From the Civic Commons blog:
The Civic Commons’ tagline is “Turning Talk Into Action.” But how do we even begin to talk about an issue as complex, life-threatening and, frankly, frightening as teen abuse of prescription drugs?
Your Teen Media believes that performance can open up roads to dialogue, making it then possible for parents and teens to explore the topic and progress toward healthy behavior. Courtesy of Your Teen and numerous sponsors, “LEGALLY ADDICTED: Prescription Drug Abuse,” a play from Recovery Resources, will be presented at the Westlake Performing Arts Center in Westlake on Monday, April 15 from 7:00pm – 8:30pm and again at the John Carroll Annex in University Heights on Monday, April 22 also from 7:00pm-8:30pm. (You can see the flyer with the exact address and other information here.) The expectation is that, through performance and a discussion that will be moderated by Kim Wheeler, WKYC News Anchor, we can start a conversation in a little less threatening a way than it otherwise might get started.
Please read the rest of the post, spread the word, share this information with everyone and anyone you think could benefit. It is easy to turn our heads but families and individuals are hurting because of this epidemic. Many thanks to the good people at Your Teen for taking on this topic and helping us learn how we can engage parents and kids and community.
Amazing awesomeness for any day of the week. You go girl.
I’ve sent this letter or a very near version of it to every member of the State Board of Education of Ohio, to Governor Kasich and to State Senator Lehner and State Rep. Stebelton who are Ex Officio members of the state board. I’ve had phone calls with both Mary Rose Oakar and with Ann Jacobs, both board members (Mary Rose is my state rep for the board and originally I only sent the letter to her). I’ve received a more or less pro forma email from Ms. Terhar stating that there’s not enough time to give notice for a special meeting so she says that she will speak on February 11. I wrote her back to assure her that she has a right to speak before that if she wanted to tell us she’s stepping aside as the board president and going for sensitivity training and social media bootcamp, rather than hide behind a rule. No meeting of the board is needed for her to announce a decision. Maybe for a vote on it, maybe, but certainly not if she wants to tell us all about it. In any case, my letter pretty much says it all. Also, if you are able, the next regular meeting is Monday, February 11 at 8:30am. It is a public meeting – please try to attend. They’re at the School for the Deaf in Columbus, 500 Morse Road.
Dear Board Member Oakar,
My name is Jill Miller Zimon and I’m a resident of Pepper Pike and therefore in your School Board district. My three children have attended the Orange schools, and two are still there (oldest is now in college). I’ve been dedicated to public education my entire life and find wholly unsatisfactory Ms. Terhar’s inability to comprehend that her actions this week have been inappropriate, offensive, inaccurate and unworthy of someone whom you and your colleagues have placed in the position as the nominal and actual leader of our state’s top public body related to the education of millions of Ohio children.
I realize that unless you were absent, you must have voted to affirm Ms. Terhar’s place as president of the Board (my understanding is she was re-elected to being president unanimously), but clearly the Board must possess better alternatives among the remaining 17 of you (I note that there is one at-large vacancy at this time). For if there is not a better option at this time than Ms. Terhar, we should all be questioning the fate of our state’s education system. I am asking you to do everything within your power to remove Ms. Terhar as president of the Board and install a member who can appreciate the wholly inappropriate actions and reactions of Ms. Terhar.
In addition, I would urge that the following steps also be taken:
1. Social media policy for the Board members be reviewed, modified and adopted as necessary.
2. Social media training for the Board members be designed, implemented and required for all Board members.
3. Sensitivity training be procured and implemented with all the Board members. Facing History and Ourselves is an outstanding, award-winning program that could be contacted, but groups like the Anti-Defamation League as well as the NAACP and I’m certain many others (we have the Diversity Center here in Cleveland) could also handle such an assignment. Read more
It was difficult for me to focus on this evening’s work session in City Council because less than an hour before the meeting began, I learned that Juvenile Court Judge Peter Sikora had died earlier in the day. You can read what has been posted so far here.
I moved to Cleveland for graduate school – that joint degree in law and social work which I thought would lead me to juvenile court, truly. That’s what I wanted to be – a juvenile court judge. And so when I landed a clerk position in juvenile court after my first year of law school but before my first year of social work school, I felt like the luckiest person. I was placed in the courtroom of a brand new judge in the late spring of 1989, the courtroom of Peter Sikora.
