Minecraft Version of Olympic Stadium in Montreal

May 29, 2020 at 6:00 pm , by Alyce Wilson

Minecraft version of Montreal Olympic Stadium

My son, who goes by the online handle KFP, researched a famous architectural structure for a school project. He selected the Olympic Stadium in Montreal, mostly because he loved its modern aesthetic.

As part of his project, he was required to make a model of the structure, and he chose to make a version of it in Minecraft. Now that his model is completed, he’d like to make it available for anyone who would like to open the world file and play with it at home. If you add on anything interesting, we’d love to see your screen shots!

To download the world file, click on the link below:

Olympic Stadium in Montreal

To use this world, you need to be using Version 1.15.2 or later of Minecraft Java edition. Unzip the contents of the ZIP file into your Minecraft “saves” folder.

He also recorded a walk-through of the project, interviewed by his father, where he explains his building decisions in more detail.

Happy Birthday Wishes for KFP

May 25, 2020 at 9:10 am , by Alyce Wilson

My son, who goes by the online nickname KFP, will be celebrating his 10th birthday soon. This would have been a big party year, but instead we’ve moved his celebration online.

When I first sought suggestions for how to celebrate his birthday in this unusual time, someone suggested that I ask people to send him cards or letters. I think what he’d appreciate even more than that would be to read comments, view virtual e-cards, animations or artwork shared with him online.

If you’d like to wish him a happy birthday, you can do so in the comments on this post. Thanks!

Teen Poetry Workshop: Poems

April 17, 2020 at 6:04 pm , by Alyce Wilson

A few months ago, Youth Services Librarian and friend Susan Monroe, of the Emmaus Public Library, invited me to conduct a teen poetry workshop at the library on Saturday, April 18, 2020. Of course, our plans went awry, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and the state of Pennsylvania’s standing stay-at-home order. More recently, Sue asked me if I’d be willing to do the workshop as a video, and I said sure. Of course, the session would be very different. Instead of doing an introduction and then working with students on their own writing, I put together some tips about poetry, along with lots of examples of poems that illustrate those tips.

The video is now live here: https://www.facebook.com/emmauspl.org/videos/583554289175965/

I’d still be happy to offer a critique of poems for anyone who’d like my feedback. You can email them to me at shantipoet@gmail.com.

For some fun poetry prompts, go to Wild Violet’s poetry section. Throughout the month of April, we’re sharing daily prompts. In addition, I mentioned a couple useful sites to visit while writing or revising: Thesaurus.com and RhymeZone.com.

Below are the poems I read as part of my video workshop, along with the topic they were illustrating.

~~~

Alliteration

Repose of Rivers
By Hart Crane

The willows carried a slow sound,
A sarabande the wind mowed on the mead.
I could never remember
That seething, steady leveling of the marshes
Till age had brought me to the sea.

Flags, weeds. And remembrance of steep alcoves
Where cypresses shared the noon’s
Tyranny; they drew me into hades almost
And mammoth turtles climbing sulphur dreams
Yielded, white sun-silt rippled them
Asunder. . .

How much I would have bartered! The black gorge
And all the singular nestings in the hills
Where beavers learn stitch and tooth.
The pond I entered once and quickly fled —
I remember now its singing willow rim.

And finally, in that memory all things nurse;
After the city that I finally passed
With scalding unguents spread and smoking darts
The monsoon cut across the delta
At gulf gates. . . There, beyond the dykes

I heard wind flaking sapphire, like this summer,
And willows could not hold more steady sound.

~~~

Simile and Metaphor

Solitude
By Charles Simic

There now, where the first crumb
Falls from the table
You think no one hears it
As it hits the floor

But somewhere already
The ants are putting on
Their Quakers’ hats
And setting out to visit you.

~~~

Conciseness

Singing Image of Fire
By Kukai

A hand moves, and the fire’s whirling takes different shapes,
triangles, squares: all things change when we do.
The first word, Ah, blossomed into all others.
Each of them is true.

