Archive | March 2012

So Tired of losing 3 Year Olds.

Jahnisha McIntosh has been charged with manslaughter in the accidental shooting death of her son, Julio Segura-McIntosh, who shot himself with a gun found under a car seat.

TACOMA, Wash. — A mother who authorities say left her 3-year-old son unrestrained in a car after she placed a pistol under the driver’s seat has been charged with manslaughter in the death of the boy, who shot himself in the head while the woman went to get food.

The woman’s boyfriend, who is the gun’s owner, was also charged.

“Nothing is sadder than the death of a child, and when the death is the result of criminal negligence, there needs to be accountability,” Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said Wednesday. “Guns are inherently dangerous, and the law, as well as common sense, requires that guns be handled responsibly, especially around children.”

The mother, Jahnisha McIntosh, 23, and her boyfriend, Eric Vita, 22, made their initial appearance on the second-degree manslaughter charges Wednesday afternoon in Pierce County Superior Court. They both pleaded not guilty.

Julio Segura-McIntosh’s death on March 14 was the third child shooting in Western Washington within three weeks. On Feb. 22, an 8-year-old girl was critically wounded by a gun that went off in a classmate’s backpack in a Bremerton school. On March 10, the 7-year-old daughter of a Marysville police officer was killed when her brother found a gun in the family car.

In Julio’s case, Vita and McIntosh had stopped for gas in Tacoma. Vita, who has a concealed weapons permit, removed his gun from his waistband to avoid alarming the clerk and placed it under the passenger seat, the prosecutor said.

Julio had unbuckled himself and climbed into the front seat to ask his mother for candy. McIntosh moved the gun from under the passenger seat to under the driver’s seat so Julio could not reach it. Then, she went inside the convenience store for food, leaving Julio unrestrained, the prosecutor said.

Julio found the gun and shot himself in the head. McIntosh’s 8-month old daughter was in the car at the time and was not hurt.

Friends and family told detectives that Vita routinely showed off the gun with a laser sight and on one occasion offered to let Julio hold the gun before another adult intervened.

Vita’s attorney, David Gehrke, told KOMO that that shooting was a tragedy that has left everyone involved in shock. Vita acted reasonably, he said.

“I think he was being very careful. He did not just leave the gun there, without another adult present. And I think if the mother had stayed in there, this probably would not have happened,” Gehrke said.

“My understanding is that the child went from the back seat to the front seat, got the gun, the mom took it away and said, `No, leave that alone,’ and then put it under her seat. And then inexplicably she got out and went into the convenience store to buy something,” he said.

Gehrke said he’s not blaming the mother.

“She lost her child, and that should be punishment for any parent in a circumstance like this,” he said.

The child shootings have raised questions about Washington’s gun laws. The state is one of 23 that doesn’t have a specific law to prevent child access to firearms, such as mandatory trigger locks or criminal penalties for adults who allow children to access guns, according to the San Francisco-based group Legal Community Against Violence.

Washington state law is specific about carrying loaded pistols in vehicles, however. A person with a concealed weapons permit must lock the gun and conceal it from view if it is left in the car.

In the Bremerton classroom shooting that nearly killed Amina Kocer-Bowman, the Kitsap County prosecutor charged the mother of a boy who brought the gun in his backpack and the mother’s boyfriend with felony assault for allowing the boy access to the .45-caliber handgun. Jamie Lee Chaffin, and her boyfriend, Douglas L. Bauer, have pleaded not guilty.

In the Stanwood shooting, the Snohomish County prosecutor’s office said Wednesday the shooting is still under investigation by the sheriff’s office. When the case is sent to the prosecutor’s office, it will decide whether charges should be filed against Officer Derek Carlile, who left a loaded gun in the car.

Snohomish sheriff’s spokesman Kevin Prentiss said Wednesday that investigators are wrapping up loose ends and finishing interview transcripts, and the case should go to the prosecutor’s office within two weeks. Detectives used child interview specialists to question children.

Personal note: This is not something that just happens to someone else. For far too long these kinds of “accidents” have been happening. Tragedies like this have awful and life long impacts on the families. From parents to siblings this kind of horrible mistake takes the trust and faith of all involved away forever. The trust that one should have in a family has been shattered forever. Secrets will build around the event and the facts will become altered so as to minimize the horrid truths. Siblings will forever be changed and their relationships messed with despite no involvement in the actions taken by others. Even siblings not born yet will be effected by this heartbreaking tragic crime.

