“Not All…” Rebuttals to Racism

Stop Racism. Stop "Not All..." Rebuttals to Racism.
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I see a lot of justification for racism and defense of the “good guys” happening in my social media feeds. It needs to stop.. White people needing to defend with constant “Not All…” retorts when met with examples of yet another cop doing horrific things in the name of “keeping the peace,” or another White woman armed with a cell phone. I decided to address it in an op-ed for the Cincinnati Enquirer.

We have enough division and isolation in our lives right now. We should be pulling one another closer in comfort instead of pouring energy into worrisome differentiating. People are dying from heinous acts within a system meant to protect and serve. These two incidents happening within a week of one another prove that racism not only exists in our society and in our law enforcement, it proves that racism is prevalent enough that a white woman in New York City’s Central Park was confident enough to call upon it in her time of humiliation.

Hopefully, the op-ed is read with open hearts and minds with the intention of making this county better for everyone. Read the full op-ed at the link below.

If you enjoyed this op-ed and want to read more, check out my Articles and Clips page or click on the links below for more social justice.

Commentary Pulitzer Winner, Unusual?

Long form essay takes the Commentary Pulitzer for 2020

Dana Canedy speaks at the 2019 SPJ region 4 conference in Cleveland, Ohio.
Dana Canedy speaks at the 2019 SPJ region 4 conference in Cleveland, Ohio.

In March of 2019 I had the pleasure of seeing Pulitzer Administrator Dana Canedy speak at the region 4 conference for the Society of Professional Journalists in Cleveland, Ohio. Her talk was inspiring and I tweeted a few quotes from her. Like this one:

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Fast forward to when the 2020 Pulitzers were announced. I remembered Ms. Canedy’s talk. Since I’m the Communications Director for the National Society of Newspaper Columnists I especially took interest in the Commentary Pulitzer winner.

Nikole Hannah-Jones of The New York Times won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary with her essay from the newspaper’s 1619 project “Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true.” This extraordinary essay not only stands out for its Pulitzer Prize quality but also for its unprecedented length. A single essay of more than 7,000 words has never won the Pulitzer Prize in the Commentary category. Traditionally, a columnist has won that category with a series of columns.  

I had to talk to Ms. Canedy and learn more about this Pulitzer selection. I was thrilled that she was gracious enough to talk with me and give me her insight about what I thought was an out-of-the-box pick for the Pulitzer. You can read our full Q&A at the link below.

If you like this article and want to read more insight on column-writing check out my articles and clips page you check out a few samples below.

Quarantine Cooking

Paratha for quarantine cooking

It was my husband’s insight that helped me plan for “quarantine cooking.” I tend to draw from my parenting experience when I write so it was nice to start with Felipe this time. 😊 While Frozen Pizza and Mac-n-Cheese flew off the grocery store shelves my husband steered us towards the international isle to load up on rice, beans, and bouillon cubes. My husband’s mother is Mexican born and knows how to cook delicious meals from scratch using basic dry stock goods.

Sahibzada Farhana Quarantine Cooking
Sahibzada Farhana

Chef Farhana Sahibzada has the impulse – to return to traditional food cooked from dry stock goods that have a long shelf life. She says her quarantine cooking habits start with lentils and homemade paratha. Her recipe she was gracious enough to share with me for the article. It’s from her cookbook Flavorful Shortcuts to Indian/Pakistani Cooking for families to try at home. She also has YouTube Tutorials for some of her recipes that are helpful.

“Most families have only so much freezer space. Instead of stocking up on ready-made mac-n-cheese or frozen pizza, save that space for perishables like meat, dairy, and vegetables. Then stock your pantry with basic dry ingredients that have a long shelf life. This pandemic has given many families the gift of time, so why not use some of that time for cooking meals from scratch, together?”

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp

Read more about Chef Farhana and get that Paratha recipe at the link below.

