Ground broken for new Boundless Playground in Ridgeland

On Wednesday I attended the groundbreaking ceremony for Adam’s Project Universal Design Playground at Freedom Ridge Park. The playground provides an area for play that allows accessibility and opportunity for full participation for the physically challenged and disabled. Adam’s Project made this possible through fundraising, spreading awareness and the motivation to provide a playground for those with special needs. And I heard about the project right after I moved to Ridgeland in 2010.

So many individuals, organizations and businesses have contributed to the project, inspired by Ridgeland resident Adam Malone who suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. His father, Drew Malone created Adam’s Project to meet a need in the community, a place to play for people like his son Adam. “We are so thankful for the support we have seen from the Mayor and Board of Aldermen on this project,” Malone said in a press release by the city. “With the construction of the playground we hope to bring people of all abilities together to help end discrimination based upon a disability.”

Adam’s Project will continue efforts to raise money for research in hopes of finding a cure of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Chris Chance, director of Recreation and Parks in the city of Ridgeland said, “We are excited about the construction of the Universal Design Playground at Freedom Ridge Park, and believe it will be a unique facility that will serve all populations and ages.”

Fundraising and a federal Community Development Block Grant enabled the city to move forward with the project. Construction is expected to be complete in November this year.

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Paul Love is headed to prison

Paul Love, one owner of Love Irrigation in Ridgeland, will do time in prison for his part in harboring and employing illegal immigrants for the landscaping business. Today in U.S. District Court, Love was sentenced to 21 months in prison with three years of supervised release. Love was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and a $100 special assessment fee for the single felony count. Four other felony counts were dismissed. On August 9, wife Barbara Love was sentenced to 30 days house arrest along with three years probation. The couple was charged with improper use of social security numbers and hid the fact they hired illegal workers from immigration agents. The Loves pled guilty under a plea bargain.

Some background: According to the indictment, in May 2008, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement visited Love Irrigation and told Paul and Barbara Love how to properly complete I-9 forms, verify Social Security numbers and participate in the E-Verify program. Upon reviewing 21 I-9 forms, ICE noticed seven unauthorized employees and ordered the Loves to terminate them.But Love Irrigation continued to employ them and hide them from detection, according to the indictment. The Loves classified the employees as “contract labor” and ceased reporting them to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security as required by law, the indictment says. Furthermore, the Loves stopped paying the illegal employees with company checks and began paying them in cash at off-site locations, according to the indictment. Crew supervisors were instructed to pick up and drop off illegal employees at covert locations, the indictment says. The indictment further alleges that, in 2010, Love Irrigation began submitting names of its illegal immigrant employees to MDES, using the same names and Social Security numbers for some and used different numbers for others previously identified by ICE in 2008. In 2010, Paul and Barbara Love also began falsifying I-9 forms, listing false employment start dates for various illegal immigrants while listing different Social Security numbers from those used by the same employees on past forms reported to MDES, the indictment says. ICE served a search warrant on Love Irrigation’s offices in July 2010. As a result of committing the alleged offenses, Paul and Barbara Love and Love Irrigation were ordered to forfeit $220,109.67 from accounts with First Commercial Bank. (Story by Terricha Bradley-Phillips, November 2011, The Clarion-Ledger)

Paul Love sentencing moved to Sept. 20

Paul Love, one owner of Love Irrigation in Ridgeland, was scheduled to be sentenced today in U.S. District Court on federal charges of employing illegal immigrants. Turns out, according to court records, that the sentencing is now scheduled for 9 a.m. next Thursday. Paul Love’s wife, Barbara Love, is currently on house arrest for similar charges. On August 9, Barbara Love was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to pay more than $15,000 in fines. The couple was charged with improper use of social security numbers and hid the fact they hired illegal workers from immigration agents. The Loves pled guilty under a plea bargain.

Trees along Lake Harbour Drive go bye bye!

Couch Tree Service workers are clearing trees in preparation for installing waterlines along Lake Harbour Drive for the widening project. Couch is one of the subcontractors working with Eutaw Construction, Inc. on the project that will add lanes to ease traffic flow. The next 20 months will fly by and traffic will flow much more smoothly. 🙂 Here’s my article on the groundbreaking ceremony that took place on Sept. 4: http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012209050347&nclick_check=1

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Announcement from Pearl Chamber of Commerce

Attention business owners and area managers: The city of Pearl Chamber of Commerce TODAY has a ribbon cutting at the Chamber office for a free online advertising opportunity. The event will last from 5 to 5:30 p.m.

