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Beware of Waking the Neighbors –Cagle

April 2011

The resulting explosion left three of the youngsters with burns on 55-60 percent of their bodies, according to The Times of India. The others suffered minor injuries. Apparently, the kids (and one adult) were huddled around the drum with temperatures around 40 degrees, accompanied by icy winds.

These children are known as rag pickers in India. These extremely impoverished victims, many of whom never attend school, sift through garbage for items that can be recycled or sold at flea markets. Adding insult to injury are the middle men who prey on the kids and take most of the profit, keeping them perpetually poor.

We tend to think of India as a country that produces intellectuals by the truck load, especially doctors and technology professionals. Unfortunately, no country in the world is completely spared from crippling poverty and a lack of educational opportunities. For these six kids, it was the harshest of lessons in a life that likely promises many more.

R.I.P. JOHN: John Sweeney Jr., 62, died in late February while in an Allentown, PA, hospice. He worked for 32 years as a material handler at Mack Printing, which became Cenveo Easton, before retiring in 2010. Judging by the condolences book on The (Easton, PA) Express Times Website, it seems Mr. Sweeney became sick and spent his final days in the hospice.

I found Mr. Sweeney's obituary while sweeping the Internet for printing news. The thing that caught my eye in the obit was his 30 years as a baseball coach at various levels, including 20 years as a coach at Northampton Community College. As head coach, Mr. Sweeney posted a very impressive 443-171 record. His teams won 17 conference championships and three state titles. He was inducted into that school's hall of fame.

In January, John and Kathleen Sweeney celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary. They have one son and a granddaughter.

Never having met Mr. Sweeney, I discovered he had three great loves in life—his wife, baseball and printing—thanks to statistics. To you, sir, I say it was a life well spent.

Let it also serve as a gentle reminder that as long as you follow your passions in life, you'll never have a regret...regardless of how soon that great hand taps you on the shoulder. PI

—Erik Cagle



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