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9-1-1 isn’t the only Emergency Number

9-1-1 isn’t the only Emergency Number
9-1-1 is the number to dial when someone commits a crime, needs medical assistance, or a building is on fire, but what about other emergency situations that occur in everyday life? For instance, who do you call when you need child care at a moment’s notice, financial assistance for utilities, housing, etc., or need food, counseling, or substance abuse treatment? Sure, if you already have a social worker at DHHR, you could go to them, but that means setting up an appointment which might not be until weeks after you call. If you don’t have a DHHR social worker, then include a bunch of sign-up paperwork before the actual appointment. The answer is, call 2-1-1. The phone number connects people with a program actually funded by a grant from DHHR and is also affiliated with United Way and AIRS. This service is just like 9-1-1 in the sense that it is free to call and connects you with the services you need. Not only do they cover the situations listed above, but an array of other topics are offered also such as, homelessness, education, employment, legal assistance, transportation, and much more. This service should be as widely known as 9-1-1, so spread the word! The same service is provided online at 211.org, and 211us.org provides more information on the program.

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Category: Jackson County  Tags: , ,  Comments off

Gynotician?

I decided to share the word of the day with you today:

Gynotician- A politician who feels more qualified than women or their doctors to make women’s health care decisions.

All this legislation being passed to control women’s bodies is out of hand and setting us back 50 years. Politicians need to let doctors do their jobs. If a woman wants to take birth control or have a baby or give it up for adoption or have an abortion it is no ones business but hers, her partner and her doctor. more »

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Category: Cabell County  Tags: ,  Comments off

Its about human rights

  Who you love does not change who you are.

Ok so I was asked by alot of people in the past few days. “Why would you support Gays?” “I thought you were straight?” “Did you turn lesbian?”  “You think gays should be aloud to get married and have kids?” “Don’t you know god hates gays and its not ok to disobey god?”

 

Well I have a few questions for you! Why don’t you support Gay Rights? I thought you had a heart? Why are we friends? Why shouldn’t adults be aloud to get married and have kids? Isn’t judging others disobeying god?

Imagine this The government walks into your house and says “Its now illegal for you to be married now you are officially not recognized as a couple by the government.” So now you have no rights you cant visit each other in the hospital, you can’t make health decisions for each other, you can’t adopt each others kids, you can’t be on each others health insurance, you are no longer a family in the eyes of the law.  Now imagine your spouse is on their death bed you want to be with them in the hospital but because you are not recognized as a married couple by the government you cant you must sit in the waiting room knowing your spouse is dying and wants you with them more than anything but because the government doesn’t recognize your marriage they will die alone in a hospital room. Sounds crazy right? Thats what happens everyday to same sex couples all over the world. Now my question to you is how would you feel being in their shoes?

A  friends son who I have known since he was a baby looked up at me one day out of the blue and said I have two mommies and my friend has two daddies. Do you have two mommies or two daddies? I said I have one mommy and one daddy. He said well thats ok too. If a four year old gets why can’t grown adults get it.

My supporting LGBTQ Rights has nothing to do with my sexual orientation. I really shouldn’t have to answer such questions but here you go. I am straight I was born straight have always been straight I am only attracted to men, I did not turn lesbian because you don’t just turn lesbian it doesn’t work that way!! I support LGBTQ Rights because I support Human Rights! Everyone should have the right to marry who they love. Everyone deserves to love who they love and not be persecuted for loving someone of the same sex. As long as all people involved are consenting adults its their business what they do and who they do it with.

Its not about whether you are gay or straight, black or white its about  love, family, equality and human rights!! Who are you to judge someone else?

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Category: Cabell County  Tags: , , , , ,  Comments off

Mother’s Day Idea: Make Dinner for Around $20

Mother’s Day is right around the corner and if you haven’t had time to go shopping (or just forgot), then why not give her a day off from cooking and make dinner yourself? Not only will you save yourself the hassle of making reservations (that may already be booked up) and give your mother a break, you will also save money by spending about $20 on dinner for the whole family. That’s probably less expensive than most gifts. Below is a dinner idea and cooking instructions. Keep in mind that the directions are for 4 servings, but you can multiply or divide the amount for more or less people.

