Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tiny West Branch, MI Comes Together in a BIG Way for Bullied Teen

Showing you America and Americans is what this blog is all about.

On this day we focus on a small town in Michigan that exemplifies the American Spirit in coming together as a community when one of its young citizens is almost pushed to her limits by some of her not-so-nice peers.

Today, we salute West Branch, Michigan, 140 miles northwest of Detroit.

The Story

For all the bad stories we hear each day about what is happening in and to the United States, a story like the one you are about to read from the Huffington Post comes along and restores your faith in American values, Americans in general (Michiganders in particular) and what it means to live in the Greatest Country in the World.

Whitney Kropp
UPDATE: As of September 25, 3 pm, the Support Whitney Kropp Facebook page has 55,000 likes.
In what is possibly the most heartwarming story of the week, an entire community in Michigan has come out in support of a bullied teen.
Whitney Kropp was ecstatic when she heard she was nominated for homecoming court at Ogemaw Heights High in West Branch, Mich., My Fox Detroit reports.
The high school sophomore had been bullied in the past for her black clothing and multicolored hair, and was looking forward to being able to represent her school.
But her enthusiasm quickly turned to embarrassment when her classmates told her that she was only nominated as a prank by the school's most popular students. The boy who was nominated to be her escort had already withdrawn from the court.

"I had actually reached a point where I had thought about suicide," Kropp told WNEM-TV. "I thought I wasn't worthy at Ogemaw Heights at all."
Instead of allowing Kropp to be defeated by the bullies, the small farm community rallied around her, convincing her to attend homecoming despite the joke.
Several business in the town volunteered to buy Kropp dinner, take her picture, do her hair and nails, and dress her in a stunning red gown and heels for the big day.
"It really touched me. I can't believe that kids can be so mean and ruthless," Champagne, a nail technician at Whit's End Hair Studio, told Detroit News. "In high school, everything means everything to you. You don't realize that none of it will matter after you leave."
For the pre-dance football game on Friday night, residents have promised to pack the stands to ensure Kropp gets a standing ovation when her name is announced at half-time.
Kropp is taking the opportunity to stand up against bullying.
The 'Support Whitney Kropp' Facebook page, created by a stranger on her behalf, quickly got 3,500 "likes," far exceeding the entire West Branch population of 2,100. The page is dedicated to raising awareness about high school bullying and posting tips about how to overcome it.
"This was something that was really awful, could have ended awful, and because so many people came together, it just turned right around," Bernice Kropp, Whitney's mother, told WNEM-TV.
"Going to homecoming to show them that I'm not a joke," the teen wrote on Facebook. "Im a beautiful person and you shouldn't mess with me!"

You have just witnessed America the Beautiful.

Well done, West Branch. Well done indeed.

***Thanks to HuffPo for allowing me to re-print their entire article.***

Monday, September 24, 2012

Can Texas Secede? Here's the Answer, Once & for All

Can Texas legally secede from the Union? Judge Andrew Napolitano has the answer:

There you have it. I guess all those Secessionists in Texas had it right after all.

Haunted Vermont

Although it's just a few short hours away from where I sit, I have have not yet visited Vermont, but it is high on my list of Places to Explore.

Hauntingly Beautiful is a tremendous resource for information of what to see and do in the Green Mountain State. With a very rich history and a fierce sense of independence, Vermont is a great destination for anyone seeking the beauty and solitude of a very rural state.

Vermont in a Nutshell

  • Vermont is the second largest state in New England (after Maine) at 9,614 square miles, but is the eighth smallest state in the nation. 
  • Vermont is wide at the top along the Canadian border (90.3 miles) and narrow at thebottom (41.6 miles) alongthe Massachusetts border. Vermont is 157.4 miles long, with New York to the west and New Hampshire to theeast. Lake Champlain runs along the state’s western border. 
  • The Green Mountains, one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, run up the center of the state. 
  • The state’s name is derived from: Ver, from the French word for green, vert; and -mont from mountain.
Haunted Vermont

Just in time for Halloween, below is an article (from on some spooky things to experience while you visit Vermont.

