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What better way to beat the heat this July than with patriotic popsicles? If you want to really knock the socks off your neighbors though, you can’t settle for store bought. But of course, that’s why you’re here.

Don’t let the title mislead you – today I’m bringing you not one, but twelve popsicle recipes. Because today’s blog isn’t just about making a Fourth of July popsicle, it’s about making the ultimate Fourth of July popsicle. I’m talking a popsicle that bleeds melts red, white, and blue.

Ready to pick some flavors? Let’s start off with white.

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Carolyn Woodruff

The fourteenth amendment of the United States Constitution creates the Parental Rights Doctrine. It is fundamental to our society that parents have the right to raise their children and the average American, I believe, has a longstanding commitment to parental rights. Except in extreme circumstances, parents have the fundamental right to parent a child and decide what is in the best interests of their own child (this article doesn’t address custody disputes between two good parents each of whom has a fundamental right to parent). This article does address the fundamental rights of parents over CPS.

In further advancement of the Parental Rights Doctrine, the United States Supreme Court has had moments of brilliance on this issue. For example, in Troxel v. Granville, 530 US 57 (2000), the United States Supreme Court aptly stated: “The liberty interest at issue in this case—the interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children—is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court.”

So where has the societal shift happened that has placed CPS so squarely in the middle of this fundamental right to parent? I believe the shift happened with the passage of the Adoptions and Safe Families Act of 1997 during the Clinton administration. In my opinion, that Act needs to be abolished and we need to return to the Social Worker Model for CPS, as contrasted to the current Law Enforcement Model. The Social Worker Model is “working with others to accomplish a goal.” Perhaps the CPS worker would suggest a needed service, such as counseling through Family Service of the Piedmont, a great organization.

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Carolyn Woodruff
Dear Readers,

Today’s second Ask Carolyn addresses separation as a potential tipping point for suicide and discusses the recent suicides of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, both of whom were separated from their spouses.

Dear Carolyn,
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Carolyn Woodruff

Dear Carolyn,

I am a concerned mother of a 19-year-old boy, who has a drug issue and is prone to suicidal threats. He did try to kill himself once when he was age sixteen, and he was placed in the behavioral health section of a local hospital for treatment. He has recently moved out of my home and into the home of some of his friends. What kind of legal options do I have?

– Need to Know

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Venn Crawford

He might be your father, stepdad, or husband, but this Sunday, you’re celebrating him for being Dad.

There’s a lot of work that goes into being a dad. Dad brings us water and sits with us when we’re sick to our stomach. Dad walks the dog we promised we’d take care of. Dad keeps us safe from the monsters in our closets and the real ones outside. Dad does all this because he loves us. And that love right there is what makes him a Dad, whether he’s related to us or not.

This Fathers’ Day, make sure to give your Dad some of that love back, and let him know that yes, you do notice how much he does for you. If you’re not sure how to celebrate him, check out some of the ideas below.

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Carolyn Woodruff

Our first reader today finds herself in a very difficult situation: her husband is abusing opioids and alcohol, and their children are aware. She knows divorce is the only option if her husband won’t get clean, but is worried, as he supports their family. Our second reader has been separated for some time, and wants to know how divorce will affect the business he and his brothers inherited from their father.

Dear Carolyn,

My spouse is using both prescription opioids (Percocet) and alcohol. I do not think he has a prescription for the Percocet, and there are lots of cash withdrawals from our bank account. I am suspicious he is buying on the street, but where? And how? He had back surgery three years ago and I know he was using Percocet about six months. I don’t think his doctor is giving him Percocet anymore, as the health insurance is mine, and I don’t see it coming through.

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Carolyn Woodruff

Dear Carolyn,

I have an example of corruption that exists in the family court system in North Carolina. My ex-wife is requesting increased child support. When I requested all of her financial documents, she provided fraudulent tax returns to the courts in order to gain increased child support payments from me. When I advised the judge of the fraudulent tax returns and proof that I had as far as lease for rental property that she claimed zero income for two out of three years, the judge’s comment was she is not the IRS; therefore allowing felony fraud to be committed in her courtroom and participating in a conspiracy to commit felony fraud.

Dear Exposing Corruption,

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Venn Crawford

This year, Dwight and Carolyn have embarked on a new adventure – vegetable gardening. Far from any farmland, the dynamic duo has set up shop on their two balconies, where they’re growing shishito peppers and tomatoes.

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What are Shishito Peppers?

Shishito peppers are a mild Asian variety of pepper. When sautéed, they make for a delicious, healthy appetizer. As a result, they’re quickly gaining popularity with vegetable gardeners and foodies alike.

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Carolyn Woodruff

Dear Carolyn,

I am married for the second time. My first husband, who I divorced, was physically and verbally abusive. I got out. The problem is I am right back in a miserable, abusive relationship—although quite different. This second husband (and might I add my last husband) is quite controlling on most every aspect of my life. He controls all the money, and I am given an allowance as a child. I dated him for two years, and I did not pick up on this for some reason. What insight do you have that might help?

– Poor picker of husbands

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Carolyn Woodruff

Today’s Ask Carolyn answers two questions about summer vacation. Our first reader wants to know what the ground rules should be for a multi-generational beach trip. Our second reader is taking the family cat for a sail.

Dear Carolyn,

I just turned in the dates for my summer vacation weeks with my sons (ages 6 and 9) to my ex. In even years I pick first by May 1. I get three total summer weeks split as two weeks and one week. Week isn’t defined, but that is another story for another day and a source of arguments. I picked Saturday to Saturday because of my beach rental for the one-week session. My two boys and I are camping in the Rockies the two-week time. Now for my questions regarding the one-week time, which I would like to do with my parents, the paternal grandparents of my children:

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