In his slowest, most mysterious voice, the Fayette County fifth-grader intoned, “Let me tell you about the time I was bitten by a black widow spider!”He sure got my attention. I put down my pencil to listen closer. Then he added, “Just kidding! But I do have a black widow spider as a pet. Her name is Cleopatra.”The boy’s name was Jay Duncan, and he continued his 4-H demonstration by telling about the biology of the black widow spider. His visuals were outstanding, and he used them just as a CEO would at an executive board meeting. He spoke for four or five minutes and never once used a note card.Minutes pass quickly when you are completely engrossed in something, as I was in his demonstration. In those few minutes, I learned more about the black widow than I thought there was to know.District Project AchievementJay was competing in the entomology project at 4-H District Project Achievement (or DPA) which is coordinated by the University of Georgia Extension Service. I was one of two judges for the entomology project.Entomology, if you’ve forgotten, is the study of insects. Biologists will tell you that a spider is not an insect. It’s an arachnid. But to most folks, if something has more than four legs (a spider has eight), it’s a bug, and a bug is an insect.So what if his black widow spider demonstration was in the entomology project? It was a darn good demonstration.Fifth-, Sixth-grade 4-H’ers Photo: Fayette County 4-H Jay was one of about 300 fifth- and sixth-grade 4-H’ers from counties in west-central Georgia competing at DPA in Douglasville. Like their counterparts around the state, these kids selected a 4-H project that interested them and prepared an illustrated talk, or demonstration, to be judged.The judges score the demonstration based on several things, including subject knowledge, visuals and speech delivery. Jay competed against other 4-H’ers in the entomology project.11 Counties, 50-plus Projects4-H’ers came from 11 counties and competed in projects such as computers, plants and soils, photography, public speaking, marine ecology, archeology, and performing arts, among about 50 others.There is even a project in outdoor survival skills that Tina and Colby (from the “Survivor” show) could have used to help them survive in the Australian outback.It amazes me how poised and organized most of these youngsters are. At their age, I’m not sure I could have stood up in front of an audience and delivered a speech with their same flair and confidence.Good Training for Later YearsThis training will come in handy as they grow older. It might help to take the terror out of college speech classes and presentations on the job. And it just might make them a better student and eventually a more competent employee.That’s why 4-H invests so many hours working with young people to prepare for their five minutes of fame at DPA. You never know — it just might last a lifetime.Kind of like a fascination with black widow spiders. (By the way, Jay won first place in entomology.) 4-H’ers like Jay Duncan compete in educational projects with poise that often belies their ages.
Editor’s Note: I have been following the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest plan for three years. I have attended many meetings, including several in the Big Ivy community where I live. I’ve had candid conversations with dozens of Forest Service leaders, loggers, hunters, and environmentalists. Here’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned: there are no villains in this story. Everyone involved in the forest plan deeply loves the forest and believes that they are fighting for what’s best.The region is changing: tourism has replaced timber as the main economic engine. An influx of people and development has reshaped land and culture. The forest is changing, too—and so are the values that the forest provides. The national forest continues to provide timber and game, but it’s also become a refuge for rare species and a recreational oasis.This story asks a simple question: can we all share the forest? It doesn’t have an easy answer. * * *You are the owner of a 1.1-million acre mountain estate. Your property includes cascading waterfalls, ancient forests, and the highest mountains in the East. You can go anywhere you like on your property. You can hike hundreds of miles of trails and paddle, fish, and swim in its pristine streams. You share ownership equally with every other American, and you pay your staff—the U.S. Forest Service—to manage the property. They maintain the trails and enforce the rules that you make.Every 20 years, you write a plan that describes how your estate should be managed. You get together with the other owners to hash it out, and your staff writes it all down. This plan is the most important document of your property. It spells out the rules for your property and decides how your property taxes are spent.You are the owner of a 1.1-million acre mountain estate.But lately, a few vocal co-owners have outshouted everyone else in deciding how your property will be run. Meanwhile, your staff is changing the rules so that they can cut down some of your favorite places in the forest. Turf WarThe Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest is the third-most-visited national forest in the country. Its popularity has skyrocketed by 136 percent in the past two decades. Over 6.8 million people visited the forest last year, and most of them came to hike, camp, and enjoy its scenic wonders. The Forest Service recently released a preliminary draft of their forest plan, which will guide the next twenty years of forest decisions. It’s already mired in bitter controversy. In the draft plan, over 155,000 acres of old-growth forests, popular trails, unique biological areas, and beloved wild places are unprotected. Approximately 60 percent of the forest—630,000 acres—is placed in management areas that allow logging. (The Forest Service says that around 450,000 acres will likely be deemed suitable for timber harvest.) Hunting groups want even more logging acreage to increase populations of game species like deer and grouse. Recreation and conservation organizations want to protect more of the forest so that logging doesn’t harm sensitive wildlife or damage trails, water, and scenery.The fight over how to manage national forests is nothing new. Pisgah became the East’s very first national forest in 1912. Immediately, intense debates raged over the future of national forests. Some argued that sustainably cutting timber from the forests made them more productive and useful to Americans. Others believed that protecting the forests’ water, rare species, scenery, and recreational opportunities benefitted more Americans in the long run.Congress decided in 1960 that national forests should also be managed for multiple uses: timber, watersheds, wildlife, and recreation. In 1964, Congress added wilderness to the list.A century after acquisition, the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest faces the same basic conflict: Is the forest a resource to be exploited or a sanctuary to be protected? Or both?The new forest plan draft is much more than a document. It has become a blueprint for the future of Southern Appalachia, with the potential to bring together different groups—rural and urban, locals and newcomers, hunters and hikers—in a shared vision for the region. So far, however, the contentious forest planning process has only deepened the chasms.[nextpage title=”Read on!”]‘A Deep Cultural Divide’Logging has long been an important part of the region’s economic and cultural landscape. Sawmills and industrial timber operations once blanketed Southern Appalachia, providing jobs and a way of life for many generations of rural communities. In the 1990s, the Big Ivy Community organized to stop logging projects. Today, they are organizing again to protect their forest.While the timber industry in the mountains has declined, Southern forests still support the most intensive logging operations in the country. Forests in the South are being cut at four times the rate of Amazon rain forests and are experiencing some of the highest rates of logging anywhere on earth.Over 97 percent of logging in Western North Carolina occurs on private land, and those forests continue to be logged heavily. Some rural communities want to see increased logging in the national forest as well, hoping that it will bring more jobs.