The Green Mountain State has a long history of haunted places – from graveyards to bridges, old inns and homes, and even in the mountains and along riverbanks. Sometimes the spirits are friendly, even comforting. Sometimes they're mischievous and occasionally they're downright destructive.
One of Vermont's most famously haunted sites is the Dutton House, originally built in 1782, on the grounds of the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont. Donated by the Dutton family in the early part of the 20th century, the house was moved from its original site in Cavendish and reconstructed piece by piece on the grounds of the Shelburne Museum. Shortly after the reconstruction, workers at the Museum noticed sounds inside the house that did not belong. When the house was known to be empty, workers heard doors slamming, footsteps walking along the old, creaky boards, and, most eerily, the sound of a young girl crying. The Dutton family was a large one, so it's not known which of the family members might have moved along with the house, but apparently they are attached to their former home and let their presence be known even today.
An unusual spot for a haunting is the White River riverbank near Hartford, Vermont. In 1887, there was a tragic railroad disaster when a Montrealer train jumped its tracks, went over the edge of the railroad bridge and down to the White River below. Both the train and the wooden bridge caught fire, and over 30 people died. The story is that a 13-year old boy named Joe McCabe witnessed his father's death in the fire and has since been seen playing along the White River riverbank. He is dressed in 19th century clothing and is said to float about four feet above the water.
Whether or not you believe in spirits, Vermont is a beautiful place to visit this fall. Come for the foliage, for a balloon or train ride and stay in one of our beautiful inns. You'll be warmly welcomed by real humans – and maybe a few spirits as well.

Click on over to for more it's haunted history or to plan a weekend trip or a complete vacation to Vermont.

I don't know if I'll make it to Vermont by Halloween, but I do know that a weekend trip to the Green Mouintain State is definitely in my very near future and I hope in yours, too.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Constitution Day

Today is Constitution Day. On September 17,1787 thirty-nine men convened and signed what is arguably the greatest governing document in the history of man.

Learn all about this extraordinary event from

You can learn more about this Historic document and read it in full at The Charters of Freedom. It is the sacred duty of "We the people..." to know this magnificent work inside and out "in order to form a more perfect Union" and to keep the Federal Government at bay and out of our lives as much as possible. By visiting this site, you'll learn why it is so important to us as a Nation to follow and uphold the intent of our Founding Fathers and why the Constitution of the United States is so much more than just words on paper. It is a document for the generations to come as much as it was for those who fought for and secured our Independence in the late 1700s - priceless and irreplaceable.

May God continue to bless the United States of America.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Happy Grandparents Day!

Cutie Patootie

Happy Grandparents Day to all the Grandmas and Grandpas out there!

On Thursday I wrote a story about the history of National Grandparents Day, its history and the lady who worked so hard to have it nationally recognized. The piece has a lot of information in it and is worth a minute or two of your time to read.

For to day's entry, I went to and they were kind enough to oblige with a set of cool facts about Grandparents that many of us do not know.

I think you'll enjoy learning them for yourself.

Facts About Grandparents

Did you know...?
  • The average age of a U.S. grandparent is 48, and more than half are Baby Boomers.
  • The world’s youngest grandmother is believed to be Rifca Stanescu, a 23-year-old from Romania.
  • The record for most living descendants belongs to Pennsylvanian Samuel S. Mast.

    When he died in 1992 at age 96, Mast had 11 children, 97 grandchildren, 634 great-grandchildren, and 82 great-great-grandchildren, for a grand total of 824 direct relations.
  • Speaking of living descendants, how about 10th U.S. President, John Tyler?

    Born in 1790, the Virginian has two grandsons, both in their 70s, who are still alive and kicking.
  • According to a survey, 38% of you have sex at least twice a week, 10% have tattoos, and 7% have tried recreational drugs (or admitted to it, anyway).
  • There’s no doubt about it: Grandparents are dependable.

    In fact, you’re SO reliable, about 7% of U.S. kids are being raised by their grandmothers and grandfathers.

    That’s almost 5 million children - enough to fill Yankee Stadium 100 times over.
There are several more tidbits about Grandma and Grandpa that you may not have know, but are certainly worth stowing away in the back of your mind for future reference.

These facts, overall, show that Grammy and Grampy (as they say here in Maine) are pretty good people to know and have around.

So, until the Sunday after next Labor Day, have fun with your grandkids today and make it a great National Grandparents Day!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

National Grandparents Day, September 9,2012

Some of the fondest memories of my life come from spending time with my Grandparents.

Gardening with Granny Shoemaker, having holiday meals with Grandmother Cowger, drinking beer with Grandaddy Cowger and, perhaps best of all, going fishin' with Grandpa Shoemaker. I really can't rate one experience over the other, however, as they all hold special places in my heart. But,I must say that fishin' with Grandpa was pretty cool beans to a little boy of 5 or 6 years old.

