Letters to the Editor: October 23, 2013

A trib­ute to ‘Nan’

When I was 6 years old, I was ap­prox­im­ately 8 inches short­er than every­one else in my class. I was not par­tic­u­larly tal­en­ted and had no great ath­let­ic abil­ity. But if you would have asked me, I was the biggest, bright­est and bad­dest kid at Steph­en Dec­atur. I was not born with this boor­ish sense of con­fid­ence. No, this is all thanks to my Nan who, since the day I was born, has re­minded me how out-of-this-world amaz­ing I am. No mat­ter how many losses I’ve seen, I’m al­ways a win­ner be­cause I’ve got Nan in my corner. 

Cecil­ia Mal­lon (a.k.a Nan) has a smile that lights up the sky. Something about her very pres­ence can turn a room of strangers in­to a group of friends. If you sit down and talk with Nan she will tell you all about her 18 per­fect grand­chil­dren and her four beau­ti­ful great-grand­chil­dren. She might tell you a funny story about one of her five daugh­ters, who she loves bey­ond ex­plan­a­tion. What she won’t tell you is how hard she has worked, how much she has over­come and how strong she has been dur­ing a life that was not al­ways so per­fect. My Nan will not show you how much her heart still aches for her son Jimmy who was lost in a vi­cious and un­for­giv­ing fire at just 8 years old. Her glow­ing face does not show the grief she still holds after los­ing the home she built for her fam­ily that day along with every pic­ture, every memory, every dol­lar she had. She will not re­veal the struggles she ex­per­i­enced as a newly single moth­er, rais­ing five girls who were equally jilted from a loss that was im­possible to make sense of. 

Nan did not, and does not, let these over­whelm­ing tra­gedies dic­tate who she is. Where most would have crumbled and let this ex­per­i­ence des­troy them, she re­built a fam­ily that was big­ger and stronger than ever be­fore. She took away from that ex­per­i­ence a les­son that many of us nev­er learn: life is short and only as sweet as you make it. 

She is the corner­stone of a fam­ily that is so full of love and laughter, most people can­not com­pre­hend it. I can only hope my Nan knows that the things she has done and the lives she has touched far ex­ceed our fam­ily alone. One day, I hope that my Nan can see how much bet­ter the world is, just for hav­ing her in it.

Jenni-Lyn Clark


Thank you for art­icle ‘Speak­ing out against ab­use’

We the par­ents of Ben (Turtle), the sub­ject of the art­icle “Speak­ing out against ab­use” in the Oct. 9 is­sue of the North­east Times, would like to ex­tend our thanks to Wil­li­am Kenny for his caring and thought-pro­vok­ing hand­ling of the sub­ject mat­ter.

He wrote about our son in a way that was re­spect­ful and safe. This has helped Ben in his heal­ing pro­cess im­mensely. Ben wishes to ad­voc­ate against child sexu­al ab­use, and this art­icle helped set all that in mo­tion. Ben star­ted a Face­book page to bring aware­ness to the sub­ject, “Shat­ter The Si­lence (Erad­ic­ate Child Ab­use).”

Ben was thrilled to re­ceive a thank you com­ment on this page from a loc­al moth­er for be­ing brave and do­ing the art­icle and of how it promp­ted her to sit and speak to her two young chil­dren about body safety. 

It also came to the at­ten­tion of a non­profit or­gan­iz­a­tion, “The Mama Bear Ef­fect,” which pledged $1 for each share of the art­icle on Face­book in or­der for Ben to donate books on pre­ven­tion and re­cov­ery of child sexu­al ab­use to loc­al lib­rar­ies.

On a more per­son­al note, we’d like to thank Mr. Kenny ba­sic­ally for be­ing the caring in­di­vidu­al that he was in writ­ing this art­icle. By do­ing so, he opened the eyes of the com­munity to be able to see that this does hap­pen on a daily basis, every­where and it is a si­lent epi­dem­ic that needs to be voiced. So thank you, Mr. Kenny, for not be­ing the re­port­er who says, “If it bleeds, it leads,” and in­stead be­ing the one who says, “If it heals, it ap­peals.”

Ba­sic­ally, you have shown that rights pro­tect vic­tims and not just the crim­in­als. Be proud, you have opened many eyes.

