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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - December 24, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Highly-placed source's miracle slighted Editorial Page Tuesdoy, December 24, 1 Drinking wafer After years of wondering whether the quality of local drinking water should concern Uncle Sam, the congress finally has decided to act. The result is a bill authorizing the Environmen- tal Protection Agency (EPA) to set national standards for safe drinking water. About a third of an accompanying authorization will go to states. They will retain responsibility to correct violations. At first glance, the move may appear intrusive and wasteful. To laymen taking time to inspect, most municipal water purifica- tion plants seem impeccably sanitary. And most states seem adequately equipped for water quality testing. Indeed, the gov- ernment ought to inspect water systems supplying interstate carriers such as planes, buses, trains and ships, but U.S. Public Health Service standards already require such attention. Why then should the federal government assume ultimate control of the nation's wa- ter supply systems? The EPA reports that 20 deaths and more than ill- nesses in the past decade have been attributed to contaminated water, most of it supplied not by municipalities but by private systems serving restaurants, camp grounds, gas stations and hospitals. The recurrence of waterborne disease incidents during the last decade prompted the Public- Health Service's first extensive survey of public water supply systems. Tests showed that 41 percent of the systems surveyed (serving 18.2 million people) were delivering substandard wa- ter to the public. Extrapolated to the nation as a whole, the survey suggested that as many as 23 million Americans are drinking substandard water and eight million "potentially dangerous" water. In general, major deficiencies were found in smaller water- works rather than large urban systems. But on Dec. 5, two days after congress passed the safe .drinking water act, CBS news tel- evised an excellent one-hour spe- cial on the dubious quality of drinking water in some large cit- ies. Communities focused upon included Boston, where lead from corroded pipes clouds previously pure water; San Francisco, where water contaminants are believed to be the cause of increasing cas- es of intestinal cancer; and New Orleans, where water taken from the- Mississippi river has shown possible cancer-causing sub- stances. The findings seem to teach two lessons: (1) Purifying water for human consumption is a great deal trickier than specialists may realize. (2) The belief that if wa- ter comes from a tap it's auto- matically clean is plainly falla- cious. Whether the problem is overconfidence or apathy, or a combination, the federal govern- ment's monitoring should hasten the turnaround. People's forum Weaponry for sport To the Editor: How unfortunate that since the inci- dent involving the 12-year-old and the mmchuku, whenever I'm seen with mine stuck in my coat, I'm going to get a free ride down tn the police station. Obviously, the nunchaku is a polential disaster area, and an ideal weapon: light, easily concealed, economical, in- conspicuous and very efficient. However, it is also a fine self-defense device nnd recreation, requiring speed, agility, hand-eye coordination and precise lim- ing. Having had much experience with them, I know, as does any other martial artist, that anyone who hasn't learned to use them properly is going to hurt him- self before others. There is nothing more dangerous to the beginner than the be- ginner himself. To master them, you must practice under trained supervision. I'm glad that The Gaxettc printed the story so that other people not associated with the martial arts will recognize them and perhaps take them up as a means of recreation and self defense. Nunchakus should not be outlawed simply because some punk trying to emulate Bruce Lee should hurt someone else. By the way, there is also an ancient Oriental weapon called a "bo stick" (a hardwood slaff) I hope I'm not arresl- ed for possession of a deadly weapon next time I'm raking leaves. Nick Simmons 2300 Ridgeway drive SE Christmas spirit To the Editor. This is in reply to Susan Scheer's in- quiry on people's opinions on whether lo believe in Santa Clans (Koru.ni, Dec. She said that her principal said, "If there wasn't a Sanla Clans Ihere would not be any love, giving, and beauty in Ihe world." You do nut need lo believe in the myth of Santa Claus to have line, to give, or beauty. A true Christian does not participate in a holiday that ac- cepts pagan customs and traditions along with the commcrcialixaiion of the precept of giving with businesses reap- ing Ihe profits of forced giving [o unap- preciativc recipients. Instead, a Imc Christian would follow Ihe principles given in God's word. At II Cor. it says, "Let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudg- ingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." A person should not fed compelled In give to others just on certain days tif the year, as on Christ- mas, which is what believing in Santa Claus teaches, but he should only have In give what he wants, to whom he wauls. when he wants to, because he has love for or liking for that person. As for there being no love, already there is little real love among people, a fulfillment of Bible prophecy concerning the last days of this wicked system of things foretold at II Tim. the true Christian has love for mankind that is expressed at Mall. where il says you must "love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and "you must love your neighbor as yourself." This kind of love causes a person lo do only