Friday, April 24

Work and Fun on a Beautiful Day

The grandsons had a holiday off school today for Professional Development, so we decided since it was such a beautiful day, we'd do a bit of work in the yard. The boys enjoy helping and it allows them to learn about seasonal outdoor household chores.

The garden that we just cleaned out needed an edging. I would have liked to have bought landscaping bricks to match the garden closer to the door, but since that is out of the question right now, we decided to use some bricks that match the house.

Above, Brandon is taking care of Dakota and Jordan is carrying bricks. Grandpa is digging the border to insert the bricks.

Now it's Brandon's turn to carry the bricks while Jordan looks after Dakota and Grandpa is placing the edging.

Dakota is getting strong and almost too much for Jordan to control, but we let him take a shot at it and he didn't do too badly. Dakota needs a Gent*le Lead*er like Meeko had, but Meeko's is still too big for him and we haven't been able to find one that will fit him.

Here is the flower bed and the edging is pretty much in place. Mmm! I must step outdoors and make sure hubby picked up the shovel. If not, tomorrow we won't have it.

After the work was done, the boys took Dakota to the park across the street. They put him on the long lead we bought him last week and took the ball along.

It was a beautiful day and the boys tired Dakota out for me. He's been a very well-behaved and quiet puppy tonight. I know that if he doesn't get enough exercise he will be hyper and so hubby and I really need to get him out more. I did help a bit with the edging by carrying a few bricks and letting hubby know when the bricks weren't staying in proper porportion. Supervisor, I think it's called.


Yesterday I posted about the young autistic man in Newfoundland who was arrested when the police thought he was intoxicated. There were a couple of questions that I'd like to address:

First of all is Dawn's. She asked, Didn't they make him take a sobriety test?

Dawn, the paper said that the young man wouldn't let them smell his breath. It didn't state if he was given a breathalizer when he got to the station, so I can't answer your question. I suspect they did because that is the usual procedure, but can't be sure. They certainly had no grounds to hold him.

The second question came from Hootin' Anni. She asked, But, I need to ask, just what kind of training it would be to differentiate?

Anni, apparently this must have happened before because the Newfoundland Constablary had contacted the Autism Society a few weeks ago and asked for help in training their officers in the symptoms of autism. That is now in the works. As far as Downs Syndrome, I'm not sure how officers could be trained to recognize it, but that is another disorder they need to be able to recognize.

Dawn, your comment about the autistic boy who was so violent that he killed his mother made me sad. That young man should have been given some help to overcome his violent tendencies. This goes to show you how those affected by autism fall through the cracks. He should have been in a group home or other facility where he could have been treated.

My point here is that Dane was not given his rights when he was arrested. First of all, the police didn't understand the symptoms of autism. Then, they denied him his right to a phone call when they took him to the station. This is a right that all Canadian citizens are entitled to. If it had been me or any "normal" (I hate that word) person, we would have been granted that phone call, but because this young man was different and they didn't understand him, he wasn't granted his rights.

Thank you all for the questions. I hope I answered them to your satisfaction and promoted Autism Awareness. Have a great weekend. ~Blessings, Mary~

Thursday, April 23

Autistic Man Arrested by Newfoundland Police

As you may well know, April is Autism Month. It is a time to promote awareness of autism and all of the disorders on the autism spectrum.

I was horrified today to see a story on page A9 of the Toronto Globe and Mail with the headline, Police mistook autism for drunkeness.

Eighteen year old Dane Spurrell, of Mount Pearl, Newfoundland was arrested Saturday night around midnight, when police mistook his autism for public intoxication. Dane was walking home from a video game store where he had rented a movie when officers of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary stopped him and told him he should be walking on the sidewalk. In the style of most autistic people, when there is only black and white and no gray, Dane told the officers that this was impossible, as there were no sidewalks in that particular area. The officers then asked him to smell his breath and when he refused, they arrested him.

This young man was forcibly handcuffed, put into the police cruiser and taken to jail. They didn't allow him to call his mother and she had no idea where he was. After five hours, she finally called 911 to report him missing. That is when she was told that her son had been arrested.

