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Saturday, March 21, 2020

Chapter Last

Every good story must come to an end, and even sad stories, too. I ought not keep grinding away on hearts of stone. Eventually they will find some lawyer loophole in the First Amendment through which to cause us ever more harm.

Hell, they've already done that...

I mean, you saw it. I don't think it's any more debatable than 2+2=4. But that doesn't matter to bureaucrats who are appointed and shielded by carpetbagger county commissioners, always grasping for the next rung anyway.

We followed all the proper procedures to get the Medical Examiner to change the determination on Charlie's death certificate. She should want to do that, since the reasons she used to make that call are faulty (by her own admission).

But she doesn't want to. And when Joyce doesn't want to do something, nobody can make her... Well, the Commission could. But the County says no, and "our" court system automatically defers to them, no matter what.

That's it. That's how stories end.

That's how it ended for Carisa Ashe, left sterilized as part of her Alford plea after being prosecuted for the death of her baby. That's how it ended for David Ferris, thrown in jail for 3 months and subjected to death threats after being prosecuted for the death of his girlfriend's child - before the prosecutor dropped the case.

If you think about it, We actually got off lucky. Most people who tangle with Joyce don't.

Now, with a plague having descended upon humanity, nobody knows what is going to happen (a feeling I got used to years ago). That kind of uncertainty can put a huge strain on most people... Medical Examiners in particular.

This is as good a time as any to walk away from it. Like Web Guy said, I can have peace. Not the same thing as victory, but at least something.

Charlie would obviously agree. Here's to you kid. I wrote a book after you, the truth, and it will remain. Because the Internet is forever, your story will always be told, ostensibly even after I'm dead...

I done tolled it.

pH 3.21.2o

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Tuesday, March 10, 2020

4,441

The Prodigal Son came up from Phoenix in late January of '11. The worst time of the year. Welcomed home by a sunset snowstorm, the cold air felt good in the lungs, on the sunburnt skin. Slept with the window open that first night, eager to forget the long road behind.

It occurs to me now that I have spent more time without Charlie than I got to spend with him. He died in late July of '15, four and a half years after my frozen homecoming. Now it's March of '20. Do the math.

In the entirety of his lifetime, my nephew was on Earth for 4,441 days. Less time than Franklin Delano Roosevelt spent in the White House. Less time than it took us to lose the Vietnam War.

By late '27, Charlie Wolf's deathspan will have eclipsed his lifespan, and the human stain known as Kalamazoo County Medical Examiner Joyce deJong will still not have admitted that she was wrong when she fraudulently mislabeled his death a suicide.

And I'll still be here, telling you the truth about that... Why? Because I swore to the soul of a lost little boy that I would. Because that's what Uncles do.

Because The Prodigal Son didn't come up from Phoenix for nothing. Here at home, under the milk-white sky, the sunburn has long since faded. My determination will not.

pH 3.1o.2o

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Invoicentory

How long have I been saying it? Four years almost? Dr. Joyce deJong, who is the Medical Examiner of Kalamazoo County and also the Chief Pathologist of Western Michigan University's (nonprofit!) Homer Stryker School of Medicine, is too expensive for us poor wee town folk... And We can't have nice things, either.

It's not just her salary, which is much, much higher than the area's median income. The same can be said of WMed Dean Hal Jenson, whose whopping $400,000 annual windfall places him among the top-paid Administrators in all of Michigan.

It's the hidden costs of the Medical Examiner's Office that quietly seep through the banks of this shabby (and yet likeable) little rust-belt river town, which never quite recovered from losing Gibson Guitars all those decades ago.

Hidden costs like this, which we are paying for and so are you, if you live anywhere near us... Here's a big, fat, juicy, public sausage for your consumption, the dollar value that my hometown puts on my family's pain:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QBKHssrWVkiNUGjfZVLdBcqklYCp3qRZ/view?usp=drivesdk

If you add that up, it's +/- $26,000 in cold taxpayer cash that has been spent by our government against us, just in the requested 16-month window. The horrifying whole is the sum of those parts.

What for?

You can assume, for rounding purposes, that a like amount was spent in the several years leading up to this invoice batch and in the 5 months since. Pure waste.


***


Here, stand in my sister's shoes, if you like.