“Hunting is disappearing from the mountains. It’s easier to hunt in the flatlands, and there is more game there.” —Jim Gray, member of the Ruffed Grouse Society. The Forest Service also wants more logging in the national forest. Its preliminary forest plan proposes logging 4,000 acres per year, a 500 percent increase over current levels. Jim Gray, a member of the Ruffed Grouse Society, would like to see that number climb much higher to at least 12,000 acres per year—or around 240,000 acres over the life of the plan. The forest regrowth following timber harvests provides more food and cover for wildlife, says Gray, and it also make the wildlife more accessible for hunters. “Hunting is disappearing from the mountains. It’s easier to hunt in the flatlands, and there is more game there,” says Gray. “There are too many mature trees in the national forest,” he adds. “There is not much value in trees after a certain stage because the interior of the tree rots and the timber loses its value.”Gray supports more timber harvests that create early successional habitat for game species like ruffed grouse, deer, and turkey, as well as other wildlife. Early successional habitat is the open, cleared area following a disturbance—such as logging, fire, farming, and development. According to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, early successional habitat can include pastures, suburban backyards, old fields, and utility right-of-ways.Gray acknowledges that there is an abundance of early successional habitat on private land across Western North Carolina, but hunters do not always have access to those lands.He also believes that the Forest Service should implement more well-managed timber harvests, preferably out of sight of major trails and viewscapes, in part because hunters help pay for it.“Hunters and anglers pay for the privilege of hunting and fishing through licenses and excise taxes on equipment and ammunition. Other users of the forests do not pay to use the forest. We should get better consideration in return for those fees,” says Gray.“There are too many mature trees in the national forest. There is not much value in trees after a certain stage because the interior of the tree rots and the timber loses its value.”—Jim GrayHowever, hunting licenses and ammunition taxes don’t go to national forests, but to state game agencies. North Carolina’s game agency, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, has been among the most vocal in pushing for more logging and opposing protected areas. At the very beginning of the forest planning process in 2013, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s regional supervisor, Gordon Warburton, delivered a powerpoint presentation that was essentially a playbook for opposing forest protections. Said Warburton, “Our strategy: we have to stand opposed to all new wilderness additions. Period.”Wilderness is the only Forest Service management area that completely prohibits logging and road building—except in emergencies like wildfire or rescue.Wilderness areas allow nature to function freely with minimal human management. Wilderness areas are also treasured spaces for recreation, including hiking, camping, paddling, climbing, running, fishing, and hunting.Hunter and commercial outfitter David Whitmire also doesn’t like the restrictions that wilderness places on logging.“I can’t hunt where I used to. A lot has changed over the past thirty years. Development. Encroachment. People don’t understand guys walking beside the road with guns,” says Whitmire. “There is a deep cultural divide in the mountains, and the forest plan is revealing that divide.””—David Whitmire, Hunter and Commercial Outfitter“These woods have always been managed for wildlife. The Cherokee burned the woods to hunt. Logging also helps wildlife,” says Whitmire. “Deer populations are crashing. How low are we going to let their populations go?In addition, Whitmire worries about the changing demographics, land use, and values in Western North Carolina. “I can’t hunt where I used to. A lot has changed over the past thirty years. Development. Encroachment. People don’t understand guys walking beside the road with guns,” says Whitmire. “There is a deep cultural divide in the mountains, and the forest plan is revealing that divide.”As more people have migrated to the mountains, the uses and values of the national forest have shifted dramatically. While hunting and logging were dominant forest uses in the twentieth century, the main use of national forests today is outdoor recreation. According to the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest’s 2014 Assessment, 60 percent of forest users were hikers. Hunters made up only 2.5 percent. The vast majority of visitors to the Pisgah-Nantahala today are day-hikers, backpackers, mountain bikers, anglers, equestrians, climbers, runners, and other outdoor enthusiasts. These groups generally support stronger protections for the national forest and a more inclusive, 21st century outlook on the uses and values of the Pisgah-Nantahala. “Our research is unequivocal: visitors are drawn today by the beauty of this area,” said Marla Tambellini, Vice President of Marketing at the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau, at a public meeting about the forest plan. “Setting aside natural and wild areas is good for residents today and one of the best legacies we can leave the next generation.”The Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest is the backbone of Appalachia’s economy, which is driven largely by recreation and tourism. Across Southern Appalachia, recreation provides $90 billion and over 1 million jobs.“Our region’s health and vitality depend on national forests,” says Sam Evans, an attorney with Southern Environmental Law Center. In addition to the jobs and recreation they provide, national forests in Southern Appalachia provide drinking water to over 11 million people and protect the headwaters of most major rivers. The total value of water flowing from national forestlands amounts to $7.2 billion per year.National forests store carbon, protect species, filter the air, and provide other key ecosystem services for our region’s health, says Evans. Ecosystem services flowing from national forests are valued between $96 billion and $5.7 trillion annually.The Forest Service has been slow to respond to the recreation revolution and the shift in forest values. As an agency, it has traditionally prioritized timber sales and logging projects over recreation and conservation. As a result, previous forest plans have become embroiled in conflict and litigation.The Pisgah-Nantahala Forest planning team is hoping that this plan will be different. Already, the Forest Service has broadened its outreach and expanded public involvement. And it has convened leaders from a variety of user groups to help shape the plan.“Cooperation is our best hope for this forest plan to succeed,” says Matt McCombs, deputy forest supervisor for National Forests in North Carolina. “In the end, though, the Forest Service will do what we think is best.”So far, they appear to be making the same mistakes of the past. The preliminary forest plan places over 25,000 acres of old-growth forest in logging-intensive management.Also open to logging are large sections of popular trail corridors, including the Art Loeb Trail, Benton MacKaye Trail, Bartram Trail, and Mountains to Sea Trail. So are Cedar Rock, Tellico Bald, Daniel Ridge, Linville Mountain, Upper Wilson Creek, Chunky Gal, Upper Courthouse Creek, Shope Creek, Upper Santeetlah Creek, Dismal Falls, Siler Bald, parts of Panthertown Valley, and 4,000 acres of old-growth and rare species habitat in Big Ivy. The Appalachian Trail corridor could also be logged.[nextpage title=”Read on!”]The Missing MiddleNo one has fought harder for cooperation than Brent Martin, Southern Appalachian director of The Wilderness Society. Surprisingly, Martin has been lobbying against wilderness designation in order to accommodate a broader base of recreation users.Click to expand.“I could have stayed safely in my conservation corner and advocated for more wilderness,” says Martin. “But then everyone else would stay in their corners and nothing would change. After years of working on forest planning, it was clear that we needed a new, more cooperative approach.”Martin invited timber and hunting leaders to join together with conservation and recreation representatives to form the Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Partnership. After three years of meetings and dialogue, the partnership has reached broad conceptual agreement on most of the forest planning issues: they have agreed to recommend more logging acreage while also increasing the amount of protected areas for conservation.However, the Forest Service decided not to formally recognize the partnership. Instead, the Forest Service spent over $100,000 to create its own group: the Stakeholders Forum. It includes many of the same representatives from the partnership, but it also adds a few outspoken members who, thus far, have impeded any compromise. As a result, the Stakeholders Forum has been deeply entrenched and unable to reach consensus.