More Ways We Can All Help

Here is an incredibly useful list of contacts and references with specific places, links and phone numbers where we can all make a positive difference for people struggling to survive and create decent lives for themselves and their families.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DPr93K73Y27_eV6oxauXrp7XVqetQOvzff0BRaWR07Y/preview

Remember, almost all of our families came here as “asylum-seekers” of one form or another throughout history.  The folks that are coming here these days are no different from our grandparents or great-grandparents.  All they want is to be a part of the community and to contribute to the overall good through their hard work, their skills, intellects, creativity, talents, their love of family and humanity, and their ability and willingness to pay taxes.  Pretty close to 100% of these folks are going to end up being net assets to our country and to the individual communities they settle in.

And, regardless of that, as fellow human beings, we owe them the benefit of the doubt, as well as a hand-up.  Remember, they’re not here attempting to exterminate the people who are already living here (as my ancestors tried to do, I’m ashamed to say).  No, these days, most of the folks coming here are just trying to find a way to keep their little kids safe and alive.  We should be helping them do that.

Here are a few ways we can:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DPr93K73Y27_eV6oxauXrp7XVqetQOvzff0BRaWR07Y/preview

This collection was created by Lauren Herold (@renhold) and shared by her sister Steph Herold (@StephHerold) on Twitter.  (This is just so you know where the information is coming from.)

Check it out and do what you can.  Even a little bit might make the difference between life and death for some little two year-old girl and her father.

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A Way You Can Help Families at the Border

https://immigrantfamiliestogether.com/donate-to-a-mom

If you are disturbed, troubled, bothered, sick, disgusted by the actions that our country is taking regarding asylum-seekers at our southern border, here is an actual, tangible action that you can take that will help.

Immigrant Families Together has been successful in providing the following help to numerous families, and is continuing to do so.

From their website:

“The Gift of Freedom

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To date we have reunited more than 65 families totaling well over $500,000 to give immigrant families the gift of freedom from detention prisons and foster care across the country.

Bonds typically range from $1500 – $30,000 per person. We have freed mothers, sisters, fathers, brothers, adult children.

We also try to find pro bono or  deeply discounted immigration specialists to represent our families in their lengthy and complicated asylum proceedings.

Now that freedom from detention is secured for these families, donations are essential in helping them survive until they are eligible for work permits.

This donation gift is representative of our programs and needs. Your gift will be used where our most immediate need is at the moment.

Gift of Freedom

Gift of Reunification

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In special cases we need to purchase reunification bus and airline tickets when we cannot find donors with miles and it doesn’t fall under the parameters of our partner, Miles4Migrants.

There is also a need to provide transportation to legal and medical appointments when our volunteers cannot assist. 

This donation gift is representative of our programs and needs. Your gift will be used where our most immediate need is at the moment.

Gift of Reunification

The Gift of Rent & Utilities

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Housing and utilities are the most expensive budget item each month outside of the payment of bonds.  The average rent is $1500 per month, plus utilities.

In addition to rent there are also monthly expenses:

  • electricity
  •  heat
  •  water.

Most of our families are not eligible for work permits for nearly a year.  They need stable and safe housing.

Your gift provides just that!

This donation gift is representative of our programs and needs. Your gift will be used where our most immediate need is at the moment.

Gift of Housing

The Gift of Healthy Food

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Each family grocery budget is a minimum of $400 per month. Your gift towards groceries provides nutritious food every day, something families were denied while in detention.

  • We provide assistance to over 65 families each month in one form or another.
  • Occasionally we will have a special food drive for a new family or for holidays.

With this gift you ensure no one goes hungry.
This donation gift is representative of our programs and needs. Your gift will be used where our most immediate need is at the moment.

Gift of Healthy Food

The Gift of Legal Counsel

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Legal counsel is vital to navigate the complicated asylum process. While we do seek pro bono counsel, most immigration attorneys have more than exhausted their budget for giving free counsel.
Your donation also provides the costs associated in obtaining:

  • birth certificates
  • copies of affidavits and other legal documentation required
  • passports

With this gift you give a real chance of a successful asylum case.
This donation gift is representative of our programs and needs. Your gift will be used where our most immediate need is at the moment.

