Writing/Work Samples with Resume to Follow:
Niagara Falls – A Treasure For All Seasons
By D.J. Mathews 1415words (later condensed for Bristol Herald Courier, Va, TRAVEL section)
When 46 year old daredevil George Strathakis went over Niagara’s Horseshoe Falls in 1930 he probably didn’t realize the water at the bottom of the 173 foot falls was deeper than it was tall. His airtight wood and steel barrel made it over the falls intact, but came up and got caught behind the falls’ pounding waters for 22 hours. Strathakis suffocated – but his 150 year old pet turtle survived.
Many other have successfully crossed the churning waters of the Niagara River by tightrope walking or barrel riding, or survived a trip over the Canadian side falls. But today’s visitors are not drawn to just crazy stunts. Named by “The Today Show” the tenth most beautiful spot in America, Niagara Falls, with its natural beauty and many area attractions draws not only for newlyweds but also couples and families of all ages. And it can be as enjoyable to visit in autumn and winter as the traditional summer vacation time.
Bud Wittenburg, a local speech teacher from Bolivar, New York, has been to Niagara Falls numerous times and never tires of its beauty. He feels “a trip to the falls isn’t measured in how many breaths you take, but in how many moments it takes your breath away.”
On his most recent visit he stayed on the 32nd floor of Embassy Suites Hotel because his room had “an incredible view of the falls.” On the Canadian side of the Niagara River are the best views of both the semi-circle shaped Horseshoe Falls and the smaller American Falls on the U.S. side of the river. Other luxury hotels on the Canadian side include the Sheraton, Radisson Hotel, Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt Regency. These luxury hotels can offer package deals, which can include such extras as a ride on the Maid of the Mist, casino entertainment, family game rooms and indoor pools, to the tune of several hundred for a few days’ stay.
Embassy Suites offers a romance package, for example, that includes a dinner for two at the Skylon Tower (an $80.00 value alone). The couple will also receive strawberries dipped in chocolate with complementary champagne, cooked-to-order breakfast and tickets to the casino, falls and shuttle to nearby attractions like the IMAX Theater, Niagara Skywheel, or family oriented Canadian Midway, with some 300 indoor games.
If you don’t want to spend a bundle on lodging on either the Canadian and American side of the Niagara, rates are cut dramatically in late September and October. One of the cheapest, at under $49.00, can be found at Howard Johnson’s in Niagara Falls, New York.
Parks border the falls, and when autumn brings color changes Niagara Falls “has its own special beauty,” according to Wittenburg. Because the waters warm up the land around it “there’s no frost till late in the fall,” Wittenburg points out. Temperatures average 44 to 66 degrees in the fall, and he’s seen geraniums and roses bloom there in November. In winter the mist coming off the falls creates an ice layer that has a “Fairyland” effect kids and adults alike can enjoy, he says.
The cheapest way to see the falls is to take Route 81 to Syracuse then take the NY Thruway to the Robert Moses Parkway to reach the free parks bordering the American or Canadian sides of the Niagara River. The U.S. side has 412 acres, including the Niagara Reservation State Park, and on the Canadian side is Queen Victoria Park. Queen Victoria Park officially opened on May 24, 1888, three years after the U.S. Park received its charter, and is part of a Canadian system stretching for 35 miles, up to Lake Ontario. By Queen Victoria Park you can find the Refectory Restaurant and picnic area, the big hotels, Skylon Tower and renowned Table Rock Pavilion, where you can dine, buy souvenirs, and buy tickets to a tunnel behind the Horseshoe Falls.
On the American side you can hike or pay two dollars to ride a scenic trolley or one dollar to go up the New York State Observation Tower for some good views. You can also buy tickets for the Niagara Reservation State Park Master Pass ($27.50 for adults, $19.50 for kids 5-12) for eight attractions, including the Maid of the Mist ride, Prospect Point Observation Tower, Old Fort Niagara and the Cave of the Winds.
An elevator takes you down about 175 feet down to the “Cave of the Winds,” the bottom of the smallest falls, Bridal Veil. Although there is no longer a cave behind the falls, it is still a thrill to take a wooden walkway and come within 20 feet of the falls. Raingear is provided so that the wind and mist don’t totally drench tourists.
