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Superintendent Robinson Speaks To Congress On Gun Violence

By Eliza Hallabeck

Superintendent of Schools Janet Robinson spoke at a House of Representatives hearing on gun violence in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, January 16. 
The hearing, called “Gun Violence Prevention: A Call to Action,” was conducted by the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. Dr Robinson was one speaker on a panel for the hearing.
Dr Robinson began her speech by recounting the events of that “beautiful December morning,” and ended by asking for help to give the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School a better future.
On the morning of December 14, Dr Robinson said, nearly 500 elementary students filed into Sandy Hook School with the expectation that good things would be happening.
“In the first three classrooms in the front hallway, the little first graders’ coats were hung up, and the morning routines began with their circle time on the rug with their teacher,” Dr Robinson said. “There they discussed the calendar, the activities of the day along with an activity for Responsive Classroom.”
Dr Robinson went on to explain it was a typical routine for a school that “exudes caring, happiness, nurturing, from the moment you walk through the doors.”
“Sandy Hook Elementary School seemed like the safest place on earth,” said the superintendent, “in this quiet little suburban community. This school has been known for the superb education that students receive for over 50 years, and has been acknowledged as a Vanguard School.”
The school, Dr Robinson said, is an important piece of the fabric of the Newtown community.
Then Adam Lanza carried two guns, one an assault rifle, into the school after bypassing the school’s buzz-in security system at the school’s entrance by shooting his way in.
Dr Robinson detailed Mr Lanza’s steps that morning. First, he went into the school’s main office, where one secretary flew under a desk with a phone.
“Fortunately, he didn’t check [under the desk],” Dr Robinson said. “Then he went back out into the hall where he was confronted by the principal, Dawn Hochsprung, the lead teacher, Natalie Hammond, and the school psychologist, Mary Sherlach, who emerged from a meeting in a conference room. I can just picture Dawn’s indignation that someone would dare enter her school and put her babies at risk. It would be so like her to be the protective mother hen, and never think of her own safety. But only, of course, of making him stop right then and there.”
The bodies of Ms Hochsprung and Ms Sherlach were found there in that hallway, Dr Robinson recounted, where they had charged the shooter. Ms Hammond survived with serious injuries.
After that, Mr Lanza bypassed a first grade classroom and made his way to the second first grade classroom in the school, where he began shooting, Dr Robinson said, “killing the school’s permanent substitute teacher, Lauren Rousseau, and all but one child, who was clever enough to play dead and didn’t even whimper.”
By the time Mr Lanza made his way into Victoria Soto’s first grade classroom, Dr Robinson said the teacher had crammed as many children as possible in a bathroom and was trying to find hiding places for the others.
“Vicki Soto, who was so excited to finally reach her dream to be a teacher, threw herself in front of her students,” Dr Robinson explained, showing “such incredible bravery from such a young first grade teacher.”
Anne Marie Murphy, an educational assistant, also threw herself in front of her young charge, Dr Robinson said, and Rachel Davino, a behavior therapist at the school, did the same.
“None of these brave women were trained in combat,” said Dr Robinson. “They were elementary school educators dedicated to educating their young children. So their first response when confronted with this terror was to protect their children.”
The first responders, Dr Robinson continued, arrived within three minutes of the incident being reported to the town's dispatch center
“They saved innumerable lives as the shooter carried enough ammunition to have continued throughout the entire school,” said Dr Robinson.
Dr Robinson said the 20 beautiful children lost that day were no match for a troubled person with an AR-15.
“We are all forever changed,” Dr Robinson said later, after explaining the loss each death represents and before questioning the long-term needs of the surviving students.
Dr Robinson questioned how to let children freely be children and how to protect children without creating fortresses.
As her final message to the committee, Dr Robinson shared a letter from a fourth grade Newtown student she identified only as Ava S.
Part of the letter, as read by Dr Robinson, said, “What everyone in Newtown wants is for you to ban semiautomatic weapons and large capacity magazines, and to make everyone use guns safely. This is important so that a person cannot shoot many people at once, and or injure people badly. Semiautomatic weapons and large capacity magazines end lives and put lives at risk. This ban will help individuals, families, and communities from suffering the way we are now in Newtown.”

John Boehner Suggests Wait-and-See Approach to Obama's Gun Control Wish List

Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner, R.-Ohio, returns to his office after a vote on the House floor Jan. 15, 2013, on Capitol Hill
Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner, R.-Ohio, returns to his office after a vote on the House floor Jan. 15, 2013, on Capitol Hill Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Now that President Obama has unveiled his package of gun control proposals, the scene shifts to Capitol Hill, where the administration will have to convince enough lawmakers in both chambers to take action. The biggest and most obvious hurdle is in the House, where Republicans have a clear majority and have shown little desire to work with the president.

House Speaker John Boehner didn't immediately attack the president over his gun control proposals, which in the current political climate is noteworthy. Still, his spokesman made it pretty clear that the speaker and his fellow Republicans are in no hurry to take up the issue anytime soon.

"House committees of jurisdiction will review these recommendations," spokesman Michael Steel said in a statement to reporters. "And if the Senate passes a bill, we will also take a look at that."