Parmesan and Ranch Breaded Chicken with Alfredo Pasta, Pear (or Apple) Crisp Dessert:

INGREDIENTS:

For Chicken:

  • 2 eight ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of ranch
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 slices of bread
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • Non-stick spray or 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

For Alfredo Pasta:

  • Box of Pasta (Preferably Bowtie or Penne)
  • Packet of Alfredo Sauce Mix
  • Milk (however much the packet calls for)
  • Water

For Pear (or Apple Crisp):

  • 1/4 cup & 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of quick-cooking or old-fashioned (not instant) oats
  • 1/4 sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger (optional)
  • 1 dash of salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, diced (preferably unsalted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of water
  • 1 1/2 pounds of pears, peeled and thinly sliced (or equivalent in cans, drained and sliced) OR
  • 1 1/2 pounds of Golden Delicious apples, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Non-stick spray

COOKING DIRECTIONS:

Chicken:

  1. Grab 3 deep dishes (or plastic food storage containers). Put flour in the first one, egg white and ranch (mixed together with a fork) in the second, and the Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in the third.

  2. Toast the bread, then either use a blender or your hands to turn it into fine crumbs. Add the crumbs to the third container. Mix all the ingredients together.

  3. Prepare your skillet by adding non-stick spray or extra virgin olive oil and putting the burner on medium-low to medium heat.

  4. Using one piece of chicken at a time, cover the piece of chicken in flour, egg white mixture, then bread crumbs and cheese. Make sure to cover the entire piece of chicken in every step.

  5. Place the breaded chicken into the skillet and cook (turning it over every few minutes) until the middle of the chicken reaches a temperature of 165 degrees.

Alfredo Pasta:

This part of the recipe is quite simple. Read the directions of the sauce packet and pasta. Use the amounts of water, milk, and pasta as listed. I will run through the basic steps without mentioning how much of each ingredient to use.

  1. Add water to pot and bring to boil. Add pasta and let cook as long as the directions on the box indicate, stirring occasionally.

  2. When pasta is cooked, strain the water out and set the pasta aside. You can use the same pot to prepare the Alfredo sauce.

  3. Follow directions on sauce packet, then after the directions are complete, add the pasta and mix it together with the sauce.

Pear (or Apple) Crisp (Recipe from WeightWatchers: My TurnAround Program Cookbook):

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray.

  2. To make the topping, combine 1/4 cup flour, oats, 1/8 cup of the sugar, 1/8 teaspoon of the cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon of the sugar, 1/8 teaspoon of the ginger (optional), and the salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter (in pieces) and pinch with your fingers to form coarse crumbs. Add the water and firmly press the mixture to form clumps.

  3. To make the filling, combine the pears (or apples), the remaining sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, the remaining cinnamon and ginger (if using), and the vanilla in a large bowl; mix well. Transfer to the baking dish. Sprinkle the topping over the filling. Bake until the filling is bubbly and the topping is golden, 55-60 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Hopefully, this recipe is something you will use to surprise your mother with on her special day. Even if you have already gotten her a gift, this would be an excellent bonus! I’m sure she would appreciate it. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, and good luck to everyone trying this recipe!

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Category: Monongalia County  Tags: , ,  Comments off

You Don’t Know Me – Why Assume

People make assumptions all the time without even thinking about it.  It’s time to start thinking about it. You don’t know me so why are you making assumptions about me?

I got this notice the other day for an important meeting in my county. The notice didn’t say anything about children being welcome or that they would have childcare there so I didn’t go. I know I had some valuable information I could have shared. Maybe I would have learned something new at this meeting too. But because I have children and don’t have another parent in the home to watch them, or have the luxury of money to hire someone to watch them, I didn’t go.