American Falls and Bridal Veil are separated from the much more impressive 2200 foot wide Horseshoe Falls by Goat Island. Horseshoe Falls throws up a much grander mist and spray of water when it hits the river, and creates a continuous rainbow. To get close to this huge falls people ride on the Maid of the Mist. In existence in some form since the 1850s, the ride now cost about $14.00 and requires that all on board wear a raincoat and hat. Getting as close as they dare, “the falls are so tall it looks like it’s coming down right on you,” says Wittenburg. Bolivar resident David Herne agrees that the Maid of the Mist ride “is one of most powerful experiences of your life.”
The falls are so powerful that they turn turbines at the bottom of the falls. They are capable of four million kilowatts of electricity, which both countries share. There are free tours of the New York Power Authority for those interested in how it all works and helps the region.
If you go two miles north of the falls, on the US side, you will enter Whirlpool State Park. The park has two levels: you can fish, picnic or take your child to the playground on the first; on the second you go down a series of steps that takes thirty minutes, where you can view the Whirlpool, an oddity of nature wherein rapids in the river gorge are pushed by rocks around in a circle. The Niagara Parkway on the Canadian side has the Niagara River Recreation Trail for hikers and picnickers. It is so scenic that when Winston Churchill visited the area in 1943 he called it “the prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world.”
Wittenburg says there are tour vans that can take you to historic sights on the Canadian side, where there are old churches and wineries. Or you can go on the “sky screamer” amusement ride at nearby Marineland. Or visit Ripley’s Believe It Or Not or 4D Moving Theater or Butterfly Conservatory. On the American side are a number of reasonably priced museums, such as the Niagara Falls Aquarium, the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center, Castellani Art Museum or Mark Twain Museum, the latter 15 miles away in Buffalo.
Also reasonable is the eleven dollar elevator ride to the observation deck of Skylon Tower, on the Canadian side of the river. Several years ago Wittenburg actually tutored an at risk student with reward of visiting Niagara Falls if he qualified for a regular diploma and passed all his tests. The school system gave him some money and Wittenburg took the senior to the Skylon Tower for the great views and family center at the bottom, where they rode go carts. They also visited some museums, which was a “very nice experience” for the teen, he says.
At 520 feet Skylon Tower affords many grand views of the three falls. “On a clear day you can (also) see the skyline of Toronto” over 100 miles away, Wittenburg says.
With two countries promoting the falls and a variety of cuisine in the area, Wittenburg believes “Niagara Falls has a very international feel.” He has seen a lot of foreign visitors dining at the French, Korean, Italian and German restaurants around the falls. But because of government taxes and the value of the dollar everything costs more in Canada.
Crossing over to the Canadian side may be a challenge in January 2008. Then both governments will require you carry a passport with you to help cut down on terrorism. Now a driver’s license and a birth certificate are the recommended I. D. to take. It’s recommended you apply for a passport now if you plan to visit Canada early in the new year.
A seven dollar mug with an image of the falls on it Wittenburg uses during daily breaks at his school. It is a daily reminder of Niagara Falls, a scenic destination worth the visit in fall, summer or any time of year.
If You Want To Go:
Great Gorge Adventure Pass
($34.95 for adults) 1-877-642-7275
($38.95 adults/$31.95 kids 5-9)
Taking a flight to Buffalo:
Buzzy’s NY Style Pizza & Restaurant
#### end ###
What follows is my 408 word piece for the Sacred and Mundane column, about my relationship with nature through chemo. I hope you find it worth reading.
Sacred and Mundane – A cancer patient and spring
By Denise (D.J.) Mathews
Getting through something as difficult and tiring as chemotherapy, prescribed after Dorothy was found to have Stage II breast cancer, made everything seem a bit grayer. She took most of my treatments during the winter months, when the outside world was already brown and drab, trying to survive in its own way the extreme cold, snow and barrenness of the moment. It was not a particularly amusing time, and at one point she was put in the hospital for fatigue and dehydration. That time was discouraging too.
But she managed to “weather” this internal storm. The hospital doctor gave her medicine to improve her energy and outlook. As Dorothy’s energy level rose she took a few walks in a nearby park with her husband. The steps were tentative; just being outdoors was a tremendous boost to her thoughts of survival and getting through this unpleasant treatment. She wanted to see new life again. She wanted to see spring.