If you like this article about Quarantine Cooking check out a few of my other links about #QuarantineLife:

CDC Guidelines: 10 Quarantine Do’s and Don’ts for Teenagers
Asymptomatic Teens and Mental Health Concerns
Grow Flowers and Foster Mental Health: The Benefits of Gardening

Foster Mental Health with Gardening

Whether we’re quarantined or not, spring is here. We could all use a little more wellness in our lives, and gardening may just be the answer for you and your teen. As an adult, my garden is my happy place.The seeds of this love were planted as a child. I call it “dirt church” now and, it turns out, there’s some science to it. When gardening, you can foster mental health with gardening.

My love of gardening led me to a pediatric psychiatrist Dr. Rameshwari V. Tumuluru, in Pittsburgh who developed a wellness garden for her hospitalized patients. I know gardening helps me cope. She helped me apply mindfulness concepts to gardening in quarantine with teens.

I also interviewed Scott Beuerlein, the Manager of Botanical Garden Outreach, and Shasta Bray, the Manager of Interpretive Exhibits, Visitor Research, Conservation Communications & Fun both with the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. They provide practical advice for starting small and emphasized that every litte bit helps our environment.

Green space and flowers for pollinators have become scarce in some urban and suburban areas, the value of grass and roadside weeds to the birds and bees is minimal. Even a potted flower on the balcony provides an option that wasn’t there before and the pollinators will find you.

Think of the bird who finds a boat and stops to rest on its trip across an ocean. That’s what your garden provides for pollinators. Your garden, or the pot of flowers on your front porch, provides refuge for both you and the butterfly that finds you.

Read the article in the link below to see how you and your teen can Foster Mental Health with Gardening.

You might find these articles on helping teens through this pandemic helpful:
CDC Guidelines: 10 Quarantine Do’s and Don’ts for Teenagers
Asymptomatic Teens and Mental Health Concerns
Grow Flowers and Foster Mental Health: The Benefits of Gardening

For a complete list of articles by me, visit my Articles and Clips page.

Foster Mental Health with Gardening

A Better Evil Chemical?

The WCPO I-Team in Cincinnati has been investigating the risk of a “better evil” chemical or GenX contamination in our region by reviewing medical research and water-quality reports that show how much of the compound finds its way into our drinking water. While GenX concentrations here are lower than other cities, it’s difficult to say whether those concentrations are safe because research is evolving on these unregulated chemicals.

I was happy to be interviewed for this story to talk about my family’s history with lead poisoning, my water quality research for the Good River: Stories of the Ohio series and why that prompted us to buy a Big Berkey Water Filter for our house.

Along with this three-minute news segment, journalist Dan Monks wrote a more comprehensive article to go with it as well. You can read that here:

For more reading about chemicals in our water here in the tri-state check our my article We mapped out the toxic wastewater discharges along the Ohio River. Here’s what we learned. For more of my work on water quality and the environment check out my clips page.

Staying Home: Hard but Necessary for Teens

Parenting in a Pandemic

Sometimes we just need to help our kids put things in perspective. Here’s my latest on parenting through this pandemic for Your Teen for Parents.

“Parents can help their teens make something meaningful from this difficult time of social distancing. Does Grandma live with you? Does your teen have a friend with asthma? Encourage empathy in your teen with a real face. Realizing their social distancing behavior will help someone they know may change the experience from a burden to an act of love and compassion for someone specific in their life.”

Your Teen for Parents

Read the full article at the link below

For more help on #ParentingInAPandemic read my article 10 Quarantine Do’s and Don’ts for Teenagers. For more of my articles on parenting or coronavirus click here.

Are there enough hospital beds and ventilators in Ohio for COVID-19 patients?

Are there enough hospital beds and ventilators in Ohio for COVID-19 patients? Ohio Center for Investigative Journalism tried to find out.

The Ohio Department of Health gets daily updates on the total number of beds and ventilators that could be available for COVID-19 patients at hospitals throughout the state. But so far the agency hasn’t provided any hospital-by-hospital breakdown, and the agencies that collect capacity information on their behalf have also declined to release their assessments.

The result: Ohioans don’t know how many beds and ventilators are available where they live. Timely and meaningful knowledge could benefit Ohioans from a health perspective, while also helping them understand the range of public policy issues surrounding the crisis.

The availability of resources to care for COVID-19 patients could mean life or death for thousands of Ohioans.

