Articles from Excuse Me...
Excuse me, are you listening?

 

Dear Readers,
 
There’s something about having the opportunity to reflect on what you have been doing right and wrong as a parent.  There isn’t a guide book on parenting because each child is uniquely different. 
Read More Saturday, November 4, 2017
Excuse me, are you listening? 16-8

 Dear Readers,

 
I am looking forward to the day that I can take all of my winter clothes to the cleaners before I store them.  I will also take my winter boots and shoes to the shoemaker.
Read More Sunday, April 30, 2017
Excuse me, are you listening? 16-7

 Dear Readers,

 
I am hoping that longer days are helping you deal with cabin fever.  It has been a long winter.  I know that it was mild but it just seems as though the sun does not stay out long enough.  The clouds seem to cover the sun more often than not.  It has just been a dreary time.
Read More Sunday, April 16, 2017
Excuse me, are you listening? 16-6

 
Dear Readers,

 
     Short and sweet today.  I am fighting off another cold.  
 
    Herbert Bayard Swope once said, “I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure - which is: Try to please everybody.” 
Read More Sunday, April 2, 2017
Excuse me, are you listening?

 

Rina Risper, President & Publisher of The New Citizens Press

Dear Readers,

 
Bullying has reached a new low with cyberbullying. This term refers to any bullying done through the internet or a cell phone. 
Read More Sunday, March 5, 2017
Excuse me, are you listening? 16-1

 Dear Readers,

 
The new year has literally started off with a bang.  I am not sure what is going on but I think that we all need to put our phones away, turn down the music and pay attention.
Read More Sunday, January 22, 2017
Excuse me, are you listening? 15-25

 Dear Readers,

 
I am so happy that 2016 is coming to an end.  I have been looking through gardening books and collecting information for my 2017 garden.  I know it may not be everyone’s aspiration to grow their own food but I enjoy it.  Even if I do not complete all of my goals, I love creating lists and information about growing my own food.
 
Read More Sunday, December 25, 2016
Excuse me, are you listening?

 

Dear Readers,
 
As the years go by, I am finding that I love to explore culture and religion.  I am willing to go a temple, church or mosque.  To me it is about respecting the celebrations and the meaning behind the rituals.  This year St. Stephens will commemorate 50 years of Kwanzaa.  I often wonder how many people have actually gone.  So I provided the press release we received below: 
Read More Sunday, December 11, 2016
Excuse me, are you listening? 15-23

  Dear Readers,

 
Dealing with the death of a loved one during the holidays can be extremely difficult.  My friend, Karen Chicky Scott, passed away on April 9th, 2014.  Her memorial service was held at Sleepy Hollow State Park.
 
Read More Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Excuse me, are you listening?

  Dear Readers,

 
Ever since 9th grade, my daughter has gone on a college tour with other students from the Greater Lansing Area.  She is now in 10th grade and has become very accustomed to being in high school.  The older the children get, the more exhausting it becomes juggling the things they want to do with the things you want to do. 
Read More Sunday, November 20, 2016
Excuse me, are you listening?

 Dear Readers,

 
I decided to take a walk recently and managed to walk two miles.  It was not on purpose.  It happened because it was a beautiful day.  There was so much to see and it was an emotional time.  I have been thinking about my father a lot lately and it has been interesting but surprisingly not so sad.  My father passed away in 2007 from complications from diabetes.
Read More Monday, October 31, 2016
Excuse me, are you listening?: Summer’s Bounty 15-18

  Dear Readers,

 
Be as encouraging as possible.  There may be people who think that you are faking because you choose not to be negative but why should you care?  To become a happier person, you must want it and be it.  While you may not be in a positive mood all the time, putting positive vibes into the universe may help someone else. 
Read More Sunday, September 18, 2016
Excuse me, are you listening? 15-17

 Dear Readers,

 
Summer 2016 has been a roller coaster for me.  I think that my children’s schedules have my mind rattling.  Most think of summer as a time of rest, for me it is more hectic.  No beach filled week long vacations or the early morning sounds of the birds only to roll over and get the really good second go round of sleep in. 
 
Read More Sunday, September 4, 2016
Excuse me, are you listening?

  Dear Readers,

 
Gardening is one of my favorite hobbies.  My mother had a garden at our home on Long Island.  It was one of her many projects after leaving the concrete and asphalt of Brooklyn, NY.
 
I actually disliked gardening as a child.  We just knew that weeding interfered with our play time.  It was also very difficult to have a garden due to the sandy soil.  I will never forget my mother going through the process of preparing the soil for planting.  It was a lot of work.
Read More Sunday, August 21, 2016
Excuse me, are you listening?

  Dear Readers,

 

It is that time to talk about healthy living during the summer.    I have been seeing a lot of people at the pool or beach not using sunscreen. Please protect your family from the sun and heat.

Rina Risper, President & Publisher of The New Citizens Press

Read More Sunday, August 7, 2016
Excuse me, are you listening?

 

Dear Readers,

Gardening is one of my favorite hobbies.  My mother had a garden at our home on Long Island.  It was one of her many projects after leaving the concrete and asphalt of Brooklyn, NY.

Read More Thursday, July 21, 2016
Excuse me, are you listening?

 Dear Readers,

 
There are some who say that libraries are a thing of the past and are no longer relevant.  They really do not know what they are talking about!  In my opinion, libraries offer so much more than they ever have to businesses, employees and the community.  My mother learned how to navigate the internet in a class at her local library in Georgia.  
 
 

 

Read More Sunday, June 12, 2016
Excuse me, are you listening? 15-9

 

Dear Readers,
 
Violence, bullying and relationships are all related.  I wonder what would happen if there were some strategic problem solving skills in the schools that could stem conflict that actually worked.  I wonder if there would still be so much violence.  
Read More Sunday, May 15, 2016
Excuse me, are you listening? 15-8

  Dear Readers,

 
A trip out of town to check out a new venue was just what the doctor ordered.  I love traveling in Michigan.  No matter where you live explore your state, city or county.
Read More Sunday, May 1, 2016
Excuse me, are you listening? 15-7

  Dear Readers,

 
Gosh, April has been interesting!  Snow and sun in the same month and it is not even over yet.  However, you can start making your list to prepare for summer.  This is Michigan.  However, it seems as though the same crazy weather patterns are happening all over the United States.  We can blame it on global warming but it is kind of difficult to change the weather.  It is kind of like your life, you may want it to be perfect but it may not always go that way. 
Read More Sunday, April 17, 2016
Excuse me, are you listening?

