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Friday, September 25, 2020

Hundreds of whales wash ashore in Tasmania, leaving scientists puzzled

By Mark Puleo, AccuWeather staff writer                       Courtesy of Author, AccuWeather, and AP
Published Sep. 24, 2020 3:43 PM                                                                   Educational Purposes

The deaths of nearly 400 pilot whales on the shore of Tasmania’s west coast has captured global attention, both for the rescue efforts from local agencies and for the puzzling cause behind such a tragic event.

Images captured by helicopters paint the stunning scene, as the bodies of the hundreds of massive sea creatures lay in the shallow waters of the Macquarie Harbor.


Whale carcasses are scattered along the water's edge near Strahan, Australia, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020. Authorities revised up the number of pilot whales rescued from Australia's worst-ever mass stranding from 50 to 70 on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, as the focus shifted to removing 380 carcasses from Tasmania state shallows. (Patrick Gee/Pool Photo via AP)

According to authorities, 70 beached whales were rescued by locals and staff members from the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service. Marine and Conservation Program wildlife biologist Dr. Kris Carlyon said the stranding was the largest in Tasmania history, according to Storyful.

“Globally, there has been some much bigger events than this, twice the size and over, for example, in New Zealand. In Tasmania, this is the biggest we have recorded,” Dr. Carlyon said in a statement from the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment. “There is little we can do to prevent this occurring in the future.”

While the exact reason for why beachings occur is uncertain, experts have a variety of theories. Some have speculated that the whales' navigation and false echoes can bring them into shallow waters, as Carlyon said the "misadventure" of a couple whales could lead many others astray.

Another theory that has been researched from years involves weather patterns that could throw off the marine animals' navigational abilities. But those weather patterns aren't Earth-bound, like a hurricane or a change in the winds, but rather possibly millions of miles away on the surface of the sun.

In this Sept. 22, 2020, file photo, members of a rescue crew stand with a whale on a sand bar near Strahan, Australia. More pilot whales were found stranded on an Australian coast Wednesday, Sept. 23, raising the total to almost 500 in the largest mass stranding ever recorded in the island state of Tasmania. (Brodie Weeding/Pool Photo via AP, File)

In recent years, researchers from NASA provided several theories on why space weather conditions may result in healthy whales, dolphins and porpoises, collectively known as cetaceans, washing ashore.

“Theories as to the cause include magnetic anomalies and meteorological events, such as extreme tides during a new moon and coastal storms, which are thought to disorient the animals,” said Antti Pulkkinen, a NASA heliophysicist who co-authored a study on the topic. “It has been speculated that due to the possible magnetic-field sensing used by these animals to navigate, magnetic anomalies could be at least partially responsible."

AccuWeather Meteorologist and astronomy blogger Brian Lada said there has been a recent uptick in solar activity, which peaked on Sept. 21, the same day the whales beached.

"The sun has been showing some signs of life in recent weeks as it transitions from a period of low activity, called the solar minimum, to a period of high activity, called the solar maximum," Lada said. "This was far from what would be observed during a major solar storm, and it is unclear if it is related to the beached whales, but given the timing, it can’t be completely ruled out as a factor in the whales' behaviors."

According to Lada, one way scientists track solar activity is with X-rays. An instrument on NOAA’s GOES-16 weather satellite is equipped with a sensor to track X-ray emissions from the sun. The solar cycle lasts 11 years, with sunspot activity waxing and waning over that cycle.

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W. PETE MAIRS

W. PETE MAIRS
Walter D. “Pete” Mairs, 81, died peacefully on July 23, 2021. Born in Avon, N.Y., on Sept. 3, 1939, Pete was a longtime resident of Geneva, N.Y., and these past many years in Buffalo, N.Y., as well as his beloved Silver Lake. Pete is survived by his wife, Linda Bergstrom Mairs, a loving and true companion; children, Mimi C. Mairs, Jonathan B. Mairs; sisters, June Huff, Helen Dole; brother, Thomas Mairs; stepchildren, Daniel Brinkworth, Jennie Ramsey; sister-in-law, Anne Bergstrom, eight beautiful grandchildren, and nieces and nephews. A service and celebration of life is planned for the fall when all can share the joy of Pete’s life together. Arrangements by Stephenson – Dougherty Funeral Home, Avon, N.Y.

Editor's Note: It was a privilege knowing and working with Pete Mairs during his presidency of the Silver Lake Institute. He was a kind and gentle man, but also firm in his leadership. I served as Treasurer and Chaplain of SLI during those years and I could always depend on Pete's presence in the worship service. He was a man of faith and a gem of a human being. May he rest in God's care.

GERALD C. SAHRLE

GERALD C. SAHRLE
Gerald C. Sahrle, 80, of Perry, passed away on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. He was born on Oct. 10, 1941, in Wayland, N.Y., to the late Charles A. and Helen I. (Blowers) Sahrle. Gerry was a line foreman for 32 1/2 years for NYSE&G, working out of the Perry and Hamburg locations, and was a Town of Perry Councilman. He was a member of the Free and Accepted Masons of the Constellation Lodge -404 in Perry. He was an avid fisherman, hunter and woodworker. He is survived by his wife, Valary A. (Conley) Sahrle; 1 son, Gerald (Pamela) Sahrle II of Silver Springs; 2 sisters, Millie Edmond of Greece, Bonnie Fink of Winston-Salem, N.C., 3 brothers, Ronald (Linda) Sahrle of Dansville, Robert (Susan) Sahrle of Springwater, Kenneth Sahrle of Dansville; 5 grandchildren, Bradley Musscarella, Stone and Winston Sahrle, Conley and Cooper Gayton; along with many nieces, nephews and friends. Along with his parents, he is preceded in death by a brother, Thomas Sahrle, who passed away in 2012. Services will be held at the convenience of the family. Gerry will be laid to rest in West Perry Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Perry Center Fire Department, P.O. Box 204, Perry, NY 14530. For more information, please call (585) 237-2626 or to leave a message of condolence, visit www.eatonwatsonfuneralhome.com. Arrangements completed by Eaton-Watson Funeral Home, LLC. 98 North Main Street, Perry, NY 14530.