“The Forest Service has undercut our middle-ground partnership and stacked their Stakeholders Forum with a few extremists from hunting groups who are unwilling to compromise at all,” says Martin.“The original partnership did not reflect the full spectrum of users,” replies Forest Service deputy supervisor Matt McCombs. “The Stakeholders Forum is a more diverse representation of forest interests.”21 of the 27 members of the Stakeholders’ Forum are older white males. There are no minorities or youth representatives.But Martin wasn’t ready to give up on collaboration, so he forged yet another coalition. This time, he brought together mountain bikers and wilderness advocates—two recreation groups that traditionally had not worked together. The Wilderness Act does not allow bicycles in wilderness, so even conservation-minded mountain bikers often found themselves unable to support wilderness proposals for the Pisgah-Nantahala.Martin met with mountain bike leaders and hammered out a proposal for a new National Recreation Area in Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest. The proposal would open the Harpers Creek and Lost Cove Wilderness Study Areas near Boone, N.C., to mountain bike use, removing its Congressional Wilderness Study Area status and simultaneously replacing it with a National Recreation Area designation that would protect its wild character permanently. Over 40 regional organizations and businesses also signed on to support the National Recreation Area proposal. “It made national headlines. It was a precedent-setting agreement,” says Martin. “We showed that groups with competing agendas could come together and find common ground.”But then “one obstructionist tanked the whole deal,” says Martin.The ink had barely dried on the agreement when John Wilson, a local businessman whose family owns the Blowing Rock attraction and has deep roots in the area, organized opposition to the National Recreation Area proposal. Other organizations, including Appalachian Voices and Sierra Club, joined him. Wilson, who has worked for many years with land trusts and conservation interests, including many major funders, did not want to open two Wilderness Study Areas to shared use with mountain bikers.“We have so little Wilderness in North Carolina,” says Wilson. “The Harper Creek and Lost Cove Wilderness Study Areas contain some of the most pristine headwater streams, waterfalls, and old growth forest in the East.”Ironically, failure to reach an agreement for Harper Creek and Lost Cove has diminished support for more wilderness across the national forest. Because the National Recreation Area would have created an important new mountain biking opportunity, the mountain bike community was prepared to support over 100,000 acres of additional wilderness recommendations in the Pisgah-Nantahala. That support is now at best uncertain.“It’s been heartbreaking,” says Martin, who is no longer with The Wilderness Society. “Extremists on both sides have undermined every effort to cooperate and find middle ground,” says Martin. “Clearly there are easy compromises that nearly everyone agrees on, but a few extremely vocal individuals have hijacked the entire forest plan, and the Forest Service has enabled it to happen.”[nextpage title=”Read on!”] The W-WordHere is the simple bargain that nearly everyone supports: more timber harvests counterbalanced by more protected areas, including wilderness.“If we’re going to ramp up timber harvest levels, we also need to identify the areas where other values, like rare habitats, wilderness, and backcountry recreation, will continue to be represented in the future,” says SELC’s Sam Evans.Timber industry leaders have generally seen this as a good deal. They believe that broader backing for timber harvests can be achieved if they also support wilderness protections for special areas of the forest. However, an outspoken few have been unwilling to support any new wilderness, mainly because it prohibits logging and motorized vehicles.“How are we gonna get a 500-pound bear out of a wilderness area?” asks David Whitmire, a member of the Stakeholders’ Forum. “Wilderness also invites another class of people in here.”22 percent of Western North Carolina is national forest, and some locals resent the lost tax revenue and demographic changes that the national forests have brought.Both Whitmire and Ruffed Grouse Society chapter president Jim Gray also believe that wilderness reduces the availability of game species like deer and grouse. “People have this Disney image of critters all happy in the deep forest, but deer and grouse like open areas, too,” says Gray. According to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, the numbers of ruffed grouse and deer harvested from national forests have been trending downward. Gray blames the declining numbers on too many protected areas and not enough logging.Gray and others have led efforts to pass anti-wilderness resolutions in 12 conservative-leaning counties across Western North Carolina.But one county passed a pro-wilderness resolution: Buncombe County, the most populous county in the mountains and home to the largest city in Western North Carolina.The Buncombe County Commission unanimously supported a resolution to recommend wilderness for the Big Ivy section of the Pisgah-Nantahala, located about 20 miles northwest of Asheville. Big Ivy includes the Craggy Gardens area and is the most photographed spot along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s also home to 70-foot waterfalls, dozens of rare and endangered species, and one of the largest old-growth forests in the East. The Big Ivy wilderness proposal has received overwhelming public support. Hundreds attended the County Commissioners meeting to speak unanimously in support of the wilderness resolution. A year earlier, over 400 Big Ivy supporters packed a community meeting with the Forest Service, many wearing “Don’t Cut Big Ivy” t-shirts. Nearly all spoke in favor of permanently protecting Big Ivy from logging.Even stridently anti-wilderness campaigners Jim Gray and David Whitmire have voiced general support for wilderness in Big Ivy.So far, however, the Forest Service has not protected Big Ivy from logging. Instead, it has targeted one-third of Big Ivy for logging-priority management.“Big Ivy is a test case for the forest planning process,” says Jeremy Brookshire, a carpenter who lives in the Big Ivy community. “Does the Forest Service really respond to public input, or is it just going through the motions?”There is overwhelming public, political, and scientific support for permanently protecting Big Ivy, says Brookshire. “So why doesn’t the preliminary forest plan draft reflect that?”One possible explanation is that the Forest Service doesn’t want wilderness in Big Ivy—or anywhere else.Forest Service officials say that wilderness “takes tools of out their toolbox” and constrains them from conducting sustainable forest restoration. The Forest Service also generates revenue by harvesting timber. The Forest Service is financially and institutionally motivated to cut down forests, which is prohibited in wilderness. The Forest Service is also getting intense political pressure not to recommend any new wilderness. [nextpage title=”Read on!”]To Log Or Not To Log?Fundamentally, the forest plan raises an almost-philosophical question: Do forests need constant logging and active management, or can nature grow healthier forests than we can if we mostly leave them alone?The Forest Service—whose logging-intensive agenda aligns most closely with the interests of hunting organizations and timber companies—claims that forests are more productive when actively managed. Conservation organizations assert that uncut, intact forest ecosystems are more resilient and beneficial, especially in the 21st century.A recent timber harvest near Trace Ridge in Pisgah National Forest.The data is mixed. Silvicultural studies suggest that thinning young, previously degraded forests improves productivity, especially of marketable tree species like oaks. And cutting forests to create early successional habitat leads to increases in deer, turkey, and grouse populations. But other scientific studies indicate that mature, uncut forests provide healthier air and water quality, more carbon storage, and more overall biological diversity.The forest plan has become a referendum on the future of our forests—and the economies that grow around them. Do we want a more actively managed forest that emphasizes game and timber, or a more tourism-friendly forest focused on recreation and ecosystem health? “These are working forests, and they will always be working forests,” says Forest Service deputy director Matt McCombs. McCombs believes that the Forest Service’s mission to “sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of national forests” requires perpetual logging of public lands. He also maintains that logging ultimately improves forest health—by removing dead and diseased trees, for example, or creating clearings that produce more browse for deer and other wildlife.