Jackson Township police chief put on leave again

Jackson Police ChiefJACKSON TWP. —The township’s police chief has again been put on administrative leave, the second time in four months.

A one-sentence letter from Administrator Marilyn Lyon dated Thursday states that Police Chief David Zink would remain on paid administrative leave until further notice.

No reason for the action was given in the letter. Trustee James Walters declined comment Thursday, citing personnel issues.

Neither Zink nor his attorney, Robert J. Tscholl, could not be reached for comment Thursday evening. Zink, who joined the Police Department in 1986 and became chief in March 2010, earns $91,271 a year.

In November, trustees put Zink, 49, on administrative leave after a female township officer accused him of sexual harassment. Trustees then suspended the chief for one month after an out-of-county investigator determined that Zink, who is married, had made multiple unwanted sexual advances during the past five years toward the female officer he supervises. The chief, who has repeatedly denied the accusations, returned to work Feb. 1.

Since at least early March, agents with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation have interviewed women who interacted with Zink, asking them questions about whether his actions toward them or other women had ever been inappropriate. It’s unclear whether the state’s investigation involves the same female officer who made the complaint against Zink in November.

Jill DeGreco, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office which serves as the legal arm for BCI, did not return a call seeking comment Thursday. BCI provides criminal investigative services to local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies upon request.

Jeff Durbin: Life on a farm, strong work ethic shaped the man

By Todd Porter CantonRep.com staff writer

lakeFootballJeffLAKE TWP. —Everyone wonders where their place is in the world. It took Jeff Durbin a few years — 34 of them to be exact — but he found his in little Uniontown, Ohio, in 1985.

Durbin grew up on a farm in Danville, just north of Columbus. There isn’t much to do in Danville. Still, Durbin doesn’t complain.

He grew up the youngest of seven children. His father worked for the gas company and farmed the land. His mother worked in a small factory in town.

“Danville is a place for turkeys,” Durbin said. “Mom worked in a dressing plant there and she helped on the farm. My parents were workers and instilled that in all of us. It was a great experience for me. We never had a boring day. Ever.”

Durbin has built up the football program over the years the same way he learned to farm. He took his time. He cultivated the land. He worked hard. He respected players. He didn’t just get to know the community in Lake, he became a part of it.

Wednesday afternoon he told Lake athletic director Bruce Brown he was ready to spend time traveling with his wife Teresa. Durbin has acquired a taste for wine and enjoys visiting wineries in Northeast Ohio.

After 35 years of coaching football, Teresa finally gets her husband back in the falls. Durbin is only 61. He’s healthy. He can enjoy life … for the next year or two.

Maybe, he said, he would get back into football.

Selfishly, though, Stark County high school football lost a piece of its fabric. When a man spends 27 years coaching in one place, cultivating young people to become so much more than high school football memories, he leaves behind a void.

Likely in the next few years, Central Catholic head coach Lowell Klinefelter will retire, too. Klinefelter has been the Crusaders’ head coach for 40 years.

Combined, that’s 63 years of head coaching experience.

There is a great pressure on Brown, Lake Principal Kevin Tobin and Superintendent Jeff Wendorf to find not just any replacement for Durbin — who wants to fill those shoes — but the right replacement.

“I would say they are institutions,” Tobin said. “Someone like Lowell and Jeff … I push young coaches toward those guys. I hope young people will continue to look to them as mentors.”

Coaching, even in the high school level, has changed. Many young coaches aren’t looking to become fabrics of the communities they inherit as much as they look to them as a steppingstone.

“That’s one of the things that’s most disheartening,” Tobin said. “Coaches are looking at their own pieces and parts as opposed to we’re all in this together. You would go to a Stark County coaches’ meeting 30 years ago and the camaraderie was second to none. We’ve lost a little bit of that.”

Maybe it never comes back. Maybe coaches such as Klinefelter and Durbin, who came from parents who understood spots on a roster and, more importantly in life, were earned and not given, are a breed from yesteryear.

Over the last several years, Lake has built one of the finest Division II stadiums in the state without taxpayer money. They held fundraisers. Durbin recycled cans when he first started.

“We built that with fundraisers and sweat equity,” Durbin said.

It was common to find Durbin pushing a wheelbarrow through the stadium during the summer when the press box was being built.