Editor's Note: Gerald and Valarie could always be seen in the family pew with Pamela, Stone and Winston at Perry First United Methodist Church and continue to be loved. Gerry will be sorely missed. Both were supporters of the Arts at the Silver Lake Institute and Valarie was active in painting and participating in the Annual Show in August. Valarie's presence was always valued and appreciated.

KATHARINE E. PRACZKAJLO ("Kathy P.")

KATHARINE E. PRACZKAJLO ("Kathy P.")
"Kathy P." passed November 8, 2021, of Hamburg and Boston, NY. Beloved daughter of Joseph and Barbara Michalak; loving sister of Daniel Michalak; devoted wife of the late Jeffrey Praczkajlo; cherished mother of Jennifer (Shawn) Jump; loving babcia of Lily Jump; also survived by many beloved family members and friends who became her family. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

Editor's Note: "Kathy P." as she was better known to us at Silver Lake was an annual summer visitor for most of the last number of years at the invitation of Silver Laker Julia Hoffner. She stayed at the Hoffner Cottage, and became known as both the fun visitor with the vivacious smile to the neighbors at the intersection of Haven Ave. and the Ames Walkway. Kathy P. and Julie could be seen walking and talking between the cottage and the Hoffner boathouse where they could be close to the water. She was also occasionally seen at the Saturday morning breakfasts at Stoody Hall. Her stay was anywhere between 4 days and a week where she had the opportunity to develop a love for Silver Lake. She was not yet eligible for retirement when late last week she developed "a cold" and had to remain home from her job. She did not update her condition over the weekend so the local police made a wellness visit and found her deceased on Monday. She was one of those many people who found Silver Lake and friendship for brief respites where she also found new strength and energy to return to work. She is being particularly mourned by those in the Haven/Ames neighborhood. She will be memorialized next summer at the annual Celebration of Life Memorial Service at Epworth Hall.

BRENDA J. PADDOCK

BRENDA J. PADDOCK
Brenda Joan Paddock, 82, of Perry, born April 15, 1939, now resides in heaven with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Brenda met Jesus as her Savior in 1965. She met him in person on Nov. 14, 2021. She had a beautiful homecoming with music, singing and praying, leading her into Glory. Her last words were “I am well, I am well.”

Brenda’s greatest loves were her family and friends. Brenda had five children with her husband Roger: Don and Daelene Paddock of Florida, Jody and Tim Von Sanden of Pavilion, Bradley and Jeanie Paddock of Warsaw, Jennifer and Paul Guy of Massachusetts, and Nathan and Jill Paddock of Perry.

Brenda dearly loved her grandchildren: Jessica Morillo, Nikki and Clint O’Brien, Luke Paddock, Paul Paddock, Ian and Brooklyn Paddock, Joe and Louana Paddock, Burke and Megan Paddock, Aaron Paddock, Ellen Paddock, Andrew Paddock, Rachael Paddock, Abigail Paddock, Erik and Cassandra Von Sanden, Jacquelyn and Michael Jones, Tim Von Sanden, Brandon and Brandee Paddock, Jamey and Laura Paddock, Peter and Kara Guy, Candy and Jay Waitkevich, Marlo and Ryan Bolger and Jenna and Rory Peterson.

Brenda was blessed and loved her great grandchildren: Chloe, Olivia and Nicholas Von Sanden, Joshua and Jaxon Morillo, Jameson and Cassandra O’Brien, Atlas Paddock, Noah and Ezra Jones, Colton, Brantley and Charlotte Guy, Cameron Waitkevich, Amelia Bolger and Brennen Leonard.

Brenda is also survived by her brother and sister in laws; Frank and Emma Paddock, Viva and Jim Phillips-Richardson and Kurt and Lynn Paddock.

Brenda first started working as a secretary at Perry Central School. She then assisted her husband building Paddock’s Breeding Service. Roger and Brenda together built and ran the Sandsabarn teenage nightclub. Brenda was owner and operator of Serendipity Travel. Brenda’s pleasures included playing organ and piano. She played at a number of area churches along with performing for her loved ones. UPDATED -- Brenda also played with conviction at both indoor and outdoor services at the Silver Lake Institute where her grandson, Luke, sang at Epworth Hall on several occasions and was appreciated by all who heard his inspiring voice.

Brenda was preceded in death by her parents Noble and Freda Buckland, her husband Roger and son Bradley.

A Committal service at West Perry Cemetery will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, November 17 at 11 a.m., followed by a Celebration of Life at LaGrange Baptist Church at 4 p.m.

Memorial donations may be made in Brenda’s honor to the LaGrange Baptist Church 7092 LaGrange Rd. Perry, NY 14530 or to the First Congregational Church P.O. Box 156 Perry, NY 14530. Arrangements completed by Eaton-Watson Funeral Home, LLC. 98 N. Main St., Perry, N.Y. 14530. For more information or to sign the online guest registry please visit www.eatonwatsonfuneralhome.com.

AUGUST 4-7, 2022

AUGUST 4-7, 2022
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