  Dear Readers,

 
No one ever wants to think about their favorite artist retiring.  They never seem to age on the cover of the album.  Yes, I said album.  I have no problem dating myself.  I love the time that I grew up in.  
 
To make a long story short and to understand why a Black child with Caribbean roots would know so much about Barry Manilow, I will explain.
Read More Sunday, April 3, 2016
Excuse me, are you listening?

 Dear Readers,

 
This is the start of our 15th year!  Have you thought about your resolutions and whether they have been started or fulfilled?  How about your goals?  Have you at least written one down?  Making commitments are good!  At least you have something to look forward to or strive for. 
Read More Sunday, March 6, 2016
Excuse me, are you listening? 15-2

  Dear Readers,

 
There are so many changes that are going on and after having a conversation with my daughter, I realized that she has been deeply affected by the sale of Eastern High School’s building.
Read More Sunday, February 7, 2016
Excuse me, are you listening? 14-21

 

Dear Readers,
 
Some things only happen once, like becoming a grandmother for the first time.  The sound of my son Gianni’s voice, telling me that Claire is in labor will forever be etched in my mind.  
Read More Sunday, November 1, 2015
Excuse me, are you listening? 14-21

 Rina Risper, President & Publisher of 

The New Citizens Press
Read More Saturday, October 17, 2015
Excuse me, are you listening? 14-19

 

Dear Readers,
 
Sometimes I wonder about what I will write about when my last two children leave home.  I am not ready for it.  I think that I have taught them well enough.  I am trying not to look at my experiences as a student and compare them to my own children.  My educational experience was less than stellar but a trip back to New York put me in the proper perspective.
Read More Sunday, October 4, 2015
Excuse me, are you listening? 14-18

 

Photo: Rina Risper, President & Publisher of The New Citizens Press

Dear Readers,

 
School has started for all students in Michigan.  My daughter has started high school.  I remember when she was born and how excited I was.  It is a production week and I can hardly keep my hands on the keyboard as I multitask.
Read More Sunday, September 20, 2015
Excuse me, are you listening? 14-17

 

Rina Risper, President & Publisher of 
The New Citizens Press
Read More Sunday, September 6, 2015
Excuse me, are you listening? 14-16

 Rina Risper, President & Publisher of 

The New Citizens Press
 
Dear Readers,
 
I cannot believe that school began for my youngest on August 10th.  I am not sure if I will indeed go crazy this year or just need to cope with for the first time having two children in two separate schools for the first time ever.  I wonder how they will fare not being together for the first time since they are 15 months apart.
Read More Sunday, August 23, 2015
Excuse me, are you listening? 14-16

  Dear Readers,

 
I have a friend, Valerie Smith, who always makes me happy.  Ever since I have known her she has been about truth, justice and diversity.  Despite what is going on, she always has a positive note or information that is so outside the box that it makes me smile or ponder why is no one else doing this?
Read More Sunday, August 9, 2015
Excuse me, are you listening? 14-13

 

Dear Readers,

I am so happy to actually see some sunshine in Michigan.  The flowers are blooming and the vegetable plants are growing as well.  I figure the vegetables will have to grow until October because it did not get warm until the beginning of June. 

Read More Monday, July 13, 2015
Excuse me, are you listening? 14-11

  Dear Readers,

 
How often have you heard someone talking about the need to possess a more healthy positive attitude?     It is a subject that is being implemented by many but there are some who only use "positivity"  for certain subjects or certain things
Read More Sunday, June 14, 2015
Excuse me, are you listening? 14-10

 

Dear Readers,
 
Why wait to create a bucket list?  A bucket list is a list of all of the goals you want to fulfill, dreams that you have and what you want to experience in your life before you leave this earth.  On May 15, 2015, I rode in the Pride Ride 2015 on a motorcycle.  It was my first time.  I am grateful that I rode.
 
Read More Sunday, May 31, 2015
Excuse me, are you listening?

 

Dear Readers,

Most of us are not really paying attention all the time to our behavior and how it may impact others.  If you really want a good idea of what kind of person you are just ask the people who are around you every single day. 

Read More Sunday, May 17, 2015
Excuse me, are you listening? 14-8

Rina Risper, President & Publisher of The New Citizens Press

Dear Readers,

Our nation is going through an interesting time.  Rioting has been occurring all over the world for some time. Each group has specific grievances. Please educate yourself regarding the history before making comments that are ignorant or less than helpful.
Read More Sunday, May 3, 2015
Excuse me, are you listening? 14-6

 Dear Readers,

 
I absolutely love the library.  Every chance I get I visit one.  I love picking up the papers that tell me about what it going on, the various newspapers and watching people read.  I find it most interesting to watch the differences between the magazine readers and the book readers. 
Read More Sunday, April 5, 2015
Excuse me, are you listening? 14-3

 

Dear Readers,
 
In the last edition, I wrote a little bit about my “high risk traffic” stop on Sunday, February 1, 2015 by the Lansing Police Department.  I can truthfully say that I am still traumatized by the entire situation.  I thank God that I came out of it in one piece.  I did comply fully and at no time questioned the stop. 
Read More Sunday, February 22, 2015
Excuse me, are you listening? 14-2

 

Dear Readers,
 
A lot of celebrations and acknowledgements going on during the short month of February.  It is Black History Month. It is TNCP’s anniversary month. It is also a month of heart wellness and love.
Read More Sunday, February 8, 2015
Excuse me, are you listening? 14-2

  Dear Readers,

 
In this edition,  we start our 14th year.  It has been really amazing thus far.  We are having a celebration in conjunction with the Lansing Black Chamber of Commerce at their February mixer on Thursday, February 12th from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Plant Professionals.  They are located at 16886 Turner Street, Lansing, MI 48906.  Please RSVP to reshane_lonzo@yahoo.com before February 7, 2015.  The place is beautiful!
 
