Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bonnie Sheehan: Arrested for animal cruelty charges in Tennessee makes one last rescue.
                                                       --  Photos Taken By Susan Larsen
Scheduled for a July Hearing on Animal Cruelty Charges in Tennessee, Long Beach Dog Rescuer Bonnie Sheehan Tries to Pick Up the Shattered Pieces Of Her Life Without Her Small Canine Friends

Scores of Fans Plan a Sunday Fundraiser to Pay Attorney Fees
 By Diana L. Chapman

The puppy

   As they were leaving Tennessee on Interstate 40 with a wave of relief, a small chocolate Labrador pup sat forlornly on an embankment as drivers raced by.
   "We have to stop," Bonnie Sheehan said urgently to her traveling companion, Susan Larsen,  who completely understood.
   After all, Sheehan had built a phenomenal reputation in Long Beach, Calif. where she rescued thousands of small dogs often out of shelters the day they were to meet the needle of death.
   That ended Jan. 17  -- the day she was arrested in Tennessee along with her devoted volunteer Pamela King-McCracken, for driving 140 dogs in a U-haul and a mini-van. They were ten hours away from reaching their destination, a Virginia farm.
   Speaking out for one of the first times since her arrest, Sheehan, 55, reveals her side of the story that never made the national news when it exploded and went viral ugly on the internet. The arrests turned the women's lives upside down, landed Sheehan in jail for seven days and geared up hundreds of her Long Beach supporters who panicked to get her out.
   Now, in a fight for her life and a woman who has lost all her dogs and her money in her risk to save them, Sheehan vigorously defends herself against the allegations of animal cruelty where animal officials contend she had overcrowded conditions and no water or food for the animals. Every day, she's haunted by the dog's faces, each of whom she knew by name along with medical conditions, if any.  She fights tears to the hollowness left in her now.
  "I did not kill my dogs," she said during one of her rare interviews. "It was the middle of winter under 50 degrees. They had clean blankets. I had 300 pounds of dog food, 100 pounds of treats. Nobody died from suffocation, from dehydration or starvation. There was food. There was water. (The U-haul) was like being in the belly of a plane and that is why airlines don't transport animals during the summer."
   "Every day in this country stacks and stacks of dogs are killed."
   Sheehan, 55, wanted to save those she still had despite the worsening economy that took a giant toll on her non-profit.
   In the meantime, her hundreds of supporters -- many of whom say she has an uncanny ability to match dogs to families with her Long Beach Hearts For Hounds non-profit, will hold a fundraiser for attorney's fees at 11 a.m. Sunday at Bixby Park, also in Long Beach.
   Why her supporters have gone to this much trouble -- some even missing work to make a team to fight for Sheehan -- might be explained this way.
   Ardent supporter Gale Heilman who fosters animals, jumped in the fray to get Sheehan out of jail and helped organize the event.
   "Bonnie was always relentless in getting those dogs adopted," said Heilman who fosters for different rescues. "I saw what she gave up of her life, to be there for those animals. She was up at 6 a.m. to clean all the kennels. Then she would need to do all the laundry to make sure all the blankets from the night before were ready for them to go to bed with that night. Then she would start grooming and bathing the dogs."
   As I write this, I admit upfront I too am a supporter. My family alone adopted three of her small dogs, Baxter, Dara and Lily, and I began to toil at stories marveling at the miracles the rescuer pulled off on a daily basis.
   Many of us watched as Sheehan took ragged, mangy, smelly, flea-ridden small dogs -- in all sorts of horrible conditions-- and brought them virtually back to life with grooming, nurturing and love. Then she found them new homes.
   In March, Sheehan had to return to Fayette County in Tennessee for a hearing and was headed home when she spotted the terrified pup. Sheehan's question was:  should she rescue the puppy in a state already charging her with animal cruelty or would she get in more trouble?  Both women plead not guilty. A hearing is scheduled in July.
   "The rescue business," she once told me "is a hard, selfless way of living. It's taking from your own needs to make sure the well-being of the animals are taken care of. It's about having that gift in your heart."
   But for all her good deeds and intentions, she would find herself "crucified" on the internet, losing all her dogs and left with a heart snapped in two.
The Almost- Made- It-to Virginia Journey

