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Abilene News

October 7 – This week has been Fire Prevention Week. With heating season fast approaching it is a good time to check your smoke detectors. In addition to your smoke detectors, you might also need to have a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a silent killer – it is colorless and odorless. For most victims, they just go quietly to sleep and never wake up. If you use any type of fuel for heating your homes you should have at least one carbon monoxide detector in your home. They are a little more expensive than your smoke detectors but a small price to pay to ensure your family's safety.

Most of us think that Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, but that is only half of the story. Most of us have heard the urban legend that the Great Chicago Fire was started when Mrs. Catherine O'Leary's cow kicked over a lamp, setting the barn on fire. The fire then spread to the city and by the time it was over, 250 people had died, 100,000 were left homeless, more than 17,400 structures and more than 2,000 acres had burned.

The other half of the story is about a lesser know fire which also occurred on Oct. 8, 1871, in Wisconsin. A brush fire, unintentionally started by railroad workers clearing land for tracks destroyed 16 towns, killed over 1,000 people, and destroyed over a million acres of forest. Those who survived these horrible fires never forgot the bravery and heroism displayed. The decision was made to establish an anniversary observance commemorating these events.

In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation, and since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9th falls.

This weekend is also a three-day weekend holiday, Columbus Day. Columbus Day celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas in October of 1492. In 1892, President Benjamin Harrison called upon the people of the United States to celebrate Columbus Day on its 400th anniversary. Teachers, preachers, poets and politicians used Columbus Day rituals to teach ideals of patriotism. These patriotic rituals were based on themes such as support for war, citizenship boundaries, the importance of loyalty of the nation, and celebrating social progress.

Sadly, sometimes we lose sight of these patriotic ideals. Sometime this weekend take a moment to think about those who serve to protect our armed forces and public safety personnel such as fire and police.

Friends and Neighbors

Congratulations to Vicie Southall for passing her karate test last Saturday in Richmond. Vicie is a Level 2 Green Belt.

On Saturday, Oct. 2, Madeline Slaydon attended the Driskill family reunion at Wilke's Lake. It was wonderful to see everyone – the fun, the food, and the fellowship were unsurpassed.

On Monday, Oct. 4, Madeline Slaydon and her daughter, Barbara Armentrout, went to Wilmington, NC, to visit Madeline's brother, Norman Grimes, who is in the hospital recovering from surgery. Our thoughts, prayers, and good wishes for a speedy recovery go out to Norman and his family.

The Cardinal Quilt Guild of Prince Edward County held their regular monthly meeting at 10 a.m., Oct. 5, at the Douglas Presbyterian Church. The Guild meets the first Tuesday of every month. Visitors, guests, and new members are always welcome. You do not have to be a skilled quilter to join this group.

A reminder that on Saturday, Oct. 9. from noon to 5 p.m., Douglas Presbyterian Church will be holding a Pork Barbecue. Come on out and enjoy a delicious barbecue sandwich, side dishes, drinks and dessert. In addition to the meal, there will be games, entertainment, and other activities.

In conjunction with the barbecue, there will be a quilt raffle benefiting Meals on Wheels. A beautiful quilt has been made by one of our neighbors, Marilyn Philbrook. Tickets are still available at $2 each. If you would like more information or to purchase raffle tickets, call Maureen at 434-223-9980 or Donna at 804-720-0287.

There will be a Neighborhood Watch meeting at 7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 11, at the Abilene Community Center. There will be representatives from law enforcement for Prince Edward and Char1otte Counties. Come out and join in with your neighbors to learn ways to make our homes and surroundings safer for everyone.

The Abilene Homemakers Club will hold their regular monthly meeting at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 19, at the Abilene Community Center. We will be finishing up Halloween favors for the children at the Piedmont Juvenile Detention Center and start work on Christmas favors for area nursing homes. Visitors, guests, and new members are always welcome. We meet the third Tuesday of each month.

If you have any announcements or news that you would like to share, please call me at 223-2271 or e-mail me at 1