~~~

Precise Detail

Coal Train
By Jay Parini

There times a night it woke you
in middle summer, the Erie Lackawanna,
running to the north on thin, loud rails.
You could feel it coming a long way off:
at first, a tremble in youru belly,
a wire trilling in your veins, then diesel
rising to a froth beneath your skin.
You could see the cowcatcher,
wide as a mouth and eating ties,
the headlight blowing a dust of flies.
There was no way to stop it.
You lay there, fastened to the tracks
and waiting, breathing like a bull,
Your fingers lit at the tips like matches.
You waited for the thunder of wheel and bone,
the axles sparking, fire in your spine.
Each passing was a kind of death,
the whistle dwindling to a ghost in air,
the engine losing itself in trees.
In a while, your heart was the loudest thing,
your bed was a pool of night.

~~~

Poetic Form

Will Not Come Back [Volveran]
By Robert Lowell
(a sonnet)

Dark swallows will doubtless come back killing
the injudicious nightflies with a clack of the beak;
but those that stopped full flight to see your beauty
and my good fortune… as if they knew our names —
they’ll not come back. The thick lemony honeysuckle,
climbing from the earthroot to your window,
will open more beautiful blossoms to the evening;
but these… like dewdrops, trembling, shining, falling,
the tears of day — they’ll not come back…
Some other love will sound his foreword for you
And wake your heart, perhaps, from its cool sleep;
But silent, absorbed, and on his knees,
As men adore God at the altar, as I love you —
don’t blind yourself, you’ll not be loved like that.

~~~

Inspired by Everyday Life

Flash Cards
By Rita Dove

In math I was the whiz kid, keeper
Of oranges and apples. What you don’t understand,
master, my father said; the faster
I answered, the faster they came.

I could see one bud on the teacher’s geranium,
one clear bee sputtering at the wet pane.
The tulip trees always dragged after heavy rain
so I tucked my head as my boots slapped home.

My father put up his feet after work
and relaxed with a highball and The Life of Lincoln.
After supper we drilled and I climbed the dark

before sleep, before a thin voice hissed
numbers as I spun on a wheel. I had to guess.
Ten, I kept saying, I’m only ten.

~~~

Inspired by History or the News

Rosa
By Rita Dove

How she sat there,
the time right inside a place
so wrong it was ready.

That trim name with
its dream of a bench
to rest on. Her sensible coat.

Doing nothing was the doing:
the clean flame of her gaze
carved by a camera flash.

How she stood up
when they bent down to retrieve
her purse. That courtesy.

~~~

Inspired by Observations

A Moment
By Ruth Stone

Across the highway a heron stands
in the flooded field. It stands
as if lost in thought, on one leg, careless,
as if the field belongs to herons.
The air is clear and quiet.
Snowmelt on this second fair day.
Mother and daughter,
we sit in the parking lot
with doughnuts and coffee.
We are silent.
For a moment the wall between us
opens to the universe,
then closes.
And you go on saying
you do not want to repeat my life.

~~~

Inspired by Nature

Aviatrix
By Diane Ackerman

In dawn’s feathered light,
a lady cardinal hurls herself
against my bedroom window.

Hallucinations stalk the glass
as she slams her softness
into a flat, cold world,

Trying to perch on a limb
perfect in the sunlight,
but it will not hold her
skidding feet, her urgent thumping.

The hours are long panes
of glass she cannot enter.
love wings through
another world without her.

Tomorrow, it will begin again,
only louder, the frantic pounding
of her feathery will.

The grinding down of her notes,
one by one, in the glare of her reflection,
where loneliness stuns her.

~~~

Pieter Bruegel de Oude - De val van Icarus

Inspired by Art

Musée des Beaux Arts
By W. H. Auden

About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
In Brueghel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the plowman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

~~~

Inspired by Dreams

The Song in the Dream
By Saskia Hamilton

The song itself had hinges. The clasp on the eighteen-century Bible
had hinges, which creaked; when you released the catch,
the book would sigh and expand.

The song was of two wholes joined by hinges,
and I was worried about the joining, the spaces in between
the joints, the weight of each side straining them.

