Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Parental Rights Amendment is Being Reintroduced: Share the News!!!


The PR Amendment Is Being Reintroduced!

Exciting Days Ahead

[Sent 5/24/17]
The school year may be winding down, but things are just about to take off here at ParentalRights.org. The biggest item on the near horizon is the introduction of the Parental Rights Amendment (PRA) in both houses of Congress, which I expect to see very soon. But that’s not all that’s taking place during that time.

Movement in Maine - Main Supporters, Please Contact Lawmakers
For starters, our effort to pass parental rights legislation in Maine will face its final hurdles over the next several weeks. Supporters in the Pine Cone State are asked to contact your lawmakers and urge them to support Rep. Ellie Espling’s LD472. (If you haven’t already seen it, look for an update in the next couple of days with details and a link to find your Maine lawmakers – but if you already know how to contact them and what to say, there’s no need to wait; you can contact them today.)


Working to Change Child Welfare Laws
Next, the bipartisan coalition we’ve been telling you about will be meeting with Congressional staffers next week to spell out needed changes to child welfare laws. Together with our friends across the political spectrum, we plan to show that existing laws encourage states to intrude in homes unnecessarily. Then, we’ll enlist champions to amend those laws to keep families together instead.


Drumroll…Reintroduction of the Parental Rights Amendment in Both Houses
As I mentioned at the top, though, the biggest event of the summer will be the reintroduction of the Parental Rights Amendment in both houses of Congress.


With new leadership, a new administration, and big projects like tax reform underway, Washington is somewhat challenging right now, which means even common causes like parental rights move slowly. But we have strong supporters on Capitol Hill who understand that you want to protect your children. We are coordinating with them now to bring the Parental Rights Amendment back to Congress and ultimately make it a reality.

Once we have all the exact dates and details ironed out, we will need your help to get as many initial cosponsors on board as possible. So watch for that coming call blitz.

In the meantime, hang on tight. We’re in for an exciting ride in the weeks ahead!

Sincerely,

Michael T. Ramey
Michael Ramey
Director of Communications & Research


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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

NY: Is Your Home Your Castle ----or Not?


Like this castle, the Fourth Amendment offers private citizens protection.

Home School Legal Defense Association is appealing a judge’s erroneous ruling in favor of a police officer who forcibly entered a member family’s home.

Earlier this spring, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York determined that Lt. Joseph Buccilli could not have known he was doing wrong because the law in question is not specific enough. We have appealed in order to show not only that the officer clearly violated the Fourth Amendment, but that he did so in a way that adds to a troubling law enforcement trend.

The case began late in 2012 when HSLDA sued on behalf of Timothy, LuAnn and Joseph (Joe) Batt. On April 17, 2012, Buccilli forced his way into the Batt home without a warrant, ostensibly to investigate a tip alleging concerns about the care of LuAnn’s elderly father.

Dodging the Constitution?

At issue in this case are so-called welfare checks, which we believe are being used by some officials to circumvent constitutional protection for private citizens to be safe and secure in their homes.

Thanks in part to advocacy by HSLDA, most social services investigators no longer contend that they are exempt from Fourth Amendment restrictions. Instead, it seems more and more caseworkers are asking police to conduct “welfare checks,” apparently under the belief that the U.S. Constitution does not require warrants for state officials who are just checking on someone’s safety.

And in fact, the Western District judge did determine that the officer in the Batt case does enjoy qualified immunity, without ruling on whether he violated the Constitution.

Appealing to the Law

We contend that the judge is wrong and that the Batts’ rights were violated.

Numerous opinions in federal courts all the way up to the Supreme Court specifically declare that warrantless welfare checks in the home are subject to traditional Fourth Amendment analysis. Unless there is a clearly defined emergency, a state official simply cannot enter a home without a court order.

We intend to make this case when we file our opening brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

The outcome is important not just for the family’s sake, but because of the principles involved. As HSLDA has held since the time of our founding in 1983, the Fourth Amendment right of individuals to be protected in their own homes is not only a fundamental civil liberty; it complements the right of parents to direct the education of their children from the sanctuary of home.

As Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Cooley stated in 1868:
“The maxim that ‘every man’s house is his castle’ is made a part of our constitutional law in the clauses prohibiting unreasonable searches and seizures, and has always been looked upon as of high value to the citizen.”

For more information, visit our Batt case page.
Darren Jones DARREN JONES Litigation attorney
 

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Drama (and Victory) in the Wyoming Senate

Prime example of just a Few working with Their legislators
Another Post from the Parental Rights Organization, whose vision is to :
Empower Parents to Protect Children
May we find strength in our Higher Power,
Granpa Chuck
 National Team Leader
ParentalRights.org logoRead On>>>
Drama (and Victory) in the Wyoming Senate


March 7, 2017
Wyoming
We were steps from the finish line, yet it suddenly appeared victory would be snatched from our grasp. The fate of House Bill 153 on Parental Rights in the Wyoming Senate came down to the last minute, and tested our ability – your ability – to respond quickly.

The drama began Thursday, February 23, when volunteer State Coordinator Jan Loftus alerted us that time was running out: Rep. Mark Jennings had expertly guided House bill 153 to passage in the Wyoming House, 50-7, in January. But if it wasn’t placed on the Senate calendar by the next day (Feb. 24), there wouldn’t be time for it to pass. So we alerted our Wyoming supporters, who contacted the senators in charge of scheduling and urged them to hear the bill. Rep. Jennings and some of his colleagues reached out as well. By Thursday night, the bill was scheduled for first read on Friday.

Friday morning I had the privilege of speaking with Sen. Kinskey, who would speak for the bill in the Senate. We discussed areas of pushback he could anticipate, such as a clear understanding of the Troxel Supreme Court case that makes a bill like this necessary.

Friday afternoon, after a floor debate that included support from Sen. Anthony Bouchard and the answers we’d worked out with Sen. Kinskey, the bill passed on first reading by a vote of 17-10. It looked like a victory, but it would not pass final (3rd) reading if the Senate remained split. Changes would have to be made by the next session day – and now it was Friday night.

The weekend involved emails between ParentalRights.org and our contacts in Wyoming. How could we respond to those who feared parents suing schools over curriculum? Would this harm Wyoming’s grandparent visitation law? Could this or that be amended or cut?

Finally, 2nd reading on Monday saw an amended version of HB 153 that would satisfy most of the senators who had concerns, without hurting the purpose of the measure. The aim of HB 153 – to secure parental rights as fundamental rights protected by strict judicial scrutiny – remained within reach. And it passed 2nd reading. We were one step away from victory!

Then came the last-second plot twist. Tuesday, 11:40 a.m. Eastern Time (9:40 a.m. in Wyoming) we got word that an amendment would be proposed to strip out “Section B” of the bill – the section containing strict scrutiny protection.

We had to get pressure on senators to reject the amendment. HB 153 without Section B would serve no purpose at all. But it was already too late; the session would start in 20 minutes.

We knew Sen. Kinskey would stand firm to protect the purpose of the bill. And Sen. Bouchard knew (he asked, so we told him) that if the bill lost Section B, we saw no reason to pass it. So he, too, would stand against the effort to change it.

But where would the support they needed come from? There was no way to get the message out in time, so we sent it anyway and hoped for a miracle.
Then we got one.

Bills up for 2nd and 3rd reading are generally taken up before lunchtime, but that day things moved slowly. And since HB 153 was the only contested bill up for 3rd reading, it was shoved to the bottom of the pile.

That means senators broke for lunch – and got to hear from their constituents – before the bill came up for discussion.

We don’t know how many emails the senators received. We do know that the threatened amendment was brought to the floor Tuesday afternoon and failed, 9 in favor to 21 against. Then HB 153, with strict scrutiny still intact, received its final Senate vote and passed 25 to 5.