See the organization that was calling this meeting assumed either a) I didn’t have children or b) I had someone who could watch my children while I went to the meeting.  What they needed to do was either have childcare or make sure the meeting was child friendly.  It’s that simple just put on the notice “children are welcome”.  Most people who have the option won’t bring their kids but the people like me who don’t have an option will show up at your meeting and participate because we know its OK to bring the kids.

assume

My children’s school likes to think they know me too.  They assume I really don’t care about my children’s education because I don’t come to school events or parent teacher conferences. They assume I’m lazy when my children don’t make it to school in the mornings.  They assume a) I’m on drugs or b) I am a bad mother.  The truth is, I don’t have transportation.  Where I live there is no public transportation and I don’t have a car.  I have no way to get to parent teacher conferences or school events and if my kids miss the school bus, I have no way to get them to school.

See the school thinks they know me but they assume wrong. What the school needs to do is provide a school bus to pick up parents and children for events and parent teacher conferences.  They need to understand that being poor does not make you a bad mother.  They need to understand there are many reasons why children are truant. It’s not just black and white, things are not always what you assume they are.

So for all of you out there who think you know me……..you don’t.

 

 

 

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Open letter from a Rape Survivor

Jane Doe of WV raped in Steubenville OH,

My name is Beth I am a 25 years old I live in WV. In 2007 one of my best friends on again off again boyfriend raped me. I was passed out and only remember bits and pieces of what happened but I know he raped me and he helped me to bed kissed my forehead and whispered “I didn’t rape you you said it was ok” before I could protest I blacked out again. I was drugged and raped at a party with all my friends by someone I thought I could trust with my life. I am one of the many survivors that didn’t report I am one of many who blamed myself for doing everything I knew I shouldn’t do like leaving my drink when I went to the restroom but like I said I trusted him with my life. I blamed myself for trusting him, I blamed myself for trusting my other friends to watch my back. I was in denial about the truth for along time I thought maybe I did say it was ok but I didn’t feel like I said it was ok and even if I had I was passed out and completely disoriented to the point where I still can’t put that night completely together or the following day for that matter. I confronted him and he said he did it and he would do it again if he could then he said he was sorry which he does send sorry messages to me randomly to this day. He says he deserves my forgiveness and he has changed wants to be friends wants to get back together. He does not deserve my forgiveness he deserves to be sitting in jail he deserves to be ran over with my car he deserves to be miserable for the rest of his life but because I didn’t report it because I knew it would be covered up by the city because I was “just another girl from the projects who was asking for it”. He has a good job, a family and still goes out to parties where girls will be. I have put the word out he is not to be trusted to my friends who warn their sisters and friends what he did to me hopefully saving another girl from being in that situation with him. I was told by some friends I was “asking for it” that I “deserved it” that I was “just like the other girls from the projects looking to blame some guy with money to get hush money” I didn’t report my assault I was being blamed by my friends and I knew the cops would do the same from other girls experiences with them and the way I was treated because I was a girl from the projects.

Jane Doe I don’t know much about you personally, like where you grew up or your families financial status but none of that matters we are bonded together with the millions of women who have been raped. We all know how you feel, you are not alone. Sadly we live in a world where people see or know something is happening and no one comes to your rescue, where girls and women have to constantly watch for suspicious activity even from friends.  Sadly we live in a world where football players and their friends think they can do whatever they want because they are treated like heroes. You Jane Doe are the hero, you survived and you pressed charges. I want you to know you are the hero you are a strong smart beautiful powerful young woman don’t ever let anyone make you feel less than that. Remember no matter what anyone says you did nothing wrong you did not ruin anyone’s lives they did that to themselves when they made the choice to rape you.