~~~

The Writing Process

Advice to Young Writers
Ron Padgett

One of the things I’ve repeated to writing
students is that they should write when they don’t
feel like writing, just sit down and start,
and when it doesn’t go very well, to press on then,
to get to that one thing you’d otherwise
never find. What I forgot to mention was
that this is just a writing technique, that
you could also be out mowing the lawn, where,
if you bring your mind to it, you’ll also eventually
come to something unexpected (“The robin he
hunts and pecks”), or watching the FARM NEWS
on which a large a man is referring to the “Great
Massachusetts area.” It’s alright, students, not
to write. Do whatever you want. As long as you find
that unexpected something, or even if you don’t.

~~~

Point-of-View

Song of the Seeing Eye Dog
by Alyce Wilson
(from Picturebook of the Martyrs)

I nose the curbed air.  My woman
bends to touch me.  I have licked that salty
trust.  Her scent of orchid and mushroom
I know.  And her feet by their rusty fall.
She wraps her fingers in my hair,
could find me in a brood of howls.

When the steel and plastic hushes
I uncrouch to tell her
Sister    and we go.

~~~

Revision

What Rhymes with Orange?
(version 1)

By Alyce Wilson

I peel it in a spiral, juicy: segments
like motorcycle spokes. Sun-blaze,
sweet citrus, fruit. Peel,
appeal. Pregnant, belly. Baby.
Pacifier, blossoms. White
blossoms. Lacy. Orange smiles
at soccer practice, as snacks.
Spiral.

*

What Rhymes with Orange?
(version 3)

By Alyce Wilson

I peel it in a spiral, juicy segments
like spokes. Sun-blaze sweet
citrus of summertime. Opulent,
round Christmas stocking gift. Like pregnant
bellies. A baby with a pacifier blossoms
from white lace. This nectar, distilled
into its essence, will purify sin. So many
foolish decisions collect in litany.
I need atonement. Praise be this beatitude, this
answer to orisons. Nothing
but a citron benediction. Titian rind,
once removed, becomes amen.

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Science Fiction, Fantasy & Science Books for Children

November 9, 2019 at 7:53 am , by Alyce Wilson

NOTE: I will be going back and adding thumbnail images and links for the rest of these, as time permits.

Since I’m participating in a Philcon panel on the topic of Science Fiction for children, I thought I’d provide the list I created. Here’s the panel description:

    • Sun 2:00 PM in Plaza III (Three)—SF & F Books To Give To Your Kids [Family Friendly] (3534)

      What’s up and coming in YA fiction, what classics are an absolute must, and how do you gauge what’s appropriate for your child’s maturity level?

Vikki Ciaffone (mod), Russ Colchamiro, Scheherazade Jackson, Chris Kreuter, Muriel Hykes, Alyce Wilson

Since my son, nicknamed Kung Fu Panda (or KFP) online, was a toddler, I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet of the library books we read. That way, if he’d liked a particular author or book, I’d have the information on it, should I want to buy it or share it with a friend later. I went through the spreadsheet yesterday and this morning, copying the ones that have a Science Fiction or Fantasy theme. It’s too long to share in its entirety at the panel, so here it is, in all its glory, along with the original notes I made about each book. They are roughly in the order that we read them, starting with picturebooks and concluding with chapter books and middle-grade fiction.

Imagine That! Poems of Never-Was” selected by Jack Prelutsky; ill. by Kevin Hawkes (Poems about monsters and mythical beings. It started out just silly, but many of the poems near the middle took a sinister turn and could give older children nightmares, I’m certain! I’m really not anxious to instill the fear of monsters lurking under beds or in closets.)

Andrew’s Amazing Monsters” Kathryn Hook Berlan; ill. Maxie Chambliss (A boy draws monsters who come to life and throw him a party. KFP has been talking about monsters lately and asking for his crayons a lot, so this was a hit!)

I Know I’m a Witch” David A. Adler; Ill. Sucie Stevenson (Cute story about a little girl who’s certain she’s a witch, even though her parents say no.)

Mungo and the Spiders from Space” Timothy Knapman, ill. Adam Stower (Retro-looking space story where a boy writes his own ending to a comic book. Funny w/great art. Encourages creativity.)

If You Decide to Go to the Moon” Faith McNulty; ill. Steven Kellogg (Imaginative introduction to space travel.)

David Jefferis – nonfiction Robozones books about robots

Cosmo and the Robot” Brian Pinkney (A family living on Mars when the boy’s favorite robot goes wonky.)

