According to Kim

Archive for December 2007

2007 wrap up

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Good Sunday Morning!

It’s hard to believe that 2007 is coming to an end.  For me this has been a rough year.  I made some changes in my life, some changes I thought I was going to make didn’t happen and I’ve spent the last couple of months sick.  It’s time to brush all of that aside and look forward to the new year. 

What will 2008 bring?  Who knows.  Resolutions?  I’ve made many over the years only to let myself down.  Perhaps the resolution for this year is to have none.  That doesn’t seem right so here’s what I hope to accomplish in 2008.  First on the list is a healthier Kim.  After spending a couple of weeks in bed with pneumonia and having a hard time shaking it ever since, I want to make sure I’m healthy going forward.  Not that I’m unhealthy now but there’s always room for improvement.  Eat and live better!  Organization!  This is almost laughable.  I’m the most organized, unorganized person ever.  Everything has it’s place and I know where everything is but it’s a cluttered mess.  I prefer to think of it as a filing system for the creative.  This year I’ll attempt to pull it all together.  Pie!  This one sounds strange but if you’ve followed me since my first blog you’ll know where I’m going with this (I think I’ll list my first blog under my blogroll, there’s some funny stuff there).  Every year I watch this pie making contest on Food Network and have always wanted to compete.  I’ve tried coming up with some new and different pie ideas then I don’t know what happens.  Needless to say I’ve yet to submit anything.  Maybe this year, or next since I think the contest is in April. 

Blogging.  I’ve been blogging for several years now and still enjoy it.  This blog took a change of direction in Novemeber when I began to write about a local boy who went missing.  His name is Jaliek Rainwalker and if you read my blog then you know the circumstances surrounding his disappearance.  I will continue to keep on top of Jaliek’s story and bring you the latest news.  My goal here is to get this story the national attention it needs to find justice for Jaliek.  So many people go missing each year but we only hear about a handful of them.  For 2008 I hope that less people go missing.

It’s also coming up to that time of year where on of the local homeless shelters have their annual Sleep-a-thon in the park.  The Homeless Action Committee provides housing and outreach services to the homeless in the city of Albany.  The housing program is for people with alcoholism who live on the streets and have been unable to maintain sobriety.  This program allows these people to work on their sobriety while at the same time does not require them to be sober to live at the housing unit.  The outreach program brings needs of the homeless to them on the streets, such as food, clothing, blankets and someone who will listen.  If you have an organization like this where you live, please think of making a donation, it’s a worthy cause.

May 2008 bring all of you happiness and good health!

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Written by Kim

December 30, 2007 at 9:25 am

Posted in Life in general

Keeping focus on missing youth

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Web site, book designed to sustain interest in Jaliek Rainwalker search
Former caregivers of missing 12-year-old Jaliek Rainwalker are working hard to keep the youth’s name in the headlines as the two-month anniversary of his disappearance approaches.Elaine Person, a former foster parent who lives in Altamont, announced Friday that a Jan. 1 news conference will be held at the Washington Square Deli in Greenwich. There, a new Web site, http://www.findjaliek.org, will be unveiled, along with new information about rewards and events geared toward sustaining support for a search.

Also, a book about Rainwalker is in the works, Person said. It will be called “An Inconvenient Child” and include anecdotes about Rainwalker from people who have cared for him over the years. Two authors, Alex S. DeFazio and Stephen Gnojewski, write it.

“We will do whatever it takes to find Jaliek Rainwalker, shed a positive light on foster care and adoption, and petition for needed resources for adoptive families,” said Person, in a written statement from the new Find Jaliek Task Force.

The group includes Person and her husband, Tom, who provided foster care to Rainwalker when he was younger and respite care more recently. Other members include two other foster families and Rainwalker’s maternal grandparents, Barbara Reeley and Dennis Smith of Poestenkill.

Absent from the group are Rainwalker’s adoptive parents, Stephen Kerr and Jocelyn McDonald. Kerr was the last person to see Rainwalker and police have questioned him extensively. He said that Reeley, the Persons, and other former caregivers to Rainwalker have slandered him, insinuating he had something to do with Rainwalker’s disappearance, which he has denied. Police have not named him a suspect.

Cambridge-Greenwich Police Chief George Bell has said he’s found Kerr’s behavior strange. He said he believes that Kerr hasn’t been the constant presence around the police station he might have expected and that he has refused to complete a polygraph test.

Kerr said he’s been cooperative and police have questioned him and searched his homes and cars, as well as banking and telephone records.

Rainwalker disappeared the night of Nov. 1 after he and Kerr spent the night alone at Kerr’s father’s house in Greenwich. The next morning, Kerr produced a note in Rainwalker’s handwriting that said he was sorry for being a bother to his family and that suggested he had run away.

Rainwalker had emotional problems and Kerr and McDonald were trying to legally undo their adoption of him at the time of his disappearance, Kerr acknowledged.