“Forested lands have better outcomes when sustainable forestry is practiced, and they also have economic benefits as byproducts,” says McCombs. “We can accelerate the pace and scale of forest restoration through sustainable forestry. Forests are ultimately enhanced by managing them for game and timber.”Adam Macon, program director for the Dogwood Alliance, says that the latest science shows otherwise. “Publicly owned national forests are more valuable standing than cut down, says. Intact forests provide far more long-term ecological and economic assets than board feet of timber.”—former U.S. Forest Service biologist Karin Heiman“Logging has a lot of impacts that make the forest less healthy, less resilient, and more vulnerable to insect infestations, invasive species, and disease,” he says. Logging causes sedimentation that clogs rivers and streams. The bulldozers, skidders, and other heavy machinery create easy corridors for pests and disease to spread. Logging usually is accompanied by heavy and repeated use of pesticides, and it disrupts a web of animal, plant, soil, insect, and microbial diversity that requires many decades for forests to recover. Logging mature forests also releases more carbon, especially from the soil.Economically, protecting forests for conservation and recreational uses provides more benefits than logging them. Recreation in the Pisgah-Nantahala provides 10 times as many jobs as and five times as much revenue, according to the 2014 U.S. Forest Service Assessment. Nationwide, the Forest Service reports that recreation provides 31 times more jobs to rural communities than timber sales. “Publicly owned national forests are more valuable standing than cut down, says former U.S. Forest Service biologist Karin Heiman. “Intact forests provide far more long-term ecological and economic assets than board feet of timber.”[nextpage title=”Read on!”]This Land Is Your LandThe Forest Service is in transition. It struggles internally between old-school foresters intent on maximizing timber harvests and a new generation of recreation-friendly rangers. The Forest Service’s top three forest plan leaders have all left the Pisgah-Nantahala in the past three years, presenting both a challenge and opportunity for the Forest Service to move in new directions.The overwhelming majority of forest users are hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, but so far, the forest plan leaves many of the best and most beautiful places in the forest unprotected. The good news is this: The 1.1-million-acre Pisgah-Nantahala can accommodate all of the competing uses: commercial timber sales for industry, early successional forests for deer and grouse hunters, protected headwaters for municipal drinking water, habitat protection for endangered species, wilderness areas for solitude-seekers, old-growth forests for science and heritage, and trail networks for everyone to enjoy.Even better news: nearly everyone agrees on the solution. Most of the stakeholders support the basic compromise formula: more timber harvests in exchange for more protected acreage.Dismal Falls and the surrounding forests and trails are not protected in the current draft plan.However, the Forest Service’s preliminary forest plan draft tilts lopsidedly toward logging. It aims to increase logging five-fold while leaving over 125,000 acres of ancient forests, recreational hotspots, and unique biological areas unprotected.Even the timber industry worries about the preliminary plan draft. “Right now, it’s a lose-lose situation,” said one forest products representative. “If we can’t reach a compromise that supports the full spectrum of interests, then we will likely end up with even fewer timber harvests. Every single timber sale will be appealed and challenged, and this plan will be in litigation gridlock for the next two decades.”The win-win plan—more timber harvests and more protected areas—is what most everyone wants—except an uncompromising few and perhaps the Forest Service itself. “The solution is within reach,” says SELC’s Sam Evans. Do we have the will to work together? Or will we miss the forest for the trees?With stakeholders at an impasse, the Forest Service will rely on public input to make its final decisions. How do you want your 1 million acres to be managed? Now more than ever, your input will shape the future of the forest.
Each of the countries participating in the training with the FBI has different challenges when it comes to gangs. For example, since 2011, Costa Rican authorities have seen a steady increase in gang activity. Authorities in Costa Rica must remain vigilant, because the gang problem there could get worse if the gangs in that country continue to grow, Rodríguez said. There is no significant gang violence in Belize. However, that country is used by transnational criminal organizations as a strategic drug transshipment point to the Caribbean, according to Rodríguez. Since 2010, Panamanian authorities have noted an increase in gangs transporting drugs through the Gulf of Uribe for transferring drugs. “The challenge for authorities is to work together in prevention from a social standpoint,” Rodriguez said. Cooperation is crucial in the fight against gangs and the international drug cartels they partner with, according to an FBI statement. “We can only be successful in the fight against transnational gangs if we work together,” the FBI states on FBI.gov. THE FACT ALONE OF FIGHTING CRIMINAL GROUPS WHO GO AGAINST EVERYDAY CITIZENS’ CIVIL RIGHTS IS COMMENDABLE. THE GANGS NEED TO BE FOUGHT BECAUSE THEY ARE GROUPS THAT DON’T BRING ANY SOCIAL BENEFIT, CONTRARY TO GOOD HABITS, THEY ARE THE FOCUS OF DRUGS AND OTHER CRIMES. WE HAVE TO PUT AN END TO THE GANGS. WELL, LONGITUDINAL MAPPING CAN ALSO BE DONE BECAUSE THIS KIND OF PEOPLE WHO ORGANIZE TO ACQUIRE TERRITORY AND TERRORIZE CIVILIANS. WHO WE DON’T PUT AWAY AT ALL WE COULD GO AFTER CRIME AND APPLY THE LAWS TO THEM AS CRIMINAL TERRORISTS WHO KNOW OR ARE SAFER IN PRISON BECAUSE THEY KNOW THEY’VE GOT SECURITY 24 HOURS A DAY AND THEY KNOW THEY DON’T HAVE TO PAY FOR WATER, ELECTRICITY AND THEY HAVE THREE SQUARE MEALS A DAY AND THEY KILL PEOPLE WITH NO REMORSE SO MANY INNOCENT PEOPLE. WE COULD MAKE THIS KIND OF LAZY PERSON WORK THE LAND OR BRING THEM OUT TO CLEAN THE STREETS AND THE PARKS, DON’T LOOK OUT FOR THEM ANY MORE THEY HAVE LOST ALL THEIR RIGHTS AS CITIZENS, LET’S PUT OUR HANDS WHERE OUR CONSCIENCE LIES, THE PEOPLE WOULD BE VERY GRATEFUL IF YOU RESCUE OUR NATION. If I could help with this at all, I would do so happily to support you. All they do is talk I agree that the FBI and the CIA should be concerned about dissolving the gangs but I think it’s better to deal with the roots of the problem such as the home, places of study, the Government and the law. In our country women give birth before they’ve come of age and they can’t teach a child much, therefore the child starts to fall behind, then the laws prohibit punishing children, the place of study doesn’t teach the child to manage his life. The Government doesn’t have any psychological help programs for the child, or material support. In other words there is no financial help, there is no work, and also there’s the deluge of Hollywood movies that corrupt the child’s mind. Therefore, gentlemen, who’s fault is it that there are gangs and who do we need to punish? I leave this answer to your own judgment. I have attended several gang related trainings but the issue isn’t knowledge. Rather it’s applying the laws in our country (El Salvador) no matter how knowledgeable you are it doesn’t matter until the people in charge of creating laws understand that belonging to these groups has to be a crime and the law really has to be applied because it’s not worth anything to have the police catch