Read More Sunday, January 25, 2015
Happy New Year 2015! Excuse me, Are You Listening? 13-25
 
Photo by Darryl Evans - 
Pure Enchantment Photography
 
Dear Readers,
 
FEELING SICK??? Have you checked your toxicity level? Take a few deep breaths, get out your pencil and make a list of people that you need to part with in 2015. Toxic people need to be eliminated from your life. 
Read More Sunday, December 28, 2014
Excuse me are you listening? 13-24

 Dear Readers,

There has been shift in my consciousness.  I am a mother of a teenager.  When I started the paper, Anissa was a baby.  She no longer wants to hear the stories about how funny she was or that she used to steal her brother’s food.

 
Read More Sunday, December 14, 2014
Excuse me, Are you Listening? 13-23

  Dear Readers,

 
Thanksgiving, Christmas and the holidays are the perfect time to plan dinners and try new recipes.  This holiday season, I can truthfully say that I am somewhat unprepared.  
Read More Sunday, November 30, 2014
Excuse me are you listening? 13-22

Dear Readers,

 
It has been an interesting two weeks.  I am on a cleaning splurge.  Happy new new year.  I plan on having my paper hoarding in order.  I did the kind of cleaning that makes more of a mess first.  It was the best type of cleaning.  It is even better when you use your shredder so much that it overheats. It is wonderful when you get to take trash to the dump and recycle items that can be. 
Read More Sunday, November 16, 2014
Excuse Me, are you listening? 13-20

  Dear Readers,

 
As adults, we may get caught in a rut of doing the same things over and over.  When that happens our children and others around us get caught in the same rut.  If you have not noticed we have been printing stories about travel.  Some places are as far away as China and others are close like Royal Oak, MI.  We have a responsibility to ourselves and those around us to encourage travel and broadening of the mind.
Read More Monday, October 20, 2014
Excuse Me, are you listening? 13-19

  Dear Readers,

 
There is a lot going on in the world. These are very complicated and challenging times and may be depressing for many.  Mental illness and depression are serious business.
Read More Sunday, October 5, 2014
Excuse Me, are you listening? 13-18

 

Dear Readers,
 
It is that time of year when I begin to clean up my life.  I begin the process of getting ready for winter.  I prefer to do things without the hindrance of snow and a coat on.  It takes so much longer to do things when it is snowing.  
 
Read More Sunday, September 21, 2014
Excuse me are you listening? 13-13

  Dear Readers,

 
The 4th of July parade was amazing.we had over 125 people with us.  It was a beautiful day as well.
 
Read More Saturday, September 13, 2014
Excuse me, are you listening? 13-16

 

Dear Readers,
 
It always warms my heart when I get feedback from our readers.  Imagine what it is like in my neck of the woods.  I know that the newspaper moves quickly, however, I do not know each person who reads it.  It is odd in that kind of way.  When someone calls, emails or writes me a letter I am always intrigued.  When someone is waiting at the newspaper box for the delivery or in a waiting room reading the newspaper, I always start smiling.  It makes me feel connected, as I am now alone typing tucked away in a quiet corner of my office.
 
Read More Sunday, August 24, 2014
Excuse me, are you listening? 13-15

 Dear Readers,

 
My mother, Kay Carrington, was just in Lansing for a visit.  She is is too funny.  My friend, Belinda Thurston, owner of JustBYoga, is compiling a cookbook.  She asked  some of her friends to contribute.  I can cook.  However, I mostly cook Caribbean food.
Read More Sunday, August 10, 2014
Excuse me are you listening? 13-12

 

Dear Readers,
 
Even though summer has just started, it has brought us much rain in Michigan.  I am pleased about it though because the water bill for keeping the plants looking great outside the office will not cost a fortune.  
Read More Sunday, June 29, 2014
Excuse me, are you listening? 13-11

  Dear Readers,

 
What an interesting two weeks it has been.  This week has been about setting boundaries with people who do inappropriate things or act inappropriately.
 
Read More Sunday, June 15, 2014
Excuse Me? 13-10


I cannot believe that summer is finally here.  Well, at least I think it is.  I am hoping that we do not see a hail storm or snow this summer but based on our winter, I am not too sure that we will not.

 

By Rina Risper

 

 

Read More Sunday, June 1, 2014
Excuse me, are you listening? 13-4

 

Dear Readers,
 
It has been an interesting winter.  I think I have shoveled more this year than I ever have before.  I tell myself,   ”This is awesome way to keep in shape.”
 
The things that we do to make sure that we are comfortable with the things we are not really happy doing.
 
Read More Sunday, March 9, 2014
Excuse me, are you listening? 13-3

  Dear Readers,

 
Women’s History Month is in March.  I have always found it to be an interesting time.  I make it my business both during February and March to learn an abundance more about black history and women’s history. Being a woman and black, it is important for me to learn more.  I also must get in some Latino history as well.
Read More Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Excuse me, are you listening? 12-24

Dear Readers,


As we come to the close of 2013, I pray that you are taking care of yourself. The holidays are really hard for some in different ways. It always astonishes me when I see family members acting

as caregivers and the amount of time it takes to actually live for two people.

Read More Sunday, December 15, 2013
Excuse me, are you listening? 12-23
On May 11, TNCP CAN was featured on "Lansing Online Radio" at WLNZ 89.7 Lansing Community College radio.  Nacho Bermudez, father of Ignacio "Notch"  Bermudez; Vivian Bodiford, mother of James Edward Jones III; Karen Chicky Scott, TNCP CAN volunteer and Lori Black, mother of Shayla Johnson. Bermudez, Bodiford and Black all spoke about their murdered loved one.
 