Career stories such as Durbin’s don’t come along every day. He worked hard. He coached hard. He taught hard. His face has more wrinkles in it than when he started. He looks like a leathery old cuss. His handshake is still firm.

Now he gets to ride off into the sunset, holding the hand of the bride he wed 35 years ago and enjoy the twilight.

You wonder how many young men’s lives he changed, or shaped over the last three decades.

And Jeff Durbin answers the same way leaving as when he arrived.

“A lot of people deserve credit for it beyond me,” Durbin said.

He found his place in the world. He farmed it. He cultivated it.

Stark County is better off because of it, too.

Notes from April 10th Meeting

Barbra SorkinThe meeting for the Uniontown Lions Club on April 10th 2013. King Lion Jim Laverick was absent, traveling for work, 1st Vice President Bob Kendall presided over the meeting. There was an official visit by 2nd Vice District Governor Barbra Sorkin. She congratulated the club on having over 60 members and good attendance for the meeting. Sorkin received laughs when she mentioned that Lion Ed Cikity was performing so well as Tail Twister that she might tap him as a speaker for an upcoming leader conference when she become District Governor.  2nd Vice District Governor Barbra Sorkin reminded the club about the Spring Leadership conference on April 27th and a District social in May. The 2nd Vice District Governor also announced that the club would receive a patch for the banner if all major officers attended the Spring Conference.

A letter was read as a part of the external communication recognizing the memorial day recognition of veterans and expressing disappointment at the lack of recognition of veterans of all wars. It was pointed out that the Memorial Day program was ran by the Uniontown Community Park and not the Lions Club. The letter was signed anonymously so it would be difficult to respond directly to the concerns but the letter will be passed on to the park board.

During the committee reports Lion Mark Troyer reminded the club that the Uniontown Lions Club Festival will be held August 7-10 2013 and that there could be a festival committee meeting on April 24 after the regular meeting. The meeting was adjourned at 7:30.

Jeff Durbin resigns after 23 years as Lake coach

By Todd Porter Canton Rep

lake.jeff-durbinLAKE TWP.  One of the longest tenured high school head football coaches in Stark County is stepping down. Jeff Durbin, who retired three years ago as a Lake Local Schools administrator, has coached his final game for the Blue Streaks.

“My 27 years as an employee at Lake Local have provided an extraordinary experience for me and my family,” Durbin said in a statement released this morning. “I have enjoyed an unwavering support of the administration, faculty and staff at Lake High School and Lake Middle School as I have persued my greatest passion as a football coach and educator.

“I am deeply indebted to the many assistant coaches who have been instrumental to the success of Lake football. I have been privileged to work with many of the finest young men our society has to offer, and I only hope that I have had as positive an impact on their lives as they have had on mine.”

In Durbin’s 23 years, the Blue Streaks played for three state championships, won five regional titles and won the Federal League four times while being the league’s smallest school. Lake made the postseason in 14 of Durbin’s 23 seasons.

He was 163-98.

“Jeff was the textbook model for how a school-based interscholastic head coach should perform on and off the playing field every day with every one of his students,” Lake athletics director Bruce Brown said. “I’ve told many others that even if Jeff was coaching tidily-winks as a sport, I would want my child to play for him. The lessons and relationships that he developed with all of those who were touched by his program and his efforts are reflective of his passion as an educator.”

Lake’s administration is in the process of determining a timeline and succession plan to fill Durbin’s position in the next few weeks.

Storms bring threat of minor flooding to Stark County

minorFloodThe National Weather Service in Cleveland has issued a flood warning for Stark, Wayne and Holmes counties.

The Nimishillen Creek near North Industry was named on the weather service website as an area where the status of minor severity has been upgraded to moderate.

The flood warning was issued about 7 a.m. when the creek reached 9.5 feet, according to the weather services river readings at water.weather.gov. Flood stage is 8 feet.

The river was expected to fall below flood stage by late morning, but at 9 feet low-lying portions of Cheyenne Street, southeast Sparta Avenue and Allenford Avenue were threatened, the weather service said.

The Tuscarawas River at Massillon was at 8.3 feet about 8 a.m. and expected to crest at 10.4, the website said. The flood stage there is 14 feet.

The weather service listed a 60 percent chance of heavy rain for the Stark County area Thursday increasing to an 80 percent chance Thursday night.