House Republican retreat gives GOP a chance at a fresh start


By | The Ticket – Thu, Jan 17, 2013
 
 
There is much to discuss at this year's winter retreat for House Republicans in Williamsburg, Va., and members are encouraged to speak freely in their quest for party unity after a lame duck session that was plagued by a series of grueling legislative battles.

Republican lawmakers are spending the three days before the inauguration of a president they fought hard to defeat at a charming golf resort about three hours south of the nation's capital, holding a private strategy and motivational summit. The meeting offers these tired soldiers emotional and physical respite after a finish to the last congressional session that dragged into the New Year's holiday as lawmakers raced to find a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.
That battle is behind them, but memories still linger over how President Barack Obama succeeded in raising taxes, an exercise Republicans vowed never to take part in. Many of them played along anyway to avoid an even more severe tax increase, but the result left part of the caucus fractured after conservatives urged their colleagues to hold their ground.
In revenge, a handful of rogue conservatives attempted a coup of House Speaker John Boehner. Their efforts fell flat, and the public act of defiance did not bode well for unity.
Then, faced with immense public pressure to provide federal relief (aka billions of taxpayer dollars) to regions hit hardest by Superstorm Sandy, members battled among themselves over whether to offer the money without first matching the emergency spending with cuts elsewhere. Those calling for a clean bill without the offsets triumphed, leaving the hardline conservatives 0 for 2.
But the fiscal cliff and arguments over Sandy were merely a preview of things to come. Looming ominously in the future are a series of fresh fights with Democrats, and it will take a united Republican front to hold them off. Looking ahead, the president has vowed to aggressively pursue gun control and immigration reform, emotional issues on which even Democrats don't universally agree. Congress also will soon be asked to approve an increase in the debt ceiling so the federal government can meet its spending obligations.
In a race for message control, it's not a fair fight in the least. The president will have the benefit of a streamlined message machine and a bully pulpit; the House has hundreds of separate members, each angling for TV time. While the Republicans need not agree on every detail, they do need to know where the party is headed and how the differing coalitions within the caucus plan to tackle the battles ahead. This week's conference will be a good first step.
Aided by motivational speakers and seasoned advisers, there may be moments—safely guarded in a private resort swarming with armed security—of healing, and perhaps even reconciliation. The healing could be preceded by internal fights, but hopefully for Republicans, they will be the constructive kind where you hug it out afterward. The retreat will give Boehner the opportunity he needs to take the temperature of his caucus, and give his members the time they need to make themselves heard.
Ryan Returns to Spotlight at House Republican Retreat
By ASHLEY PARKER
Published: January 18, 2013

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — When House Republicans arrived from the nation’s capital in the colonial capital this week, they were greeted by a brigade in traditional garb. Men in tri-cornered hats twittered away (on the fife), and three founding fathers — Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and George Washington — stopped by to give speeches.

Over two and a half days that ended Friday, Republicans holed up at the stately Kingsmill Resort for their annual retreat tried to game out the year. The resort bills itself as a “golf, spa and luxury hotel,” but few of the members had much time for pleasure; as the majority in the House staring down a Democratic-led Senate and Democratic White House, there was work to be done. Even Speaker John A. Boehner, an obsessive golfer, was unable to slip away for a round. (The chilly damp weather, with a light dusting of snow Thursday evening, didn’t help).

Though the news media were not allowed to attend the official retreat, and were sequestered in a restaurant clubhouse on the property (more on that later), here’s a look at what went on:

And He’s Back

When Representative Paul D. Ryan’s vice-presidential bid ended in November, he returned to Congress but receded into the background, giving few interviews and, save for a high-profile vote in favor of the “fiscal cliff” deal, keeping his head down. But for those wondering about Mr. Ryan’s next act, the answer came into relief Thursday, when he addressed journalists as something of the official spokesman for his conference.

“We think the worst thing for the economy, for this Congress and this administration would be to do nothing to get our debt and deficits under control,” Mr. Ryan said. “We know we have a debt crisis coming. This is not an ‘if’ question, it’s a ‘when’ question.”

There had been some suggestion that Mr. Ryan might be considering a presidential bid in 2016 and despite his perch as Budget Committee chairman, was going to pull a rope-a-dope, allowing the House leadership to shoulder the responsibility on coming fiscal fights. But he took a front-and-center role at the retreat, both in public and behind the scenes.

Mr. Ryan was one of only two legislators officially trotted out before the gathered reporters to speak on the record, and he was the one who gave his fellow members a dose of bitter medicine, warning, “We also have to recognize the realities of the divided government that we have.”

He was also the first to publicly mention that his conference was open to the idea of a short-term extension of the debt limit, which ultimately became the biggest news out of the retreat.

If Williamsburg marked the premiere of the 113th Congressional House Republicans, Mr. Ryan apparently intends to take a starring role.

Debt Limit, Debt Limit

The Republican retreat is meant to be an opportunity for members to discuss the coming year. But the most important strategic decision, it seemed, involved only the first 90 days.

So what does the first quarter of 2013 hold? A possible short-term extension of the debt ceiling, which emerged as a proposal on which nearly the entire conference was able to come to rare consensus. But other than the fiscal wrangling to come, Republicans still trying to get their bearings after the November elections did not seem to delve too deeply into the other big issues they are certain to confront.