   When arrested, Tennessee officials didn't care about Sheehan's gift. They didn't want to hear anything such as the reason she and her longtime friend, King-McCracken, 59, were shuttling  dogs across the country in middle of winter.
   They also didn't care about her remarkable rescue work-- having done more than many rescues put together -- or that Sheehan had, according to Gail Heilman, "an uncanny ability to match (dogs) to the right owners," a statement I heard repeatedly from Sheehan fans.
   Instead, the two women found themselves pulled over for an alleged traffic infraction while driving through Fayette County.  An officer on a drug task force ordered the women out and to open the doors. Then he called for back-up and animal control officers.
   Lights were flashing as both women stood shocked. With all the commotion, the dogs were barking upset hearing Sheehan sobbing. Perhaps out of fear, one dog named Stanley killed another, Lambert.
  "I told Pam, our journey's done," Sheehan said. And it was.
   Animal control took away all the dogs, including their personal pets and Sheehan's 20 "forever" dogs, those that can't find homes because they are terrified of people. That list included 14-year-old Gadget, a miniature pincher mix, and, a Dachshund with medical issues. She also lost her own dogs Dachshund, Max, 2, Fritzie, 1.
   With the bail set at $100,000, both women needed $10,000 -- a sum King-McKracken was able to meet to get out. Sheehan had nothing.
  In the meantime, the news swept across Long Beach like a tidal wave, with friends and adopters swamping each other with phone calls asking what they could do to rescue the rescuer. 
   "Dogs lost their angel that day," said Jay Williams, a friend who volunteered
and adopted two of Sheehan's dogs.
Seven long days and seven long nights 

   The women undertook the journey after California's diving economy finally took a toll on the rescue. Adoptions dwindled from 17 a week to none.
   They had to do something especially since the phone calls were now from people wanting to dump dogs, not adopt.
   More frightening, the rent for the Long Beach kennel was about $7,000 a month with associated fees. Still having property in Virginia -- where she once lived -- Sheehan switched the non-profit's zip code on Pet Finder to Virginia's to see what would happen.
   Calls and emails piled in.
   With that, the women bought an $80,000  farm in Huddleston, Virginia. They drove to the farm, adopted out  28 dogs and gathered volunteers to prepare the barn -- for the remaining canines to come.
   Instead, they ended up in handcuffs in the middle of Tennessee, which had its own bizarre issues with legalities, including serious questions about police allegedly  profiting in its war on drugs.  Troopers were pulling over drivers for traffic infractions frequently and -- even when no drugs were found -- the police agencies allegedly kept the cash they found as evidence, according to news reports.
  While Sheehan sat in a cell, hundreds of her supporters furiously raised money to get her out. The phones lit up with worry. The emails flew. And the prayers began.
   No one ever thought that the rescuer would need rescuing.
   After her release, Sheehan said later had it not been for her faith in God, she wouldn't have made it through the first night and the distress of now being considered, for the first time in her life, a criminal.
   "Every ounce of my being was broken," Sheehan told me while working hard  to hold back tears at Larsen's home where she now stays in Long Beach. "God told me to be still (during the arrest) That's what I did. We were ten hours from where we were taking the dogs to new homes waiting for them. That was gone in an instant."
   Freezing, scared, lonely and not having the chance to talk to anyone, saviors came from an unlikely place.
   Her "angels," as Sheehan called them, were her jail mates, a group of women aged 21-46, one of which was arrested when officers found stolen property in her home.
   Having no socks, no coat, no underwear, no blanket the rescuer shook in the chilly cell where her comrades began helping her.
   One woman gave her a T-shirt. Another gave up her blanket.
   "They knew my heart in ten minutes," she said, adding she would never forget them. 
   She now writes them letters.

