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Remembering Pearl Harbor

It’s been 76 years to the date since the Empire of Japan took the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, and the men and women stationed there, by surprise. In the ensuing attack, more than 2,300 American lives, 180 aircraft and one U.S. battleship were lost to Japanese bombers, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt presciently said that Dec. 7, 1941 was a date that would “live in infamy.” Whether you lived through the events of that day, learned about them in school or need to brush up on your history, here’s a recap of why today matters.

Why it happened, why it matters

Relations between the United States and Japan had soured in the years leading up to the attack. In response to Japan’s alliance with the Axis powers, and its invasion of Chinese and French Indochinese territories, the United States halted nearly all of its commercial interaction with the state, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

As tensions grew and war loomed ever nearer, it was the Empire of Japan that would strike first. According to the History Channel, the Imperial Japanese military sought to cripple the U.S. Pacific Fleet with a preemptive strike so they could further expand throughout the South Pacific unhindered.

Victor Kosko, of Sykesville, recalled the attack in a previous interview with the Courier-Express. Then an Aviation Metalsmith, First Class in the Navy, Kosko said he woke up to the sounds of bombs going off.

“I feel sorry for the guys that lost their lives there,” he said. “Some of them never knew a war even started. They died in their sleep.”

While the United States incurred mortal and material losses that day, it’s Pacific Fleet was not crippled. All but two battleships that were damaged in the attack, according to the History Channel, were salvaged and repaired, and all of the fleet’s aircraft carriers weren’t at the base at the time.

But the attack greatly affected the United States. It was ultimately what drew the United States into World War II.

By the numbers: Pa. in WWII

More than 400,000 American military members and civilians died in World War II. Pennsylvania alone would incur over 35,000 casualties.

According to National Archives records of U.S. Army and U.S. Army Air Force casualties from the war, 263 casualties came from Clearfield County alone. Of those, 152 were killed in action.

Army and Air Force casualties in Elk County tally 103, 65 of which were recorded as killed in action. In Jefferson County, 157 casualties were recorded, 101 of which were killed in action.

Pennsylvania also incurred 10,200 Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard casualties in the war, according to National Archive records, 4,102 of which perished in combat. County specific figures were not available in the archives.

As the years progress, the number of the veterans that returned from the war dwindle.

Richard Coccimiglio, finance officer and board member of the DuBois American Legion, said that it’s important their stories continue to be told so as to preserve them after they’ve gone. And for a lot of them, he said, those stories begin in some way with the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Roughly a third of the Legion’s 600 members, he said, are veterans of World War II.

“I look at this way – that we can’t lose the history of our nation,” he said. “And these are the guys that moved our nation forward – socially, economically and industriously. What they did after World War II just moved our nation a whole century ahead of where we were.”

Business Over Breakfast
Medical marijuana is topic at Business Over Breakfast

DuBOIS — Medical marijuana was the topic of last week’s Greater DuBois Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development’s Business Over Breakfast meeting at the Best Western Conference Center in DuBois.

Guest presenter was Beth Bittner, director of communications for Cresco-Yeltrah, which is the first cultivator to have the state’s permission to begin growing and processing marijuana as part of the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana program.

Cresco-Yeltrah, which was one of the highest scoring contenders in the state’s rigorous application process, is constructing a state-of-the-art cultivation center and laboratory in Brookville and dispensaries in Butler, Pittsburgh (Strip District), and a third location that has not yet been selected.

“We passed our final inspection in the middle of October, before Oct. 20, so we started to grow immediately,” Bittner said. “We are roughly six to eight weeks ahead of anyone else that we know of. Time-wise, we still fully intend to have product on the shelf by the second week of February, which is wonderful because we still intend to be first on the market. That’s really not the issue with us. The issue is the sooner we get relief to people, the better.”

Bittner encouraged the public to get educated about Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Program. Legislation which was signed into law on April 17, 2016, by Gov. Tom Wolf and aims to be the most medically focused cannabis program in the country.

