest big city.

But it no longer feels that way.

With 44 homicides, the city is experiencing its deadliest year in two decades. And that rising toll is only part of a troubling trend in 2012 that has seen an uptick in all major crime categories. The result: For the first time in recent memory, public safety has become the driving conversation among San Jose residents in a way that might be summed up with a simple question: What is going on?

“It scares me what the city has become,” said Rubie Golart, 78, who has lived in the same East Side home for 57 years. “I have grandchildren living in this area, and what’s happening really bothers me when I think of them. We’ve always had crime, but this is over and above normal crime.”

San Jose’s crime rate remains low for a diverse city of 1 million residents when compared with other large U.S. cities. But saying we’re still relatively safe is no comfort for residents anxious about rising homicide numbers and a shrinking police force.

“Whether it’s perception or reality, people are genuinely scared,” said Councilman Pete Constant, a former San Jose police officer. “They have this feeling that the Police Department isn’t doing anything, and that the city isn’t paying them anything. There’s a heightened sensitivity. If residents don’t feel safe, that’s the important thing.”

As community frustration mounts, officials continue a rancorous debate over whether pension reform has played a role. Voters overwhelmingly approved pension reform for city employees, including cops, as a way to get a handle on the city’s spending. The San Jose Police Officers’ Association now says that we reap what we sow, pointing to veteran San Jose cops who are bolting for jobs with better pay and benefits in other cities.

It is clear that the ongoing exodus of officers, including Chief Chris Moore, who departs in January, has had a demoralizing effect on both the force and public confidence. “I’ll go two or three days now without seeing a police officer,” said Walter Wilson, an African-American Community Service Agency board member who lives in Almaden. “How does that happen? We had one of the best-educated and most professional police forces in the country, but that’s gone.

“And now we no longer are the safest big city in the country.” In a year that has seen a steady drumbeat of terrible crimes, there was one notable flash point where the scope of the violence struck home. The city was rocked during an 11-day period in August when there were eight killings. It was one of the bloodiest stretches in San Jose history.


The slayings were not contained to known gang hot spots on the East Side. Instead, they were spread out, occurring in six of the city’s 10 districts. While four were gang-related, including a brazen daytime shooting, others were random: A customer stabbed inside a Safeway grocery store. A body found in a park. A well-liked homeless woman killed with a samurai sword. In addition, during those 11 days there were six shootings that weren’t fatal and an earlier death of a 17-month-old boy was reclassified as a homicide.

“I was very upset,” said Golart, who long has shopped at the Safeway on the East Side where the stabbing occurred. “It’s sad that you can’t go to the grocery store without taking your life into your hands. You go to the store looking for something for dinner and end up dead.”

While homicides get the most attention, quality-of-life crimes such as burglary touch more people and can have a greater effect in making a community feel unsafe.

Although violent crime has been declining nationally the past 20 years, crime rates vary locally. San Jose has been part of a Bay Area trend of escalating crime in 2012.

A San Jose police analysis found that through September, there had been a double-digit increase in the crime rate over 2011 in the major-crime categories of rape, robbery, burglary, larceny and vehicle theft. Statistics for the full year won’t be available until after Jan. 1, but authorities have not given any indication that the pace of crime has slackened in the past couple of months. On Nov. 9, Kurt Loeswick’s Cambrian home was burglarized of items that included laptops, four shotguns and a safe containing family jewelry of sentimental value. Although a neighbor saw four intruders make their getaway and called 911, an officer was not able to respond for eight hours because police were busy with other crimes. Loeswick understood that, but not why — after providing police with a lead — he was told they were not following up. “They said there was no funding for the burglary group and that there was no one investigating the case,” he said. “I wish the City Council would just figure out a way to sharpen their pencils and get this solved. I think fiscal responsibility is a great thing, but we just can’t have robbers running loose and not even trying to catch them.” Police units such as traffic and specialized investigations have been reallocated to get more officers from the depleted force on the streets. A department that numbered more than 1,400 officers in 2008 now is budgeted for 1,109 officers. But in a November memo to the City Council about police staffing, Moore wrote that San Jose had 978 full-duty officers available because of modified duty or injuries.

The force hasn’t been at this staffing level since 1990, when the city’s population was 785,000.

The police union and its allies point to the Measure B ballot initiative to rein in pension costs — spearheaded by Mayor Chuck Reed — as a culprit. The union argues that when pensions for individual cops are no longer as generous as they used to be, or equal to those in other municipalities, no one should be shocked when many choose to leave. This year, 56 have handed in resignations and 34 more have retired, according to union numbers.