Sheehan's Team of Rescuers

   After the arrests made national headlines, phone calls swamped the office of Long Beach veterinarian Sam Shenouda, best known as "Dr. Sam." For years, the vet and Sheehan had worked together caring for the health of her rescues.
   While Sheehan's team worked to raise funds, they were appalled by the vicious attacks on the two women on the Hearts for Hounds facebook.  The group shut it down.
   An ugly internet battle ensued between those irate from news accounts and from many who personally knew the rescuers. Having been a supporter before any of this happened, I received several emails -- the nicest calling me "ignorant."
   Despite the fighting, the rescuer's rescuers didn't give up. 
   By the time the story had gone viral, Sheehan and King-McCracken, who was one of Sheehan's most committed volunteers, were  accused of stealing dogs, running a puppy mill and a variety of things they never did.
   Shenouda, the veterinarian, soon made a decision. 
   He paid the $10,000 bond to get Sheehan out.

In the Beginning

   Animal rescue seeds and vegetarian ways planted themselves early in Sheehan's heart. Around three or four, when visiting her grandparents, she played with their bunnies.
   But to her horror one night, her grandmother brought rabbit to the dinner table.
   She recognized it and refused to eat it. Her grandfather swung her up into his arms, carried her outside and let her pluck grapes for supper.
   Years later as a successful fashion consultant, Sheehan was driving a brand new BMW when she got lost in downtown Los Angeles. Suddenly, she spotted a group of men using a small pug-mix as bait for a pit bull. An outraged Sheehan, jumped out of her car and began yelling: "Give me that dog!"
   They gave it to her.
   After saving the pug-mix (which later became her mother's companion), Sheehan fell into the world of rescue.
   One day, on one of my Sheehan visits, her lip curled a bit, her voice turned soft, and with a whimper she squeaked: "I miss my dogs. Your whole mission in life is taken from you.  Each day you relive it. Each day is painful."

Matches Made In Heaven

Sylvia Gyimesi wanted another companion. She had already adopted Peeps, a small dog with a heart murmur from Hearts for Hounds. Sheehan had "worked with Peeps, loving and caring for him," Gyimesi said. 
   Knowing he was likely to have a short life, Gyimesi took him anyway.  As he grew older his heart murmur went away and he became "a healthy happy boy, spoiled rotten of course."Having the urge to get a larger dog, Gyimesi called Hearts for Hounds again.
   Even though Sheehan didn't specialize in larger dogs, ironically a good samaritan found a shepherd mix running the streets and it was kenneled at the non-profit.Bonnie brought Roxy out and it was love at first sight," Gyimesi told me. "Bonnie has dedicated her life to saving dogs that no one else wanted and were tossed away. She has a gift with animals, yet still able to relate and love people."
    There are many people who are loyal to the rescuer, who have never adopted a pet from her. One of them is Anita Sinclair, who moved into a Long Beach neighborhood."As I got to know my neighbors and their pets, Hearts for Hounds started coming up in coversation over and over again," explained Sinclair, who already had two large dogs, two cats and a parrot. "Many of my neighbors adopted their dogs from Bonnie."When I heard of the arrest, I could not turn my back. Bonnie has done so much good for so many." Sinclair -- along with many others -- became part of Sheehan's rescue team.
   What Sinclair wants to point out, however, is that U-Hauls are used often in rescue work.In a 1996 incident, a botulism outbreak at the Salton Sea killed off some10,000 endangered birds, including white and brown pelicans. As one of the scores of volunteers to rescue the birds, Sinclair said U-Hauls were often used to carry the pelicans on a 400 mile trek to Pacific Wild Life in Orange County.The volunteers helped save 1,100 pelicans -- some using U-Hauls.