How many people know or recall that he was in the courtroom in Playhouse Square? Yup. That’s where I went – I took the bus. Every day. Read more
WARNING: Expletives used.
Here in Northeast Ohio, Monday morning shattered when news of a high school junior shooting several of his schoolmates started streaming into my inbox via news alerts.
At 8:18 a.m., I read: Breaking News: Report: Geauga County Sheriff’s Department and OSHP heading to Chardon High School (the original item isn’t even there anymore, there’ve been so many updates)
I didn’t have to read another word before saying the trifecta out loud to an empty house, “G-ddamnit. Shit. Fuck.”
Even as I write this, my stomach cramps up, my lower lids fill up and I bite my lip drawing in a huge sigh.
I thought that the first thing I’d write about in this post would be about what we know. But ha. Really — just ha. Because I also think about all that we don’t know. And what of either category simply doesn’t matter?
For anyone wanting to keep up or catch up, so far, the best source for information has been the Cleveland Plain Dealer and you can find all their reports on the Chardon shooting here. I’ve heard multiple news outlets congratulate them throughout the week, and I’d say they’re deserving.
So I’m sitting there eating my lunch during the Andrea Mitchell Reports hour (seriously, I work my lunch around her first 30 minutes or so if I can arrange it) and right at the beginning of the show, when it cuts to a commercial, this is what I see:
If ever a video deserved to go viral, it’s this one, don’t you think!? It is one of the most effective cause commercials I have seen in a very, very long time and it dovetails precisely with my work on behalf of the Moms Clean Air Force (an effort to highlight the incredible damage dirty air does to our kids and us, and the imperative we should all feel in supporting the EPA’s efforts on behalf of clean air).
Naturally, I wanted to know who was behind the ad. It resides at the URL for Clean Air Saves Lives, but the final seconds of the ad and a tagline at the very bottom of that website reveal that it’s American Family Voices, a group started in 2000 by none other than Mike Lux (he currently serves as the group’s president). From their mission statement:
American Family Voices was founded in 2000 to be a strong voice for middle and low income families on economic, health care, and consumer issues. Since our founding, we have educated the public and pushed for legislation on a number of vital issues to make American families more secure…
Join the on-the-ground fight against AEP’s outrageous dirty air bill, which would block life-saving clean air standards and cause 17,000 premature deaths every year! Over the next couple of weeks, we will be organizing local events in Columbus to increase the pressure on the big polluter.
“Ask What is Your Number?” Day of Action
Date: Thursday July 14th Time: 10am – 11am
Where: AEP Headquarters, 1 Riverside Plaza (Marconi and Long)
Meet: North Bank Park (Neil Ave and Spring St)
What: After a short walk from North Bank Park, we will have a press conference/ demonstration asking AEP “How many is too many”?
Join us on Thursday to support clean air in Ohio and nationwide! Banners and signs will be provided.
Read more from the Environmental Defense Fund at their Ask What’s Your Number site. They’ve got sample tweets you can post including:
17k premature deaths from @AEPnews’s dirty air bill. How many deaths are ok? #WhatsYourNumber #CleanAir http://goo.gl/hmja1 Tweet this!
@AEPnews’s Dirty Air Bill = 240k asthma attacks and 17k premature deaths. Acceptable? #WhatsYourNumber http://goo.gl/hmja1 Tweet this!
No advanced pollution controls on 40% of @AEPnews’s plants. How many lives is that costing? #WhatsYourNumber http://goo.gl/hmja1 Tweet this!
And they’ve also posted this PSA – warning, it features a child on a breathing device and is not easy to watch or listen to – as a mom with a child who has reactive airway disease, I feel it very viscerally:
Please remember, the deadline to submit comments on the new Mercury and Air Toxics rule has been extended to August 4. If you haven’t already done so, you have through then to email the EPA and show your support for the rule. And, of course, you can join the Moms Clean Air Force to help fight for clean air for our kids anytime. Every voice counts and is needed. Thank you.
The new rule replaces a similar Bush administration regulation that was struck down by a court that deemed it too lenient. The new rule will cut almost 2 million more tons of pollution per year than the Bush administration program.
States from Texas to New York will have to slash 70 percent of sulfur dioxide emissions and 50 percent of nitrogen oxides from power plants, compared with 2005 pollution levels.
Scientists say the fine particles and ozone from these plants contribute to deadly heart and lung failures.
The agency estimates the rule will be so potent that within three years, it will prevent as many as 34,000 premature deaths each year.
