Wednesday, March 29, 2006

What my daughter brought home from school

Ok, to set the stage - my daughter is five - she's in Kindergarten - she's the most eager to please, over-achieving academic sponge I've ever known. Furthermore, we live in Chelsea, a small rural community/suburb near Ann Arbor, Michigan, where moms still often stay home with their children, and after school band is extremely popular among the teens. My daughter? She's now off for spring break and as such, she had a lot of stuff in her folder in her back pack today.

She was very excited about her stuff and she started pulling it out as soon as we got back from the bus stop after school. I happened to notice a small vial on the carpet and picked it up. Anne asked what it was. I said that it must have come from her backpack and she said that it wasn't hers.

It looked kind of like a perfume sample with cotton for a stopper instead of a little twisty lid. I asked, "did one of your friends give you this?" She said, "No, Mom, I don't know what that is." As I examined this vial and sniffed it, I noticed another one lying on the floor near the first. I picked it up. It had a bit of red near the cotton tip, which in a few seconds I realized was lipstick. I tried to pry the cotton tip off, and noticed that the vial narrowed into a pointed tube and suddenly gasped.

Suddenly I realized why the vial looked familiar. I had studied it in caseworker training. It was a drug vial, but I didn't know which drug - forgot that part. But my God! Drugs in my daughter's backpack. It didn't register, really. Where the hell did these come from? School? The backpacks are all hung on a hook in the hall in the school. The bus? She rode to and from school in the bus that day, which has kids all the way up through high school riding on it.

I called Kirk for advice. He suggested that I call the school, which I did. They instantly connected me to the principal. He paused after I told him my story. He then said, "well, I need to look up what I've got to do next about this." I said that I was coming in for Anne's school conference later and I could bring the vials with me. He agreed that was the best idea.

By the time I brought him the vials, he had contacted the bus garage and the superintendent and everyone agreed that the first step was to identify the liquid in the vial. I had done some research on the internet in the meantime and said that it seemed most likely that the liquid was liquid "X" or GHB, a date rape drug. OH MY GOD! Anyway, he was calm and so, I decided to be, too. I asked him to please keep me informed of what was going on with this, and he agreed to do so. Now I wait.

But I educate! I told her teacher about the incident. I discussed it with my kids, about letting me know if they find something they can't recognize in their lockers or backpacks, or if someone they don't know starts talking to them, asking questions, etc. I told my closest friend in Chelsea, who had her conference tonight with her daughter's teacher. She told the teacher about the incident. Word is out.

My daughter brought home something very bad from school today. It is freaky. It is rural mid-America. God help us all.


Michigan sets sights on ethanol to become an energy hotbed

The ethanol trend is good news for Michigan, because it is expected to create hundreds of jobs and spur millions of dollars of economic growth in areas that choose to produce and distribute the fuel. A typical ethanol plant making 40 million gallons a year employs about 50 people.

"The energy crisis that has created the thirst for ethanol is that the government told the oil industry to clean up its emissions years ago," said Carroll Knight, owner of more than 100 gas stations in Michigan, Indiana and Iowa. "Ethanol production helps the balance of trade and helps farmers."

With growing uncertainty in the petroleum market and a national mandate to explore new areas of energy, the construction of at least four production plants could be a sign that Michigan plans to be a significant player in the creation of an ethanol corridor in the Midwest.

Article, and more: Detroit Free Press

Cross posted from: NBF


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