Gift of Legal Counsel

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Please check out their site, read up on their good works, and send some money to help put these families back together.
We’re all human beings on this one tiny rock; we’ve got to take care of each other.  We’re all we’ve got.

Thank you, Jerry!

At the end of Monday night’s meeting, Twin Falls County Democrats Chairman Jerry Marcantonio announced that he will be stepping down from his post so that he and his wife, Pat, can move to Boise.  Making his announcement at the monthly Executive Committee meeting, June 17th, Jerry let us know that the July meeting will be the last one that he will chair.  He is retiring from his CPA position with his work where he’s been for 22 years, and he and his wife Pat Marcantonio (one of our Precinct Captains) will be looking for a home in Boise.  Jerry has served the TF County Dems ably as chairman for the past year, through numerous changes and a great deal of growth and he will definitely be missed.

Jerry and Pat are looking forward to moving to Boise to be near their children and grandchildren and to continuing being involved with the Democratic movement in the big city.

For the Twin Falls County Democrats, this move opens up both the chair position that Jerry held as well as the Precinct Captain position that Pat will be vacating.  If you’ve been thinking about stepping up and helping out, this is the perfect time to join in and add your ideas and energy to the Democratic cause.

Jerry will head up our July meeting on the evening of July 15th, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.  This is our usual monthly meeting which is always held on the third Monday of every month.  It will take place at the County Annex West Building — 630 Addison Avenue West, Twin Falls — in the Planning & Zoning Room.  All are welcome.

We want to offer our sincere thanks to Jerry for his service and dedication, and for his steady, unflappable attitude.  It’s not easy to “herd cats” (or “Demo-cats,” as the case may be), but Jerry has done a fine job of it and we are very grateful.  Thanks, Jerry!  Nice job!

Digital Camera

Lessons on Parade

I’m a pretty unlikely person to head up a parade committee.  For starters, I’m one of those odd birds who doesn’t really care for parades.  I’m pretty sure I was in one during that brief, awkward time of being a Cub Scout.  Then, a decade or so ago, I got peer-pressured into walking along with some theatre co-workers in Chicago’s Gay Pride Parade.  Besides those two, I don’t think I’ve been in any other parades in my life.

From the street side, I’ve probably seen maybe six.  As I said, just not a big fan.

Still, this time it made sense.  This seemed like such a good moment to get our name and faces out in front of the people of Twin Falls.  The Western Days Festival is a very big deal in this town, and not showing up and looking our best just seemed like it would be the very definition of a missed opportunity.  The city shuts down the main drag for an entire Saturday morning and somewhere between 7,000 and 10,000 people line the streets to catch candy and watch the show go by.  For us to not be a part of that, when it was such an inexpensive way to show our community spirit and our friendly faces would just have been silly.  Like Barney-Fife-shooting-himself-in-the-foot kind of silly.  So, no, let’s be smart and go be a part of this.  And so we did.

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It took a lot people going to a lot of meetings and doing a lot of thinking, designing, talking, negotiating, compromising, and, finally, a lot of hard work, but we managed to pull it off.  We put a float together and made it all the way through town.

And got a surprisingly welcoming response!

After living for a lot of years in and around Chicago, and then a few more in and around Los Angeles, I had been given the impression that Twin Falls did not care for Democrats at all.  I’m used to pretty “Democrat-friendly” towns, if you know what I mean.  People had told me that I shouldn’t expect that here in the Magic Valley.  Apparently the Democratic Party float has even been “booed” as it went by in previous parades.

Not so this weekend, I am very pleased to report. No “boos” at all.

Saturday morning, the first day of June, 2019, the streets were lined on both sides with cheery, friendly faces, all of whom seemed happy to see us, even though we were nearly at the tail end of the parade, and a lot of those folks had to have been bored to tears by then.  The kids had filled candy bags from the people in front of us and those bags were stuffed enough to equal my total childhood’s Halloween take, all years combined.  Those kids were happy enough with a few more pieces from us, though!