Melissa and Mi­chael


90th an­niversary of the Re­pub­lic of Tur­key

On Oct. 29, more than a half-mil­lion Turk­ish-Amer­ic­ans will cel­eb­rate the 90th an­niversary of the Re­pub­lic of Tur­key. On that day in 1923, un­der the guid­ance of Mustafa Kemal Ata­turk, the Turk­ish Grand Na­tion­al As­sembly pro­claimed the re­pub­lic, real­iz­ing the as­pir­a­tions of Turk­ish people for free­dom, peace and pro­gress in their home­land. 

Through the am­bi­tious re­forms im­ple­ment­ing Ata­turk’s vis­ion of mod­ern state­hood, Tur­key trans­formed from its im­per­i­al past in­to the world’s first sus­tain­able sec­u­lar demo­cracy with a pre­dom­in­antly Muslim pop­u­la­tion. Mod­ern Tur­key also is one of the fast­est-grow­ing emer­ging mar­kets.

For more than 60 years, Tur­key has been a key part­ner in a vi­tal re­gion stretch­ing from East­ern Europe and the Middle East to the Cau­cas­us and Cent­ral Asia. More than 5,000 Turk­ish sol­diers took part and over 700 of them fell fight­ing along­side the Amer­ic­ans in the 1950-53 Korean War. 

In the last two dec­ades, Tur­key con­sid­er­ably con­trib­uted to the NATO and U.S.-led mis­sions in Kosovo and Afgh­anistan. With the un­rav­el­ing crisis in Syr­ia and tur­moil in Egypt, Tur­key’s role as an in­flu­en­tial re­gion­al power and U.S. ally re­mains pivotal.

Mean­while, with­in less than a cen­tury of im­mig­ra­tion, Turk­ish-Amer­ic­ans have left a unique im­print on Amer­ica’s di­verse cul­tur­al spec­trum and have con­trib­uted to its ad­vance­ment in the fields of busi­ness, sci­ence, medi­cine, tech­no­logy and arts.

Semiha Gordes­li­gil


Smoking is too costly

Des­pite well-pub­li­cized in­form­a­tion show­ing the po­ten­tial health haz­ards of smoking, people con­tin­ue to puff away. Well, per­haps we should be free to live our lives as we choose as long as we do not af­fect oth­ers. But what if it does im­pact our fam­ily, friends and com­munity?

A re­cent news­pa­per art­icle noted that there is a 50-per­cent high­er pre­val­ence of smoking in poor neigh­bor­hoods. Some low-in­come people who smoke spend as much as 14 per­cent of their in­come on to­bacco. Some de­pend on schools to provide their chil­dren with free break­fasts while at home they pol­lute the air with second­hand smoke that their chil­dren breathe, of­ten res­ult­ing in their chil­dren suf­fer­ing from asthma, which raises health costs for all of us.

A low-in­come smoker who is on pub­lic as­sist­ance and Medi­caid drains every work­ing per­son’s taxes to pay for care for lung can­cer, em­physema or chron­ic ob­struct­ive pul­mon­ary dis­ease (COPD). One wo­man claims to buy “loosies,” a single ci­gar­ette at a time, for 50 cents each, a rate that would come to $10 a pack. Since ci­gar­ettes cost about $6 a pack, she clearly needs help with money man­age­ment.

Hav­ing to choose between in­hal­ing tar and nicot­ine or feed­ing your chil­dren, mor­ally there should be no choice. A pack-a-day smoker would be spend­ing $180 a month on smokes or about $2,200 a year. One smoker on dis­ab­il­ity com­plained that he can’t af­ford food but smoking de­creases his anxi­ety and hun­ger. This lit­er­ally makes his money go up in smoke.

The dir­ect­or of the city De­part­ment of Pub­lic Health blames ad­vert­ising and stress as factors that in­crease the de­sire to smoke. Vari­ous uni­versity pro­fess­ors point to poverty as a cause for smoking as well as for poor school per­form­ance, ig­nor­ing the fact that the next-door neigh­bor is just as poor and yet their chil­dren suc­ceed in school.

Those who ac­cept per­son­al re­spons­ib­il­ity and are will­ing to be ac­count­able for their own ac­tions should not have to pay the bill for those who fail to do so.

Mel Flit­ter


School budget solu­tion

I was won­der­ing when Re­pub­lic­an John Perzel gets out of jail and makes his $1 mil­lion resti­tu­tion to the state, if Re­pub­lic­an Gov. Corbett would then provide it dir­ectly to the school dis­trict without any re­stric­tions.

May­er Krain

Mod­ena Park

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