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Archive for June 2nd, 2008

          Breaking news today that a Texas judge involved in the removal of the sect’s children for suspected abuse has ordered that the more than 400 children be returned to their families today.  It is family reunion day for the children and their parents of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints.

           In getting the return of their children, the families have to agree to take parenting classes; that is fairly typical in cases where children have been removed when there have been concerns about parenting skills.  They also have to submit to either psychological or medical testing for the children if it is deemed necessary.   The families may not leave Texas and move out of it’s jurisdiction.  It sounds as if the case is not closed but, it will continue to be monitored with the children placed back into their homes.  For the children to be back in the home…their families have to agree not to interfere with any investigation.

            I am sure this is not the end of the whole mishandled situation.  When all is said and done with the investigation and cases are proven or disproven…i am sure there will be more litagation to follow.  Those who were falsely accused who had their children removed will want to be compensated in court…to make it clear that they were not abusers and to prevent this kind of mass assumption of guilt in the future.  For those found guilty, they will be held accountable.

            In the larger picture, much damage has come from this situation for those individuals who were seperated from their families.  This case has made history and it’s impact is going to be far reaching from one state to another in determining the limits of power that the child protective departments will be able to wield over individual rights.

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          Today there will be news reports on the outcome of Senator Ted Kennedy’s brain surgery.  He was scheduled to undergo brain surgery this morning at 9 am.  Then he will be in the hospital for approximately 1 week.  After the surgery he will be undergoing radiation and chemotherapy soon to treat the cancer.  We wish him and his family well.

           Also, it was announced that actress Tatum O’Neal was allegedly arrested in a drug bust over the weekend.  She had been a competitor on an earlier season of Dancing with the Stars.  She has admitted a past drug usage that played a part in her divorce from tennis star John McEnroe and custody of her children.   This last couple of weeks has seemed volatile in the news. 

           Today, a music icon, Bo Diddley passed away at his home in florida from heart failure.  He contributed much to the music scene in the early years of the rock and roll beat.

           Fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent died…he had been ill for some time.  He was 71 years old and is credited with making it fashionable for women to wear pant suits.

           History was made in the allotment of delagates for Michigan and Florida.  There was much brouhaha about who would get the opportunity to cast their votes.  All of the delagates will get to vote however, their votes will each only count for half.  No one is satisfied with this agreement…however, the only other obvious solution was being touted was to throw out their votes…that too, was unacceptable.  So, the democratic convention is penalizing Michigan and Florida for having their primaries earlier than the democratic party condoned.

          This week proves to be no less traumatic than last week.  Stay tuned!

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         It is June and the end of the school season.  That means that there are many more children out and about.  I just want to take a few minutes to remind people about child vehicle safety.

          Last week there was a horrible reminder of how easy it is for an accident to happen, with the loss of Christian singer Steven Curtis Chapman’s 5 year old daughter.  She was killed when she somehow got in the path of a vehicle driven by her teenaged brother.  Our prayers go out to the whole family at their time of loss.  But, the period of grieving is going to be complicated because of their son being the driver of the vehicle.  There are so many emotions to deal with, in addition to loosing their daughter.

          Teen drivers have less experience watching out for the little ones.  They are new to driving and it only takes a second for a distraction to cause an accident.  With cell phones, radios and passengers along for the ride there is much to distract a driver these days.  Also, reminding elderly drivers about taking extra precautions around driving near young children is a good idea.  Every driver needs reminding about such things.   Teaching the little ones to play away from parking areas, away from the curb, or away from the roadways is very important. 

        Educating teens and reminding all other drivers about the extra dangers of the importance of watching out for kids at play…especially when balls, bikes, skates or skateboards are involved.  Quick decisions by young children aren’t based on …is it safe for me to chase my ball that just went out into the road, or is it safe for me to skate across the corner of the road…or am i fast enough to get by on my bike…they just make quick decisions that can put a driver in a bad situation.

         My adult daughter lives in a housing development in a cul -de- sac.  This is a housing development that has alot of young families; as well as a day care, right next door.  I am paranoid when i go to visit because of the parking available.  Whenever i arrive or leave, i take several exta moments to check where all of the little ones are because; they are riding little electric cars that are low to the ground, they are running and chasing each other, they are often riding little bikes and push toys.  It is hard to see them.  I am terrified that i will miss seeing one of them while backing out of the parking space.  Apartment buildings, beaches, parks and school zones are all areas that require extra focus and attention watching for children at play.

          The neighbor who runs the day care, in my daughter’s neighborhood, is very good about keeping an eye on the children and no-one plays out of doors without adult supervision.  However, it only takes a moment to be distracted as parents arrive to pick up, or, drop off their children.  There are other neighbors, who get visitors, who do not always watch their children vigilantly.  It only takes a few extra minutes to make sure where everyone is located; and, to make them aware that a vehicle is coming or going.   It could save a life and alot of legal responsibility.