“I think people are looking at San Jose as just any other big city,” said Councilman Ash Kalra. “We’ve lost the small-town feel. We never had a big Police Department, but it was efficient and nimble. Now it’s just not big enough. You can’t do more with less.”

No one argues fewer cops patrolling the streets is a good thing.

“The police union believes we need more officers,” Reed said. “I believe we need more officers. The reason we don’t have more goes back to the budget and the financial problems that we’ve had. I would like to expand the size of the department, but unfortunately we haven’t had the money to do that.”

He notes about 60 new officers, including 44 at the police academy, are in the pipeline. But Reed contends that pension reform — assuming it survives the current legal challenge from the police union — ultimately has to be the solution because that’s the only way to come up with the money to rebuild the department’s numbers.

Alex Gerould, a San Francisco State assistant professor of criminal justice, notes the two Bay Area cities that have had especially bad years in terms of increased homicides — Oakland and San Jose — share something in common. Both have seen a 25 percent reduction in the size of their police forces over the past four years.

The Rev. Sonny Lara, a community activist who works in gang intervention, said the bad guys have noticed.

“We keep hearing that the Police Department is broken, that there’s no police,” Lara said. “Do the people I’m trying to reach know that response times are slower? Heck yeah, because it’s always in the news. You have to understand, the way businessmen talk about stocks, these guys talk about lack of cops. It only entices criminals.”

Contact Robert Salonga at
<rsalonga@mercurynews.com> and Mark Emmons at <memmons@mercurynews.com>.



 

WEEKLY POLL
 

   


Results from last week's poll...




For the most recent Rasmussen Reports releases, click here:
<http://www.rasmussenreports.com/older_content/home/top_stories/most_recent_articles>



 

MAIL CALL
 

Dec. 17th

Good morning,

Officer Norene Marinelli here from SJPD Recruiting Unit. We are looking for retired officers and/or their family to sit on our police officer oral boards. I was wondering if you could put something in the Farsider to let people know. Oral boards are held on various Saturdays and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 3:30-:4:00 p.m.at the Police Personnel office on Senter Rd. A small breakfast and lunch is provided.

Please contact me if anyone is interested in participating or would like more information.

Thank you, and happy holidays.

Officer Norene Marinelli, #3554
<NORENE.MARINELLI@sanjoseca.gov>
Police Recruiter, Police Personnel, 408-277-4951



 

WEEKLY SNOPES URBAN LEGEND UPDATE AS OF DEC. 15, 2012

The facts behind the legends, information and
misinformation that has or may show up in your inbox

New Articles

• Video purportedly shows holiday lights in Brighton which incorporate rude images and messages.
<http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/photos/brighton.asp>

• Punctuation error in telegram results in costly mistake.
<http://www.snopes.com/language/mistakes/noprice.asp>

• Santa's visit to an ailing tot sparks a miraculous recovery.
<http://www.snopes.com/glurge/mayfair.asp>

• Did Actor Jamie Foxx say that in his upcoming film, 'I kill all the white people in the movie ... How great is that?'
<http://www.snopes.com/politics/quotes/jamiefoxx.asp>

• Has the U.S. contributed millions of dollars towards the rebuilding of mosques in Muslim countries?
<http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/mosques.asp>

• Did a four-year study find that Fox News viewers have IQs 20 points lower than average?
<http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/hoaxes/foxnews.asp>

• Has NASA announced that a three-day worldwide blackout will occur in December 2012?
<http://www.snopes.com/science/astronomy/blackout.asp>

• Christmas cards are requested for Dalton Dingus, a 9-year-old boy with cystic fibrosis.
<http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/medical/dingus.asp>

• Don't forget to visit our Daily Snopes page for a collection of odd news stories from around the world!
<http://www.snopes.com/daily/>


Worth a Second Look

• Was actor Humphrey Bogart born on Christmas Day?
<http://www.snopes.com/movies/actors/bogartbirthday.asp>


Still Haunting the Inbox

• Check out our 25 Hottest Urban Legends list to keep abreast of what's circulating in the on-line world.
<http://www.snopes.com/info/top25uls.asp>


Fraud Afoot

* Visit our Top Scams page for a list of schemes commonly used by crooks to separate the unwary from their money.
<http://www.snopes.com/fraud/topscams.asp>


 


THE LIGHTER SIDE & OTHER ODDS AND ENDS
 

Is your YouTube control panel set for large or full screen?




