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Archive for May, 2008

         I just read something that is going to make asthma sufferers very distressed and somewhat fearful.  The Federal Drug Administration has said that by the end of the year that inhalers made with CFC’s will be banned.  CFC is Chlorofluorocarbons; and, they deplete the protective ozone layer around the earth.  So, by December 31st of 2008 the inhalers, that operate by using CFC’s to push the medication out of an inhaler and into the lungs of a patient, will no longer be available.  These inhalers are life savers.  Without an effective way of getting the medication into the lungs of a person with asthma they could suffer ill health or die.

         There are new inhalers that use hydrofluoroalkanes to administer the medicine.  The new inhalers don’t have damaging chemicals to hurt the earth’s ozone layer.  The ozone layer is important because it protects earth and it’s people from harmful ultraviolet radiation.  Green practices in our everyday lives is important…but it seems to me that there could be other areas of cutting back that don’t endanger people’s lives.

         It is important to protect the ozone…but, not at the risk of individual asthma sufferers well-being.  Most asthma patients know that changing medicines take time for the body to adjust…this could mean more trips to the doctor or the hospital while their bodies adjust to the new inhaler.  They will want to discuss this issue of inhalers with their doctor soon…so that they can find an effective treatment that works for them.

          The problem here, is that the new inhalers don’t work in the same way.  Therefore, many people are concerned about the health of the people they love being able to breathe the way they need to.  The medicine is not delivered efficiently through the new inhalers.  It seems that they tend to clog up more and the cost is higher for the new inhalers.  People need to learn the new way of using the inhalers, to get the best results.  This could be dangerous if not done properly.  People do die from asthma if it isn’t properly managed.  Patients will need to talk to their pharmacist and/or physicians to get accurate information.

          Many are feeling a bit of panic about this because it is going to happen no matter what.  This is about people’s life and health.  There is no room for error when it comes to asthma.  It is distressing to think that these inhalers are being forced on patients when the asthma sufferers aren’t sure that they will work just as well as the old inhalers for them.  What do you think about this issue? 

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         Support is a simple enough word; but, more importantly it is a powerful tool.  My dictionary says this about support:  To hold or bear weight, to tolerate, to give assistance, approval or aid.

          Quite often we hear the word in association with divorce as in spousal or child support.  This is usually in regards to finances.  This too is important in life…because truthfully, needing money to survive is a basic necessity in our world.  But there are many types of support that we need to survive.

           We need physical support throughout life such as encouragement through hugs, pat on the back, a kiss, food, water, shelter, a high five now and again.  We need emotional support that carries us through the hard times.  Most often the emotional support comes in the form of a mixture of physical touch and verbal words of encouragement.  When our words and our body language don’t match…people pick up on that and feel rejected.  But when you combine words with positive body language…that has the power to lift people up and help them to overcome obstacles and challenges that they face.

          Today, my family will be supporting three wonderful human beings that our family has been blessed to know.  All three are teachers at the core of who they are…in fact, they are “professionals”…teachers also by trade.

          One teacher, Mrs. K, has been battling cancer since her son was born 4 years ago.  She is a young woman who has given so much to her special education students and their families.  She has been making an impact on those around her by inspiring and teaching even during her illness.  

          Her husband and child have been a source of love and encouragement.  Her former students (she has not been able to work for the last 2 years because of her treatments) have motivated her and connected with her to communicate their love and support for her.  She has touched the lives of so many people that i think it surprises her how many people care about what she is going through.  Today, there is a community fundraiser to help her family out financially; as she continues to fight against the cancer that has spread in her body, even though her treatments have been aggressive.  This community support, i hope, goes along way to bring a surge of love and support to Mrs. K and her whole family.  I pray that they are lifted up and touched by the level of love (and finances) sent their way.

         Today also, we will go and support and celebrate a marital union of two other teachers who have been a big part of our family, for years.  They are blending a family officially and legally.  But more importantly, they are blending a family physically and emotionally.  One is a special education teacher who has been bringing educational support to our community’s families who have children with challenges.  We are blessed to know Mr. S.    His bride, J, will soon be Mrs. S.    She has waited 5 years for this day.  Together they will have 5 children in their family.  “J” has been teaching one of my children in a homeschool environment for the last year.  She has brought much love and support to our family as well.

         The thing about support is that it requires sacrifice.  What you put out there into the world comes back.  Support, either you’ve got what it takes…or you don’t.  Who can you find to support today?

