Trinity Mount Ministries

Showing posts with label Trinity Mount Ministries blog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trinity Mount Ministries blog. Show all posts

Thursday, February 21, 2013

CAMPANELLA: School choice and kids’ safety: Preventing bullying:

The Washington Times

Educational freedom not just about academics

By Andrew Campanella

When people think of school choice, they think of parents selecting new, rigorous, challenging schools for their children.

For some parents, though, the need for choice isn’t just about academics. It’s about the safety — both physical and emotional — of their children.

Through my work, I’ve met parents who fall into every camp — parents who yearn for more academically challenging schools for their children, parents who want to remove their children from persistently violent schools and parents who recognize that without switching schools for their kids, their children will be emotionally tortured — bullied — by mean kids.

Robust school choice can help children escape bullying, and it’s time for people who are engaged in our national discussion about this issue to embrace meaningful, bold and unrestrained school choice for all families.

Parents should have the option to send their children to a great traditional public school, a public charter school, a private school, a magnet school or an online academy. The bottom line is this: No children should ever be forced to attend schools that don’t work for them. Even if a school works for 99 percent of the students attending it, if it doesn’t work for your child — you deserve options.

When parents can select the right schools for their children, they can put their children in a caring, nurturing, safer environment. They can make it clear to school administrators that they want their children looked after, treated with respect and dignity. In the process, as schools begin competing for children, administrators will be forced to address the concerns of parents more quickly on issues that directly impact the well-being of young people, like bullying or violence.

School choice doesn’t just help kids who are being bullied. It can actually provide a lifeline for kids who are, for whatever reason, mistreating others. I’ve heard from families about how taking a seemingly violent child out of one school and providing him or her individualized attention in another environment can change a child’s life and encourage kindness and compassion.

Is school choice the only solution to bullying or to school violence? No. Still, it is one solution.

Ruthanne Johnson’s story is what made me think about this issue anew, and made me realize that bullying isn’t just the latest Hollywood issue du jour.

Ruthanne spoke recently at National School Choice Week’s whistle-stop tour event in Toledo, Ohio. She spoke eloquently and poignantly about how she was bullied by a cadre of mean kids. Ruthanne is a sweet, beautiful girl with a loving family. She’s outgoing and friendly. For some reason, she was targeted.

My heart broke for Ruthanne and her mom. In reality, she and her family don’t need or want pity. They’re tackling this challenge — the need to end bullying and empower children to stand up for themselves — together. Ruthanne took her experience and created a nonprofit, the Be You Foundation, to educate and inspire other children who are facing tough times at school, and to speak out in favor of educational choice for families.

Aside from their own unique courage and ability to turn around a challenging situation, what kept hope alive for Ruthanne’s family was the fact that they had sway over their school, and their school’s administration, because of Ohio’s robust and diverse school choice policies. Ruthanne’s parents could have switched schools for her, but her situation got better — because her parents had leverage.

Now, Ruthanne is speaking out, empowering kids and families, and supporting an expansion of school choice for children. As Ruthanne says, it’s hard to “be you” if you’re in a school that doesn’t work for you. I couldn’t agree more.
There are hundreds of thousands of children who are bullied in our country, who aren’t treated by their classmates with the dignity and respect that every human being deserves.

When parents have greater power over the schools their children attend, kids have hope. With empowered parents come empowered children like Ruthanne, who are willing to take obstacles, overcome them and empower others. For the sake of our future, America needs more Ruthanne Johnsons. We need more adults who are willing to recognize that robust school choice can provide an essential solution to a crisis that plagues many families. We have no greater calling.

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Missing Child Alert issused for two Melbourne girls:

Wink News

Melbourne, Fla.-- A Florida MISSING CHILD Alert has been issued for Kiah Firth, who was last seen wearing an all pink sundress with flower print and Kristin Firth, who was last seen wearing a dark blue sundress with a belt and a bowtie in the back. The children were last seen in the 100 block of West University Boulevard in Melbourne, Florida. The children may be in the company of James Firth, last seen wearing a black V-neck sleeveless shirt, black pants and black shoes and Mai Firth, last seen wearing a multicolored flowered dress and a black coat. They may be traveling in a 2002, silver Lexus SUV, FL tag number 612PGW.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Study Shows Children With Autism Tend to Stray:

Study Shows Children With Autism Tend to Stray

Brendan Bannon for The New York Times

Patrick Murphy, 14, will sometimes sneak out of the house to pursue his latest interest.

