A Culinary delight You can enjoy in your Kitchen.

Let’s make Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.  It turns out April 12th is National Grilled Cheese Day. When I was a kid in grade school I’d walk home for lunch, except when my mom was making Grilled Cheese with a side of soup, then I’d run.  Grilled Cheese is great; it goes well with apples and also pesto.


Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Apple Wedge

Grilled Cheese with Cheddar is great, but there are other cheeses out there. Some other delicious cheeses that work great are Gouda, Gruyére and Manchego.  One thing all these cheeses have in common is acidity in the range of pH 5.3 to 5.5.  Chemistry, we can’t get away from it.

Apples and Cheddar go well together.  I was raised in the Hoosier State and from my earliest memories hot, sweet apple pie topped with melted Cheddar was a big deal to look forward to.  It’s exquisite.  Just imagine (I was going to tell you to close your eyes, but if you do that then you can’t read, so don’t do that) you’ve just removed your Grilled Cheese sandwich from a still sizzling pan.  You take your first bite, it’s hot, the bread is buttery and crisp, the cheese perfectly melted and the thinly sliced sautéed apples are soft and sweet.  The apple perfectly complements the Cheese.  A fellow by the name of Terry Boyd has put together a wonderful recipe using apples and arugula.  It’s wonderful.

Pesto and provolone cheese are a superb pairing for Grilled Cheese.  The ingredients in pesto, alone, are glorious.  Silky, rich olive oil; some fresh, lush basil leaves and Parmesan cheese, wow!  Pesto is an incredible complement, add thinly sliced tomatoes and  it’s elprimo. Try this recipe, it’s phenomenal.  The only thing is, use fresh basil if you’re going to make the pesto yourself.  Rass has a great sandwich recipe here.


Grilled Cheese with Pesto and Tomatoes

Grilled Cheese is such a classic it even has its own twitter feed.  It takes chemistry to make the main ingredient and there are so many ways to build your sandwich.  Perhaps it does deserve a day of its own.

Doyle Edwin, ESQ© all rights reserved.


Civil War Reunion: Pennypacker Mills, Pennsylvania, May 2014

Psalmboxkey's Blog

The farmland, forests and fields of the Pennypacker Mills County Park provided the setting for the Civil War Reunion. The park lies 15 miles north of Valley Forge National Park and just across the Perkiomen Creek from the town of Schwenksville. “Perkiomen” is a word from the Lenape, a tribe of Native Americans who settled in the area, that means “muddy waters” and “where the cranberries grow.” As I walked down to the creek, tall grasses waved in the gentle breeze casting an incense over the landscape. Purple, white and yellow wildflowers peeked out from under the canopy of grasses. I stood on the bank of the creek as the melody, “Wade in the Water,” a song associated with the Underground Railroad, played in my mind.

The Perkiomen Creek and Underground Railroad share a connection. In a famous case, a slave named Rachel had to flee from West Chester…

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Give credit where credit is due

Wantwaz Davis’ Story

Councilman Wantwaz Davis, before the start of the Flint water crisis, fervently opposed the use of Flint River water. He voiced his opposition during council meetings. He was an opponent of the Governor’s Emergency Manager’s authority, which made the decision that caused the crisis in the first place. When residents started becoming sick he actively organized citizen’s protests in order to get authorities attention, so that the dire problem would be dealt with. But, for some reason, he wasn’t listened to. Governor Rick Snyder did little or nothing.

Councilman Davis made this statement on February 15, 2016 saying, in essence, I told you time and time again.

“(I) Made these allegations towards the governor almost a year ago and fought against the switch to the flint river, before it reached to the national level and attempted to alarm people about the dangerous impact it would and have caused upon the lives of the children and residents on Flint, Michigan. Unfortunately, I predicted the current problem, where the governor could have investigated the allegations or at least created one to see if the water were conducive to consume. I made the charge under my official and elected capacity, warranted his attention and actions, this neglect makes the governor liable!, federal law states, if he claims he didn’t know, law states ‘he should have known’.”.

Councilman Davis

On November 11, 2013 Wantwaz Davis, in a hard fought race, defeated incumbent Bernard Lawler for Flint, Michigan’s Fifth ward Council position; however, there were some residents that took issue of the election of Davis.

One resident, Ray Collins, opposed Davis’ election to the Council Position because Davis had been convicted of the second degree murder of a friend of his.  Many people pointed out that Davis had Paid his debt to society.

In August of 1991, Wantwaz Davis, a young man with only a seventh grade education, confronted Kenneth S. Morris, a 27 years old a man, who had sexually assaulted his mother. Davis said that he never intended to shoot Morris, but Morris reached into a pocket for what Davis thought was a weapon.  Morris was killed, in his home, of wounds sustained from a firearm. Wantwaz Davis, only 17 years old, turned himself in to police. In November of 1991 he expressed his remorse and pleaded guilty to second degree murder.

