I took these pictures back in July when the German students from Lengerich, our Sister City, visited Wapak. Every year they tour the Fire Department, but this year, I got to tag along.
I was fascinated! I haven’t been in a fire station since I was a kid. I didn’t take pictures until I spotted all those buttons on a fire truck. I immediately thought of this blog! Sorry! We visited the living quarters first, but I didn’t think to take pictures.
Can you guess what I found next? Fire trucks! This station is full of them. Really!
I took the 1st picture looking down an aisle between the trucks. In the 2nd I peeked in the front window. I didn’t notice buttons, but I was amazed by that front seat. I bet it fits 3 or 4 people, but if they’re wearing fire uniforms, probably only 2.
This pictures show a fireman’s clothing locker. Would you believe he gains 45 pounds by putting on his clothes? YIKES! Can you imagine fighting a fire while you’re wearing an extra 45 pounds? In clothes? DOUBLE YIKES!!!
So why do the clothes weigh so much? Because every bit of it must protect the firemen. Look at the helmet. It’s not cheap plastic. It resists heat and protects him from falling objects.
See the turnout pants and jackets? The fabric has two-layers to repel heat and wick away moisture. Wick? What’s wicking? It’s pulling sweat away from the inner layer next to your skin, and sending it to the outer layer. Then both layers dry fast so you can keep your cool.
This fireman is dressed for action.
See the boots? They’re made of rubber so firemen won’t slip and fall. The toes and soles are reinforced with metal to protect their feet from sharp fragments. Gloves go on the hands and stretch past the wrist. They’re made of thick leather that’s padded with lots of insulation so firefighters can touch hot stuff when they fight fires.
Firemen also have 2 safety devices you can’t see. They wear an air tank like a backpack. A hose connects the tank to a mask so firemen have 30 minutes of safe air to fight fires. Many firemen carry a PASS. That stands for Personal Alert Safety System. It’s a lot like a life alert. If a fireman taps a button, the unit signals where he is. A PASS could save a fireman’s life!
With all their trucks and equipment, firemen need lots of tools to keep everything running. Do you see their toolbox? It’s tall and red with lots of drawers. My husband, the engineer, has one just like it in gray.
Do you see all the brooms? I don’t think of firemen sweeping and cleaning, but I bet they do. Keeping things clean is a good thing! It makes everything run better.
Firemen don’t just fight fires. Most of them are paramedics. Paramedics are the guys who work in an ambulance. They’re trained to take care of you , and they also drive you to a hospital. A paramedic could save your life.
Here’s a set of tools that firemen use. Dummies! Really! But they’re not so dumb. They help firemen practice life-saving skills like CPR. Paramedics do CPR when someone stops breathing, or their heart stops beating. Did you know paramedics have to take classes and tests to become one? I’m glad. I want a well-trained paramedic working on me.
I didn’t look inside an ambulance today, but this looks like what you’d see. Did you know that firemen make more calls as paramedics than as firemen? I was surprised to hear that. When I went to Germany and toured cities that were hundreds of years old, our guides said fires were once a city's biggest danger.
Why are there fewer fires today? Hundreds of years ago people had fire inside their home to cook and stay warm. It’s easy for a fire to get out of control, especially if you fell asleep before putting it out.
Today houses are built better, with fire retardant materials that are hard to catch on fire. Houses have better wiring. Bad wiring can cause fires. Also most houses and buildings have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. I have both at my house. I hope you do too!
This is everyone’s favorite part of the fire station…the poles. If you look at the first one, the ceiling is opening. In the second one, the fireman is sliding down, feet first. They make it look so easy! I’ve always wanted to slide down a pole, but I’m pretty sure I’d fall.
Here are our class pictures. The first one has all of our German guests. The second has our German students with the 4 firemen who made us feel welcome. Don’t look for me…I was taking the pictures!
At Wapak Sister Cities we’d like to thank the German teens for being great guests. We’d also like to thank the Wapak firemen for being great hosts and great tour guides! We look forward to returning next year with a fresh batch of German kids. The best part of the exchange is introducing the German kids and their chaperone to American culture, whether it’s the Wapak Fire Station or LaGrande’s Pizza.
For those of you who are frequent visitors to my blog, I’ll be off on vacation till the 11th. Check back then, and you can find out here in the world Rinda went. Have a great week!
This is Manuel Bartsch. He discovered he was a DACA kid when he was a high school senior. Then his story got worse, much worse. Read on…and discover how something like this could happen.