When Representative John C. Fleming of Louisiana wandered over to the clubhouse to chat with reporters Thursday afternoon, he said that gun control and immigration — two of three major issues on the White House’s plate — had not even come up.

Another participant later clarified that gun control had been discussed, albeit briefly. The verdict: “In terms of legislation, the Senate will almost certainly act first,” the official said.
 

 Full Cry

Though House Republicans have struggled to marshal the majority of their majority on two big-ticket votes, the bare 218 required to pass legislation is no longer sufficient to satisfy Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the majority whip.

He wants the “full cry.”

The term “whip,” Mr. McCarthy explained, derives from a fox hunting expression. A “full cry,” he added, is the call made when the dog catches the scent of the fox.

When a “full cry” comes, all of the other dogs — in the case of this metaphor, presumably, the House Republicans — fall into line, pursuing the prey with unified vigor. And this “full cry” is exactly what Mr. McCarthy hopes for from his whip team and conference.

On the first night of the retreat, he even presented members of his whip team with sleek new black jackets — with the “full cry” slogan emblazoned on the sleeve in white letters.

To the Stocks

While the House Republicans were treated to colonial festivities (and breakout session after breakout session), the news media were banished to the stocks, confined to a single room in the clubhouse. When several reporters tried to go to an adjoining room to sit by the fire, they were promptly scolded and told they could leave only to eat or use the bathroom. Meanwhile, a lectern — with five American flags — had been set up for the possibility of televised news conferences, but on Friday morning, the official word came: There would be no briefings, the House leadership would not be holding a news conference after all. At that point, the assembled reporters began beating a retreat of their own — back to the nation’s capital for the presidential inauguration.

Hostages, Militants Reported Dead After Assault Ends Standoff

The four-day standoff in the Algerian desert came to a bloody end Saturday morning when Algerian forces stormed the gas plant where Islamist militants were holding foreign hostages.
Seven hostages were killed in the assault, as were 11 militants, Algeria's state media reported. In total, 32 militants and 23 other people died in the conflict, the Algerian interior ministry said in a statement.
British, U.S. and French governments have responded with reserved support for Algeria's response to the crisis, despite initial criticism that Algeria turned down offers of support and advice from other nations.

Our Original Post:

Algerian special forces stormed a gas installation where militants were holding several hostages on Saturday, according to Algeria's state media. The reports, which could not be verified by NPR, say 11 militants and seven hostages were killed during what is being described as a final assault to end the four-day standoff.
The Algerian Press Service quotes a "security source" saying the hostages were killed by the militants, but it did not give the nationalities of the dead. As throughout this crisis, there is still much unknown about what's been happening on the ground there. The AP is reporting:
"There was no official count of how many hostages were still being held by the final group of militants holed up in the gas refinery on Saturday, but the militants themselves had reported they were still holding three Belgian, two Americans, a Japanese and a Briton."
Whether those were the seven hostages killed is unclear. There are reports of hostages freed, too. Al Jazeera says a "source close to the crisis" said 16 foreign hostages, including two Americans, two Germans and one Portuguese were freed.
One American worker has been confirmed dead, as we reported on Friday; the U.S. State Department identified the man as Frederick Buttaccio from Texas, but didn't give further details.
This crisis began on Wednesday, when Islamist militants seized dozens of hostages, including foreigners, at the In Amenas gas field near the country's border with Libya. Hundreds of workers reportedly escaped when Algeria's military moved on the installation Thursday, but several hostages and many of their captors were also allegedly killed in the operation.
Algeria has handled the situation as an internal affair, turning down advice and offers of support from other countries, including the U.S. The Algerian government continues to keep tight control over the information being released, making details of the story nearly impossible to verify.
British Defense Minister Philip Hammond (left) and U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta hold a joint press conference on the Algerian hostage crisis Saturday in London. 
British Defense Minister Philip Hammond (left) and U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta hold a joint press conference on the Algerian hostage crisis Saturday in London.
Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images
Yet, as NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports, a picture of what happened on Wednesday is being pieced together from hostages who did escape the facility:
"[An] Algerian engineer interviewed on French radio says the militants struck at 5 a.m. Wednesday during a shift change and plunged the facility into darkness. He describes shooting and explosions and says the Islamists roared through the camp's living quarters, rounding up Westerners."
Update at 11:10 a.m. ET: Defense Secretary Panetta: 'We Know That Lives Have Been Lost'

Much about the situation remains "sketchy," U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said at a joint news conference with his British counterpart in London on Saturday. "We know that lives have been lost," he said.
British Defense Minister Philip Hammond called the loss of life appalling and unacceptable. The AP reports the two defense chiefs "blamed the militants who seized the natural gas complex in the Sahara and not Algeria's government for its rescue operation."
"It is the terrorists that bear the sole responsibility," Hammond said.

Update at 2:41 p.m. ET: The 'Final' Death Toll

After Saturday's assault, the hostage crisis is now widely reported to be over. The Algerian interior ministry says 32 militants and 23 other people died in the conflict, adding that 685 Algerians and 107 foreigners were freed.
After speaking with Algeria's Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal by phone, British Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed that the standoff had ended, the BBC reports.
The BBC also notes that five Brits and five Norwegians are still unaccounted for, and the AFP quotes Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as saying "he had received 'severe information' about 10 of his country's nationals who were still unaccounted for."
Algerian forces are now sweeping the gas plant and surrounding area for mines laid by the militants, state media says.