The weather service said showers and thunderstorms were likely “mainly after 2 p.m.” with storms producing heavy rain that could leave the area with up to a half inch of precipitation.

Rain remained in the forecast through Saturday, the weather service said.

Forecasters expected the temperature to reach 71 degrees Thursday before falling Thursday night to 49 degrees and increasing only to 54 on Friday, the weather service said.

At 8 a.m., the temperature at the Akron Canton Airport was listed at 49 degrees under foggy skies with winds out of the east at 6 mph.

Summit County Communities receive $414,549 in recycling grants

By Bob Downing Beacon Journal staff writer

recycleSummit County communities on Tuesday received more than $400,000 in recycling grants from ReWorks.

The money may be used for recycling equipment or educational and promotional materials, said Yolanda Walker, executive director of the agency that is officially known as the Summit-Akron Solid Waste Management Authority.

Akron, with the largest population, got the biggest grant: $164,930.

Cuyahoga Falls was second, receiving $40,172, followed by Stow, at $27,352.

Peninsula, the smallest of the 31 communities, got the smallest grant: $532.18.

Other grants and their amounts were: Barberton, $21,760; Bath Township, $8,029; Boston Heights, $948; Boston Township, 1,061; Clinton, $1,117; Copley Township, $10,112; Coventry Township, $8,741; and Fairlawn, $4,933.

Also, Green, $18,635; Hudson, $18,333; Lakemore, $2,015; Macedonia, $8,069; Mogadore, $786; Munroe Falls, $4,236; New Franklin, $11,875; Northfield Center Township, $4,002; Northfield village, $2,949; and Norton, $8,721.

Reminderville, $1,933; Richfield Township, $1,934; Richfield village, $2,815; Sagamore Hills Township, $4,912; Silver Lake, $2,535; Springfield Township, $7,026; Tallmadge, $8,495; Twinsburg city, $13,747; and Twinsburg Township, $1,829.

The grants are determined by a complicated formula that includes population, local recycling programs and levels of recycling.

In other news, the agency’s governing board learned that Texas-based Waste Management has acquired Greenstar Recycling LLC and its recycling facility in South Akron.

The $7 million facility opened last June and handles recyclables from the city of Akron and other communities.

Waste Management is the largest trash-hauling firm in North America.

The man who could bring you back from the dead

Tim Adams The Observer,

sam parnia Sam Parnia MD has a highly sought after medical speciality: resurrection. His patients can be dead for several hours before they are restored to their former selves, with decades of life ahead of them.

Parnia is head of intensive care at the Stony Brook University Hospital in New York. If you’d had a cardiac arrest at Parnia’s hospital last year and undergone resuscitation, you would have had a 33% chance of being brought back from death. In an average American hospital, that figure would have fallen to 16% and (though the data is patchy) roughly the same, or less, if your heart were to have stopped beating in a British hospital.

By a conservative extrapolation, Parnia believes the relatively cheap and straightforward methods he uses to restore vital processes could save up to 40,000 American lives a year and maybe 10,000 British ones. Not surprisingly Parnia, who was trained in the UK and moved to the US in 2005, is frustrated that the medical establishment seems slow and reluctant to listen to these figures. He has written a book in the hope of spreading the word.

The Lazarus Effect is nothing short of an attempt to recast our understanding of death, based on Parnia’s intimate knowledge of the newly porous nature of the previously “undiscovered country from which no traveller returns”. His work in resuscitation has led him logically to wider questions of what constitutes being and not being. In particular, he asks what exactly happens, if you are lying dead before resuscitation, to your individual self and all its attendant character and memories – your “soul”, as he is not shy to call it – before it is eventually restored to you a few hours later?

When I meet Parnia, he is not long off the plane from New York after a night flight with his wife and baby daughter, and the particular revival he is craving is the miracle of strong coffee. He is both forthright and softly spoken, full of careful zeal for his findings. As I sit across the table from him, he can make even the most extraordinary claim seem calmly rational. “It is my belief,” he says, “that anyone who dies of a cause that is reversible should not really die any more. That is: every heart attack victim should no longer die. I have to be careful when I state that because people will say, ‘My husband has died recently and you are saying that need not have happened’. But the fact is heart attacks themselves are quite easily managed. If you can manage the process of death properly then you go in, take out the clot, put a stent in, the heart will function in most cases. And the same with infections, pneumonia or whatever. People who don’t respond to antibiotics in time, we could keep them there for a while longer [after they had died] until they did respond.”