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        I don’t know who this is for…but, i felt compelled to write it today.  If you are struggling to accomplish a goal…and are climbing your way to the top; and, you think you are almost there, as you breech the clear white peak of the hill, expecting the celebration of your victory, only to find another hill; that adversity can cause you to stop, dead in your tracks… to give up. 

         Don’t do it; find another way to make it happen.  What did I say and why did I say that?  Don’t take the time to wallow in your disappointments…it is a waste of time and energy.  You will only succeed in making yourself more miserable.  Instead, pick yourself up off of the rocky ground where you threw yourself in a dramatic heap and consider whether it is better to backtrack down that slippery slope; or, better to climb the next hill and fully expect to find your victory.

        If the goal that you are trying to achieve is a positive one…give it another shot…dig in with courage; and, focus your determination on meeting that goal.  If you discover  upon some healthy self-reflection that your goal is rooted in negativity…give it some thought …maybe you can redirect the goal into a positive direction.

        Sometimes, we give up just short of accomplishing our goals, only to find out that what looked like a mountain range of barriers, was simply, just another set of small hills.  There are times when you just need to look at the issue again from a different perspective.

          Take a deep breath, surround yourself with positive, encouraging people, get some balance in your diet and your lifestyle; go to sleep and wake up to a new day and a new mind set…begin anew…notice the pastel sunrise; feel the crisp morning air as you take the first step of the day. 

           This time around, find ways to enjoy the beauty of the journey along the way.  You will be surprised how much easier your struggles become when you find beauty and gratitude in your climb to the top of the hill. 

           You can do it; whatever you set your mind up to do.  If you set your mind on giving up… and failure is your goal, that is easily accomplished too.  Hang in there just a little while longer; you will be glad that you did…the reward for all of your hard work is waiting to greet you!

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         Today was just a wildly, eventful day…a aero-med helicopter crashed into a major hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan and miraculously, no one was killed.  

          It was announced that Clay Aiken, a gifted singer, is going to be a father (congratulations Clay).  

          And, the wonderfully talented Harvey Korman (from the Carol Burnett television show fame) who brought such joy to the world, died today.   

         Last but not least, the Texas Supreme Court ordered the  450 sect children returned, to their parents, that the Child Protective Services removed from their families due to allegations of sexual abuse of minor children.   The state just was not able to prove the claim of wide-spread abuse  of the 450 children.

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        It should have been a fairly local news story…however, a mayor from a fairly large metropolitan city in America who is being accused of felony charges of perjury and other assorted charges; throw in some secret behind the scene deal, allegedly made with lawyers regarding the officers who had recordings showing alleged proof of his salacious, sexual text messages between him and his alleged former (female) chief of staff; as well as, a formal legal proceedings (initiated by the City Council and signed into motion by Govenor Granholm) trying to forcibly remove him from office…and you have a national news story worthy of a tabloid newspaper.  Still, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is basically saying, Heck No…I won’t Go.

         His basic legal argument is that the council doesn’t have legal standing to remove him from office because he says the law states that the only legal grounds a council has to remove him is a felony conviction or for a lack of qualifications. 

          So, when the council formally asked the Governor to remove Kilpatrick from office and went through the formalities….Mayor Kilpatrick vetoed the Council’s vote requesting his ouster by Governor Granholm. Wow!!!  There is some fancy footwork going on.

          No, I won’t leave office…because I haven’t been “convicted of a felony” even though i am being charged with felony charges…i haven’t been convicted yet…therefore…i don’t have to leave office (yet).   

            Can you imagine having to try to work together effectively to run a city as large as Detroit with such opposite agenda’s?  Is this fair to the citizen’s of Detroit to have this kind of standoff going on in their city’s governing body?  I wonder how long of a process this will take, to get a decision that is definate in whether he will be allowed to stay or forced out of office. 

          Some of the allegations are downright embarassing.  His wife appears to be still standing behind him.  After all, if the texts truly represent that he had an ongoing relationship with his female former chief of staff…that is damaging to a marriage and will take some major time and energy to repair (if the people involved are truly repentent for their actions…which doesn’t appear to be the case based on this ongoing legal defiance). 

           Then you get into the legal stuff and it would seem that his professional hands would be bound so tight that he would not be able to perform his duties as Mayor.   Is he in denial about the situation; or, is it just a delaying technique?  If he is going to end up removed…who is paying for all of this legal wrangling…are our tax dollars going into this legal battle?  Is there such a thing as being sued for political malpractice?  If so, this situation seems to invite such a suit.  Do you think Mayor Kilpatrick should stay or go?