More than 20 years later, he’s become an exemplary Council Member and citizen. Davis sees his past as an asset, not a liability.

Davis was motivated to run for City Council for several reasons; however, chief among these were that he felt that the people in his community had lost faith in the city leadership, this was unacceptable and in his words “unjust”. Also, Davis believed jobs were priority and that the unemployment figure was affected by the large number of people that couldn’t get work as a result of their criminal record. During his 19 years of incarceration he witnessed, first hand, a deplorable amount of recidivism.

Being a leader willing to take on the problems of an American city with about 17 percent unemployment and poverty at 40 percent is pretty gutsy. But, Davis proved to be gutsy from the outset. During the campaign to unseat Bernard Lawler His main strategy was going door to door talking with his neighbors about what was best for the city, sharing his vision, and asking for their support. During the primary and general elections Davis knocked on 10,000 doors and spoke with more than 7000 people in his ward.

Councilman Davis, in August 2014, organized and led a citizen’s march to protest the outrageously high prices that Flint city residents were paying for Flint River water; water that wasn’t even safe to drink.  Davis had always been against the use of the Flint River as a water source.

Council Vice President Wantwaz Davis, on April 6, 2015, told the Flint Journal, “I feel the emergency manager and governor should be held more accountable… I do believe maybe five, maybe 10 years from now, some people are going to contract a disease… they cannot ever get rid of.” The Councilman was always an opponent of the decision to switch to the Flint River as the water source. A decision made by Emergency Manager Darnell Earley.  Mr. Davis had sent a letter to then Attorney General Eric Holder asking that the federal Government intervene. The response he received, after several months, told him to contact the state police.

It’s ironic that despite Councilman Davis’ vocal protest and opposition to the use of Flint River water (Since prior to April 2014) it wasn’t until January 2016 that the crisis garnered national attention.

Copyright ©2016 Doyle Edwin. All rights Reserved.

How’s the water

Who’s Accountable for the Flint Water Crisis


The city of Flint Michigan, current population less than 100,000 people, has been referred to as “Vehicle City”. Many Flint residents reminisce of a time when 200,000 people made Flint their home, and General Motors was a major employer that paid employees very well. Most of those jobs are gone now, many neighborhoods that were once comfortable and welcoming, are now ran down and plagued with abandoned homes.

In April of 2014 Darnell Earley, Flint’s Emergency Manager at that time, had made the decision to change the municipal water source from DWSD to the Flint River. Soon as that summer, residents complained about the poor quality of water to city leaders, many people also said it was affecting their health. In September E. coli and coliform bacteria were discovered in the water and citizens were instructed to boil the water before drinking. General Motors stopped using the water in October because it was corroding car parts.

To eliminate the E. coli and coliform bacteria in the water, the city engineers added large amounts of chlorine to the water, which resulted in raising trihalomethanes levels in the water to dangerous levels. Trihalomethanes can cause kidney, liver, and nervous system damage. The city of Flint issued an advisory, January 2, 2015, warning that there were high levels of trihalomethanes in the water and that sick or elderly people may be at risk, …but otherwise the water is safe.

On January 12, 2015 DWSD offered to reconnect Flint to its water system at no cost; but Darnell Earley made the decision to continue using Flint River water. Later Mr. Earley would claim that his decision to use Flint River water was based on a 2013 city council meeting at which there was a vote to use Flint River Water. There was never a council vote to use Flint River water. Governor Rick Snyder replaced Mr. Earley on January 13, 2015. Gerald Ambrose was appointed the new Emergency Manager.

A document prepared for the Michigan, Department of Treasury by the firm of Tucker, Young, Jackson, Tull, Inc. and titled “CITY OF FLINT WATER SUPPLY ASSESSMENT” dated February 2013 states that the Flint River was not being considered as the water source at that that time. In a November 24, 2012 meeting attended by Ed Kurtz, the Emergency Manager appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder at that time, and other city executives. Several items stand out as noteworthy. Discussion Item No. 9 asks: Is there a transition plan and cost during construction of the Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA) system identified? Response: Flint is looking for an agreement with DWSD for back-up supply from the 72-inch main at the Genesee border. There is no mention of the Flint River. Discussion Item No. 11 asks: The latest plan shows only a 5 million gallon ground reservoir is planned for balancing between Lake Huron Pump Station (LHPS) and Intermediate Pump Station (IPS). How is redundancy maintained? Response: In cases of emergency, Flint indicated that the back-up for the KWA system will be the same as it is now with DWSD; they will use the Flint River as the source water. Flint currently operates their Water Treatment Plant (WTP) plant four times a year. Clearly, any use of water from the Flint River was to be temporary. The Flint River would serve as a backup supply only.