It wasn’t just the candy, though.  Actually, by the time they saw us, I’m pretty sure they were pretty much “candied out.”  Even the most sugar-crazed kid has a stopping point, right?  No, I think it was the fact that we gave them so many fun and interesting things to look at as we went by.

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The first notable thing about our entry was our flailing-arm tube man.  He’s a red-white-and-blue guy with a huge grin and bright, cheery eyes.  We call him “Happy.”  “Happy, the Flailing Democrat.”  He’s definitely an eye-catcher, and he was riding atop the gooseneck so he grabbed the attention right away from the green T-shirts in front of us.

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Next we had disc jockey and star-maker extrordinaire, Dei Scott, in her All-American cowboy hat, playing lullabies for us on the CD player.  No, it wasn’t as loud as the rockers in front of us nor the semi-truck behind us, but then, it wasn’t supposed to be: our theme was “Summertime Lullabies” and we stuck with that.  We were calm and quiet and pleasant and fun.  Dei was all snuggled up in her PJs in her rocking chair and watching over a brood of grandchildren (actually Susie Kapeleris’ kids) also in their pajamas.  The kids were all blowing bubbles for the whole trip, and the crowd loved that.  (And nobody could ever tell that they must have been roasting in those furry jammies!  Good job, kids!)

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After our “beddie-bye bubblers,” next on the float was a cage full of six goats— three adults and three kids.  Those goats were a huge hit.  Dozens of times we heard calls of, “Hey, look!  They’ve got goats!” from the curbsides.

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Behind the goats rode Carole Stennet, the matriarch of the clan, smiling and waving as lovely and charming as any parade queen there ever was.  It was her inspiration and her expertise that helped a lot of this happen.

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Next to Carole was newcomer Leah McKinney, who rode and waved for a little while and then hopped off the float to go and mingle with the parade-goers a bit.  Leah is going to be a very welcome addition to our cause.  She walked for miles, along with co-walkers Kent Ireton and Susie Kapeleris, handing out candy and smiles and waves to the many people who had already sat through a long parade, but who still looked happy to see us.

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I walked along with them, juggling as I went.  That’s me, Randy Cromwell, juggling in the picture below.  I decided I’d be able to keep the balls in the air a bit more if I weren’t stumbling in the street.  I climbed back onto the float and juggled there for the last third of the parade.  I think I might have gotten a few claps, and I know I got at least one “Way to go, Man!”  I mean, it wasn’t goat adoration, but it was still pretty sweet.

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In a trailer behind the trailer was the final part of our entry.  These were last-minute surprise addition that ended up being a nice feature.  A couple of donkeys — a mom and a foal — who rode in a trailer all to themselves at the back.  We heard just as many, “Look!  They’ve got donkeys, too!” as we heard about the goats.  As much fun as the ladies and the candy and the kids and the bubbles and the Tube Man were, I think the animals were the real stars of the float.

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What we really did, though, was make a connection with a few people (or maybe a lot of people? — one can hope) in the City of Twin Falls.  We reminded or informed people that we are here, we exist, and that we are a fun, friendly, welcoming group of people who can do silly stuff like drop juggling balls and blow bubbles and ride with stinky goats even while we’re trying to get good, important work done.  With any luck, we’ll be able to encourage a few of those parade-goers (a whole bunch, I really hope) to join us in our meetings and events, and to bring their ideas, their enthusiasms, and their energies to help us begin to heal the rifts both in this country and in our local area as well.

It’s a huge job, but if we keep putting ourselves out there, and being friendly and welcoming — and even silly when the moment calls for it — we will encourage more and more folks to join us and work with us, and make our party, our county, our state, our country and our world stronger and healthier.

We’ll do better if we are open and welcoming, rather than belligerent and cantakerous.  Like the old saying goes, “you catch more voters with honey than you do with vinegar.”

Let’s get out there and catch us some voters.

Still time to go and early vote

Early voting will run from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. today (Nov 1. and Nov. 2) at the Twin Falls County Offices at 630 Addison Avenue West.
This link gives details on registering at the polls
No Early Voting Is Available Monday Nov. 5th
See if you are registered at your current address:
Regular Voting in Idaho goes from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Tuesday Nov 6th at your precinct’s polling place
Find You Polling Place at This Link