1. Your child dies in your front yard, even though you attempted CPR.

2. The little guy's tragic death is declared a suicide based on non-factual reasons (as stated in official reports).

3. You point out the gross inaccuracies, which may or may not have led to the on-scene investigator being fired.

4. The County acknowledges its mistakes, in writing, through one of its attorneys, but still won't change the determination on the Death Certificate.

Do you sue them? Of course she did... Well, it's an Administrative Appeal, so I'm not sure about that. (Not really my wheelhouse.)

With this information, we can see how deep their-- well, how deep your pockets are, Kalamazoo. Getting toward six figures now; salud. It's an extra large pizza with sh*t and double cheese on it, and every resident in the county gets a little slice.


***


You're walking past a long wooden fence. You notice a knot hole in one of the rough-sawn boards. You put your eye to the knot hole. You can't see everything that's going on in there. But what you can see should tell you enough.

Enough.

pH 2.19.2o

***

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Punked

I am wearing my PUNK T-shirt today. That stands for, "Professional Uncle, No Kids". (I have another one that says GRUNCLE, as in, I'm a Grand-Uncle now, too.)

Yep. Lots of nieces and nephews running around on Planet Earth. Just not as many as there used to be.

How they have enjoyed the Uncle Paul Stories over the years... This story excepted, the Book of Charlie, which is a story about the tunnel at the end of the light.

What have they learned here? They are all witnesses, these little pitchers with big ears, these adorable crumb-snatchers that my siblings have so bravely brought into this strange world. What did they see?

They saw us endure a cascade of horror shows perpetrated by our unfeeling public servants, among others.

They watched us play by the rules, follow the proscribed protocols, and get blown out like prayer candles at every turn.

They witnessed us get knocked down, and get back up, clear our nostrils and get back to it. That's what parents do. That's what aunts and uncles do. Win or lose, the good example has already been set, as it would have to be in juxtaposition to the bad examples and sorry excuses that I have chronicled here.

Charlie would give me major PUNK points for that. No matter what it may say on the last page.

pH 2.o8.2o

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

See How They Walk

This sort of thing is typical, for Kalamazoo County, I mean:

On Jan 21, 2020 1:48 PM, "Julie M. Rogers" <Julie.Rogers@kalcounty.com> wrote:

  Theresa,

I was looking forward to meeting with you to learn more about this issue that you and your family have been facing. Unfortunately, I was recently notified by our County attorneys that this matter is still in litigation, and have been advised against discussing it with you at this time.

I do support the idea of legislation to add another layer of a formal appeals process should people wish to appeal medical examiner decisions.

I am sorry I am unable to meet at this time.
Thank you for your understanding.

Sincerely,

Julie Rogers

Kalamazoo County Board Chair

First off, BOOOOOO! BOOOOOOOO!!

Moreover, the matter is actually not "in litigation" at all. As Charlie's next of kin, my sister filed an Administrative Appeal, as allowed by law.  But once again, mysterious, unnamed, unconstitutional "County attorneys" are contravening our right to representative government.

It's a perversion of public service. And they don't mind doing it out in the open.

Bless her broken heart, just as she still has faith in God after losing her child, my sister still believes in the American way. She keeps searching for hope where there is none. Keeps believing that the next person who puts up a polite front might be the hero, might be the one who will help, might be someone with a soul.

I stopped believing all that stuff a long time ago because I lived in Phoenix. I came to understand that most people in government are capricious, arbitrary little pricks, and that our laws are written down because it's the only way to make these control freaks stay in line.

Until they refuse to. We see that a lot in government these days, don't we.

I would encourage you to stand up to your public officials - elected and appointed - in every instance, Citizen. Or this new abnormal will be cemented in place forever across our sweet land... Like it is, here, in Kalamazoo.

pH 1.22.2o

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Thursday, January 16, 2020

2020 Vision

I know this is late in arriving, but can anyone guess what my New Year's Resolution is for 2020?

Same as it was in 2019.

And in 2018.

And in 2017.

And in 2016.

To keep pushing. To see it through. To know that the truth has been told.

Now, for sure, the county and the M.E. office is sick of me. They've ignored all my pleadings, plaintive or otherwise... Attempted to swindle from me my free speech rights... Denied me representation from my duly elected officials... Conspired with somebody who sued me (unsuccessfully)... Reported me to the police.