Pirates Don’t Change Diapers” Melinda Long; ill. David Shannon (A boy left watching his baby sister gets help from some reluctant pirates. Silly.)

Blast Off! Poems About Space” ed. by Lee Bennett Hopkins; ill. Melissa Sweet (A selection of poems about space with full-page illustrations. Held his interest.)

The Robot Book” Heather Brown (Colorful heavy-weight board book with moving parts. He loved moving the gears, even though it’s below his level.)

Zombie in Love” Kelly DiPucchio; ill. Scott Campbell (A zombie tries to find love but is too different from everyone until he finds someone like him. Actually didn’t scare KFP despite graveyard humor.)

Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct” Mo Willems (Edwina, everyone’s favorite dinosaur, doesn’t know she’s extinct, but one know-it-all is determined to tell her.)

The Three Aliens and the Big Bad Robot” Margaret McNamara; ill. Mark Fearing (A space-age take on the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf.)

Alice the Fairy” David Shannon (A young girl tells how she’s a temporary fairy.)

Doug Unplugs on the Farm” Dan Yaccarino (A robot boy learns about farm life by helping a farm girl with her chores.)

Boy + Bot” Ame Dyckman (A boy and robot meet in the woods and play. They learn about each other’s differences and decide to remain friends.)

Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great” Bob Shea (Cute book about a goat jealous of the new kid in school: a unicorn.)

Robot, Go Bot!” Dana Meachen Rau; ill. Wook Jin Jung (A girl builds a robot friend, who gets angry when she works him too hard.)

See Otto” David Milgrim (Great early reader book! A cute robot crashes onto Earth and befriends some monkeys.)

From Bug Legs to Walking Robots” Toney Allman (Nonfiction book about how bugs and the way they walk have inspired scientists building the next-generation robots.)

Yo, Vikings” Judy Schachner (Based on a true story of her daughter, getting really into Vikings and managing to get someone to give her a Viking boat.)

Snow Games: A Robot and Rico Story” Anastasia Suen; ill. Mike Laughead (An easy reader book about a robot and his friend playing in the snow.)

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich and Other Stories” Adam Rex (Collection of silly stories/morals about monsters. Some a little scary but didn’t bother KFP.)

Romping Monsters, Stomping Monsters” Jane Yolen; ill. Kelly Murphy (Monster brothers and their mommy go to a park to play and explore. Lots of good action words and colorful illustrations.)

Good Night, Good Knight” Shelley Moore Thomas; ill. Jennifer Plecas (A knight has to help three little dragons get to bed. Repetitive but cute.)

Frank was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance” Keith Graves (Silly book about a Frankenstein-type monster bent on showbiz. Lots of somewhat gory jokes.)

Monster Manners” Joanna Cole; ill. Jared Lee (A monster has to learn how to behave “properly”… for a monster.)

Marveltown” Bruce McCall (Retrofuturistic world where everyone is an inventor. Inspired him.)

Again” Emily Gravett (Super cute. About a dragon who doesn’t want to go to bed.)

The Moon Might Be Milk” Lisa Shulman; ill. Will Hillenbrand (A little girl asks everyone what they think the moon is made of. Sweet with great pictures.)

Waking Dragons” Jane Yolen; ill. Derek Anderson (A young knight must wake sleepy dragons, who are his ride to Knight School.)

How to Draw a Dragon” Douglas Florian (A class full of children each draws a dragon from different inspirations.)

Commander Toad & the Dis-Asteroid” Jane Yolen; ill. Bruce Degen (Commander Toad, a space hero, has to find a way to help a seagull people who don’t speak toad.)

Gravity” Jason Chin (An easy-to-understand book about the scientific principle of gravity with lovely illustrations.)

I Will Chomp You” Jory John; ill. Bob Shea (Very silly book where a monster threatens to bite you if you keep reading.)

Seven Scary Monsters” Mary Beth Lundgren; ill. Howard Fine (A boy scares off nighttime monsters. Good introduction to subtraction.)

Imaginary Fred” Eoin Colfer; Oliver Jeffers (An imaginary friend meets the right boy and becomes permanent. Well-written and evocative.)

Creepy Monsters, Sleepy Monsters: A Lullaby” Jane Yolen; ill. Kelly Murphy (Putting some monsters to bed with a lullaby. Lots of great verbs.)

You Can’t Ride a Bicycle to the Moon!” Harriet Ziefert; ill. Amanda Haley (Easy to understand science book about the solar system and space travel. KFP read it to himself and remembered facts!)

Mr. Wuffles!” David Wiesner (Comic-style artwork; few words. A cat plays with an alien spaceship. The aliens befriend household bugs, who help them escape.)

Munch” Emma McCann (A little monster gets the better of a big monster… by eating him!)

The Usborne First Encyclopedia of Space” Paul Dowswell; ill. Gary Bines & David Hancock (Easy to understand book about space, with lots of information and illustrations.)

Stella: Fairy of the Forest” Marie-Louise Gay (Stella and Sam explore the forest, looking for faeries. Imaginative.)

Scaranimals” Jack Prelutsky; ill. Peter Sis (Poems about imaginary animals who are combinations of other animals. Very clever! KFP was fascinated.)

“The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby” George Beard and Harold Hutchins (Dav Pilkey) (Graphic novel about a baby superhero. Crude humor but very funny.)

“Binky the Space Cat” Ashley Spires (Graphic novel about a cat who believes he is an astronaut and plans to build a rocket.)

“How to Potty Train Your Monster” Kelly DiPucchio; ill Mike Moon (Funny look at potty training from POV of monsters.)

“Ninja Bunny: Sister Vs. Brother” Jennifer Gray Olson (Ninja bunnies team up to steal a super carrot. Cute!)

“Incredible Fact Book” Mary Pope Osbourne and Natalie Pope Boyce (A book crammed full of scientific facts about humans, animals, and the world.)

“Superman Family Adventures” Art Baltazar & Franco (Superheroes as young teenagers)

“Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot vs. The Uranium Unicorns from Uranus” Dav Pilkey; ill. Martin Ontiveros (Comic by the author of Captain Underpants.)

“Guinness World Records: Remarkable Robots” Delphine Finnegan (Easy reader book of facts about robots.)

“Zinc Alloy: Super Zero” Donald Lemke (Graphic novel about a boy who uses a robot and becomes a hero.)

“Captain Fact: Space Adventure” Knife & Packer (Comic book superhero exploring facts about space.)

“Invasion of the Mind Swappers from Asteroid 6!” James Howe; ill. Brett Helquist (A meta-story with a puppy writing his own pulp fiction novel.)

“The Witch’s Vacuum Cleaner” Terry Pratchett (Humorous short stories set in fantasy settings.)

“Let’s Draw Robots with Crayola!” Emily Golden (Directions on how to draw robots.)

“Noodleheads of the Future” Tedd Arnold, Martha Hamilton & Mitch Weiss (Comic where the Noodleheads, who are anthropomorphic pasta, predict what will happen in the future.)

“The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” C.S. Lewis (The classic children’s story of magic and family.)

“Usborne Mysteries & Marvels of Science” Phillip Clarke, Laura Howell & Sarah Khan (Nonfiction book on a lot of scientific topics.)

“CatStronauts: Robot Rescue” Drew Brockington (Graphic novel about cats in space.)

“My Weird School Fast Facts: Space, Humans and Farts” Dan Gutman; ill. Jim Paillot (Facts presented in a silly manner about space and the human body.)

“What’s Science About?” Alex Frith, Hazel Maskell, Dr. Lisa Jane Gillespie & Kate Davies; ill. Adam Larkum (Illustrated science book packed with facts and fun illustrations.)

“Captain Underpants” Dav Pilkey (This book and its many sequels take an irreverent look at superheros through the eyes of two middle-school comic artists.)

“Space Cows” Eric Seltzer; ill. Tom Dsibury (Easy to read with lots of rhyming. super cute.)

“How to Code in 10 Easy Lessons” Sean McManus (Introduction to computer programming.)

“Science Verse” Jon Scieszka & Lane Smith (Poems about science)

“Bunnicula” Deborah and James Howe (Original tale of the vampiric bunny and his animal friends. We also read all the sequels, which always have a mysterious/scary setting that turns out to be normal. They are always funny.)

“Coding in Scratch for Beginners” Rachel Ziter (Basics on the easy online computing program run by MIT.)