that which would be helpful and kind to ones family and neighbor, doing nothing lo cause hurl or pain. As for (here being no beauty in the world, beauty is in the mind of the be- holder and while many find beauty in Ihe excess of brightly colored Irees and like decorations, there is no beauty prettier than that of seeing God's creation, thai is, that which is not ruined by man's pol- lution and greed. Yes, there is love, giving and beauty in the world without having to believe in the mylh of Sanla Claus. And il is had by those people who are true followers of Christ. Mrs. B. Dickinson North Liberty Samaritan To the Editor: In appreciation from a stranger, lo the kind, thoughtful, generous, courteous one who offered a ride "anywhere you would like lo go" Monday afternoon fol- lowing a car crash in Marion may her Christmas star be brightest. Marie M. Wood Ryan LETTERS The Gazette't editorial page welcomes readers' opinions, subject to these guidelines: length limit: 400 words. One tetter per writer every 30 doyi. All may be condensed and edilwd without changing moaning. None published anonymously. Writer's telephone number (not printed) should follow name, address and readable handwritten signature to help authenticate. Contents deol more with issues and events than per- sonolrrles. No poetry. By Russell Baker "Good evening. I am Gains Kulvius. My colleague is Marcus Kluvius and this is the XI p.m. Kulvlus-Kluvius report brought lo you on WSPQH, Channel XVI where Ihe big story tonight Is still lhat strange star hovering over the troubled Middle East. What do you make of that slar, Marcus? "It sounds like Ihe kind of star you see after one of Ihose five-day orgies down at Capri, Gaius." "Funny you should mention that, Marcus, because we also have a special film report lonight on how inflation is cutting into the orgy budget of the typi- cal Roman family. And from faraway, fog-shrouded Britain, a new idea in how lo dress for an orgy at practically no cost at all. Our cameramen have found some Englishmen up there they call them- selves druids who run around in the woods with nothing on but blue paint." "When in Rome, do as the Druids do, eh, "All these stories and others when the Fulvius-Fluvius report continues, right after these messages." new wax thai lasts twice as long as Ihe atrium floor. Commercial interlude. The excel- lence of Cicero choriof springs illus- trated. the superiority of Cara- bath soap and vestal talcum powder for relieving the itch of toga irritation. A paid plea for the elec- tion of Quintus Cunctator as quaestor of Rome. A public-service commercial urging Romans not to drop litter in the forum, qnd o demonstration of a "And now, our top story tonight, that mysterious star over the oil-rich Middle Kast. A party of three wise men has been on the road for several days now, travel ing eastward In Ihe direction of the star. and they have attracted a large number of media representatives." "Fascinating, Gaius. 1. saw one re- port that over news people are al- ready accredited to Ihe wise men, and more applications for credentials are pouring in by the hour." "Exactly right, Marcus, and lonight lhat huge crowd of newsmen rioted in a small town south of Jericho when the lo- cal innkeeper was unable to put most of them up in the tiny six-room inn where Ihe wise men had slopped for Ihe night. There arc rumors that King Herod, who doesn't like mysterious stars much any- how, says crack down on the wise men for creating a public nuisance." "Haven't we spent a lot of time on this story, Gaius, old pal? 1 want lo see these blue druids." "One last item, Marcus. It was learned today that Ihe wise men are carrying three gifls with (hem, and one of Ihe gifts is frankincense." "What are (he other "We don'l have lime to go into detail. Marcus, but we'll be right back for a re- port on Emperor Augustus's reading of Ihe chicken entrails right after these Commercial interlude promoting Russell Baker Mark Anthony sword-steel razor Praetorian guard belt buck- les, snow rims for chariot wheels, sac- rificial altars marked down 30 per- cent and reconditioned Greek slaves. "Well, we seem to have lost that film we promised you of the emperor's an- nual reading of the chicken entrails, Marcus. Do you have a report on what omens he found in "I do indeed, Gaius. He found a de- formity in the ginzard that means (here will definitely be an upswing in the ccon- omy during the second quarter of next year." "How does lhat check with what your tells you. "My isn'l speaking lo me these days, Gaius. but my corns sure arc, and they tell me il's going lo rain all over Ihe seven hills any mimile now. To find oul if Ihose corns are right we'll hear from WSPQR's meteorologist, ('in- einnalus Emplor, right after these mes- sages." Commercial interlude. Longer- burning torches, banquet lounges, vacation to all three parti ol Caul, Egyptian obelisks for the lawn, artifi- cial laurel wreath, U-sail-it trireme rentals and condominiums in Sicily. "And now, Cinciimatus. what about that "As we look at (he weather map, Gaius, we have Ihls funny frontal pattern over the Eastern Mediterranean "It sure looks bad for Egypt, nalus." "Yes, Marcus this front is full nf hail, and 1 wouldn't be surprised if Egypt doesn't gel a prelly good onset of locusts and boils, too, but more about that after these messages." Commercial interlude is interrupt- ed by Goths and Huns who have seized Rome and WSPQR. Rome falls with a loud bang. "We should have had an item on these people, Marcus." "We did, old buddy, but Ihe film was no good. Good night for (he Fulvius-Flu- vius report." Big help Wife to sleepy husband getting up to another day's work: "Think of it this way you're a day closer to social security." Free Press Gather all