Manuel’s story started with two Americans, his grandfather and step-grandfather. His grandmother was German. She had a baby girl, who had Manuel, but he wound up living with his grandmother. She had another baby, Manuel’s uncle. Life was good…until his grandmother was killed by a drunk driver in 1993.
Arriving in the US
In 1997 Manuel’s step-grandfather brought both boys to the US, to Gilboa, Ohio. Manuel was about 7 years old. He came legally, with a 90-day visitor pass…it never got renewed. Uh-oh! Then his grandfather forgot to legally adopt him. Double Uh-oh!
Manuel grew up in Ohio, as an American kid, doing American things like playing football until December of 2005. That’s when he discovered the truth. Manuel tried to get his driver’s license and register for the ACT, a college entrance test. Manuel learned he didn’t have a social security number, that he wasn’t a citizen, or even a legal resident of the United States. Pretty bad…but it gets worse, much worse.
Manuel didn’t know what to do when he got a letter from immigration in Ohio. He asked for advice from his girlfriend’s father, who’s in law enforcement. They went into the immigration office together.
Officials confirmed Manuel’s entry date with his step-grandfather. They came into Newark, New Jersey on August 21, 1997. Manuel had just turned 10. After that meeting, life got worse, much worse.
Arrested before Christmas
Those officials couldn’t find any paperwork, for either an adoption or a visitation. Without them, they had to arrest and charge Manuel as an illegal alien. It’s the law…so in December of 2005, Manuel found himself stuck in jail for 17 days. He was18 years old. I can’t imagine how scared he felt to find himself in jail as illegal alien. He had no idea what happened, no idea what to do. But that’s when things got better, a little better.
Manuel Finds Help
Manuel’s story made news around the US, and in Germany too. It got him a lawyer, David Leopold, who accepted the case pro-bono. He didn’t ask for a dime.
Back home in the Pandora-Gilboa school district, friends, teachers, administrators, and school board members needed to help. They traveled to Cleveland to speak for Manuel. They told the court they were upset, that they wanted Manuel back in school, back in Gilboa.
Their words worked! The case was dropped. Manuel was released, but it wasn’t over. He didn’t have citizenship, and he could be deported at any time. He might not even be allowed to finish high school. WOW!
The Fight Goes On
Mark Painter, father of Manuel’s high school girl friend, said, "Right now, he still has a chance. It's not a definite no…The fight goes on." Then life got better, a little better, thanks to help from lawyer David Leopold, Congressman Paul Gilmore, and Senator Michael DeWine.
In April of 2006, Senator Mike DeWine joined Manuel’s fight. He wanted to see Manuel’s status changed. He believed Manuel should be legally allowed to stay in the country. Mike took the fight to the US Senate. He asked for a report on the case. It made a difference! The report said Manuel couldn’t be deported, even if a judge ordered it.
High School Graduation
Manuel went on to graduate from Pandora-Gilboa High School, but he didn’t know about college, even though he’d been accepted at Ohio Northern University. He sat in limbo, waiting to hear back from his legal battles. His lawyer, David said Manuel grew up a lot his senior year.
The Fight’s Not Over
Manuel found another champion in Ohio Congressman Paul Gilmore. In January 2007, he introduced a bill into the US House of Representatives for the relief of Manuel Bartch, to give him permanent resident status. It never passed so the bill died. Paul died later that year, in September of 2007.
College, at Last
Manuel made it to college. Yeah! He went to Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio. Manuel was an achiever! His professor, David Hogan, said “He was in the top 2% of his students,” and that he couldn’t believe Manuel’s problem had no solution. Me too!
Manuel didn’t just have great grades in college…He was a leader too. His fraternity voted him president for 2 terms. It was a perfect fit for a political science major who dreamed of a future in government and politics.
In college Manuel was considered an undocumented immigrant, but someone believed in him, enough to give him tuition money. To this day Manuel has no idea who helped him. He has a guess, but he’ll never know for sure. On May 4th, 2012 Manuel graduated from Heidelberg with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He couldn’t understand how America could give him a great education, yet send him back to Germany, a country he hadn’t visited for 15 years.
He also didn’t know what to do with his degree. A lot of college kids have trouble getting jobs. Not Manuel! He couldn’t get a job. He couldn’t go to graduate school. He couldn’t get clearance to work in state or local government, and he still couldn’t get a driver’s license. All because of a piece of paper. Imagine! A piece of paper! Manuel was stuck, in limbo, because of a piece of paper.
This is Manuel’s step-grandfather and Manuel’s diploma from Heidelberg. Can you imagine how proud his grandfather was of Manuel? I also imagine he was frustrated…frustrated to see Manuel stuck through no fault of his own. That’s when life got better, a little better.
