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October 30, 2014

At Age 14, Helen The Blind Bison Has Lots Of Fans & Gifts


Salem Statesman Journal

Scio, OR (AP) He gave her a home, and now she roams with pigs and goats playing by her side all day.

Helen, a 14-year-old blind American bison who needed new digs in August after her former one-and-only owner could no longer care for her, is adjusting to a verdant new pasture in Scio since one community member read about her plight and offered her shelter. Dozens of others also responded to the story, published first in the Statesman Journal.

And last Saturday, under the watchful eye and care of Wayne Geiger, the executive director of the Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary who worked feverishly to ease Helen’s transition, the public got its first chance to see the blind bison (do not call her a buffalo) up close.

Gusting wind and rain didn’t dampen the crowd’s enthusiasm for the ungulate. Geiger said more than 200 people in boots, ponchos and rain jackets braved stormy weather to see for themselves the gentle giant who now feeds peacefully on the sanctuary’s property along with other rescued animals including ducks, pigs, donkeys, stallions, dogs, and llamas.

Helen Keller, an irreverent bison

Perhaps more important, the guests brought highly sought-after gifts: namely apples, which are pretty much Helen’s favorite treat. The crowd, also respectful of her vegan preferences brought carrots as well. One sanctuary supporter even made her a ``cake’’ of squash, oatmeal and apples. Helen wasted no time tucking into it, to the delight of the crowd.

Some of the day’s visitors had the opportunity to pet the bovine subfamily member over her fence, and the bison handled the attention well.

``She was marvelous,’’ Geiger said. ``Really remarkable. The weather didn’t bother her or anyone else.’’

Some visitors shared stories about growing up in northeast Salem and watching Helen grazing at her former home on Sunnyview Road NE as they passed by her field of Queen Anne’s lace.

Others talked about not knowing she was there until they read about the story, and wanted to share in her newfound celebrity. Her original owner, Lisa Miller, adopted the animal when it was just 4 days old and scheduled to be euthanized because of its blindness.

It was the only home Helen had ever known, and Miller feared, after injuries sustained in an automobile accident prevented her from giving the bison the care it needed, that the bison would have to be put down.

``The crowd really loved seeing her,’’ Geiger said. ``And we had several people fill out volunteer applications and even adoption paperwork. So it was a really nice day all around.’’

Information from: Statesman Journal,

3-D Images Of Civil War Scenes Offer Tourists Rare, Fresh View


The Free Lance-Star

Fredericksburg, VA. (AP) Three-dimensional movies may be regular fare in theaters these days. But seeing a gaggle of people in 3-D spectacles roaming the streets of Fredericksburg or Spotsylvania County, in the rain, still prompts a few double-takes.

So it was earlier this month as some 75 self-described geeks from 16 states visited to focus on images, from the famous to the virtually unknown, recorded on fragile glass plates during the Civil War.

Their guided walks at historic sites in the city and Spotsylvania, Orange and Hanover counties were but one part of the Center for Civil War Photography’s 2014 ``Image of War’’ seminar, co-sponsored by the Civil War Trust.

Wartime photographers recorded most of their images in stereo, hence the visitors’ 3-D spectacles. Printed on mass-produced cards and seen through a handheld viewer, the stereoviews are sharp and vivid, and were a wildly popular 19th-century medium.

Such photos may be old, but the recent visitors were seeing them in fresh ways, at the very spots where they were created, with helpful context and insight provided by on-site experts and historians.

Time and again over three days, people young and old exclaimed with a ``wow’’ or a collective ``ooh’’ at some new discovery, scene or realization.

Courtesy of Center for Civil War Photography

Those reactions didn’t surprise Garry Adelman, the center’s vice president. Better than most, he understands the powerful sense of immediacy that the photos give people, even 150-plus years later.

``Paintings or drawings don’t strike people the same way,’’ Adelman said in an interview. ``Civil War photographs are among the oldest news photos, and among the oldest images of real people and real buildings and real landscapes, that one can see.’’

The war was the first time that people were taking cameras and regularly recording news of national import as it happened, he said.

``These images provided the public with an overwhelming reality about scenes in the field,’’ Adelman said. ``Documentary photography was born during the Civil War.’’

One such scene that received special attention during the war, and recently, was the Marye family house in Fredericksburg. When Union forces stormed Marye’s Heights on May 3, 1863, after Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside’s humiliating defeat there the previous December, the place drew photographers like a magnet.

Seminar attendees flocked there Oct. 11 to walk the same ground, seek out the wartime photographers’ camera positions and make their own then-and-now comparisons.

Atop the heights, they trod Willis Hill, Fredericksburg National Cemetery and the grounds around the mansion of John L. Marye Sr., the area’s delegate to the Virginia secession convention in 1861. Today, it’s known as Brompton, home of University of Mary Washington President Richard Hurley.

Many well-known photos of Brompton and its surroundings were recorded by Andrew J. Russell; James Gardner, brother of Washington-based photographer Alexander Gardner; and photographers with Mathew Brady & Co. Among the most widely published images is one of wounded Indian soldiers, sharpshooters with the 2nd Minnesota Regiment, lying in the shade beneath an oak tree. That ``witness’’ tree still stands beside Brompton, and is carefully tended by UMW groundskeepers.

Amid a light drizzle, CCWP members moved across the grounds to eye big enlargements of 3-D photos staked into the ground at the precise locations where the photographers stood. People could view those historic scenes, then look beyond them into the present, creating ``4-D’’ moments in which time is the fourth dimension.

``They are like windows in time,’’ Adelman said of the 3-D anaglyphs. ``Looking into them is magic.’’

Attendees also posed in front of Brompton for a group portrait by Rob Gibson, a wet-plate photographer with a popular studio in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, then rushed to his developing apparatus to watch him process the glass plate in a chemical bath.

Moving down to the Sunken Road, they paused where Russell, a Union army photographer, planted his tripod to record one of the war’s most famous images _ of Confederate dead lying beside the road’s stone wall just minutes after U.S. troops breached those defenses and seized the ground.

``By any account, that is the most immediate photo taken during the war after a successful attack,’’ said Adelman, who is also the Civil War Trust’s director of history and education.

Inside the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center, attendees viewed a 3-D video of historic photos, created by CCWP imaging director John Richter, that just opened there.

The center’s members covered a lot of ground in their time here. Moving with dispatch that Confederate commander Thomas J. ``Stonewall’’ Jackson would have envied, the group visited the Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House and North Anna battlefields in two days.

Collectively, the members, who delight in analyzing the smallest detail in Civil War photos to see what can be learned , have made many finds.

Local examples include determining that a famous in-the-trenches image of Union soldiers was taken near the Rappahannock River in Spotsylvania, not Petersburg, as had long been thought. They also identified the only known Confederate in a Russell image of Fredericksburg taken from Stafford; properly credited Russell with the Sunken Road photo, which some had attributed to Mathew Brady’s studio; and deduced where in Fredericksburg an evocative series of images of a Union burial party was taken after the Battle of the Wilderness.

The center also works with the Library of Congress to preserve and digitize wartime photographs.

Online: CCWP: • 3D images:









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