          As long as we are talking vehicle safety and wee ones…let talk about the electronic windows.  It is so easy for little ones to accidently get trapped in the electronic windows.  Every year we hear of deaths or severe injuries caused by little arms or heads that somehow get rolled up in the electronic windows.  Please, please, please, make sure the children are strapped into their seat belts or their child restraint seats properly.  That way, you can be a little more confident that they are not playing with the buttons on the windows while you are driving.

          Children love playing and hiding in out of the way places.  Cars are a temptation. If there are abandoned cars in your neighborhood…get them removed or locked up.   Please, keep your vehicle locked when you are not using it…even if it is parked in a garage.  Children sometimes get into the vehicles and can’t get back out; or they climb into the trunk and the same thing happens.  Teach children not to play in a vehicle; but still, protect them and yourself by locking the vehicle.

          Communities are becoming much more pro-active about teaching and inspecting child seat restraints.  Often community police or rescue personnel will offer a safety inspection of your child safety seat.  They will make sure that they are properly installed and offer tips on how best to make sure that your child or grandchild is safe.

         Finally, now that summer is here…the warm weather is too.  The air in a closed vehicle quickly heats up and becomes unsafe for little ones to be left in a vehicle; even for just a few minutes.  Always, always take your child into the store or gas station.  For safety’s sake, do not leave them in the vehicle.  Even when the vehicle is empty, crack the windows a bit; or, open the vents in the back of the vehicle to let out excess heat so that the vehicle is not overly warm when you and your child get back into the vehicle.  That blast of heat can damage young lungs and it can be painful to the skin to touch hot seats.

          Every year we hear tragic reports, on the news, of another child that died as a result of being left in a hot vehicle.  When transporting your child to day care on your way to work…place your brief case, lunch bag, purse or some other such reminder in the back so that in your haste you don’t forget that your child is strapped in the back.

           Put a reminder in the front seat near you such as a toy or a bottle, to remind yourself that your child is in the back; especially if you are transporting your child in an out of normal circumstance of your daily routine.  Or, put a post it note in a bright color on your steering wheel; these reminders are important, because forgetting your child is not an option.  If the child falls asleep and is quiet, in your haste to get to work or whatever your routine is, if you normally dont transport your child at that time every day…it can happen that you “forget” that your child is in the vehicle with you. 

             It seems silly to go over these safety issues…but, take the time to remind yourself of them.  It is worth taking a few extra minutes to go over them if it saves one life…and a lifetime of guilt and regrets.  Have a safe and fun summer!

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         Ok, it is June 1st, and you know what that means…it is the start of Hurricane Season; get ready.  Each season is filled with predictions of how many storms and how many hurricanes are expected…but, truthfully, there is no way to know for sure how many hurricanes there will be; or, where they will hit.

        The best thing that can be done is to keep an eye on the weather predictions and to be prepared as best you can.  There are some great ideas such as having an emergency preparedness kit available.  Pack them in plastic tubs so that they are water proof; and, are easily put into a vehicle at a moments notice.

          Those kits should include bottled water, batteries,flashlights, matches, candles, extra blankets, important documents, non-perishable food items, a couple of changes of clothing for each person, battery operated radios, extra medications that are taken daily, some baby formula/diapers, a phone/address book that has contact information regarding doctors and insurance company information in them.   Those are the type of items that are needed and they can be quickly accessed if you plan ahead and keep these items all in one location.

       It is wise to also have available tools, nails, sandbags, and boarding to cover windows and doors, in case the hurricane should hit your area.  Plan ahead to have an evacuation route to take, to leave the area early if you are going to do so; this is especially important if you have special health needs or physical challenges.   Keep an extra can of gasoline in the garage, for just such an emergency, if you are being encouraged to evacuate quickly.   Gas prices will go up at a time like this and the lines at the pump will be long and filled with stressed out people.

            If you stay…you are risking your life; and potentially, the life of anyone who may have to “rescue” you later.  Keep emergency flares in your vehicle and maybe in the upper most level of your home.  Stored food and water must be sufficient to last for several days; multiply the amount for each person who stays.  Remember, if help is needed…they may be overwhelmed and may not be able to get to you quickly.  It is best to leave the area than to risk lives unnecessarily.

         Communication with loved ones is very important at a time like this; so, if you have a cell phone, keep it charged and if you don’t have one…keep a calling card with you just for an emergency.  Remember, regular utilities such as phone, gas, and electric may be cut off.  Keeping loved ones informed about where you are and what your plans are, will help to cut down on any confusion and extra anxiety that you may experience. 

              Just an extra bit of advice, if you have valuables or pictures or documents that you absolutely can not afford to lose, you may want to consider keeping them on the upper most level of your home or take them with you.  Many people have lost important papers or pictures that are time consuming to replace or are irreplaceable. 

            With a little bit of planning…if the worst happens and your home or business is damaged…at least you can make it easier for your family to get to a safer place quickly.  Get flood insurance if you can get it.  Lessons learned over the last few years from all of the devastating storms that have been hitting around the world…no things are worth loosing your life over…and, the most important thing is to be as prepared as you can be to lesson the pain and suffering that these horrible storms can cause.  You can check out the hurricane storm situation at:  http://www.noaa.gov/

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