ICE Arrests Green Card Holder; Community Responds

UPDATED, April 29: When a GoFundMe page was established to help the family of Joel and Jessica Guerrero of New Paltz, New York, some 400 people donated $16,165 to the family of Joel and Jessica Guerrero within days. The community grew from immediate neighbors and family to the rest of the nation and beyond borders. When we remember that we are all cousins, the world shrinks in happy ways.

The fundraiser was closed at the start of April, but Joel remains in federal custody, detained by ICE. A petition on Change.org to free Joel has attracted almost 1000 signatures and many more are needed: “Please Stand With Joel & Jessica Guerrero.”

My column from March 5, 2017, with some corrections (thank you, Jessica Guerrero):
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Breaking a Family Apart

When Will We Know?”—an ongoing series

NEW PALTZ, NEW YORK: Joel Guerrero, a New Paltz, New York, resident arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at his biannual check-in with ICE on March 1, is being held at the Hudson County Correctional Facility in Kearney, New Jersey.

ICE arrested Guerrero at his appointment on the grounds that Joel had once missed a court date—in 2011. He was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana at that time. Because of that conviction, under the rules for immigrants, Guerrero was mandated to check in with ICE two times a year, which is a rule he complied with. Guerrero legally immigrated from the Dominican Republic two decades ago and has his green card. He has kept his papers up-to-date.

Guerrero has attended every court date since that missed one, but ICE yesterday put a deportation order in effect for the single court appearance that he missed five years ago, nonetheless.

He was accompanied on his regularly scheduled appointment in New York City with ICE by his wife Jessica, a U.S. citizen and New Paltz native who is six months pregnant with their first child.
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My Mentor, My Duck; Five Photos, Five Stories

Can a duck be a mentor? To creatures other than other ducks?

If you are reading this on a Windows browser, there should be a logo on left side of the tab at top, a little green-brown-yellow blob. I first placed it there as an inside joke with myself, but the story is worth sharing. The full-size photo is at the top. (Most of this first appeared in a post from December 2013, “A Duck About Town.”)

It is a photo of a duck. My mentor.
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Throw Back Your T’back Thursday

The photo below was shared with me about a year ago by a longtime friend. He informed me that he took it in June 1994. I do not remember the occasion but I do remember the hair, and that alone tells me it was from 1994.

The photo was taken at a party in his and his girlfriend’s apartment. I lived in the same complex as them at the time but I was soon moving “uptown” in New Paltz. (Three blocks away.) I believe that at the moment he was snapping this, I was asking him to be a future roommate with me the next school year, as no one had yet agreed to join me. (I was not an easy roommate to endure and two decades later, I got mine. In spades.) We were in graduate school, literature students, and my memory of our parties is unreasonably romanticized.

1994b

I loved that floral necktie more than it loved me, as it never held a knot that suited my fidgety liking. I have been the frayed death for many ties. And I certainly needed a haircut. The unruly hair—look at that thing on my head! It’s getting caught in my right eyebrow!—contradicted the intent of the tightly trimmed goatee, or vice versa, but I presented the world a lot of mixed messages about me in more ways than my grooming back then. I am 25 in this photo. An interesting life is ahead.

This is me in 2014. My girlfriend took this photo.
2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About a week ago, Michele at Steps Times Two awarded The Gad About Town a “Lovely Blog” award and I have not taken the time to thank her. Thank you. The reason she gave, on her blog, was, “Although he’s already been nominated, I have to add him to my list.” I love that. Thank you.

It is the seventh award this blog has received since joining WordPress in January.

In the blogging world, there are some rules of etiquette in the form of paying forward the awards attention. Here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
2. Display the award on your blog—by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget.”
3. Share 7 facts or things about yourself.

In no order: A. Upon doing something new, I complain every time. B. Strawberries are my favorite food and I wish they had protein so they could be a complete meal for carnivorous me. C. Being in recovery makes every day feel like an awards ceremony. D. My love of the number 4. E. When it is fall I think that spring is the best season, and in spring I think that fall is. F. When asked to name a favorite book or movie, I usually blurt out like a nervous tic an answer that may have been true two decades ago, when I looked like the above photo, but without thinking. So I re-watched “The Maltese Falcon” after naming it last week, once again, as a favorite movie. It is still good. G. I whine.

4. Nominate bloggers you admire.

I am going to repeat something I wrote earlier this week. I have been participating for the last three months in responding to our WordPress service’s Daily Prompt, which has helped spur my most prolific period of writing since graduate school. (This prolific-ness is a good thing, too, because I am working on a terrific project, due out soon, with another blogger.) Most of the writers with whom I have been communicating regularly, several of whom ask me questions and give me applause every single day, I met via that service. My subscribers have doubled and so has the number of blogs that I subscribe to. Go to the Daily Prompt any day and you will see the several dozen blogs that I read and often like every day. Steps Times Two is really good. Michele is a teacher and a poet and a good, honest writer. I have also been reading Curl Up and Dye, written by Amy, who is exploring love and art in various manifestations, and very deeply.

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This was going to be the first sentence for today’s free-write post, but then I changed my mind: “I want to learn how to meditate.”

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The WordPress Daily Prompt for October 23 asks, “Our ten-minute free-write is back! Have no mercy on your keyboard as you give us your most unfiltered self (feel free to edit later, or just publish as-is).

