Blood Drive at Civic Center
The local university blood center had a blood drive today at the Civic Center auditorium. Almost 300 people showed up, but about 50 were turned away for various medical reasons. Fifty others left because the lines were moving so slowly. The event concluded at 6 p.m., three hours after the scheduled close. It was a long day for everyone—administrators, nurses, and donors. But there were plenty of chairs and tables, and many people brought their own books, magazines, or newspapers.
The first thing the donors had to do, of course, was fill out the donor registration and screening form. When they finished filling out the form, they waited until a nurse called them to her desk. The average adult body contains 8 to 12 pints of blood. Donors can give one pint at a time. It takes your body 2 to 4 weeks to replace this amount. Most donors filled up the pint bag within 5 to 10 minutes.
Before leaving, the donors received a sheet of instructions including: Do not lift any heavy objects for 12 hours. Leave your pressure bandage on for 2-3 hours. Do not smoke for at least 30 minutes. Avoid alcohol for the rest of the day. Do not do any strenuous activity for 24 hours.
"I wish I could hug and kiss all the volunteers that are here today," said Martha, the blood center donor recruiter. "Many donors underestimate the importance of what they're doing. They think it is no big deal, but it is a big deal. Their blood is actually saving lives, helping other people to live. We cannot thank them enough for that, nor can the recipients.”
A middle-aged man with a long beard was arrested by the police for disorderly conduct and property damage. “More charges might be added later,” said a police officer.
The man, identified as Bill Wild, checked into the Motel Five last night about an hour after sunset. Telling the clerk that he would be staying four nights, he paid cash in advance. He then asked her where a grocery store was. She said that the nearest grocery store was John-Johns, which was only two blocks away.
The police said that Wild went to John-Johns and purchased three gallons of honey and four gallons of chocolate syrup. The checker asked him what the occasion was. He replied, “I’m trying to become a sweeter person.” The checker smiled at the joke.
Wild drove back to the motel. He opened all seven containers and poured them into the bathtub. He added warm water to the mix. Then he placed his boom box on the bathroom floor next to the tub. He tuned the radio to an opera station. He got undressed, hopped into the tub, and started singing loudly with the music.
Fifteen minutes later, the lodgers in the room next door phoned the clerk. She banged on Wild’s door, but he kept singing. She phoned his room, but he didn’t answer. Then she called the police, who arrived quickly.
“Well, at least he paid in advance,” said the clerk. “That money will help pay for the plumber.” The bathtub drain was completely clogged. The tub remained full of chocolate and honey.
“You just never know about people,” said the clerk. “He seemed so nice and friendly. Who’d have thought he was a bathtub-singing nut?” The police said this was the third time that Wild had been arrested for this kind of behavior.
Tenants Watch Building Burn
A 20-unit apartment building burned for about an hour before firemen were able to extinguish it. The fire started in the attic at about 10:30 p.m. yesterday evening. The damage was estimated at $1.5 million. A fire department spokesman said the fire might have been set deliberately.
The tenant who first saw the blaze banged loudly on the door of every unit in the building. Occupants of 15 units were already in bed or preparing for bed. No one responded in the other five units because the tenants were not home. Those tenants who were home escaped with nothing more than the clothes on their backs, their pets, their cell phones, and their laptops.
Many tenants went across the street to watch the fire from a safe distance. They were all hoping that their units would be spared. Some of the pets were so disturbed by the noise, crowds, flames, and smoke that their owners could not hold on to them. They clawed their way out of their owners’ arms and dashed away. The younger children were similarly frightened. They cried in their parents’ arms.
Two fire engines arrived at 10:45 p.m., but the entire roof was ablaze by then. Smoke and flames were visible in most of the units on the top floor.
At about 11:35 p.m. the flames were extinguished. Most of the roof had disappeared. The top floor of the two-story building was about 80 percent gone. Water was seeping into the ground-floor units, ruining most of them. The tenants were crying or speechless. They were happy to be alive, but now they had no home. Where were they going to live?
Firemen discovered a charred gasoline can in the attic. This was the second suspicious apartment fire in a month.
Agencies Get Millions for Homeless
The Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded $5 million to three different local nonprofit organizations. The money will be distributed over a four-year period and is aimed at helping approximately 1,000 homeless people in the county of Arvada.
One agency, with headquarters in Woodbridge, is slated to receive $1.5 million. The agency director says that they will focus their resources on educating the homeless. “We will probably build another school-home with this money,” he said. “A school-home is exactly what it sounds like. It is a school and a home. We have already built four school-homes throughout the county. We get the homeless off the street, and we educate them so they don't have to return to the street. We teach them how to be auto mechanics, plumbers, landscapers, painters, carpenters, bricklayers, electricians, and air-conditioning repairmen.
“You wouldn't believe the success that we have had. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, our office air-conditioning went out. My secretary called a repairman. The repairman was one of our first homeless students. He now owns his own air-conditioning business, plus two houses, two cars and a boat! He has a dozen employees. Holy cow! He's doing better than I am. He fixed our air-conditioning for free. I think I might sign up for the air-conditioning class myself.”
Getting Older But Not Sitting Around
All seniors 55 and older are invited to a special meeting next Tuesday in the Senior Center. The meeting will begin with cookies and lemonade. The speaker will be James Carter, the director of a nonprofit organization dedicated to making the golden years fun and interesting.
“We have too many seniors who act old because they think they’re old,” said Carter. “Our goal is to help seniors realize that they’re as young and active as they want to be. Getting older does not mean sitting around waiting to die. It means getting out and doing all the things you never had time to do while you were working and raising a family.”
Carter will identify the services and activities that are available to seniors locally and statewide. Included are legal aid, tax advice, discounts for bus and taxi travel in the city, and free blood pressure testing on the first Monday of each month. Testing for diabetes and for cataracts is offered four times a year for a nominal fee. The city also provides inexpensive dinners called Meals on Wheels. Volunteers deliver these meals to seniors who are homebound because of illness or injury.
An Internet class begins this month for seniors who want to visit the World Wide Web. “Many seniors still use typewriters,” said Carter. “They see no need for a computer. But after they take this course, some of them may decide to buy their own laptops.”
New activities at the Senior Center include Bingo on Friday and Saturday nights, with a grand prize of $50 each night. The center is also offering Strength Training classes. “As you get older,” said Carter, “you need to keep both your mind and your body active. An active mind helps prevent Alzheimer’s, and an active body helps prevent osteoporosis.”