When Patrick Murphy was 6, he became obsessed with vacuum cleaners. The boy, who has autism, used to slip out of his house near Buffalo without telling his parents, running to a nearby appliance store or into strangers’ homes to marvel at vacuum cleaners.

Patrick is now 14, and his parents have double bolts on the doors in their home and brackets on their windows. Still, Patrick — who is now focused on dogs — manages to sneak out. Two weeks ago, he crept from the house after his mother went to bed. When his father came home, he alerted the police. They found Patrick running barefoot in his pajamas at 2 a.m., three miles from his home.
“That was very scary,” said Patrick’s father, Brian Murphy, who has now added an alarm system to the house to keep his son safe. “He has broken through brackets, windows, picked locks, you name it. It’s absolutely the most stressful part of parenting a child with autism.”
The behavior, called wandering or elopement, has led to numerous deaths in autistic children by drowning and in traffic accidents. Now a new study of more than 1,200 families with autistic children suggests wandering is alarmingly common. Nearly half of parents with an autistic child age 4 or older said their children had tried to leave a safe place at least once, the study reported. One in four said their children had disappeared long enough to cause concern. Many parents said their wandering children had narrowly escaped traffic accidents or had been in danger of drowning.
Those at greatest risk of wandering off were autistic children with severe intellectual deficits and those who do not respond to their names. The research was published on Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
“I knew this was a problem, but I didn’t know just how significant a problem it was until I really began to look into it,” said Dr. Paul A. Law, senior author of the study and director of the Interactive Autism Network, a registry that is a project of the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore. “This is probably one of the leading causes of death and morbidity for kids with autism.”
Advocates for families affected by autism say the findings underscore the need to raise public awareness and alter policy. While Amber alerts are used to mobilize the public when a child is believed to have been abducted, for instance, generally they are not used when a disabled child goes missing, said Alison Singer, president and a founder of the Autism Science Foundation, one of the organizations that supported the study.
Emergency responders should receive special training on how to search for autistic children who are nonverbal and often scared by lights and sirens, she said. Emergency personnel also need to know to check streams or ponds, since many children with autism are drawn to bodies of water, as well as highways.
One in 88 children in the United States received a diagnosis of autism, Asperger syndrome or a related disorder in 2008, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While some of these children are socially awkward but high functioning, others have limited intellectual and cognitive abilities.
“For children who are prone to wander, this is a pervasive problem that affects all aspects of families’ lives,” Dr. Law said. “Many parents just don’t go out in public with their child because they don’t feel safe with them, or they don’t get any sleep at night because the child once escaped through the upstairs window.”
The idea for the new study came from a family coping with autism, and it was financed by several advocacy organizations. Researchers surveyed families who had a child with autism or a related disorder between the ages of 4 and 17.
Most of the respondents came from 1,098 of Interactive Autism Network’s most active participants, 60 percent of whom completed the survey. Families who chose to participate knew the survey was about wandering, and those coping with wandering children may have been more likely to respond, skewing the results, Dr. Law acknowledged.
Over all, 49 percent of families who participated said a child with autism had tried to wander from home, school or another safe place at least once after age 4; the peak age for wandering was 5. Some parents said their child wandered off several times a week or even several times a day.
“This is the first study to quantify the scope of the problem, and it was much larger than we thought,” Ms. Singer said.