The Last Rescue

   Now cowering  in the bushes near the I-40, the chocolate-colored pup refused to come out to another good samaritan, a man, who too wanted to make sure the dog wasn't killed.
   When Sheehan arrived, she kneeled and whispered sweetly coaxing out the dog. She finally pulled the Labrador out who began slopping her with thank you kisses. Then the pup peed all over her -- a familiar smell, she said.
   Now the man and her stood looking at each other, Sheehan draped with the female pup in her arms. Who would take the puppy?
  The man agreed to take the dog. Bonnie figured she was in enough trouble.
  "You know who I am?" she asked him.
  "No," the man responded.
  "I was the woman arrested with the U-Haul," she explained.
   "That was you?" the man stood dumbfounded.

A Hearts for Hounds Fundraiser will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday in Bixby Park, 2001 East First Street., Long Beach. The event is a pot luck and dogs are welcome. if You are unable to make it and want to help Sheehan and KIng-McCracken, send your donation to Bonnie Sheehan, 16033 Bolsa Chica Street, #104-265, Huntington Beach, CA 92649

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

California Rolls Anyone?

San Pedro High students practice the art of making California Rolls.

California Rolls Become A Hot Commodity At San Pedro High School  Swabbed With  A  Bit of Hawaiian Culture

By Diana L. Chapman

   Students poured in from all parts of the San Pedro High campus  -- an  "eclectic mix"  one administrator said -- to try their hand at making an apparently a popular item on the cooking club's after school menu -- California Rolls.
   Taught with Hawaiian flair, Kimberly Gray, the principal's assistant, explained  influences of her culture are quite different from the state California rolls are named after.
Kimberly Gray, the Principal's assistant, shows students how to wrap the sushi.
   "I grew up on the island of Oahu," Gray said while showing students how to mix the foods with seaweed, avocado and imitation crab. "We ate rice for breakfast, for lunch and for dinner. Most people here think sushi is raw food.
   "But sushi is rice rolled. You can make it anything you want it to be."
  About 45 students listened without a whisper and packed the room. The lesson came complete with sushi etiquette -- Hawaiian style -- and with "use of the lingo."
   Etiquette  rules include: "Never whittle your chopsticks, it implies that the chef is cheap" and "eat sushi in one bite, do not break or bite into multiple pieces," according to Gray's  brochure.
   That's why students should say: "Domo Arigato," which means thank you very much!"
   San Pedro's Coastal Neighborhood Council supplied a $1,000 to fund the cooking club for the year.


Kimberly Gray shows off the rolls
Sushi Rice 
3 cups of medium or short grain rice 
3 oz. Seasoned Rice Vinegar:can be
bought pre-made or mix 
1/3 c, rice vinegar, 5 Tbsp. sugar,
1 Tbsp. salt 
Rinse the rice with water til water
is clear or as close to it as 
possi-ble (about 5 rinses) place rice in rice cooker 
and set to cook. After cooked, let the rice sit for 
10-20 minutes. 
Place rice in a shallow pan or bowl and pour in the 
seasoned rice vinegar.  Stir together quickly and mix 
well while the rice is still hot. 
Allow the rice to sit for 10 minutes to cool.
Rice is now ready to make sushi 
Seasoned Sushi rice (prepare according to directions) 
Nori-Rosted seaweed sheets 
Imitation crab 
Avocado,  pour a little lemon on avocado to prevent
Cucumber, sliced remove the seed sections 
Spread rice over nori starting in the center and work
your way up first then down. It should be spread 
thinly, make sure you get all the way to the corners.  
Place cucumber, avocado and imitation crab just a 
little below the center of roll, use bamboo sheet to
form roll.  Pressing sides in as you go, the roll 
will be more of a square as you roll.
Slice and enjoy! 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Butterfield for State Senate

Paul Butterfield outside his home.
 Why I'm Voting for Paul Butterfield for State Senate

