Archive for the ‘ Personal Projects ’ Category

Letter on Environmental Issues & Sen. Casey Reponse

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

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

Response from Rep. Patrick Meehan

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Yesterday, I was pleased to receive a response from my congressman, Patrick Meehan, regarding my concerns over possible cuts to the school lunch program and, specifically, to those programs, such as CEP, designed to fund school meals for low-income communities. You can read my letter in my previous post. Now, while his letter doesn’t specifically mention CEP, it does indicate that he shares the concerns about funding for school lunches for needy children. Hopefully, he will continue to vote in line with what he says in this letter.

I have now signed up for his newsletter and am also following him on Twitter, so I can keep up to date with news about what he’s doing in Congress.


February 21, 2017

Dear Mrs. Wilson,

Thank you for contacting me regarding childhood nutrition. I appreciate hearing from you and having the benefit of your views.

I share your concerns about America’s youth and ensuring at-risk kids do not go hungry. I voted against cutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) because I felt the proposed bill would hurt many of the families and children who the program is intended to help in the first place. Compromise legislation was later reached to ensure taxpayer dollars are used wisely and appropriately while meeting our responsibility to needy families. It passed on a bipartisan basis and became law.

As Congress works on Child Nutrition Reauthorization this year, please know that I will keep your concerns in mind as we work to ensure no child in America goes hungry.

Again thank you for contacting me regarding this issue. I appreciate hearing from you. For more information on my work in Congress on your behalf, please visit my website www.meehan.house.gov, where you can sign up for my e-newsletter. Please follow me on Twitter @RepMeehan.

Sincerely,

Patrick Meehan
Member of Congress

Letter to Congress on Funding CEP

Saturday, February 18th, 2017

Recently, I read an excellent article in the Huffington Post about the School Lunch Program and how important it is to continue a little-known aspect of the program, the Community Eligibility Program, established by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The article also referred to high-profile comments from some congressmen about the possibility of defunding the program.

Doing my own research on the program, I learned that roughly 6 million children received free lunches in impoverished school districts back in the 2014-15 school year and, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, that number was expected to increase.

Our legislators will be actively discussing the budget soon. Now is a good time to make certain they understand their constituents’ priorities. Following is a letter I sent to both my senators and to my congressman. You can find out how to contact your legislators at at USA.gov.

Feel free to use my letter as a starting point, and to share it with your friends!


Dear Legislator:

As the mother of a first grader, I know the importance of proper nutrition to a child’s health. That’s why I urge you to look out for low-income children through continued funding of the Community Eligibility Program, established by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-296), which provides free lunches to the most poverty-stricken eligible school districts.

You are no doubt aware that the CEP benefits more than 14,000 high-poverty schools in more than 2,200 school districts across the country, serving more than 6 million children. Because of this program, eligible schools have greatly increased access to healthy meals while reducing paperwork for parents/guardians and administrators alike.

Thanks to the nutrition provided by the CEP, students whose schools use the program benefit from stronger thinking skills, behavior and health, all of which impact academic performance. According to the 2014 paper, “Nutrition and Student’s Academic Performance” by Wilder Research, multiple studies have demonstrated the academic benefits of healthy eating, while other studies have shown the negative impacts of junk food on academic performance.

Reducing the funding for CEP would create a hardship for the school districts and children who have come to depend on it. In contrast, continuing full funding of CEP will lead to countless benefits for the children, their schools, and by extension, our nation. Please keep CEP in mind while assessing priorities in upcoming budget discussions in Congress.

Sincerely,
Alyce Wilson

I’m Back!

Sunday, September 13th, 2015

Time has a way of slipping away, especially when you are the work-at-home mother of a busy 5-year-old, as well as being the editor of a weekly literary magazine (Wild Violet) and the head of Press Relations for Otakon.

I never intended it to be so long between entries, but I intend to get back in the game. In fact, I even have a plan.

When the Yahoo! Contributor Network closed its doors last year, the rights to all of the material I’d published with them reverted to me. I spent weeks laboriously downloading all of my articles, then left them in a folder, unsorted and forgotten.

This week, I began looking through them and discovered quite a bit of “evergreen” material which should still interest readers. My goal is to republish material in this blog related to writing, literature, pets, lifestyle and pop culture. I will republish material related to parenting in my book project blog, BelatedMommy.com.

Occasionally, I will also provide some insights on my latest writing project, a book of essays about my growing boy. If you’re interested in these topics, please consider subscribing to the blog, and you’ll receive a notification every time a new article goes online.

I’m looking forward to a more productive rest of the year!

Video Competition

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Thanks to a tip from a friend, I entered a video competition held by an organization called Baby Steps. Finding out about the contest just 48 hours before the deadline, I still managed to put together a decent two-minute video. Fortunately, I had plenty of raw footage, and KFP readily helped me shoot some more to fill in where I needed it. Maybe my undergraduate degree in Broadcast/Cable will finally pay off!

Please pop over to Facebook and check it out. Hopefully, you’ll like it. My entry is called “Puppet Problem Solving”:

http://on.fb.me/1c22MbO

Scroll to the bottom of the screen and look for a still showing KFP with two puppets.

After you’ve viewed it, if it made you smile, please vote by clicking on the box in the upper right-hand corner of the video. Judges will select the top prizes based on criteria such as creativity and production values, but they’ll also award a special prize for the video that receives the most votes.

‘Silver Pen’ Rejection

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

I just received a form rejection from “Silver Pen” magazine, run by Silver Blade, which was one of the magazines I’d submitted to in October as part of 31 Queries in 31 Days.

