Saturday, September 24, 2005

Kennedy for City Council Website is up!

Due to the web mastery of the great VanEtten Studios, the Kennedy For City Council Web site is up and running, and able to accept donations for the campaign!

Thanks, Dave!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Katrina Evacuees Experience in Idaho

This is another in the series of email posts on resettlement efforts of Katrina evacuees to Idaho. I believe that there are several families resettled in Idaho at this point, but this is a little glimpse into what our statewide organization, Catholic Charities of Idaho, is doing with one family who has resettled in Boise. Carl Quintanilla of NBC will be highlighting this family next week on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams as an example of how folks are faring in their resettled residences and the services people are providing.

Hello All,

We are having busy days here with our wonderful family from New Orleans. NBC started filming at my home this morning at 9:00 AM. They filmed the last of the packing and loading my SUV and then we went to the new duplex and filmed the unloading, etc. St. Vincent de Paul brought a king-size bed for our 6’8” dad and tiny mom! That was filmed along with some quiet dialogue about their experience.

Right now they are here at CCI doing a counseling session with Melaney (CCI counselor). She is telling them about the kind of changes they can expect in their 5-yr old’s behavior. She is a “livewire.”

I wanted to demonstrate the range of services available to families who relocate with the help of Catholic Charities. Because their anchorman cannot come until Sunday night, they will not be airing the piece this Friday. I will let you know when we hear. It could be Monday or Tuesday evening. Carl Quintanilla, who has been covering the hurricane for NBC, is flying here on Sunday so that they will have some footage of him with the family.

NPR would like to do a story as well. Marcia and staff are working hard on getting the prayer services organized for Friday. Daren and Tasha and kids will be featured. Tonight we are having a welcome party at their duplex. All are invited who are in the area. NBC will be taping it.

Tomorrow morning we will begin at 8:45 at the elementary school where Dymonlynn will be attending kindergarten, followed by the meeting of the interfaith pastors, a trip to ITT Tech where Daren can resume his education. I’m off to Phoenix on Friday. When I get a break, I will e-mail you more information. Daren and Tasha want other victims to know that relocating to other places in the U.S. can be a wonderful experience.


Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Dalai Lama and Willie Nelson in Idaho Together - Perfect!

(KTVB Television) KETCHUM -- "The Dalai Lama made his much anticipated arrival into the Wood River Valley Saturday afternoon under a cloak of secrecy.

The Dalai Lama will deliver a message of peace to the Wood River Valley on the anniversary of the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks.

But it is country crooner Willie Nelson who's taking center stage tonight.

NewsChannel 7 has a backstage pass to the event.

You might not automatically tie Willie Nelson with the Dalai Lama, but there is a legitimate connection here -- all in the name of charity.
Money made from tonight's show will go to the children of Tibet."

(No offense intended to the Dalai Lama that his picture is much smaller than Willie Nelson's here - there are just more higher quality public domain internet images of Willie than the Dalai Lama available - go figure! But since they're both great men of peace not to mention rockin tunes, I'm sure the Dalai Lama won't mind)

Monday, September 05, 2005

Katrina Resettlement Activities - Sunday Evening Update

This is an update mail from Catholic Charities of Idaho's Development Director Kristan Schlichte, who has been dispatched to Texas to work on helping evacuees get resettled. To me it shows a sense of order forming amidst the chaos, but still how much freelancing is going on out of necessity (dropping folks off in front of a non-profit agency for lack of a better plan, for example).

Hi again,:
We are saying right now that we can accommodate individuals and families from 6 weeks to 6 months and beyond depending on their own self-reliance plans. Our Idaho contingent visited a shelter in Galveston this evening. It was much smaller and very calm compared to the Astrodome. They canceled plans for a Mass there today because of security issues. However, they allowed Bishop Fiorenza, a rabbi, an Imam and a Baptist minister to take ten minutes each to talk to he crowd. Greg Patin, our Catholic Charities Galveston/Houston contact who has been spending hours over there, said that he could feel a calm settle over the crowd as the faith leaders spoke. Some individuals have families, others don't. Right now the thought of leaving the gulf coast is overwhleming to many. However, in several days and weeks, they will realize their plight and be less fearful of taking a chance. Many are still in shock and unable to rationalize their situation. We know that after crisis mode comes post trauma. These folks need to be somewhere where they can get supportive services for themselves and their children. They do not know what is in store for them. Let me know how we can be of service to the Yakima CC office in the intake process. CC Houston has taken us in and is asking us to help to interivew individuals and families willing to re-locate for transitional housing. (Just make sure someone has done a home visit prior to placement. I know you already know that!) They are doing yeoman's work here. Today 5 busloads of Vietnamese people from Louisiana were dropped off in front of their office with no notice. Someone told the bus drivers in New Orleans to take them to Catholic Charities because "they would know how to help them!" It is CCUSA at its best. We can be so proud! I'll talk with you tomorrow.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Idaho Responds to Hurricane Katrina

