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Monday, April 18, 2011

James Eitrheim, educator, has left this earth a better place for artists

This man inspired hundreds upon hundreds or actors to go with their hearts, whether they taught, took to the stage or became involved in other aspects of the industry, participated in church or community theatre or moved on in other ways to where their heart led them.

His students included actors who voice high profile characters in film and on TV, who have graced the New York and world stage earning major awards, who have been seen in film as stars and day-players, and who have graced the small screen from soaps and sit coms to weekly dramas.

The years I attended Oak Park and River Forest High School (1969-73) we were lucky to have four highly qualified theater instructors, with Mr. Eitrheim as department chair. A sample of students they inspired during my four years include the voice of Homer Simpson, a New York playwright, several university professors, many high school teachers, several broadcasters, Tony award winning actors, two soap opera stars, a New York City Prima Ballerina, and an Academy Award nominee.

I went on to be an actor, writer, marketing professional, journalist, broadcaster and to serve my fellow talent for 17 years on the National Board of Directors of the Screen Actors Guild, all indirectly from the passions fired in part by Mr. James Eitrheim.

A good man, a great teacher has left this earth.

-Art Lynch

James (Jim) Alden Eitrheim passed away April 16, 2011 at home surrounded by his family after a 5 month struggle with cancer. He was born Feb. 21, 1933 on a farm in Baltic SD. He graduated from Augustana College in 1958 after taking two years out for service in the United States Navy. Jim served aboard the destroyer USS Rowe. On August 17, 1958 he married his college sweetheart Diane C. Johnson. Jim received his Masters of Arts in the spring of 1959 from the University of Illinois at Urbana and in the fall of that same year he began a 31 year teaching career at Oak Park and River Forest High School, in Oak Park IL.

He retired from OPRFHS in the spring of 1990 and accepted a faculty position teaching theater at The University of Sioux Falls in South Dakota. Jim retired once again in 1998 after a wonderful 39 years in the teaching profession. In 2000 Jim and Diane moved to their current home in Pequot Lakes, MN.

He served for over 5 years on the Joseph Jefferson Award Committee in Chicago IL. In 1990 Jim was honored by his Alma Mater with their Outstanding Alumni Achievement and Service Award.

Throughout his life Jim has always been an active member of the Lutheran faith, serving on various committees and choirs. He is currently a member of Lutheran Church of the Cross, Nisswa MN.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents Dan and Selma Eitrheim, his brother Donald, and his niece Susan Lankford.

Jim is survived by his wife Diane, son Kristofer (Eileen) of Bettendorf IA, daughter Karin (Steve) Maas of Chanhassen MN, son Erik (Dawn) of Owatonna MN, brother Norm (Clarice) of Sioux Falls SD, sister Esther (Bill) Boadwine of Baltic SD, sister-in-law Joan Eitrheim of Crooks, SD. He rejoiced in the lives of his 5 grandchildren: Greta, Ingrid, Alec, Erik & Ava, and his 9 nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at Lutheran Church of the Cross on May 7th 2011 at 1:00pm with a reception to follow.

Memorials are requested to the following funds:

The Jim Eitrheim Theatre Scholarship at Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD

The James Eitrheim Award for Excellence in Dramatic Arts, Oak Park and River Forest High School, Oak Park , IL

Lighting for the Sanctuary at Lutheran Church of the Cross

"Can You Hear Me Now" Tax Day Note: Switch from Verizon if you pay your taxes

Verizon made $12 billion in profits last year, but has paid $0 in taxes for two years now[1]. However, they did spend $34 million on lobbying.

Note that AT&T is a union carrier, employing American workers and pays its US taxes.

The Bible Is Dead; Long Live the Bible

When it comes to the Bible, many feel there is a single right meaning—the one its divine author intended. "Well, what does the Bible say?" "The Bible is very clear about that." This is part of the iconicity of the Bible in contemporary society, the idea of it as the one and only divinely authored and guaranteed book of answers, with one answer per question. No more, no less.
For many potential Bible readers, that expectation that the Bible is univocal is paralyzing. You notice what seem to be contradictions or tensions between different voices in the text. You can't find an obvious way to reconcile them. You figure that it must be your problem. You don't know how to read it correctly, or you're missing something. If the Bible is God's perfect, infallible Word, then any misunderstanding or ambiguity must be the result of our own depravity. So you either give up or let someone holier than thou tell you "what it really says." I think that's tragic. You're letting someone else impoverish it for you, when in fact you have just brushed up against the rich polyvocality of biblical literature.