Wyoming’s parental rights bill is not law yet. Though the House voted March 1 to concur with the Senate’s amended version by a vote of 53-7, it still awaits the governor’s signature. [Breaking: The governor has scheduled a bill signing for HB 153 on Thursday, March 9, at 1:30 p.m.] But we believe the real moment of decision was Tuesday afternoon.

Wyoming supporters came through and
made their voices heard.

We are grateful for the opportunity to work with parental rights heroes like House sponsor Mark Jennings, Senators kinskey and Bouchard, and each of our Wyoming supporters who called or emailed last week. Together we are able to accomplish great things for the cause of families and parental rights!

I am also grateful for each one of you. When we ask you to email or call, you get the job done. When we need you to alert us to bad bills or help us champion good ones, you rise to the occasion. And your financial support is literally the only means for our survival. Our organization would not exist without you!

So, thank you for standing with us as we champion parental rights in the states and in the U.S. Congress. The prize remains before us; let’s go take it!
Sincerely,
Michael Ramey
Director of Communications & Research
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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Texas, We Have a Problem



Another Post from the Parental Rights Organization, whose vision is to :
Empower Parents to Protect Children
May we find strength in our Higher Power,
Granpa Chuck
 National Team Leader

Read On>>>
-- February 28, 2017
ParentalRights.org logoThe editorial board of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram ran a blistering commentary on Tuesday (Feb. 21) about the state’s damaged Child Protective Services (CPS) agency and the rise of child sex trafficking.

“The child welfare system is in desperate need of reform,” 
the board wrote, paired with this tragic statement: “No child should ever be in the position that a pimp is the most appealing option for housing and food.”

For this reason ParentalRights.org is proud to be working with other organizations in a national coalition to promote reform at the federal level. We believe we can help sort out problems at the state level by improving the rules imposed on the states to receive federal funds.

Meanwhile, there are two Texas bills (unrelated to CPS) that we can get behind.
Both bills deal with “conservatorship,” the term used in Texas law to refer to the legal rights and responsibilities involved in the parent-child relationship. “Conservatorship” in Texas is synonymous with “custody” in most other states.
  • SB816 incorporates a presumption that a parent is a fit parent (unless clear evidence shows otherwise) into the “best interest of the child” standard when it is applied to original conservatorship decisions (not just the modifications). Such decisions would include separation or divorce situations as well as CPS investigations.
     
  • SB815 incorporates the legal presumption that appointing parents rather than CPS or another adult as their child’s conservator is in their child’s best interest. Similar presumptions already exist in many parts of Texas law, but it has not been specified in instances when a conservator (custody) arrangement is up for modification.
By monitoring and supporting bills like these and working to change federal and state laws, we can protect children by empowering parents. But we can’t do it alone! It’s your continued support that enables us to stand up for this vital cause. Thank you for your partnership in protecting children.
Sincerely,
Michael Ramey
Director of Communications & Research

   

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

HOW-TO WORKSHOP IN THREE MEDIUMS: Overcome Persistent U.S. Legal System Abuse


 Nurturing the Resiliency to Overcome Persistent U.S. Legal System Abuse




https://scontent-mia1-2.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-1/c5.0.200.200/p200x200/12047018_985313594824879_2816272501384871002_n.jpg?oh=a371e3ad4a39ce6fb5e172d2302ea3b2&oe=59369B94_______


"It's not the patience to endure losses that needs to be nurtured. We need the patience it takes to prevail. There's a difference."
~ NFOJA & Opt IN USA Co-Administrator Zena Crenshaw-Logal
_______
***
• LIVE WORKSHOP - 2017 NOFSW Conference. Join the National Organization of Forensic Social Work (NOFSW) in Boston July 27-29, 2017. Workshop Presentation (90 minute session), Primary Presenter - Zena Crenshaw-Logal. Learn More @ http://nofsw.org/
***
MAHB Blog - Starting May 2017, follow related posts via the Millennium Alliance for Humanity and Biosphere (MAHB) @ http://mahb.stanford.edu/category/blog/
***
• Internet Radio - Join Zena and co-host Dr. Andrew D. Jackson as they explore related topics via “Change of Venue”, a broadcast of The Virtual Round Table. Learn More @ https://www.facebook.com/TheVRTable/
>>>>>>>>Visit NFOJA at: http://50states.ning.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network