I would hope that Michele Bachmann and others who deploy aggressive rhetoric in the name of being pro-life or even loving the smell of emissions can find a way to support an effort like this one, but I’m not holding my breath, no pun intended. They should be sure to look at the interactive map and data (as well as this more static but simple depiction) that show just how many lives are at stake and where. Additionally: Read more
The current issue of Molecular Psychiatry features the work of Laura Fonken, a doctoral student in neuroscience at OSU. It’s titled, “Air pollution impairs cognition, provokes depressive-like behaviors and alters hippocampal cytokine expression and morphology.” According to this post on ScienceBlog.com, “Colleagues in Ohio State’s Department of Neuroscience collaborated with researchers in the university’s Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute.” The research is getting a lot of coverage.
So what do they say our brain looks like on dirty air?
“The more we learn about the health effects of prolonged exposure to air pollution, the more reasons there are to be concerned,” said Randy Nelson, co-author of the study and professor of neuroscience and psychology at Ohio State.
“This study adds more evidence of pollution’s negative effects on health.”
Specifically, from The Daily Mail, “A cloud over our lives: Air pollution linked to learning problems and depression:”
The mice were exposed to the equivalent matter that people who live in polluted urban areas could expect.
After 10 months of exposure the researchers then performed a variety of behavioral tests on the animals.
The mice who breathed polluted air took longer to learn where the escape hole was located. They were also less likely to remember where the escape hole was when tested later.
In regard to depression: Read more
I’m not in that group, but it is those who are that seem to be the most willing to ignore anything good that does derive from what seems like almost any quantity of regulation of almost anything.
Where’s this observation of mine coming from? It really became highlighted for me in a thread about clean air regulations that got consumed by the philosophical differences related to how we prioritize what is important to us. The example comes from this post at The Moderate Voice where I’ve been co-blogging for years as an example. Just read through the comments. (I know several of the regulars and we have acceptable online rapports that have developed over years, so you can stick to considering the content of the arguments made, as opposed to anything that might seem kind of personal.)
I don’t think that the back and forth there is atypical at all in terms of how those who are prone to see matters in a binary way apply that to the topic of government regulation. In fact, I think it reflects that type of vision extremely well.
By Jill Miller Zimon at 8:30 pm June 24th, 2011 in Business, Energy, Environment, Ethics, Government, Illness, Law, Moms Clean Air Force, Politics, Science, Social Issues, Utilities, Youth | 3 Comments
It’s hard to know where to start, as a mother of three kids under 18, one of whom has a recurring respiratory problem whenever he gets a cold, and living in a state that gets an overall F in clean air, when it comes to how universally savage the Republican presidential hopefuls are toward the Environmental Protection Agency.
If you missed the news, here’s a breakdown of how each of seven candidates addressed environment and energy issues in this past Monday’s Republican presidential primary debate in New Hampshire. (Note: it’s from a blog called Energy & Capital, and you can read about the editors of it here.) U.S. Representative and presidential primary candidate Michele Bachmann, had the most choice words. Her solution to all our problems that she deems are connected to regulation? She demands that we start with changing the name of the agency from “Environmental Protection Agency” to “Job-Killing Organization of America.”
Hmm. Really? A name change? Well, I get the obsession with the image is everything thing, but I think she’s going to have to do a whole lot more research, analysis and formulating before she’s going to convince anyone that a name change is going to make a difference.
So, what information might she need to check out before she stands by this literal kiss of death policy position of hers? Read more
By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:46 pm June 17th, 2011 in Business, Campaigning, conservatives, Energy, Environment, Ethics, michele bachmann, Moms Clean Air Force, Politics, Republicans, WH2012, White House 2012, Women, Youth | 6 Comments
Those children’s drawings and many more can be found here and here, courtesy of Ohio Citizen Action. The posts are titled, “Children’s Drawings for Duke Energy.” And while the images illustrated by the children reflect their awareness about the air quality around them, thanks to a 2008 USA Today multi-part, multi-media series on air quality around school buildings, findings are now coming out that highlight how those industrial pollutants endanger schoolchildren. The premise of the 2008 articles:
Read the whole thing, “Backlash: Are These End Times For Charter Schools?” but here’s a teaser:
Meanwhile in Ohio — a state with a troubled charter school sector since their legislation was passed in 1997 —Republicans are trying to weaken oversight and accountability, preferring to leave these issues to the marketplace. It’s a surprising strategy because most analysts agree that oversight is in large part to blame for the mixed record of charter schools in that state. Many Ohio charter school advocates are fighting the proposed changes, but are facing an uphill battle.
