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Salem Community Patriot 2 - January 7, 2011


Sisters Raise Awareness for Albinism through the American Girl Doll Company


by Kathryn Noyes Robinson Kalli, 4, of Salem lives with albinism. Her older sisters, Kiana, 8, and Kaila, 10, have decided that more awareness is needed for children with albinism. The idea to have the American Girl Doll Company make a doll with albinism came when Kiana and Kaila were upset by the way people with albinism were portrayed in movies. After watching a show called Word Girl, an albino lab rat was fused with a man and came out as an albino that was evil and a thief. Other movies such as The Princess Bride, the twins in The Matrix, Powder, and countless other examples all portray albinism negatively. These two girls dream big. They want to enlighten others that albinism is not evil, doesn’t hurt people, doesn’t make you want to go out and steal, or act “weird.” Individuals with albinism live normal lives and are the same as everyone else. Their mother asked them, “What are your sissies trying to do for you? Why do you guys want to do this doll?” Kiana and Kaila said, “It is so other people can get answers to their questions that they are too afraid to ask in person. We want this doll made not just for albinism, but also for those who are visually impaired.” There are many different forms of albinism. In


Kalli’s case, it affects her eyes, hair, and skin. It is referred to as ocular cutaneous albinism. There is a lack of pigmentation in the skin, eyes, and hair, which leaves her skin and hair a beautiful shade of white and her eyes violet. Kalli is in pre-school designed for special needs. She is taught by a teacher for the visually impaired (TVI) at the SEED program in Salem, which encompasses other special needs as well. They are teaching her how to use Braille and how to rely on her other senses, such as hearing and touching to do everyday activities. If a child has albinism that affects the eyes, accommodations such as walking sticks, Braille, and seating preferences in classrooms are often made. In Kalli’s case, she uses a walking stick, and at four years old, has memorized the layout


Kalli, 4, with her older sisters Kiana, 8, and Kaila, 10


of her house and joyously runs around the house giggling and playing with her sisters. “She is legally blind, but she still has the right to be a little kid,” Kalli’s mom explained. Mom has put a positive spin on her eyesight by making a lovely eyeglass collection for Kalli due to light sensitivity. Kalli gets to pick out which pair of eyeglasses she wants to wear and she will proudly show them off to you. She also loves the piano. She has memorized the keys and uses her hearing to accommodate for her eyesight. Her big sister, who also expressed an interest in piano, often helps her when she has difficulty learning new things on the keyboard. Kalli impressed the audience playing “Jingle Bells” at her Christmas


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recital at her young age. Kiana and Kaila are very loving, compassionate, and protective older sisters of Kalli. They watch over her and are willing to do whatever it takes to make the world a better place for their baby sister. In doing so, they came up with the idea to contact the American Girl Doll Co. They asked their mom if they could call and ask if they would make an albinism doll to raise awareness for this genetic condition. The doll company told the sisters to submit a letter with their reason and if it went through, if they could name the doll “Kalli Frances.” However, these young girls did not settle for this answer. They came up with the idea to send a bunch of letters, call the local


newspapers and radio stations, set up a Facebook page and a Website, and more! The National Organization of Albinism and Hypo-pigmentation (NOAH) Board has an online community where they were able to put up the e-mail link for people to submit letters that will be sent to the American Girl Doll Co. So far, they have received over 40 letters from people in schools, online, and friends and family. NOAH will also be running an article that they are submitting in Albinism Insight Magazine in the spring issue. These young girls have seen bullying firsthand. Kiana said that she hears people saying rude things and staring at Kalli. When the girls were at camp, they called her sister a freak and wouldn’t play with her. Kalli was taught by her mother that she was perfect just the way she is, so when people say rude things to Kalli, she responds with, “It’s OK to stare; I know I’m fabulous.” Mom explained to her daughters what ignorance meant. She explained that it is when people are confused and don’t know what something is and don’t have enough information. This family is exceptional because they are fighting for a cause they believe in—they are trying to raise awareness for albinism and for the visually impaired with the help of the American Girl Doll Co. All three girls have an American Girl Doll that looks just like them. When Kalli held her doll up for a picture, she said, “how come my doll doesn’t look like me?” and tried to cover the doll’s hair with her hood. The American Girl Doll Co. needs to make this doll to raise awareness for those who don’t have enough information of this condition, and for all the families and friends fighting for a cause just like this that they believe in. Please write a letter in honor of Kalli and all the others fighting for this cause at Vote4Kalli@gmail.com. As she fought back tears, mom expressed her feelings towards her daughters: “I’m so proud of them, I don’t even know what to say.”


