Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Giggleseeds from Startup Weekend

Giggleseeds is one of the companies to come out of this past Startup Weekend in Columbus. Their first application is called itoot and was created for the iphone. I don't own an iphone, but if I could afford it I would buy one just to download this and support their new company. itoot is incredibly funny in a sophmoric fashion but hey, these guys are going to make money doing it. I salute them being able to get the company together, creat an application and even create a commercial all in 52 hours. Enjoy!

What I Did Over The Weekend

I participated in the first ever Startup Weekend Columbus! I wrote a post about my thoughts and experience over on the Central Ohio Network site. You can go over there to read what I had to say. If you don't know what Columbus Startup Weekend is, go here to read about it.

Looking ahead, to next week, Columbus Social Media Cafe is meeting at the Main Library downtown and is open to anyone interested in social media in Columbus. We are looking at ways we can use social media to foster better communication among groups, improve our community and enhance public awareness and participation in all things Columbus. Hope to see you there!

On a personal note, I've applied to a couple jobs in the social services arena. Please keep your fingers crossed. If you know of any openings, feel free to drop me a note and let me know. Thanks!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sex Offenders: Where Is The Other Half Of The Conversation?

Lately in the local news I see that reporting about sex offenders in your neighborhood has reared it's ugly head. Now before you go off on me please know that I am not advocating for complete amnesty for convicted sex offenders so don't get all worked up before you read further.

Why I said that is because the reports that I see in the media are completely one sided and seem to only work to get people worked up about it. Most news reports only focus on where sex offenders live and who does not want them there. What I have yet to see is a report on where they are supposed to live. Many who have a previous conviction for a sex offense come through the homeless shelter system and stay longer than most because of the difficulty in finding housing. If they can't stay in the shelter because of capacity limits, then they are forced onto the streets. Which is exactly where we don't want them.

Add to that, anyone with a prior sex offense is often seen as a pedophile or repeat offender although many are not. There are many degrees of sex offenses and the general public is not informed on what they are. So who really is dangerous and who is not? I'd like to see the media educate the public on that rather than creating and participating in stereo typing and further polarizing the community.

I also want to know what the research is regarding a convicted sex offenders likelihood of offending again. Is there any research on treatments that have had success? How are sex offenders being rehabilitated and what can be done to ensure the best possible outcome?

If our community is to be truly made safe for all, then we need to be having the discussion of how to make it safe with out getting whipped up into a frenzy where we wind up keeping people in prison for life so as not to deal with the hard task of finding a solution. Prisons cost more than community based treatment and are not an effective answer for anything. As long as all convicted sex offenders are portrayed in the media as the most dangerous pedophiles, the public will view them that way and more housing and job opportunities will disappear, causing them to break the law by not having a registered address and the cycle of revolving through the prison system will continue.

If our local media wants to be considered first rate, I think it needs to do a better job of balancing these types of stories. Report the problem then seek out who is working on the solution, other wise, you are just contributing to making the community more polarized. It's not just the issue of sex offenders that are portrayed in such a one sided manor, it includes people with drug, alcohol and other convictions as well. I've seen the media go on what I see as witch hunts to expose people with criminal records to the public. I just don't see the media going out of it's way to show how the community is or is not addressing the issue of effective treatment and finding long term, positive solutions.

There I've said it.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Grandpa's Funeral, What I Want To Remember

Funerals are largely sad events. It's not fun to get together as a family under the circumstances of having lost a loved one, but there are some things that I want to remember. They are probably only important or special to me so you are excused from reading the rest of this post if you so desire.

I want to remember that all of my cousins were there. It's been a long time since we were all together in the same room, there are so many of us. Grandpa had 15 surviving grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren. It's difficult to get that many people together at any one time and the fact that we were all there for Grandpa says a lot about what he meant to us all.

I want to remember how the three photo albums drew us in time and again. They were on the tables at the funeral home and again after the funeral they were available during the meal. There were pictures of my Grandpa, his parents and siblings in their youth. Pictures of my dad and uncles all through their lives. My cousins and I chuckling over our own childhood school pictures and sharing with our nieces and nephews funny stories about their parents. I even learned some new things about my own parents. After the meal, we got together and took pictures of what I like to call The Wehrle Tribe. We are a huge over whelming bunch.

I want to remember introducing my own children to their great, great aunt Kitty. She is such a sweet woman and I wanted them to know her. I wanted my sons to see that I adore her and hoped that they would pick up on why.

I want to remember that my Grandpa had a strong and deep faith. He was well known at St Patrick's Church as he had been a lifelong member. I learned that he was present the night the church burned in 1935.

I want to remember the members of the Navy that came to the cemetery to honor my Grandpa as we laid him to rest. I didn't get a chance to thank them personally before they left, but I want them to know it meant a lot to me personally. Watching my father receiving the flag that was draped over my Grandpa's casket was touching and bitter sweet for me. Hearing the words of the officer that presented the flag to my dad truly made me cry.

I want to remember my youngest brother Matt's admiration for Grandpa. I think out of all of the grand kids, my brother admired him most and Grandpa lived a life worth admiring and emulating. It broke my heart to see him grieving so deeply. I hope he comes to understand that Grandpa lives on in his love.

I want to remember discovering the stained glass window in St Patrick's church that had the words in the bottom "In Memory Of The Wehrle Family" I never knew that window existed. It is a beautiful picture of the woman who washed the feet of Jesus with her hair. Words can not express how seeing that filled me with such a sense of belonging, of who I am and where I come from. It galvanized in me more than anything else that our family has an established history. That we exist in the world outside of the connection of geneology.

Finally, I want to remember my Grandpa's love for my grandmother who passed over 20 years ago. The reminders of how crazy they were about eachother was evident everywhere you looked. The pictures of them together, her smiling at him, so many reminders of that great love. It's so rare anymore, but between the two of them it was evident. We all knew it. My cousins, aunts and uncles all spoke of how those two loved and adored eachother. After the service at the cemetery, I left with my sons and daughters in law. We had headed north and got caught in traffic and realized it would be better to turn around and go south. Going south meant passing by the cemetery again and I could see from the road that they were placing my Grandpa's casket into the above ground vault beside my grandmother. My first thought was they are finally beside each other again. I am a romantic at heart and it was this that made me cry in ernest. In my mind, I imagine their happy reunion. Goodbye Grandpa, may you and Grandma rest in peace together.

Lawrence F. Wehrle
August 6, 1912 - June 26, 2008