Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My! Here we go again!

Dorothy, in the Wizard of Oz, was caught in a tornado. She was on her way to the family storm shelter when Toto, her dog, jumped from her arms and ran into the house. While trying to retrieve her pet, she hit her head sending her into a dream where she was trying to get back to her home in Kansas.

This brought back memories of a trip we took to Kansas with the Daughters of Nile several years ago. Immediately following the banquet, the women from the local temple put on several skits to entertain the Supreme Queen. One group did some dancing, another had clowns creating situations all around the room that put us into side-splitting laughter, and the last group did a skit based on The Wizard of Oz.

The decorations in the room were also based on The Wizard of Oz, right down to the centerpieces on the tables. Each centerpiece was a small farmhouse with two feet sticking out from under the basement. On the feet was a pair of shiny, sparkly ruby red slippers.

Just as the skit ended, the tornado alarm sounded. We all cheered because they had even brought us into the skit by sounding a fake alarm. That is until we found out that it was not a fake. There really was a tornado, and we had to vacate the hall. We were to go down into the storm shelter in the basement of the hotel. The hotel was prepared for just such an event. They had water, food, and if needed, some cots and blankets on hand for all the people who had to take shelter. Fortunately, the tornado went in a different direction and the all clear sounded after only a short time.

Early this month I went back to the Midwest for a supreme session of the Daughters of the Nile in Omaha, Neb. Five of us from Cyrene Temple joined thousands of other women who do local work to help the children in the 21 Shriners’ children hospitals. We also talked about the many ways that Masons, Shriners, women in the Eastern Star and Daughters of the Nile, all also work to help our veterans.

Many women who are handy make trachea bibs and lap robes for the veterans in the hospitals. Other groups have food drives for homeless veterans and some collect personal hygiene items for families visiting their relatives in the hospital.

One group is now raising money for veterans to purchase iTunes cards to assist in calming veterans during tense times. We are all so thankful for the service these men and women provide for our country that we cannot do enough to help them recover from any injury they sustained during their tour of duty. Our help also extends to their families for their sacrifices.

The Daughters of the Nile Supreme Session is one week long. It can be intense.  Therefore, time is set-aside for the members to see the sights. Tours are also offered for the members to view some of the most notable attractions. One of the first sights we explored was the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. It is a 3,000-foot long walkway that stretches across the Missouri River between Council Bluffs, Iowa and Omaha, Nebraska. The bridge was opened on Sept. 28, 2008.

This landmark bridge arose after Omaha and Council Bluffs began replacing their older crossings with girder bridges. The bridge is named after former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey, who secured $18 million of federal funding for the bridge in 2000. The bridge lights include programmable controls that can display multiple colors in the large lights at the top of the towers and alter brightness and timing of the lights that run the entire length of the bridge. The bridge plaza features a small amphitheater and 26 dancing water jets.

Pat Irwin, Sally Lebowich, and I walked the “Bob” (as locals call it) but we did not have time to venture over the 150 miles of walking trails along the waterfront. The views were awesome, and it was exciting to stand in the middle of the bridge with one foot in Nebraska and one foot in Iowa.

Another notable landmark is a national treasure known as Boys Town. This expansive campus has a museum, historic chapel, gardens, and a world-renowned youth care program. It was founded in 1917 by Father Flanagan and has touched the lives of millions of people.

The Great Mormon Migration of 1846-47 can be experienced at the Mormon Trail Center. Nauvoo, Illinois from 1839 to 1845 was a gathering place for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called Mormons). In 1846 hostile neighbors forced an exodus of the main group out of Nauvoo across Iowa to the area near where Omaha, Nebraska would eventually be built. Most Mormon pioneers stayed there in winter quarters and in 1847 completed the journey to Salt Lake City in Utah Territory, their new gathering place.

At the Mormon Trail Center you can explore a pioneer cabin, pull a handcart, and see a full-sized covered wagon drawn by an oxen team. By the time the transcontinental railroad was completed to Utah in 1869 about 70,000 pioneers had walked, pulled a handcart, or ridden a wagon or carriage through Nebraska to Utah.