Police returned Dane to his home at approximately 8 am Sunday. His mother wonders why police wouldn't allow her son to call home when he was arrested. She's filed a formal complaint against the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. The complaint will be investigated by an independent police complaints commission. The officers who arrested Dane will be privy to a criminal investigation into their conduct.

Since my grandson has autism, I wonder if someday he may be arrested for the same reason...because he is autistic...because he is different...because police don't know the difference between autism and public intoxication.

Justice Minister Tom Marshall can't comment until Dane's mother's complaint has been resolved. However he did say, As a parent, I can certainly empathize with Mrs. Spurnell here. When a son or daughter is picked up by police, especially someone who may have a disability, you want to make sure they're treated appropriately.

This concerns me a great deal. The local police once shot a young man who was a schizophrenic because he was acting weird and they thought he had a weapon. Another time, they picked up a man who had gone into diabetic shock, took him to the station and threw him in a cell. He died. In each of these cases an investigation took place. Police were found innocent of any wrong doing in both.

I believe it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that all police officers are trained to spot mental and physical problems that might resemble public intoxication. I can imagine how frightened Dane was when the police locked him up and wouldn't allow him to call his mother. Autism awareness needs to be promoted each and every month, and every day of the month, not just once a year in April. It is our duty to protect those on the autistic spectrum and make certain that their Human Rights are never again violated like they were in Dane's case.

Wednesday, April 22

Earth Day

In celebration of Earth Day, I did a bit of research on climate change and how it's affecting the polar bear population in Canada's northern territories.

When we think of the Arctic, we tend to think of pristine wilderness, blue horizons, ice fields and glaciers and the magnificient species known as polar bears. We've seen them roaming the ice fields on tv and in movies. We shouldn't take this for granted, as one day these giant bears may cease to exist.

Information on the World Wildlife Fund's Canadian website states that "due to climate change, Canada's Arctic is warming faster than any place on Earth." Because of global warming, the majestic polar bear is facing extinction. However, all hope isn't lost if people work together to reduce the impact of climate change on our planet.

Can you imagine future generations only recognizing these magnificient creatures as a species that was extinct before they were born? A sad outlook, isn't it? But that could well happen.

In the past 50 years, parts of Canada's Arctic have seen temperatures increase 3 to 4 degrees Celcius. (That is 37.4 to 39.2 Fahrenheit.) One quarter of the Arctic sea ice has vanished since 1979. This causes a serious threat to the polar bear population. Some bears have to swim as far as 100 kilometers (62 miles) to find sea ice on which to hunt seals. Without the ice, polar bears can't hunt seals and this is their main food supply. Some polar bears drown in rough seas in their search for the ice, while others succumb to hypothermia and exhaustion.

We each need to take reponsibility for slowing climate change. No one person can do it alone, but if we all join together, we can make a difference. Here are a few ways you can help:

* If you don't have a high efficiency furnace, consider having one installed. Not only does it cut greenhouse gas emissions, it will save you considerable money over the course of the year, especially if you live in a northern climate.

* Add extra insulation to your attic, basement and the exterior walls of your house.

* Buy a programmable thermostat for your air conditioner and furnace. This will allow you to program energy according to your lifestyle.

* Sign with a power company that provides energy through renewable sources, such as wind.

* Install low-flow taps, showerheads and toilets.

* Install ceiling fans in order to reduce air conditioning costs or to eliminate the use of the air conditioner when outside temperatures are moderate.

* Hang clothes on the clothesline instead of using the dryer. This saves energy, which will put money in your pocket and the fragrance of clothes dried outdoors is fantastic.

* Scrap old refrigerators, stoves, washers and dryers and replace them with new energy saving models.

* Wash clothes in cold water.

* Do dishes by hand and avoid using the dishwasher whenever possible. Dishes can be handwashed once a day with about 3 gallons of water. If you do this 7 times a week, that is a total of 21 gallons of water, compared to approximately 15 gallons every time you use your dishwasher. Therefore if you use your dishwasher every other day, you would use 52.5 gallons of water per week to wash dishes. That is a huge difference. To calculate your water useage, click Here!

* The next time you buy a car, purchase one that is fuel efficient.

* Walk, ride a bike, take public transport or carpool.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. The polar bear isn't the only species that is in danger of extinction because of global warming. Make everyday Earth Day and help keep our planet safe.

