CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

October 9, 2012

Navy White Coming to Town

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

NAVY WHITE COMING TO TOWN

Soon I’ll no longer have to travel to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to see the white coats. That’s because the white coats are coming…to Moon.

Moon, Pennsylvania, that is.

I’ll only have to travel ninety minutes to be surrounded by white uniforms when a new Navy Operational Support Center opens in Moon., Pennsylvania, in February 2014. The ground breaking ceremony was held on October 6 at the 911th Air Force Reserve.1

Growing up in Portsmouth I lived among Navy personnel stationed at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The presence of white uniforms was the norm, nothing special. At the time, my uncle, John (Jack) Walker Briskay, was enlisted in the Navy. I remember how attractive he was in his white uniform.

Then when I was eleven years old we (more…)

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August 4, 2011

Newborns of Two New Castle (PA) Mothers Removed Due to Poppy Seed Ingestion

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

NEWBORNS OF TWO NEW CASTLE (PA) MOTHERS

REMOVED DUE TO POPPY SEED INGESTION

     Two mothers are suing the Lawrence County (Pennsylvania) Children and Youth Services for separating them from their newborns. They lost custody due to a positive prenatal drug test.

     Prenatal drug tests are not required by law, but Lawrence County policy allows the Children and Youth Services department to obtain court orders to take newborn children from mothers who test positive for opiates.*

     Elizabeth Mort’s lawsuit challenges the agency’s policy as unconstitutional for several reasons, including the use of 300 nanograms per milliliter as the point at which someone tests “positive” for opiates. The federal guideline is 2,000 nanograms per milliliter...

     Her case is pending before U.S. District Judge David Cercone.

      Eileen Bower’s lawsuit points to the fact that the drug screens she took as part of her prenatal care came back negative, so the agency should have questioned the result of the final drug screen before taking her child away. The agency didn’t wait for a confirmation by Quest Diagnostics

     Both twenty-two year old women tested positive due to the (more…)

October 30, 2009

A Jack-O-Lantern Interview

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

A  JACK-O-LANTERN INTERVIEW

During our October Beanery Writers Group meeting a Halloween prompt was given out: You are the star reporter for Halloween Headline, and you’ve just landed an interview with Casper the Friendly Ghost. Write out 20 questions to ask during the interview. Responses from members of the group are posted at:

I decided to change the character being interviewed from Casper the Friendly Ghost to a Jack-O-Lantern. Below is my list of interview questions.

Now I need to locate a Jack-O-Lantern who is willing to be interviewed. If you are a willing Jack-O-Lantern, please contact me with your information in the comment box at the end of this post.

Where were you planted and harvested? Was it in (more…)

August 9, 2009

Journalism Rules and Professionalism: I had neither!

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

JOURNALISM RULES AND PROFESSIONALISM

I Had Neither!

      In searching for a certain picture, I came across my first press pass (http://www.flickr.com/photos/carolyncholland/?saved=1 ).

     Over the years that I have been a freelance newspaper photojournalist, my editors had to put up with a lot from me. I was definitely not always “professional.”

     I was working at the newspaper until closing time, and the editor asked me (for the tenth time) if I could be back the first thing in the morning to complete our work.

     “Yes,” I said. “I’ll roll out of bed and into the office.”

     The next morning, I put my work clothes on, but didn’t wash my face or comb my hair. I grabbed my papers, my floor-length, maroon, fluffy bathrobe and my matching slippers. When I arrived at the newspaper, I parked in the back. I put on the robe and replaced my shoes with my slippers before entering the back door of the office.

     As I entered, I feigned yawning, as I said, “I told you I would just roll out of bed and into the office.”

     During the time I worked at one newspaper, I was needed to help my daughter with her newborn baby, Jordan. I would pack my briefcase, camera case, bottles and diapers when I took an article in to be edited (I sat with the editors while they worked on improving my writing). I would spread a blanket out on the floor (Jordan was not crawling yet) and work with the editor. Often, I would have to take a few minutes break to prepare her bottle, change her diaper, or quiet her down.

     I remember being asked by one editor to cover a wrestling banquet that I was attending. “No,” I said, turning and leaving. Tossing over my shoulder, “I know nothing about wrestling.” Then I did a turnabout. “Yes, I can,” I told the editor. “My husband is a wrestler, and he can edit it for me.” Monte did, and laughed at my mistakes while he corrected them. The article went in great.

     A mother should know her son’s name, right? Well…she may…but she may not always use it. I almost caused the newspaper lawsuit when I submitted the name of a five year old, given to me by his mother. She, however, was divorced from the child’s father, and told me his last name was the same as hers was. She had remarried. Never did I expect that a mother would lie about her son’s name. I erred, breaking the rule about asking the child to give me his name.

     But then, the editors I worked with didn’t follow the rules either. I found that together we “broke” some of the rules of journalism. Below are a couple of these “rules.”

REMAIN FREE OF ASSOCIATIONS AND ACTIVITIES THAT MAY COMPROMISE INTEGRITY OR DAMAGE CREDIBILITY.

AVOID CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, REAL OR PERCEIVED.

     Obviously, this implies that the journalist should not write about the organizations  with which they are involved. However, Jamestown (PA) is a small, rural town. When I arrived on the scene, the long-term freelancer for the Greenville Record Argus newspaper was ready to pass the job on, and I became the recipient. I also received a grant from the Children’s Trust Fund based on the premise that healing an adult of their childhood abuse would break the intergenerational chain of abuse. After receiving word of the grant I approached the newspaper’s and informed him that the new program needed a picture in the newspaper. Community residents needed to know about the new program. Logically, it should be the head of the program (me) photographed with the director of the county’s Children and Youth agency. I fully expected him to say (more…)

February 16, 2009

FIRST, DO NO HARM…THE SULEMAN OCTUPLET CASE

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

FIRST, DO NO HARM…THE SULEMAN OCTUPLET CASE

     Much controversy surrounds the birth of octuplets born to Nadya Suleman on January 26, 2009.
     Suleman is a single mother of six children under the age of seven, that she suffered a work-related back injury, and that she receives food stamps are undisputable facts. Suleman and her parents relate conflicting stories about (more…)

June 5, 2008

THE LEGACY FROM MY EDITORS

The editor’s words stick in my memory.

“I don’t care (more…)

March 22, 2008

SHALOM! MY LORD AND MY GOD! The Easter Story as told by Mary

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

SHALOM! MY LORD AND MY GOD!

The Easter Story as told by Mary

COME, GATHER ‘ROUND ME, YOUNG AND OLD:
THE EASTER STORY WILL BE TOLD!

     In long, long ago times, a special baby was born.
I’d love to share that birth story with you—the miracle of birth itself, the struggles, hopes and dreams of and for this special baby—but that is the Christmas story.
We are here today to hear the Easter story.
Not the story about

(more…)

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