Kerr is convinced Rainwalker is living with an African-American family in Troy or Albany, because Rainwalker, who had one African-American parent, had always been fascinated with black culture. Police said there is no evidence Rainwalker ran away, and that it’s unlikely a family would conceal a youth who has been the subject of a highly publicized search.

http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=650992

Written by Kim

December 29, 2007 at 3:01 pm

Former foster parents create task force to find missing Greenwich boy

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GREENWICH — Five foster parents who cared for Jaliek Rainwalker during the years before he was placed at a home in Greenwich have started a task force dedicated to finding the missing 12-year-old.

Altamont resident Elaine Person will head the group — taking a leave of absence from her job as executive director of a “small non-profit agency” to guide it — leading activities that will include fundraisers, a toll-free hotline and at least one Web site. They also plan educational efforts about foster care and adoption.

The group will begin its effort with a press conference Tuesday morning in Greenwich, at which a new reward will be offered and another “exciting” announcement will be made, Person said.

Person and her husband run a “respite home” for foster children, where Jaliek spent six days before he disappeared.

Jaliek’s adopted father, Stephen Kerr, picked the boy up at that home the night of Nov. 1. Kerr reported him missing the next morning, prompting a massive manhunt that has not turned up any clues to the boy’s whereabouts.

Kerr’s mother-in-law and father-in-law also will be part of the task force, but Person said Kerr and his wife have not been asked to take part.

Person and the mother-in-law, Barbara Reeley of Poestenkill, have made it clear they believe Kerr has not told all he knows about the circumstances of Jaliek’s last known contact Nov. 1-2. They’ve criticized him for refusing to take a lie detector test in the first days of the inquiry.

“First of all, they wouldn’t (take part),” Person said. “Second of all, we don’t trust them.”

Kerr said Friday that it was “wonderful” that the group was going to step up efforts to help find Jaliek.

“Anything anyone can do to help me find my son, I’m in favor of,” he said.

But he bristled at accusations made by Person and the others who have publicly questioned whether he had a hand in Jaliek’s disappearance.

“All of these people had a chance to adopt Jaliek before us but didn’t,” he said. “They let this boy down. We didn’t.”

He said the public does not know the efforts he and his wife, Jocelyn McDonald, went to to try to help the troubled boy, including an intense, two-week therapy session which Kerr, McDonald and his wife took part in with Jaliek.

Kerr has said he believes Jaliek — who had a history of emotional problems — ran away and is in hiding somewhere.

He has said he did not take the lie detector test because police violated his rights and threatened him.

Cambridge-Greenwich Police Chief George Bell said Person discussed the task force’s intentions with police Thursday, and he was “100 percent behind it.”

“I think it’s a good idea,” he said. “They want to put up their own reward and do whatever they can to help us.”

Kerr and McDonald have offered a $25,0000 reward in the case, with the amount dropping by $5,000 for each month the case is not solved to try to entice those who know something to come forward earlier.

Person said she hopes to.

She said she believes there is a lack of oversight in the foster care system, and had there been oversight Jaliek might not have been allowed to stay in the Kerr home in East Greenwich, where there was no running water and limited electricity in recent years. She said Jaliek told her he was locked in his bedroom at times at Kerr’s former home in Salem.

They’ve also questioned why Kerr and McDonald continued to receive $1,500-a-month payments from Albany County to be foster parents for Jaliek after his disappearance.

The couple’s other children are no longer in their care, in part because the East Greenwich home where they were staying did not have a certificate of occupancy. Kerr and McDonald have been staying recently at the Hill Street, Greenwich, home that is owned by Kerr’s father and where Jaliek was last seen Nov. 1.

Person said a Web site will be used to keep the public informed about the investigation.

Meanwhile, Bell said he plans to meet with the State Police in the coming days to go over the agencies’ next step in the investigation. The State Police, FBI, state Department of Environmental Conservation and Washington County Sheriff’s Office have worked with Cambridge-Greenwich Police.

The task force’s press conference is to be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Washington Square Deli in Greenwich. The Web site will be set up at www.findjaliek.org.

http://www.poststar.com/articles/2007/12/28/news/latest/doc477528af6445f952345167.txt

Written by Kim

December 28, 2007 at 12:54 pm

Please follow my lead

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On December 26, 2007 I wrote the following letter and sent it to various news organizations and talk shows.  I ask for you do the same.  If you do not have time to draft a letter or do not know many details about the case, please feel free to copy mine and adjust it to make it your own.

I am writing out of concern for a missing 12 year old boy named Jaliek Rainwalker from Greenwich, NY.  Jaliek went missing on November 1st under questionable circumstances.  This story has many twists so I’ll just give a brief description.

 

Jaliek is a child who was born to a crack addict, placed in the foster care system and after living with 7 foster families was adopted by Stephen Kerr and his wife Jocelyn McDonald.  Jaliek suffers from Reactive Attachment Disorder which causes some behavioral problems.  Jaliek’s adoptive parents sent him to a respite home, a place where parents can leave emotionally troubled children for a break from constant turmoil.  Stephen Kerr picked Jaliek up on October 31st and took him to the empty home of his father to spend the night.  He didn’t want to bring Jaliek back to the house because Jaliek had threatened one of their other children and he wanted them to feel safe.  The plan was to bring Jaliek back to the respite home the following week.

