Barb Keleher

A Man for all Seasons

Colin Powell, former Secretary of State, died today at the age of 84. Admiration for General Powell reached across both sides of the pollical spectrum. Powell was the first African American appointed Secretary of State under the George W. Bush presidency. He held many other high ranking positions in both Democratic and Republican administrations. There was a great deal of speculation that he might run for the presidency. He chose not to run but he continued to advise numerous presidents. Former President Obama said that “Michelle and I will always look to him as an example of what American-and Americans-can and should be if we wish to remain the last, best hope of earth.”

Check out the MVCC library catalog for additional information on General Colin Powell.

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40 Acres of Wonder

All We Can Save is the title of MVCC’s One Book, One College for the 2021-22 school year. This book consists of 60 essays written by “female activists, scientists, artists, policymakers, writers, and thinkers.” who are attempting to help find solutions to climate chaos. There are numerous activities planned to help students and staff explore and learn about the pressing issue of climate change. I attended a tour of the MVCC Nature Center on September 29. Two MVCC Earth/Environmental instructors, Jana Svec and Krista Syrup gave a guided tour of an unique area of the Moraine Campus. My tour of this site gave me a whole new perspective of the terrain where our school resides.

The MVCC Nature Area has some helpful and interesting information about our campus. Also, visit the MVCC library site for a list of upcoming events.

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What’s Going On?

This weekend I read the book All We Can Save. This is the “One Book, One College” selection for the MVCC 2021-2022 school year. The book examines climate change. Ironically, hours after I finished the book on Sunday, a tornado ripped through my neighborhood. Suddenly some of the facts in the book became a startling reality for me.

This storm was calculated as a EF-3 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. Some climate experts believe the frequency of tornadoes in the United States is stable but not their patterns.

I highly recommend this book. The authors’ perspective of climate change is interesting and the book is well written and persuasive. I have always championed respect for our world and its inhabitants. The June 20 tornado added to my resolve to continue educating myself about climate change.

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This summer certainly is more enjoyable than the Covid-19 summer of 2020. We can finally enjoy outdoor activities like biking, walking, and barbecuing. There are several things that health experts warn us to avoid during the summer months: too much sun, dehydration, and certain insects and arachnids. “When disease-carrying mosquitoes reach a new area in the U.S., there are standard public health responses, including population control methods, with cities, towns, and counties conducting mosquito abatement campaigns.” While there are other disease carrying creatures, they are unfortunately not handled with the same urgency as mosquitoes.

One arachnid that carries dangerous diseases is the tick. Ticks can spread more than 65 diseases, many of them serious. They include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Colorado tick fever and other tick borne diseases. Ticks are not relegated to woodlands or farmlands, they also proliferate in urban and suburban areas. The Cook Country Forest Preserve wants people to visit their beautiful forests and fields but warns against the dangers of tick bites. Their website also includes information about removing ticks from humans and pets.

Up close and personal pictures of a tick bite victim.

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Fill It Up!

The United States is no stranger to fuel crises. The most recent disaster centered on the Colonial Pipeline, which is located in the southeastern part of the country. “It is the largest pipeline system for refined oil products in the U.S. The pipeline is 5,500 miles long and can carry 3 million barrels of fuel per day between Texas and New York.” The company stopped transporting oil after its system was hacked (May 7) by a ransomware attack. This pipeline supplies 45 percent of the fuel used on the East Coast. The vulnerability of fuel lines, government installations, companies, hospitals, etc. has many cyber security experts concerned. The gas line has resumed service after the company paid $5 million to the hackers.

The 1970s experienced two major gasoline shortages. Conflict in the Middle East caused a gas shortage in 1973. OPEC initiated an oil embargo in response to the United States siding with Israel during the Yom Kippur War. “At the time, OPEC accounted for an average of two-thirds of American oil imports in the 70s. ” Long lines, limited hours, and increased costs were just some of the problems that consumers faced. The second fuel shortage took place in 1979. The Shah of Iran was deposed and replaced by the Ayatollah Khomeini who used Iran’s oil as a tool to restrain the economy of the West.

Hopefully, future fuel sources will not depend on any specific countries or leaders to move cars or planes. Hybrid and electric cars are becoming more the norm but they still have issues that must be addressed. Researchers are studying hydrogen, which is another potential source of fuel. Conceivably, scientists will be able to discover a cheaper and cleaner source of energy.

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