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CHILDREN’s Issues Forum Saturday

Want the lowdown on affordable child care and other issues facing young children and their families in Contra Costa County? Check out the fifth annual Young Children’s Issues Forum, a panel discussion that includes elected local and national politicos. Moderated by Childhood Matters host Rona Renner, RN, the forum runs from 10 a.m. to noon tomorrow at Lovonya DeJean Middle School in Richmond. Among the panel: assemblyman Mark DeSaulnier, supervisor John Gioia, supervisor David Fraser, and representatives from U.S. Congressman George Miller and California Senator Tom Torlakson’s offices. Free, including a continental breakfast at 9:30 a.m.

Posted on Friday, October 3rd, 2008
Under: Other, politics | No Comments »

DVC Grade Scandal, Lawmakers and Michael Scott

It was a relatively quiet summer on the schools front – school administrators were too busy fretting over funding uncertainties to dabble in much of anything else while they waited for our state legislators and governor to agree on a budget … 90 days after the state-mandated deadline and long after schools had to hire new teachers and order new books. Instead of hashing out a workable deal to keep the state running, lawmakers were frothing around with things like AB 1754, the bill inspired by the DVC grading scandal. That bill, by the way, was vetoed by the governor on Sunday.

As you may recall, dozens of students working in the Diablo Valley College administration office were making money on the side by changing people’s grades. The college hushed it up for an entire year and finally ‘fessed up. Times reporter Matt Krupnick says “nearly all the ringleaders of the financial side of the scheme have pleaded guilty and served time.” The suspect whose acquittal made headlines last month had been accused of having his own deal going – changing his own grades and those of friends. He was acquitted, the jury said, because DVC’s records office was so chaotic, no one could prove who had changed what. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, October 1st, 2008
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FAMILIES Abandoning Teens in Nebraska

Teen depressionWe’ve all heard of “safe haven” laws that allow parents to abandon a child, usually a baby under age 1, to authorities without being punished. But Nebraska legislators passed an unusual variation that allows parents to abandon not just babies, but children and teens up to age 19 – never expecting people really would. Ahem. In what adoption expert Adam Pertman calls the “worst-case scenario of unintended consequences,” at least 16 children and teens have been abandoned in the last three months. On Wednesday evening alone, three fathers abandoned their children at hospitals in Omaha. One was a widower who left nine of his ten children, ages 1 to 17, saying he couldn’t handle parenthood anymore. Relatives have since contacted the hospital, offering to take the siblings in and saying the father never called them for help.

We’re speechless. Your thoughts?

Posted on Friday, September 26th, 2008
Under: Other | No Comments »

SUPER MARIO, Family Guy-style

A little humor to start your Tuesday morning off in style … er, Family Guy/Super Mario style..

Posted on Tuesday, September 16th, 2008
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We could all use a good laugh now again. Here’s a fun one from You Tube. AIG loved it so much, it used the clip in one of its TV ads.

Posted on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008
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Sarah Palin (Doral Chenoweth/Columbus Dispatch/MCT) The news that John McCain had picked Sarah Palin, Alaska’s conservative governor and a mother of five, including a 5-month-old with special needs, as his presidential running mate sent waves through the public consciousness. Palin made it plain in her acceptance speech that she expects the 18 million women who supported Hillary Clinton to transfer their allegiance to her, despite their vastly differing politics. And just as we were wrapping our minds around all these new developments, Palin announced this weekend that her unmarried, 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, is five months pregnant.

As the New York Times said in a story this morning on “Mommy Wars: Special Campaign Edition,” American women are feeling pretty conflicted. You too? Click “comments” and share your thoughts. Juggling motherhood and working life is difficult enough. What about juggling the Vice Presidency of the United States with a five-month-old and four other children, including a teen who’s due to deliver her own baby just before Inauguration Day? Is that teen pregnancy an issue? Should it be? What do you think of all this?

Posted on Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008
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NANNY WANTED: Mary Poppins Need Not Apply

Mary Poppins You have to love her honesty, at least … Rebecca Land Soodak, an Upper East Side mother of four, posted a 1,000-word Craigslist ad seeking a live-in nanny and giving a no-holds-barred description of the family. Her kids are “a pain in the (expletive deleted),” she’s “loud and pushy” and uninterested in “someone who has a lot of theories on the right way to raise kids.” (Guess Mary Poppins need not apply.) And after going through 10 nannies in 12 years, Soodak has some definite ideas and many, many words on what will and will not fly, including:

“If you are the type who doesn’t notice crumbs on the table, skip to the next post, because crumbs are a deal breaker… I have all sorts of theories on how to stack my dishwasher, and if you are judgmental about Ritalin for ADHD, or think such things are caused by too much sugar, again, deal-break city.”

She got her nanny. And now, everyone’s got something to say about it, including a nanny who posted a Craigslist notice of her own, entitled “My conditions on being your nanny…take that Rebecca Land Soodak.”

Your thoughts?

Posted on Friday, August 29th, 2008
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BACKPACK Project Going Strong!

pencils The Times and Trib’s school supplies drive, “Project Ready to Learn”, which benefits needy kids in the San Francisco East Bay, ends this Friday, so we’re getting ready for the final push. Readers have been incredibly generous in donating school supplies – keep ‘em coming! For a list of drop-off spots and needed items, read on…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, August 12th, 2008
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JOLIE-PITT TWINS: Where’s the cover hype?

coverUsually, when a magazine shells out $14 million for the first baby pics of a celebrity couple, we’re practically tripping over the news. The magazine’s cover is splashed all over the Internet. Those fun-loving celebrity-tracker columns (including our very own People column) tack the news up high for all the world to see. So, what gives with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitts’ two little darlings? I had to Google to find the cover shot. The grocery checkout stands were still heavily stocked with issues (is anyone even buying the mag?) Heck, even People magazine’s Web site bumped it from lead position in less than 48 hours — oh wait, Lisa Marie Presley is having twins, too. Looks like Vivienne & Knox Jolie-Pitt’s 15 minutes of fame are up.

Posted on Wednesday, August 6th, 2008
Under: Other | 3 Comments »


Miley Cyrus (Kimberly P. Mitchell/Detroit Free Press/MCT) School is just around the corner and soon we’ll be engaged in those early morning get up, get dressed battles once more. But perhaps Hannah Montana can help? Log onto a special Disney/Wal-Mart web site and you can arrange for Miley Cyrus – well, her pre-recorded voice, anyway – to make up to five wake-up calls to your kid. She’ll warble, “It’s time to wake up and get a move on!” or “Don’t forget cheerleading practice!” depending on how you set it up. Kinda cute. And it’s free.

Although we’d prefer to have Homer Simpson deliver the news, “D’oh! No sleeping! Mmmm, sleep…”

Posted on Tuesday, August 5th, 2008
Under: Other | 1 Comment »