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Laura Silsby Returns To Boise Area

Laura Silsby, center, of Meridian arrives at the Boise airport today. The missionary was released from a Haitian jail on Monday after being held for over three months accused of trying to take 33 children from Haiti after the deadly January earthquake. Silsby was freed Monday when a judge convicted her but sentenced her to time already served. (AP Photo/The Idaho Statesman, Joe Jaszewski)

  • Joe Jaszewski/Idaho Statesman (via Twitter) does a bang-up job w/camera documenting Silsby’s return to Idaho today. Click here.

Silsby sentenced to time served, released

The Associated Press is reporting that Laura Silsby, the 40-year-old Idaho missionary who led a group of 10 Americans that was caught trying to take a busload of children out of Haiti after the Jan. 12 earthquake, has been sentenced to time served and released. Silsby maintained she wanted to rescue orphans after the earthquake and take them to a new orphanage she hoped to establish in the Dominican Republic; however, it turned out all the children had at least one living parent, and Silsby lacked the necessary permits to take the 33 children out of the country. She was convicted of arranging illegal travel; the AP reports that she returned briefly to her jail cell to pick up her belongings, then headed to the Port-au-Prince airport.

Idaho’s four-member congressional delegation issued this statement on Silsby’s release: “We are pleased the Haitian judicial process for Laura Silsby has concluded and that she will be returning home.  This has been a trying time for her family and friends, and they will undoubtedly be happy to have her back in Idaho.” Click below to read the full story from the AP.

In The News: Michelle Obama In Haiti

First lady Michelle Obama, center, Haiti’s first lady Elisabeth Debrosse, right, and Vice President Joseph Biden’s wife, Jill Biden, greet children in Port-au-Prince Tuesday. Michelle Obama made a surprise visit to the devastated Haitian capital, joining a long list of political figures and celebrities who have toured the country and affirmed international support for reconstruction. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Question: Do Michelle Obama and Jill Biden do a good job representing their husbands to the nation and the world?

Taking it off for Haiti

NYPOST.COM/MYFOXNY.COM - While some philanthropists are stripping their wallets to donate to the victims of the Haiti earthquake, Long Island Lolita Amy Fisher is stripping in a fundraising effort that began Thursday. Read more.

Well. Maybe her heart’s in the right place. Have you ever done anything outrageous for a good cause?

NPR: In Haiti Children Long for a Home

This boy, named Joseph, is recuperating from a broken femur following the earthquake in Haiti, in which he lost both his parents.

“Haiti is a country of children. Half the population is under 18 years old. And since the earthquake, it seems kids are everywhere — carrying water buckets, pushing wheelbarrows full of rubble, flying kites and playing with toy cars amid the tents that are now homes.

There also are many children who are alone, orphaned since the Jan. 12 quake that killed more than 200,000.” Full story.

Stories like these are hard for me to read. If you could, would you open your home to one of these kids?

How far can we go?

Good morning, Netizens…

Two days in and we are just now learning of the massive damage caused by the Chilean earthquake and tsunami waves. We should not be surprised given the similar damages in Port au Prince, Haiti, but the damages caused by the tsunami were more massive than we were originally told. It has taken that long for word to get out.

Photo: A local circus that was destroyed by the tsunami waves generated by a major earthquake is seen in the coastal town of Iloca, Chile on March 1, 2010.

REUTERS/Eliseo Fernandez

What makes this unique is that only days before the 8.8 earthquake hit, Chilean rescue workers were in Haiti, still helping clean up the damages there. Although mention of this has been made in several news wires, no one has mentioned whether Haiti rescue workers have returned the favor.

This brings to mind the question if we had a major disaster of this scope in the United States, would the nations of South America likewise render aid to us?

Another question is since the United States is currently deployed in Haiti rendering aid, and it appears that American aid is being sought by Chile, what would our nation do if yet another massive disaster struck in another country? Just how deep are our pockets?