“The Everything Kids’ Scratch Coding Book” Jason Rukman (Learn to code and create your own cook games.)

“Marvel Rising” Devin Grayson; ill. Marco Failla (Superheroes Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel)

“Robot Workers: All About Machines That Think” David Jefferis (Nonfiction. About robots used in the workplace )

“Robot Brains” David Jefferis (Nonfiction. About robots that have artificial intelligence.)

“Film and Fiction Robots” Tony Hyland (Nonfiction. About robots in films and fiction)

“Robotics Engineering” Ed Sobey (Nonfiction. How to build simple robotics)

“Real-World Robots” Paul McEvoy and Tracey Gibson (Nonfiction. About today’s robots and what they do)

“Robot Universe” Lynn Huggins-Cooper (Nonfiction. History and development of robots)

“Star Wars: Millennium Falcon, A 3-D Owner’s Guide” Ryder Windham; ill. Chris Trevas, Chris Reiff (Detailed book of plans of the Millennium Falcon with 3-D layers on each page.)

“Frank Einstein and the Bio-Action Gizmo” Jon Scieszka; ill. Brian Biggs (Continuation of the story about a kid scientist.)

“The Powergirl Girls: Picture Perfect” IDW Publishing (Comic based on everyone’s favorite girl superheroes.)

“Neil, Buzz and Mike Go to the Moon” Richard Hilliard (Higher level picture book on the moon landing.)

“The Pathfinder Mission to Mars” John Hamilton (Nonfiction about NASA’s Pathfinder mission.)

“Explore the Cosmos Like Neil DeGrasse Tyson” Cap Saucier (Introduction to space science)

“Party Science” Peter Pentland & Pennie Stoyles (Science related to party activities.)

“So You Want to Be a Comic Book Artist?” Philip Amara (Nuts and bolts of creating comics and eventually turning it into a profession.)

The Enchanted Forest Chronicles – Patricia Wrede (The series starts by following an independent-minded princess as she lives with dragons. Other characters include a headstrong witch, a caring magical king, and dastardly wizards who always try to make trouble.)

“The Wild Robot” Peter Brown (A robot washes up on an island and learns to survive, eventually finding animal friends.)

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Response from Senator Bob Casey Jr. on Immigration Policy

July 24, 2018 at 6:54 am , by Alyce Wilson

I wrote a message to my legislators several weeks ago, expressing my concerns about the Trump administration’s policy of separating undocumented families from their children at the border. Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey (D), just sent me a very thorough response.

Dear Ms. Wilson:

Thank you for taking the time to contact me about the separation of immigrant families by the Trump Administration. I vehemently oppose the policy of family separation, and I appreciate hearing from you about this issue.

I have heard from many Pennsylvanians who are opposed to the Trump Administration’s policy regarding the apprehension and detention of immigrant families upon their arrival in the U.S. On May 7, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a so-called “zero tolerance” policy toward individuals apprehended crossing the U.S. border between official ports of entry. Thousands of immigrant children have been separated from their parents at the U.S. border since October of 2017, and this policy has caused a steep increase in family separations. Under the “zero tolerance” policy, once families are separated, adults go to the custody of the U.S. Marshals and/or to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Children considered “unaccompanied,” either because they arrived alone or because they are separated from their parents, are transferred to the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Not only is tearing families apart unconscionable on a moral level, it is also damaging to the development of children. Studies show that the separation of children from parental figures during their youth and adolescence is detrimental to the child’s development of social and cognitive skills. Trump Administration officials, including Attorney General Sessions, have stated that this proposal is intended to deter families from crossing the border into the U.S. I believe this policy is inhumane and intentionally cruel, and there is no evidence to support the assertion that it would act as a deterrent.

On June 20, 2018, President Trump issued an Executive Order that he characterized as reversing his family separation policy and ending the separation of families. While this order changes the most egregious aspect of his policy, the separation of families, it still instructs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary to “maintain custody of alien families.” In essence, it exchanges family separation with family detention. The order also instructs Attorney General Sessions to go to court to seek modification of the Flores settlement, a settlement that outlines basic child protection standards and which limits the length of times that children can be detained.

