Archive for July, 2008

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Fires kill, even in daycare centers

July 12, 2008

My daughter is 25 now, so it’s been a long while since I worried about daycare. I remember that stress: choosing quality daycare I could afford where I thought she would learn and grow mentally and socially. I needed to be sure the environment stimulated her developing brain and let her have fun. I entrusted her to “strangers” for an hourly pittance and expected they would care for her nearly as much as I did.

Of course I wanted a safe place for her as well. In my mind, safe mostly meant from abuse, sexual or otherwise. I have to admit that fire safety in her daycare never crossed my mind. Not once.

I did not ask – ever – if they:

  • tested their smoke alarms?
  • regularly changed batteries in the smoke alarm?
  • had regular fire drills?
  • had fire extinguishers and knew how to use them?
  • had a system to account for everyone?
  • promised they could get my Sarah out in an emergency?

I am probably not much different from most other parents. Today in Tallahassee, Florida, a family is mourning the death of their 4-year-old because of a fire at her daycare yesterday.

I believe as a mom I can imagine their anguish. I think about an E.R. doctor telling me, “I’m sorry, your baby is gone,” and my stomach clenches, my throat goes dry. My knees weaken and I know I would collapse if this was happening in my real world.

I am so very sorry for this family. The daycare’s staff surely is ill with guilt and grief…something you probably never really get over.

For other parents out there, ask those questions. And make sure your home environment is safe, too. Check your smoke detectors, practice your escape plan, teach your children, “Stop, Drop and Roll.” This Web site has good info for all stages of life: http://www.firesafety.gov/

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Happy Birthday, America!

July 4, 2008

 None who have always been free can understand the terrible fascinating power of the hope of freedom to those who are not free.  

— Pearl S. Buck

I am blessed to be among those who have always been free. It didn’t always feel like it growing up…you know, parents’ rules and all that! But I live in a place and a time that abounds with freedom and opportunity.

Freedom to speak or write blogs for the world to see. Freedom to worship how, when and where I choose. Freedom to  pursue any career path I want, regardless of gender or skin color.

It is the battles fought by countless heroes before me that give me those freedoms. Thank you to the United States’ founding fathers, to this country’s leaders at all levels, and to the Susan B. Anthonys, Martin Luther King Jrs. and Rosa Parks of the world. Courageous and inspirational leaders who each of us should exemplify every day.

Happy Independence Day!

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News – American made

July 3, 2008

In Florida in the past two weeks, nearly 400 newspaper and other media outlet employees have lost their jobs. The Miami Herald, Palm Beach Post, Tampa Tribune cut staff, and the Daytona Beach New Journal will be shutting down completely.

This is bigger than just the tough economy. This is a result of the dumbing down of Americans. Newspapers can’t sell their papers – their core product! How can we expect them to stay in business if we’re not buying the product?

Why aren’t we buying? In my opinion, it’s because so many of us are content to read an occasional blog or the FWD: FWD: FWD: e-mail Joe’s best friend’s sister’s nephew wrote. It doesn’t really matter to us if that piece is fact-checked. We’ll take it at face value and consider it news.

As a consumer that frightens me. I don’t always like that journalists are the watch dogs of society – don’t always agree with them – but I know that the large majority of them want to tell both sides of every story to inform the public. There’s no way I can be informed, on my own, about all the issues of our complex society. I rely on them to deliver the information so I can make intelligent choices and decisions.

As we force their employers to reduce staff and close doors, we risk losing something essential to America’s being: past, present and future. I am proud to say that I have been a newspaper subscriber in every city I’ve lived in my adult life, and am currently. I can’t always spend as much time reading it as I like, but I will always subscribe.

I want factual coverage and I want to support American made products. After all, isn’t that what our newspapers really are?

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Shame on Starbucks!

July 3, 2008

I love coffee–hot, fresh coffee. And I love my mocha lattes. I can justify splurging on them because it’s about the only way I drink milk. Lots of my hard earned cash helped you grow, Starbucks.

Now you’re closing 600 stores! You couldn’t rake in money fast enough a year or so ago, and now when times are a little tough, you’re adding to the problem. Not to mention the lack of “green” by abandoning buildings that in many instances you built new.

In the process of all your growth, you ran “mom & pops” out of business across the country. So while I’m disappointed in you, I can’t even say I’ll never buy another Starbucks. You’re the only gig I’ve got close by, right on the way to work. Just the way your business model was designed.

Rethink your decision. Limit hours. Cut back menu items in those places. Do anything but put more people out of work and add more wasted building space to our landscape.