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        A Kindergarten teacher in Indiana told a young 5 year old kindergartener, named Gabriel Ross, that he “tortured and tormented” her all year.  Young Gabriel kept telling his mother and step-father that his teacher was mean to him.  He said that other children didn’t like him because he was bad.  Who told him he was bad?  The parents were concerned enough that they sent him to school with a tape recorder in his pocket in April.

         On a four hour tape they were able to record shockingly hurtful comments that the teacher allegedly made to Gabriel; and about Gabriel, to the other students in the classroom.  She allegedly told him that he was “self-absorbed, pathetic and ignorant”.  These comments were supposedly made by a teacher with 13 years of experience.

          What i am wondering is; what other things had been said and done to humiliate this child during the rest of the school year; that didn’t get on tape?  Most schools start in late August or early September…this tape was made in April.  That is a long time to damage a young person’s self-esteem.  Most educators teach because it is their passion.  Those teachers teach with joy and skill…when they run into a challenging child…they try to find ways to reach that child and work with them.  If they can’t…at the very least…most will at least move the child to another classroom.

        If the teacher felt that this child was so out of control all year…why wasn’t she contacting the parents to get to the bottom of the issue.  After this tape came to light…the teacher’s association said that the teacher lost her cool.  But the things that were said and done, definately sound like someone who knew how to zero in and verbally annihilate another person’s feelings.  This venom was sounding as if it had built up from more than one difficult day.  Why wasn’t this teacher seeking help handling something that she felt was out of control all year long? 

        At one point, the teacher says that Gabriel is pathetic and that she hopes her words hurt him because he is hurting everyone around him.  Then, she goes on to say to the class…what do they think…is this somone that they want to be with?  Of course, the children all say…NOOOOOOO!   She very effectively made this child a pariah with his own classmates.    What the heck…who is the adult here? 

           How can you justify verbally attacking a child in your classroom?  If a child is out of control…you call in the school counselor, psychologist, principal, parents and evaluate why the child is acting this way. 

           Then depending on the results, you either find an effective way to discipline the child with appropriate boundaries; or you do some medical, psychological or academic testing to see what the problem is.  You find ways to figure it out without getting on the level that this “professional” teacher supposedly did.  There are lots of really good, skilled teachers who want and need jobs.  We dont have to settle for substandard teachers educating our children.

         In my opinion…this was a really horrible example of how not to teach our children. 

      

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         Up, Up, and away, in my beautiful, my beautiful balloon…that is how the old song goes (with a much better voice than i will ever have).  This was how i envisioned Michel Fournier’s scientific experiment starting off…with that little song running through my head, as i watched the replay on the evening news!  No such luck. 

          It was reported today that the balloon somehow became detached and floated into the sky without the capsule.  How in the world could this have happened?  That balloon cost something like two hundred thousand dollars or so.  How could it have become detached without someone noticing, before this could derail Mr. Fournier’s attempt to lift off?

         The poor man, yesterday his experiment of going up in a capsule attached to a special made helium balloon, to set a few records, was cancelled due to the weather.  He had already had a couple of other attempts that were aborted in 2002 and 2003 due to the balloon being ripped apart before it could even get up into the air.

         Now this experiment, that he was attempting was important but, extremely dangerous and never before been attempted by anyone else, to my knowledge.  He was going to go up in the capsule attached to the helium balloon to then skydive from an amazing heighth…something like 131,000 feet if i remember correctly….planes fly at like 39,000 feet.  That is wild to someone like me who is afraid of heighths.  But not for Mr. Fournier who is a former paratrooper…this would have been a dream.

        It wasn’t just for “fun”…the experiment was also to document data for astronauts and scientists to see the effect on the human body in the highest altitudes.  Michel would also be wearing a pressure suit much like they wear in space because at a certain height…a person can develop a blood clot…or ewwwww, the blood can “boil”.  Yuck! 

          Mr. Fournier wanted to set four records by setting the fastest and the longest free fall (he is a skydiver) as well as the highest documented balloon flight & the highest parachute jump on record. 

           I can’t begin to imagine the extreme disappointment he must be feeling.  He has spent a fortune trying to make this happen over the years.  He has run out of money from the sounds of it…so this could have been his last attempt.  Maybe …just maybe…it was the big guy up above, looking out for him…maybe he would not have survived such an attempt!  Still, i do feel for him…his disappointment must be immense.