TNCP photo
 
Dear Readers,
 
This year has been  a really good year.  The newspaper is about to go in another direction.  I have gone in another direction as well.  Resigning from my position as the President of Walnut Neighborhood Organization after 3 years was one of the best decisions that I could have made.
Read More Sunday, December 1, 2013
Excuse me, are you listening? 12-20
Dear Readers,
 
Over the past year, I have learned about several experiences with people I care about having house fires.  Please be very careful.  When you read this letter, please make yourself a note to change the batteries in your fire detectors.   Now is the time for us all to check and make sure that we inspect our homes for fire hazards before winter arrives.  You may even need to hire someone to help you especially if your house is older. 
Read More Sunday, October 20, 2013
Excuse me, are you listening? 12-19
Amir and Anissa Risper, 6th and 7th grade, in their cross country uniforms at Bath High School.  They are running for Windemere Park Charter Academy.  TNCP photo
 
Dear Readers,
 
I can not remember my mother ever signing me up for sports.  Indeed she drove a station wagon but I think it was to cart the planting and gardening supplies she needed.  I learned plenty of things from her but sports was not on the top of the list. 
Read More Monday, October 7, 2013
Apocalypse Lifestyle
 Rina Risper will return in the next edition with “Excuse me are you listening?”.  Her son, Gianni Risper has been writing for the paper for almost 5 years.  He is a 21-year-old student at Lansing Community College.
“Apocalypse Lifestyle”
 
Read More Sunday, September 22, 2013
Excuse me, are you listening? 12-15
Dear Readers,
 
I got an envelope in the mail. It was from the person who usually sends me loving messages about God or quotes from the Bible.     It is always anonymous.  They never sent anything that was discriminatory in nature.   The handwriting was familiar on the envelope and I was excited to see what was sent. 
Read More Sunday, August 11, 2013
Excuse me, are you listening? 12-14
Dear Readers,
 
Politics is like marriage, if you do not want the other side to look positive, win, be better than or look positive, then you must do everything in your power to make the other side look bad so that you can look good.  
Read More Sunday, July 28, 2013
Excuse me, are you listening? 12-13
Tragedy Strikes:  Fireworks, Murder, Depression and Suicide
 
Dear Readers,
 
The Fourth of July is always going to be bittersweet for me.  I love the celebrations, barbecues and picnics.  I love marching in the Lansing Fourth of July parade with The New Citizens Press Community Action Network's (TNCP CAN's) Stop the Violence group. This year we had almost 80 people marching with us this year.  
Read More Sunday, July 14, 2013
Excuse me, are you listening? 12-12
Dear Readers,
 
Where does the time go?  Twelve years later, The New Citizens Press is still here.  We are different and providing the opportunity to get information out to the community and that is so important to us.  We still need to hear from you though.  We get the most interesting inquiries, telephone calls and visitors.  We appreciate any communication that we have with the public.  Every single day, I wish that I was perfect and did not make one mistake but that is a long shot for any business or individual.
Read More Sunday, June 30, 2013
Excuse me, are you listening? 12-11

Dear Readers,

 
It is always my ultimate goal to find things, meetings and resources that help people.  The one thing I know to be true is that most people are trying to better themselves.  It is of utmost importance. 
Read More Sunday, June 16, 2013
Excuse me, are you listening? 12-10
Dear Readers,
 
I have been really happy this week. We get so wrapped up in our issues that we do not realize that being happy is important.  I recognize that when I complain about some issues that I do not really have, I am only hurting myself.  Putting  it out into the universe does not make it any easier to deal with.  I am still learning that with good friends who make me laugh when I do not have the ability to separate work from play but everything is a learning lesson in love.
Read More Monday, June 3, 2013
Excuse me, are you listening? 12-9
Dear Readers,
 
I have always believed in miracles. When I saw the first television interview with Charles Ramsey about the 3 women missing in Cleveland, OH, I was amazed. How does a man find a woman trying to break out of a house and then kicks the door in?
Read More Monday, May 20, 2013
Excuse me, are you listening? 12-8
Dear Readers,
 
Today we will have a guest writer.  What a long week.
 
Love People,
 
Rina Risper
 
P.S.  You can find us on Linkedin, Twitter and facebook.  Social media has been very interesting for us.  I try to get to know each person and have now made it my business to meet a new facebook friend each month.  I hope you have been feeling spectacular.
Read More Sunday, May 5, 2013
Excuse me, are you listening? 12-7
Dear Readers,
 
I love the cliche, "Your future starts now".  Of course every minute that passes by is your future.  We invest in our future with every breath we take.  Sure economic security is going to be paramount as we deal with words like "sequester", "foreclosure" or "downsizing".
Read More Sunday, April 21, 2013
Excuse me, are you listening? 12-6

Dear Readers,

 
I love what I do. At times I must rejuvenate and reassess.   It is not easy when you must figure out whether your health is worth the paycheck.  We all must work.  Some of us have to invest more time than others to parental duties.
Read More Sunday, April 7, 2013
Excuse me, are you listening? 12-5

 

Playing by the Rules
 
Dear Readers,
 
It amazes me how some play by different rules. I mean the real  and hold you accountable rules, they totally disregard. That is not what individuals or businesses should do. Sooner or later, the uncertainty of failing is much higher than it was before no matter how high you believe you have climbed. Playing by different rules is about thinking critically not connivingly. 
 
Read More Sunday, March 24, 2013
Excuse me, are you listening? 12-4
 

Dear Readers,
 
While uploading archives, it is interesting to read letters that I wrote years ago.  I get so excited reading them over again.  This "Excuse me, are you listening?"  was printed in our 4th year and was twenty-fourth edition.  
 