them, when they go free three days later Very good, finally the Yankees did something, they were the ones to deported the gang members from the jails, remember? What is it worth capturing so many petty and felonious criminals, when the justice system is so poor it can’t verify the misdemeanors or crimes. The ones who are teaching violence are the movie producers another kind of movies should be made not focused on violence but when profits are distributed to the legislators, legislating stops I believe this is a very profound problem, and it’s already too big the solution isn’t so easy, because at least in my country these illegal groups are supported by authorities under waters, that is why the laws don’t change against them, they watch over their own illegal business deals through them, the famous white collar crimes which are all over Central America, and which involve even well-known statesmen, this problem should have a deeper solution and I hope that organizations such as the FBI and the CIA can help our country, since this is not just a problem with the economy or with education. It goes much deeper. What a good decision. Working together is the only way our nation El Salvador will be able to have peace, the same with other countries Many times, anti-gang policies are political strategies here in El Salvador, where it is believed that fighting crime is not a priority for the government, because we have some opportunistic government leaders there is no conviction to govern honestly. Our country would be better off if the governments would act in accordance with the principles of general well-being thinking that they are servants of the people and not using the people. What I mean is that during the past 25 years of apparent peace, 20 years with a right-wing government, 5 with a left-wing government. The perception is that crime comes from the gangs and it has become a boon for the security companies who get rich off the sense of insecurity many Salvadorans feel in their neighborhoods it is hard to believe in fighting against an evil that has become a social cancer, extreme measures need to be taken such as the death penalty for all these antisocial criminals when these factors are minimized, then they should work with the community plan. The gang problem seems to have no end. More than those who are already on the inside, dedicated to recruiting children from a very young age and if they don’t comply, they make them disappear in that period when we, the parents, have to work they take advantage of the time the kids are alone or they catch them when they’re coming out of school or on the streets when they go out to run an errand in order to get them into their gangs. It would be very excellent for youth at an appropriate age to do military service in the barracks to become disciplined and also if it were a crime to stay in a gang, payable with jail time or community service. They need to work so they can see how hard it is to make money with the sweat of your brow. This will be a good step forward which will be taken to fight crime but it will not be enough. This problem will never end, even this way. Keep on going The issue is that in Guatemala we have no governance and this is what leads to public demonstrations and those responsible for fighting these scourges are caught up in planning how to counter organized crime, which they themselves organize.Where do you think this situation will end? I THINK THE NEWS IS FINE THE WAY IT IS REPORTED. I THOUGHT THERE WASN’T ANYONE DOING ANYTHING AGAINST THIS EVIL TO SOCIETY. That is very good. I hope one day someone would invent jails that are isolated from the population in order for the telephone blocking to work well if they’re activated. For example near the foothills of the Guazapa hill, around El Roblar another near the Iramon hill in Chalatenango if they did this, I can assure you it would work. I hope they get their act together Drugs come from South America en route to North America. These countries serve as bridges, but the ocean and the sky are wide open, and drug trafficking has the money to use these means. Tons of drugs move through there, without any border restrictions or loss of product. Those little countries with HUGE LEVELS OF DRUG USE pretend they want to stop the trafficking, but when drugs are in short supply, the price goes up and so the number of crimes, because of a lack of supply. I MAINTAIN THAT THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES should REDUCE the amount of drugs they use, by running campaigns aimed at the new generations, the children, in schools, everywhere there are children who donâ€™t know and have never tried drugs, but it is not in the interest of those who are corrupt. I think an alliance between several countries is of utmost importance to fight this scourge, which takes valuable lives from our country every day. The groups of gang members grow quickly like a cancer that if it’s not fought today tomorrow it will be too late, if it isn’t already. Here in Guatemala the police help the thieves do whatever they want. This is the case of the Pnc agent Itziril Ovalle. Authorities from six Central American countries are working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on important operations to dismantle violent gang – including Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13, and Barrio 18, also known as M-18. Both gangs operate in several Central American countries, including Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. They also operate in the United States. Those countries, along with Belize, Costa Rica and Panama are cooperating with the FBI in the initiative. Joint training exercises are one of its most important components. More than 20 police officers and civilian community activists from those countries participated in two weeks of anti-gang training provided by FBI agents at its campus in Quantico, Virginia. The program, which began in late April and ended in early May, covered combat skills, tactics, and gang prevention. The training was part of the Central American Community Impact Exchange (CACIE) program, according to the FBI. Authorities established CACIE in in 2013. FBI agents used a high-tech simulator to provide tactical training for confronting gangs to the participants. The CACIE program is providing “concrete and specific” training in how to stop gang activities, said Armando Rodríguez, a security analyst from the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM). Improving cooperation to fight gangs Gang violence Strengthening relationships between law enforcement officials among the six participating Central American countries and their counterparts in the U.S.; Improving those relationships among civilian government leaders; Furthering cooperation between police in Central America and the FBI in collecting, analyzing and sharing gang-related information; and Improving investigations of gang activities in Central America and in the U.S. The partnership between the six Central American countries and the FBI has several goals, Rodríguez said: By Dialogo September 10, 2014 While MS-13 and M-18 are the largest gangs in Central America, they aren’t alone. There are about 900 gangs in the region, according to www.envio.org and other publications, totaling about 140,000 members. Most gang members work the streets, extorting, perpetrating threats and act of violence, forcibly recruiting young people, and robbing bus drivers and small business owners. But some gang members are professionals. Among their ranks are physicians, attorneys, engineers and IT specialists. Some MS-13 and M-18 factions have grown large enough to afford medical equipment so that they can treat members injured during battles, El Heraldo reported on August 6. In addition to forming alliances with the Sinaloa Cartel and Los Zetas, MS-13 and M-18 have also formed partnership with regional drug trafficking groups, such as Los Chachiros, Los Mendozas, Los Lorenzanas and Los Perrones. Gang activity in Costa Rica MS-13 and Barrio 18 operate in multiple locations Central America and in the United States. In Central America, they are most active in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. In the U.S., one or both gangs operate in California, Maryland, Virginia, and Texas. Gang leaders in Central American sometimes give orders and guidance to gang operatives in the U.S., according to U.S. federal court testimony. The two gangs are known for using extreme violence. Both gangs engage in killings, extortion, robbery, car theft, human trafficking, and local drug dealing. And both have formed alliances with Mexican transnational criminal organizations – such as the Sinaloa Cartel and Los Zetas – to protect drug shipments into Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Both MS-13 and Barrio 18 are comprised primarily of teenagers and men between the ages of 15 and 35. They’re also known to coerce younger boys into joining, usually as lookouts. Cooperation between Central American law enforcement authorities and the FBI makes sense, because MS-13 and M-18 have increased their alliances with international drug cartels in recent years, according to Rodríguez. FBI officials concur that these gangs are an international threat. “We need to understand the enemy we will be fighting. Gang members do not respect borders,” said Jason Kaplan, FBI Legal Attaché in El Salvador, during a July 18 news conference. “We must establish programs to teach young people how dangerous gangs, drugs and violent crimes are.” Gangs in Central America