By Diana L. Chapman

   Democrat Paul Butterfield, a middle school teacher in Wilmington who is running against State Senator Roderick Wright for the new 35th District, appears to have something most politicians don't have any more: honesty and ethics.
   As we watch our nation and local governments crumble repeatedly in embarrassing  scandal --  including Wright  -- I see Butterfield as a shining light and a refreshing ready-to- work politician to vote for on June 5.
   That's a far cry from the incumbent Wright, who faces many ugly legal quagmires -- including that a Grand Jury unsealed eight felony counts against him, partially for voter fraud.
   Believing new faces are necessary in government, Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino endorsed Butterfield. Buscaino too is a newbie and was virtually political unknown when he grabbed the seat in February.
  Running on issues such as universal health care for the state and taxing oil companies for extractions, Butterfield says his campaign is going better than expected and that he plans to encourage steep changes in the not-so-Golden state budget.
   "We were never worried enough about the deficit spending from unfunded bond measures in California," said Butterfield, who lives in San Pedro with his wife, Allison, and two children. "We need to tear up the credit card. We have this predetermined budget that has been created by all these past ballot initiatives.
   "It's a whole vicious budgetary nightmare. We need to make sure that all initiatives that get on the ballot have a funding source attached to get them on the ballot."
   He calls himself "a democrat running against the corporate democrat (Wright.)"
   While critics might say Butterfield's made an unusual leap from teacher to a chancy shot at the senate seat, the leap is not "as great as it seems," he says.
   With his wealth of knowledge in many industries, including forestry (he personally planted a 1/2million trees in five states); in fishing, as a dock worker unloading fish and in education as a teacher, former dean and soccer coach.
   Here we may be trading in Wright's experience (not always good)  for a political novice, but the candidate has worked in scores of campaigns around the state as either a volunteer or paid field organize. 
   Butterfield received his Bachelor's Degree in political science at Humboldt State University and as a college student, he ran for city council  in the northern town of Arcata as one of the youngest candidates ever to run for that slot.
  He lost, he said, but learned. It's that same gumption he's showing today.
   "I bring to the table a strong working knowledge of what needs to happen in California,"  the candidate explained who lived on both sides of the state. "In Southern California, we need to work on water conservation. It not only effects us here but our farmers" across the state.
  Another educator, Republican Charlotte Svolos, joined the race in this upstream battle, but few believe Butterfield or Svolos stand a chance against Wright despite his legal issues.
   Wright  has nasty clutter hanging over his head, including a female employee who claimed sexual harassment and received a $120,000 settlement  quietly from the state senate. That doesn't mention a Grand Jury investigation and arrest over allegations that Wright doesn't even live in the 25th district where he served before 2010 redistricting was approved.
   The incumbent and two candidates are now vying for the newly defined 35th district in the primary that includes San Pedro, Wilmington, Watts, Willowbrook, Hawthorne, Compton, Carson, east Torrance and west Long Beach.
   So far, however, Butterfield believes he has a toasty-good chance at winning and if he doesn't win, believes many of his proposals -- from ensuring everyone in the state has health care to taxing the oil industry for extractions (called an oil severance tax) to cope with California's ever-changing deficit, lastly projected at $16 billion.
   "We're doing really well," said Butterfield of the race, which he donated $30,000 to while understanding that he's more than a dark horse. He's a black horse. "We've made 12,000 phone calls, sent out two mailers. People have been very encouraging."
   What he wants in California is a single payer health care plan called the California Universal Health Care Act, which provides coverage to all Californians. Patients would have no co-pay, will be able to pick their own doctors and cannot be denied for pre-existing conditions. The funds come from taxes and would be millions less than what businesses and citizens pay now, he said.
    "My opponent killed the Act after accepting $132,000 from insurance and drug companies," Butterfield said on his website.
   And like Texas, he wants to launch a tax on the oil industry at 4% for extracting the resource to flush out California's getting-redder budget. It would add $4.6 billion a year to state coffers, he said, adding he believes it's exactly why a Chevron-funded PAC donated $35,000 to Wright's political campaign.
   Having watched Butterfield as a soccer coach at San Pedro High and teacher over the years, I witnessed many of the good actions he's taken to aid his students.  
   For instance, Butterfield knew he had a student on his soccer team who could become a professional player -- but not if he didn't help.  He made repeated phone calls to colleges up and down the state. Chris Widdy struggled with his grades, but was a top-gun soccer player. The family (friends of mine and legal immigrants) couldn't afford a dime for his education. Thanks to Butterfield, University of Bakersfield gave Widdy a full ride.
   "There are a lot of Chris Widdy's out there," he said.
  The candidate didn't stop there. He made sure every member of his soccer team joined the Boys and Girls Club College Bound program, coached them at soccer as well as academics and can say proudly that many made it to universities such as Notre Dame and UC Santa Barbara.
   As an avid fisherman, he started a fishing club at the high school and got as many of his students possible to outdoor nature camps in the Sierras where they learned team work and how to care for the environment.
   Having to put himself through college, the candidate said he learned much about the timber industry when he worked with a crew from Evergreen Forestry. He planted trees from Atlanta to Maine one seed at a time, about 3,000 a day.
   In 1996, Butterfield started his teaching career in Cudahy where he taught science. He used his Spanish skills to help students and was able to convince the school to turn a dirty, vacant lot next door to the Elizabeth Learning Center, a K-12 program, into a soccer field.
   Throughout the Harbor area -- which gets ignored by the senate, he said, he wants to build a maritime college to bring in more jobs and take advantage of its port industry.
   That's why Buscaino wants him in office.
   "Paul Butterfield has proved his commitment to serving our community, and has been recognized for his work mentoring students and young athletes," the councilman said in a statement.
   "He cares deeply about the issues that concern San Pedro and the Harbor Gateway  Area.  That's why I'm endorsing Paul Butterfield for State Senate."