Just to reiterate: there are, we know there are examples, in Ohio, of very good & excellent nonprofit charter schools. It is the pay to play for-profit operators that have successfully seduced, with its millions of dollars given to primarily Republican politicians and get a pass to literally write and re-write Ohio’s laws to favor their bottom line, with our tax dollars, that upend, besmirch and embarass those of us who want to support the array of ways in which kids’ educational needs can be met – and should be met.
More on how awfully these schools perform in Ohio, just three days ago in the ABJ. There are so many moves made by people elected to take care of ALL Ohioans that make me feel outraged – and I am one of the luckiest Ohioans.
The Moms Clean Air Force is hosting a Mother’s Day-themed blog carnival through Sunday, May 8 (you know, Mother’s Day!? – get it) to honor our efforts today on behalf of the world we hope to create and one day leave behind for our kids in the proverbial tomorrow.
Got something to say about that? Said something already, or thinking about it? Please follow the directions here and add to the voices we’re making heard on the incredible importance of environmental issues, and clean air in particular.
This year, mothers need to think big about what we want for Mother’s Day, because there’s just too much at stake. Threats to the natural environment – the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat – are threats to our very motherhood, which is our ability to love and nurture our children and see them grow safely into adulthood.
Please join the MCAF blog carnival, A Mother’s Day Gift, and share your hopes and dreams about what kind of world you want your kids to grow up in. This should take the form of a letter from you to your children about what YOU want to give THEM for Mother’s Day.
And Happy Mother’s Day.
Miesha Headen, Richmond Heights City Council Member (at-large) and Theresa Allen, Blanchard Township Trustee (First female trustee in the history of her county – unbelievable in 2011) beat me hands down with sound bits – that darn I’m so long-winded thing. How’d I ever get this far?
Listen to the entire podcast (I’m just doing it now) here or tomorrow on 88.7 (WJCU).
[And for those who do listen? Dan corrects me and then I correct myself on the children statement - pick up your jaw and you'll hear it, okay? Good.]
Really honored to be on with these two women. And, I should say, I hope I never have to run against either of them – they are tough.
Also many thanks to Dan Moulthrop and the crew at Civic Commons. Please keep doing what you’re doing.
Filed Under Cleveland+, Government, Health Care, Law, leadership, Moms Clean Air Force, Ohio, Parenting, Politics, Research, Resources, Science, Social Issues, Utilities, Women, Writing, Youth | 1 Comment
Norm Roulet’s lengthy, in-depth post at REALNEO, “Happy Air Quality Awareness Week? Not in Cleveland, where air quality is poor, and awareness is worse! Meaning Modeling Matters!” is one of an abysmally few pieces of evidence that May 2 through 6 has been Air Quality Awareness Week.
Other pieces of evidence (scant themselves) that folks in Ohio would be made aware, during an effort dedicated to awareness, come from the Ohio EPA and Earth Gauge at WKYC (Channel 3). But that’s all I could Google up – I hope I’ve missed other coverage, because these results are terribly disappointing.
Worse yet, however, is that the scant publicizing of Air Quality Awareness Week is not nearly as disappointing, or upsetting, as how bad our air quality in Ohio actually is (although the number of inhalers I see in my youngest child’s elementary school nurse’s clinic indicates backs up this assertion without the need for much else, if you ask me). Read more
By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:39 am May 5th, 2011 in Cleveland+, Government, Health Care, Law, leadership, Moms Clean Air Force, Ohio, Parenting, Politics, Research, Resources, Science, Social Issues, Utilities, Women, Writing, Youth | 1 Comment
UPDATE: Via Plunderbund, here’s an excellent Ohio.com editorial from today that chastises the Ohio House Republicans’ latest shenanigans with charters and demands that someone in elected office step up and stop it.
And he’s not saying this in a good way, at all. And he is not fringe and he is not alone.
Read the entire article in the Dispatch today, “GOP bill reduces charter schools’ accountability.”
And then be sure to refresh your memory of how White Hat Management, the most notorious for-profit charter school operator in Ohio, received $17 million of your money for ghost students.
Oh, and before you go on, recall the editorial from the Cincy Enquirer in 2009 about how money and charters don’t mix.