I know that “the right to own” gun owners are going to disagree. That is their right. I am not debating the subject. That is for another day. Today let’s put our heart’s together for the loss of not one baby but many at the hands of more  guns left unattended. Just as this toddler found his mother’s gun, so will others. Like with him, guns have taken the lives of other babies. Sometimesit’s as sad a case as the child has done nothing more than any other child, running by and knocked into a gun standing against wall .This is enough to take another 3 yr old’s life.

More than 58 yrs ago this kind of “accident” was happening. Not much changes sadly.

If you own a gun you are now on notice.

 

Elavation Drop To Sea Level.

“An enchanting land of rocky ocean capes, thundering waves, secluded beaches and forests, shellfish flats, dairy cows grazing in lush green fields, and delicious cheese and ice cream awaits you. Crowds? Only at the cheese factory. Congestion? Very few stop lights encountered. Freeways? Forget it! “

ROCKAWAY OREGON U S A

March 17th, Saturday I was gifted with a trip from the High Desert to the Oregon Coast for a whole week as my dear, close friend D’s guest. D & her wonderful husband own a lovely little place right on the beach that she has generously invited me to before. So Saturday morning with her gift of the invite which had been in place for weeks my husband chauffeured me to Salem where my friend D was also graciously waiting to pick me up. Before heading west to the beach we spent some time in A MOST AMAZING PLACE CALLED Crafter’s Warehouse. Both my friend and I are paper artists, creating hand crafted cards is a passion we both experience – very similar to a zen like meditation. Three and half hours after my husband leaving me in good company and safely driving west we arrived at D’s Sand Castle with plenty of daylight left for ocean viewing right outside her picture perfect window creating the most beautiful piece of animated art –  hung right above her sofa. Strikingly beautiful.

The entire week was amazing. Going from an elevation of around 4,500′ to sea level in about 6 hours is a bump on the body. At least for someone who has a chronic central nervous system maladies the drastic drop in elevation can cause muscle soreness in the shoulders. Waist up and involving cervical issues. Sometimes there is great punishment of the body making these treks, but to not make the visits to the coast would be like turning my nose up to a certain treatments offered to the soul.

A week away to my Oregon coast is always a sweet delight. Having a week away with a friend who is much like-minded in many ways, is a gift.  I was blessed to have been given both at the same time. Seven nights and eight days spent watching the ocean outside the window, talking till our jaws were sore, drinking coffee and up late because no one else would mind, eating when we wanted, what we wanted, and a bit of shopping for our “addictions” Paper art supplies…. bliss. Complete bliss.

The week started with my husband being once again my knight in shining armor by agreeing to drive me to the coast as my friend D had been there for a few weeks ahead of me. Since I’m grounded from my wheels my husband had planned on driving the distance and possibly staying one night before heading back home. A one way trip can take anywhere from 6 to 7 hours, doing a round trip is possible just not desirable. But always thinking about “Plan B” my friend D had a suggestion. And an ulterior motive if truth be known. A motive that worked for both her & I very well. D suggested that she drive half way to us, so in fact my husband & I met my friend D half way.  Salem is a magnificent spot and has this store we do not have here at home in Bend. For people who have any creative bones in their body the mere name will suggest images you will drool over. The name of this place which was our ulterior motive is called Crafter’s Warehouse. And it’s just as the name suggests. But I have to say I was quite impressed with how the store is merchandises, all brand name items in sections of their own. Unlike the name warehouse would imply where all items no matter what brand name are lumped into one huge section. The warehouse image came in to play when it came to prices. I was more than impressed by the discount prices on items I usually pay full retail for because finding them at home is difficult. If my bank account is any clue to the savings I took advantage of than there was huge savings I absorbed. We were able to take advantage of   this store twice. Once when I was met on the way by my friend D, and again on our way home the following weekend.

