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10-11 NEWS

A memo sent by the then head of the U.S. interests section in Havana Michael E. Parmly was among those made public by the whistleblower site WikiLeaks. Fidel Castro almost died in 2006, according to the confidential U.S. diplomatic cable which contains a detailed description of the Cuban leader's medical condition from the moment he fell ill with a perforated intestine during a flight. The memo, sent in March 2007 by Michael, quotes a report by an unnamed doctor, who said the plane landed urgently when 84-year-old Castro started bleeding.He was diagnosed with diverticulitis or swelling of the colon and the doctor said. Castro needed surgery. But according to the report, Castro "capriciously" refused to have a colostomy, with the result that his condition deteriorated over time and he required further surgery. The cable says Castro sacked the head of his medical team after a Spanish doctor was brought in who told Castro he should have had a colostomy as recommended by his medical team in the first place.The cable goes on to note Castro's renewed lease of life since then. Michael ended his cable: "We are missing too many variables to be able to predict accurately how many more months Fidel Castro will live. Frankly, we don't believe anyone, including Castro himself, can state that with certainty."

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... and from Great Bend, Kans.: Fire Chief Mike Napolitano presented the 2010 Firefighter of the Year Award to Travis Parmley. "When he was a little kid and heard the sirens, he would run to the street to watch the firetrucks, and he would say, 'I'm going to be a fireman someday,' " said his mother, Jeanette. Travis has been with the department for 6 1/2 years. He also is a member of the hazmat crew and is taking classes at Barton Community College to become a paramedic. His father is Tim Parmley.

10-10 NEWS

A land swap will result in more space for the construction of a Parmly Billings Library. Once the transaction is complete, the City of Billings, Mont., will own the entire block where the library is located; the 500 block of North 28th Street. The City Council voted unanimously in favor of the agreement between the city, Billings Clinic, and Stockman Bank. Last month, the library received an anonymous $2 million donation to get the ball rolling on the new library. The city library is named for Parmly Billings, right, whose grief-stricken family funded the original library in his name when he died at age 25. "To have a lead donor start at twice the amount that has ever been given for a city project before is really kind of astonishing. I mean it's really exciting for us," said library director Bill Cochran. He said the library hopes to have design plans for public viewing in a year from now. The city will probably float a bond issue in 2011 or '12 to fund the rest of the project, with a total project cost in the range of $14 million. If voters reject the bond measure, the $2 million pledge may go unfulfilled.

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... and from Greenville, N.C.: Hundreds gathered to raise money at an Ironwood Golf Club benefit for Parmalee drummer Scott Thomas. The musician has mounting medical bills after being shot during an attempted robbery in September (see story below). "Recovery's going great," Scott says. "The doctor said, 'Have fun. Take it easy.' He took my VAC off ... so I'm here, hugging everybody, supporting everybody." Ironwood ran out of golf carts and had to rent eight more carts from another golf course. Organizers estimate that more than 150 players turned out. Scott's medical bills have topped $250,000. To help, visit


10-09 NEWS

Scott Thomas, the 37-year-old drummer of the Greenville, N.C., band Parmalee, right, is undergoing physical therapy for wounds he suffered during a Sept. 21 botched robbery. He was placed in an induced coma and put on a ventilator, underwent dialysis, and had three surgeries at Charlotte Medical Center after being shot three times -- in the leg, stomach and shoulder -- outside a Rock Hill, S.C., nightclub by would-be thieves. Investigators say two gunmen stormed into the band's RV demanding money after the band had finished a show at outside The Money nightclub near Winthrop University. Reports state that after the assailants opened fire, Thomas shot and killed Demario Burris, 22, and wounded Dytavis Hinton, 22, of Rock Hill, S.C., . Hinton has been charged with murder (because someone was killed during the crime), attempted murder, burglary, attempted armed robbery and possession of a gun during a violent crime. Numerous fundraisers are under way to help Thomas with his mountain of medical bills. Michael and April Moore, the owners of Play Date in Kinston, N.C., are holding a benefit raffle; in less than a week 1,500 tickets were sold. "Just think about if this was someone in your family or one of your good friends and they needed help in a time of need," said Michael Moore. "You'd want to donate and help out." More than two dozen local businesses have pitched in too. "These are obviously very rough times for all of us right now and the public support has been amazing. We have set up a donation website to help with the medical bills, which I can only imagine will be quite substantial," said Josh McSwain, guitarist for the band. "Thanks again for all the kind words, prayers, emails, texts and financial support. We love you all and Scott will definitely pull through this." The band has postponed all performances until further notice. To help, visit