Monday, May 21, 2012

If My Brother Were A Duck

Luke Nunez writes: If My Brother Were A Duck.
Dear Readers:

I couldn't resist posting several more short tales students wrote during a Seven Golden Secrets to Writing workshop at Gulf Avenue Elementary School in Wilmington. Luke wrote this piece and more are to come from other students. Seven Secrets  aids children how to become comfortable and have fun using their writing skills.

"Quack Quack" to you all! 


If My Brother Were a Duck
By Luke Nunez

If  my brother were a duck  I would give him corn and bread.

And if he went to school with me, I would take him outside when he needs to go.
 I would tell him not to talk duck to the teacher because all the  teacher will hear is:

"Quack! Quack!"

When we go to the market,  I tell him not to talk to the butcher "or you'll end up as a Duck Burger."

And I tell him if he goes near a man with a knife, he might end up a naked pink or lose an orange leg like a pigeon at school.

I will be sad if he migrates, although that would be extraordinary.

If he doesn't want to leave, we'll cuddle and we'll be brothers forever. But I tell him if he stays he'll have to clean his own feathers, because I want to relax.

That was what I would do if  my brother a were a duck.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Help 12-year-old Blake Marquez And Her Dad Raise Money for The Cancer Relay Walk May 19

She Lost Her sister, Paigey, at Age Four

Blake Marquez still collecting funds for the American Cancer Society after her sisters, Paigey's death.
Paigey Marquez died at age 4.
Dear Readers:

 I am sad to say that I had to cover Paigey Marquez's story. Her death was sorrowful to hundreds of residents.  I am pleased to report, however, that this triggered the family to build a foundation in Paigey's name for research in brain tumors and  continues to raise funds to aid  the American Cancer Society.

One other thing:  when San Pedro 16-year-old Christian Stehlik died from a cancer called neuroblastoma, his father asked me to fundraise to help cremate him and pay for the services. I did not know where to begin and there was limited time.