Update at 4:24 p.m. ET: Reserved Support From Western Countries

Leaders from France, Britain and the U.S. expressed some support for Algeria's handling of the situation on Saturday. As the AFP reports:
"The response by Algiers was 'the most appropriate' given it was dealing with 'coldly determined terrorists ready to kill their hostages,' said [French President Francois] Hollande.
"[U.S. Defense Secretary Leon] Panetta added: 'They are in the region, they understand the threat from terrorism. ... I think it's important that we continue to work with [Algiers] to develop a regional approach.' "
Initially, nations had expressed quiet frustration when Algeria turned down their offers of assistance in the crisis. Algeria fiercely defends its sovereignty, however, and its aggressive response is no surprise to those familiar with the nation's history.
As The Guardian's Ian Black recounts, Algeria sunk into years of brutal violence after the army canceled parliamentary elections in 1991. Those were the years that gave rise to militant groups that are still active today. One of those groups, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb led by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, is allegedly behind this week's assault.

Update at 5:52 p.m. ET: White House Condemns Attack:

In a statement, President Obama said the U.S. had been in constant contact with Algerian officials during the crisis and that the White House would stay in touch with the Algerian government to understand exactly what took place "so that we can work together to prevent tragedies like this in the future." He said the attack is "another reminder of the threat posed by al Qaeda and other violent extremist groups in North Africa."

Republicans Retreat To Reassess and Figure Out How to Talk to Negroes and People With Lady Parts

by Abby Zimet



Republican lawmakers have gathered in Williamsburg, Virginia to consider their political past (not so rosy) and future (probably ditto), discuss topics from the debt ceiling and gun control to how to game the electoral college, and attend seminars titled "What Happened and Where Are We Now?" (good question!), "How Is America Changing?" and "Successful Communication with Minorities and Women" - the last held in the Burwell Plantation Room, so named for a fine old slave-owning family, and located in the tony Kingsmill Resort, site of another fine old slave plantation. Presumably, breakout sesssions will include do's and dont's on nappy hair and how to distinguish from illegitimate, oh-really-it's-nothing rape and actual, maybe-this-is-not-so-okay rape-rape, which the three white men and two women on the panel can hopefully figure out.

President, Vice President Participate in National Day of Service

Washington, DC
Saturday, January 19, 2013
President Obama, Vice President Biden and their families participate in a national day of service on Saturday. Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton led a rally on the National Mall for Service day.
The National Mall event also features service projects hosted by organizations from across the country, opportunities to get involved right away, and special programming throughout the day.
The President and First Lady traveled to a school in DC to participate in a service day event and speak to the volunteers there. Vice President Joe Biden and his family helped pack care packages for soldiers and first responders.
Chelsea Clinton is the national chair of the national day of service, which includes events in all 50 states. President Obama also held a national day of service on the Saturday before his first inauguration.
Updated: 31 min. ago




National Day of Service

Be part of the National Day of Service

President Obama believes that service should be a lifelong commitment—whether it's at the school, community, city, state, or national level. That's why the first family serves on a regular basis, and it's why they're continuing the tradition they started four years ago with a National Day of Service on January 19th, 2013. To honor the life and legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the first family is asking Americans to find an event and serve with others in their community.

Host an Event

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Events within 45 miles of Akron, PA

 26 events

    10.0 miles

    AmpleHarvest.org - Ending Hunger and Food Waste in Your Community

    Jan 19, 2013 Shifts begin at 8:00 AM , 12:00 PM (2 shifts)
    Your community. Simply visit this link to get started: http://www.AmpleHarvest.org/NDS (LANCASTER, PA)
     Enable Local Growers to Donate Excess Garden Produce to A Nearby Food Pantry.Two Problems:  -1- Food Pantries* Nationwide Desperately Need Fresh Food-2 - Excess Garden Produce Discarded into Landfills Is Bad For The EnvironmentOne Solution:AmpleHarvest.org Enables Millions of Growers
    20.0 miles

    AmpleHarvest.org - Ending Hunger and Food Waste in Your Community

    Jan 19, 2013 Shifts begin at 8:00 AM , 12:00 PM (2 shifts)
    Your community. Simply visit this link to get started: http://www.AmpleHarvest.org/NDS (MANHEIM, PA)
     Enable Local Growers to Donate Excess Garden Produce to A Nearby Food Pantry.Two Problems:  -1- Food Pantries* Nationwide Desperately Need Fresh Food-2 - Excess Garden Produce Discarded into Landfills Is Bad For The EnvironmentOne Solution:AmpleHarvest.org Enables Millions of Growers
    20.0 miles

    Share a Cup of Faith through Music

    Jan 20, 2013 12:00 PM EST
    CORNER OF 4th and Penn St (Reading, PA)
    Join the Divine Revelation Gospel Choir as we sing to warm hearts of those that may not have shelter or are wandering aimlessly through out inner city of Reading.  In additional to singing old favorite hymns, gospel songs and praise and worship selections we will give out warm cups of cocoa and
    20.0 miles

