Archive for 9th August 2009

Picking Your First Pipe

Prison smoking ban won’t apply to religious ceremony

Prison smoking ban won’t apply to religious ceremony

Las Vegas Sun

By Cy Ryan
Friday, July 24, 2009 | 1:50 a.m.

CARSON CITY – Despite a newly imposed ban on smoking at Nevada prisons, American Indians will still be able to puff tobacco in their ceremonial pipes during their religious ceremonies.

Howard Skolnik, director of the state Department of Corrections, has told a state advisory Indian committee that the pipe smoking practice will be allowed to continue as long as there are not abuses.

Skolnik and Senior Deputy Attorney General Janet Traut expressed concern that many non-Indians would invade religious ceremonies in the sweat lodges just to get a smoke.

There’s a rumor at the prison that a single cigarette is going for $50, she said. “Inmates really value it.”

The smoking ban applies to both inmates and staff.

Regulations allow only those who have ties with Indian tribes or groups to participate in the sweat lodges ceremonies.

Concern has been expressed that some non-Indians have participated in the religious ceremonies for a long time. Skolnik told members of the Advisory Committee on the Treatment and Religious Freedom of American Indian Inmates in Nevada Correctional Facilities that he is willing to consider those individual cases.

Rocky Boice, a member of the advisory committee, said after the meeting that the prison system has been trying for several years to dissolve the sweat lodges. Boice, a sweat lodge leader who visits the various prisons in Northern Nevada to conduct ceremonies, said he feels the prison is in violation of “a lot of federal laws” involving freedom of religion.

“It’s something that we have got to keep working on,” said Boice. “We have got to keep these ceremonies going. It’s all the Native Americans have in there, the right to practice their native spirituality.”

The sweat lodge is a circular structure in the prison yard, covered with blankets or other materials. Rocks are heated on the outside by fires and then brought into the lodge and placed in the center. Water is poured on the rock to produce steam.

The Indians sing and pray and at the end of the ceremony smoke the pipe. Boice said the smoking of the pipe releases the prayers of the inmate. And these are “purification ceremonies” says Boice.

“The Native American religion is the oldest in the United States and we have to defend it,” said Boice.

Boice also complained that the raw food at these ceremonies was banned. But Skoknik told him this was done by the state Health Division. Cooked food is allowed in these ceremonies where the Indians sit around the heated rocks during the religious offerings.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Premium cigar store owners warn of bad fallout from smoking bans

07.24.2009 6:17 pm
Premium cigar store owners warn of bad fallout from smoking bans
By Phil Sutin
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Gerard Ezvan

Banning smoking in indoor public places would hurt the economy, owners of premium cigar stores say.

“The only thing a smoking ban would do is lead the way in increased unemployment…(and) failing businesses,” Chris McCalla, legislative director of the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association, said in a statement today.

St. Louis County Councilwoman Barbara Fraser, D-University City, has proposed a countywide vote on Nov. 3 on a smoking ban in indoor public places in the entire county. A bill for the election is on the preliminary approval segment of the agenda for next Tuesday’s council meeting.

She said her effort is to provide clean air to residents. “Second-hand smoke is a detriment to health,” she said. Whether the county will get a smoking ban would be up to the people, she said.

Gerard Ezvan, owner of Jon’s Pipe Shop in downtown Clayton and an association member, said a ban would reduce the number of customers to stores like his and eating and drinking establishments that now allow smoking. The change would lead to the consequences that McCalla mentioned, he said.

Some customers want to relax with a good drink and cigar, Ezvan said. They will come less often to his store if they can’t smoke in eating and drinking establishments, he said.

McCalla said nearly 40 of his association’s more than 2,000 members operate businesses in Missouri.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Premium Cigar Group Concerned for Right to Smoke in Military

Predjudice in the military? This one’s for you, C.J.

Premium Cigar Group Concerned for Right to Smoke in Military

IPCPR Not Taking Any Chances
Washington, D.C. 7/17/2009 12:21 AM GMT (TransWorldNews)

Although the Department of Defense is considering phasing in a ban on tobacco use in the military over as many as 20 years, The Pentagon reassured troops this week that it won’t ban tobacco products in war zones, according to Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ press secretary Geoff Morrell. But the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association isn’t taking any chances.

“This comes down to personal choice and the pleasure of enjoying tobacco – especially good cigars and pipe tobacco – and the individual rights for which our military are fighting,” said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR. His group’s members include more than 2,000 small business owners of smoke shops and manufacturers and distributors of hand-made cigars, pipes and pipe tobacco. They represent some five percent of the tobacco industry.

“IPCPR members regularly send supplies of hand-made cigars to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to enjoy during their moments of relaxation. If anyone has earned the right to such pleasures, it’s our troops, especially those in combat,” he said.

McCalla pointed out that most people have had the image of officers smoking cigars but that cigars are enjoyed by all strata of military personnel, not unlike civilians.

Sean Smith/The Guardian – Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, smoking a pipe, and his fellow soldiers man an observation post above the base they were building for Afghan national security forces in Afghanistan this past spring.

“Smoking throughout the ranks is not restricted to one level or another, nor should it be. Whether they are Generals or privates and airmen, Admirals or seamen, they all have equal rights to enjoy a legal product,” McCalla said.

The IPCPR isn’t waiting 20 years before it begins its fight for the rights of military personnel to enjoy tobacco, he explained.

“We let the anti-tobacco forces get away with spreading a lot of misinformation about smoking and secondhand smoke over the last two decades. Much of their so-called research is highly questionable and their conclusions are particularly biased. As a result, smoking bans have spread unfairly. We’re not going to let that happen by default in the military,” he said.

McCalla emphasized that individual rights are attacked every time there is a legislated smoking ban.

“Each smoking ban chips away at our individual rights which leads to loss of other rights, whether or not we smoke cigarettes, premium cigars or use other tobacco products. It’s a right of choice and we are all affected,” he said.

###

info@tortoricipr.com
www.ipcpr.org

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Family Tree

1966 October 01

I used to be cute.

A while back, I started trying to find out more about my family tree. There wasn’t anyone around that I could or would want to ask about it, so I just jotted down what information I knew.

See, genealogists occasionally sell their services, and promised me they could track back my family history as far back as when they first entered the US. Well, duh, that was 1951. Not exactly a  deeply US rooted family tree.

Anyway, a while back, I posted Family History, Introduction,  My Father’s StoryMy Mother’s StoryMy Indo Heritage, and My Indo Heritage 2. This is what I love about the Internet. A cousin I knew nothing about found one of the posts, and wrote to me that he though we were related. We were! His grandfather was my grandfather’s brother. That’s Bart Veenstra, by the way. He’s an anthropologist, and he goes all over the place. As of this writing, he’s in Ghana, putting in semi-jury-rigged water filtration thingy. I think that improvisational trait runs through the family. My usual supplies include duct tape and clothes hangers.

With Bart’s help, the Allen County Clerk’s Office, and the Allen County Public Library’s genealogical staff, I was able to fill up some holes.

So this is my family tree (pdf). Fine, more of a family bush. I’m sure I didn’t do it in a correct genealogical method, but it takes some weird twists and turns, and ended up much wider than it was tall. Happens in extended families.

Anyway, if you’re related, I’d appreciate hearing from you.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter