For the first time in nine years, there won’t be a White House ceremony in observance of the National Day of Prayer
No White House Ceremony to Be Held on Nat’l Day of Prayer This Thursday, for the first time in nine years, there won’t be a White House ceremony in observance of the National Day of Prayer.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says President Barack Obama will pray privately as he does every day, but his only public acknowledgement will be to issue a White House proclamation. Republican Congressman Randy Forbes, co-chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, says a proclamation urging Americans to pray would be more meaningful if the president set a public example.
Forbes calls it a missed opportunity, but says, “Hopefully we’ll have millions of people around the country that will make up for the void we see at the White House on the National Day of Prayer.”
On the same day as Gibbs’ remarks, the District of Columbia Council gave final approval to legislation that recognizes same-sex “marriages” performed in states where they are legal. Congress has final say over the city’s laws and will get 30 days to review the bill.
If Congress takes no action, the bill would become law automatically.
What follows is the story of the First United Methodist Hillsville Youth Group. Their mission trip to Macon Georgia. The vision of a storefront Youth Ministry Site in order to take the church to the people and the results.
We have been open for about 6 months now and hundreds of people have come through the doors at Out Of The Box. There have been events with 150 people in attendance and Safe Halloween brought several hundred through our doors in one afternoon. Youth are finding a place where they love coming and many adults are getting acquainted with the main church through OOTB.
When you read that question defenses automatically go up. I am not suggesting that you change anything in Scripture. I am not suggesting that you conform to the culture around us to make people comfortable. However, I am suggesting that if we do not change the way we do church that we will lose the generations who are engaged in this culture. The truth is that every generation has gone through this. The issue at hand is this. The times are changing so fast that we cannot fight about it for 20 years as has been done in the past.
Lets work to reach people with the unchanging Gospel in a New Way!.
At Out Of The Box we have been doing the Crazy Love Study by Francis Chan for the past 10 weeks. Tonight is the final episode. This interview with Kirk Cameron is with Francis talking about the book. If you haven’t read it you are missing the book of the year in my opinion.
As most of you already know, my e-mail was hacked on Sunday. There was evidently a worm that went through my online e-mail service at yahoo.com
I am including for you the response that came to me from yahoo help. My only copmplaint in all this is that Yahoo has no live help for problems with their e-mail. Everything has to be done by e-mail correspondence and I really dislike the fact that so many people have gone to that system. However, in today’s world even when you get a live person it is hard to get satisfaction with trouble situations. We really don’t live in a service (servant oriented) world any longer.
The best thing you can do is to back up your address book and anything that is important to you in the computer world so that you have what you need just in case. I did have the information backed up and for that I am thankful. It will take a while to have the time to restore everything. I want to also say that I have held my yahoo address for 10 plus years and this is the first problem I have ever had so I have no intention of switching. Web based e-mail is safer when dealing with viruses and they also follow you wherever you go, changing addresses, jobs or whatever. Yahoo goes with you.
Thank you for writing to Yahoo! Mail.
It appears as though you have received one or more emails containing a
“worm” virus. These types of viruses spread themselves by mass sending
an email with an infected attachment to addresses found in an infected
computers address book, local files, etc. The virus hopes the infected
emails reach unsuspecting recipients and entice them to open the
thus infecting the recipients computer.
If you are concerned that you might have contracted a virus and you have
anti-virus software installed, we recommend that you make sure the
softwares are updated and then scan your computer.
If you do not currently have anti-virus software installed on your
computer, you might want to consider obtaining this type of software.
Please be aware that Yahoo! Mail is a web-based email system and if
you’re checking your email through ‘s website, simply viewing
email messages does not make your computer vulnerable to viruses — even
when attachments are present. This is because your email messages,
address book and other account information are stored on Yahoo!’s
servers rather than on your own computer.
However, should you choose to download an attachment by either opening
it or saving it to your computer, your computer becomes vulnerable to
computer viruses. The same is true of all files you download to your
computer (whether email attachments or not), so it is important that you
are careful when downloading attachments from both known and unknown
Yahoo! urges caution and recommends that you always choose to scan
attachments whenever this option is available. This will greatly reduce
your likelihood of experiencing trouble with computer viruses. If you
are a , please know that Yahoo! Mail has implemented
aggressive anti-virus measures to protect our users from spreading or
contracting these types of viruses. Yahoo! employs virus scanning on
all inbound and outbound attachments to immediately detect viruses and
help prevent them from spreading any further.
If you have updated your anti-virus software, scanned your computer and
found that your system is clean, your computer is most likely not
infected, but rather is receiving a virus that is attempting to spread
itself through email. There is no way to stop the virus from attempting
to spread; however, if you are receiving multiple emails they should
eventually subside. Until these types of messages stop arriving to your
account, you may want to consider utilizing our filter feature to direct
these messages to a folder of your choosing. You can find more
information on how to use this feature at:
If you use another email program, you may want to check to see if your
email program also has a filter feature you can use.
If you are interested in obtaining any information regarding the latest
viruses, please visit the virus encyclopedia at:
Thank you again for contacting Yahoo! Mail.
For assistance with allplease visit:
Moms are special people. I look at Samuel and how much he loves Misty and how they are bonded with a special bond and I also think of my mother. Mom is one of my best friends and no one could ever replace her. Do something special this Sunday in honor or memory of your mother.
The Founding of Mother’s Day
On May 1, 1864, in the little village of Webster, four miles south of Grafton, West Virginia, Granville and Ann Jarvis welcomed their daughter, Anna Jarvis, into the world. The Grafton area was an important railroad center during the Civil War and Mrs. Jarvis’ birthplace had served as a temporary headquarters for Gen. McClellan in 1861.
During the war years, Ann Jarvis worked very hard to provide nursing care and promote better sanitation, which helped save thousands of lives on both sides of the conflict. After the war, she continued her work to help heal the wounds of the war years and bring families and communities together again. Young Anna received her basic education in the public schools of Grafton and attended Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia.
In 1902, after the death of Granville Jarvis, the family moved to Philadelphia. It was there that Ann Jarvis passed away on May 9, 1905. Two years later, in 1907, on the second Sunday in May, Anna invited several friends to her home in Philadelphia, in commemoration of her mother’s life. On this occasion, she announced her idea – a day of national celebration in honor of mothers – a Mother’s Day.
The following spring, Anna wrote to the Superintendent of Andrews Methodist Church Sunday School in Grafton, suggesting that the church in which her mother had taught classes for twenty years, celebrate a Mother’s Day in her honor. The idea appealed to Mr. Loar and on May 10, 1908, the first official Mother’s Day service was held in the church. Anna established the white carnation as the symbol of the celebration and developed other text and visual tools in honor of the event. It was Anna who coined the term, “Mother’s Day Association”, used during the period she was developing her concept of what Mother’s Day should be. Subsequently, West Virginia Gov. William E. Glasscock issued the first Mother’s Day proclamation on April 26, 1910. In 1912, at the General methodist Conference in Minneapolis, MN, Anna was recognized as the founder of Mother’s Day. A joint resolution in the United States Congress designated the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. The official resolution was approved by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914.
Since 1908, a celebration for mothers has taken place at the Andrews Methodist Church, now known as the International Mother’s Day Shrine, in the town of Grafton, West Virginia. This historic building has been designated a national historic Landmark.
Authorities say Galax is a regional hub in a methamphetamine pipeline that starts south of the border. They blame Mexican cartels for bringing the highly addictive drug into the region.
Photos by JARED SOARES The Roanoke Times
Megan Brown gets her daughter, Destiny, ready for a doctor’s appointment. Brown, who started using meth in Galax at age 15, is clean now and says her life is full without the drug. “Once you figure out what it’s doing to your body and have had enough, it’s easy to quit,” she said.
Galax police Officer J.K. Poole speaks with children in a predominately Hispanic neighborhood late last month. In an effort to build relations with the city’s growing Hispanic community, officers are encouraged to hand out stickers and talk to children. Poole will take a Spanish class in June.
JARED SOARES The Roanoke Times
Galax police Officer J.K. Poole questions a driver during a traffic stop late last month. A search of the car yielded a few marijuana seeds and paraphernalia. Galax police are seeking federal money to help them fight an ongoing battle with drugs, especially methamphetamine.
GALAX — Sure, Galax has a methamphetamine problem, Megan Brown said as she stood on her porch a few minutes’ drive from the city’s busy downtown.
“I don’t know hardly anyone who hasn’t used it,” she said.
Galax is more widely known for its furniture factory, the Christmas tree farms that dot surrounding counties, and the annual fiddlers convention that draws thousands of people from around the world.
But local law enforcement officials are trying to draw more federal attention to ongoing troubles with meth and the Mexican drug cartels blamed for running the drug into the region. Investigators call Galax a regional hub in a drug pipeline extending back to Greensboro, N.C., Atlanta and the Texas-Mexico border
Last month, the city joined neighboring Grayson County in a bid for about $300,000 in federal stimulus money to use in drug-fighting efforts. That followed talks about gaining federal designation as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, a step that would unlock more government aid.
“I think we’re in a methamphetamine epidemic here,” Galax police Chief R.C. Clark said. “This is a distribution point. There is cultural support. There are other people who speak Spanish.”
Clark and others say the situation in Galax is similar to that seen in the Shenandoah Valley, where he said meth is brought to the region by Latinos, and often distributed and used by non-Latinos.
Brown, 22, said her own experiences during two long periods of meth use — now behind her — indicated that use and distribution of the drug were far from confined to the city’s Hispanic population. Her own suppliers and, from what she could tell, their suppliers, had not been Latino.
Now many of her neighbors are Hispanic. Looking at their trailers, quiet in the middle of the day, she said they seemed to spend most of their time at work.
“To be honest,” Brown said, “I see more white people dealing with it than Mexicans.”
‘A great place to hide’
The growth of the Latino population in Galax — long the highest concentration of Latino residents in Southwest Virginia and presently estimated at 15.4 percent — is an old story. Among law enforcement officials, so is the presence of Mexican cartels here.
The U.S. Justice Department lists Galax as one of three Virginia localities with a known cartel presence, along with Richmond and Arlington.
Tim Carden, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s resident agent in charge in the Western District of Virginia, said federal agents have worked with a regional drug task force since 2003 on an investigation of cartel-linked drug distribution in and around Galax. It’s the type of enforcement that local officials want to see ramped up — so far in that case, 69 people have been arrested, most on charges tied to meth distribution, Carden said.
The most recent arrestees were Gustavo Arroyo and Oscar Vasquez, who were arraigned last month in federal court in Roanoke on meth distribution charges. Neither man has been tried on the charges.
Both are Mexican nationals who are in the United States illegally, federal authorities said.
“Cartels tend to swim in the ocean of illegal aliens,” said George Grayson, a professor of government at the College of William and Mary who has written extensively about U.S.-Mexico relations.
He did not find it surprising that Galax and other small towns across the country with high concentrations of Hispanic residents would become beachheads in the cartels’ push to expand their trafficking northward.
“Often the cartels will use smaller towns … as an area of operations because typically the law enforcement agencies don’t have the resources to deal with the underworld characters,” Grayson said.
The common wisdom is that nationwide controls on pseudoephedrine and other ingredients used to make meth put an end to most of the homemade labs that were common in the United States earlier in the decade. This left an open market for the cartels, who already had made inroads in cocaine and heroin dealing in the United States, Grayson said. The cartels had the resources to set up large meth-production facilities in Mexico, and expanded their networks to carry the drugs north.
Violence may accompany that move. Last year, two Mexican men were found shot to death along a logging road in Grayson County. Both were illegal immigrants, authorities said, and their deaths are thought to have been connected to drug dealing. The man suspected of shooting the two also is Mexican, and is thought to have returned to that country, Grayson County Sheriff Richard Vaughan said.
Drug-related violence in Mexico has received a wave of media attention this year. But like many small U.S. towns in similar situations, Galax has little of that, Clark said.
“It’s not a war zone, and I think that’s part of the attraction,” Clark said. “It’s a great place to hide.”
‘It’ll mess with your brain’
Brown said the lure of meth is easy to explain: “It makes you feel like you’re invincible and can do about anything.”
The lifelong Galax resident’s involvement with meth began at age 15 when she started dating a 20-year-old man who used it, she said. Six or seven times per day, for two or three days straight, they’d smoke the drug off folded aluminum foil, holding a straw in their mouths to gather the smoke. Or they’d use the glass pipes sold in convenience stores. Then they’d crash for a couple of days and start again.
“When you come down, you get really irritated and angry,” Brown said, adding that she also suffered a lot of physical abuse from her boyfriend during those years.
Her habit cost about $50 per day, Brown said. She was able to keep a job in a fast-food restaurant, and collected cans and sometimes pawned possessions to make ends meet.