The legislation passed with bipartisan support and will create an advisory board to make recommendations to the Department of Health as the program is implemented. The department will oversee a medically driven program through repeatable, controlled dosage, non-combustible products for patients.

Approved conditions include: ALS, autism, cancer, Chrohn’s Disease, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/Aids, Huntington’s Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, intractable seizures, intractable spasticity, multiple sclerosis, neuropathies, Parkinson’s Disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia, severe chronic or intractable pain and terminal illness.

Approved forms of consumption include: Capsules, extracts, oils, medically appropriate forms of vaporization or nebulization, tinctures, liquids, topical, gels, creams, ointments and lotions.

In order to participate in the Medical Marijuana Program, patients must:

  • Register with the department which can be done online.
  • Obtain a physician’s certification that they suffer from one of the serious medical conditions, as defined in the Act.
  • Apply for a medical marijuana ID card and submit the application fee.
  • Obtain medical marijuana from an approved dispensary located in the commonwealth that has a valid permit issued by the department.

The process is still being developed by the department. The department will communicate with the public as the registration process becomes available.

Bittner said the Department of Health website is a phenomenal resource.

Medical marijuana is a medication that has helped a lot of people.

“It was parents whose kids could not talk, whose kids could not walk, whose children were having four or 500 seizures a day,” Bittner said. “It was people who have been on opioids for 25 years. I’ve talked to 85 year-old women who were just waiting to be able to get their card so they could maybe get off their opioids and maybe start to function better and actually maybe work and do productive things. The support group I sat in one time, these people had a 23-year-old girl next to an 85 year-old woman and every 15 minutes they had to get up and move because they had pain patches everywhere. And the pain, of just sitting still for 15 inutes was unbearable. So to go in and see that you may be able to give them some relief is amazing.”

The woman that Bittner remembers talking to the most was one who was “treating her child for a couple of years through the Safe Harbor, which means you can treat a child by going to another state and getting the product. With this letter, you’re protected. So she’s been treating her son who’s nonverbal autistic. And she told us that she got him on a 10:1 strain and he was doing better, and she got him down to a 4:1 strain and he spoke his first words to her. And I just cannot imagine that, if any of you are parents, that your child could never look at you and say, “I love you.” Or say “Yes, No, Mom, Dad.” And now she’s getting words out of her son.”

Bittner said she does not support drugs and does not personally believe this is a drug.

“This is a medication that can help a lot of people. I am leaning now towards the science and medical aspect of it,” Bittner said. “This is why I encourage people to really get educated about it. There are so many things with cannabis that I don’t think most people know. The United States actually has a patent on THC. If the United States didn’t think it was worth anything, why would they have a patent on it?”

She also encouraged people to have conversations with their employers.

Brady Twp. supervisors hold line on taxes for another year

LUTHERSBURG — Brady Township residents will get another year without a township tax increase as a result of the budget approved by the township supervisors.

The balanced budget shows a year end balance in 2018 of more than $428,000 with revenue and expenses being equal. Chairman Charlie Muth says one of the factors that allows the township to continue its operations without a tax increase is the fact that the tax base increases enough each year to cover the increased cost of government.

That growth should continue as a result of the sewage system that is one step closer to reality as a result of a motion by the supervisors to physically award the bids for its construction. In October the supervisors awarded bids for line construction and construction of the treatment plant to C & R Directional Boring of Clearfield and the pump bid went to Tempco. Those bids are now being reviewed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Muth said he expects its approval as soon as later in the week of Dec. 4. Once that approval is in hand all residents who will be part of the system will get a letter stating the date and time for a meeting where they can get more information.

The supervisors also voted to appoint Louise Beatty as the township auditor since no votes were cast for that position in the November election.

Earlier in the meeting the supervisors reviewed the Fike Subdivision and voted to send it on to the Clearfield County Planning Commission for its approval.

Volunteer fire company Chief Russ Perks reported that the firefighters had responded to seven calls in November. Later in the meeting, speaking as a resident of the township, Perks expressed his thanks to all three supervisors – Muth, Bill Harvey and Bryan Hartzfeld – for all the work they do and time they spend for the township.