The Marquez family, using Paigey's foundation funds, stepped forward and paid for all of it "because that is what it's for," Tim told me. I'm gratefully indebted to this family.  Diana

By Tim Marquez

  This year my daughter Blake (12 years old) created a Cancer Relay 
Fundraising team for the American Cancer Society in memory of her little sister, Paigey, who died on July 30, 2005 at the age of 4.
    Paigey had a rare brain tumor that only afflicts toddler aged children and is so aggressive that the kids usually don't live more than one year past diagnosis; Paigey died 43 days after diagnosis. 
   We are less than one week away from the 24 hour Cancer Relay walk in San Pedro,Calif, benefiting the American Cancer Society and we need your help. We are trying to raise at least $2,500 for the relay and have about another $1,000 to go. You can help in the following ways:

     --Donate money on our ACS Team Website: Donation Page: Paigey's Rockstars  
  --Join our team of Relay Walkers by following the link Paigey's Rockstars
    and clicking on "Join Our Team", select "Team Member Registration (MyTeam Captain Pays)", and collect donations or volunteer to walk for 1 hour on Saturday, May 19th. 
   --Buy Jewelry at Captains Treasure Chest and 15% of your purchase will be donated to our team  Donation Page: Paigey's Rockstar

   This year, over 1.4 million Americans will hear the words "You have cancer. "
    I know too many people who are touched by cancer, and that is why I have joined the American Cancer Society on a mission to save lives and create a world with more birthdays by participating in the Relay for Life in my community.
   At Relay For Life we celebrate loved ones who have won their battle against cancer, remember those who are no longer with us, and fight back against this disease that touches so many. I am determined to make a difference, and I hope you will join me. I will be walking on May 19, 2012 in San Pedro, California.
  Please support me in my efforts by visiting my personal web page and making a donation. Every dollar raised brings us one dollar closer to a cure, and to a world
with more birthdays.
   Thank you so much for your support. Together, we are saving lives!
  Tim Marquez, Paigey's Dad 
Click here to view the TEAM page for Paigey's Rockstars

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Apples Are Like Humans
Dear Readers:  Here's a fun piece by a San Pedro High student challenging us to look at apples in a different light. The piece came out of a Seven Golden Secrets to Writing Workshop. This class was stuffed with great writers.  Diana
By Jesse Estrada

   Apples. Green, red, juicy, fruity.
   Apples can be made into juice, sauce, pie and seasonings.  The possibilities are endless.
   They are so diverse -- just like humans
   Some can be good and some can be rotten.
   Apples also have seeds inside them to reproduce like sperm and ovaries. They grow from seeds and can be different sizes.  Also they grow from trees like humans grow from their parents.
   Apples stay on the tree until they are ready to be eaten. People grow until they are adults and are ready to die. Is it possible that we are apples to something bigger than us?

Monday, May 07, 2012

Fish and Game president Dan Richards with his Idaho kill.
 Yes Bob, It's All About the Mountain Lions