Parnia’s belief is backed up by his experience at the margin of life and death in intensive care units for the past two decades – he did his training at Guy’s and St Thomas’ in London – and particularly in the past five years or so when most of the advances in resuscitation have occurred. Those advances – most notably the drastic cooling of the corpse to slow neuronal deterioration and the monitoring and maintenance of oxygen levels to the brain – have not yet become accepted possibilities in the medical profession. Parnia is on a mission to change that.

The one thing that is certain about all of our lives, he says, is that we will all eventually experience a cardiac arrest. All our hearts will stop beating. What happens in the minutes and hours after that will potentially be the most significant moments of our biography. At present, the likelihood is, however, that in those crucial moments we will find ourselves in the medical environment of the 1960s or 1970s.

The kind of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) that we are familiar with from medical dramas – the frenzied pumping of the chest – remains rooted, Parnia claims, in its serendipitous discovery in 1960. It remains a haphazard kind of procedure, often performed more in hope than anticipation. Partly, this is a question of personnel. Parnia is quietly maddened by the worldwide hospital habit, in the event of death, to send the most junior of doctors along “to have a go at CPR”. It is as if hospital staff have given up before they have started.

“Most doctors will do CPR for 20 minutes and then stop,” he says. “The decision to stop is completely arbitrary but it is based on an instinct that after that time brain damage is very likely and you don’t want to bring people back into a persistent vegetative state. But if you understand all the things that are going on in the brain in those minutes – as we now can – then you can minimise that possibility. There are numerous studies that show that if you implement all the various resuscitation steps together you not only get a doubling of your survival rates but the people who come back are not brain damaged.”

In Parnia’s ideal world, the way that people are resuscitated would first take in the knowledge that machines are much better at CPR than doctors. After that, he suggests, the next step is “to understand that you need to elevate the level of care”. The first thing is to cool down the body to best preserve the brain cells, which are by then in the process of apoptosis, or suicide.

At the same time, it is necessary to keep up the level of oxygen in the blood. In Japan, this is already standard practice in emergency rooms. Using a technique called an ECMO, the blood of the deceased is siphoned out of the body, put through a membrane oxygenator and pumped round again. This buys the time needed to fix the underlying problem that caused the person to die in the first place. If the level of oxygen to the brain falls below 45% of normal the heart will not restart, Parnia’s research shows. Anything above that and there is a good chance.

Potentially, by this means, dead time can be extended to hours and there are still positive outcomes. “The longest I know of is a Japanese girl I mention in the book,” Parnia says. “She had been dead for more than three hours. And she was resuscitated for six hours. Afterwards, she returned to life perfectly fine and has, I have been told, recently had a baby.”

It was a truncated version of this process, at the London Chest Hospital, that allowed the Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba to be restored to life after he collapsed on the pitch at White Hart Lane last year. Parnia watched the events unfold on TV and subsequently kept on reading that Muamba had been, for up to an hour, “dead” – but always in quotation marks. He laughs. “Journalists have invented a new term, ‘clinically dead’. I don’t know what that term means. But the fact is Muamba was dead. And it was not by a miracle he was brought back to life, it was by science.”

One of the stranger things you realise in reading Parnia’s book is the idea that we might be in thrall to historical perceptions of life and death and that these ultimate constants have lately become vaguer than most of us would allow. The other strand of Parnia’s research, in which he leads a team at Southampton University, is into what most people tend to call “near-death experiences” and what he calls “actual death experiences”. Parnia has talked to many people about what they recall experiencing while they were dead in his intensive care unit. About half claim to have clear recollections, many of which involve looking down on the surgical team at work on their body or the familiar image of a bright threshold or tunnel of light into which they were being drawn. Parnia has been collecting detailed accounts of these experiences for four years. I ask what conclusions he has drawn.