While it was long overdue for President Trump to change the most egregious element of his cruel family separation policy, substituting a lesser form of cruelty for a greater form is still cruelty. Family detention is far from the only or best solution for the majority of families at the border. In addition, for thousands of children, the damage is already done. Medical experts have said that the long-term impacts of this barbaric treatment could be lifelong health problems, such as heart disease and substance abuse disorders. The Trump Administration has an obligation to ensure that children whose health has been adversely impacted by this policy receive appropriate medical services and must take steps to reunite every child that has been separated from their parents.

I am proud to have joined with many of my Senate colleagues in the minority party in cosponsoring legislation that would end this practice and in sending letters to the Trump Administration urging it to end this inhumane practice immediately. Before the policy of family separation was officially announced by the Trump Administration, I sent two letters to DHS asking for more information about rumors of family separation practices and demanding that DHS refrain from implementing such a policy.

After Attorney General Sessions announced in early spring the new Trump Administration immigration policy, I sent a letter along with 39 of my Senate colleagues to President Trump demanding that his administration end the abhorrent policy of separating immigrant children from their parents. This letter cites research describing the short-term and long-term harm these traumatic separations can do to children and their families and repeatedly asks President Trump to end his practice of family separation. In late June, I signed onto additional letters to the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services asking for an investigation to be opened to investigate the treatment, care and reunification procedures that are in place to carry out the family separation policy. I am pleased that in response to this letter the Inspector General’s Office at HHS announced it is opening an investigation to complete a comprehensive review of the operations of the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) program.

Additionally, I have cosponsored bills in the Senate that would expand the rights of children whose families are affected by immigration enforcement proceedings. I am a proud cosponsor of S. 3036, the Keep Families Together Act. This bill is a direct counter to the Trump Administration’s policy of family separation. It prohibits DHS officials from separating children from their parents, except in extraordinary circumstances. Furthermore, I am a cosponsor of S. 2937, the Humane Enforcement and Legal Protections (HELP) for Separated Children Act, which aims to protect children affected by immigration enforcement actions taken against their parents. Through this bill, if a parent is having immigration enforcement actions taken against them, the parent would first be allowed to make calls to arrange for the care of their children and ensure that children can call and visit their parents while they are detained. These protections will provide some small peace of mind for parents and children as they go through immigration proceedings.

On Tuesday, June 26, a federal judge in California issued an injunction in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union that calls for all children who have been affected by the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy to be reunited with their parents within 30 daysI am pleased that this injunction has set specific timeframes for the reunification of separated families. I will continue my strong oversight of the Trump Administration’s actions to ensure it is complying with the court order and that families are being reunited as quickly and safely as possible.

The Trump Administration’s systematic policy of family separation is inhumane and has inflicted trauma on children, parents and families. The administration must reunite all families. I have been vocal in my opposition to the policy and will continue to conduct critical oversight until every family is reunited and treated in a manner consistent with our Nation’s values.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you.

 For more information on this or other issues, I encourage you to visit my website, http://casey.senate.gov . I hope you will find this online office a comprehensive resource to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my office or share with me your thoughts on the issues that matter most to you and to Pennsylvania.

Sincerely,

Bob Casey
United States Senator

Help Us Make Pets Happy

February 4, 2018 at 4:45 pm , by Alyce Wilson

KFP has now joined his Daddy’s videogame streaming marathon, playing “Plants Versus Zombies” right now. They are trying to raise money to help the Animal Coalition of Delaware County, a no-kill shelter that helped us find out kitty 12 years ago.

They are getting close: 65 percent of the way there! Only a few donations will help them make their goal.

Please check it out, donate to help homeless pets, and listen to KFP getting silly with his daddy!

https://tiltify.com/@toanstation/thank-you-acdc

Share the love!

Help Pets Who Need Homes

January 31, 2018 at 11:16 am , by Alyce Wilson

Join my husband, Toanstation, in supporting the Animal Coalition of Delaware County’s pet rescue efforts. Watch live gameplay, or even join him, and give to help ACDC find forever homes for animals on Feb. 3rd & 4th.

https://tiltify.com/@toanstation/thank-you-acdc

Want to Give a Pet as a Gift? Read This First

December 16, 2017 at 5:24 am , by Alyce Wilson

In the past, I’ve posted about adopting our own cat, Luke — who is now officially a senior — and because of that, I wanted to provide some tips for people who are interested in adopting their own pets.