The Dream Act
The next 3 pictures show Manuel speaking in support of the Dream Act. This first one is in Washington D.C. The Capital Building stands in the background.
Did you know the Dream Act was originally introduced Aug.1, 2001 by Democrat, Dick Durbin, and Republican, Orrin Hatch? It was bi-partisan, with senators from both of our major political parties. It’s been discussed in different forms ever since, but never been made into a law. Not ever.
In 2012 it was one small clause of a huge Immigration bill. It was supposed to give citizenship to kids like Manuel who’d arrived in the US before they were 16.
Back then Manuel said, “I’d like to get out there, and be in the fight for things, especially on immigration. I would love to advocate for immigration and reform and passage of the Dream Act – just the passion I have for that kind of thing.”
It made sense for the kid who was interested in government and politics to get involved.
And he did…he testified in front of Congress. He tried to convince them to dream, but Congress said no to the immigration bill, no to the dream act.
It must have seemed like the worst of times to Manuel, but then that same year, things got better, a lot better.
Time for a Cover
In 2012 Time decided to produce an article and cover to support the Dream Act. This is that cover shoot. It featured 35 students from different backgrounds. Each student represented a country whose kids have been caught in the US without legal citizenship. Some people think it’s just a South and Central American problem, but it’s not. Manuel’s from Germany.
Someone brought these kids here illegally. It wasn’t their choice, it wasn’t their fault, and something needed to be done. Time decided to help, with this cover, and its matching article.
After it was shot, Time’s editors worked on computers to make the picture just right. They added words, in the right colors, in the right sizes. Lots of work went into the cover below. The magazine came out June 25, 2012.
Two weeks earlier, on June 15, 2012 President Obama signed the Dream Act as an executive order. It didn’t grant kids like Manuel citizenship, but it halted deportation, temporarily. It allowed them to work and go to school.
Manuel said, “I’m excited, and I thank Obama for stepping forward. I hope it’s more than election year politics. I hope there’s more behind it than that because it’s so important for so many of us.”
So where does Manuel stand now, in 2018? Is life better, or worse?
The pictures in this section come from the last 6 years. Life looks pretty good. Manuel married his high school sweetheart. They have good jobs, a house, and an 18-month-old cutie!
Life is good, but something’s missing…US citizenship. When I started this post in January, I remember Manuel’s father-in-law saying the law is black and white, no wiggle room. Manuel’s married to a citizen, and he’s the father of one. I thought if you married a citizen, you got citizenship automatically. Evidently not if you came illegally.
Thanks to DACA, Manuel can drive a car, and he has a job, but not in government. That’s where his passion, talents, and degree are. Manuel can’t cross the border into Canada or Mexico for vacation. He can’t visit family back in Germany. Why not? He’s afraid he wouldn’t get back in again.
Some people think that he should leave the country and wait his turn to come back. That’s hard to do with a wife and a child. It could take as long as 8 years to return, the right way. His son would be 9 by then. That’s a huge price to ask of anyone, especially a little boy.
So what’s the answer? Compromise, somehow. Everyone knows this situation is wrong, and it should be fixed. The question is how. Manuel’s father-in-law thinks our government should come up with a plan that asks these kids to do things like finish high school, finish college/higher training. Manuel has done both.
Others think the DACA kids should pay a fine in money and/or time. I’d support a plan like that, if it was reasonable. I’d write my Congress people, and I think others would too.
I wish our leaders in Washington DC would come up with that reasonable plan for these DACA kids. It’s been discussed since 2000 by politicians on both sides of the aisle. Why can’t they make it happen?
1. My interview with Manuel’s father-in-law, Mark Painter
2. The Cleveland Plain Dealer
3. The Toledo Blade
4. ABC News
5. The Lima News
6. Congressional Record
Hi! This is Beryl! She was created by my Tennessee friend, magician, and sculptor Rick Starkey. In my last post, Beryl needed to find her just right spot at the lake. She did, and she also gave me a book idea that’s sitting in my computer, waiting to be written.
Beryl also taught me how to find the perfect spot. How? By playing! I put Beryl in different positions, then kept moving her until I found the right one. I’ve always done this with clothes. I won’t buy them unless they look great, ON me. If it’s merely good, I can put it back. Really! Who knew it worked with knickknacks inside my house? Try it and see for yourself!
In Wapak, I have my favorite places to shop. Rovals is one of them. Going in and shopping is like treasure hunting. Some days you find treasure. Some days you don’t.
When I went in a few weeks ago, I saw the 2 matching vases pictured here. One was short and fat. The other was tall and thin. They called me. They whispered, "Rinda, come buy us!"