He suggests he is agnostic about the source of these subjective memories, as he is about questions of mind and matter. “When I first got interested in these mind/body questions, I was astonished to find that no one had even begun to put forward a theory about exactly how neurons in the brain can generate thoughts,” he says. “We always assume that all scientists believe the brain produces the mind, but in fact there are plenty who are not certain of that. Even prominent neuroscientists, such as Sir John Eccles, a Nobel prizewinner, believe that we are never going to understand mind through neuronal activity. All I can say is what I have observed from my work. It seems that when consciousness shuts down in death, psyche, or soul – by which I don’t mean ghosts, I mean your individual self – persists for a least those hours before you are resuscitated. From which we might justifiably begin to conclude that the brain is acting as an intermediary to manifest your idea of soul or self but it may not be the source or originator of it… I think that the evidence is beginning to suggest that we should keep open our minds to the possibility that memory, while obviously a scientific entity of some kind – I’m not saying it is magic or anything like that – is not neuronal.”

Does he have a religious faith?

“No,” he says, “and I don’t have any religious way into this. But what I do know is that every area of inquiry that used to be tackled by religion or philosophy is now tackled and explained by science. One of the last things to be looked at in this way is the question of what happens when we die. This science of resuscitation allows us to look at that for the first time.”

While those more esoteric studies go on, Parnia wants to ensure that more and more people are successfully returned from death to tell whatever tales they can. “I still have colleagues in ICU who say, ‘I don’t know why we are doing all this stuff’,” he says. “Not long ago, I went for a job interview in New York at a teaching hospital and I was told if a patient comes in and has a cardiac arrest and they end up in the cardiac care unit they will be cooled, but if they end up in the intensive care unit the doctor in charge doesn’t believe in it. He thinks it blocks his beds so he won’t do it. I don’t see this as negligence exactly because there is, as yet, no authority telling us this is the standard we should use. But surely there should be.” All of this, I say, must have had a powerful bearing on Parnia’s own sense of mortality. Is he comforted or made paranoid by his work?

He suggests that the experience of talking to people who have returned from dying serves only to enhance his curiosity about the process they have undergone, and which he has sometimes helped to reverse. Other than that, he says: “In ICU, I see people dying every day and each time it happens a part of you thinks, one day this will be me. There will be people huddling round my bed deciding whether or not to resuscitate and I know one thing for sure: I don’t want it just down to pot luck whether I end up brain damaged or even alive.”

Graphic by Pete Guest.
Graphic by Pete Guest.

WHAT IS ECMO?
During cardiac arrest, blood cannot carry oxygen to the brain, causing brain cells to decay irreparably, making recovery uncertain. CPR, in which circulation is manually stimulated to delay brain damage, has long been considered the last chance for patients. With ECMO, however, those same patients can be brought back from the brink and kept alive while doctors work towards diagnosis and treatment, making CPR seem primitive by comparison. This hi-tech method of resuscitation is known as ECPR and could mark a revolution in medical practice if adopted by hospitals worldwide.

HOW DOES IT WORK?
An extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine (ECMO) is an advanced life-support apparatus. Two catheter needles are inserted, one into a major vein and one into a major artery, allowing a synthetic pump to begin drawing blood out of the body, circulating it through the apparatus, before returning it to the bloodstream. The blood passes through a membrane oxygenator, in which oxygen is introduced and carbon dioxide removed, much like the exchange of gases that takes place in the lungs. Some ECMO machines also include a heat exchanger, which can cool or warm the blood according to the patient’s condition.

A dedicated team is required to place a patient on ECMO but, once that patient is stabilised, the machine can be supervised by specially trained nurses and can maintain stability for sustained periods. This allows the patient to live without a functioning cardiopulmonary system for days or even weeks, giving diseased organs a valuable holiday in which to recover.

WHEN IS IT USED?
Until recently, it has been used largely for severe lung failure in babies. In the UK, it is principally thought of as an intensive care treatment used in the ward, but more and more US hospitals are adding ECPR to their emergency treatment options. In an emergency, when a patient has shown no return of spontaneous circulation after conventional CPR, a doctor would decide whether the patient merits being attached to an ECMO machine, which must be carried out in a matter of minutes. Emergency ECMO is therefore administered as a last resort to patients who stand a good chance of full recovery.

In these conditions, it can be very effective and patients who have been medically dead for hours have been resuscitated successfully through ECMO, which can restart the heartbeat through steady pressure and blood flow. Even after full cardiac arrest, in situations where cell decay and brain damage have been avoided, ECMO has proved a lifesaver. There are four ECMO centres in the UK. Europe’s largest centre and the only one in the UK that treats adults is the Glenfield hospital in Leicester.