Governor Rick Snyder, on February 3, 2015, awarded Flint $2 million in grants. One grant, in the amount of $900,000, was for the city to hire a contractor to perform a leak detection survey of the city water lines. The project also covers the expense of conducting a water pipe line wall thickness assessment on a portion of the city’s pipes. Another $1.1 million grant was to be used to shut down its current Water Pollution Control Facility incinerator and replace it with new facilities which will allow for the disposal of waste in landfills. However; neither of these projects addressed residents’ concerns about water quality. Flint Mayor Dayne Walling commented on the grants, ” … two projects that mean long term cost savings for the City of Flint.”.

In late February and early March the city tested water in various homes and in some cases found lead levels at almost 400 ppb, the threshold for EPA enforcement action is only 15 ppb. The MDEQ blamed the high lead level on the individual homes plumbing.

On March 23, 2015 a resolution submitted by Flint City Councilman Eric Mays, to change the water source back to DWSD, was voted on and passed 7-1. The only no vote coming from Council President Josh Freeman. Neither Gerald Ambrose nor Dayna Walling were present during the vote. Eric Mays, at that time, said “People in the community asked me to make this motion. Residents have suffered too long.” Emergency Manager Gerald Ambrose said, the next day, that switching back to Detroit Water was, “incomprehensible” and that the Flint River water was safe by all standards.

In February Lead levels of 104 parts per billion were found in the tap water of LeeAnne Walters, a Flint mother of four who demanded the city test her water for contaminants after her kids showed troubling symptoms. Mrs.Walters contacted the EPA. She informed Miguel Del Toral, a manager at the EPA’s Midwest water division, that Flint was not treating its water with standard corrosion controls, which is critical in old water systems, in order to prevent old pipes from leaching lead and copper. In late March of 2015 Blood test results showed that all four of Mrs. Walters’ children had been exposed to lead, and that Gavin, four years old, was suffering from lead poisoning.

Flint’s 5Th Ward Council Vice President Wantwaz Davis, on April 6, 2015, told the Flint Journal, “I feel the emergency manager and governor should be held more accountable… I do believe maybe five, maybe 10 years from now, some people are going to contract a disease… they cannot ever get rid of.” The Councilman has always opposed the decision to switch to the Flint River as the water source. A decision which was made by Emergency Manager Darnell Earley before Mr. Davis was elected. Mr. Davis sent a letter to then Attorney General Eric Holder asking that the federal Government intervene. The response he received, after several months, told him to contact the state police.

A professor at Virginia Tech and an expert on lead corrosion, Marc Edwards, conducted tests on LeeAnne Walters home and found lead levels as high as 13,200 ppb, more than twice the level the EPA classifies as hazardous waste. Mr. Edwards has said, “There is no question that if the city had followed the minimum requirements under federal law that none of this would have happened.” He also has pointed out that for $100 a day the water could have been treated with phosphate, which would have eliminated the corrosion problem.

Dennis Muchmore, then chief of staff for Gov. Rick Snyder, wrote in an email to a Department of Health and Human Services staffer: “I’m frustrated by the water issue in Flint…These folks are scared and worried about the health impacts and they are basically getting blown off by us.” This email was sent in July of 2015; obviously Governor Rick Snyder was aware of the problem, at least as early as July.

Pediatrician Mona Hanna-Attisha, in September, released her research which said that there were Twice as many children under five years old with elevated blood lead levels, and in some cases three times as many, since the change to Flint River water. Dennis Muchmore, chief of Staff for Gov. Rick Snyder, sent an email to his boss, which, indicated his biggest concern was politics: “The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and [Department of Community Health] feel that some in Flint are taking the very sensitive issue of children’s exposure to lead and trying to turn it into a political football.” In early October, just before the change back to DWSD, Gov. Snyder’s office released a statement that said: “The water leaving Flint’s drinking water system is safe to drink, but some families with lead plumbing in their homes or service connections could experience higher levels of lead in the water that comes out of their faucets.” The City switched back to DWSD about a week later.

MDEQ director Dan Wyant stated on October 19, 2015: “It recently has become clear that our drinking water program staff made a mistake while working with the city of Flint,” “Simply stated, staff employed a federal protocol they believed was appropriate, and it was not.”

In December of 2015, a task force, created by Gov. Rick Snyder, issued a report that was very critical of the way responsible authorities had responded to the Flint water crisis. MDEQ director Dan Wyant and spokesman Brad Wurfel resigned.

January 2016 has been very busy. Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency for the entire Genesee County and the city of Flint. Gina Balaya, spokesman for U.S. Attorney office Eastern District of Michigan, announced an investigation into the handling of the crises. Rick Snyder on January 12 deployed the Michigan National Guard to distribute bottled water and water filters. Ten people died of Legionnaire’s disease, possibly due to the toxicity of the water.

In mid January 2016, President Obama declared a state of emergency for Flint, allocating $5 million in federal relief, later he announced that his administration would give $80 million in aid to the State of Michigan. Susan Hedman, head of EPA Region 5, resigned her position.

The crisis and fight are not over.  One activist who heads up a relief organization said its like riding a train and not knowing what your destination is until you get there.

Copyright ©Doyle Edwin 2016