Not long after the April wildflowers’ blooms finally shriveled up, Dorothy visited the cancer clinic where she’d received the dreaded treatments. During a discussion about payment options with the bookkeeper, she pointed out that one of her chemo drugs, Adriamycin, had been so expensive because of where it came from. Adriamycin is flown in from the rainforests of South America. It comes from the soil, and is a tremendously strengthened antibiotic, a red medicine sent through the veins to kill cancer cells in the body. She’d had no idea the woods had anything to do with this.
Most people don’t make time to have a connection with the woods. In more than one way, without even trying, she had. The woods mean even more to her than before, after what she had experienced.
And spring will always be her favorite season.
Amish Culture (Written for Ebscohost, which Golson Media told me about)
The Amish people make up a unique religious community that can be found in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as well as mid-West states and Ontario, Canada. Amish society rejects modern technologies such as cars and electricity, advocating a simple lifestyle that brings them close to God. They began a major migration to America in the early 1700s. Different factions, like the Mennonites and Beachy Amish, have broken with the “Old Amish” to utilize phones, cars, and electricity when needed. In spite of modern challenges such as mental illness and employment issues, few youth stray from this close-knit, simple living community.
Amish culture dates back to the sixteenth and seventeenth century Protestant Reformation in Europe, which produced numerous religious sects in different regions. Swiss Mennonite church leader Jakob Amman felt his church should more closely adhere to Biblical principles, and emphasized a simpler, pastoral lifestyle. His followers broke away from the Mennonites between 1693 and 1697, setting off for America. In this patriarchal society, men made the major decisions regarding church rules, outward appearance, gender interaction and what, if any, technology their community used.
From an early age Amish girls and boys are dressed differently and given gender specific roles and rules to follow. The girls’ and women’s domain involves childcare, the home and family garden, while boys and men take care of the farm, finances and running the church. Both learn to speak English and German dialects, the latter important at church.
At church there are also distinct male and female roles. Religious services are always conducted by male ministers or bishops. The women prepare a meal served after the service. Men and women will eat and socialize at the gathering in separate areas. During rumspringa (which loosely translates to “running around”), young people, generally ages 16- 21, gather in coed gangs and socialize away from home, before they decide whether to get baptized and join the church. Although some experience alcohol, ride in cars and carouse around, nearly ninety percent will stay with their Amish community.
In 1948, seventy-five year old Bishop Samuel Hochstetler was sentenced to six months for chaining his forty-one year old mentally ill daughter to her bed whenever he left home, for her safety (Nolt 133). Mennonites, an Amish sect able to attend college, have used their education to help open mental health facilities to help Amish members with grief or other issues. In Lancaster County, a “People Helpers Movement” is also working to involve ministers in addressing mental illness.
With farm prices down or less farms available, some twenty-first century Amish have opened their own businesses, selling everything from custom made quilts and shoo-fly pie to dry goods and cabinetry. Since they only receive eight years of education, some can experience financial difficulties. Thirty-six year old Amish father Marlin Hostetler was laid off from his RV factory job, requiring him to accept a low paid furniture store position. He was later rehired by the factory, but then owed twenty-five thousand in credit card debt (Raley 721).
D. J. Ann Mathews, MS
“Amish.” Encyclopedia Americana. International ed. Vol. 1.2005. Print. 30 vols.
Castillo, Linda. Breaking Silence. Waterville: Thorndike Press, 2011. Print.
Frey, J. William.“Pennsylvania Dutch.” Encyclopedia Americana. International ed. Vol. 21.
2005. Print. 30 vols.
Hostetler, John A. Amish Society. 4th ed. Baltimore: John Hopkins U. Press, 1993. Print.
Nolt, Steven M. “Moving Beyond Stark Options: Old Order Mennonite & Amish Approaches
To Mental Health.” Journal of Mennonite Studies 29 Jan. 2011:133- 151. Web. 19 Jul. 2013.
Raley, Gage. “Yoder Revisited: Why the Landmark Amish Schooling Case Could – And
Should – Be Overturned.” Virginia Law Review 97:3 (May 2011): 681-722. Web. 20 Jul.
Johnson-Weiner, Karen M. New York Amish:Life in the Plain Communities of the Empire State.
Ithaca: Cornell U. Press, 2010. Print.
Kraybill, Donald B. The Riddle of Amish Culture. Revised ed. Baltimore: John Hopkins U.
Press, 2001. Print.
NOTE: This newsletter was two pages but stretched into one in this format:
Glenmary Council 7853 Anthony Willis, Grand Knight - Phone 395-3063
Volume 2 Issue 2 March/April 2005 D.J. Mathews, Editor (more below)
Meets 1st and 3rd Sunday,
Norton, Virginia 7 P.M.
New Officers For 2004-2005
Grand Knight: Anthony
Deputy Grand Knight: Doug
Chancellor: Charles Johnson
Recorder: Irvin Bass
Treasurer: Tom Dennison
Advocate: David Nauss
Warder: Richard Houchins
Inside Guard: Gerald
Outside Guard: Tom Somers
Trustee 1st Yr: Irvin Bass
Trustee 2nd Yr:Bob Isaac
Trustee 3rd Yr:Richard
February guests (L-R): Bruce Shine, State Secretary
Michael Lazzuri, Glada Lazzuri, State Deputy Ray-
mond Wycoff, and District Deputy Kevin Legge.
APPRECIATION DINNER HELD FOR AREA
RELIGIOUS AND CLERGY
Valentine’s Day our beloved religious and clergy of far southwest Virginia were treated to a special catered dinner, courtesy of K of C members. About fifty people attended the event, including the Knights, their families, nuns and priests. State Knight Council members who broke bread with us included Our Worthy State Secretary Michael Lazzuri, with his wife Glada, and Our Worthy District Deputy Kevin Legge, who came all the way from Roanoke. Our Worthy State Deputy Raymond Wycoff came from even farther away, Springfield being so far north he thought it would take days to fight ice and traffic congestion to reach us. He was pleasantly surprised how quickly he reached our welcoming mountains.
After a “Glenmary welcome” by District Deputy Kevin Legge, Wycoff provided some statistics on the K of C organization, whose membership will soon approach 1.7 million members. (….. continued on back)
DAY OF THE UNBORN CHILD OBSERVED
The International Day of the Unborn Child will be observed April 4. It would normally be celebrated on March 25, which falls on Good Friday this year.
Appreciation Dinner (cont’d)
He pointed out Virginia led the country in the highest disburse- ment of charitable funds, with $2.7 million handed out in 2004. He was
most appreciative of
our construction project to help the Turner family of Castlewood with an addition to their trailer for their wheelchair bound son. He proposed going even further, sugg-
esting the Knights set aside a dollar a day during the Lenten season so that the Turners could have a new home.
Plaques of recognition were handed out by Grand Knight Anthony Willis to Deputy Grand Knight Doug Chute and Knight John Hayes, for all their hard work on the Turner project. Bob Isaacs and J.T. Caruso also received plaques, for organizing Special Olympics picnics the past seventeen years.
PRAYER FOR THE SICK:
O SACRED HEART OF JESUS, WE COME TO ASK OF YOUR INFINITE MERCY, THE GIFT OF HEALTH AND STRENGTH, THAT WE
MAY SERVE YOU MORE FAITHFULLY AND LOVE YOU MORE SINCERELY THAN IN THE PAST. WE WISH TO BE WELL AND STRONG, IF THIS YOURGREATER GLORY. AMEN
Knights times, continued
Tony Willis and Sister Julia
RETIRING SMG SISTERS LAUDED BY ATTORNEY
Our special guest speaker at the apprec-
iation dinner was Kingsport, TN attorney D. Bruce Shine. Shine joked about being an Anglican Catholic, but was serious in his praise of the work of retiring Sisters Julia Dennehy, Mary Coughlan and Loretta O’Connor. He spoke at length about the life and teachings of Mother Teresa, who said we can’t see Christ to express our love to him and should express it to others.
These Irish sisters came to this country from England in the 1950s and became part of the staff of St. Mary’s Hospital in Norton. Sister Julia worked in admini- stration, and Sr. Mary had been an assistant administrator. All have been for patients’ rights. “We want the total person taken care of --- body, mind and spirit,” Sr. Loretta said.
