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Michigan Lawmaker’s Forceful Speech Rebuts ‘grooming’ Attack

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Republican Sen. Lana Theis opened a Michigan Senate session with an invocation by claiming children are being attacked by “forces” that want to indoctrinate them with ideas their parents do not support.

Three Democrats walked out of last week’s meeting to protest her apparent reference to how schools address sexual orientation and gender identity and critical race theory. Within days, one who tweeted criticism of the prayer was targeted by Theis in a fundraising email.

Theis called Sen. Mallory McMorrow a liberal social media “troll” and accused her of wanting to “groom” and “sexualize” kindergartners and teach “that 8-year-olds are responsible for slavery.”

McMorrow responded Tuesday with a forceful, impassioned floor speech that resonated nationwide.

“I am a straight, white, Christian, married, suburban mom” who wants “every kid to feel seen, heard and supported — not marginalized and targeted because they are not straight, white and Christian,” she said.

The salvos were among the latest to draw widespread attention in the country’s ongoing culture wars, as conservatives push to make education a political wedge issue. They have said they are trying to prevent “grooming,” a term used to describe how sex offenders initiate contact with their victims.

“What a horrible thing to say to somebody and not care about the consequences,” McMorrow told reporters Wednesday.

Theis, who declined to speak after the session, released a statement in which she did not apologize. She again accused Democrats of trying to undermine parents as the primary decision-makers in their child’s education.

McMorrow’s 5-minute speech found an engaged audience on social media. The video racked up millions of views across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. A tweet thread from McMorrow about her remarks amassed some 74,000 retweets.

This image taken from video provided by the Michigan Senate shows Sen. Mallory McMorrow speaking on Tuesday, April 19, 2022. The Michigan lawmaker, mother and LGBTQ rights backer who was falsely accused of wanting to “groom’ kids” by a Republican colleague drew widespread praise for defending herself in a 5-minute speech from the Senate floor. McMorrow, who has not gotten an apology, said she will not stop forcefully addressing such attacks. (Michigan Senate via AP)FILE – In this Tuesday, May 7, 2019, photo, Republican Michigan Sen. Lana Theis speaks with reporters in Lansing, Mich. Theis opened a Michigan Senate session with an invocation by claiming children are being attacked by “forces” that want to indoctrinate them with ideas their parents do not support. (AP Photo/David Eggert, File)

Prominent Democrats outside Michigan including Hillary Clinton urged their social media followers to watch, as did political groups such as the pro-Democratic PAC Meidas Touch, the anti-Trump PAC The Lincoln Project and the popular liberal meme page Occupy Democrats.

The video also was shared online by activists, celebrities and journalists including Maria Shriver, Mia Farrow, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and CNN’s Don Lemon.

McMorrow, who said she thought of most of the speech while giving her daughter a bath, said a conservative Christian woman from Texas and a gay man who grew up in rural Indiana were among those who contacted her office to thank her.

Asked why the speech resonated, McMorrow said: “There is a difference between politics and outright hate. I think people are frustrated that elected officials haven’t done enough to call that out, that maybe Democrats are afraid of talking about religion and faith openly and honestly and calling hate what it is. I think we have to.”

Accusations of grooming and pedophilia are “straight out of the QAnon playbook,” she said, referring to the conspiracy theory. She noted how the debunked “pizzagate” conspiracy theory ended with real-world consequences when a man fired his assault rifle inside a Washington, D.C., restaurant.

She said she has “felt incredibly frustrated that people have been weaponizing religion and Christianity and frankly white, suburban moms and claiming to speak on behalf of all of us. … They don’t.”

Both McMorrow, 35, of Royal Oak, and Theis, 56, of Brighton, are up for reelection in different districts. Former President Donald Trump is backing a primary challenger over Theis after a Republican-led legislative committee she sits on determined there was no widespread or systemic fraud when Joe Biden won Michigan in 2020.

Republicans’ use of “grooming” rhetoric comes as one of their own, former state House Speaker Lee Chatfield, is under investigation for allegedly sexually assaulting his future sister-in-law starting when she was a minor.

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Associated Press reporter Ali Swenson in New York contributed to this report.

Original Article: woodtv.com

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New GR Pharmacy to Serve Spanish-speaking Patients

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — By the end of the year, Grand Rapids’ Roosevelt Park neighborhood will have a new pharmacy.

Trinity Health Clinica Santa Maria began construction Monday morning on the $1.5 million project. The new pharmacy will include both walk-up and drive-thru services.

Trinity Health Clinica Santa Maria practice leader Kameron Selleck it will offer convenience in a neighborhood that doesn’t have a pharmacy close in proximity, making it challenging for patients to get their prescriptions in a timely manner.

“A lot of our patients do encounter a lot of social barriers in their lives,” Selleck said.

He added that a language barrier can make it difficult patients to get their prescriptions. He said nearly every employee at Clinica Santa Maria is bilingual in Spanish and the plan is for that trend to carry over to new pharmacy and pharmacy tech hires.