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Friday, November 2, 2012

FBI - Crime in the United States, 2011:

Crime in the United States, 2011

Mollie Halpern: The FBI’s 2011 Crime in the United States Report shows that violent crimes, such as murder and rape, dropped for the fifth year in a row. They decreased 3.8 percent when compared with 2010.
David Cuthbertson: Property crimes declined for the ninth consecutive year. They were reduced approximately .5 percent compared with 2010.
Halpern: I’m Mollie Halpern, and this is FBI, This Week. Crime in the U.S. is a statistical compilation of reported crimes voluntarily provided to the FBI by more than 18,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide. It shows what crimes were reported in specific areas. David Cuthbertson, the assistant director of the Criminal Justice Information Services, cautions against using the data to rank the safety of cities.
Cuthbertson: Many socio-economic factors go into whether a community is considered safe or not.
Halpern: The data can impact FBI resources…
Cuthbertson: Our special agents in charge in the field will use Crime in the United States to help them decide where to deploy our resources in conjunction with the already existing FBI priorities.
Halpern: For more, visit
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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Justice Department Officials Raise Awareness of Disaster Fraud Hotline:

U.S. Department of Justice

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Justice Department Officials Raise Awareness of Disaster Fraud Hotline:
WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice, the FBI and the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) remind the public there is a potential for disaster fraud in the aftermath of a natural disaster.  Suspected fraudulent activity pertaining to relief efforts associated with Hurricane Sandy should be reported to the toll-free NCDF hotline at 866-720-5721.  The hotline is staffed by a live operator 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the purpose of reporting suspected scams being perpetrated by criminals in the aftermath of disasters.
NCDF was originally established in 2005 by the Department of Justice to investigate, prosecute and deter fraud associated with federal disaster relief programs following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.  Its mission has expanded to include suspected fraud related to any natural or man-made disaster.  More than 20 federal agencies – including the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General and the FBI – participate in the NCDF, allowing the center to act as a centralized clearinghouse of information related to disaster relief fraud.

In the wake of natural disasters, many individuals feel moved to contribute to victim assistance programs and organizations across the country.  The Department of Justice and the FBI remind the public to apply a critical eye and do due diligence before giving to anyone soliciting donations on behalf of hurricane victims.  Solicitations can originate as emails, websites, door-to-door collections, mailings, telephone calls and similar methods.
Before making a donation of any kind, consumers should adhere to certain guidelines, including the following:
  • Do not respond to any unsolicited (spam) incoming emails, including by clicking links contained within those messages, because they may contain computer viruses.
  • Be cautious of individuals representing themselves as victims or officials asking for donations via email or social networking sites.
  • Beware of organizations with copycat names similar to but not exactly the same as those of reputable charities.
  • Rather than following a purported link to a website, verify the existence and legitimacy of non-profit organizations by using Internet-based resources.
  • Be cautious of emails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files, because those files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.
  • To ensure that contributions are received and used for intended purposes, make donations directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf.
  • Do not be pressured into making contributions; reputable charities do not use coercive tactics.
  • Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions. Providing such information may compromise your identity and make you vulnerable to identity theft.
  • Avoid cash donations if possible.  Pay by debit or credit card, or write a check directly to the charity. Do not make checks payable to individuals.
  • Legitimate charities do not normally solicit donations via money transfer services.
  • Most legitimate charities maintain websites ending in .org rather than .com.
In addition to raising public awareness, the NCDF is the intake center for all disaster relief fraud.  Therefore, if you observe that someone has submitted a fraudulent claim for disaster relief, or observe any other suspected fraudulent activities pertaining to the receipt of government funds as part of disaster relief or clean up, please contact the NCDF.

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud by a person or organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of hurricane victims, or if you discover fraudulent disaster relief claims submitted by a person or organization, contact the NCDF by phone at (866) 720-5721, fax at (225) 334-4707 or email at

You can also report suspicious e-mail solicitations or fraudulent websites to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at
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Police search for missing Hanford teen, baby:

Hanford Sentinel
Police search for missing Hanford teen, baby:
3 hours ago  •  

HANFORD — The Internet lit up on Tuesday night with the story of a local 16-year-old girl who disappeared with her infant daughter. 
Diana Laura Zamora Cardenas was last seen at home with her month-old child, Davina Alcala, on Sunday. Cardenas’ mother reported them missing later that day. 
Police believe Cardenas may have fled to Mexico to be with her boyfriend, Nicholas Alcala, who is wanted for murder in Fresno County.
Authorities believe Alcala shot and killed 34-year-old Pedro Aispuro during a gang altercation in Huron five months ago. Alcala, a known gang member who goes by the name “Nico,” is considered armed and dangerous.
Police Lt. George Hernandez said Cardenas may still be in the area, staying with friends of the suspect before traveling south. Investigators are looking for her near Avenal and Kettleman City, but have received little help from those who know the teen runaway. 
Foul play is not suspected in her disappearance as police believe she left home voluntarily. 
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children issued a flyer about Cardenas and her daughter’s disappearance. They describe Cardenas as a Hispanic woman standing about 5 feet 1 inch tall with black hair, brown eyes and a distinct birthmark on the inside of her left arm. 
Anyone with information about Cardenas’ whereabouts is urged to contact the Hanford Police Department at 585-2540 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678. 
The reporter can be reached at 583-2425 or

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Google + Amber Alert for Missing Children:

Google now includes Amber alerts for missing children

The company's search and maps products will include the alerts for nearby users who may be able to help.

Google said today it would include Amber alerts in search and maps as part of an effort to heighten awareness of missing children and assist in their safe return.
Amber alerts, which are coordinated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, will provide data about new cases through Google's Public Alerts platform.
The alerts will pop up in Google Search and Maps in both desktop and mobile whenever a user searches for related information in a particular location where a child has recently been reported missing. The alerts will also appear if users search for a related subject, such as the name of the missing child or child abductions in general.
"By increasing the availability of these alerts through our services, we hope that more people will assist in the search for children featured in AMBER Alerts and that the rates of safe recovery will rise," Google's Phil Coakley said in a blog post.
The alerts will include information about the child and details about the case, such as the type of vehicle the child was last seen in or information about the person believed to have abducted the child.
Google eventually plans to bring the alerts service to Canada and Europe.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

FBI - Law Enforcement Bulletin - October 2012

The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin is published monthly by 
the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 935 Pennsylvania Avenue,
N.W., Washington, D.C. 20535-0001. 
Contributors’ opinions and statements should not be considered 
an endorsement by the FBI of any policy, program, or service.

October 2012September 2012August 2012
 FBI Law Enforcement July 2012 cover small
 FBI Law Enforcement July 2012 cover small
 FBI Law Enforcement July 2012 cover small
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Nagging feeling led missing teens’ searcher back to bridge:

Finding the vanished has become Monica Caison’s mission:

By Mark Washburn

The bodies of Jake Ziegler and Ray Pierce were found in this small lake under this bridge on I-20, 200 yards west of the Wateree River near Camden, SC. Authorities told reporters late Sunday that it appeared as if their Pontiac G-6 veered across the median and went down the embankment. Photo by Jeff Blake/Special to the Charlotte Observer.

Something about the bridges haunted Monica Caison.

Her search teams had spent two weeks looking for a car with two teens from Catawba County who had vanished on a trip to Myrtle Beach. An intense search along I-77 had yielded nothing, and on Sunday they were in their third day of scouring the fringes of I-20 between Columbia and Florence.

They had climbed the roadway banks already, hacking through jungle-dense vegetation in places, without finding a clue.

“There was something about it,” Caison said Monday. “I just didn’t feel good. I said, ‘Let’s go back in and get a second look.’ ”

Caison and her volunteer team of 15 decided on a new approach: They would check the bridges from the interstate’s medians rather than the sides.

Buck Creek bridge, 20 miles east of Columbia, was the first. At the base of the span, out of sight of motorists, they found a car bumper. A searcher kicked it over. Still attached was what authorities in two states were hunting – N.C. license plate BBD-8844. Just beyond it was the still, dark water of Buck Creek that had swallowed the car.

“I don’t see how these people found that wreck,” said Jim Matthews, sheriff of Kershaw County. “They are to be commended.”

Aimed for sunrise
Jake Ziegler, 18, and Ray Pierce, 17, seniors at Bandys High School in Catawba County, left a party in the early hours of Oct. 13. They told friends they were going to take Ziegler’s 2006 Pontiac G6 to Myrtle Beach, about four hours away, to catch the sunrise.

When they failed to return, authorities began a search by ground and air.

Among those helping was the Wilmington-based CUE Center for Missing Persons. CUE, which stands for Community United Effort, was started in 1994 by Monica Caison. She was looking to get involved in charity work and decided to focus on people who were missing.