Ohio Center for Investigative Journalsim

Read the full article at the link below

Interview for WOSU All Things Considered

I also had the opportunity to talk to Clare Roth at WOSU Radio for All Things Considered. Are there enough hospital beds and ventilators in Ohio for COVID-19 patients?

Grateful to have this article picked up by several news outlets throughout Ohio:

To read more of my work with the Ohio Center for Investigative Journalism go to my Clips page.

Quarantine Do’s and Don’ts for Teenagers

Quarantine Do's and Don'ts for teenagers
Quarantine Do’s and Don’ts for teenagers

Communities across the country are dealing with the Novel Coronavirus, with different protocols in place depending on severity of the outbreak in a particular location. It’s hard to get come consistency regarding the Quarantine Do’s and Don’ts for teenagers. Some schools have closed early for spring break, while others have switched to online learning to encourage social distancing. It may seem there are no uniform set of rules because we are all operating in different stages of the game. However there are a few guidelines from the Centers for Disease Controls that we should all follow, especially within the framework of social distancing.

This article was written for Your Teen for Parents after seeing so many online disagreements regarding was appropriate for teens during quarantine. Read the full article at the link below. Find more of my parenting advice on my clips page.

The History of the W. K. Kellogg Biological Station – Book

Some things take a little longer to come to fruition. This book is one of them. In 2012, Michigan State University’s Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) contracted me to join the history team to help them write the history of KBS. I worked on the project until 2015, researching and writing the early drafts of the first four chapters of the book as well as helping Dr. George Lauff draft the prologue. Dr. Lauff, A former director of KBS wanted to see this project through. He did. Dr. Lauff died in August, 2019 at the age of 92 knowing the book was finished. In The Founders Footprints: A History of Michigan State University’s W. K. Kellogg Biological Station was released in November of 2019.

Bonnie Feldkamp worked with the committee to draft initial chapters of this book.”

In the Founders Footprints – introduction

I am extremely grateful to Danielle Zoellner and Katherine Gross for including me on this project and seeing it through to competition. Their dedication is why this book is a meaningful reality for the station. I look on my time with the history team fondly and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to learn how KBS all began with W.K. Kellogg – the cereal king.

Also, as part of my role in the project I fleshed out interesting stories that would not make it into the book so they could be published on the KBS History Website. The story of the Van Duesen family was one such story. Roswell Van Deusen was the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary director and his family lived on site. What an upbringing that was! Read the full story HERE.

The History Team

From Left to Right: Dr. Michael Klug, John Gorentz, Bonnie Jean Feldkamp, Barb Baker, and Dr. George Lauff during a KBS History Team meeting in March of 2013.

The Book

Read the announcement and download the pdf of the book in the link below.

Ohio River Water Pollution

Ohio River Pollution. Chuck and Jeremy walk along the licking river across from IPSCO - a corporation with a NPDES permit to pollute.

We mapped out the EPA permitted Ohio River Water Pollution. Here’s what we learned.

The Clean Water Act’s original goal was to completely eliminate discharges into waterways by 1985. Yet, the permitting process for Ohio River water pollution is still quite extensive, with no end in sight, and plenty of violations. We mapped the Ohio River water pollution permits, talked to the EPA, looked into a lawsuit, and talked to environmentalists. Here’s what we learned. I hope you’ll take time to read.

“A study from Frontier Group and Environment America Research and Policy Center examined NPDES permit data from 2011 to 2017 and found that an average of 27,849 facilities were noncompliant each year across the United States. Of those noncompliant facilities, the study found only an average of 13,076 faced EPA or state enforcement action on an annual basis.”

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp

Good River: Stories of the Ohio is a series about the environment, economy, and culture of the Ohio River watershed, produced by seven nonprofit newsrooms. To see more, please visit ohiowatershed.org.

This is Bonnie’s second article in the Good River: Stories of the Ohio Series.  Bonnie’s first contribution to this series is about the city of Newport, Kentucky and community members working together to remove concrete and add green space to include more green infrastructure in their neighborhood. You can read that article here:

Read Bonnie’s contribution to Good River: Stories of the Ohio by clicking the link below. For More from Bonnie click Clips. Thanks for reading!