Read More Sunday, March 10, 2013
Excuse me, are you listening? 12-3
Dear Readers,
 
I know that we worry a lot about our children.  I am worried a lot about the littlest things when it comes to them because I am not directly knowledgeable about all of  their thoughts or emotions at all times. 
Read More Sunday, February 24, 2013
Excuse me, are you listening? 12-1
Dear Readers,
 
I just went on a well-deserved vacation and spent time with myself. While planning my trip I was so excited about the possibilities. Visiting a Caribbean island should be one of adventure. However, for me it was always about making sure that I visited as many relatives that I could while I was there. I have been going since I was a child but never got to see it from the perspective of solely being a guest.
Read More Sunday, January 27, 2013
Excuse me, are you listening? 11-26
Dear Readers,
 
I have noticed that 2013 is a year for paying it forward and showing more love.  A lot of new resolutions this January. Unconditional love for others is going to be important when we attempt to combat the things that do not make us happy.
Read More Sunday, January 13, 2013
Excuse me, are you listening? 11-25
Good friendships are going to be a matter of paramount importance in 2013.  Left to right:  Rina Risper, President and Publisher of The New Citizens Press, Heather Jarous, owner of City Salon and Ena Busby, Proprietor of the Creole Gallery.  Courtesy photo
 
Dear Readers,
 
What are you waiting for?  Why not live your life to its fullest now?  The cycle of life will continue with or without you.  That is one fact that is not going to change.  Reflection, renewal and revival is our mantra in 2013. 
Read More Friday, December 28, 2012
Excuse me, are you listening? 11-24
Dear Readers,
 
We as people have a lot of work to do.  When it comes to negativity and reflecting on our views towards others, it is prudent sometimes to just keep your thoughts to yourself.  
Read More Sunday, December 16, 2012
Excuse me, are you listening? 11-23
Dear Readers,
 
Healthy minds and bodies are an important part of living a quality life. No matter where you are in your life, imagine yourself stronger and full of energy.  
Read More Sunday, December 2, 2012
Excuse me, are you listening? 11-22
Dear Readers,
 
I am feeling the excitement in the air as the holiday festivities and invitations begin to roll in.  Please remember those who have had a painful year. 
Read More Monday, November 19, 2012
Excuse me, are you listening? 11-19
Dear Readers,
 
To be honest, they have been asking me to visit them for 5 years.  I never wanted to go so I just ignored the request or I would make up an excuse.  I did take the information from members of their group and printed some of the letters, the stories and the like
Read More Sunday, October 7, 2012
Excuse me, are you listening? 11-18

Dear Readers,

The gift of giving is so important.  When I was a child, my Auntie Barbara was my favorite.  She was the coolest and hippest person that I knew.  She lived about 30 minutes away and she had 2 sons that were around my age.

Read More Sunday, September 23, 2012
Excuse me, are you listening? 11-17
I had the opportunity on numerous occasions to perform with Robert “Bob” Rentschler pictured above (and his wife because she was always his constant companion).  Even though he passed away recently, his energy will be felt for millenniums.  Yes, he lived his life abundantly.  He is shown here in a photo from his book “4 Against The Wall”.
 
 
 
Read More Sunday, September 9, 2012
Excuse me, are you listening? 11-16
Dear Readers,
 
I love music and I am trying to get as many people to sing or play as possible.  Even if you sing in the shower there is hope.
 
You may not think that you are good at it but there are all types of opportunities for you to try.
Read More Monday, August 27, 2012
Excuse me, are you listening? 11-15

All smiles:  William Hubbell (left)  and Amir Risper (right) were both on the Capitol steps in Lansing, MI to celebrate their birthdays on Thursday, July 19, 2012 during Poetry in the City. Fifty-five years separated them as Rosemarie "One Single Rose" Wilson sang her own rendition of "Happy Birthday" to them in the pouring rain. The other thing they had in common was the opportunity to have 100 people sing to them.  TNCP photo

Read More Sunday, August 12, 2012
Excuse me, are you listening? 11-14
Dear Readers,
 
Why is it so hard for people to apologize?  It is one of the best ways to smooth over a situation, regain trust or show someone you love  or respect them.
Read More Sunday, July 29, 2012
Excuse me, are you listening? 11-13
Dear Readers,
 
The summer is flying by.  Michigan, oh sweet Michigan, why is your weather so crazy.  We have flucuations in weather that are just too much to bear.  One day it is 100 degrees and the next it is 75 degrees. Then when you go to work in the summer it is always 50 degrees.  It seems to be quite scary.  Then again, everything is causing concern or so it seems.  
Read More Thursday, July 19, 2012
Excuse me, are you listening? 11-12
Dear Readers,
 
In the June 3, 2012 -  June 16, 2012 edition we did a story entitled “The Legacy Project: Stories of Lansing's African American Families: Lonnie Johnson”.  I am so sorry to say that he passed away on June 23, 2012.
Read More Sunday, July 15, 2012
Excuse me, are you listening? 11-11

Dear Readers,

This edition will be printed just in time for Father’s Day but it is time that we really start recognizing the contributions of fathers with respect first.

We all know that there are fathers who are not a part of their children’s lives but we also have mothers who are not as well.

Read More Sunday, June 17, 2012
Excuse me, are you listening? 11-10

Dear Readers,
 
I know that we worry a lot about our children.  I am worried a lot about the littlest things when it comes to them because I am not directly knowledgeable about all of  their thoughts or emotions at all times.  The one thing that I do know is that we as parents have the most influence on our children.

Read More Sunday, June 3, 2012
Excuse me, are you listening? 11-9
Dear Readers, 
 
I am only assuming that I am not the only one who has a deep appreciation for the arts.
 
As I look back on my early education growing up in New York, I can always remember the painting projects, museum trips, dance classes and school plays that help shaped my future.
Read More Sunday, May 20, 2012
Excuse me, are you listening? 11-9

Dear Readers,

On Saturday, April 28th, 2012, I was one of three responsible for one of the most emotional events I have ever experienced, the "Keep the P.E.A.C.E. & Stop the Violence" march. It was my first time being involved in the process. I spent countless hours visiting churches and other groups to get support for this initiative and when I woke up the clouds were threatening and it was chilly. I was undaunted. 