Today, her organization has 10,000 trained volunteers across the nation and continues to grow. They have helped more than 9,000 families to date.

Caison, 49, a mother of five and grandmother of three, runs the organization from Wilmington. She has worked with police across the country in missing-person cases, augmenting their forces with her professionally trained volunteers.

She often goes on searches herself, and has been instrumental in helping find people. She draws no salary from the non-profit organization.

“I was one of 11 children,” Caison said. “My parents were very strict and organized. Everyone in the family was involved in charity work. It was instilled in us when we were young. Life’s true meaning is trying to help others.”

Solved friend’s case
Caison grew up in St. Petersburg, Fla., and has had first-hand experience with missing persons.
A childhood friend, 20-year-old Melinda Harder, disappeared in July 1980. CUE does a road trip annually to draw attention to missing-persons cases, and in 2008, it went to St. Pete. Posters were put up around town showing pictures of Harder with an age-progression portrait.

A police investigator saw the poster at a convenience store while stopping for coffee. She looks like a Jane Doe from an earlier case she knew, thought the investigator.

DNA proved her right. Harder’s remains had been found in a rolled-up carpet in 1989, but no one knew who she was.

Through Caison’s efforts, Harder’s body was identified. Her killer has never been found.

Searching for teens
CUE entered the search for Ziegler and Pierce at the beginning.

Trained search-team members came from as far away as Florida and Virginia. They took time off from work, or helped out on weekends. Rotating volunteers every few days, Caison had a team of about 15 on the case at all times.

Volunteers come from many walks of life. Some are searching for their own missing family members, others are in public service or retired from the military, police or fire agencies. Some have lost family to homicide and find it therapeutic to help others.

Caison’s troops started along I-77 and worked south. They checked for skid marks or tire tracks leading away from the highway. They drove along the edge of woods lining the road. When they didn’t have a clear view into the woodland, they would stop and hike in, up to a half-mile, looking for the car.

On Friday, they began looking on I-20 East with the same routine: Look for anything out of place, any disturbance that might hint at a wayward car.

By midday Sunday, they’d finished their canvass of the interstate, but the bridges were still nagging Caison.

Only trace at edge
Buck’s Creek was the first bridge they rechecked. Caison dropped a team of four off to walk down the grassy median. As they approached the water, they saw some debris, then the bumper.

Sheriff Matthews said the car apparently came out of a curve and into the median, threading a narrow pocket between guard posts on either side of the road. A slight incline at the top of the embankment sent the car airborne. It cleared a fence and some trees at the bottom of the slope and disappeared into Buck’s Creek.

Ziegler’s parents, who were driving a nearby highway to look for clues, soon arrived. Caison comforted them but kept them away from the crash site.

Matthews said he walked the scene Sunday and was amazed Caison’s team had located the car containing the teens’ bodies. There were no skid marks on the road, no sign that anything had happened there.

“If the bumper had stayed on the car,” he said, “I don’t know when those boys would have been found.”
Washburn: 704-358-5007

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Pierre Barnes, 12, Missing On French Island:

Sky News

Pierre Barnes, 12, Missing On French Island

Fears are growing for the safety of a British schoolboy who disappeared on a holiday island off the south of France during a severe storm.
Twelve-year-old Pierre Barnes vanished on Saturday after going for a bike ride on the island of Porquerolles, near Toulon on the Mediterranean coast.
Rescuers found one of his shoes on a coastal path on Sunday, alongside his bike with its chain off, it was reported.
His father Stephen, 57, from Grantham, Lincolnshire, told French television of his hopes that his son had survived the storm, the Daily Telegraph said.
Mr Barnes said: "I am certain he went off on an adventure on his bicycle but, in the forest, all the little tracks look the same.
"He is lost but he is a strong boy and I hope he found a place to sleep where there was not too much wind.
"It's difficult to say what you can do when you are cold and frightened."

Pierre disappeared just hours after he and his family arrived on the island for a week-long half-term holiday.
More than 150 local volunteers are believed to have helped search for him on Sunday.
A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: "We can confirm that a British national has been reported missing in France.
"We are in touch with the French authorities and we are providing consular assistance."

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