Learn "How To Win In Court" ... without a lawyer
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May you find Strength in Your Higher Power,
GranPa Chuck

Researcher, Editor, Publisher, Collector


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Special Report: The State of Parental Rights in America, 2017

The Parental Rights Organization has been a leader in this effort. Noting their Logo says it all>>>>>
"Protecting Children by Empowering Parents"
So check out this Special Report.
Thanks,
Granpa Chuck
National Team Leader

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ParentalRights.org logo

Special Report:
The State of Parental Rights in America, 2017
-- February 20, 2017

Parent and ChildThe Supreme Court once declared, "This primary role of parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an enduring American tradition." Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972) at 232. So, how are we doing with that "enduring American tradition" today?

Unfortunately, not so well. Even with advances in some areas in recent years, other areas remain a real problem for parents who just want to protect and provide for their children as they think best.

We have gathered stories from across the country to give you a look at the big picture in each of four key areas involving parental rights: medical settings, education, child welfare cases, and when parents have a disability. This report shares what we found in each area.

Parental Rights by Area:
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Parental Rights in Medical Settings

General Direction: Things are getting hotter (more contentious).
Over the last couple of decades we have seen the emergence of a lobby that believes in giving power to "experts" to seek the good of all children. Nevertheless parents continue to defend their right to make the best individualized decisions for their child. We are seeing that tension between parent and professional become more entrenched each year.

Medical EthicsThis year has seen a rise in the number of appeals in which an earlier guilty verdict from a charge of "shaken baby syndrome" or "medical child abuse" has been thrown out. These appeals are rising as reports and expert witnesses show flaws in the science behind those convictions. Parent and child advocates like Diane Redleaf at the Family Defense Center in Chicago and law professor Maxine Eichner at the University of North Carolina are exposing the legal and ethical issues that arise when doctors act in a forensic role (gathering evidence against parents) rather than in the traditional care-giving role of their field.

As wonderful as modern medicine is and as helpful as most doctors are, they are not perfect. Sadly, medical error is the #3 cause of death in our country according to a 2016 report. And even the best doctors are rarely in a better position than a loving parent to make the difficult decisions for a child.

The family of Justina Pelletier found that out the hard way in 2014 when the state of Massachusetts took Justina from them and placed her in the custody of Boston Children's Hospital. Doctors there were free to enroll her in clinical trials (without parental consent) for the somatoform disorder diagnosis they had given her, rather than continuing the treatment for Mitochondrial disease that her parents and doctors at Tufts Medical Center had been following. After public outrage following her parents going public, Justina was finally returned to her parents 16 months later, in much worse condition than when she was taken away. Her story reemerged in 2016 as the family filed suit in federal court against the state and the hospital who so severely injured their daughter.

Isaiah Rider of Missouri was also taken by the state over a disagreement regarding his treatment. He was finally released by the state of Illinois who had been granted custody (though he was never a resident of the state until he went into foster care) when Lurie Children's Hospital (Chicago) doctors decided they knew better than his mom. While in foster care, Rider suffered sexual assault. He was finally returned to the custody of his grandparents in his home state, but wasn't fully released from Illinois care until June of 2016, months after his 18th birthday!

As sad as it sounds, though, the Riders and the Pelletiers are the lucky ones. A family in New York found themselves facing allegations of child abuse after their infant died at the hands of New York doctors, according to a lawsuit filed last year. The suit alleges that the Long Island infant was pumped full of a "cornucopia of drugs," including Propofol, "the powerful sedative linked to Michael Jackson's death" according to a NY Post article. As the baby lay dying, Suffolk County social workers and a "pediatric child abuse specialist" were accusing the parents of shaking her to death, a charge the parents contend was fabricated to cover up the hospital's own serious errors in the child's treatment. The couple's two older children were taken from their care, but returned after two autopsies of the baby showed no signs of criminality. The child protection agency kept its case open for 11 long months, and is now a codefendant in the suit.