Lucerne Lions donate dictionaries to Pioneer third-graders

by Sarah Einselen Pharos-Tribune

lucerneLionsROYAL CENTER — Nine-year-old Kiera Osborn looked down at the dictionary she’d just been handed. “I can keep it?” she asked with surprise in her voice.

Lions club vice president Victor Sell told Kiera that yes — it was her very own.

The Lucerne Lions Club donated 78 dictionaries to the third-grade students at Pioneer Elementary School late last week in the first year of what leaders hope to turn into an annual partnership with the school.

The dictionaries, each in paperback with maps, historical documents and other reference information in the back — and a line to write a young owner’s name in the front — are part of a project coordinated by the Lions Clubs International. Lucerne Lions president Allen Shank said local club members voted unanimously earlier this spring to bring the project to Royal Center.

Third-grade teachers at Pioneer called the dictionaries “a perfect tool” for developing students’ independence in accessing information. Kim Schroder, who’s taught for almost 20 years, said she’s most recently been having students look up words in her classroom dictionaries to learn about states of matter — solids, liquids and gases.

“As they’re reading, we’ve worked on having to look up words on their own so they can find out the meanings,” said Schroder. Students use both physical dictionaries and the digital one on her interactive whiteboard, but during small group projects the physical dictionaries are ideal.

Average students in their formative years learn about 3,000 new words per year, or about 8 per day, according to The Dictionary Project, with which Lions Clubs International has partnered for the dictionary donations.

One of Schroder’s students, 9-year-old Kwintin Heiny of Logansport, said his favorite word he’s learned recently is “condensation.” Kiera’s is “evaporation,” she said.

School librarian Mary Lou Rutledge said that with the Lions’ donation this week, all students in third through fifth grades now have access to one dictionary per student in their classrooms — and that should help with learning to alphabetize as well as expand students’ vocabulary.

“We have them look in dictionaries all the time,” Rutledge added, “so they know how to spell the words, pronounce them, where to put the emphasis.” That’s more than a computer spell-check program provides, she pointed out.

“I think the sooner they start, the better they are. That way they get used to it before they get too far into computers.”

And giving each student his or her own dictionary makes it more likely that students will take the initiative to look up words, said Pioneer Elementary principal Beth Dean.

Lions Clubs International has donated almost 286,000 books since first partnering with The Dictionary Project in 2002. During a local project’s first year, Lions Clubs International covers the cost of the dictionaries, then for every year after, a local Lions club buys dictionaries by the case to give to new third-graders. A case of 24 student dictionaries costs a local Lions club $30, Shank said.

“As far as the cost goes, even when we start paying for them, the cost is going to be reasonable,” he said. And its return, he added, will be valuable to the students.

The 22-member Lucerne Lions intend to contact other local Lions clubs to explore a joint donation next year, Shank said.

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died today following a stroke, her spokeswoman confirmed

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

Margaret-Thatcher-1979-Ma-006London (CNN) — Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a towering figure in post-war British and world politics, and the first woman to become British prime minister, has died at the age of 87, her spokeswoman said Monday.

Thatcher served from 1979 to 1990 as leader of the Conservative Party. She was called the “Iron Lady” for her personal and political toughness.

Thatcher retired from public life after a stroke in 2002 and suffered several strokes after that.

She made few public appearances in her final months, missing a reception marking her 85th birthday hosted by Prime Minister David Cameron in October 2010. She also skipped the July 2011 unveiling of a statue honoring her old friend Ronald Reagan in London.

In December 2012, she was hospitalized after a procedure to remove a growth in her bladder.

Thatcher made history

Thatcher won the nation’s top job only six years after declaring in a television interview, “I don’t think there will be a woman prime minister in my lifetime.”

During her time at the helm of the British government, she emphasized moral absolutism, nationalism, and the rights of the individual versus that of the state — famously declaring, “There is no such thing as society” in 1987.

Nicknamed the “Iron Lady” by the Soviet press after a 1976 speech declaring that “the Russians are bent on world dominance,” Thatcher later enjoyed a close working relationship with U.S. President Reagan, with whom she shared similar conservative views.

But the British cold warrior played a key role in ending the conflict by giving her stamp of approval to Soviet Communist reformer Mikhail Gorbachev shortly before he came to power.