Five more poems available to send out again!

New Year’s Resolutions 2014

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Looking back at 2013, I had many successes. I built on my existing author’s platform, connecting with more users/potential readers on Twitter, Google Plus, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Facebook and Pinterest.

Thanks to the 30 Queries in 30 Days Project and its extension, the 31 Queries in 31 Days Project, I received acceptances from Miracle magazine and Five poetry magazine and secured an editing gig for a series of children’s books.

I published my second non-fiction book, Dedicated Idiocy,  a Kindle-only book, and made progress on my current work-in-progress, Now with Kung Fu Action Grip, a collection of writings about my 3-year-old son.

This year I have two main goals:

1) Complete and publish Now with Kung Fu Action Grip.

2) Complete and publish my new poetry anthology, Owning the Ghosts.

In addition, I want to build on my successes by sticking to three good habits:

3) Post at least once a week on this blog; my blog for my book for older parents, Belated Mommy; my Goodreads author’s blog; and my personal blog at LiveJournal.

4) Write at least one poem a week.

5) Apply to at least one writing job or send at least one submission a week.

In general, I will also be striving to continue to build my author’s platform and to find creative and results-driven ways to promote my published works.


And an exciting update: I learned that I’ve been selected as one of the finalists to be included in the Project REUTSway anthology, from the November YA writing challenge. I will keep you posted on the book as the project progresses!

Update: 31 Queries in 31 Days

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

It’s taken a while, but I’m finally getting some results from the action I took during my 31 Queries in 31 Days project.

Some of the responses have been rejections, such as from “Poetry” magazine and “Literary Mama.”

However, I’m starting to get some good news, too! I was contacted in response to one of the Elance jobs for which I applied, and I’ve just signed a contract to edit and format several short children’s books.

And just last night I learned that two of my poems, “How to Name a Cat” and “For Lack of a Wheelbarrow,” have been accepted by Miracle ezine. I’m very excited about it, because their mission (and feel) is similar to mine at Wild Violet. Plus, these two poems are personal favorites of mine that I’ve been sending to different places in hopes of publication. It’s great to finally place them somewhere.

News now about my November writing challenges. I wrote stories in response to three out of four of the story challenges of Project REUTSway. I was halfway through the fourth story when I had to throw in the towel due to sickness and an emerging migraine.

I didn’t do as well with Nina Amir’s Write Nonfiction in November challenge, mostly because I spent a lot of time promoting two Kindle promotions: one over Philcon weekend for “The Art of Life” and one over the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend for “Dedicated Idiocy.”

For the month of December, I’m going to focus on putting together “Now with Kung Fu Action Grip.” Right now, I’m still compiling all the possible material (essays, journal entries and poems about my little Kung Fu Panda). Then I’ll get to the rewriting/editing phase and finally the design phase. While I would have liked to have it ready for the winter holidays, I’m going to shoot instead for January or February, when people will be burning through their gift cards. I intend to put together both ebook and print versions of the book.

I’m also going to try to start blogging here about other subjects that catch my interest, so it’s not just about my writing career and writing tips. If you have any suggestions of things you’d like to see me write about, please share them in the comments!

My Greatest Hits… Free!

Friday, November 8th, 2013

A few years ago, I embarked on a personal project that gave me a great sense of empowerment. I combed through more than a decade of my newspaper columns and online writings to put together a collection of essays and humor, titled The Art of Life.

The collection represented some of my best creative non-fiction and humor to date: including an essay on Marilyn Monroe and body image; ponderings about the conspiracy of giant cows on the American roadside landscape; and musings about my late dog, Una, who taught me to appreciate the little things in life: to smell (and lick) life’s goodness.

Since the collection addressed such a broad range of topics, I opted not to approach a traditional publisher but instead to go the self-publishing route. Because of The Art of Life, I not only got a chance to reflect on my writing up to that stage in my career but also dipped my toe into the modern age of self-publishing.

Of course, self-published books don’t have giant marketing operations behind them, and I happened to put the book out the same year that I gave birth to my all-consuming bundle of bouncy boy energy, Kung Fu Panda. I sort of fell down on the marketing aspect of it.

But you know what? I’m not giving up. And now that my son is entering preschool (and my gluten-free, dairy-free diet has cleared the cobwebs from my postpartum brain), I’m giving it another shot. In fact, I’m so convinced that you’ll like the book that I’m giving out free Kindle copies this weekend.

From November 8 (today) through Tuesday, November 12, stop by the Amazon.com page for the Kindle version of The Art of Life and snag a free copy. Then tell all your friends. And if they tell two friends, and if they tell two friends and if they tell two friends… an exponential number of people (or at least, what, 32? 64?) will give the book a read.

Ideally, that might lead to sales. But at this point, you know what? I just want people to read it. I guarantee you will find something within these pages that will make you smile, ponder and perhaps even turn to your companion — be they human or dog — and say, “You’ve got to hear what I just read.”

(And if you do like it, I’d like to encourage you to write reviews on Amazon.com, Goodreads or any other book review site. It’s good karma! Or, for my canine friends, good dogma.)

31 Queries in 31 Days: #28-31

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Striving to finish up the 31 Queries in 31 Days project:

28) Submitted a proposal for a job via Elance, writing a custom poem for a client.

29) Submitted a proposal for a job via Elance, converting children’s stories into publishable short stories for a collection to raise funds for a charity.

30) Submitted a short story to Cricket magazine (one of my favorite magazines as a child).

31) Proposed a product name for a new style of boots, posted by a client on ODesk.com.

And that’s it! And just before midnight, too!

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