I tried not to listen, but the vases said they were unusual, that I’d never find anything like them again. They said they’d look great in my house. I asked Rochelle, Rovals’ owner extraordinaire, for help. She was supposed to talk me out of them. Not today! She said they’d look great with the giant
wine bottle I’d found at her store. It called me for a month before I'd answer yes. Then...she suggested adding sunflowers to the short one, grass to the tall one.
It was a weak moment! Wet noodle weak! Really! bought the vases, and the idea. I have to be careful when I’m shopping…I’m always tempted. I thought I’d run across the street to Moon Florist, where I’ve never, ever shopped. I thought I’d drop in and admire a friend’s arrangements. Safe? Nope, temptation beckoned, again. Tammy does great arrangements, and before I knew it, she had my vases. I’d pick them up when I returned from the lake.
The pictures to the left show what Tammy did! She’s good, really good! I love her arrangements! So did Rochelle! I stopped in for a little show and tell on my way to the car. Now, all I have to do is get them to the lake, intact. I'm ready for a road trip!
BTW…here’s the link for a post I did on Rovals in July of 2017:
Here’s the wine bottle that started this whole adventure. It’s a unique piece, 3 feet tall, 2 shelves in the middle, and a secret stash on top. I love it!
I took it to the lake, but it looked wrong by itself. So I found two geese at Casa Chic, another favorite shop. The threesome look great together. Did you know why? 3 is a Fibonacci number. When you group things by Fibonacci numbers, they fit together. Usually!
The vases made it to the lake but not beside the bottle. I tried them as a threesome. It didn’t work! I tried each vase with the bottle. It didn’t work either, even though 2 is a Fibonacci number too. Shucks! When you buy something new, things don’t always work out the way you planned.
I put the geese back. They’re just right for the big bottle. I picture them guarding it, and that makes me chuckle. Maybe, there’s a story here too!
I played with the 2 vases, just like I did with Beryl. I thought they’d work together. They didn’t! So I played with 1 vase at a time. These were my just right spots.
It’s funny, Beryl tried both locations, and they didn’t fit. The yellow sunflowers are perfect against the dark couch. The green grass shows up and fills the empty spot behind the love seat.
My take-away from Beryl, if you find something new, don’t despair if it doesn’t fit where you imagine. Play around! Try different spots. You’ll find the perfect place, and don’t forget, have fun playing!
Meet Beryl! Tennessee critique partner and chainsaw sculptor, Rick Starkey carved her, and I picked her out from a collection of siblings. I know…Oh brother! I adopted her, I have the papers to prove it! # 4521 doesn’t fit, but Beryl does. It’s just right!
Beryl needed a just right spot too. I tried different rooms, took pictures, and sent a few to my critique group. Sometimes even grown-ups need to play! The name of the game, Where is Beryl? It led to this blog post, AND a book idea…but I need to play more before I 'm ready to write. For now, can you find Beryl and tell me why each spot wasn't right?
Where is Beryl?
In the laundry room, but she didn’t like it here. She said she blended into the background, AND she’ll have to move every time I need to get in and out of the washer/drier. No, this is not her spot!
How about here?
In the kitchen, on top of the refrigerator? Beryl hated blending into the woodwork, but she loved the view. She decided to keep looking for her just right spot.
What about here?
Next to the kitchen door? Beryl could see outside and across the kitchen. But when you’re short, it’s hard to see. Her eyes barely cleared the bottom of the door. OK, Beryl, next spot!
By the couch and the stairs? Beryl loved the view of the kitchen and the deck, but blending into the couch- NEVER! Beryl likes to stand out!
In the living room, behind the love seat? Beryl thought she looked great beside the the lighter couch and wall, but she lost her view. She could only see the front door and the bedroom hallway. Boring! Beryl said no thanks!
This is the living room window. You can see the dock, the lake, and anything that moves. Beryl said no, again! She can barely see out the window, and her back’s to the room. Plus no one outside can see her. Next spot, please!
What about here?
By the fireplace? It’s nice and cozy with a great view, but Beryl said no. She blends in too much, again. Next!
On the book and toy shelf by the front door? You’d never be bored, but Beryl shook her head. Too dark she said. Beryl needs to stand out.
On top of the living room cupboard? It’s light and bright with a great view. Beryl stopped, thought, then said no. She loved a view where she could see inside and out. BUT, she couldn’t stand out surrounded by trinkets. After all who’d look at Beryl when there’s Coke to be found?
Here, Beryl? Please Beryl!