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Please subscribe to The Gad About Town on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thegadabouttown

The Mag. Glass Pelican & You

The Magnificent Glass Pelican (MGP) is a live half-hour radio comedy show that my friends and I have written, produced, and acted in for over two decades. Lately, it has been an improvised half-hour, produced by us and scripted live on-air.

It is broadcast from a college FM radio station during the school year, and even though none of us has had any connection with the school as an educational institution for many many years, no one seems to have noticed our graying hair and lack of school books, so the station keeps inviting us back. Or we bribed them when we could not help ourselves. This current season is our twenty-second.

That’s a lot of comedy.

Some of the members, “Pelicans” we call ourselves, have had long careers in the creative arts, some have gone on to careers in technical writing. Myself, I am retired. Among our influences are the usual suspects: Monty Python, Firesign Theater, Del Close. The late Matt Coleman, a beloved friend and eternally a Pelican, once declared to a newspaper interviewer that we “separate the wheat from the chaff and keep the chaff!”

Each Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. (tonight), the MGP half-hour is broadcast on 88.7 FM WFNP (“The Edge”) in the Rosendale-New Paltz, New York, area or is streaming live here at this link. This is at 7:30 p.m. Eastern, and the broadcasts are not archived, so if you can check us out live tonight, thank you.

Here are two samples of our work, via my friend John’s SoundCloud stream; he is a founder of the Magnificent Glass Pelican and of the great rock/pop group, the Sweet Clementines. The first skit, “My Mother,” was written for us by our friend Brian Scolaro, who once upon a time shared a studio with us. I play the jury foreman. “We find the defendant guilty.”

And “Radio Pirates” is a personal favorite.

Again and always, thank you for listening.

The Story of The MGP

The Magnificent Glass Pelican (MGP) is a radio comedy, audio theater, live half-hour show that my friends and I have written, produced, and acted in for over two decades. It is broadcast from a college FM radio station during the school year, and even though none of us has had any connection with the school as an educational institution for many many years, no one seems to have noticed our graying hair and lack of school books, so the station keeps inviting us back. Or we bribed them when we weren’t looking. This current season is our 22nd, I believe.

That’s a lot of comedy.

Some of the members, “Pelicans” we call ourselves, have had long careers in the creative arts, some have gone on to careers in technical writing. I am retired. Among our influences are the usual suspects: Monty Python, Firesign Theater, Del Close. The late Matt Coleman, a beloved friend and Pelican, once declared to a newspaper interviewer that we “separate the wheat from the chaff and keep the chaff!”

Each Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m., the MGP half-hour is broadcast on 88.7 FM WFNP (“The Edge”) in the Rosendale-New Paltz, New York, area or live streaming here at this link. This is at 7:30 p.m. Eastern, and the broadcasts are not archived, so if you can check us out live tonight, thank you.

Here are two samples of our work, via my friend John’s SoundCloud stream; he is a founder of the Magnificent Glass Pelican and of the great rock/pop group, the Sweet Clementines. The first skit, “My Mother,” was written for us by our friend Brian Scolaro, who once upon a time shared a studio with us. I play the jury foreman. “We find the defendant guilty.”

And “Radio Pirates” is a personal favorite.

Again and always, thank you for listening.

Snow-taxia: Ataxia, Part 3

The first snowstorm of the year provided me with an opportunity to compare my ataxia symptoms from last year to now. I joked with a friend that weather like today’s gives everyone a moment to experience what it is like for me and other ataxians every dry, sunny day.

New Paltz, where I live, is laid out on a gentle downward slope to the Wallkill River, the north-flowing, rather narrow (only about 175 feet wide at New Paltz), tributary of the Hudson River. As this year unfolded, I became aware that walking downhill, even with a cane, is becoming a greater challenge. I take it slowly. Walking uphill, I can still develop a rhythm (this is the only chance I have to tell anyone that I have rhythm!) and make my way. 

Watching the snowflakes accumulate.
Photo by Mark Aldrich

I am very happy that I can walk safely. I refuse to give in to unhappy thinking about things lost or experiences that I can’t really do again–heck, I’d enjoy making snow angels like when I was a kid, but I do not know what the bottom half would look like (an angel on a stick? a realistic depiction of someone thrashing about in the snow?) and I and whomever would be standing by to pick me up (completely necessary) would pretty much erase it upon picking me up. I am lucky that I have people in my life who will pick me up if I fall in the snow. I can walk and I am not going to play emotional games with myself, listen to the inner monologue about how soon? How soon until I can not, or will not, or fall badly? (Soon enough, and my worst face plant of a stumble and fall so far in 2013 was on a sunny, dry day, anyway.)

So I ventured out this morning to visit my support group and not spend the day watching the snowflakes accumulate. At first, I was not going to risk a fall–after the first snowfall of the season, sections of New Paltz’s sidewalks sometimes remain snow-covered until around May 15–and I know that the cane is not my friend on ice. Things that I used to like about walking in winter, I no longer enjoy: the moment of unsureness, of feeling a slide start, or the sound of my boot punching a crunchy hole through what I thought was solid ground–these now represent some of the difficulties with the everyday that my new world offers me.

I safely arrived at my destination. No falls, no slips–so now I am probably falsely confident. (But I happily accepted a ride home.)