“I think this project was announced almost five years ago, so it’s here,” Selleck said. “I just really encourage the community to be as excited as we are.

The pharmacy is at 730 Cesar E. Chavez Ave. SW (formerly Grandville Avenue) at Martin Luther King Jr. Street (formerly Franklin Street) in Grand Rapids. It will be the seventh Trinity Health pharmacy in the Grand Rapids area, with the other locations being Cathedral Square, the Wege Building at Trinity Heath Saint Mary’s, Hudsonville, Rockford, Byron Center and Southeast Grand Rapids.

Original Post: woodtv.com

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Tulip Time Crowds Encouraging for Returning Festivals

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HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Tulip Time saw big crowds this year as it returned to a more regular schedule.

The event was cancelled in 2020 and scaled back last year because of the pandemic.

Hot temperatures caused damage to some of Holland’s tulips, Tulip Time organizers say.

The heat caused challenges for the 2022 festival. The Tulip Immersion Garden, a new attraction, had to close early because the hot temperatures caused too much damage to the flowers, Tulip Time Executive Director Gwen Auwerda said.

“They don’t like 80 degree, 90 degree weather. Tulips prefer it to be about 40 at night, 60 to 70, maybe 80 during the day,” Auwerda said.


Heat closes down Tulip Time Immersion Garden early

The organization is working on final numbers but saw attendance return to pre-pandemic levels.

“I do know that the carnival exceeded 2019 by 25 to 30%, so that was fabulous for them and it was packed everywhere in town,” Auwerda said.

Kevin Knight, the owner of Market Zero, said the festival definitely provided a boost as they worked to keep up with demand. 

“It’s a huge kick off to your summer season,” Knight said. “Our fridges were completely full and got completely empty and completely full and completely empty, so it was about everything we could handle.”

Market Zero in downtown Holland on May 16, 2022. Inside Market Zero in downtown Holland on May 16, 2022.

The return of crowds could be good sign for other events coming back this summer, like the Festival of the Arts in Grand Rapids. Mark Azkoul, an organizer for the event that began in 1970, sees the success of Tulip Time as encouraging.


Tulip Time has record-breaking opening weekend

“We’ve been out for two years so this is a big thing for us and for the city to get Festival back up and going,” Azkoul said.

Organizers created the Plein Air event for 2021, which combined outdoor art and music.

The 2022 event runs June 3 through June 5. After taking a break because of the pandemic the festival needs extra help.    

“A lot of people still don’t know yet festival is coming back, so we really want to get the word out. We need more volunteers,” Azkoul said.

People interested in volunteering can sign up on the Festival of the Arts website.

Source: woodtv.com

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Mom Does ‘small Part’ to Help Parents Who Need Formula

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HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Though there appears to an end of the baby formula shortage in sight, it’s still causing problems for parents, so a mother in Holland did what she could to help.

Abbott Nutrition has announced its entered into an agreement with the federal Food and Drug Administration to restart its Sturgis plant within two weeks. The closure of that plant has been a huge contributing factor to the shortage. The company expects its products to ship to stores eight weeks after production resumes.

But for now, many parents can’t find the formula they need. The low supply has some stores limiting the number of formulas customers can purchase, adding that they are in “extraordinary high” demand.

The baby formula shelves at a Meijer in Holland.

So Caitlin Dampier, a mother of two whose youngest is a 3-month-old girl, stepped up to help where she could.

“I really wish I could help out more, but this is just my small part,” Dampier said.

She got a box of Enfamil formulas that she’s not using because she’s breastfeeding.

“When you’re pregnant, you get free samples and so I thought I would just offer mine for free for mothers who need them,” Dampier said. “I kept it around in case I wasn’t able to breastfeed.”


5 things to know if you can’t find baby formula

Dampier made a post on Facebook this week directed at parents who can’t find formula. The box she received included three cans of Enfamil formulas and two ready-made formulas.

Two mothers reached out to her, including Kourtney Hann, another Holland resident. She’s one of thousands of mothers across the country who have had to go to great lengths to find food for their baby.

“I have had to go to stores maybe 45 minutes away just to even try to get formula,” she said. “It’s very hard to find them where I’m at right now. I went to Walmart yesterday and all they had was Similac and my daughter has a really bad reaction to Similac.”

Hann was able to connect with Dampier and picked up a can of Enfamil. Dampier left the box on her front porch with the message, “Please take only the formula you chose and tear out some coupons for yourself. My prayers are with you during this difficult time.”

The box of Enfamil products Caitlin Dampier left at her door for mothers to pick up.

Hann said she was down to her last can of baby formula which lasts her about five days. Now that she has received another can from Dampier, she’ll be able to feed her 9-month-old for the next two weeks.

“Being a mom is hard enough as it is. You have so many other struggles and to be afraid to know if you’re going to be able to feed your baby or not is a struggle,” Dampier said. “You want to do everything for your kids so when you’re not able to it’s hard. It’s just the worst feeling in the world.”

Article: woodtv.com

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