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WRITER: Burton Cole

All is sunny, bright ... If you have a tarp

In the Biblical account, the prophet Elijah told King Ahab there’d be no more rain until Elijah said so. For 3 1/2 years, there wasn’t so much as dew on the ground. One day, Elijah told King Ahab to batten down the hatches ’cause he was about to get drenched. The blasts from a thousand Super Soakers couldn’t have made things any soggier. Elijah did this with prayer. I accomplish pretty much the same ...

Twins encourage testing

By BURTON COLE Staff writer WARREN — Twin sisters Mary and Barbara Busko now share many things in life, birth date, looks and outfits among them. Add to the list of similarities something else — they are twin breast cancer survivors. Barbara was diagnosed with Stage 1A invasive ductal carcinoma after a January 2019 mammogram at the age of 84. One year later, Mary was diagnosed with Stage 2A after her ...

Understanding a spouse is no tiptoe through the tulips

Never has any other device been invented that is as glorious and simultaneously confusing as a spouse. (I was going to write as “confusing as a wife,” but I have been assured by women who have served time as wives that understanding husbands is no tiptoe through the tulips either.) I love my wife. It’s our anniversary month, and I’m still stunned and delighted that Terry said yes. But even after all ...

How is bubblegum on a stick No. 1?

Craziness marred the debate. Tampering and other shenanigans must have influenced the vote. I refuse to accept the outcome. Blow Pops? C’mon, man. There’s no way Blow Pops won Ohio. I am referring to, of course, the results of CandyStore.com’s annual Most Popular Halloween Candy in the US survey. Every year, the bulk candy retailer and distributor CandyStore.com publishes a state-by-state breakdown of ...

Go back to bed, read the paper and just be uninspired

Maxims take minimal effort. And provide no help whatsoever. You know what I mean. It seems that no matter what you’ve been up to, there’s some pest buzzing around ready to tag you with an inspirational quote. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” the would-be motivator will buzz. It makes you want to snap, “If at first you don’t succeed, try management.” Especially if the pest is ...

If you’re reading this, bring coyote repellent and Pop-Tarts

I’m going camping. Actually, by the time you read this, I should have re-emerged from the deep and dark of the woods. If you don’t see me, please send a search party. Armed with chocolate and Pop-Tarts. “Relax, Pop Pops,” my camping guide says. “I’ll teach you everything you need to know.” My fate is in the hands of my 11-year-old grandson. I hope he isn’t still holding a grudge over last ...

Grownups would know more if they watched cartoons

The world is full of zany, colorful characters who don’t make a lot of sense. I learned that 55 years ago watching Saturday morning cartoons. Back in the 1960s, Saturday mornings meant giant bowls of cereal with the word “sugar” in the name, and five solid hours of life lessons — er, cartoons. Science, politics, politeness, teamwork and helping others were taught by the prominent educators Huckleberry ...

Special delivery — niece donates kidney as surprise gift

From 6 to 11 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Sam Maluso’s day is tied up with dialysis. “It beats the crap out of me, to be honest,” the 74-year-old Austintown native said. “You’re just sitting there, but all the blood is taken out of your body, filtered and put back into your body. I go home, my wife fixes me lunch, and I take a nap.” He had been a U.S. Postal Service operations manager ...

The mystery of history

Editor’s note: This is an introduction to Keturah Hamilton, 17, of Leetonia, who has a passion for discovering the lives behind artifacts she finds in area antique shops. In an accompanying column, Keturah describes the journey in her own words. The quest began with a letter written in 1943 to the Youngstown mother of a serviceman killed in an airplane crash. Keturah Hamilton plucked it from a shelf of ...

This sewing class dropout just wants cake

I am a sewing class dropout. I fought the sewing machine and the sewing machine won. Snapped thread, torqued pins and cloth snarled in balls of stitches lay in my wake. I eked out one kitchen boa and one cinch bag, both inflicted with some of the most meandering drunken seams ever known to domestic suturing. In short, cross “tailor” off my list of possible second career choices. When I was in junior high, ...