“I like Mr. Gorbachev. We can do business together,” she famously declared in December 1984, three months before he became Soviet leader.

Having been right about Gorbachev, Thatcher came down on the wrong side of history after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, arguing against the reunification of East and West Germany.

Allowing the countries created in the aftermath of World II to merge would be destabilizing to the European status quo, and East Germany was not ready to become part of Western Europe, she insisted in January 1990.

“East Germany has been under Nazism or communism since 1930. You are not going to go overnight to democratic structures and a freer market economy,” Thatcher insisted in a key interview, arguing that peace, security and stability “can only be achieved through our existing alliances negotiating with others internationally.”

West German leader Helmut Kohl was furious about the interview, seeing Thatcher as a “protector of Gobachev,” according to notes made that day by his close aide Horst Teltschik.

The two Germanies reunited by the end of that year.

Thatcher — born in October 1925 in the small eastern England market town of Grantham — came from a modest background, taking pride in being known as a grocer’s daughter. She studied chemistry at Oxford, but was involved in politics from a young age, giving her first political speech at 20, according to her official biography.

She was elected leader of the Conservative Party in 1975, when the party was in opposition.

She made history four years later, becoming prime minister when the Conservatives won the elections of 1979, the first of three election victories she led her party to.

As British leader, Thatcher took a firm stance with the European Community — the forerunner of the European Union — demanding a rebate of money London contributed to Brussels.

Her positions on other issues, both domestic and foreign, were just as firm, and in one of her most famous phrases, she declared at a Conservative party conference that she had no intention of changing her mind.

“To those waiting with bated breath for that favorite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say: ‘You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning,'” she declared, to cheers from party members.

The United Kingdom fought a short, sharp war against Argentina over the Falklands Islands under Thatcher in 1982, responding with force when Buenos Aires laid claim to the islands.

Announcing that Britain had recaptured South Georgia Island from Argentina, Thatcher appealed to nationalist sentiments, advising the press: “Just rejoice at the news and congratulate our forces.”

A journalist shouted a question at her as she turned to go back into 10 Downing Street: “Are we going to war with Argentina, Mrs. Thatcher?”

She paused for an instant, then offered a single word: “Rejoice.”

The conflict was not without controversy, even in Britain.

A British submarine sank Argentina’s only cruiser, the General Belgrano, in an encounter that left 358 Argentines dead. The sinking took place outside of Britain’s declared exclusion zone.

In her first term, Thatcher reduced or eliminated many government subsidies to business, a move that led to a sharp rise in unemployment. By 1986, unemployment had reached 3 million.

But Thatcher won landslide re-election in 1983 on the heels of the Falklands victory, her Conservative Party taking a majority of seats in parliament with 42% of the vote. Second-place Labour took nearly 28%, while the alliance that became the Liberal Democrats took just over 25%.

A year later, she escaped at IRA terrorist bombing at her hotel at the Conservative Party Conference in Brighton.

She was re-elected in 1987 with a slightly reduced majority.

She was ultimately brought down, not by British voters, but by her own Conservative party.

She was forced to resign in 1990 during an internal leadership struggle after she introduced a poll tax levied on community residents rather than property.

The unpopular tax led to rioting in the streets.

She married her husband, Denis Thatcher, a local businessman who ran his family’s firm before becoming an executive in the oil industry, in 1951 — a year after an unsuccessful run for Parliament. The couple had twins, Mark and Carol, in 1953.

She was elected to Parliament in 1959 and served various positions, including education secretary, until her terms as prime minister.

Thatcher was awarded the U.S. Medal of Freedom by President George H. W. Bush in 1991, a year after she stepped down as prime minister. She was named Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven after leaving office.

She retired from public life after a stroke in 2002 and suffered several smaller strokes after that. Her husband died in June 2003.

Though her doctors advised against public speaking, a frail Thatcher attended Reagan’s 2004 funeral, saying in a pre-recorded video that Reagan was “a great president, a great American, and a great man.”

“And I have lost a dear friend,” she said.

In the years that followed she encountered additional turmoil — namely in 2004, when her son, Mark Thatcher, was arrested in an investigation of an alleged plot by mercenaries to overthrow the president of Equatorial Guinea in west Africa. He pleaded guilty in a South African court in 2005 to unwittingly bankrolling the plot.

CNN’s Laura Perez Maestro contributed to this report.