 

On the morning of November 1stKerr awoke and found that Jaliek was gone.  It is said that a “goodbye” note was left behind, although there is speculation that this note was a homework assignment given to Jaliek by Kerr.  Once Kerr realized that Jaliek was gone he went home to see his wife and they reported Jaliek missing later that day.  In days to come law enforcement would ask both Kerr and McDonald to take a polygraph, McDonald complied but Kerr did not, stating that he was not medically fit because he only had about 5 hours of sleep over a 3 day span.  The results of McDonald’s polygraph have not been released and to this day Kerr has not taken a polygraph.

 

Since then Kerr has displayed odd behavior.  He and his wife did not have much contact with law enforcement, Kerr has given several theories as to what has happened to Jaliek and has gone as far to take signs down, signs that were posted to let people know of a vigil to be held for Jaliek.  Most disturbing is that Kerr and McDonald were planning to un-do Jaliek’s adoption.

 

McDonald’s mother, Barbara Reeley, believes that Kerr has information about Jaliek and that he knows what happened that night.  Family ties have now become strained but Reeley’s main concern is to find justice for Jaliek.  When she heard that Kerr was taking down the signs that she posted, she called him to ask him to stop but he hung up on her.  He feels as if Reeley and some former foster families are out to get him.  The vigil called “Light the Night for Jaliek” went on as planned and was held in a peaceful manner and I was fortunate enough to attend and meet some of the people who are close to Jaliek.  Neither Kerr nor McDonald was present.

 

You’re probably wondering why I am contacting you since I do not have a connection with the missing boy.  I never had the pleasure of meeting Jaliek and doubt I ever will.  Over the years I have watched story after story on various news channels of missing people and this time it hit close to home, I live an hour from where this took place.  As a working parent of two, there isn’t much I can do to actively search for Jaliek.  My contribution is to spread the word to as many people that I can.  I have posted to CourtTV forums and truned my blog over to posting any information I can find about Jaliek.  Now I am reaching out to you in the hopes that you will take some time to investigate a little further into Jaliek’s disappearance.  Jaliek’s story needs national attention, the local media have done a good job with what they have but I believe with your help we can find justice for Jaliek.

 

Thank you for your time,

Written by Kim

December 28, 2007 at 12:38 pm

Benazir Bhutto Reported To Have Been Assassinated

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Bhutto had turbulent history

It has been reported that Benazir Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, has been assassinated today.  I say reported because when stories like these break one never knows if what is being told is accurate.  By now I’m sure they know for sure but the skeptical side of me thinks perhaps she was wounded and is being discretely lead to safety.  It could happen, most likely not but I have to throw it out there.

Returning to Pakistan after an 8 year exile, only to face a bombing upon her return, she didn’t back down.  She was determined to regain her position of Prime Minister and bring democracy to Pakistan.  She is a woman to be admired for her strength and determination.

Now we will wait, wait to see what the fallout will be from her tragic demise.

Written by Kim

December 27, 2007 at 11:00 am

Posted in News, Politics

Keeping the flame for missing boy

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Keeping the flame for missing boy

About 50 people gather in Greenwich to “Light the Night for Jaliek”

GREENWICH — Jaliek Rainwalker’s likeness was all around the room.

Dozens of photographs of the missing boy flashing his now-familiar smile in happier times hung in the Greenwich VFW to boost the spirits of the 50 people who congregated there Sunday to remember the 12-year-old who disappeared nearly two months ago.

“The idea is to keep this in the public eye and to let the public know we don’t want Jaliek forgotten,” said Elaine Person, the Altamont woman who watched Rainwalker when his adoptive parents needed a break.

So at 6:45 p.m. — the exact time on Nov. 1 that Person says she saw Rainwalker for the last time — the somber and emotional “Light the Night for Jaliek” ceremony opened with inspirational and holiday music.

The event culminated with the lighting of seven large flashlights to symbolize the search for Rainwalker. Participants spoke words like “understanding,” “family unity” and “peace” as they switched on the lights.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Kim

December 26, 2007 at 11:10 am

A Prayer for Jaliek

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This prayer is from “Light the Night for Jaliek”

We gather here tonight to pray for Jaliek Rainwalker, a beautiful and innocent child who is lost and needs your help to be found

A child who gave his love unconditionally and sought nothing in return

A child who could light up a room

A child who has touched so many lives

A child who is worth remembering and looking for

We pray for the adopted family, the foster and respite families and friends of Jaliek that they may find peace

We pray for the many dedicated and caring law enforcement men and women that they may be guided by Jaliek’s loving spirit to wherever he is

We pray for truth

We pray for the thousands of strangers who have been praying for Jaliek

We pray that they will always have faith and peace and love for those who are lost

We ask your angels to watch over Jaliek and his siblings, Robin, Bevin, Rowan and Kianan

We ask your angels to love and protect them and keep them from harm and despair

Lord, we pray that you lead the authorities to him

Be a beacon unto those who walk in darkness

Keep him safe

Be with his family and give them courage and strength

We pray for all those who have come to know and love Jaliek that they may be comforted, that they will feel his love from wherever he is and keep him forever in their hearts

Amen

Written by Kim

December 26, 2007 at 9:30 am