➛ THE TIMES LEADER www.timesleader.com D I V E R S I O N S MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2012 PAGE 5C Talented tradesmen are pivotal to keeping our country up and running Dear Abby: America’s tradesmen — plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics, roofers, masons and more — get very little respect. In fact, the only time these skilled professionals get our attention is when we have an emergency. This lack of regard is leading our nation down an unfortunate pathway, as fewer and fewer young people pursue jobs in these professions. If we don’t change our attitude about the worth of tradesmen, who will build our homes and schools, repair our cars, keep our water flowing and our power turned on? On Sept. 21, we have a chance to thank a tradesman. The date has been DEAR ABBY ADVICE earmarked as National Tradesmen Day. Everyone can participate: Drop a box of doughnuts at the job site near your home. Call your plumber and say, “Thank you for your help over the years.” Invite a skilled tradesman to speak at your child’s school. The ways to honor them are limitless. Abby, would you help to get the word out? — Jeff D. in Greenville, S.C. Dear Jeff: I’m pleased to help because I agree with your message. Tradespeople don’t often receive the respect and gratitude they deserve. UNIVERSAL SUDOKU Everyone needs to know his or her efforts are valued and appreciated, and failure to extend this courtesy may affect our quality of life in the coming decades. In years past, skilled trades were handed down with pride from one generation to the next. However, as baby boomers have been retiring, fewer young people have been stepping forward to take their place. In fact, according to a recent talent shortage survey by ManpowerGroup, more jobs for skilled tradesmen go unfilled than any other category of employment. Why? Because there aren’t enough trained replacements to fill openings for electricians, welders, mechanics, plumbers, roofers and more. Part of the reason may be our em- CRYPTOQUOTE phasis on pursuing advanced college degrees for almost everyone. But another may be the lack of respect that has been shown for these vital occupations. The result has been, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that for every three tradesmen who retire, only one person is stepping up to fill the gap. I hear from many readers whose young adult children are unable to find work. Talk with them about this. People in the trades can earn good money. Visit a local community college with your son or daughter and learn more about classes and certifications available for skilled trades. And please, show tradespeople how much their contributions are valued. Call your favorite handyman, plumber and HVAC technician not to once again scream for help, but to express your appreciation. Treat them to a box of your special home-baked cookies or brownies, refer them to your friends and family so they can get additional business, write to your local newspapers, websites or blogs expressing your appreciation. Visit nationaltradesmenday.com, and please remember, these hardworking individuals need to know that although National Tradesmen Day is Friday, we are grateful for their efforts the other 364 days a year, too. To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby’s “Keepers,” P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.) HOROSCOPE BY HOLIDAY MATHIS GOREN BRIDGE WITH OMAR SHARIF & TANNAH HIRSCH PREVIOUS DAY’S SOLUTION ARIES (March 21-April 19). You are a master persuader now and could do any number of things with your influence. You’ll be extra careful to steer people in the direction of their own best interests, and not just your own. TAURUS (April 20-May 20). You are polite without being fake, persistent without being overbearing. The qualities you exhibit let others know that you are not to be trifled with. GEMINI (May 21-June 21). You’ll make people smile, and they will want to do business with you not because they think it will be fun and games, but because they think you’ll “get” them enough to make them happy. CANCER (June 22-July 22). You may still be trying to figure out why you are doing something, and the answer doesn’t come readily. Tomorrow will shed fresh daylight on the matter. LEO (July 23-Aug. 22). The ghosts come knocking long before Halloween. They are friendly and don’t want candy. They remind you of a happy part of your past, a time that still adds color to your days. VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22). You are the artist in your life. At some point, the artist must abandon notions of “good” and “bad” and decide not to have a preference between the two. LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 23). It’s amazing how many different ways you can show the world what an exceptional human being you are. You’ll sense where your talents can turn a messy situation into a winning enterprise. CROSSWORD ON THE WEB For more Sudoku go to www.timesleader.com MINUTE MAZE JUMBLE BY MICHEAL ARGIRION & JEFF KNUREK HOW TO CONTACT: Dear Abby: PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069 SCORPIO (Oct. 24-Nov. 21). You would like to be good at something that presently brings up feelings of inadequacy. There is hope for you in this matter. Your humility and willingness to learn will make all things possible. SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21). Cluttered spaces make for cluttered minds. The time you spend organizing and clearing space will align you with the powers of productivity and clarity. Even if it takes all day, it will be worth it. CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19). You don’t require special attention in order to feel good about what you’re doing. And yet, there’s something about getting public recognition that makes you very hopeful about the next phase of your life. AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18). You suspect you have a hidden talent that has yet to reveal itself. Today brings a tug on something inside you, a leaning toward the very action that highlights the signs of this talent. PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20). You’ll experience a key moment of interaction. The most important thing about your conversation will be your ability to listen well and thoroughly. Later, you’ll be happy you were able to do this. TODAY’S BIRTHDAY (Sept. 17). Give sweet support and tough love alternately. You’ll inspire those you love (including yourself) to greatness. You’ll be on the hot list socially from November through January, and the attention is wonderful. Your lucky numbers are: 30, 15, 2, 33 and 1.