The Old Market was one of the popular places to tour by our members with free time. It is a neighborhood located in downtown Omaha. The neighborhood has many restaurants, art galleries, and upscale shopping. The area retains its brick paved streets from the turn of the century, horse-drawn carriages, and covered sidewalks in some areas. It is not uncommon to see a variety of street performers, artists, and other vendors.

The area is designated on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district, and borders the former site of the Jobbers Canyon Historic District, as well as the still-existent Omaha Rail and Commerce Historic District, and the warehouses in Omaha.

There is a walking tour of historic buildings available from the Omaha Chamber of Commerce. There are also several specifically noted historic buildings within the district.

Most of our members stayed pretty close to the main hotel because that was the week some major storms passed across the country. Our hotel provided a shuttle to and from the convention center, which allowed us to go out without facing the rain.

On the second business day, we had finished our meetings and were just about to have dinner when we all got the surprise of our life. The emergency alarm sounded meaning a tornado had been spotted and we had to go to the shelter in the basement. Just as we had experienced in Kansas, the hotel and convention center were prepared and had food and drinks for us until the all clear alarm sounded. Evening activities were postponed and the schedule for the rest of the Supreme Session was changed. Fortunately, all tornados touched down away from the area we were in. The weather let up and the last day or two were very good.

We have had tornados touch down right here in our own area. The damage they cause is tremendous, very costly, and heartbreaking. It is heart breaking to see what some of our neighbors have suffered  through these storms.

While I was in Kansas there was a tornado warning but I was lucky. While I was in Nebraska there was a tornado warning, again, I was lucky.  Makes me wonder what weather will be like on my future trips with the Daughters of the Nile.

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!


The Altamont Free Library's annual chicken BBQ will be held tomorrow, Friday, June 20, from 5 to 7 p.m., in Orsini Park. Advance sale tickets are $9; same day sales $10. The dinner menu includes half chicken, baked potato, roll, coleslaw, drink, and brownie.  Tickets are available at the library.

Pool opens

The pool at the Benjamin Crupe Park located on Gun Club Road will open on Saturday, June 21.  Pool hours on weekdays are noon to 7 p.m. Pool hours on weekends are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The parking pass for Altamont residents is free and is available at the village office or can be obtained from the booth attendant at the park. Non-residents will pay a $10 parking fee for each visit.

Water aerobics

Water aerobics classes at the village pool will begin on Tuesday, June 24.  Classes will be held each Tuesday and Thursday. A fee is charged to participate in this class. Information can be obtained by calling the Altamont’s village office at 861-8554.   

Art contest

Students in grades five, six, and seven take notice.  The Guilderland Garden Club invites students to participate in an art contest. Students are asked to create an original design for the Garden Club's 50th anniversary yearbook. According to the Garden Club, “the cover must be the sole creation of the student and must promote the love of gardening or floral design".

Students must use a template provided by the club. It needs to be folded in half, one side will be the front of the cover, and one side will be the back of the cover. The artwork must be in color, freehand drawing, and/or digital design.

The Garden Club requests available space within the border of the template permitting the club to add the name Guilderland Garden Club, the city, state, 50th anniversary yearbook, and the dates September 2014 - August 2015.

One winning design will be selected and will be used for the 50th anniversary yearbook.

All entries must be postmarked by July 18, and mailed to Maureen McNamara, 6280 Gardner Road, Altamont, NY 12009.

For additional information contact Maureen McNamara at

More information will follow regarding the judges and award for the winning design.


Happy-anniversary wishes are extended to Helen and Bob Reals who will celebrate their special day on June 24.


Happy-birthday wishes are extended to:

— Kyle Drake and Elizach Munroe on June 21;

— Tim Farley, Andy Stauffer, and Doug Stauffer on June 22;

— Darlene Wilson on June 23;

— Kathy Davis on June 24;

— Butch Bastianni, Christina Buckey, Richard Michael Buckey, and Tina Sanginetti on June 25; and

— Mildred Calkins, Anne Franklin, and Ruth Pollard on June 26.