Two other cases, one in California and another in Tennessee, also saw the state take children away from loving parents over a disagreement in the child's diagnosis and treatment.

Yet even as the evidence is showing more and more the fallibility of the medical profession, states are heeding doctors' and pharmaceutical companies' urgings to clamp down on parents' rights in medical decisions. California in 2015 notoriously passed SB 277, a bill to remove from parents the right to make an informed medical decision regarding their child's vaccinations. Similar bills were introduced in 19 other states but failed to pass. Proponents of these bills, though, are undeterred, as evidenced by the number of states dealing with similar measures again this legislative session – already as many as 30.

In the medical sub-category of psychotropic drugs, parental rights have seen a slight improvement. Though most psychotropic drugs are not approved by the FDA for use by adolescents, many localities have nevertheless required their prescription to students who misbehave in school. Maryanne Godboldo of Detroit made national headlines 3 years ago when she barricaded herself and her daughter in her apartment and refused to let the city force her 13-year-old to receive Risperdol. The ensuing standoff brought out the SWAT team, a tank, and the national news.

Maryanne's own case was finally resolved this year when charges – which had been filed or appealed 5 separate times – were finally dropped. Sadly, they were dropped only because Godboldo suffered a massive aneurysm and is not expected to recover from her current comatose state.

But in the state of New Mexico, real progress has been made. That state in 2015 passed a law prohibiting a parent's choice to withhold psychotropic medications from being used as the sole basis for removal of a child. A New Mexico mother in Godboldo's situation will no longer have to barricade herself in her home in the first place. If she determines that Risperdol is dangerous, that New Mexico mom can rest easy in the knowledge that no one will be coming for her child.
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Parental Rights in Education
General Direction: Things are getting worse.
As with medical care, the area of education also sees the tension between parents and a group of professional elites who believe they can better make decisions for all children. This mindset can be seen in a Mississippi bill introduced last year which would require public school teachers to give parents a grade. No, not their children's grades – but an actual grade of their own. Are you involved in your child's education? Attend conferences? Don't give the teacher a lot of push back or ask too many questions? Then you would get an "A". On the other hand, if you cause too much trouble, you could get a failing mark. The bill actually passed the Mississippi House, but fortunately did not make it into law.

The march toward elitist control is a scary one, though. In 2015 the Administration argued in Romeike v. Holder that the right of a parent to decide the kind of education their child will receive is not a human right sufficient to grant refugee status to those robbed of it. The right, articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, was internationally adopted directly to prevent a recurrence of Hitler's plan to indoctrinate German students by requiring that they all attend the Nazis' state-run schools. Ironically, the Romeikes were fleeing Germany's use of the very same law that precipitated that declaration in the first place.

Most startling of all, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with the Administration in the Romeike case. Your right to choose your child's education is not sufficient for a refugee – will it still be sufficient for you?

School Policy Before you say "Yes" too quickly, consider that one school system chose to ban parents from walking their own children to school. And in Virginia, Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed a bill that would require schools to alert parents when a required reading assignment will contain sexually explicit material. Parents who championed the bill were able to persuade lawmakers of the need when, in multiple instances, school officials and lawmakers themselves had to ask parents to stop reading sample passages because they were "obscene" or "indecent." Yet the governor decided that warning parents of the material would interfere too much in the education process.

Or consider the state of New York, which apparently has determined that, while homeschooling is clearly not against the law, it is also not to be tolerated. Mother Kiarre Harris decided in December 2016 to remove her two children from Buffalo's failing schools. Per state law, she filed all of the required paperwork with Buffalo City Hall and told the school she was beginning to homeschool the youngsters. A few weeks later, Child Protective Services and the police showed up to take her kids. When she wouldn't reveal where the children were, she was arrested and jailed on obstruction charges, while her children were located and taken to foster care.