The Crafter’s Warehouse was not to be out done. Although D & I spent the majority of our time in her lovely and sweet sand castle doing the things we love the most when spending girlfriend time together we found another store that was killer as my grand kids say. We did all that we wanted, Creating cards, watching Downton Abbey for the second time for each of us, drinking coffee into the night, we did spend one afternoon driving south on hwy 101 to Lincoln City for a visit to a Local Scrapbooking Store. This is one of my favorite things to do as a paper artist shopping for supplies and tools, shopping at local stores in the small towns and cities I adore visiting. Another peek into my checking account would tell on me, thankfully my husband never has a need to see itemized statements and he’s so supportive of this passion that keeps me out of trouble. After some shopping for items I know we both could not do without we did some grocery shopping for some necessities and then back north. It was a lovely drive, seeing downed trees all along the highway, Mother Nature’s incredible force, literally uprooting trees from their roots and laying them on their sides.

Back winding our way through Garibaldi and home into Rockaway we stopped and had Chinese Food at D’s favorite spot .Garibaldi is another sweet town just south of Rockaway, a beach town that has always been a part of my history. One of my  “always have to” places to shop is the Myrtle Wood Factory in Garibaldi Oregon. Myrtle Wood is deciduous to southern Oregon and Northern California, being the only two places in the world where it grows. It’s gorgeous wood, one that I wrote about regarding a carved elephant that is a gift from my husband to add to my collection. I found an interesting material called Banded Onyx this trip. It is found and mined in Pakistan. It was going to look perfect beside my collection of marble and other stones. So this is what I brought home for my husband. How could I resist?

Having  Yummy Chinese food was a perfect and satisfying closure to a day out and about. We sat  drinking hot tea – talking yet more and more. By this point I could hear my husband saying, “Really?” But D & I could talk and talk and still not run of things to talk about.  If we did happen to run dry of things to discuss there would be none of that uncomfortable awkwardness some people feel when silence ensues between them. I’m sure that there are no strained silences that we would ever have take place, but we’ve not had the chance to test it yet so I’ll trust myself on this.

Creating  hand crafted greeting cards are passions that D & I share. So much so that we have been wanting to go into part-time seasonal business together by renting a craft booth at the local holiday fairs when they hit this fall. I have had an inventory issue, creating enough inventory to sell. D seems to do much better than I but I am adamant about coming up with enough at least for a first year attempt.So much so that I am not even giving cards out as I usually do. But that has been my own nemesis, creating cards, and then gifting them all away. Along with greeting cards we’ll also have bookmarks, gift tags, memory and mini scrapbook albums where the buyer or their recipient will just have to add photos and journal any details to their own photos. It takes me anywhere from  couple of hours to even 5 to 6 hours to create a card, especially if I am also creating th focal points. Or also referred to as the card toppers. I love to create hand-made paper flowers, embroidered flowers and sentiments, watercolor images for the focal on my cards then from there create the whole design layout. I had a friend tell me that receiving one of my cards is like receiving a small art piece with each card. I was so touched. What a special compliment to be given.

Rockaway is a small loved beach town I write of often and will continue to do so, It’s a love I’ll have as native Oregonian all my life. Our week came to an end much too quickly. As we both knew it would. On Saturday a week later after meeting we put D’s castle to bed and we left mid morning for Portland after having a quite breakfast and a shopping trip to one of the small beach town- 2nd hand stores that I am smitten with. I found some lovely things to gift my secret sister, and the coolest find of my whole trip, Vintage Basketball Cards from the 80’s & 90’s. Is that you laughing? Yeah? Oh I get it, vintage from 1980’s and 90’s? Yes, when you are 12 years old as is my perfect grandson. T collects NBA basketball cards and I found packages of a dozen cards per package for just $1.00 per pack and when my grandson was able to see what was there he was delighted. I did good he tells me.

Leaving Saturday we took our time heading east. We did some networking for an upcoming group trip to Portland by breaking our trip home up and spending the night in Clackamas at the lodging venue we are using as a group in May. This is an annual Shop Till You Drop Portland two night trip; and staying this one night helped us network with the manager and also make reservations for 9 rooms in person. It was a win – win situation as it also allowed us to break the trip onto two days, saving wear, tear and flare-ups on our own bodies.

It was a nice day and evening, having dinner out and back to the room for a birthday party courtesy of Skype. Very cool that D can be so much a part of her long distant families parties a very cool thing such as a grand child’s birthday party. That I was included touched me more than I can possibly even try to express. It was just really special.

We headed home the following morning after a breakfast of good food and really stroooonnng coffee. Really Stroong coffee…. another round at Crafter’s Warehouse, it could be some time before I’m back that way after all….. you know?

….and then we were eastward home.