To all survivors keep your head up you are a hero you are strong and you are beautiful stay strong sisters,

Beth Dortch

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I Used to Work for the State Now I’m on TANF

 The program I am in is called WV Works.  This should tell you some about the program.
I used to have a job and was working for the state as a flagger.  I had a stroke in March of 2010 and had no income coming in and had to apply for welfare assistance until the Social Security Board decides whether I am eligible for benefits   To make a long story short, I receive assistance from the state.  As part of receiving this help, I have to be put into some kind of work program where I do so many hours a week or a total of 130 hours on the month in order to participate and receive the benefits.  I went to our local college this year, Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College.
I am a full time student and carry 12-15 hours.I made the deans list and GPA of 3.72.  I thought that I would get the winter break in order to regroup with my son who is in the 9th grade and wind down before the semester starts back in January but that did not happen.  My worker said that I had to be put in some kind of activity in order to continue to receive the benefits and the program they put me in is called EXCEL.  It is our local GED center.
With all the grades and accomplishments that I had just completed for the first semester, I am in the GED class doing math, reading, english, and learning how to get myself back into the workforce.  It is a good program for those who need it but at the time, it’s not what I need.   I didn’t even go to doctors appointments during the semester in order to get good grades at the college and not miss anything.  I thought after the semester was over, I could pick up all the things I didn’t get to do.
I guess the reason that I got so upset with the whole program was that every month, we have to fill out a time sheet and turn it in to show our time and participation.  This is also a travel voucher of such because we get paid our hours and mileage for going.
I turned my sheet in for the month of November on December the 2nd.  They have to be turned in by the 5th of each month.  Well, it’s Christmas and I haven’t received mine yet.  I called and left a message for my worker on the 12th of December.  She didn’t return the call, so I called her back on the 13th and she told me she processed them all on the 12th.  I thought OK, it will be coming.  While I was at the GED class yesterday, she calls me and had me come to the phone to only tell me that their computer shows that I brought my time sheet in but they can’t find it and I need to do another one.
I went through the roof.  I do any and everything that the DHHR ask me to do because if you don’t you will get a letter or always be told that you are gonna lose your benefits.  I used to make $31.96 an hour standing in the road for 3 10-hour days out the week.  If the unemployment office would let me draw my own money, I wouldn’t need the DHHR but in order to get that, you have to be eligible to work and my doctors won’t turn me loose because of my health issues.  They say that I could have a stroke at anytime because of the scarring on my brain.  I PUSH MYSELF EVERYDAY TO GET BY BECAUSE I JUST CAN’T SIT BACK AND WAIT.  That’s not me!!

This is from an anonymous guest blogger.

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Category: Logan County  Tags: , , , ,  Comments off

Hunger is a Crime. STOP Throwing Away Food!

foodtrashHunger is a crime in a country that throws away $165 billion worth of food each year.  That is equivalent to 20 pounds of food per month per person in the US.  How can our government let people go hungry when this much food is going to waste?  The answer is MONEY.  By manufacturing the myth of scarcity, prices can be driven up and more profits made.  We are sold on the idea that resources are limited and there is not enough for everyone.  This is a lie.  There is enough it is just controlled by corporations.

  • 7% of fields in the US are not harvested each year. The produce is left to rot in the filed or be plowed under because market prices as too low and farmers can’t afford to take a loss. “If market prices are too low at the time of harvest, growers may leave some crops in the field because they will not cover their costs after accounting for the costs of labor and transport.”
  • Food is thrown away based on looks not whether it is edible. “Culling is the removal of products based on quality or appearance criteria, including specifications for size, color, weight, blemish level, and Brix (a measure of sugar content).”

A large tomato-packing house reported that in mid-season it can fill a dump truck with 22,000 pounds of discarded tomatoes every 40 minutes.30 And a packer of citrus, stone fruit, and grapes estimated that 20 to 50 percent of the produce he handles is unmarketable but perfectly edible.

  • Supermarkets throw away 1 in seven truckloads of perishable foods delivered “supermarkets on average discard $2,300 per store worth of out-of-date food every day. Almost all of this food is still consumable but may have a limited shelf life left.”
  • As much as 10% of food purchased by restaurants becomes kitchen loss, both edible and inedible, before reaching the consumer.
  • Restaurant diners leave 17 % of meals uneaten and 55 % of these potential leftovers are not taken home.
  • American families throw out approximately 25% of the food and beverages they buy. The cost estimate for the average family of four is $1,365 to $2,275 a year.