• • • • •


Internet videos can go viral for a variety of reasons. Some are hilarious. Some display beautiful scenery. Some target animal lovers while others may be controversial, action-packed, highly unusual or extremely informative.Then there are those that fly through Cyberspace at the speed of light because they are very, very special. Closing in on a million views is this clip we received from nearly a dozen readers that fit the last category. It's about a child with Down Syndrome interacting with a very caring dog. (3 Mins.)
 



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA8VJh0UJtg>


• • • • •


It's rather unusual to watch footage of a couple of moose and say to yourself "That's cute." This clip from Jim Silvers of two youngsters enjoying a sprinkler with what is probably their mom looking on is an exception to the rule. (4 Mins.)
 



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNy9jTeolUk>


• • • • •



Ever see a biker with a shirt or jacket upon which the back is emblazoned with, "If you can read this the bitch fell off?" The co-star of this clip sent in by Bob Moir could justify the wearing of such a garment. Have a look. (3 Mins.)
 



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdj67XknFrM>


• • • • •


Mathilda, who was 26 years old during WWII, has still got it. Watch this 94-year-old former hoofer strut her stuff on the dance floor. (4 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LOdmka4_90>


• • • • •



These machines are commonly known as gyro-copters, auto-gyros and even ultralights, but some of us think of them as flying motorcycles. Have a look at this and you will see why. (4 Mins.)



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kxu543VwlA>


• • • • •



Sharon Lansdowne reports that when she was in Saudi Arabia visiting her son who is working in the Middle East, she and Mike went to Tiaf and saw the puppies and baboons, and that the experience was very similar to this short video. (2 Mins.)
 



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7I7-SADai3Y>


• • • • •



Some on the far right of the political spectrum may agree with the content of this clip we received from Bill Yarbrough, while some on the far left may see it as an example of extreme conservatism bordering on paranoia. Many in the middle, on the other hand, could go either way. The title is "The Agenda to Grind America Down," and regardless of how you view it, there is no doubt that it is highly controversial. What say you? (7 Mins.)
 



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yYlytGy85A>


• • • • •



Everyone knows what one is supposed to do under the mistletoe, right? But what if you don't have a partner? Warning: Do not attempt this at home. (25 Secs.)
 



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdCsTWk-8ps>


• • • • •



Do you live up in the sticks where you have to deal with lots of snow? Perhaps you could use this accessory if you already drive a 4x4 so you won't have to call for a dog sled team if you get stuck. (5 Mins.)
 



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwpKjEa4LYY>


• • • • •

 

The Lesser Known Christmas Story

Received from Tom McFall

When four of Santa's elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the pre-Christmas pressure. Mrs. Claus then told Santa her mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more.

When he went to harness the reindeer, Santa found that three of them were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and were out somewhere in the countryside. And when he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked, causing the toy bag to fall to the ground and scatter all the toys.

Frustrated, Santa went in the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum. But when he opened the cupboard he discovered that the elves had drunk all the cider and hidden the liquor. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug that broke into hundreds of little glass shards all over the kitchen floor. When he went to get the broom he found that the mice had eaten all the straw off the end.
 
That was when the doorbell rang. An extremely irritated Santa marched to the door, yanked it open, and there stood a little angel holding a Christmas tree. The little angel said very cheerfully, "Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn't this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?"

And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree.

 

 

• • • • •



With the trauma the country has experienced as a result of the tragedy in Connecticut last week, I was hoping to find a closer for this pre-Christmas Farsider that might bring a smile while still in keeping with the holiday spirit. After more than an hour searching the Internet, one of our regular contributors came through with something that is as amazing as it is entertaining. Make sure your YouTube menu is set to large or full screen and enjoy this performance of a young quartet sent in by Don Hale. Trust me, it's a don't miss. (4 Mins.)
 



<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzXJ3vuCzCc&sns=em>


• • • • •

 


 



Leroy and I wish you a very Merry Christmas!

C'ya



 

Pic of the Week:

Believers say the Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 21st.

We happen to believe in the Oreo cookie, and it tells us we have absolutely nothing to worry about...







• • • • •

 

Uh oh...

This forecast from the National Weather Bureau was received

from Eva Embry (Howsmon) just as we were going to press...
 

 

   

Scrolling Box

 
This is the message box, using the scroller component.
 

 

 

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