Their hospital has been taken over by the for profit organization Health Management Associates. Times are now uncertain for those needing affordable healthcare.
Some of you may have already received your second notice for dues for the 2005 to 2006 K of C fiscal year. Please remit this as soon as possible. Our members are impor- tant to us and we do not want to lose any due to nonpayment of dues.
To Appear at Garden Faire
By D. J. Mathews
(This appeared in the Bristol Herald Courier,
, on April 17, 2008, page A1
and A5) Bristol,
At Mike McGrath’s house in rural
brings a morning symphony of chickadees, nuthatches, cardinals and the like. Lehigh
He said he’s had chickadees as close as 6 inches from his face because “they feel safe” on his 1.5 acres, which is an organically managed homestead.
McGrath, organic gardening author and host of the National Public Radio Show “You Bet Your Garden,” will be the featured speaker at this weekend’s 11th annual Mid-Atlantic Garden Faire in
McGrath didn’t come to organic gardening naturally. He explained in a recent phone interview that he grew up in a
row house, where he mowed a lawn the size of a “postage stamp.”
He remembers his mother tending some roses when he was a child. He also recalled hawkers who walked the streets in the summertime, singing out that they had
Jersey tomatoes or sweet corn for sale.
McGrath didn’t go organic until much later in life, when he fell in love. Now 56, he met his future wife, Kathy, at a party when he was in his late 20s.
He said she raved about her parents’ and grandparents’ gardens, where they picked tomatoes, raspberries and herbs.
She wanted someone to grow raspberries for her, so he did.
Starting out with “a couple of trash cans of horse manure and a lot of enthusiasm,” McGrath decided against harsh chemical fertilizers for the raspberries and vegetables he’s grown for more than 20 years.
And he experimented.
He used suet on his peach trees to attract meat-eating birds like chickadees, titmouses and woodpeckers. The birds stuck around to eat the bugs that emerged in the spring, naturally keeping their population down and his plants healthier.
Birds are actually a part of one of McGrath’s “Seven Secrets of Organic Gardening,” the name of one of his presentations he will share with local residents at the garden faire.
Attracting wildlife like birds to your property helps cut down on garden pests in the summer. McGrath said attracting wildlife should also include utilizing the elements of earth, air, water and fire.
In his sometimes self-deprecating style, McGrath pointed out that he got into writing and radio “because I have no real skills.” Then he added that he won the English prize offered by the Sacred Heart Society when he was an eight grader at St. Bartholomew’s.
After many years as a successful entertainment editor for
Philadelphia’s The Drummer and feature writing for publications like The
Philadelphia Inquirer, his interest in explaining the health side of
medicine helped him land a position as a health writer for Prevention magazine. He later became editor in chief of Organic Gardening magazine.
In his health and garden research he’s learned some interesting trivia, such as the fact that after World War II munitions plants went from producing ammonium nitrate bags for fire bombs to promoting them as fertilizer for farmers.
The hardwood forests for thousands of years provided mulch and compost for plants, and he thinks people could go back to the natural, organic way of growing plants.
On his syndicated show “You Bet Your Garden,” now in its 10th year, McGrath has tried to make “everybody feel comfortable gardening…there are no stupid people; there are no stupid questions.”
His latest book is “Mike McGrath’s Book of Compost,” which he said offers plenty of simple information.
McGrath said he is looking forward to meeting area gardeners on Friday and Saturday.
YOU SHOULD KNOW
What: The 11th annual Mid-Atlantic Garden Faire
When: From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.,Friday and Saturday,
And from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday
Where: Southwest Virginia Higher
Off Exit 14 of Interstate 81
Mike McGrath’s programs:
- 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Friday – The Seven Secrets of
Successful Organic Gardening
- 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Saturday-- Answers to
- 3:30 to 4:45 p.m.
n Grow Your Best Tasting
Tickets are $5 a day and
$10 for the entire show.
Kids younger than 12 will be
The Silly Diet Mistakes We Make — What We Really Need to Lose Fat
firstname.lastname@example.org Denise J. “D. J.” Mathews
Phone: 540- 267-4121 Blog: http://naturethinker.blogspot.com
(That’s Mathews with “one” t)
OBJECTIVE -- A position using Editing, Proofreading and/or Educational skills in the writing field.