Those are all hard things to do. Yet what I am asking them for is a very easy thing to do: Check a box.

Oh, how they grouse and complain, these wet hens at WMed. I have the emails to prove it! But I could be worse than I have been.

For example, I could post a public document containing the medical examiner's personal email address, one of dozens we obtained via the Freedom of Information Act. It is there because Dr. Joyce deJong emailed something (having to do with this case) from her work account to her personal account.

Whether she's allowed to do that or not (just like faxing Charlie's release form to Martha right before she sued us, hm, Joyce?), as my attorney friend once said, those who reveal personal information during the course of public duties do so at their own FOIA risk.

But it's not a vendetta I'm pursuing.

It's a verdict.

My nephew, Charlie Wolf, is innocent as charged by Kalamazoo County's hired goons. He did not commit suicide.

I rest my case.

pH 1.16.2o

***

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Cat Fight!

Kalamazoo has a conundrum: As our little county struggles to right its listing ship, one of our Commissioners has turned on the other. They're both Democrats, mind you, opposite poles of the same planet. This has to do with the recent firing of Corporation Counsel Elizabeth White - or, "Beth", as Commissioner Tracy Hall calls her in an op-ed hit piece published in the local cloud.

For you regulars, yes, this is the same Commissioner Hall with whom I corresponded about poor Charlie's case, and was told that we just needed to let the lawyers handle it. (That was in January 2017.) In her email to me then, Hall wrote:

"I read parts of your blog. I was reminded of my own uncle and the deep love we had for each other."

Whatever. When my sister later asked her for any kind of an update on our demand to correct the erroneous Cause of Death on her son's Death Certificate, a gatekeeper stepped in between them... The Corporation Counsel again, only this time, one named Amber BB.

BB emailed my sister a horrifying cluster of words that intentionally shreds the very parchment upon which is written the social contract of all free people. The county's Corporation Counsel - they're taking applications again, by the way - deliberately contravened the citizen's absolute right to representative government, saying the Commissioner was not at liberty to answer her, uh, constituent.

(And we wonder why three out of the last nine presidents have been impeached... 10 if you count Gerald Ford.)

Anyway, BB got fired. Why is anybody's guess. Her replacement, with whom I had some interesting interactions, also got fired, and that's what prompted Hall's sudden plunge into the icy waters of public discourse. In her op/ed piece ratting out her fellow Commissioner, Julie Rogers (ostensibly for leaving a voice mail having to do with Beth's firing), she at first pats herself on the back amply:

"As an elected official, I listen to people every day sharing their hopes and dreams for the future, but more recently, sharing their fears about our government and the moral clarity of our elected officials."

Don't worry, I'm not going to do this all day. Suffice it to say that Hall gave our grieving family nothing but lip service at first, and then nothing at all. She did nothing to further our hope that Charlie's name not be smeared with the false allegation of Suicide, or to our dream that the Michigan Supreme Court will someday divest this little county of its notions of Total Supremacy.

In her published broadside, she took another deep step into the cranberries, cribbing:


"According to the Pew Research Center’s Public Trust in Government poll, the percent of Americans claiming to trust government to do the right thing always or most of the time has fallen steadily from 73% in 1958 (the first year Pew ran the poll) to 17% in 2019."


YEAH. BECAUSE OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU. People who sit by and do nothing while Kalamazoo County doesn't do the right thing.


In my opinion, Tracy's just smearing her fellow Democrat because, golly, they both have ambitions for a State House of Representatives run. They want to get the f*ck out of Kalamazoo and head on out to Lansing, so as to serve under Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Legislature (a.k.a. Snow White and the 148 Dwarfs). It's understandable.


And let's face it. Out of those two, Julie Rogers is the more attractive candidate, enough said about that. It is Commissioner Rogers who is blamed by the disgruntled ex-employee White in her attempt to deprive the taxpayers of money in an enrichment-seeking lawsuit. Beth is sort of alleging that Mrs. Rogers lorded it over her, and I emailed the Commissioner about that, to thank her if that was indeed the case.