Read More Sunday, May 6, 2012
Excuse me, are you listening? 11-7
Dear Readers, 
 
Passion. Passion. Passion.  I know that I have not been honest with myself.  How many of us actually admit that we have issues?  My issues are ones that I make up myself.  Your issues are probably as negative as mine.  How we may differ is that when I take a mental break I try to make sure I clock back in, in a timely manner.  It is like being late from lunch.  Even though you are only a few minutes late, you are still late!  The guilt may last for an hour.  Your coworkers may look at you as though you came back from lunch with mustard on your shirt.  Your boss has the “silly rabbit you are late” look on her face. 
Read More Sunday, April 22, 2012
Excuse me, are you listening? 10-4
Dear Readers,
 
I am hoping that you are concentrating on what you do best and not judging others for what you believe they should be doing better.  Have you ever noticed that people who are always upset and negative are always complaining and not trying to find solutions?  It is always interesting when people begin to attack because they feel as though you need to agree with everything they say.  I think that instead of being frustrated, you should smile.  The only thing you can do is change the way you feel.
Read More Sunday, March 11, 2012
Excuse me, are you listening? 11-2
Dear Readers,
 
The most innocent things can make for the most interesting memories.
 
I was scanning my Facebook page (that is what you do while you are working on two computers) and I saw a link for a craft.
Read More Monday, February 13, 2012
Excuse me, are you listening? 11-1
Dear Readers,
 
I must be getting old.  I must be getting wiser.  Working with people in Lansing, I know I am getting smarter.
 
I am hoping that every single person that picks up the newspaper, will benefit from something that was read in it.
 
I love people.  Amazingly so not everyone does.  I did not say that I did not like the way some people are.  I said I love people.  I love them in all of their spaces.  While I may choose not to be around them, talk to them or do business with them, I still love them for just who they are.  I do not have a choice.
Read More Sunday, January 29, 2012
Excuse me, are you listening? 10-26
Dear Readers,
 
I am noticing that plenty of people are resolving to be happier this year.  I think that is an amazing possibility for all.  This year, I will do things differently.  I will work harder on my imperfections.  I will work harder at listening more.  I will work harder to be a better businessperson.  I will work harder to accept responsibility for the things I have done in the past without excuses.  
Read More Monday, January 16, 2012
Excuse me, are you listening? 10-25
Dear Readers,
 
Live Simply. Take Chances. Love people!  Our mantra for 2012 is derived from our current and past sense of renewal. We love Lansing.  We love Michigan.  We have hope and suggest that you find it in your soul as well.  The new year will be particularly interesting as I move into new spaces and leave sluggish spaces in the past.  We are ushering The New Citizens Press right along as well. 
Read More Sunday, January 1, 2012
Excuse me, are you listening? 10-24
Dear Readers,
 
 
It is a very interesting time.  I become very concerned when people say, “They are taking the Christ out of  Christmas”.  Who is “they”?   When I see statements like that and how many people believe that I am kind of confused.   Who is waging this new world religious psychological warfare? No one can take the Christ out of  my Christmas.   How does one believe that "they" are in control of what "you" believe?  Sounds, tricky to me.  When I see Christians being mean about it and using aggressive language, in my humble opinion, those types of statements do nothing for peace, joy and happiness on earth.  Behaving badly over saying "Happy Holidays" is not very Christ-like.  We live in an amazing world with so many different people and we should embrace who we are and respect who they are. 
Read More Sunday, December 18, 2011
Excuse me, are you listening? 10-23

Dear Readers,

When it decided to snow, we really got hit hard.  It reminded me that in a split second things can change. 

Read More Sunday, December 4, 2011
Excuse me are you Listening? 10-22

Dear Readers,

I watched my friend, Kristen Taylor, sip on a glass of tonic water as we sat in an area in front of the bar at Xiao China Grille & Lounge located at 3415 East Saginaw Street in Lansing, MI.

Read More Sunday, November 20, 2011
Excuse me, are you listening? 10-21
Dear Readers,
 
Thanksgiving is a very special time for most.  It is a time when friends and family should be giving thanks for all of the blessings that have been bestowed upon them during the year.
Read More Sunday, November 6, 2011
Excuse me, are you listening? 10-20

Dear Readers,
 
In August, I heard one of the most interesting quotes:
“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.”

– Ben Okri

Read More Sunday, October 23, 2011
Excuse me, are you listening? 10-19
Dear Readers,
 
I have been head over heels in love with life these days.  Things are going good.  I have loyal friends.  Business is getting better.  I am more focused.  I am branching out more.  I spend a lot of time on the phone and email with non related business issues.  I am cutting back.  
Read More Sunday, October 16, 2011
Excuse me, are you listening? 10-18
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
My mother conjures memories of recycling in a whole new and different way. I wonder if I am living up to her expectations? 
 
Dear Readers,
 
Surround yourself and your family with healthier and happier people and great things will begin to happen!
Read More Saturday, September 24, 2011
Excuse me, are you listening? 10-17
Dear Readers,
 
There was no way to prepare for it.  When Captain called, I checked my calendar hoping that I had appointments but I did not.  My calendar was totally open for Labor Day.  I told him to check and see if the place was open.  What facilities are open on a state holiday?  I was pensive, not really afraid because I just knew the place would be closed.  
Read More Saturday, September 10, 2011
Excuse me, are you listening? 10-16
Dear Readers,
 
When was the last time you had an entirely happy summer?  I have had just that.  It has been filled with good friends and good times.  I am feeling so amazing!  
 
Read More Saturday, August 27, 2011
Excuse me, are you listening? 10-15
Dear Readers,
 
I have  not been writing much about my children Amir, 9, and Anissa 10, much because I did not want them to be upset.  I remember a tearful Anissa in about the 2nd grade saying, “I do not like when you tell people all my business, Mommy.”
Read More Saturday, August 13, 2011
Excuse me, are you listening? 10-14

Dear Readers,

Life is quite amazing.  Spend time with those who are worth it.  Those who are not worth spending your time with find another space for them.  This summer, I have decided to spend more time with my family and it has been a hilarious time.

Read More Saturday, July 30, 2011
Excuse me, are you listening?

