“She was trying with all her might to push her husband in his wheelchair up the long ramp leading into their home,” Al said. “She barely had the strength to get him up there.” Tom looked over at his buddy, Al, and said that just wasn’t right. Maybe the guys over at their VFW Post 11508 in Chatsworth/Woodland Hills would chip in to buy the couple a used motorized chair. Tom said he’d call his son, who worked at the local Salvation Army store, to see if they had any used wheelchairs for sale. They didn’t, but there was one motorized chair out back by the Dumpster. It was broken, and no one at the store could fix it. “Have them save it for us,” Al said. “I think my son can fix it.” Mike Reiter runs a local towing company, and he had a couple of his guys take a look. Turns out, the chair just needed a new battery and speed-control unit and some wiring. But tell the Lurssens to watch it, Mike said. He had set the chair for the lowest speed, but it still had a lot of power. Crank it up too much and they’d be doing wheelies through the mobile home park. So that’s what Al and Tom were doing standing on the Lurssens’ front porch last week when Edwin pulled up. “Thank you, but we don’t have the money for that,” Edwin told the men. No, you don’t understand, Al said. Your parents don’t have to pay us a penny. It’s yours. Just have your mom watch the speed control. “We still didn’t believe it was true,” Edwin said Friday, watching his mom easily get his father’s wheelchair up the ramp. “We thought maybe we’d be billed later. “You know, if my father had become ill like this in Guatemala, there would have been no help for him. But here, in this country, there is help, even from strangers. “Something like this makes you realize just how great this country is,” Edwin said. Al and Tom smiled. He wasn’t going to get any argument from them. Dennis McCarthy’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Dennis McCarthy, (818) 713-3749 firstname.lastname@example.org 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Emperatriz Lurssen didn’t know what to make of the two men standing on her front porch last week with a motorized wheelchair. “I can’t afford that,” she told them. They didn’t want to sell it to her, Tom MacDonald and Al Reiter said. They wanted to give it to her. The native of Guatemala still didn’t understand. Strangers don’t just knock on your door and simply offer to give you a motorized wheelchair worth $3,000. There had to be some catch. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Wait there, Emperatriz told the men. She needed to call her son. Edwin would know what to do. Up until a few years ago, she would have simply asked Julio, her husband, but that was no longer possible. Alzheimer’s had robbed him of his ability to speak, and Parkinson’s disease had put him in the manual wheelchair by the front door. So she called her son, who told her to ask the men to wait a few minutes while he drove over to his mother’s Canoga Park mobile home park to see what was going on. Tom and Al said sure, they had plenty of time. They were both retired and lived with their wives just around the corner from Julio and Emperatriz in Canoga Mobile Estates. They didn’t personally know this couple, who had moved in a few years ago, but they knew of them. And they had seen how difficult it was for the frail woman to care for her ailing husband.
South Africa’s relationships with our sister African countries have allowed us to electrify more than 6-million households since 1994, such as these homes in the township of Vosloorus. (Image: Lebogang Lekwae) The Minister of Energy Tina Joemat-Pettersson and her deputy, Thembisile Majola, join President Jacob Zuma in strongly condemning the current attacks on non-South Africans in parts of our country.• Download the Department of Energy media statement in PDFThe Department of Energy reminds all South Africans that it is imperative that we stand together to build and develop our continent. To achieve this, the department is already working with a number of countries on the continent to improve energy capacity for all Africans.Among these potentially transformative and life-changing projects is the Great Inga Hydropower Scheme in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which, when complete, will produce power for Southern Africa Development Community countries such as South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi, Namibia and Angola over the long term.Sasol, a major South African energy company, currently accesses gas from fields in neighbouring countries, providing energy for South African industries and households, and sustaining thousands of South African jobs.Most of the crude oil used in South Africa is imported from other African countries, such as Nigeria and Angola.More than this, South Africa also has long-standing reciprocal energy-production relationships with our neighbouring countries, from whom we procure both electricity and the water needed to run our power stations.South Africa’s relationships with our sister African countries have allowed us to electrify more than 6-million households since 1994. Today, the government has a programme of action to reduce the backlog of connections and remains committed to connecting all households to an electricity supply.“Our common African history and bonds of fraternity and unity is what gave impetus to the liberation struggles of South Africans,” said Joemat-Pettersson. “We treasure this history, and call on all South Africans to embrace our brothers and sisters and, to condemn attacks on foreign nationals in all its manifestations.”Issued by the Ministry of EnergyFor more information, please contact: Mediadesk@energy.gov.za Tel: 012 406 7481
Start Free Trial Already a member? Log in This article is only available to GBA Prime Members There are at least two recognizable camps in the green building community. The older camp includes hippies, owner/builders, and those in the natural building movement. These builders prefer to scrounge materials from the woods or demolition sites rather than purchase new materials from a lumberyard. Their homes might be made of adobe, logs, or straw bales.On the other side of the aisle is the newer camp of builders who emphasize energy efficiency and high performance. This group includes fans of triple-glazed windows and heat-recovery ventilators, as well as builders who brag about their blower-door results. The Passivhaus adherents can be found on this side of the aisle.If you draw a Venn diagram of these two groups, you may find a few builders in the small zone where the circles overlap. But most green builders are outside of the overlap, falling clearly into one of the two large circles described above.The natural builders usually work in rural areas, while the high-performance builders often work in urban areas or suburbs. These two groups have contrasting attitudes toward building codes and regulations. While natural builders usually decry the stupidity of building codes, calling them roadblocks to creativity, the energy-efficiency group often promotes stricter building codes, noting that “we need to raise the bar.”In short, these two green building groups appear polarized. Perhaps the aims of the two groups are irreconcilable, and this polarization is inevitable. But even if the groups’ aims can’t be reconciled, it’s important for green builders to listen to each other.In 1994, Steward Brand, best known as the founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, wrote an influential book, How Buildings Learn. Brand observed that all buildings are destined to be modified — a fact that many architects forget — and that many… Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details.