Wrought iron pet beds at the nonprofit Rascal’s Boutique

Retail store to benefit shelter animals
Dorothy Brown, of Murrieta, browses Friday at the new Rascal’s Boutique at the Southwest Communities animal shelter in Wildomar. The nonprofit organization that runs shelter, Animal Friends of the Valleys, opened the store recently in hopes that it will help raise funds for programs such as its spay and neuter clinic.


Americans spent $50.96 billion on their pets last year, according to industry statistics, and they are expected to spend even more in 2012.
The operators of a southwest Riverside County nonprofit organization are hoping local pet owners will spend a few of those dollars where they will benefit local shelter animals.

Rascal’s Boutique, a pet supply store, opened in February in the lobby of the Southwest Communities Animal Shelter at 33751 Mission Trail in Wildomar. The store is staffed by volunteers and carries basics such as pet food, shampoo, chew toys and cat boxes, as well as designer collars, froufrou outfits for dogs, wrought-iron pet beds and other less-than-essential items.

Willa Bagwell, director of Animal Friends of the Valleys, the nonprofit organization that operates the shelter, said she hopes people who adopt a shelter pet will buy some of their supplies there, too.

“People go all out for their pets,” said Priscilla Harris, one of a handful of volunteers who work in the boutique.

Why not spend the money in a place where it will benefit shelter animals, she said.

“I’d rather give them my money than Walmart and all those places,” Harris said. “It’s not too big,” she said of the boutique, “but it’s got cute things.”

The shelter was bustling Friday afternoon, but traffic in the store was sparse.

Jennifer Whitney, 26, of Murrieta, said she was surprised to find a cute pet store at an animal shelter. She bought food and toys for her dog.
“Anything that can help a nonprofit organization,” she said.

Bagwell said the inventory has come from a variety of sources, including donations and discounted purchases from stores that were going out of business.

For now, proceeds are being used to stock the boutique shelves, Bagwell said. Eventually she hopes the store will help fund Animal Friends programs such as the spay and neuter clinic.

In the meantime, they are learning the ins and outs of retail, Bagwell said. They already have had a few shoplifters, she said.

Animal Friends isn’t the first shelter in the area to open a retail store. The San Diego Humane Society and SPCA has Muttique shops at its Oceanside and San Diego locations.

And the Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center (formerly the Riverside Humane Society) in Riverside has the Critter Corner pet supply store.
Executive Director Denise Perry said Critter Corner opened four years ago with the new adoption center. The main objective is to give people who adopt pets there a “one-stop shop” for necessary supplies, she said.

Perry said the center faced a learning curve in operating a retail store. It’s easy to go overboard ordering inventory, she said. After a few years, they have learned what sells and what doesn’t, scaling back to focus on basics.

“We don’t make a ton of money off of it,” she said, “but every little bit helps.”


Poorly cast wrought iron rivets and the tragic sinking of the Titanic


by Rossella Lorenzi

A perfect storm of fateful events conspired to cause the tragic sinking of the Titanic nearly a century ago, according to a study looking at the math and physics behind the tragedy.

Bound from Southampton to New York, the Royal Mail Steamer Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic at 11.40 p.m. on Sunday April 14, 1912 on her unfortunate maiden voyage. Within three hours, she sank to a depth of about 13,000 feet and more than two-thirds of the 2,224 passengers and crew perished at sea.

Had the “unsinkable” luxury liner stayed afloat longer, the tragic loss of life could have been mitigated by rescue ships getting to the disaster scene.

“This is the real question of the Titanic mystery: how could a 46,000-ton ship sink so quickly?” science writer Richard Corfield wrote in the current issue of Physics World.

Taking an in-depth look at the structural deficiencies of the ship and the events of April 14, 1912, Corfield concluded that “no one thing conspired to send Titanic to the bottom of the Atlantic.”

“It was a classic Event Cascade,” Corfield told Discovery News.

According to two inquiries carried in 1912 both in the United States and in the UK, many circumstances concurred to the disaster: the Titanic had been sailing too fast, Capt. Edward J Smith had paid too little attention to iceberg warnings and there had not been enough lifeboats on board.

The inquiries brought to light other details, such as the absence of binoculars in the crow’s nest and the fact that the senior radio operator had not passed on a crucial ice warning received from the British merchantship SS Mesaba.

“Mesaba gave the precise location (42° to 41°, 25′ N; 49° to 50°, 30′ W) of an area of icebergs that, at the time, approximately 9.40 p.m., was only 50 miles dead ahead of the Titanic,” Corfield wrote.

The message, which read “Saw great number large icebergs also field ice. Weather clear,” was interpreted as non-urgent as it was not prefixed with “MSG” (“Masters’ Service Gram”), which would have required a personal acknowledgement from the captain.

The Titanic was the most modern ship of her day, featuringthe latest technological innovations, yet  some material used in her construction turned out to be inadequate. Poorly cast wrought-iron rivets caused the steel plates on the hull to come apart.

Corfield cited the work of two metallurgists, Tim Foecke at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology and Jennifer Hooper McCarty, then at Johns Hopkins University in the United States, who in the mid-2000s combined their own analysis with historical records from the shipyard in Belfast where the Titanic was built.

“Foecke and McCarty found that the rivets at the front and rear fifths of the Titanic were made only of ‘best’ quality iron, not ‘best-best’, and had been inserted by hand,” wrote Corfield.

“Best rivets” were cheaper but also featured a higher concentration of impurities known as “slag.” Lab tests have shown that the heads of such rivets are particularly vulnerable to stresses and can pop off, causing the hull to “unzip.”

“Then there are the maths and physics of the collision: six compartments flooded when, if it had only been four, the ship would not have sunk,” wrote Corfield.

As if it weren’t enough, the climate thousands of miles away may have contributed to the sinking.