Dear Readers,

Oftentimes, we don't want to discuss issues that impact us.  We get emotional and would prefer not to talk about it for fear of the way others will react to us.  I found a quote while browsing the web and thought it was interesting.  I posted it because Ms. Mildred Loving said it and I wondered how people would respond to it.  I did not realize that so many would respond.

Read More Saturday, July 16, 2011
Excuse me, are you listening?

Dear Readers,

Summer is a very interesting time of year in Michigan.  One day it will be 50 degrees the next day it is 85 degrees and 101 in your car.   Summer brings out a lot in people as well.  No pun intended but we must revisit proper etiquette.  I know that it may be hard to hear about this but it is necessary to talk about.  And of course, I am not talking about you.

Read More Sunday, June 19, 2011
Excuse me, are you listening? 10-10
Dear Readers,
 
During the year, I visit plenty of students.  2011 has been especially important to me.  Personally, I love people and I want to know what  “the little people” (anyone still in school and under the age of 18) are thinking.  It is very difficult to talk to your own children because they are not giving you the whole story.  However, when you talk to other children, they seem to be so impressed that you at least care enough to ask about them
Read More Saturday, June 4, 2011
Excuse me, are you listening? 10-9

 Dear Readers,

The evolution of television programming is an interesting study.  You can now watch programs about almost any subject matter if you are willing to pay for it.  I especially like the reality programs that are presented in a one hour format like “I Survived” or “Stalked”.  People get to tell harrowing stories about their misfortunes like being lost in the woods for weeks.  It is amazing.  My eyes are always glued to the narrators faces looking for emotion that should somehow give away the ending... well of course they survived, they are getting paid to be on television.  Investigation Discovery has the emotional shows  in the bag.

Read More Sunday, May 22, 2011
Excuse me, are you listening? 10-8

Dear Readers,

My daily morning grind begins with checking my Facebook page.  It is like waking up, driving to the deli, being served tea and indulging in conversations about the news and politics of the week.  The best part about Facebook is that you can have multiple conversations at one time.  For multitaskers like myself, this is amazing.

Read More Sunday, May 8, 2011
Excuse me, are you listening? 10-7

Dear Readers,

 
I was having a conversation with my friend about casinos and gambling because there is currently a push for a casino in Lansing.  I thought back to my first casino experience.  
Read More Friday, April 22, 2011
Excuse me, are you listening? 10-6

Dear Readers,

I was having a conversation with my son, Gianni, who just turned 19 on April 2 and my daughter, Anissa, who just turned 10 on April 4 about names.

Read More Friday, April 8, 2011
New Program to Positively Impact the Lives of Women
Dear Readers,
 
Have you been drifting along life, feeling like you’re on a treadmill to nowhere?  Are you ready to start living the life of your dreams and helping others do the same?  Do you have the drive to help people, and want to make a living doing it? Are you a born [natural?] leader or teacher and feel like you could really explode as Coach if only you had the right resources to help you?  If you’ve answered yes to these questions, then I have the perfect opportunity for you! 
 
 
Read More Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Excuse me are you listening? 10-4

  Dear Readers,

 
Spring will be upon us soon and I cannot wait to get out of the office and enjoy myself.  I have told myself that I should take better care of the property that surrounds my office and my home.  This means that I will have to get my hands dirty.
Read More Thursday, March 17, 2011
Excuse Me, Are You Listening? 10-3

  Dear Readers,

 
Our anniversary party was a great success!   The Creole Gallery at 1218 Turner Street was packed to the brim.  We also had to use Favorites Cafe which is right next door to the Creole Gallery. Please support both.  Favorites is open on Saturday until 3:00 pm.
 
Read More Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Excuse me? Are you listening? 10-2

  Dear Readers,

 
This has been a very tragic period for the Greater Lansing area.
 
Three young people are dead.  The driver survived and is now facing multiple murder charges.  I watched his mother’s face on television while at the courthouse and I could only feel compassion for her.  Now she will have to bear the sins of her son.  A son that I am sure  she told over and over again not to drink and drive.  As the sole survivor, the guilt that he has to bear is going to be overwhelming.
Read More Saturday, February 12, 2011
Excuse me, are you listening? 10-1


Dear Readers,

 
What can I say except that it has been an interesting 10 years.  I remember going into labor with Amir, my now 8 year old, at the CATA bus station downtown.  It was right after my oldest, Gianni, was in at play at the Boarshead Theater for Young Peoples College, a summer program at Lansing  Community College.  I decided that after the play was over that I was going to go to the CATA bus station to deliver my last bit of newspapers.  I just happened to go into labor as soon as I dropped the papers off.
Read More Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Excuse me, are you listening? 9-26

Dear Readers,

Even though we may remove ourselves from certain negative situations  the internal damage may not be resolved.  It takes more than a two weeks vacation or a three month break-up to deal with hurt and disappointment.  For the record, this is for both men and women.

Read More Sunday, January 16, 2011
Excuse Me, Are You Listening? 9-24


Dear Readers,

Have you ever been so excited or distracted while cooking that you dropped the one ingredient that was most important to the dish you were making?

 

Read More Sunday, December 19, 2010
Excuse Me, Are You Listening? 9-23

Dear Readers,

All I could remember thinking about my cousin, Jeanine Johnson, before we decided to take a vacation was that I thought she was spoiled.  Not in the spoiled rotten kind of way but my recollection was of that.  I just always remembered her being the first to get every new toy, outfit or latest gadget.

Read More Sunday, December 5, 2010
Excuse me, are you listening? 9-22

Dear Readers,

I just returned from vacation and one of the best things that happened to me was that I was able to finish reading “The Price of Stones – Building a School for My Village”.

I met the author Twesigye Jackson Kaguri, when he was at a mo’ za ik event on August 4, 2010, sponsored by The New Citizens Press, which provides an innovative networking opportunities in a small group. 

Read More Sunday, November 21, 2010
Excuse me, are you listening? - 9-21

Dear Readers,

 
Karma is something else!
 