The online advertising tool, Gobza, is free for businesses and easy to use. It is similar to online purchasing, but business owners are in control of the offer, including discounts, timeline and total number to be sold. With Gobza, a business can place ads 24/7 and receive 100 percent of profits. Go to the event and learn more about Gobza. The chamber office is located at 100 George Wallace Drive in Pearl.

It’s national Sickle Cell Disease awareness month

When someone tells you about Sickle Cell Disease, whether it’s a person living with it or a physician, what goes through your mind? It’s safe to say that you don’t know too many people that have it. When I tell someone that I have the Sickle Cell Trait, just about every person tells me that they know someone living with the disease or the trait. Sickle Cell Disease is lifelong blood disorder affecting between 70,000 and 100,000 individuals in America. Three million people have the trait – a mutated gene passed from parents to children that causes red blood cells to harden and sickle. The disease causes painful episodes (crises), serious infections, seizures and strokes because of the body’s limited ability to carry oxygen to vital organs. When sickled cells travel through blood vessels, they clump together, causing crises.

My older sister ,Teona Bradley-Johnson has the trait and we inherited it from our mother, Terry. My late brother, Terrance Bradley lived with Sickle Cell for 31 years until his death in April 2005 (Me and my siblings have different fathers and Terrance’s father also has the trait). For so long, the effects of the disease ravaged his body and organs leading up to the worst crisis he ever had in March 2005. He died of congestive heart failure the following month. Living with a person that has Sickle Cell can be hard because you empathize with their struggles and hate to see them in pain. You see them in the emergency room constantly, waiting for hours to be admitted. Not enough medication can stop  the pain, although it works from time to time. A Sickle Cell patient needs regular blood transfusions to replace the sickled blood with new blood, risking iron overload. Drinking enough fluids and getting enough rest are important. Terrance couldn’t finish high school because he missed so many days. He worked a couple jobs but couldn’t keep them because he spent so much time in the hospital. As a young girl in Cleveland, Ohio, I can remember the many times the ambulance came to our home and seeing my brother wheeled away in excruciating pain. The cold winters kept him in the hospital nearly every year. Nevertheless, Terrance was determined to live a full and normal life.

There are different forms of Sickle Cell, and my brother had a severe type as well as Thalassemia, another blood disorder. Anytime I complained about caring for him on his bad days (and believe me, he used to run me ragged), he would say, “You could never handle the pain.” It showed me that God makes people with Sickle Cell extra strong so they can bear the constant pain. And when he died, I was a sophomore at Spelman College and I felt God calling me to work on his behalf and spread awareness wherever I go.

I have volunteered with Sickle Cell organizations and held programs on my college campus as a member of the Miss Spelman College court. I sometimes attend support group meetings at the Jackson Medical Mall and have written many stories of people living with Sickle Cell just so people out there could learn more. Patients have great stories, and most of the time they are misunderstood by nurses and physicians. Over the past year, I have written stories with the help of the Mississippi Sickle Cell Foundation and I see myself as an ally and a storyteller spreading awareness. If at least one person reads an article and learns something about Sickle Cell, then I have done my job. This month, I will write stories and attend various events in the Jackson metro area. Supporting families and patients is important to me, and when I talk to those affected by the disease it’s like I’m talking to my brother again. They are going through what he went through.

When I interviewed a brother and sister this time last year, it was for a story about a bone marrow transplant that cured the young lady of Sickle Cell Disease. I was in awe! I never met someone that was CURED! When I told my mother, she said that my brother was to going be listed in a bone marrow registry  and I felt kind of sad. I had NO idea. What if I had been the perfect match? It’s something I think about from time to time. My mother is in the process of editing a book about her only son, his life, and how she dealt with the disease. I can’t wait for its release. If you spread awareness in your own way, that’s great because we can always learn more about pain management, patient and family support and research for a universal cure. Let’s break the silence together.

 

Here’s why tornado sirens in Ridgeland keep going off

From the city of Ridgeland:

“PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

Expert technicians have been trying since Thursday to find the source of a malfunctioning problem with the tornado sirens in Ridgeland. Since the sirens are passing all tests, the Ridgeland Police Department is suspecting tampering. Ridgeland police have the ability to track codes that turn the sirens on and off. The situation is under investigation. 

 Please be aware of the following:  the tornado sirens in Ridgeland will be turned on at approximately 12 noon today, Saturday, September 1, and then they will be turned off in order to avoid alarming residents. If there is a threat of a tornado, the sirens will be manually turned back on. Additional experts will arrive on Tuesday to inspect the sirens. City officials apologize for any inconvenience that this is causing residents, visitors and businesses in Ridgeland.”