· Have worked as a part time professor/adjunct at R. U. teaching writing and logic
· Experienced editor/writer in many areas, including general news, feature articles, newsletters, PR, some fiction, education, nature, travel, some health.
· Knowledgeable in computer software, including PowerPoint 2007, Excel 2007, Microsoft Publisher 2003, Microsoft Office 2007.
· Have a LinkedIn presence
Have taught logic and writing in Core 201/202 classes at Radford University, Radford, VA. Promoted logical thinking and writing through the application of deductive and inductive logic, used in both research based writing and public speaking. Worked closely with students and edited APA cited student work, especially in textual/argument analysis and working directly with them at research paper conferences and on other assignments. Taught students 2010-2015. Some knowledge of MLA, Chicago Manual of Style.
PRINT JOURNALISM AND RESEARCH
Interviewed area residents for freelance feature articles, covered government meetings. Wrote news and some sports. Assisted with layout at The Lebanon News, VA. Photographed subjects for feature articles for various publications in Virginia and elsewhere. Publications have included The North Country Catholic, Rome Weekly Patriot (NY), Clinch Valley Times, Catholic Virginian, Virginia Libraries, Virginia Wildlife (VA), Appalachian Trailway News (National), Geico (National), www.sparkaction.org, Blue Ridge Country and others. Also written news and feature articles 2007-2009 as a stringer for the Bristol Herald Courier, Bristol, Virginia. Mostly recently published in Blue Ridge Country, Roanoke, VA and The Roanoke Times(Roanoke.com). Researched and wrote encyclopedia entries on airline industry for Golson Media (NY), 2013.
Produced, edited and primarily wrote newsletters for nonprofit organizations in past. Contacted schools and radio stations for yearly local festival. Promoted local nature preserve with columns in area newspapers in Russell County, Virginia in 1990s. Wrote articles about upcoming aerospace education workshops at area community college. Spoke to school groups about my book Let’s Run Our Schools Together. Editor/reporter for Knights of Columbus newsletter, Norton, Virginia 2004-2006. Created newsletters for the New River Valley Master Naturalists of Blacksburg, VA, 2013-2015.
BROADCAST JOURNALISM Supervised journalists as well as covered my own territory in 1990s. Recorded special interviews with regional and national figures, reported on meetings and “FOCUS” segments for the next morning. Live broadcasts of special events, like election coverage, as Broadcast Journalist, WLRV Radio, W. Main Street, Lebanon, Virginia. Directed other journalists. Interviewed public figures, such as Lt. Col. Oliver North and Dr. Arun Gandhi for special segments, and covered governing board meetings. Edited and proofread incoming material for regional and local news stories. Read news on air. Recorded news segments.
MORE ON RESEARCH
Internet search engines used to assist students with homework. Researched grants online for a student organization Team Estonoa, for environmental funding, 2002.Interviewed area residents for history article and input history information in Excel sheets for local library. Conducted market research by telephone for Issues and Answers; contacted residents for addresses and supervised those who did the same. Attended federal grant research workshop offered by Taryn Chase at Radford University, May 2009.
Master of Science in English, Radford University, Radford, Virginia, 2010.
Major course work in Technical Editing, Appalachian Studies, Technical and Business Writing and American Literature classes, Teaching Writing.
Bachelor of Arts in English, State University of New York at Potsdam in the past.
Co-edited the student newsletter and mentored students for high school Team Estonoa Ecology class in St. Paul, Virginia, 2002-2003.
Author, Let’s Run Our Schools Together, available at www.buybooksontheweb.com.
Headed the news department at WLRV radio station, Lebanon, Virginia.
Organized fundraisers for a battered women’s shelter, Norton, Virginia.
Helped edit, proofread journal “Lost State Voices,” published December 2005.
Certificates of Appreciation from Clinch Valley Community Action for PR articles, 2001-2003.
Won Award for R. U. English Club’s “Funniest Horror Story,” October 2009.
Past membership in Sigma Delta Chi, Journalism Fraternity
Present membership in Sigma Tau Delta, English Honorary Society
Present membership in Virginia Master Naturalists’ organization, New River Valley chapter
Present membership in New River Writers’ Group (VA.)