At a time when the weather was warmer than usual in the Caribbean, a complex interplay of two surface-water currents — the Gulf Stream intersecting with the glacier-carrying Labrador Current in the North Atlantic — as well as an extraordinarily high spring tide three months earlier, concentrated icebergs “as if they were tank traps,” said Corfield.

He concluded that such a chain of unfortunate circumstances — called “event cascade” by those who study disasters –- basically led to the Titanic’s demise.

“The best planning in the world cannot eliminate every factor that might negatively impact on the design and operation of a complicated machine such as a massive passenger ship,” wrote Corfield.

“Eventually, and occasionally, enough of these individual factors combine and the event cascade becomes long enough and complicated enough that tragedy cannot be averted,” he said.


St Joseph’s Catholic Church destroyed from tornado

Harrisburg tornado leave church and rectory in ruins, prized altar intact

By Brian DeNeal

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church is Ridgway’s most dramatic example of the force of Wednesday morning’s tornado.

Insulation hangs from trees, blue tarps cover roofs and trees and signs are bent and twisted, but the church is reduced to a brick rubble with a steeple and altar still standing.

Against the rear wall stands the church’s prize — the marble altar — which has apparently been unharmed.

The altar is over 100 years old of Italian Carrara marble. It was brought in by barge, according to pastor the Rev. Steven Beatty.

“As far as we can tell it’s hard to find a scratch on it,” Beatty said.

A crane operator was working at the church removing large debris with the eventual goal of removing the altar safely.

“Today we are covering it for weather,” Beatty said.

Marble experts are coming to dismantle the altar and store it until the church is reconstructed, Beatty said.

Beatty was in the rectory adjoining the church when the tornado struck. He woke to the sound of strong wind that he described as producing a ripping sound. He knew he had to get downstairs. The windows began popping and Beatty struggled to get shoes on without cutting himself on the broken glass. Then he went for his raincoat.

“It kind of dawned on me I wasn’t supposed to be getting wet in the house,” Beatty said.

He made his way down the stair landing to find there was a wall blocking his path.

Beatty went around the block to check on neighbors when he noticed the silhouette of the church appeared different than normal. That was when it dawned on him the church built in 1890 had crumbled.

Though the church was destroyed and the parishioners are saddened, Beatty said the real story is finding none of them seriously hurt.

“We were very fortunate,” he said.


Wrough iron fence for dog

Building Your Dog Friendly Backyard
A look at several different fences that could contribute to building a dog friendly backyard.

As a dog owner, keeping your pet safe and secure is priority number one! For pets who love spending their days enjoying the outdoors, a fence is a necessity. The options for dog fencing on the market today range from structural fencing to in-ground electrical wire fencing to electric wireless fencing- most of which can be self-installed by you. Here we take a look at the pros and cons of dog fencing options.

Structural or conventional fencing comes in a variety of forms: pressure treated lumber, vinyl, wrought iron or chain link to name a few. A physical fence can provide peace of mind when containing a pet; however there can be restrictions in planned neighborhoods as to what type of fence you can build. Additionally you should consider if your dog would be likely to jump over a fence or attempt to dig under the fence.

These fences consist of a buried electrical wire that is connected to a main transmitter in your home or garage, and a receiver collar worn by your dog. The wire is run from one end of the transmitter, buried underground along the perimeter of your property and then connected again at the other end to the transmitter. It necessitates digging your yard to place the wire underground and possibly cutting through your driveway.  Basic maintenance will be needed if there is a break in the wire or the wire becomes exposed.

This system has a signal field (anywhere from 2-24 feet) that you will set, taking into consideration the temperament of your dog. This signal field is the area where your dog will be corrected either through a tone or static correction (that you select), deterring them from leaving the wired fence boundary.

These fences come be found in two forms. One that forms a circular boundary around your property and one that allows you to customize the shape of the boundary based on the unique features of your property.

A wireless fence works by transmitting a radio signal from the base station in your home to the desired fence boundary. As the name implies, there are no wires to bury, so no digging necessary.

If your dog crosses into the “trigger zone” at the edge of the fence boundary, he or she will receive a tone or static correction (that you select) through the collar receiver. This will encourage the dog to move back into the safe area or roaming area inside the fence boundary. This “trigger zone” can range from 2 feet to 12 feet.

Wireless fences will encounter limitations in certain environments. For example, you might not reach optimal performance if your home has aluminum siding. Other obstacles are extensive heavy landscaping or if the home sits on a densely wooded lot.


Remembrance book transferred from Slough Town Hall to St Mary’s Parish Church

Remembrance book leaves Slough town hall
The book of remembrance has been at Slough Town Hall since 1950

A book of remembrance which has been housed in the entrance of a Berkshire town hall for more than 60 years is to move to a new home.

Slough’s old town hall is being converted into a primary school to help tackle a shortage of school places.

The book of remembrance, which has been part of the building since 1950, will be temporarily stored before being transferred to St Mary’s Parish Church.

It will move to the church when a cabinet to house it is complete.

The illuminated book, set in a wrought iron case, is a listed war memorial and contains the names of the “men of Slough” lost in both world wars.

It was moved to the Town Hall from the former Nurses Home and Health Centre on Burlington Road when the World War II gardens of remembrance were officially opened on 14 May 1950.

Its casing will also be removed from the building, although a special cabinet has been commissioned for its new home.

St Mary’s Parish Church grounds is also the site of the town’s main war memorial.

Mayor of Slough, councillor Sukhjit K Dhaliwal, said: “As part of the remodelling of the Town Hall the book of remembrance has to be moved from where it has rested for more than 60 years.

“As a listed war memorial we are ensuring future generations will be able to have access to it, by placing it near its stone companion within St Mary’s Church.”


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