Democrats, in Kalamazoo County and elsewhere, face a steep enough hill as they get ready for the Trump Re-Election Juggernaut next year. Infighting, for whatever opaque motives Tracy Hall may have, is not part of the solution... Especially when ya don't mean it.

pH 12.21.19


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Thursday, December 5, 2019

Living in the Past

Below is a comment my Mom left in April, 2017. Every word of it remains relevant today. It's a shame that she did not live to see justice for Charlie. Rita Heller passed away on November 13, 2019. We wish it were not so.

Take it away, Mum.

***

As Charlie's grandmother I am still very concerned and dismayed at the finding of Charlie's death as SUICIDE. The reasons given were threefold:

Suicide Circumstances
Recent suicide of friend/family
Crisis in past 1 weeks
Other relationship problem

These three things are simply figments of someone’s imagination and are most certainly not true.

Recent suicide of friend/family - there has been no suicide of any family member, no suicide of any known friend or acquaintance of either Charlie or anyone else that we know. This is simply not true.

Crisis in the past 1 weeks – there was no crisis in Charlie’s life, no crisis in either Charlie’s maternal or paternal family, or for any of his friends or acquaintances. This is simply not true.

Other relationship problem – what on earth does this statement even mean? If there was any relationship problem in this 12 year old's life he most certainly would have shared that with his mother, father, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends or grandparents. This is simply not true.


http://legalbeagle.com/8787355-mean-cause-death-undetermined.html

Problems in Possible Suicide Cases

In the same article, Dr. Panella also explains that for a ruling of suicide, the medical examiner must conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the person intentionally meant to kill himself. This can prove tricky for a medical examiner, because once again he does not know the intent if there are not other reports available to help him make that determination. If a person dies after drinking a large amount of alcohol and ingesting a large amount of sleeping pills, it might appear as suicide, but there is reasonable doubt. The person might not have realized how many pills he was taking or meant to take something else, not sleeping pills. According to Dr. M.J. Breiding of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many suicides end up as undetermined classification due to the lack of knowledge surrounding intent.

Meaning of Undetermined

Most states recognize five causes of death: undetermined, natural, homicide, suicide and accidental. The main problem for medical examiners in classifying death is that homicide, suicide and accidental all involve intent. A medical examiner may classify the cause of death as undetermined if the intent is not understood at the conclusion of an autopsy, due to legal consequences attached to such cases. For legal purposes an undetermined cause of death simply means the medical examiner cannot say for sure what caused the death of the person. For example, if a person with severe heart problems dies of a heart attack and is found to have a large dose of cocaine in his system during autopsy, it may not be clear if the heart attack was natural or cocaine caused it. If the medical examiner cannot conclude, he might list the death as undetermined.

Our family wants the Death Certificate changed to Accidental - not UNDETERMINED as that means they don't know how it happened (ligature marks and witness statements say that he was found hanging so that ought to be obvious) and of course not say SUICIDE because there was no indication of intent whatsoever either by word or written.

Our family would like to be able to grieve Charlie and not constantly have to struggle with this death certificate finding - it is almost two years now and we pray daily that the coroner will change the finding as was offered in a recent letter from Thom Canny.

***

RVH 12.o5.19

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Yerrrrr OUT!

Hey, check this out. More turnover in Kalamazoo County, specifically, in the Corporations Counsel's office. Seems like the taxpayers just can't be pleased in this regard:

https://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/2018/05/kalamazoo_county_legal_rep_say.html

Hah? Oh, sorry. Wrong one. Try again:

https://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/2019/11/kalamazoo-county-says-federal-lawsuit-from-fired-lawyer-has-no-merit.html

There it is. I'll call her "Ms. White", because that's her name; this is the same public servant who, on August 2nd of 2018, sent the following to my sister's attorney in what many people would call a hideous display of authoritarianism:

"Per our phone conversation just now, I am forwarding the following online post to your attention. This involves the Heller matter that was the subject of the hearing yesterday before Judge Lipsey. I have copied the Undersheriff as well. We have perceived this as a threat against the Medical Examiner among others and have forwarded it to law enforcement."

Yeah. And, honey, you can perceive this as a victory lap.

Covered in something other than glory, White was placed on leave, appropriately enough on Halloween. And to think, she probably left a pretty promising job for this gig, for this little place that really is.

Um, as far as taking Kalamazoo County to court goes, based on our own experience: Good luck!

Well... Bye.

pH 11.23.19

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