Tonawanda News

October 12, 2013

TUCKER: Eagle project reaps extra benefit

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Last Sunday, a story featured Jacob Dawson who earned his Eagle scout award by cleaning up the Poole Cemetery in Pendleton. On Thursday, Barbara Markusic from Indianapolis, Ind., called to say how much the story meant to her and her family.

It seems Barbara has been researching the whereabouts of her ancestors’ graves. The family is from Pendleton and a website set up to help families in these kinds of searches was no help. Then a friend from here sent her the story of Jacob’s work and lo and behold, the gravestone pictured was that of her great-great-great-grandmother, Effa Rappleye.

“I can’t thank (Jacob) enough for his hard work and want him to know it paid off,” Barbara said.

She had another request for Jacob.

“Did he find any VanSlyke tombstones or makers in that cemetery? Effa was a VanSlyke and we are looking for that location as well.”

The request was forwarded to Jacob but no reply as of this writing.


Cort Whitcomb stopped by for a visit on Friday to hand-deliver a press release on a spaghetti dinner coming up at Live Hose Company. Cort is a favorite of the newsroom as he always has such positive comments as well as assessments of what’s happening in and out of town.

His visit jogged my memory of other wonderful people who at one time were “regulars” at this desk, always welcome. Tom Pendleton would promote the American Legion Band and the fact that his son Henry is a vocalist at the concerts. He’s also kept us in touch with the work by the firefighters and their activities. We also miss Ken Sprenger, who at one time wrote a great column on where to go on a day trip in the area as well as the latest ideas for fishermen. He was always full of good ideas on how to make the riverfront better. Dick Hempel comes in once a month with a release on the luncheon for the classes of ‘39 to ‘47 (which were inadvertently left out of the Bulletin Board a couple of times — not his fault.) He was forgiving, thank heavens, and continues his visits with lots of ideas for the Tonawandas. Joe Saber, who recently died, also brought fun — and goodies — to the newsroom. When he would drop off a story, he always had a great joke to lighten the day. It always seemed a bit strange that a funeral director would tell jokes, but we loved hearing them. There are so many others who make this job fun and we miss them all.

Shut down

Because I don’t really know all the “ins and outs” and “he said, she said,” details of the present government shutdown, but having read all that’s available, biased and unbiased, there are a couple of things that really don’t make sense.

First, the fact that Congressmen continue to get paid and that employees laid off or furloughed in these weeks will get back pay when the stupidity in Washington gets back on track. (For a better understanding of this, reread Eric Duvall’s column from last Sunday — clear and concise.) The worst are the Congressmen, who in so many instances have lucrative law firms back home. Seems to me if they have any compassion for their constituents, they would take their pay and donate it to worthy causes or give it to the United Way which would spread this bonus to all organizations that seek its help. If these men and women were our children, we’d put them in a room without food and with wooden folding chairs and make them stay until they worked out their problems. In Washington, and in some districts in this state, the politicians “work” Tuesday through Thursday, then take a plane home (at our expense) for the weekend, going back on Monday.

But Eric’s column is right: When November comes, they will all be voted back in, after all, our representatives are “good.”

Helping veterans

PenFed Foundation, a nationally recognized nonprofit organization which works to meet the unmet needs of military personnel and their families, is putting the finishing touches on the nation’s largest free hotel for short-term stay for veterans undergoing medical care. The Defenders Lodge in Alexandria, Va., will officially open in January.

“For years, veterans and service members getting treatment at a major VA hospital struggled to find an affordable and comfortable place to stay,” said Col. (Ret.) Robert Siegert, chairman of the PenFed Foundation board. “Now they’ll have a brand new, handicapped-accessible hotel with state-of-the-art amenities. And the best part is it’s free for them and their caregivers.”

The Defenders Lodge is expected to serve up to 20,000 veterans annually who travel each year for treatment. 

Last year, thousands had to find temporary housing while getting care at the VA hospital, many coming from miles away.

Now that’s something to be proud of!


If we lie to the Congress, it’s a felony and if the Con­gress lies to us, it’s just politics.

Contact community editor Barbara Tucker at 693-1000, ext. 4110 or email