On what planet in what universe do some of these people elected by Ohioans, charged with spending Ohioans’ tax dollars, LIVE ON? (And Josh Mandel – you support charters, who clearly support you – what do you have to say to this evisceration of accountability with our money, given that you are the Ohio Treasurer? Fascinating note – the news article that reported on Mandel’s appearance at Ashland Univ. where he reportedly mentions support for school choice, charters and the elimination of the estate tax is now available only in its cached form.)
This quote from the lobbyist for White Hat and its chief, David Brennan, is textbook rhetoric, obfuscation and scamming:
[Tom] Needles said the charter-school concept is to allow greater flexibility and fewer restrictions so schools can be innovative and improve student learning.
Letting the Ohio Department of Education grant permission for charter schools to open and eliminating sponsors will direct more money into the classroom and remove another layer of bureaucracy, he said.
Let’s get something straight: The layer that needs to be removed is the FOR-PROFIT layer that sends my money into David Brennan’s profit coffer that then ends up back in the millions of dollars he gives to the very elected officials who are championing his garbage legislative proposals to help him earn more profit, not direct money to classrooms. Read more
By Jill Miller Zimon at 9:37 am May 3rd, 2011 in Courage, Crime, democracy, Education, Government, John Kasich, Josh Mandel, leadership, Ohio, Politics, Republicans, Transparency, treasurer, Youth | Comments Off
From Ann Sheldon of the Ohio Association of Gifted Children, an absolutely relentless champion for Ohio and Ohio’s students. I’ve printed out the list of Senate Finance Committee people and contact information. Please do the same and look at your schedules for time to provide testimony in writing and/or person:
Advocacy Update – 5.2.11 And Now We Wait (and Prepare for Senate Finance) — Thank you to everyone who testified, emailed and phoned House Finance Committee members over the past week. You may stop calling now! Amendments to the budget have been submitted. House leadership will likely meet to decide what is in and what is out. Tomorrow they will meet at 4:00 PM to accept an omnibus amendment, which is a very long amendment filled with a variety of smaller amendments that have been accepted by House leadership. There may be a few additional amendments offered by Republicans, and then the Democrats will begin to offer their amendments, all of which will likely be “put upon the table.” This is a procedure which avoids a negative vote on the amendment, but essentially sets the amendment aside without consideration. While I know there are a few amendments that have been submitted to help us, I do not know if they will be accepted or not. I will let you all know when I know. Read more
And not just funding, but, literally, any trace of literal or figurative support for there to even be gifted education in Ohio. The current version of legislation being considered by the Ohio House will almost completely eviscerate any and all acknowledgment that students with such educational needs even exist: it guts the requirement that our state even identify children as having this category of educational need – and potential.
Who would propose, support and vote for people who would gut even the requirement to asses kids’ specific learning needs, at all – regardless of what end of the learning spectrum they are on?
Please. Read this advocacy alert and save our students and state. Barely 10 years ago, when Bob Taft was in office, this state showed great vision and understanding of the role these students play in Ohio’s future – and the role Ohio should play in these students future.
If Governor Kasich, House Speaker William Batchelder and Senate President Tom Niehaus, and other Republican recipients of for-profit charter school money (a movement which potentially may be receiving these literally tens of millions of dollars being completely pulled from gifted education) get their way, these students’ future will be erased as ever having been a priority – high, low, or anywhere in between.
Last week, Earth Day commemorations included a listing of the “most green” and “least green” states. As I wrote then, Ohio won the gold – or tarnished – ring and was named the most least green state in the country. Yippee.
Now comes the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report for 2011. The Columbus Dispatch reports that, relatively speaking, there’s been some improvement:
Heidi Griesmer, an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency spokeswoman, said the bad smog grades don’t reflect the region’s steady improvement in air quality. Mandatory pollution cuts at power plants, cleaner fuels and lower-polluting cars are driving the reductions, she said.
The bad smog grades are due in part to research indicating that even lower concentrations pose health risks. The U.S. EPA is expected to propose a tougher smog standard this year, and central Ohio is expected to fail that, too.
But when you look at the grades and information for all of Ohio and for my region, Cuyahoga County, it’s impossible to ignore the miserably low expectations we’ve set if these grades are an improvement. The Plain Dealer, the paper of record in NE Ohio, says as much not only in its headline, “Lung Association annual air pollution report marks improvement, but air still poor in Cleveland, U.S.,” and amplifies that sentiment in the article: Read more