    AmpleHarvest.org - Ending Hunger and Food Waste in Your Community

    Jan 19, 2013 Shifts begin at 8:00 AM , 12:00 PM (2 shifts)
    Your community. Simply visit this link to get started: http://www.AmpleHarvest.org/NDS (READING, PA)
     Enable Local Growers to Donate Excess Garden Produce to A Nearby Food Pantry.Two Problems:  -1- Food Pantries* Nationwide Desperately Need Fresh Food-2 - Excess Garden Produce Discarded into Landfills Is Bad For The EnvironmentOne Solution:AmpleHarvest.org Enables Millions of Growers
     20.0 miles

    Cleaning Up Our City with the Reading Beautification Project

    Jan 19, 2013 9:00 AM EST
    Cedar Street Park (Reading, PA)
    Do you love our city of Reading? Can you spare a few hours to help keep it beautiful? Then join your neighbors as we help clean up the city of Reading for the National Day of Service to make sure it stays a clean and safe place that we can all enjoy and take pride in! Hundreds of volunteers are comi
    30.0 miles

    AmpleHarvest.org - Ending Hunger and Food Waste in Your Community

    Jan 19, 2013 Shifts begin at 8:00 AM , 12:00 PM (2 shifts)
    Your community. Simply visit this link to get started: http://www.AmpleHarvest.org/NDS (POMEROY, PA)
     Enable Local Growers to Donate Excess Garden Produce to A Nearby Food Pantry.Two Problems:  -1- Food Pantries* Nationwide Desperately Need Fresh Food-2 - Excess Garden Produce Discarded into Landfills Is Bad For The EnvironmentOne Solution:AmpleHarvest.org Enables Millions of Growers
    30.0 miles

    AmpleHarvest.org - Ending Hunger and Food Waste in Your Community

    Jan 19, 2013 Shifts begin at 8:00 AM , 12:00 PM (2 shifts)
    Your community. Simply visit this link to get started: http://www.AmpleHarvest.org/NDS (BIRDSBORO, PA)
     Enable Local Growers to Donate Excess Garden Produce to A Nearby Food Pantry.Two Problems:  -1- Food Pantries* Nationwide Desperately Need Fresh Food-2 - Excess Garden Produce Discarded into Landfills Is Bad For The EnvironmentOne Solution:AmpleHarvest.org Enables Millions of Growers
    30.0 miles

    AmpleHarvest.org - Ending Hunger and Food Waste in Your Community

    Jan 19, 2013 Shifts begin at 8:00 AM , 12:00 PM (2 shifts)
    Your community. Simply visit this link to get started: http://www.AmpleHarvest.org/NDS (THORNDALE, PA)
     Enable Local Growers to Donate Excess Garden Produce to A Nearby Food Pantry.Two Problems:  -1- Food Pantries* Nationwide Desperately Need Fresh Food-2 - Excess Garden Produce Discarded into Landfills Is Bad For The EnvironmentOne Solution:AmpleHarvest.org Enables Millions of Growers
    30.0 miles

    AmpleHarvest.org - Ending Hunger and Food Waste in Your Community

    Jan 19, 2013 Shifts begin at 8:00 AM , 12:00 PM (2 shifts)
    Your community. Simply visit this link to get started: http://www.AmpleHarvest.org/NDS (YORK HAVEN, PA)
     Enable Local Growers to Donate Excess Garden Produce to A Nearby Food Pantry.Two Problems:  -1- Food Pantries* Nationwide Desperately Need Fresh Food-2 - Excess Garden Produce Discarded into Landfills Is Bad For The EnvironmentOne Solution:AmpleHarvest.org Enables Millions of Growers
     30.0 miles

    Help Complete York County's Martin Luther King, Jr. Mural with the United Way of York County

    Jan 19, 2013 10:00 AM EST
    United Way (York, PA)
    Join your neighbors  for the National Day of Service! For our project we are asking artists to create works of art that incorporate Dr. Kings dream along with what community and Live United mean to them. We simply need help with completing a mural. There will also be a few blank
    50.0 miles

    AmpleHarvest.org - Ending Hunger and Food Waste in Your Community

    Jan 19, 2013 Shifts begin at 8:00 AM , 12:00 PM (2 shifts)
    Your community. Simply visit this link to get started: http://www.AmpleHarvest.org/NDS (KIMBERTON, PA)
     Enable Local Growers to Donate Excess Garden Produce to A Nearby Food Pantry.Two Problems:  -1- Food Pantries* Nationwide Desperately Need Fresh Food-2 - Excess Garden Produce Discarded into Landfills Is Bad For The EnvironmentOne Solution:AmpleHarvest.org Enables Millions of Growers
    50.0 miles

    MLK Day of Sharing

    Jan 21, 2013 12:00 PM EST
    Various locations in Southern Chester County, PA (Kennett Square, PA)
    Service to a variety of organziations in Southern Chester County, near Kennett Square, PA.  For more information or to volunteer, contact Linda Flewelling at 484-770-5703 or lflewell@kal.kendal.org 
    50.0 miles