2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Facebook cover images are a generous amount of “real estate” on your Credit Union’s business Facebook page…make sure to take advantage of this feature! If you’re not using it yet, then you’ll want to discover how to design images that will better utilize this space. It is the perfect place to highlight your CU and its many offerings. Here are 4 creative ways to use Facebook cover images for your CU.#1: Celebrate Your Credit Union’s MemoriesIs your CU celebrating an anniversary or a milestone? Maybe it’s your 75th Anniversary year, so try to find a photo from the first branch on opening day to show how far you’ve come! Images can evoke emotions from your members and followers and have a big impact. These emotions can strengthen the loyalty your members feel towards your Credit Union. continue reading »
Due to the extraordinary circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic in the world and in the Republic of Croatia, Croatia Airlines has been continuously reducing its planned flight schedule since March 10. Photo: CA It is important to point out that additional ones are possible changes in the already reduced flight plan, depending on the development of the epidemiological situation in the Republic of Croatia and abroad and the recommendations of the Croatian and world public health authorities, emphasize the CA. After the Civil Protection Headquarters passed a Decision banning leaving the place of residence and permanent residence in the Republic of Croatia, Croatia Airlines consequently suspended all flights within Croatia from March 25 to April 19 this year. With the start of the summer flight schedule, which is valid from yesterday (March 29), the entire range of flights has been reduced to direct flights from Zagreb to Frankfurt, Brussels, Amsterdam and London Heathrow in order to continue connecting Croatia with Europe and the rest of the world. and at the same time enabled the return of Croatian citizens to their homeland and the departure of foreign citizens to their home countries.
Floyd, 46, died on Monday after video showed a white Minneapolis police officer kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes. It touched off outrage that has swept across a politically and racially divided nation in the midst of a polarizing presidential campaign and recently released from strict stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic that threw millions out of work.Minority communities were hit especially hard by the pandemic and those clamp-downs.On Sunday afternoon, a tanker truck drove into a throng of demonstrators on I-35 in Minneapolis, which had been closed to traffic. The driver was pulled from the cab and beaten by protesters before being taken into custody by Minneapolis police. It did not appear any protesters were hit by the truck.Authorities imposed curfews on dozens of cities across America, the most since 1968 in the aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, which also happened during a presidential election campaign and amid the upheaval of anti-war demonstrations. Read also: George Floyd: ‘Gentle giant’ killed in US police custodyLooting in CaliforniaIn Santa Monica, upscale stores were looted along the city’s popular Third Street Promenade before police moved in to make arrests. The vandalism followed a largely peaceful march earlier in the beachside city. Further south, in the Los Angeles suburb of Long Beach, a group of young men and women smashed windows of a shopping mall and looted stores before they were dispersed ahead of a 6 p.m. curfew.In Washington, D.C., protesters set fires near the White House, the smoke mixing with billowing clouds of tear gas as police sought to clear them from the area.Sporadic violence broke out in Boston following peaceful protests as activists threw bottles at police officers and lit a cruiser on fire. Philadelphia announced a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew after a day of protests and looting.Several hundred demonstrators marched through downtown Miami chanting: “No justice, no peace,” past a detention center where inmates could be seen in the narrow windows waving shirts.The demonstrations brought out a diversity of people, a point one young black woman noted at a march in Culver City, California on Sunday. “It means a lot to see people other than black people joining the demonstration,” said Candace Collins.Protests spread around the globe, with events in London and Berlin on Sunday and others on Monday including in New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands.The eruptions of violence have not let up despite the arrest on Friday of former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, 44. He has since been charged with third-degree murder. Three other officers involved in Floyd’s arrest have yet to be charged.In New York City, police arrested about 350 people and 30 officers suffered minor injuries during clashes. Mayor Bill de Blasio said police conduct was being investigated, including widely shared videos showing a police vehicle lurching into a crowd of protesters who were pelting it with debris in Brooklyn.De Blasio said he had not seen a separate video showing an officer pulling down the mask of a black protester to spray something in his face.Among those arrested for unlawful assembly on Saturday night was de Blasio’s 25-year-old daughter, Chiara, according to a New York Police Department source, who said she was issued a “desk appearance ticket” and released.Protests have also flared in Chicago, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Cleveland and Dallas, where rioters were seen on video beating a store owner who chased them with a large machete or sword. Police said on Sunday he was in stable condition.Thousands of people gathered peacefully on Sunday afternoon for a rally in St. Paul as state troopers surrounded the state capitol building. About 170 stores in the city have been looted, its mayor told CNN.While covering the protests in Minneapolis on Saturday night, two members of a Reuters TV crew were hit by rubber bullets and a Reuters photographer’s camera was smashed as attacks against journalists covering the unrest intensified.In response to the protests, Target Corp announced it was temporarily closing 100 stores, about 30 of them in Minnesota.The administration of President Donald Trump, who has called protesters “thugs,” will not federalize and take control of the National Guard for now, national security adviser Robert O’Brien said on Sunday.Trump said on Sunday the U.S. government would designate anti-fascist group Antifa as a terrorist organization. It was not clear how many of the protesters participating in demonstrations are from Antifa.”Get tough Democrat Mayors and Governors,” Trump said on Twitter on Sunday afternoon. “These people are ANARCHISTS. Call in our National Guard NOW.”National Guard soldiers were deployed in Atlanta, Minneapolis and Los Angeles, as well as Santa Monica.Topics : Looting broke out on Sunday in Southern California, a tanker truck drove into marchers in Minneapolis and demonstrators clashed with police in Boston and Washington, D.C. as the United States struggled to contain chaotic protests over race and policing.National Guard troops were deployed in 15 US states and Washington, D.C. as darkness fell in major cities still reeling from five nights of violence and destruction that began with peaceful protests over the death of a black man, George Floyd, in police custody.”I hate to see my city like this but at the end we need justice,” said 18-year-old Jahvon Craven as he stood on an overpass watching protesters below on Interstate 35 in downtown Minneapolis moments before an 8 p.m. curfew went into effect in that city.