By Diana L. Chapman

   "Here is the Sixty Four Thousand Dollar Question, is this about the hunting of mountain lions? or the fact that Mr. Richards doesn't give a s_it what you think?"
    That's what conservative blogger Bob Bishop wrote after reading my column  about  California Fish and Game president Dan Richards needing to step down.
   So let me answer your question Bob. I am not confident that this leader will protect our pumas, since we banned hunting them since 1972. And yes, Bob, it's all about the cougars. We don't care what Richards thinks. He already stated he doesn't care what we think, refuses to step down and he's supposed to be one of our leaders. Now, that is scary.
   Many City Watch readers agreed in an informal survey that Richard's must go.
   Here's how the origins of the the hunt went down.
   The commission president came under intense scrutiny in January for accepting a $6,800 guided hunt at an Idaho ranch where he appears happily in photos that went viral on the internet holding the dead, 3-year-old puma he shot. While legal in Idaho, it's not here. The very people Richard's works for prohibited these hunts.
   After the uproar, Richards paid the amount back -- later than the allowed 30 days -- and received a stern warning from the Fair Political Practices Commission, basically with a rebuke not to do so again.
   But many of us here are not happy about him getting off with no punishments because his ethics obviously don't match that of our state.
   Reader Lori Hamilton wrote: "What an idiot! This idiot needs to resign or get booted out of his position. You can't protect endangered wildlife in one state and run off killing wildlife while visiting another."
   Removing him seems to be favored by City Watch readers despite that our gutless state leaders -- who at once bumbled around demanding Richard's departure --  backed off trembling when gun and hunting lobbyists rallied their support for the hunter.
  The City Watch survey where 85 voters participated reflects that 58 voted for the commission president to depart and 27 did not agree. Or roughly 68 percent are against Richards staying and nearly 33 percent believed he should not leave because what he did was legal.
   However, as I've said before, this is not an issue about legality -- although that comes into play because one wonders if Richards would ever have paid that money back if all the commotion hadn't started.  This is about his ethics. And not having the wolf guarding the gates of the lambs.
   Wrote reader John  Coghlan, "How do we get him out? Start a web petition and latch into animal rights groups? Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy -- so many. We need to demonstrate that "mindless male machos are not wanted in this society.
   "I am going to call Brown's office and complain at least."
   Please do John!
   Wrote another Dan Carstens: "Thank you for the great story in City Watch on the shameful boasting about the shooting of a mountain lion. Lots of people see recent legislation, including SB 1221 to ban hounding of bears (and bob cats) as a response to the commission president's anachronistic attitude."
   The way Carstens explains it, the Fish and Game commission earlier wanted to explore the expanded use of hounds to hunt bruins and the smaller cats. We must not let that happen.
   State Senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), calling the practice "cruel" which it is, wants a law that prohibits the use of this callous canine activity -- which not only leads to the deaths of the animals they are chasing -- but to the dogs.
   That's why the Humane Society of the United States is in full support of the bill.
   "Hounding is an inhumane and unsporting practice where trophy hunters use packs of radio-collared dogs to chase down bears and bobcats before the hunter shoots the terrified animals off a tree branch," the society said on its website. "It also leads to dog welfare problems and a drain on animal sheltering resources."
   On April 24, the bill passed the state's Natural Resources Committee on a 3-5 vote and today the California Senate Appropriations Committee approved it.
    California let's pass this bill.
   And let's not, for a moment, forget what Richards has done.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

San Pedro High Students Tell Their Stories Through Writing

Dear Readers:

   I will be running a few pieces here and there that San Pedro High students wrote in an English class when I gave a Seven Golden Secrets to Writing (c) workshop.  Many thanks to English Teacher Al Alvarez- Estrada who allowed me to work with his students.
   Some of these articles detail their sufferings, others wrote humorous or witty works.
   I would say this: I found a lot of potential writers in this class, -- Diana

Walk Down the Street With My Brother

By Jackie Gayton

   Walk down the street with my brother at my side. We talk on our way about everything going on. It's been awhile since we've talked like this. Brother is almost never around. He's either with the homies or sleeping at home from being out too late at night.
   We stop talking to the sound of tires screeching. Suddenly, I'm on the floor with Brother on top of me holding me down. People are screaming. I peep from under Brother and watch as people are running.
   "It's Okay. Stay down. It's okay," I hear Brother repeat to me over and over again.
   I hear sirens in the distance coming closer and closer. I feel Brother's weight on me and I can no longer hear shots being fired. I try to tell him that he can get up now, but he can't hear me anymore.
   My eyes water and I tell myself that everything's going to be fine, that's there's nothing to worry about. I feel Brother being lifted up from on top of me. I'm being lifted up and I feel someone holding me, but I'm not seeing or hearing anything.
   There's only one thing in sight: Brother. What will mother think and father? They always loved Brother more than me.  They only could see the good in him, never the bad.
    I can see why they love Brother. Brother was a good, loveable person. And now he's gone, his smile is gone, the way his eyes gleamed when he laughed. Gone. The only thing left is his memory.
   I can't go back home. Brother was my protector. He saved me from so much. He was my family. I break from the hold on me -- and run.
   I run and when I get tired, I keep running. It's getting darker and I stop on the street   I've never been on.
   "Hey where are you?" I hear a voice from the distance. I look for the owner but it's too dark to see, but I can vaguely see a silhouette of a young man. He looks familiar. I try to find his face, but can't.  He comes closer and I can now see who it is.