    MLK CommUNITY Food Drive

    Jan 21, 2013 6:00 PM EST
    Kennett Food Cupboard (Kennett Square, PA)
    Donations of non-perishable food items to benefit the Kennett Food Cupboard gratefully accepted from now through January 21. To volunteer, contact Dory Roper or Ginny Levy at 610-925-3556 or mlkfooddrive@gmail.com or via Facebook at MLK CommUNITY Food Drive
    50.0 miles

    MLK CommUNITY Breakfast

    Jan 21, 2013 8:00 AM EST
    Red Clay Room (Kennett Square, PA)
    The 12th annual MLK CommUNITY Breakfast in Kennett Square, PA to promote Dr. Martin Luther King's dream of peace and harmony among all people in our community.  The keynote speaker will be Leland Ware, JD, Louis L. Redding Chair and Professor for the Study of Law & Public Policy, Schoo
     50.0 miles

    Allison Hill Community Support and Wellness Center, Clean-Up Allison Hill

    Jan 19, 2013 12:00 PM EST
    Derry Street United Methodist Church (Harrisburg, PA)
    Participants will meet at the Derry Street United Methodist Church at 12PM and will walk in groups to pick up trash along the streets of South Allison Hill.
    50.0 miles

    Derry Street Church/Allison Hill Community Ministry Day of Service

    Jan 21, 2013 10:00 AM EST
    Derry Street Church (Harrisburg, PA)
    We need lots of volunteer help to organize our Clothing Closet, to clean up our Food Bank, and to do general cleaning in and around our facility. This event entails sorting, hanging, and organizing clothing, performing deep cleaning work in our Food Bank storage areas, and doing all of those little
     50.0 miles

    Schuylkill Women in Crisis Apartment Painiting in Pottsville

    Jan 19, 2013 9:00 AM EST
    Schuylkill Women in Crisis (Pottsville, PA)
    Schuylkill Womem in Crisis provides a refuge for the troubled women of Schuylkill COunty when they have no place else to turn. They rely on the generousity of citizens like you to allow them to continue to stand uo for our most vulnerable community members. This January 19 they need your help to pai
    50.0 miles

    AmpleHarvest.org - Ending Hunger and Food Waste in Your Community

    Jan 19, 2013 Shifts begin at 8:00 AM , 12:00 PM (2 shifts)
    Your community. Simply visit this link to get started: http://www.AmpleHarvest.org/NDS (HARRISBURG, PA)
     Enable Local Growers to Donate Excess Garden Produce to A Nearby Food Pantry.Two Problems:  -1- Food Pantries* Nationwide Desperately Need Fresh Food-2 - Excess Garden Produce Discarded into Landfills Is Bad For The EnvironmentOne Solution:AmpleHarvest.org Enables Millions of Growers
    50.0 miles

    New Antioch Baptist Church's Youth MLK Day of Service in our Community

    Jan 21, 2013 12:00 PM EST
    Main Towers (Newark, DE)
    The Youth of New Antioch Baptist Church will be going to a Senior Citizens Building (Main Towers) in Newark, Delaware to serve the Seniors Lunch that they have prepared, to sing, exercise, and play games with them as their Community Service activity. In this way they are engaging our Older Populatio
    50.0 miles

    "Give n Grub" Donation Drive (Food and Personal Care Products)

    Jan 19, 2013 2:00 PM EST
    Near Stacy Lynn Getz Playground (Bel Air, MD)
    I'm hosting a "GIVE N GRUB" Donation Drive on Saturday 19th January, 2013 from 2pm to 6pm. We'll have some tasty Caribbean food for you to enjoy! So come drop off your donations and grab a plate! Let's DONATE, DONATE, DONATE!!!  The items collected will be given to the Harford Co
    50.0 miles

    St. John's Workday

    Jan 19, 2013 3:00 PM EST
    St John's Episcopal Church (Havre de Grace, MD)
    Come help work on the oldest church in Havre de Grace, St. John's Episcopal Church. We will be polishing,  painting, scrubbing, etc... to help in the upkeep a historical church needs. Here are some examples of what need to be done:
    50.0 miles

    AmpleHarvest.org - Ending Hunger and Food Waste in Your Community

    Jan 19, 2013 Shifts begin at 8:00 AM , 12:00 PM (2 shifts)
    Your community. Simply visit this link to get started: http://www.AmpleHarvest.org/NDS (MECHANICSBURG, PA)
     Enable Local Growers to Donate Excess Garden Produce to A Nearby Food Pantry.Two Problems:  -1- Food Pantries* Nationwide Desperately Need Fresh Food-2 - Excess Garden Produce Discarded into Landfills Is Bad For The EnvironmentOne Solution:AmpleHarvest.org Enables Millions of Growers
    50.0 miles

    AmpleHarvest.org - Ending Hunger and Food Waste in Your Community

    Jan 19, 2013 Shifts begin at 8:00 AM , 12:00 PM (2 shifts)
    Your community. Simply visit this link to get started: http://www.AmpleHarvest.org/NDS (WILMINGTON, DE)
     Enable Local Growers to Donate Excess Garden Produce to A Nearby Food Pantry.Two Problems:  -1- Food Pantries* Nationwide Desperately Need Fresh Food-2 - Excess Garden Produce Discarded into Landfills Is Bad For The EnvironmentOne Solution:AmpleHarvest.org Enables Millions of Growers
    50.0 miles