I cherish each memory as I cherish my children and grand children, each one differently, but none is more important than the other. These experiences helped shape me to become the man, and Grandpa, that I am today.

Special Days

Parents have their special days of recognition, Mom in May and Dad in June, so why not have a day dedicated to the parents of parents? That's a question that crossed the mind of Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade in 1970. So, Mrs. McQuade set about on a mission to create, and have recognized, National Grandparents Day.

Following is a very brief summary of Mrs. McQuade's efforts in starting a day celebrating those of us who have raised our children and now enjoy life as Grandma and Grandpa.

From, "In 1970, a West Virginia housewife, Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade, initiated a campaign to set aside a special day just for Grandparents.   Through concerted efforts on the part of civic, business, church, and political leaders, this campaign expanded statewide. Senator Jennings Randolph (D-WV) was especially instrumental in the project. The first Grandparents Day was proclaimed in 1973 in West Virginia by Governor Arch Moore. Also in 1973, Senator Randolph introduced a Grandparents Day resolution in the United States Senate. The resolution languished in committee.
Mrs. McQuade and her team turned to the media to garner support. They also began contacting governors, senators, congressmen in every state. And they sent letters to churches, businesses, and numerous national organizations interested in senior citizens. In 1978, five years after its West Virginia inception, the United StatesCongress passed legislation proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day. The proclamation was signed by President Jimmy Carter. (September was chosen for the holiday, to signify the "autumn years" of life.)
Today this event, begun by only a few, is observed by millions throughout the United States."

The website has a treasure trove of information on Mrs. McQuade and National Grandparents Day that is well worth your time and perusal. There's a nice section on ways to celebrate this wonderful day and remembering and rejoicing with those Grandparents who are shut-ins or disabled.

We Grandparents owe a large debt of gratitude to Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade, and the best possible way to repay her for her hard work and determination is to celebrate National Grandparents Day with our grandchildren and all the joy they bring into our autumn years.

It's the least we could do. :)

Maybe, just maybe, some day when they themselves are grandparents, one of your grandkids will write a story similar to this one and remember you with the fondness and love with which we remember our own grandparents and our own grandparent-hood.

The "Autumn of Life" is a wondrous time. Ain't it?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day - A Brief History

Labor Day is much more than the Unofficial End of Summer, a day off work or a day to grill out and watch baseball on TV or get up a back yard game of horse shoes, it is a time to celebrate the role of the average working American and his or her role in making the United States the most prosperous Nation on Earth.

From the first Labor Day on September 5, 1882 in New York City to today, almost a century and a half later, here's a brief history of the holiday, shameslessly copied and pasted direct from the web site of the United States Department of Labor.

 Labor Day: How it Came About; What it Means

Honoring American Workers Since 1882
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Founder of Labor Day

More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.
Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."
But Peter McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.
In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

Labor Day Legislation

Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From them developed the movement to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

A Nationwide Holiday

The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.
The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.
The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Funny Town Names from Across America!

Breakfast City
A while back on another blog, I did a post on funny town names in Texas - names like Uncertain, Happy and Cut and Shoot. The reaction from you, the reader, was outstanding. Since I pledged in that article to do another version of funny town names in various states, I figured I'd go whole hog and find goofy town names from around the country.

I Hope (Arkansas) you'll find this little screed not too Boring (Oregon) and I'll be a Happy Camp(er) (California). :)

Some towns have names that are quite inviting. There's Friendly, West Virginia - Happyland, Connecticut or Lovely, Kentucky. On the other hand, there's Embarrass, Wisconsin - Gripe, Arizona and Peculiar, Missouri. Many towns have names that conjure up an appetite - Bacon, Indiana - Chocolate Bayou, Texas or Hot Coffee, Mississippi. Places you may not care to have a meal are : Greasy, Oklahoma - Lickskillet, Ohio and Oniontown, Pennsylvania.

Animals and some of God's other creatures are well-represented on the list of odd names found in the USA - Rabbit Shuffle, North Carolina - Horseheads, New York and Trout, Louisiana are a few of them.
Some of our burgs around the country stand out for other reasons - Toad Suck, Arkansas - Monkey's Eyebrow, Kentucky and Goose Pimple Junction, Virginia come to mind.

There are plenty more towns with attention-getting names across the country and you can find them where I did at I'm sure there are a million names that could be added to this list, so if you know any, tell us about them in the comments!

With that, I'll say Adios! (Texas) I just made that one up. :)