Granite United Church Hosts Rockin’ Christmas: The Bible in Action


by Doug Robinson The Granite United Church in Salem hosted a Rockin’ Christmas Concert Series and “message of hope for the whole family” as they opened their doors to share the joy of Christmas with the entire community. Standing-room-only audiences raised their hands in applause and raised their voices to the Lord, united in their Christmas songs of “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Run Rudolph Run,” “Christmas Eve Sarajevo,” “Joy to the World,” and “Silent Night.”


In partnership with the Salem Police Department, Granite United Church asked of those attending the performance to bring an unwrapped, new toy that could be donated to the Toys for Tots Program. Over 600 toys were donated during the concert series and many of the toys will be distributed to children in need within the Salem community. The production of Rockin’ Christmas involved the dedication and commitment over 200 volunteers during their five performances.


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On December 28, 2010, the Board of Selectmen authorized Chairman Mike Lyons to sign a contract with the town manager designate, Keith R. Hickey. The selectmen announced on December 14 that Hickey had been selected, but the details of the contract were yet to be established. Hickey’s three-year contract will begin April 1. Hickey will be paid $128,000 per year to fill the position and will have 75 percent of his health care covered. This is a step to lower the town’s budget, as 100 percent of health insurance was covered previously. Steps to promote longevity have also been set in place, explained Lyons, saying that the town manager will be reviewed once a year by the selectmen and be notified if they will be adding a year to the end of his contract. Hickey will begin with four-weeks-a-year vacation time and the ability to carry over one week a year up to six years for a total of six weeks. The vote of the Board was 4 to 1, with Selectmen Hargreaves in opposition. “I do believe that everybody in the town needs a probationary period,” said Hargreaves, referring to an amount of time in the beginning that the contract could be terminated without cause. Chairman Lyons was opposed to the probationary period, saying that the Board could change in March and that there needs to be justification for termination.


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Dana Cabrac smiles into the camera as he plays a “riff” during the “12 Days of Christmas”


Members of the band perform for the sold-out crowd at Rockin’ Christmas Town Manager Contract Signing


(front) Chairman Lyons signs the contract with Town Manager Designate Keith Hickey overlooked by (back) Selectmen Roth, Hargreaves, Covey, and McBride


Woman Suspected in Deceptive Theft Case Identified and Arrested


by Andrea Ganley-Dannewitz A Somerville, MA, woman accused of stealing $3,000 from a


woman who thought she would be receiving four 55-inch, flat- screen televisions has been identified, thanks to a tip received by authorities in Massachusetts.


Shannon Gallant, 27, of Somerville, turned herself in to Salem police on Wednesday, December 29, after police issued a felony warrant for her arrest on charges of theft by deception. On September 20, 2010, Gallant allegedly met with the victim outside the Sears store at the Mall at Rockingham Park, where the victim gave Gallant the money. Video surveillance shows Gallant entering the Sears store and walking through it, where she then exited into the mall itself. She never returned to the victim and could not be located inside the mall once the victim contacted police.


Shannon Gallant


Gallant’s surveillance still photo from Sears was circulated to local police agencies, as well as media outlets. The surveillance photo was featured on FOX 25 News and on the Massachusetts Most Wanted Website. A tip received by the Website led to Gallant’s identification and the victim was subjected to a photo line- up of possible suspects, which included a previous booking photo of Gallant that was provided by the Somerville Police Department. The victim pointed out Gallant as the woman to whom she


gave the $3,000. Gallant was brought to Salem District Court on December 29 for arraignment and Judge Michael Jones set her bail at $1,000 cash and $10,000 personal recognizance. Though detectives from Salem Police Department do not believe she acted alone and wished to interview her, she refused to speak with the detectives. It is possible that she worked in cohorts with a man from Massachusetts who was arrested previously in Salem for an exact scam.


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