Outside on the porch? You’ll definitely stand out. You can greet anyone who comes or goes. Growl if you need to, but keep guarding that front door. Beryl looked around and said, this is just right.
Meet Donna L. Martin. She’s the newest member of the Tennessee critique group. To join an established writing group, you must work your way in. Here’s how Donna did it.
She met Rick and Debbie at a writing event last February. She asked about our group so we three talked and invited Donna to our March meeting. In April, we asked her to return, this time to critique our work. In May she reviewed our words again, and we critiqued her for the first time. In June Donna officially joined the group. It was hard work, but worth it!
Being new is hard too. When Donna first came, I was midway through a middle grade chapter book. Donna didn’t know the back story from earlier chapters. I started at the beginning of hers. Much easier!
This is Donna’s day job. She has a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo. Weekdays she’s busy teaching kids of all ages, all skill levels. She doesn’t stop for summer vacation either.
Donna applies her ninja skills to writing most nights and weekends. Sunday is her favorite day…she can spend all day writing.
This is Donna at a book party for The Story Catcher, her 2nd book, but first solo story. I can’t imagine how she felt, getting that first book published. Holding it in her hands! It must be an incredible experience!
Looking at those pictures, I can’t tell who’s more excited…Donna with a reader, or the girl with an autograph and photo op. What a great day for both of them! And this book store, wowsers! It says come in and read. Come in and buy a great book!
Here’s the link to Donna’s website.
Click on it, and you’ll find yourself inside Donna’s website and publishing company. This is where the magic happens. It’s where she’s building her brand, and what she can do for you. Read on for the details!
If you want to read Donna’s writing, check out her blog. It’s free! She has special features each day to keep you coming back for more. I’m glad I waited to post this. Donna just added in a new blog for Mondays.
Monday is Indie Author’s Journey day. For the next 12 weeks Donna's sharing her publishing story. She’s also starting a contest, The 12 Weeks of Lunadar to celebrate her new book. Every Monday Donna's doing a give away. Correction: The contest starts on Monday, September 24th. This week is bookmarks (Sept. 24th). Next week, Fairy House Birdfeeders (Oct. 1st). Stay tuned for details, on Monday of course!
Next up is Flash Fiction Tuesday. Donna will begin a story and let you finish it. What a great opportunity to use your imagination, whether you’re 6 or 60. Last week’s story was The Dragon’s Curse. The plot, a boy and girl sneak out at night. Everything's fine, till they meet sharp claws and wings that cover the sun. Write on!
Book Nook Wednesdays come next. That’s when Donna will pick out a book, give you the synopsis, and tell why you should read it. Click on ‘Book Nook Reviews,’ and you’ll discover some great new books. Last week she reviewed Jane Yolen’s A Plague of Unicorns.
Thoughtful Thursdays are up next. Donna spends her week looking for something that catches her eye. She writes about it and posts it on Thursdays. Last week Donna wrote about dog paddling and swimming. The week before she wanted to join the circus. I wonder what will catch her attention this week!
Writerly Wisdom Fridays are perfect for me and for anyone who wants to write. Last week was all about deadlines. If you’re a writer, you should read this! If you’ve missed one, check the archives. They go back through last March. That’s when Donna came up with her new website. I’ve known her since then, but I’ve learned so much already! Donna’s mentoring me through self-publishing a book. My goal, to have the book in my hands by next May. I don’t need the force. I’ve got Donna!
If you’re a teacher or a home-school parent, Donna offers links that include:
If you can’t find what you need, message Donna. She loves to research and share her results. Really! She's been so generous to me, sharing her self-publishing notes. I’m grateful for her expertise.
Here’s her writing timeline:
In 2013 Donna got her 1st writing credit. She contributed one of the 101 inspirational stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul. Correction: Donna said her first publishing credit was some poetry that was accepted into an anthology about 35 years ago.
In 2015 Donna got her next credit. In The Story Catcher, Addie struggles with letters that wiggle and trick her, but with a little faith she becomes a Story Catcher, just like everyone else in her family.
In 2017 Donna scored again with Are YOU the Missing Piece. 189 writers contributed to this journal. The daily readings offer support and encouragement to help you find creativity and success.
This fall Donna will get her next credit for My Journey My Journal. It’s a lot like the one above, probably because it’s by the same company. The publishing date is Fall 2018. So soon!
This is Donn’as final writing credit, so far. The Kindle edition of Lunadar is already out, You can buy it now! If you’d like a paperback copy, you’ll have to wait till October 15th. Coming soon, two more Lunadar book! A sequel followed by a prequel. Go, Donna, go! Write on!
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!