Author Archives: zaktansky

Mystery murderer tells humbling hunting story

Shots from the Hip


The crime scene was gruesome.

Blood and body parts were scattered throughout the yard. A leg was found laying under a small shrub, meat cleanly ripped off the bone.

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Mom’s message: There is hope for children with autism


Living with autism has proven to be a difficult ride for Seth Sparrer, of Middleburg. But the 21-year-old has learned to accept the condition that can greatly impair social skills, communication and the ability to create lasting peer relations.

“I feel it means you are special. I used to hate it, but as I got older, I learned to accept it — just like the X-Men have a hard time adjusting to their special gifts and to other people in life,” he said. “I now believe it is why I have a creative mind and a great connection with younger kids.” Read the rest of this entry

Youth sports: Don’t miss out on a truly priceless opportunity


At each Selinsgrove AYSO preseason coaches meeting, Regional Commissioner Jake Mangels shares some statistics via a Powerpoint slide that can be somewhat sobering.
According to his conservative estimates, the 40 coaches/assistants, 10 referees and eight regional board members of the Selinsgrove region — which boasts 360 registered youth soccer players this spring — provide a $114,000 benefit to the local community. Read the rest of this entry

Today is Day One of the rest of your life … what you going to do with it?

Michelle and I loved a recent Matthew West concert held in nearby Williamsport. Not sure why, but Matthew West’s songs really speak to me on a variety of levels. This is one of the songs due to come out on his new album, Live Forever, due out April 28. Michelle said she is really drawn to it, and I have to admit it is quickly becoming one of my favorite Matthew West songs.

What the deflate-gate scandal really teaches us about the NFL and Roger Goodell


Forget the old saying about a wolf wearing sheep’s clothing … if we’ve learned nothing else from the Deflate-gate scandal it is that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is a sheep wearing a wolf’s clothing.

The guy who parades around as the enforcer has more bark than bite. Sure, he looked efficiently fierce when dealing with the Sean Payton bounty fiasco. He came down quickly – and forcefully – on the Adrian Petersons and Ray Rices in the league – especially when the court of public opinion started clamoring for blood. Read the rest of this entry

Parenting predicament: Rethinking the Santa Claus tradition


Switch just a few letters and you can turn “Santa” into “Satan.” 

Not saying that means anything. Before you jump all over me by assuming that I’m going to try compare everyone’s favorite jolly old elf to the devil incarnate, please hear me out.

I’ve always been a fan of Santa Claus. I remember watching out my window on Christmas Eve, seeing snowflakes drifting past our outdoor light display and hoping to catch a glimpse of a reindeer, sleigh or at least hear a jingle bell or two. Read the rest of this entry

Meds vs. mud: Unstructured outdoor playtime a critical solution for kids


It was all a matter of perspective.

To the six young children, the muddy, clay-bottomed stream that wound through a number of campsites at the Central Pennsylvania Wesleyan Campground offered an opportunity to play. To stretch their imaginations and then put their plans into action, building a small dam and exploring for crayfish and other critters during the excavation process. Read the rest of this entry

Defining faith: Actions speak so much louder than words

Contrary to what some people — such as those who’ve watched the musical “Annie” a few too many times — believe, many kids when adopted aren’t able to express their feelings all that well. There typically isn’t an opening floodgate where the child showers his/her new family with love, adoration and gratitude. The bonds of trust take time. The feelings and emotions can be guarded for quite a while. And that can be a hard pill to swallow for adoptive parents after all the hoop-jumping and i-dotting it can take to finalize an adoption.

For our son, who dealt with a slew of tough breaks growing up, saying “I love you” was especially challenging. There were times my wife and I wondered if we’d ever hear that simple three-word phrase. Read the rest of this entry

What father red fox teaches us about parenting


Perhaps the best father you’ll find in the animal world is the red fox. While the mother protects the young pups in the den, the red fox dad travels long distances to find and provide food for the family.

As those young fox pups grow and emerge from their den to explore, it is the father that plays with them and teaches them the dangers of the outside world. Read the rest of this entry

Costly calculations: Time to confront the common core chaos


Approximately a week ago, my youngest daughter subtracted using expanded algorithms. The next night, she was doing algebra.

This isn’t exactly earth-shattering news, perhaps, in the realm of homework assignments – unless you factor in that she’s just eight years old and still doing some math facts by counting fingers and toes. Read the rest of this entry