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Thursday decreed that face masks must be worn in all counties with over 20 coronavirus cases, billing the measure as a requirement to avoid another economic shutdown.Wearing face coverings to slow the spread of the coronavirus is unpopular among Abbott’s conservative Republican base in Texas, but he said in a video released on Thursday that the action was now absolutely necessary.”In the past few weeks, there has been a swift and substantial spike in coronavirus cases,” Abbott said. “We need to refocus on slowing the spread. But this time, we want to do it without closing down Texas again.” Face masks must be used in all public buildings and outside when social distancing of at least six feet (2 meters) cannot be maintained, the governor said. Those violating the order will be given one warning. After that, they can be issued a fine of up to $250. Nobody can be jailed for defying the order, he said.About a third of the 254 counties in Texas have reported fewer than 20 coronavirus cases – making them exempt from the order.The governor also gave local authorities the ability to ban outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people.On Sunday, a far-right anti-mask rally was held on the grounds of the Texas Capitol attended by about 150 people. After avoiding major outbreaks in April and May, Texas has become a coronavirus hotspot. It reported nearly 8,000 new infections on Thursday.The rate of people testing positive for the virus has gone from 4.5% in late May to 14%, Abbott said. Hospitalizations averaged less than 1,700 per day in late May. By Thursday it was about 5,700 daily.”These spikes are not just limited to the big cities,” Abbott said. “Ninety-one counties had record high numbers [of cases] in the past three days.”Abbott’s order marks a major reversal. For over two months, he ignored calls by the Democratic leaders of Texas’ metropolitan areas to mandate mask wearing.He refused to allow leaders in Houston to enforce their own face-covering mandate with penalties, undercutting their ability to slow the spread of the virus. Hospital officials in Houston have said intensive care beds there are now in short supply.Abbott said he is not issuing a stay-at-home order, but is asking people to remain home if at all possible.”We must do more to slow the spread without locking Texas back down,” Abbott said. “We are now at a point where the virus is spreading so fast, there is little margin for error.” Topics :
Returning Commissioners Anne Ard (Centre County)Donna Barbetti (Lackawanna County)Dana Brown (Allegheny County)Jessica Brubaker (York County)Im Ja Choi (Montgomery County)Rep. Madeleine Dean (Montgomery County)Susan Jacobson (Philadelphia County)Denise Johnson (Crawford County)Jazelle Jones (Philadelphia County)Leslie Anne Miller (Delaware County)Nancy Mills (Allegheny County)Deborah Melamut Minkoff (Montgomery County)Tina Nixon (Dauphin County)Lesley Ridge (Erie County)Abaigeal Rooney (Northampton County)Jessica Rothchild (Lackawanna County)Patti Stirk (York County)Rosa Stroh (Dauphin County)Randi Teplitz (Dauphin County)Michelle Zmijanac (Allegheny County)For more information on the Commission for Women, contact email@example.com or 717.831.3224. October 18, 2017 Press Release, Women’s Rights Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced the appointment of 13 dedicated business, civic, and community leaders to serve on the Pennsylvania Commission for Women. The new commissioners, along with 20 returning commissioners, were sworn in by Secretary of State Robert Torres at the Governor’s Residence.“Women today are still facing remarkable challenges in both the workplace and at home, which is why it’s so important to have a strong statewide advocacy arm in the Pennsylvania Commission for Women,” Governor Wolf said. “This Commission has worked tirelessly over the last two years to represent the best interests of Pennsylvania’s women and girls, and with the addition of these 13 new members who are equally as passionate and dedicated, we will work together to ensure women are treated equally in this commonwealth and that their rights are protected.”“Now, more than ever, women need to be active and engaged so that our voices are heard and interests are represented,” said Commission Chair Randi Teplitz. “The Pennsylvania Commission for Women looks forward to continuing to work with Governor Wolf and other policymakers on behalf of the women and girls of Pennsylvania.”The Commission for Women, which was created by Executive Order and consists of volunteer members, is responsible for advising the governor on policies and legislation that impact women; supporting economic and civic opportunities for women; encouraging mentoring programs for girls and young women; identifying programs and opportunities for the benefit and advancement of women; and serving as a resource center for Pennsylvania women. The Commission also acts as an advocate for policies and legislation it feels serves the best interest of women and girls in Pennsylvania.Below is a full list of the individuals that have been appointed as members of the Pennsylvania Commission for Women:New AppointeesRep. Karen Boback (Luzerne County)Rep. Carolyn T. Comitta (Chester County)Andrea Feinberg (Montour County)Kristen Houser (York County)Claire E. Kelling (Centre County)Grace McGregor Kramer (Lackawanna County)BJ Leber (Allegheny County)Sen. Judith Schwank (Berks County)Salima Suswell (Philadelphia County)Tiffany Tavarez (Philadelphia County)Lesley Ward (Dauphin County)Tracey Welson-Rossman (Montgomery County)Erin Willford-Skipworth (York County) Governor Wolf Names 13 New Members to the Pennsylvania Commission for Women SHARE Email Facebook Twitter
The home is listed for offers over $699,000BUILT to perfection, this Northern Beaches home has gone above and beyond all expectations for the Morris family.The sophisticated 760sq m Trinity Beach property has proven practical and magical since it was built in 2008.Owners Sally and Evan Morris have enjoyed watching their daughters Chelsea, 10, and Ebony, 8, grow up in their dream home. “We wanted to build our family home, back then the girls were just babies,” Mrs Morris said.“It was one of the first houses in there … and now it is a full neighbourhood.“We wanted something light, airy and bright that could be completely opened up.“We designed it so the pool was basically in the middle of the house, meaning you can see everything that goes on from the kitchen.“The girls learned to swim in the pool and ride their bikes out the front. They have a cubby house in a special part of the garden – it’s just been an amazing home for them.”The four-bedroom home has mountain views and is across the road from a popular family park.Other notable features include a spacious covered deck, split-system airconditioning, a double lockup garage and Caesarstone kitchen.Dual indoor living areas, as well as the comfortable outdoor deck, make entertaining an absolute breeze.“It is the best place to just sit back, chill and watch the sun set behind the mountains,” said Mrs Morris, a professional photographer.“We’ve had heaps of great Christmases, barbecues and parties.More from newsCairns home ticks popular internet search terms3 days agoTen auction results from ‘active’ weekend in Cairns3 days ago“It feels like a big community here, there are always so many kids playing in the park and on the street.” 5 Catamaran Circuit, Trinity Beach, was built in 2008The home is just a short walk from Trinity Beach while schools and shopping centres are also nearby.Mrs Morris said it was time for a “change of scenery”, but added she would be sad to say goodbye to the property.The median house price at Trinity Beach was $495,000 as of last November, according to the latest figures from Core Logic.The delightful home at Catamaran Circuit is open for inspection today from 11-11.30am.Selling agent Karl Latham of Elite Real Estate said it was an opportunity not to be missed.“Secluded from the road this desired park side residence offers complete privacy while accentuating the beautiful mountain views,” Mr Latham said.“A one-off original design to seamlessly flow from the indoors to outdoors, this bright airy home has all the inclusions for the relaxed coveted lifestyle.“Flooded with natural light this is a meticulous home with no expense spared, positioned in one of the most sought-after streets in Bluewater.”“It has everything on offer for beautiful and stylish living.”