URGENT: Take Action Now on Nevada Film Incentives.

At this juncture we are closer to having meaningful incentive language in Nevada than ever before.  On April 15, 2011, AB 506, introduced in the Nevada Assembly by Assemblyperson Marilyn Kilpatrick, was referred from the Nevada Committee on Taxation without recommendation, dissent or opposition to the Committee on Ways and Means for consideration.  It is in the Committee on Ways and Means where amendments suggested by Screen Actors Guild, other entertainment Las Vegas unions, and all Nevadans will be considered.

At this point it would be useful to contact your representatives as well as those members of the Committee on Ways and Means (listed below) and tell them that Nevada needs this jobs bill and why it is important to you or someone close to you.  It is especially important that any tax credit include provisions for hiring Nevada citizens – please emphasize this point.

You can find your Nevadan representatives at by clicking the link:

Committee on Ways and Means
Debbie Smith, Chair
c/o Nevada Assembly
401 South Carson St., Carson City, NV
Marcus Conklin, Vice Chair
Paul Aizley
Kelvin Atkinson
David Bobzien
Maggie Carlton
Joseph Hogan
April Mastroluca
John Oceguera
Pete Goicoechea
Tom Grady
John Hambrick
Cresent Hardy
Pat Hickey
Randall Kirner

While e-mail is easy, the truth is that US mail has the strongest impact, followed by a phone call, then fax, and finally e-mai. Doing all four is also advisable.

In the experience of an professional  in speaking with elected officials and their staffers, I believe the most cogent method of contact, is  in that order.

·          If writing, please address your legislator as either “Senator” or “Assemblyperson.”
·         If you have a personal or business letterhead, please use it.  Make sure you use your Nevada address and contact info.

·         Subject line should include what you are writing about, e.g., AB 506.

·         Be brief and to the point – a cogent couple of paragraphs letter is best.  Let them know why the bill is personally important to you.  Use your own words.

·         Ask your representative to reply and whether they will commit to supporting the bill.

·         The old cliché “You can catch more flies with honey” is a cliché because it is true.  Warm and friendly will get more action than anger or ire.  Do not threaten in any way, and please remember to thank the representative.

·         If calling, ask to speak with the staffer handling AB 506.

·         Address your legislator as either “Senator” or “Assemblyperson.”

·         Please identify yourself, including your Nevada contact information.
·         Keep your call brief and polite – they just need to know if you are for or against, and don’t have time to argue.

·         Make sure they know this is important to you and why – again briefly.
·         Thank them for their attention and let them know you will be watching how the representative votes on the issue.

        This message has been drafted by an active member of our community, who has been a part of this process from the start of this year's legislation.  I have permission to pass it on so that everyone in the entertainment or information industry in Nevada can become active in pursuing our first step on the crucial issue of film incentives.  


Cuts in, Cancel or a Change of Network for "House"

Fox wants to take the scalpel to "House," reducing the cast size, reducing the number of "full cast" episodes, making changes to lower cost production methods, reducing licensing fees to the producing entity -NBC/Universal and adding advertising time to each episode.

The trend toward lower cost "reality" programming has been driving programmers, who prefer to keep cost down and profit per show high, compared to the traditional formula or large numbers based on quality actor driven dramas or comedic programming.

The Wall Street Journal and Mediaweek report that NBC may take "House" in-house for either NBC-TV or one of its cable outlets. Newscorp, owners of FOX, say that their contract would keep Comcast-NBC-Universal from taking that move, even if the show is cancelled by FOX.

There would be a price to canceling. Hugh Lauri is signed to a three year contract, with other cast members already contracted for one to three seasons. That cost could make this an exercise on corporate brinksmanship. While the key 18 to 49 numbers of "House" are down, its overall audience remains strong and its revenue from previous seasons on DVD, On-Demand, syndication and on other cable outlets remains high for both FOX and NBC-Universal. The greater the number of episodes offered, the higher the potential return.