I've had the privilege of serving on the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities of Idaho (CCI) since its inception in 2001. CCI's national network, Catholic Charities USA, has been in the disaster recovery business for 100 years or so, and is at the forefront of efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. I'm pleased that CC Idaho staff and Idaho volunteers are making their way to Houston, in coordination with national and state relief organizations, to help resettle some evacuees to Idaho for as long as is needed until they can find a way back to their homes and lives.

This has been a colossal nightmare, as everyone knows, but in the quiet of non-profit organizations and homes all around the country we can see the beginnings of light at the end of the tunnel.

If anyone is interested in how they can help out, email me for Idaho contacts or check out the national Catholic Charities website at Catholic Charities USA.

Below is a reprint of an email I received last night from CCI's Development Director Kristan Schlichte who is coordinating Idaho's Catholic Relief efforts to let you know some of the scope of CCI's efforts. We may be thousands of miles away, but we aren't helpless.



"Here is today’s update from CCUSA.

Today (9/2) (Idaho Catholic) Bishop Mike Driscoll asked me to coordinate the diocesan disaster response. Along with staff from Catholic Charities of Idaho, we met with diocesan leaders to brainstorm some immediate ways to assist the victims. I am traveling to Houston tomorrow along with 3 Treasure Valley volunteers to identify families for immediate transition to Idaho. Marcie Wilske, our new Parish Social Ministry Director, is coordinating with self-identified families who want to bring victims into their homes. The details are being worked out between CCI and local parish volunteers.

We have also made initial contact with the Governor’s Office, the office of Boise's Mayor, Homeland Security and the Idaho Careline. We are prepared to match victims to volunteers statewide as part of Phase 2 of our efforts. 211 Careline will direct potential volunteers to Catholic Charities of Idaho. We have an online housing assistance form for people to complete and return. Executive Director Marie Hoff is planning to hire additional temp. staff to help case manage the families who come to Idaho. More about the details of this later.

If you have ideas or suggestion, please contact Marcie Wilske here at CCI. We are working with United Way and Catholic Charities in Houston. My friend, Fr. JJ Mc Carthy, O.Carm., is the pastor of St. Bernadette’s Catholic Community in Houston. He is giving us hospitality and his parishioners will assist us with logistics as necessary. We will try to get the Idaho National Guard to provide return transportation for the victims. If not on this trip, then on subsequent phases, I am hoping the St. Bernadette parishioners who are part of NASA will help coordinate charters with the USAF. Right now everything is very fluid.

I am grateful for the opportunity to utilize my experience in disaster relief to put our agency and diocese on the forefront of “hands-on” response. I ask for your prayers and any contacts you might have with the corporate community to assist us in this resettlement effort. The duration of time for people to be in our care could be from 6 weeks to 6 months depending on the needs of the individual families and the kind of supportive services we can muster.

These are indeed refugees because they have nowhere to return. CCUSA is mounting a huge effort to coordinate good will and resources with victims needs. It is called Operation Home Away From Home. We can be proud of our Catholic network. I will have my laptop with me and can be reached at my home e-mail address. I will keep in touch. Pray for these initial efforts at bringing relief to the Katrina victims.

Kristan Schlichte"

The Storm after the Storm - David Brooks

David Brooks NYT Column: "We'd like to think that the stories of hurricanes and floods are always stories of people rallying together to give aid and comfort. And, indeed, each of America's great floods has prompted a popular response both generous and inspiring. But floods are also civic examinations. Amid all the stories that recur with every disaster - tales of sudden death and miraculous survival, the displacement and the disease - there is also the testing.

Civic arrangements work or they fail. Leaders are found worthy or wanting. What's happening in New Orleans and Mississippi today is a human tragedy. But take a close look at the people you see wandering, devastated, around New Orleans: they are predominantly black and poor. The political disturbances are still to come. "