Choose your disaster…

Good morning, Netizens…

A 6.1 aftershock has hit Haiti this morning, sending people screaming into the streets and endangering those rescue workers attempting to retrieve the dead and injured from beneath the rubble. At the present, there are no official reports of damage or reports of additional injuries from the region.

Have you ever been in a 6.1 earthquake? Since you’re reading this question, you obviously survived. Now imagine you are a rescue worker in Haiti working in the semi-dark perhaps 60-80 feet beneath the rubble attempting to reach a woman who is still alive. Suddenly the aftershock hits. Things begin falling around you in your makeshift tunnel, and you wonder if you will survive to rescue anyone else. A building, already in ruins across the street, disintegrates even further. Somewhere in a park where people are living in squalid tent cities, a baby cries. Disasters atop disasters.

Then we have Big Tajunga Canyon in Los Angeles where the hillsides burned last year. Yesterday they had drenching downpours, which usually preclude mudslides. Today an additional rainfall is predicted, and some sources suggest it could total another 5 inches. Evacuations have been ordered, and it seems only a matter of time before the mudslides cascade down the mountain destroying houses, impacting people’s lives.

Incredibly enough, they even had a tornado in Huntington Beach during yesterday’s storm.

Here in Spokane, we are so fortunate, and sometimes even during multiple disasters, we fail to see that.


The before and after of Haiti…

Good morning, Netizens…

Cartoonist David Horsey has never been particularly shy about speaking what he believes is the truth, and in this cartoon, he has illustrated the before and after of Haiti with exquisite anguish. Haiti was poor, empoverished, before the quake, and with most of its infrastructure in ruins, its leaders disorganized and people dying in the rubble, the abject misery of Haiti is little more than pitiful hands reaching upward toward the sky pleading for help.

People around the world, to their credit, have already begun a massive rescue effort, with ships and planes arriving as quickly as limited infrastructure can handle them. Still, there is not enough space to store the food, medical supplies and drinking water. The streets are littered with dead bodies, and more bodies buried beneath tons of rubble. People are still digging with their bare hands and raw implements, looking for loved ones in the tropical heat.

One cannot begin to assess the scope of the disaster. All we can do is wipe the tears of sorrow and compassion from our collective eyes and reach down beyond our reality and simply pray for Haiti.

Haiti was poor before the quake, and will remain poor for the foreseeable future. All we can do is reach out our collective hands and uplift those who had so little to begin with.


Be charitable but careful

The Washington Secretary of State’s office is urging caution in making donations to relief operations for victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

“Often, scammers use tragedies like these to say they are helping a cause and to pocket the donations of generous people. Don’t be fooled!” the office warns on its Web site. It suggests checking to make sure the charity is registered in the state.

You can do that by clicking here for the list.

Quake devastates Haiti capital…

Good morning, Netizens…

[Photo Credit] The Haitian presidential palace stands in ruins in Port-au-Prince after a huge earthquake measuring 7.0 rocked the impoverished Caribbean nation.

(AFP/Lisandro Suero)

The entire world waits breathlessly for news from Port au Prince, Haiti this morning after yesterday afternoon’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake that left the capital city in shambles with most of its infrastructure laying among the rubble. After several hurricanes had already severely damaged the island, this monster of an earthquake has simply left an unknown number of dead and injured, while rescue efforts are underway to pull the dead and injured from beneath the rubble.

However, it is dark right now in Haiti, thus complicating rescue efforts. In most of the area there are no telephones, no cell service and power is out throughout the area. At least one of the area hospitals has collapsed and there preliminary reports of people screaming from beneath the rubble.

The United States has mustered a massive rescue effort, but they, too, are awaiting daylight before entering the disaster zone. The few pictures of the aftermath of the quake in the words of one seismologist familiar with the area is one of “death and mayhem”.

As always seems the case, whenever disaster strikes anywhere around the world, US-led efforts are underway. However, even they are waiting for daylight to see how badly things stand. Even our few pictures and images of Haiti all seem to be awaiting daylight.

For now, all we can do is await daylight and then perhaps the prayers for the dead.