Meth was simple to find in the city, and for two years her life revolved around it, Brown said. She never got into selling the drug, Brown said, and avoided legal troubles.
Then her grandmother sent her to the Tekoa facility for troubled youth in Floyd County, where she stayed for a year and cleaned up.
That lasted until Brown returned to Galax and began dating another man who used meth. She started using again. But this time, after several months of use, she stopped by herself.
“Once you figure what it’s doing to your body and have had enough, it’s easy to quit,” she said of meth.
Now caring for her 10-month-old daughter, Destiny, expecting another child and engaged to be married, Brown said her life is full without the drug. Meth rotted her back teeth down to the gum, she said, and left her more prone to anger and less in control of her emotions.
“It’ll mess with your brain,” Brown said.
But she counts herself more fortunate than other users she’s known.
“Some people can’t come back. It drives them crazy,” she said.
‘This is heaven’
On a recent sunny afternoon, Galax’s downtown sidewalks were busy. On the U.S. 221 strip, heavy traffic moved in and out of the strip malls. The world of drug sales and addiction seemed far away.
At an apartment complex behind one of the shopping centers, residents took in the spring air and wondered what the big deal was.
Whatever drug dealing there is in Galax, “it’s a job problem,” said J.S. Sawyers, prompting agreement from the group around him. Galax’s unemployment rate tops 10 percent, nearly double what it was a year ago. The rate is higher still in adjacent Grayson and Carroll counties.
“Only way to make a living is selling dope,” said Lauren Mayer, prompting laughter.
But they said meth was nothing they or their friends were going to mess with.
Tyree Hill, making an extended visit from Maryland, said that his impression was that Galax had scant problems with drug dealing.
“Compared to Baltimore, this is nothing. This is heaven,” Hill said.
Down the road at a largely Hispanic trailer park, Angel Akers and his sisters Erika and Claudia Carranza said police may be ready to point at Hispanics for problems.
They said they had experienced the friction that accompanied the rapid increase of the city’s Hispanic population, which during the 1990s increased as a percentage of the total population at the highest rate of any locality in Virginia.
With a Mexican father who returned to Mexico in the mid-1990s and a non-Latino, American mother, they grew up between cultures, said Akers, 26. They said that they endured taunts from Hispanic residents because they were not fluent in Spanish, and from non-Latino classmates because of their Hispanic features and names.
That faded as they grew up and identified more completely with the Hispanic side of the city’s population.
But Claudia Carranza, 24, said Hispanic residents may still face different treatment from police. She recounted how she was pulled aside at a recent police roadblock and an officer peered into the wheel wells of her car and looked underneath it — a search for drugs, she suspected, prompted by her last name. The incident ended when the officer told her he was checking her car’s equipment and waved her on, but it left a sour memory, she said.
“We’ve lived here. We were born here. … As far as looking for trouble, we mostly stay to ourselves,” she said.
Farther down the row of trailers, 13-year-old Bianca Reyna, who was born in Mexico and came to the United States as an infant, said her experiences in Galax schools were wonderful.
A few students teased Latino classmates with nonsense phrases of mock Spanish, she said. But for the most part, “we all are friends,” Reyna said.
‘To the point where it’s not noticeable’
Clark is quick to acknowledge the challenges his department faces in policing Hispanic Galax.
“I still desperately need someone who speaks the language and is also adept in the culture of diversity,” Clark said.
Right now, Galax has no officers fluent in Spanish and cannot hire any because larger departments are willing to offer much higher pay, Clark said. Some officers are taking language lessons.
Similarly, a lack of resources keeps the department from tackling immigration issues directly, he said.
The stimulus money that the department is seeking may help with this but will be put toward battling other drugs as well as meth, Clark and Vaughan said.
Clark had hoped to pursue the designation of Galax as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, which would allow access to additional funding. That effort has been set aside after he learned the process to achieve such a designation could take years. Success is far from likely because so many areas have already been designated across the country.
Last month, Clark met with Carden and U.S. Attorney Julia Dudley. They emerged in agreement that the federal officials would seek more cooperative efforts with counterparts in the parts of North Carolina that are the next stage up the drug pipeline, Carden said.
Stepping up enforcement probably won’t erase meth completely, but maybe it will “make meth trafficking in Galax have less effect on the community … curtail it to the point where it’s not noticeable either to the community or law enforcement,” Carden said.
“It won’t go away, but reduce it to the point where it’s not noticeable.”
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