Source http://www.nrdc.org/food/files/wasted-food-IP.pdf

 

What YOU Can Do!

  • Stop throwing away food!!  If you have something you don’t want or its going to go bad before you will eat it give it to a friend or neighbor.
  • If you don’t like to eat leftovers make a plate and take it to an elderly neighbor or invite some friends over for dinner.
  • Talk to your local grocery store about donating to a food bank or soup kitchen
  • Hit the dumpsters.  Store dumpsters are full of perfectly good food that is thrown away every day.
  • Talk to a local farmer about opening the fields not being harvested to a gleaning project or to local residents to come and pick their own.
  • Talk to your restaurants and caterers about donating unused food to a homeless shelter.
  • Start a weekly food swap.

Please leave a comment below and let me know what ideas you have for saving food from the trash bin and feeding the hungry.

 

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Category: Appalachia  Tags: , ,  Comments off

Making Housing Choice a Reality

Housing is a growing concern for the people and leaders of West Virginia.  Making sure everyone knows about the Fair Housing Act, what it provides and who it protects is important so all West Virginians can have equal opportunity and access to housing in the community of their choice. 

In October 2007, the Northern West Virginia Center for Independent Living (NWVCIL) received the first HUD Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) grant ever awarded in West Virginia.  As a FHIP, the NWVCIL and its community partners were able to provide education and outreach on the Fair Housing Act statewide to both consumers and housing professionals.

The West Virginia FHIP hosted community workshops, conducted marketing campaigns, and organized other activities to help people understand their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.  The FHIP also worked to help people understand how housing complaints can be made if they feel they have been discriminated against or that mandates of the Act have been ignored.

Currently, the partnership, now known as WVFHAN (West Virginia Fair Housing Action Network), is conducting a program to see the extent of housing discrimination in the state.  If you feel you have been a victim of housing discrimination, call WVFHAN at the NWVCIL (304) 296-6091 and talk to the Claire Chantler, Housing Advocate for West Virginia.

More information on this initiative and other Fair Housing activities will be posted on this website as they become available.  In the meantime, visit the WVFHAN website at www.wvfairhousing.org

And remember, housing is your right and your responsibility!

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Category: Monongalia County, Statewide  Tags:  Comments off

This holiday season.

A moment of silence

 

I heard some Christmas Carols today one verse really got to me “Tis the season to Jolly” This song has never made me cry before but after what happened in Newtown CT, I couldn’t think of anything but the faces of the crying parents and children. This Christmas my heart is heavy for families in Newtown they will not be able to hold their children anymore they wont see them open their Christmas presents instead they will be burying their children, something no parent should ever have to do. The teachers both the ones who were killed and the ones who survived are heroes in my eyes they did what they could to protect the children.

My heart goes out to all those families missing a family member this season, and to the survivors they will never be the same, Their lives are forever changed. Schools are suppose to be a safe place, I know the staff did everything they could to protect the children once the shooter was in the building but this should not have happened. How does the universe allow something like this to happen? Innocent Children should not have to fear for their lives, Innocent children should not be murdered, School should be a safe place!!

I wish their was something I could do to fix this but I cant and that really bothers me I am the kind of person who wants to fix everything and make it all better but no one can make it all better nothing we do can change what happened, nothing we do can bring those children and teachers back, nothing we do can erase this from the minds of the surviving children, there is nothing we can do but grieve with the families and hope everyone talks to a counselor to try and work through what happened.

If I could ask Santa for one wish this Christmas it would be turn back time and prevent this from happening. I know that no one will ever forget this no matter how young they are, I still remember the Oklahoma daycare bombing April 19, 1995, I was 7 I only saw it on TV for a few minutes but I remember it like it was yesterday, you don’t forget tragedies like this.

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Category: Cabell County  Tags: , , ,  Comments off