    AmpleHarvest.org - Ending Hunger and Food Waste in Your Community

    Jan 19, 2013 Shifts begin at 8:00 AM , 12:00 PM (2 shifts)
    Your community. Simply visit this link to get started: http://www.AmpleHarvest.org/NDS (KLINGERSTOWN, PA)
     Enable Local Growers to Donate Excess Garden Produce to A Nearby Food Pantry.Two Problems:  -1- Food Pantries* Nationwide Desperately Need Fresh Food-2 - Excess Garden Produce Discarded into Landfills Is Bad For The EnvironmentOne Solution:AmpleHarvest.org Enables Millions of Growers
    50.0 miles

    AmpleHarvest.org - Ending Hunger and Food Waste in Your Community

    Jan 19, 2013 Shifts begin at 8:00 AM , 12:00 PM (2 shifts)
    Your community. Simply visit this link to get started: http://www.AmpleHarvest.org/NDS (EAST BERLIN, PA)
     Enable Local Growers to Donate Excess Garden Produce to A Nearby Food Pantry.Two Problems:  -1- Food Pantries* Nationwide Desperately Need Fresh Food-2 - Excess Garden Produce Discarded into Landfills Is Bad For The EnvironmentOne Solution:AmpleHarvest.org Enables Millions of Growers
    50.0 miles

    MLK Million Meter Marathon and Open House

    Jan 21, 2013 Shifts begin at 7:00 AM EST (1 shifts)
    Newport Rowing Club (Wilmington, DE)
    You are invited to Newport Rowing Club's MLK Million Meter Marathon and Open House honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. on MONDAY, JAN. 21ST. NRC will be opening its boathouse to local businesses, families and friends to honor one of our greatest community leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King. In an effort t




    Valerie Jarrett for the defense




    By: Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei
    January 18, 2013 04:42 AM EST


    President Barack Obama, with a second-term team built for fight not compromise, has made it clear that he plans to change very little. No new faces in his innermost circle. No revolution in how he courts Congress. No new love for the permanent Washingtonians who feel a persistent chill from 1600 Pennsylvania. And so far, no new women in key positions in a West Wing some have long felt suffers from excess testosterone.

    Many Obama insiders were embarrassed last week when the front page of The New York Times carried a photo, which had been released by the White House, showing Obama meeting in the Oval Office in December with 10 white men from his senior staff — with Valerie Jarrett’s leg, jutting from behind one of the guys, as the only sign of female input. Jarrett, in a 45-minute interview Thursday in the West Wing office that once belonged to Hillary Clinton and Karl Rove, argued that this was a case where “one picture really didn’t say a thousand words.”

    (PHOTOS: Obama's second-term Cabinet)

    “The reality is that this president has been surrounded by strong women his entire life,” she said. “Early on, women who had not been a part of the campaign came and worked in the White House, and they don’t know the president. … What the president wants is for people to come in and fight for their ideas — not so that they win, but because he will make better decisions if they’re advocating and telling him what they think. … So, I say, ‘Speak up! Speak up!’ ”

    (PHOTOS: 39 great photos from Obama’s first term)

    On her wall is a birthday gift from her boss – a frame containing the original petition to give women the vote in 1866, and the final resolution passed by Congress in 1919 – 53 years later. “Valerie,” Obama wrote. “You are carrying on a legacy of strong women making history! Happy Birthday, Barack Obama.”

    Jarrett takes on the complaints of women who have worked in the West Wing head on, particularly the notion that you have to be able to shoot hoops, or play golf or talk shop or be a poker shark to gain the president’s confidence. “I don’t play golf. I don’t play basketball. I don’t really like cards,” she said. “I don’t think anybody questions whether or not I have a role to play here. And so I think it is irrelevant whether the president wants to do that in some of his free time. What’s really important is when we have something to say, does he listen to us? And he does.”

    (PHOTOS: 18 defining Obama moments)

    Besides diversity, the other big rap on Obama’s senior staff is insularity. The president has taken the comfort-food approach to his second-term team, with promotions for guys who have been with him going back to the ’08 campaign, and many fewer departures than even his own staffers had expected. To those who think he needs change of his own, his message since the election has amounted to: “It’s not me — it’s you.” We read Jarrett an email from a former West Wing colleague who said: “They really just need new people. Everyone is so dead tired. They need new energy, new life, new ideas.”

    “That’s from somebody who left?” Jarrett asked. “Well, they probably left because they were tired. I think the people who are left behind are energized. I don’t get the sense of fatigue at all. … So, it sounds like somebody who probably needed a rest, and there’s no harm in that. … These are hard jobs, and people do burn out.”

    Her title is White House senior adviser, but it’s Jarrett’s 21-year friendship with the president and Michelle Obama that gives her more power than arguably any other aide in government. On paper, Jarrett’s portfolio includes the White House Office of Public Engagement; the Council on Women and Girls; and the Department of Intergovernmental Affairs, which works with local officials, mayors and governors. In reality, her clout stems from unlimited, almost mystical, access to the Obamas. Jarrett has been subject to extremely harsh press over the years and has rarely been asked bluntly about the slams. We ticked off several of them, and she didn’t flinch.