©TJHELSER 2012

Grounded From Wheels

I’m goin’ home

And when I wanna go home

I’m goin’ mobile

Well, I’m gonna find a home

ON WHEELS, see how it feels

Goin’ mobile

Keep me movin’

 I can pull up by the curb

I can make it on the road

Goin’ mobile

I can stop in any street

Invitin’ people that we meet

Goin’ mobile

Keep me movin’

 ~ The WHO

 Due to circumstances I’ve not much control over I voluntarily have grounded myself from my wheels. Driving has always been a passion of mine –  here I am talking in past tense – the freedom to just get up and go is one now I realize I so took for granted.

I don’t have the exact day I stopped driving. Again. Because I have done it two times before this time. I stopped before neck surgery and after the cervical fusion of C4, C5, & C6. I had little range of motion that is a requirement for driving on the streets of the USA. Maybe it is different else where but the thought of people driving without being able to turn their heads left and right is a disturbing one. I knew straight away how dangerous it had become to drive when on the streets of downtown Seattle in broad daylight I was trusting my faith in God and His angels to help navigate me – pilot – uphill from the crazy busy stop and go traffic of Pikes Market to the quieter pedestrian corners of what is affectionately known as Pill Hill, but in reality is First Hill. It took me only a few times too many to admit that becoming a Seattleite and parking my wheels in the garage was the wisest choice. Only to be brought out for trips to the burbs, and long distance to the kids.

But I was not happy doing it. Nope.

And for the third time now I have parked my wheels. I cannot give the exact day I did it this time. It has not been long after the second time. I thought then that the short time grounded was the last time. I now know there will never be a last time because of the mechanics of my neck and shoulders.

This time, this third time has seemed permanent. It’s not been a year, but it’s been more than 6 months. I miss the little things about driving that I took for granted. Being able to jump behind my wheels and make fast trek to my favorite paper arts stores, craft and art stores. I have a system and when I need replenishing I prefer the luxury of driving myself, alone, not feeling the need to hurry.

I have the most ardent and sweet chauffeur. He never is too busy, always ready when I need to be somewhere else. There are tender moments that would no doubt be missed if I was not in need of a ride during the middle of the day – and in the middle of a project. No matter what I think is urgent, no matter how far and during the traffic crunch I’m sure to need to be, my BFF is as always my gallant Knight in Shining Armour. He is who comes to my immediate rescue.  How blessed am I?

Yet having to give up my wheels is still not something I am doing with grace. I wish I could say that I am. To be honest I am somewhat resentful. It’s not making a happy camper out of me having to be grounded from my own four wheels. Despite that it has been completely voluntarily so.

I miss things about driving that I only have dreams and wishes about, as well as the everyday things I took for granted. I have on my ever-growing bucket list two things regarding driving; Nascar Racing, and to travel across different countries, small rural areas being the focus in a luxury touring car. A Mercedes will do nicely, thank you. Speeding at 200mph around an oval track and slowly and with purpose trekking through mountain roads in places like Madrid.

I continue to dream these possibilities.

Being grounded from my wheels is only temporary for me. Who am I to be so ungrateful? This is not permanent and with work and skills I will get myself back behind the wheel knowing with all confidence that I can look left, look right, and even look over my shoulders. So why am I whining so? I detest being dependant on others for anything, and for me this is what having the privilege to driving is. Yet when illness or injury have a whopping effect on the ability to so safely it’s time to put away pride along with my keys.

I’d love to meet you, putting faces to names is one of the magical things about life and people. However; I trust you’ll give me  a rain check this time. This time until the restriction for your safety is lifted.

Being grounded from wheels is a bummer – just a little bit of one.

©TJHELSER 2012

Tree Of Hope Blooms in Blue Ribbons~ 2012

 

KIDS Center Tree of Hope Event

Event begins at 3:30pm in front of the Bend-LaPine School administration building Downtown Bend

On Friday, April 2nd, KIDS Center will kick off the Blue Ribbon Campaign for National Child Abuse Prevention Month, with our annual Tree of Hope Ceremony, this year held in downtown Bend.

The Ceremony kicks off a month dedicated to both raising awareness of the thousands of victims of child abuse in Central Oregon and focusing on what we can do as a community to make a safe and healthy place for all children to grow up in. High school students from the Second Chance program will be tying thousands of ribbons to the trees in front of the Bend LaPine Schools Administration Building, across from the Bend Library during the week leading up to the Tree of Hope Ceremony.