Home School Legal Defense Association recently filed suit against New York for routinely doing this very thing: charging "truancy" and taking children away from parents who have fulfilled all of the statutory requirements to teach their children at home. New York law permits parents to choose this educational alternative, but the state's message is clear: if you make that choice, we will fabricate a reason to take your child.

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Parental Rights and Child Welfare

General Direction: Things continue to be a mess.
An Arizona appeals court had to overturn a family court termination of parental rights (TPR) order that was based on a single lapse in supervision by a caring parent. The case involved a 6-year-old whose father has joint legal custody with his ex-wife.

An Indiana Court of Appeals similarly overturned a TPR decision and accused the Department of Child Services of an "extraordinarily troubling pattern of behavior." The case involved a mother who had fled an abusive relationship and completed every requirement set before her for unification, but who lost her son anyway.

The Vermont Supreme Court overturned a TRP order in Caledonia County at a time when "more children than ever are being taken into stat custody," according to the Burlington Free Press.

And in Connecticut a bill has been introduced to halt a "custody for care" scheme (where the state won't provide care for children unless the parents give up custody) that the Department of Children and Families (DCF) denies even exists. According to the Hartford Courant,
Judicial department data show the state has used the petitions to take custody of more than 860 children over five years – or an average of three children a week.

Three children per week in a state the size of Connecticut is hardly a "last resort."
An article at The Day (also in Connecticut) reveals a system that often confuses poverty for neglect.
A report from KIMT in Iowa in December similarly declared that "cases involving terminating the parents' rights to their children are on the rise."

Other current concerns include a Texas case where child services workers had to be sanctioned by a judge for lying in court to illegally remove a child from her father. And in North Carolina, a young man sued the child services supervisor "who adopted him, only for her and her boyfriend to spend several years abusing him."

In short, parents are losing custody without cause in far too many cases – and often losing their permanent parental rights, as well. Yet the lack of a sound legal standard leaves the door open for judges and child welfare workers to continue the system as it is. The system is failing children, failing families, and failing our country as a whole.

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Parental Rights and Parents with Disabilities

General Direction: No real change, but growing awareness
Parents with disabilities have been left unprotected since the shameful Buck v. Bell Supreme Court decision of 1927. Because of that ruling, which allows states to "prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind," 35 states today include disability as grounds for termination of parental rights. Ten states and the District of Columbia allow physical disability as the sole grounds for TPR – even without evidence of abuse or neglect[i].

It is perhaps no wonder, then, that Massachusetts was caught committing "extensive, ongoing violations" of the Americans with Disabilities Act in their removing of Sara Gordon's baby simply because Sara has a disability, according to a letter from the U.S. Department of Justice last year.

American society as a whole is no longer comfortable with the idea of taking children from parents with a disability simply because of their disability. We are outraged by stories like Sara's, or like that of the Missouri couple who lost their baby in 2010 because both parents are blind. (Their baby was returned 57 days later, but valuable bonding and nursing time had been lost.) But to date the laws that would protect these parents have yet to be passed.
 
[i] Stats in this paragraph from Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, "Know Your Rights Toolkit" (2016), pp. 3-4.

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Solution: The Parental Rights Amendment
A proposed Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (PRA) would provide that "the liberty of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children is a fundamental right." By setting a firm constitutional standard to protect these rights, the Amendment would provide clear direction for courts, doctors, child welfare workers, and other government officials. Racial bias would diminish as fewer cases are left to the discretion of a judge or other state agent.

Another provision of the proposed Amendment would protect the rights of persons with disabilities so that mothers like Sara Gordon never lose their children in the first place. The proposal states, "The parental rights guaranteed by this article shall not be denied or abridged on account of disability."

The attack on parents in America continues. The PRA provides the single greatest means for parents to fight back – and win.

To donate to make the PRA a reality, click here.

Sincerely,

Michael Ramey
Director of Communications & Research


Learn "How To Win In Court" ... without a lawyer
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
May you find Strength in Your Higher Power,
GranPa Chuck

Researcher, Editor, Publisher, Collector