data, report it back quick: Does there remain an authentic St. Nick? During a time of burgeoning pessi- mism and spiritual malaise, believers in a genuine, viable Sanla Claus are hard Ebenezer Scrooge pressed to refute arguments of those scoffing at the legend. While all members of the 94th con- gress have not been queried on the sub- ject key Washington sources say fully half of the 'new lawmakers already are waffling on Ihe controversy. At the last Capitol Hill briefing, how- ever, this much was accepted as fad: St. Nicholas, a kindly Fourth century bish- op, is the palron sainl of children, sail- ors, marriageable maidens and pawnbro- kers. He was extremely kind and often went out at night, taking presents to the needy. Children were so fond of SI. Nicholas and his philanthropic ways dial (he cus- tom of celebrating his feasl day was maintained. Dutch settlers brought the custom with them to New Amsterdam (now New York City) and English set- tlers eagerly borrowed the legends and festivities surrounding the kindly St. Ni- cholas. English-speaking children soon adapted (he Dutch name for the sainl. to Sanla Claus. The point in dispule. (hen, is whether (he "jolly old elf" so heralded in verse and prose really resides at Ihe North Pole and circumnavigates (he globe each Christmas with sleigh and reindeer. Hardcore disbelievers insist that (here is no Sanla. never was. To further complicate matters, a small segment of the women's lib movement insists thai if there is a Sanla. she is a woman. "No one (his side of God really knows, of course." a highly placed source report- edly said, "bul She probably Is really an- gry at the male chauvinists' closemind- edness." Is (here really a Santa Claus? Here- with both sides of the affrav. To refute forever the real-Santa theo- ry, naysayers point first to no less an au- thority than William Shakespeare, whose Scene I, Act I of "Hamlet" stales, in part: "Some say thai ever' gains! Ihe season comes Wherein our iour's birlh is celebrated. The bird of (lawn singeth all night long; And (hen, they say. no spirit dare stir abroad The key passage (here, say mem- bers of an underground group, the Kris-Kriiigle-is-a-Krock club, is "no spirit dare stir abroad." "That means nol the spirit of Christinas past, pres- ent or future and especially not the commercialized latter-day symbol of St. Nicholas." insisted a club spokes- man. Exhibit No. 2 is a poem by Phyllis McGinley, lamenting the change in St. Nicholas' image over the centuries: He who had feared The world's applause, Now. with a beard. Is Santa Claus. A multiplied elf, he slruts and poses. Ringing up sales In putty noses; With Cornel and Cupid His constant partners, Telling tall tales to kindergart'ners His halo fickle as Wind and wave. While dizzily Nicholas Spins in his grave." Authority No. :i is Master .labex Dawes, the principal character of a poem titled, "The Boy Who Laughed at Santa Here. then, is that work's gifted author, doing what, for him, came Nasherally: "...Like whooping cough, from child lo child. He sped to spread the rumor wild: 'Sure as my name is Jabez Dawes There isn't any Santa Slunk like a weasel or a marten Through nursery and kindergarten. Whispering low to every lot, There isn'l any. no there's When presently with scalp a-lingling, Jabex heard a distant jingling. He heard the crunch of sleigh and hoof Crisply alighting on Ihe roof. What good to rise and liar the dour? A shower of soot was on the floor. What was beheld by .labez Dawes? The fireplace full of Santa Claus! Then .labex fell upon his knees With cries of 'OnnT and 'Pretty please.' He howled. 'I don'l know- where you read it. Bul anyhow. I never said The Gazette's opinion Insights Mythology is the religious sentiment growing wild. friedrich Wilhelm Schelling No hoax in 'Ho, ho, ho' No doubt those who pooh-pooh good St. Nick Art- craftsmen whose scheme is truly slick. While yulctidc's keepers plan their charities, Plotters assail the season's verities. "Prove he shout the gauntlet tossers Ill-quoting the Hard and Bede and Fully ignorant that their case is moot. They fracture Ogden Nash to hoot. "Santa's surreal, dreamed-up, To which we retort: "Wrong, To redress such error, perforce, a I wist Let scoffers prove Santa doesn't exist. ruder affront we never saw. sir.) replied the angry saint. 'Il isn't I, il's you (hal ain't. Although (here is a Sanla Claus, Then1 isn't any Jabex Said .labex then with impudent vim, 'Oh. yes Ihere is; and I am him! Your magic don'l scare me. it doesn't' And suddenly lie found he wasn't! From grimy feel lo gri- my socks, .labex became a Jack-in- the-box, All you who sneer a( Santa Claus, Beware Hie fale of .labex Dawes, The saucy boy who mocked the sainl. Homier and Blilxou licked off his paint." Yes, will! a chuckle befitling old Sanla, himself, defenders of (he leg- end note dial Ogden Nash lei Kris Kringle have the lasl word which denouement naysayers are loath lo menlion. But for the definitive proof that Sanla lives, faithful keepers of Christ- inas lurn lo prose and Ihe ISII7 New York Sun editorial by Francis P Church. "Nol believe in Sanla Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might gel your papa to hire men lo watch in all Ihe chimneys on Christmas F.ve lo calch Sanla Chins, bul even If they did nol see Sanla Claus coming down, whal would lhat prove'.' Nobody sees Sanla Claus, bul thai Is no sign [hat Hiere is no Sanla Claus, The umsl real things in Ihe world are Ihose thai neither children nor men can see. "No Sanla Clans' Thank God he lives, and lie lives forever. A thousand years frmn now. Virginia, nay. ten limes len thousand years from now, he will ninlln- ue lo make ghnl the heart of childhood."
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