    “Look, it’s a tough town,” she said. “Chicago is, too. I come from a tough town; this is a tough town. I’m always trying to improve. I think I take criticism constructively. I cannot erase a 21-year friendship, nor would I want to. And I try very hard to make sure that I am available to people here — particularly, I think, women often come to me. I am older than most of the people here, so I try to be a resource.”

    (PHOTOS: Obamas attend Jarrett family wedding)

    “I’m kind of old to change,” added Jarrett, 56. “But if somebody were to come to me and say, ‘You know what, Valerie? I think if you were to do this it would be more helpful,’ of course I would listen to that.”

    Has anyone ever done that? She thought about it a second. “Actually not so much,” she said. “Not so much. But that [would be] very different than [an] anonymous quote in a profile. You know?”

    There has been one clear change in Obamaworld since the president was resoundingly reelected on Nov. 6 and it comes from Jarrett’s cluster of issues. Business leaders in D.C. and New York, who felt this White House alternated between ignoring and alienating them, say they have been invited to the White House more in the past two months than they had in the past four years.

    The White House says there has not been a single day post-election, including weekends, that Obama or his senior staff has not reached out to business leaders — in person, over the phone or via email. Obama has spoken to more than 50 CEOs, financial-services executives and small-business leaders since Election Day, and the White House has hosted meetings with 300 small-business owners from more than 30 states.

    Jarrett was close to business in Chicago — chair of the Board of the Chicago Stock Exchange, and a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. But you’d never know that from the belly-aching by CEOs who are convinced her liberal leanings make her hostile to free markets, and to them.

    “I don’t take it personally at all,” she said. “I don’t think it was ideological. … We have been more aggressive in our engagement, but I also think our country is in a different place than it was four years ago. Dodd-Frank was controversial. I think the banks obviously spent a lot of money lobbying against it. So that was a source of friction. I think if you were to leave it up to some folks, they might have said, ‘We will self-regulate. .. We understand we made a mistake — we get it now.’ … Because the stakes were so high and the bailout numbers were so great, what the president said is, ‘I’m just not willing to take that chance. I think the American people deserve better protection than that.’ So, I think that was a big source of tension.”

    Now, she says, the administration has more of an “alignment of interest” with the business community. “We are now in a position where the president wants to really focus on a growth agenda which will create jobs, which requires us to invest strategically in ways that are going to be helpful for businesses to expand and hire people,” she said. “The business community very strongly agrees with us that one should not negotiate over the debt ceiling. … And if you look at our second-term agenda — whether it’s immigration reform or furthering our energy policies or investing in infrastructure, corporate tax reform — there are many issues where we are completely aligned with the business community, because it’s a growth agenda and they want to grow.”

    Broad tax reform looks like it’ll be a victim of the three upcoming fiscal cliffs, and the breakdown in communication between House Republicans and the White House — a Murderer’s Row of political booby traps that mean the opening of Obama’s second term is likely to be the hundred days of hell. But Jarrett said reforming the corporate Tax Code remains important to the president, and she still hopes it’ll happen.

    “I think that there is an interest on both sides of the aisle to do so,” she said. “A big part of our agenda is to position the United States for long-term sustainable growth and health, and those jobs come from the private sector. And so, we have to prime the pump in … It depends on our dance partner … the Republicans in Congress.”

    But they WANT tax reform, we interjected. “Well, but do they want it in a balanced and fair way?” she said. “So that’s the question.”

    Here’s something else that will change in the second term, and that the White House also telegraphed during the lame-duck session: Both Obama and Jarrett are going to spend more time traveling outside Washington, aiming to bring beyond-the-Beltway pressure on lawmakers. That’s part of the reason Jarrett, despite a clogged pipeline to Capitol Hill, predicts both gun control and immigration packages will pass this year. “That’s what the American people want,” she said. “So our goal is to engage them in that process and let their voices be heard, and I think ultimately when that happens, Congress acts.”

    So the White House will be enlisting allies the president has met on his travels, and Cabinet secretaries and administration officials will be doing more community outreach as they travel. “If someone is going somewhere to give a speech, add on an opportunity to meet with some local leaders and tell them about our agenda,” she said. “He’s very confident that now, with the American people, with that wind at his back, there really are no limits to what we can accomplish.”

    Obama will carry that message through in his second inaugural address, which she said will have “a very hopeful message” that emphasizes the vital role played by every citizen.

    Jarrett says when her time in the West Wing is done, she expects she’ll go back to the Windy City. And what will Obama do in his post-presidency? “Spend a lot of time in Hawaii, I hope,” she said with a laugh.

    The biggest change in Obama over the four years, she said, is the certitude of his decisions. Close aides say he has never been a hand-wringer and is even less so after the first term. “He still agonizes, but he is more confident because of his experience,” she said.

    The greatest misperception about Obama, she said, is the appearance that he isn’t enjoying himself. “People shouldn’t confuse how serious he takes his job for how serious he takes himself,” she said. The two of them recently watched “Lincoln” in the family theater. Asked what she learned from the movie, she replied: “Change is always hard.”