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         A new way of collecting physical evidence in rape cases is making news.  It seems that many rape victims are leaving the medical setting; rather than, face another trauma of talking to; or, being interviewed by police after being raped.  They are too frightened in some cases of dealing with the police; some are fearful of talking to police for a variety of reasons such as possible drug/alcohol use at the time of the attack.  Many victims are worried about revenge violence for reporting the assault.  Some of the victims are young and don’t want their friends/parents/or significant other to find out.  Some rape victims just can’t deal with one more thing, that is out of their own personal control.

           So, the newly titled, Jane Doe rape kits are being offered; the evidence is collected by a specially trained nurse/doctor; and no name is put on the sealed envelopes…only an identifying number.  This way, when and if, the victim is ready to file a police report the evidence is still available.

           States are going to be required to offer the Jane Doe kits starting in 2009.  The kits are expensive; about $800.00.   It will be left up to the states which locations will have the kits available.  This way of collecting evidence just may improve the reporting of rape crimes.  In 2006, before the Jane Doe kits have become more commonly, available…it has been estimated that less than half of all rapes have been reported.  That also means that victims who may have been exposed to Sexually Transmitted Diseases aren’t being tested or treated.  Pregnancies can occur if too much time passes without medical care and of course, unless they seek it out, oftentimes, counseling or support services aren’t offered because the medical/legal profession would not be notified of the attack.  The Jane Doe kits have some definate positives…but what about other issues?

          Some of my questions would be…how long does the evidence, kept in storage, last?  How long would a victim have, before that evidence was no longer viable? The physical evidence and the photo’s collected at the time, in the Jane Doe kits, would still be helpful…but, what about a victim’s documented memories? 

         Would a legal team be able to tear apart a victims testimony in court; if, some extended time passed before a police report was made and documented?  Would their testimony of events be questioned due to a time lapse between the actual rape, identification and prosecution of a suspect?   Could the questioning of a victim’s memories of the rape be called into question; giving the legal representatives an edge in getting the charges of the suspect dismissed?  These are all important questions, as it would be horrible to go through such an experience; only to have it all dismissed, after summoning up the courage to actually file a report and go through the legal process.

         What do you think about the Jane Doe kits for rape victims?  Do you feel they will be helpful or harmful to prosecuting a case against a suspect? 

        

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         On Saturday, a couple was having a special day; they were getting married in an outdoor ceremony.  During the ceremony, a man and his companion (female) were swimming in the water near the area of the wedding ceremony.

           While the wedding was ongoing the man in the water got angry and was making it known to the bride and groom.  They finished saying their vows only to be shot by the man who had gone to his car and retreived a gun.  The alledged shooter’s name is Patrick Paul Duvall.

           Duvall also shot a wedding guest and a bystander.  The bride and groom, Melissa and Mike Beavers are in the hospital in critical condition.  The wedding guest is still in the hospital but the bystander was released.  Duvall escaped in a stolen vehicle and was apprehended.  The police were told by the wedding attendees that no one knew this Patrick Paul Duvall.  The reason for his aggression seems to be unknown.  I haven’t heard any word about his companion and her role in the attack.

          When most people say their wedding vows…the phrase, til death do we part is usually included.  How many of us stop and really think about that phrase?  May God bless this couple and heal them completely so that they can continue on their life-long journey as a married couple. 

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Field of Memories       Memorial Day is always a bittersweet time to me.  While people are out celebrating the day with picnics and parades…others are at the cemetaries; and many are mourning their own personal losses.  Each and everyone of our freedoms in the United States were purchased by the blood and sweat of a service member from the beginning of our country’s history.    Our town did something unique this year with a, Field Of Memories.  There was a flag and information representing each of the 92 service members, from Michigan, who lost their lives. 

         In this time of war with Iraq, whether you feel it is justified or not personally; i hope you found some way to honor the men and women who are committed to following through with their pledge to their branch of the service and to our country.  It is always a sacrifice; but never more so, than during war.  Freedom and honor don’t come cheap…many individuals gave their lives and limbs, for you and I. 

           Thank you to all who have served both past and present, in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard, or The Marine Corps.  It can never be said enough, that you are appreciated; and, your families sacrifice of time with you, is not forgotten.  If you can find a way to support and encourage a military family please do so.  It is a way of giving back!

           

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