Monday, April 20

On April 8th, eight-year-old Victoria Stafford went missing on her way home from school. She usually walked with her older brother, but that day he walked another child home. At approximately 6:06 pm, Victoria's mother called police in Woodstock, Ontario and told them her daughter had not arrived home from school and couldn't be found. No Amber Alert was issued and Victoria was classed as a missing person. The police apparently said that there was no evidence she had been abducted, even though video from a local high school showed her walking with a young woman in a white coat who couldn't be identified by the family.

A ground search was organized and people came out in droves to look for the young girl. No sign of her was found. On April 13th, the ground search was called off. The police stated that an abduction signifies force and that Victoria seemed to be going with the woman willingly. At this time, police had received approximately 300 tips, but nothing came of them.

Today, Victoria's mother pleaded with the abductor to release her daughter. "If you have my child, please just bring her home," said Tara McDonald. "You cannot imagine how we are feeling and we are missing her so much that it hurts. Look into your soul and find the compassion to please just let her go and let her come home."

The search for Victoria has now been taken over by the Ontario Provincial Police. This past weekend, they intensified the search for the missing girl. On Sunday police divers used sonar equipment and a boat to look for the missing girl while 35 other police officers combed swamps and bush not far from the girl's home.

Police now have over 1,000 tips and are still concentrating on the Woodstock, Ontario area. But Const. Laurie-Anne Maitland said they want more help, especially tips that could identify the woman that Tori is seen walking with in a surveillance video. "We're confident somebody has information and we're hoping that despite how small it may seem to them — or how insignificant — that they're going to come forward and share it, even if they think we already have it," said Maitland.

Anyone with information can call police at (519) 537-2323 or contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS or any detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police.

Sunday, April 19

Quiet Sunday

Today was a quiet Sunday. We didn't do much until midafternoon. I had planned to go out and work a little clearing debris from my other flowerbeds, but the wind was brisk and cool. Since we have over a month before we can plant anything, I decided to forego that activity as last night I was coughing and today I had the sniffles. I don't want to get a cold at this time of year, so will wait for a nicer day to garden. However, I was a bit disappointed.

I've had some inquiries on how my knees are. I've quit taking all the prescribed medications. They weren't doing any good, so why take them. No more Cele*brex or Pen*nsaid. I found out I shouldn't be taking them with the med for my high blood pressure and stopped immediately on Easter weekend. Now I'm taking ibuprofen and using Methol*atum Deep Heating Ultra Strength rub. Since doing this, my knee pain is tolerable and not excruciating like it was. So, I was able to get out and do a little in the garden on Friday and take the boys and Dakota across the street to the park on Saturday. Thanks to Mari for her tip on keeping my legs elevated. This really helps. I can't sit at the computer for long periods of time though because my knee stiffens. I will catch up with everyone as I can.

We didn't do much today but laze around and then we went and got a few groceries this afternoon. That went quite well, though we spent about $20 more than I'd planned. Oh well, everyone has to eat. The one thing I wanted that I didn't get was a roasting chicken. They wanted $2.99 a pound. One lady asked them to weigh a chicken for her and it was over $16.00. She was appalled at the price and asked them to weigh a smaller one, which was only $12.00. Doesn't she realize that no matter the size of the chicken, she's paying the same price per pound? I would NOT pay $2.99 a pound for chicken if I never had it. I opted for chicken breasts that were only $1.69 a pound. Two large breasts cost me $7.49. To me that is much more reasonable and chicken breast is the best meat on the chicken. Doesn't make sense to me.

I made a nice macaroni salad for dinner. I added celery, carrots, tomatoes, a little onion, lettuce and some shredded cheddar cheese. It was delicious. I looked at green peppers at the grocery store but they were barely fit to eat and the price was atrocious, so I passed them by as well.

So all in all, it was a quiet, lazy day here. I watched a documentary on Tigers tonight and last night hubby and I watched Australia. Though it took me a while to get into it, the ending was fantastic. If you haven't seen it, be sure to do so. I also emailed Assignment # 3 of my writing course to my tutor. We will see what she has to say about it when it comes back. It was the story about my brother and I catching fireflies, which you can read HERE if you missed it.

Hope you all had a great weekend. ~Blessings, Mary~