Letters to the Editor, Feb. 16, 2012

Family home evening

Dear Editor,
Concerning the family, big or small, one thing is for sure, they are important! So, what makes a family so important?
It’s no stretch to say that those who grow up with a stable loving family unit have a better chance at life and the challenges that come with it. Within a family, principles like respect, love and patience can be put into practice. One of the best place to learn and apply the teachings of Jesus Christ is within the family. As you look at the good examples of families in your life, it’s not hard to see that God has given families to bring happiness and security. Also to learn correct principles that prepare us to return back to God with our families. How great is that these relationships that we have with our loved ones do not end at death. They are eternal!
A family raised in love and righteousness, a willingness to serve, and the desire to obey the commandments of God is a family that can overcome challenges. A family united in goals and striving to become better, what more can we ask for?
This isn’t something that is impossible to achieve, but rather realistic and has been done by many families around the world. Every family has its trials but these trials can strengthen our families rather than break them. Setting aside one night a week and holding a Family Home Evening can help strengthen your family. Choose an activity or a game to do together, share a life principle, a part of The Gospel of Jesus Christ and your time with your family. Doing so can reward you and your loved ones forever.

From your friends at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,

Elder Clarke and Elder Cisternas

Remembering ‘Benny’

Dear Editor,
In loving memory of Justin Daniel Nicholas Gemmell – “Benny” – July 31, 1992-Dec. 31, 2011.
I would like at this time to tell the community of Oroville how awesome you are! Your thoughtfulness and compassion has helped our family through a difficult and tragic time. My deepest heartfelt thanks goes to each and every one in this community. You pulled together and shared our burden, helped make us stronger and it was so appreciated.
Benny was so funny, caring, sensitive, loving and stubborn. His sense of humor was legend and he loved to make people laugh. He loved to hang out with his friends, rap and do his Cabbage Patch dance. It hurts me not to have him around and I miss him more each day and him walking through my door at all hours of the day and night. He never left my house without a hug or an “I love you”. His big smile, his big blue eyes (so much like my Dad’s) and those bear hugs I miss most of all.
Recently Benny told me he had no friends. He was so wrong! Unfortunately he couldn’t see past his pain. He felt he was “broken” and I wish I could have fixed it. Any parent knows that we drive our children nuts and I’m sure Benny and I did the whole enchilada. Regretfully, I wasn’t able to help him work through his pain. I feel that I so let him down, but that’s a mother’s love talking. No parent should have to bury their child. We should be the ones to go first. That is a burden that is going to be very hard for me but God gave him to me even if it was for a little while. He must have had good reason to call him home so soon.
Three days before he died he came to me crying like a baby. When I asked him what was wrong we discussed some of the problems in his life. He was reaching out and I could tell he was hurting bad because Justin always felt life from his soul. I tried to help by reaching out to him but he was scaring bad and I felt helpless. All parents feel this way at time but that night I hoped I was lucky enough to reach him. My burden, my loss.
So in closing I would like to tell everyone, tell your loved ones how much you care and how much they are appreciated. What my son did was not the answer. Listen to your heart, share your love and be thankful they are still here with you now. Know that there is always at least one person in your life who can and will be there for you. On this thought, nobody does anyone any favors by covering up and making excuses. There are signs and people can be secretive. Please if someone reaches out pick up the phone and call 911 immediately. What is the worst thing to happen if you are wrong? That person will probably be royally pissed off but stop and think. You showed you cared and yes maybe saved a life.
I ran into one of Benny’s friends at the store and asked him how he was doing. He told me he was tired because he had sat up with a friend all night, trying to talk him out of killing himself. I hugged him so tight and told him, “Thank you for saving one child. It cannot replace my son, but every child that can be saved helps me heal.” No matter how old you are, you are God’s children and you can survive another day, trust me. I may not know you, but the love I felt for my son, now belongs to you.
Respectfully yours,

Cheri Ann Cole and family


An open letter to the state legislature

Dear Legislators:
Charlie and Braden Powell were buried today. Two more children are dead because DSHS made decisions that put them at risk.
The list of dead kids in the care of DSHS is getting very long.
According to 20/20 broadcast investigators, the Powell brothers originally were provided with supervised visits from their father at a safe visitation center. However, DSHS changed the plan to allow visits to take place at the father’s home because his notoriety was disrupting other visits taking place at the center.
But how was that decision in the best interests of the children? Was it a decision that was made after careful consideration of the children’s safety, or was it just done to make things easier for those charged with supervising visits?
Let’s connect the dots.
As a former Washington CPS Social Worker, I have to ask: Why would any thinking person allow visits to take place at the home of the father when . . .
1) the father was the subject of an active criminal investigation for murder?
2) the children were telling their grandparents that they and their father were riding in the family vehicle, and “mommy was in the trunk?”
3) relatives were expressing that they felt the father would, at some point, harm the children?
4) the court had just denied the father’s petition for custody?
5) the father had child pornography in cartoon form on his computer, and was ordered by the court to undergo a psychosexual evaluation?
6) the father had a history of mental instability, which included episodes of life threatening behavior?
Practices that continue to place children in harm’s way will ultimately prove fatal. It’s just that simple. How many more children will have to die before something is done?
The sad fact is that if you or I were to act as irresponsibly as DSHS, we would be in serious trouble. CPS would remove the children from our homes, and we would find ourselves in a hell the likes of which most of us cannot even imagine.
But DSHS goes merrily on its way, continuing to place children at risk.
One wonders how many other children are, at this very moment, in harm’s way because DSHS has made poor decisions that have placed them at risk?
How many other children will have to pay the ultimate price because of the institutional neglect perpetrated by DSHS?
For the sake of those children whose voices we will never hear again, I am asking the Legislature to demand an independent study to assess the current practices of DSHS that impact the safety of the children and adults in their care, and that will result in recommendations for change.
Please consider this request urgent.
For those who cannot speak for themselves,

William W. Larson

Tacoma, Washington