Over the holiday season is a popular time to adopt a new furry friend. What should you consider when doing so? Hopefully, the following article will help:

“Ultimate Guide to Pet Adoption”

Joyful wishes to you and your family — and possibly new furry friends — this holiday season!

My Philcon 2017 Schedule

November 5, 2017 at 3:16 pm , by Alyce Wilson

I got my panel requests in late this year, so I’m not sure they’ll be on the official schedule. Here they are:

Fri 7:00PM in Plaza V (Five) – Learning to be an Effective Panel Moderator

Moderating a panel is more than just showing up and asking people to quiet down if a discussion gets out of hand. Learn what the best mods do to prepare for and handle the panels they are responsible for managing.

Sat 2:00PM in Plaza V (Five) – SciFi from the Parents’ Eye

How to shepherd our children through the modern age of SF.

Sat 3:00 PM in Plaza II (Two)—If Christianity Had Never Come Along

Imagine what the 21st century would be like without Christianity in history. Would we be worshipping a different god or gods? Or would society have developed in a different direction? What fiction is already exploring this idea?

Hope to see you there!

Letter on Environmental Issues & Sen. Casey Reponse

February 23, 2017 at 5:57 pm , by Alyce Wilson

A couple weeks ago, I sent some letters about environmental issues that had been written by the Environmental Defense fund, including one expressing concerns about Scott Pruitt as the new Environmental Protection Agency administrator. Here is Senator Robert Casey (D-PA)’s response. I appreciate how detailed it is!


Dear Mrs. Wilson:

Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding environmental policy under the Trump Administration and the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). I appreciate hearing from you about this issue.

President Trump’s statements denying the reality of climate change are short-sighted and threaten to undermine the progress that Pennsylvania and the Nation have already made to address environmental issues. His statements ignore the growing evidence that indicates that adding large amounts of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide or methane, to the atmosphere is a leading cause of climate change. Greenhouse gas pollution poses a threat to public health and the environment, particularly for vulnerable populations like children with asthma or the elderly, and failing to act on climate change could lead to, among other things, disruptions in food production, malnutrition, water scarcity and childhood stunting.

We as a Nation have a moral obligation to address this issue. I believe that we must rise to the challenge and revitalize our economy by increasing our efforts in the areas of energy efficiency; developing and adopting cleaner ways of producing electricity; and creating jobs. I support the need for a comprehensive climate change plan and EPA’s Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon pollution from new and existing power plants.

As Pennsylvania transitions to clean energy, there must also be a strategy to maintain multiple forms of electricity generation including clean coal, nuclear energy, natural gas and hydropower. In addition, I believe that we should be encouraging the development and deployment of carbon capture and storage technologies, which will enable fossil fuel power plants across the world to dramatically reduce carbon pollution. Finally, it is critical that the Administration and Congress focus on policies that help those workers in the energy sector who have been adversely affected by changes in the energy economy.

On December 8, 2016, President Trump announced he would nominate Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to be the next EPA Administrator. Mr. Pruitt’s record is clear: he fought to dismantle the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, anti-pollution programs that target ozone and mercury in the air, the agreement to clean up the Chesapeake Bay watershed and denied the science of climate change. Attorney General Pruitt is also leading the effort to overturn the Clean Power Plan, which is vital to getting control of our energy future and creating clean energy jobs. I do not have confidence, based on Attorney General Pruitt’s record, that the EPA under his leadership would enforce our environmental laws like the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. Therefore, I have determined that I will vote to oppose the confirmation of Attorney General Pruitt to be Administrator of the EPA.

Please be assured that I will remain committed to defending sound environmental policies while cultivating new clean energy jobs, re-energizing the manufacturing sector in Pennsylvania and revitalizing the national economy. I will keep your views in mind as the U.S. Senate considers Cabinet nominations, as well as legislation related to climate change.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you.

For more information on this or other issues, I encourage you to visit my website, http://casey.senate.gov. I hope you will find this online office a comprehensive resource to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my office or share with me your thoughts on the issues that matter most to you and to Pennsylvania.

Sincerely,

Bob Casey

United States Senator

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