VIDEO: How DO you to talk to kids about sex? US sex-ed critic gives practical tips LifeSiteNews 28 August 2015Talking to their children about sex is “anxiety provoking to say the least,” for parents, says American sex-ed expert, Dr. Miriam Grossman.“Some people just can’t even do it, and that’s okay,” the New York-based psychiatrist told the crowd of 1,000 who packed a Mississauga conference hall August 18 to hear her critique of the Ontario Liberal government’s controversial sex-ed curriculum.After Grossman explained how the Liberal sex-ed curriculum is dangerously flawed and ideologically driven, she used the question-and-answer session to give parents much appreciated and sometimes humorous practical advice on how to teach their children about “the birds and the bees.”“If you feel you can’t do it, maybe there’s someone else in the family or in the constellation of people that you know you can trust that could do it,” said Grossman, author of “You’re teaching my child WHAT?” and an internationally sought-after speaker on sex education.A child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist with 12 years’ clinical experience treating students at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) clinic, Grossman said explaining sexuality and procreation to children is “a process,” that “shouldn’t ideally happen all at once. A child is not a miniature adult, and absorbs…new information differently than adults do.”And parents need to be sure just what their child wants to know.To illustrate this, Grossman referred to her earlier story about a father who gave his son every detail on human procreation after the boy asked him, “Dad, where do I come from?”After the father finished, his son replied, “Well, that’s funny, because Johnny told me that he came from Montreal.”“Try to find out what your child is really getting at, and, don’t give it all at once,” Grossman said. “You start with a little bit at a time…and you know, there’s so many variables here, and people have their own traditions and their own ways of explaining things, and something that might be right for my family might not be right for your family.”She also advised that, when confronted with a four, five, six or seven-year-old asking about a pregnant woman, or where babies come, a parent can ask, “What a good question that is. What do you think?”And parents can also legitimately put off the discussion when appropriate, telling the child, “That’s really not something you need to know about right now.”“Wow, what a novel idea: Telling a child that they could wait until they’re older to discuss that subject,” Grossman said, adding that parents wouldn’t brook a six- or even fifteen-year-old child asking how much money they made or had in the bank. “Excuse me? Not every subject has to be an open book.”However, the time will come when a child needs to know “about how her body’s going to change, about reproduction, about how a new life is created.”That time, Grossman advised, is puberty, or “as puberty is beginning,” and this is especially so for girls, who, if unprepared for the surprise onset of menstruation “might think [they’re] dying.”“The actual nitty-gritty about the birds and the bees and intercourse” can “be told in bits and pieces, or it can be told all at once, if you feel it’s necessary,” she said, adding that it’s beneficial if the parent acknowledges his or her awkwardness, because the child will think: “This must be such an important subject that my mother or my father is sitting there squirming, but he’s doing it anyway. I’m really loved.”“And the children need to understand that as you grow up, you change a lot, not only physically but emotionally,” Grossman said, “and what may seem odd or disgusting when you’re ten years old, or whatever age, it becomes something very special and beautiful when you’re older and you’ll understand it later. You don’t have to understand it now.”Know your child and guard your homeBut as an essential foundation for this discussion, parents must both know their children and guard their home from the encroachments of a culture that Grossman described as “very, very sexualized” and “really horrible.”“Children need parents who are loving but are also firm and authoritative,” she asserted. “They don’t need best friends. They need us to guide them, to know what they’re doing, to be on top of what they’re doing.So parents need to be aware of whom their child is “hanging around with, and what kind of movies are they watching…what’s going on with your child.”“You need to know that anyway, even if it’s not about sex education,” she pointed out. “Try and know your child. Every child is different.”And Grossman emphasized that it is “extremely important to be careful about what your child is exposed to in the home, in terms of television and Internet, obviously.”Children need to understand that “just like you have garbage you take out of the house, you put it in the garbage bin, it’s dirty, it smells…there are other things that also don’t belong in the house.”And children learn quickly what is, and is not, permissible inside the home, Grossman said. “Me, I keep kosher…If I go into a store, my kids know from a very young age, we don’t eat that.”So they are used to the idea of “the world outside and the inside world, of inside your home, and inside your heart as well.”Parents can also convey this by telling their children that “the world is an upside-down place, and sometimes the most special, holy subjects are…just thrown in the gutter. And that’s a bad thing. In our family, in our tradition, we don’t do that.”“Sexuality is one of the subjects that in this upside-down world, it is sometimes just in the gutter,” she said. “And so I want you to tell your child to come to me when you have questions, I will give you the straight story about it.”Grossman herself is “not even sure,” as she stated in her seminar, that sex education should be in the schools: “I believe sex education should be at home for those parents that want to do it.”She also noted that parents “can make mistakes. We all make lots of mistakes but it’s okay, you can always come back and do it differently,” adding that this is “another wonderful message for your child. You know what, it’s okay to make mistakes, you can always go back and try and fix it.”https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/how-do-you-to-talk-to-kids-about-sex-us-sex-ed-critic-gives-practical-tips