On April 2nd at 3:30 pm, volunteers from KIDS Center will complete the Trees of Hope by tying hundreds more ribbons, to illustrate the 2300 suspected cases of child abuse reported in Central Oregon in 2009. Ribbons will be available to guests to tie onto the Trees of Hope as they arrive. Agencies involved in preventing and responding to child abuse will also be on hand to provide guests with information on how they too can become involved in preventing and protecting children from abuse. Refreshments will be provided by the generous donation of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.

At 4:00 pm, the ceremony will begin, with singing by the Bend Children’s Choir, a proclamation of April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and speeches by Bend-LaPine School Superintendent Ron Wilkinson and County Commissioner Tammy Baney. Youth winners of the Blue Ribbon Art Contest “What it means to be safe” will also be announced and their artwork will be displayed. For more information about the Blue Ribbon Campaign, child abuse prevention and other events in April, please visit http://www.kidscenter.org or call 541-383-5958.

http://www.downtownbend.org/kids-center-tree-of-hope-event/

Please don Your Blue Ribbons for the kids who have no choice but to wear the blue and purple bruises of abuse, and the hidden scars of neglect, that often does not show its ugly head until much later when little to nothing can be done to change the facts.

It costs us little to wear a Blue Ribbon for a month. How many children can count on you?

 

©TJHELSER 2012

Share Your World Sunday Week 16

PROUD MEMBER OF~

Here we are;  another Sunday so quickly descending down upon us before we know it. Or at least this Baroness has not been that removed yet from last Sunday, just finally finishing those answers. 

Share Your World is a fun way to be introduced to those bloggers you may know and follow. Also a fantastic avenue for meeting new bloggers in your world.

I’d like you to enjoy and even more so I wish for you to find your way to the founder’s blog who created this fun challenge each weekend. All info can be found to participate on one of the easiest yet most bountiful supports for blogging At Cee’s blog: http://ceeslifephotographyblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/share-your-world-week-16/

                                     Queries & Tenders below:

  • If you had a choice, which would be your preference: salt water beaches, fresh water lakes, hot tub, or desert?

This is a double-edged answer for me. I love and adore living in the high desert. The sunshine we receive close to 300 days a year with very little rain and humidity bakes my body, and rekindles my soul. Waking up to sunshine most days of my world is such a gift after living in Seattle, on the water, where ambiance is only a grey & cloudy. Maybe burning off in late afternoon one month of the year. And that one possible month would be August.

The other edge of this answer is the Beach. Having lived my entire life just a couple hours at the most from the Pacific Ocean I have a natural affinity for the sea water. Having fishermen in my families history it is not surprising that when I am blessed to be at the beach in Oregon anytime the feeling moves me. And the feeling moves over my soul quite often to get myself over the two mountain ranges (all the Cascades Mountain Range) to Hwy 101 and then to the tiny quiet towns which are so not part of any great tourist spots widely known and coveted. I’d like to keep it as such.

  • What book do you think everyone should read and why?

Another easy question with a two books that I believe should be read by all. The reasons will be varied as each reader is, and also in  the personal beliefs in which there are the quest for  individual answers. 

This first book is one in my bookcase that I had to include as far back as the late 60’s.  “Way of The Peaceful Warrior” by Dan Milman.

The second book is one that I find myself pulling from on a daily basis when parables are the balm that quiets my soul. This book is calledNotes to Myself” by my beloved & late Hugh Prather.

There is actually one more book I’d  like to recommend; ” Tuesday Afternoons” by Mitch Albom.

I’m only suggesting, with no narratives about each because I’d prefer to not set the readers up with any pre-conceived notions that could be just mirroring mine.

  • What’s your favorite way to wake up and what’s the first thing you do?

This is not a fair question for those like me who have chronic insomnia. I say this only because having a favorite way to wake up would first require that you could count on being asleep. This being said I can add that the first thing I do when I finally feel the community around me stirring is greet my BFF and our orange tabby Truman. Coffee & toast, newspaper, All in that order.  

  • What do you to relax?

I create with paper. Anything from hand crafted greetings cards, collages, memory canvas, scrapbook layouts, to 3D items used for parties, home and party decor.  Cutting paper designs and sculptures in the evenings snuggled up on the sofa next to my BFF is a special treasure of time for me.

Until next weekend….

 

©TJHELSER 2012