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10-08 NEWS

The Killingworth, Conn., Historical Society will create its first real headquarters and a museum in the Parmalee farmhouse to store and display local artifacts. Selectmen have unanimously approved an agreement to lease the 145-year-old farmhouse, purchased with 133 acres by the town in 2001, to the historical society for $1 a year. The 1847 Killingworth homestead, which belonged to Horace Linsley and Eunice Maria (Parmelee) Parmelee, is on State Route 81. Horace [1819-1898; Moses, Asahel, Lemuel, Nathaniel, Nathaniel, John, John] and Maria [1822-1905; Rufus, Cornelius, Josiah, Nathaniel, Nathaniel, John, John] were third cousins. The historical society will lease only the building and is responsible for renovating and maintaining its interior, while the town will continue to be responsible for the exterior of the structure. "It’s been a long time coming," said society President Robert Broach. "This is great for us, and we’re very appreciative of the town’s willingness to lease it to us." The group’s presence will come as the Municipal Land Use Committee continues work on long-term plans to restore the farm for community use, including educational programs, town picnics, cultural events and its popular community garden. For the first time the society will have a place to protect and publicly display its archives, most of which are stored in the Town Hall basement, Broach said. "It gives us a whole new approach. We’ll be able to bring them to one place and protect and catalog them. Part of the house will be a museum," he said. Broach estimated there are two years of work required to make the Parmalee farmhouse suitable for public use. Among Killingworth's founding families was Nathaniel Parmelee's, the eldest grandson of John Parmelee Sr.

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... and from Colorado: A $1.7 million road project in Turkey Creek Canyon on a 3-mile stretch of U.S. 285 from the Morrison exit to the Parmalee Gulch interchange. Improvements that included rock mitigation, concrete median barrier construction, guardrails and shoulder improvements, began Aug. 23 after a landslide, the Colorado Department of Transportation said. 


10-07 NEWS

Dianne and Dave Parmley of Grand Island, Nebr., have opened Just Desserts, a shop that specializes in cakes for all occasions, but Dianne bakes other desserts for sale every day -- brownies, lemon and other fruit bars, cheesecake cups, turnovers, cream puffs, and a small line of Greek pastries, including baklava. The Greek pastries are in honor of her husband's cultural heritage. Dianne says she will also provide special holiday baking, such as pies and cookies. "We can do specialty items or special requests, but we need at least between 48 and 72 hours," she said. Dianne is the head baker, and Dave and a part-time employee provide the extra help. She learned her love of baking from her mother and grandmothers, working alongside them in their farm kitchens, learning all the secrets of making good desserts. It's that farm freshness that Parmley wants to capture with her bakery -- a return to those traditions that made grandma's kitchen a very special place. Dianne also worked for 17 years in a grocery store bakery. "I got out of that, but I still had my love for baking," she said. "I still wanted to bake. That was my dream." The path she took to make that dream come true started with a bike ride through the streets of downtown Grand Island with her husband. "We saw a couple of buildings, and my husband told me, 'Be careful what you dream for,' " she said. Before they knew it, they found the right location. The couple and some friends did the remodeling to turn the building into a bakery. The Parmleys lives upstairs. Just Desserts, at 206 N. Locust St., is open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays; and closed on Sundays and Mondays; (308) 384-2764. (Photo credit: Scott Kingsley / Grand Island Independent)

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... and from South Carolina: Alvin Greene, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate is being investigated by the State Law Enforcement Division with the blessing of state party Chairman Jay Parmley, right. Officials are trying to figure out where the unemployed military veteran got the cash to run for office. Greene, who lives with his father and waged no visible campaign, says he saved up the money to pay the $10,000 filing fee, but many in the Democratic Party aren't so sure about that. "When this is over, I think we will be able to say if Alvin Greene, this was his own money fine, but many people believe it was not and if it's not then those people need to be prosecuted to fullest extent of the law," said Jay.Greene stunned the party establishment June 8 when he defeated Vic Rawl in the primary -- 59% to 41% -- to see who would face Republican U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, the heavy favorite in the fall. Rawl contended he lost because of problems with electronic voting machines, including people who tried to vote for Rawl but whose ballots showed Greene's name checked instead.

10-05 NEWS

A drunken Travis Parmelee, 36, of Jacksonville, Fla., was stunned with a Taser and taken into custody May 7 after he refused to stop heckling Tiger Woods on the 11th hole of The Players Championship at the Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Travis, who was released from St. Johns County Jail the following day, has been charged with disorderly intoxication and resisting arrest without violence. Bond was $1,500. Security guards on duty at the second round of the golf tournament told Travis to stop yelling several times before calling the sheriff, who dispatched deputies to make an arrest. Sheriff's Capt. Dave Messenger said Travis became more combative as officers tried to calm him down. When he resisted being taken into custody, he was Tasered once. Messenger said that Travis had been drinking. (Photo credit: Bob Self / Florida Times Union)

These other family members, listed alphabetically, appeared in recent news stories:

  • Taylor Parmley, the volleyball player from Seneca, Mo., High School was named to the Big 8 All-Conference Honorable Mention team and the All-Area second team.
  • Terri Parmly, Alice Temm and Ann Dombrowski tallied a 74 to win a best ball handicap tournament at Dalhousie Golf Club at Cape Girardeau, Mo.
  • Terry Parmelee, the supply designer, right, and Joe Hensel, chairman of Polyflow of Akron, Ohio, are taking recyclables destined for a landfill--plastics, rubber, carpeting and Styrofoam--and convert them into a chemical liquid gas that can be refined into diesel, gasoline and a chemical intermediate that can be used to make plastics. (Photo credit: Ed Suba Jr. / Akron Beacon Journal)
  • Tre Parmalee, the athlete from Penn High School in Mishawaka, Ind., won the long jump with a leap of 19 feet, 11.5 inches in an 11-team track and field meet. Penn placed third with 90.5 points, 9.5 behind the winner, St. Joseph's.
  • Zach Parmley, the soccer player scored one of Bonney Lake, Wash., High School's goals in a 2-0 win over White River.
... and from Jefferson County, Colo.: A 60-ton boulder fell onto U.S. 285 in Turkey Creek Canyon, below Parmalee Gulch. No vehicles were hit or ran into the rock when it fell just before 6 p.m. and blocked both southbound lanes.
It took four hours for highway workers to move the boulder enough so that traffic could get by. The Colorado Department of Transportation will have to blast the boulder to remove it. ...
Update on repairs.

10-04 NEWS

Jennifer Parmelee [Alfred "Fred" Gray, Foster, William Goodell, Jared Henry, James, James, Phineas, Isaac, Isaac, John, John], spokeswoman for the United Nation's World Food Program, says the coupon-distribution program in Haiti is working to prevent strong young men from forcing themselves to the front of food lines after the recent earthquake. The agency, Jennifer said, "is aware of reports that our coupons have been resold, and we’ve also heard allegations of forgeries. However, all evidence from our cooperating partners who are managing the distributions ... is that this is not a widespread issue." Now, with hundreds of thousands leaving Port-au-Prince for the country, the program will have add distributions in the rural areas, requiring new assessments and strategies. "You can't just drive into a town and start handing out food," Jennifer said." And relief efforts are shifting, she says. "As we move beyond emergency food assistance to a longer-term food security strategy, the focus will be on investing in Haiti’s human capital.This new strategy includes boosting local agriculture production and supporting local markets across the country as well as providing safety nets for the most vulnerable."

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... and from Olympia, Wash.: A unanimous state Supreme Court ruled that the state Department of Corrections must pay convicted arsonist Allan Parmelee’s attorney fees. The case stems from a July 2005 letter he wrote to then-prison secretary Harold Clarke. Allan complained about the treatment of prisoners at Clallam Bay Corrections Center, writing that he had discovered what was causing all the tension at the prison: "Having a man-hater lesbian as a superintendent is like throwing gas on (an) already smoldering fire." Allan was cited for violating an arcane 1869 criminal libel law and given him 10 days in isolation. Once out of the hole, Allan appealed his infraction. The Court of Appeals decided in his favor two years ago, ruling that the criminal libel statute was unconstitutional. Last year, the Legislature removed the law from the books. Allan remains in prison for firebombing the car of his ex-wife’s lawyer. He has filed hundreds of public records requests demanding judges, lawyers and jailers’ personnel records, photos, addresses, work schedules and birth dates. And he once threatened to tear out a court reporter’s fingernails.

10-03 NEWS

Donna Karan manager Marlo Donato Parmelee is glamorous, smart ... and suffering from multiple sclerosis. As the company's U.K. support manager, it's Marlo's job to ensure that no imperfection mars the brand's sumptuousness. "I tell everyone I have MS," she told interviewer Catherine O'Brien, "but I also tell them that if I can wear heels, then anyone can." At 37, Marlo of London has the incurable neurological disease that attacks the nervous system and can cause numbness, double-vision, muscle spasms, loss of balance and acute bouts of pain. Her illness was diagnosed five years ago after she struggled for months with symptoms that -- she says half-jokingly -- forced her out of 4-inch heels and into a pair of trainers. "Sometimes I lose my center of balance, but if that happens, I grab the stair rail and fake it." Like many people who learn they have a chronic illness, she read the stories of others. Some were helpful, some less so. When she failed to find a narrative that conveyed with raw honesty exactly what she was going through, she decided to write it herself. The result is "Awkward Bitch: My Life With MS" (AuthorHouse), a no-holds-barred memoir that reveals her bleakest moments. See the complete interview with Marlo in our Features section. (Photo credit: David Yeo)

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10-02 NEWS

Fresh out of high school, Lt. James W. Parmelee deferred college to serve his country in World War II. After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1951, he became an Air Force pilot who conducted reconnaissance flights during the Cold War. A biographical clipping from an unknown publication describes James as "at ease in any situation ... friends with the world ... endless self-confidence and ability ... would like to fly a brilliant-red jet plane, and trout fish in off hours ... insists Michigan is the playground of the gods." James was based at Sembach Air Base, about 80 miles southwest of Frankfurt, Germany, and flew one of two "jet photo" squadrons. On a flight in 1954, his plane crashed in Obora (German: Thiergarten), near what was then the border of East Germany and Czechoslovakia. His family knows little about the mission; his military record states death from an "aircraft accident." In January, brother David Parmelee established a scholarship in James' honor to support engineering students at the Seymour and Esther Padnos College of Engineering and Computing at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Mich.. The family holds out hope that with today's technology and the Internet, clues will surface about James' last flight.

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