Karma is a law in Hinduism, which says that every act you do, no matter how small, will eventually return to the doer with equal impact. Good will be returned with good and bad with bad. 
Read More Sunday, November 7, 2010
Excuse me, are you listening? 9-20

Dear Readers,

 
Yes, it has been some time since I have written an “Excuse me, Are You Listening?” column.  For my new readers, I welcome you to experience my brain.  I am grateful that I can take a break from writing and then come back.  Entrepreneurship is great because you can take a break.  For my loyal readers, I have missed you immensely.  I guess I needed to be at peace before I moved into my next space. My mother who was in a serious accident last year was in Michigan when I wrote this column.
 
Read More Sunday, October 24, 2010
Excuse me, Are You Listening? - 9-8

Dear Readers,

 
I want you to read this article by Dante Lee who is an award-winning entrepreneur and best-selling author. He is in Ohio, we are in Michigan. The same issues impact all of us. It is always amazing to me how we can talk about what is going on all over the nation but can’t talk about what is going on in our own city.  
Read More Saturday, May 8, 2010
Excuse me, are you listening? 9-5

Getting your financial life together is going to be very important for your future. Life insurance is important because you never know when tragedy is going to strike. 

Read More Friday, March 26, 2010
Freedom of Information Act - Your Right to Know

Journalists and citizens who file Freedom of Information Act requests often expect delay or denial, unfortunately, that can impact  your daily life. Oftentimes, the lack of information provided by governmental agencies limit the ability to investigate issues, protect individuals or open the doors of justice. istockphoto

Read More Friday, February 26, 2010
Sunshine Week: Your Right to Know


Did you know that you can ask for the documents below under FOIA (Freedom of Information Act)?

Read More Friday, February 26, 2010
Excuse me? Are you Listening? 9-3

Dear Readers,

 
It was a snow day and a day off for the Risper children, Anissa, 8 and Amir, 7.  Usually on snow days, along with old fashioned shoveling, I get this feeling that I just want to dig through my cabinets and find some thing to whip up in the kitchen from scratch.  I just want to go back to a time when things were simple when it is snowing.
Read More Thursday, February 25, 2010
Excuse me, Are you Listening? 9-2

 This was a week for some preliminary house cleaning.  I like to prepare for the spring early.  So I do a lot of cleaning up in the winter.  This year I decided to tackle the attic spaces after beginning invaded by a squirrel last year.  Somehow, it burrowed its way inside the attic.  The squirrel would antagonize the family scaring us in the middle of the night with its scurrying about.  

Read More Monday, February 15, 2010
Excuse me, Are you listening? 9-1

 Dear Readers, 

  
February of 2010 marks the 9th anniversary of The New Citizens Press.  We have been striving to provide the community with news and information that is local and beyond.  We have attempted to weave the stories that are not being told into the fabric of our readers lives. 
 
Read More Thursday, February 4, 2010
Excuse me? Are you Listening? 8-26

The Snyders:  Focusing on Family  

Read More Sunday, January 17, 2010
Excuse me, Are You Listening? 8-25

I was awkward in elementary school.  I attended P.S. 273 in Brooklyn, NY.  My mother is an awesome person who ruled her 4 children by a strict hand.  She also made our clothes.  

Read More Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Excuse Me, Are You Listening? - 8-24

One of my favorite things is to speak and listen to children.  So I was excited when Mr. Jonathan Walker invited me to his class to hear his students present their autobiographies to their parents and staff.

Read More Sunday, December 20, 2009
Excuse me, are you listening? 8-23

Reader is upset that the Rhianna story and a "Raising Hector" cartoon were in the same edition.

Read More Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Excuse Me, Are You Listening? 8-22

Reality shows have infiltrated our televisions.  Mallie's Sports Grill & Bar  was recently featured on “Man vs. Food”.

To the right holding the burger is Steve Mallie, owner of Mallie's Sports
Grill. To the left in the suit is Danny Girton from Guinness World Records.

Courtesy photo

Read More Monday, December 7, 2009
Excuse me, Are you Listening?

Our children are our most precious resource.  I received an email from young residents of Lansing and thought that I would share their questions and my answers with you.

On Sunday, October 25 an 18-year-old male is shot and killed in front of Pocket's Pool Hall on the corner of Washington and Barnes Street in Lansing on Sunday afternoon.  New leadership that understands the issues regarding violence in our city is going to be important.  Having a bridge is going to be necessary for our future.

 

 

 



 

 

Read More Monday, October 26, 2009
Excuse Me, Are you Listening? 8-19

Dear Readers,

It has been an amazing October already.  It is cold outside and we are going to be gearing up for winter.

If you are aware that you may be unable to keep up with your utilities bill, please contact your gas provider now.  They may be able to set you up on a plan so that you will be able to have affordable payments.

Read More Sunday, October 11, 2009
Excuse Me 8-18

October starts the beginning of Small Business Month.  On Monday, October 5, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the height of the lunch hour rush, I will be working (volunteering) at Steve’s Sandwich Shop inside the C.A.T.A. bus station dowtown. I am again elated that the Greater Lansing Labor Council chose to endorse my candidacy for City Council At Large.

Read More Sunday, September 27, 2009
Excuse Me... 4-17

Dear Readers,

There is plenty of confusion regarding the primary.  The primary on August 4 was for voters to pick the top 4 to run on Tuesday, November 3. Lansing is made up of 4 Wards and 4 At- Large positions.   I’m running At-Large and there are 2 At-Large seats available.  I am on the ballot.

Read More Monday, September 14, 2009
Excuse Me, Are you Listening? 8-16

Dear Readers,

Thank you for helping me through the primary.  November 3 is almost here. Politics is a different space for me.  It’s going to be about keeping balance in a skewed society. 

Read More Monday, August 31, 2009
Excuse Me... 8-15

Dear Readers,

Thank you for the awesome first step towards being your next City Council person.  I’m appreciative of all the support that I received. Of course,  I could use more support, more volunteers and more resources. Please remember to vote on Tuesday, November 3, 2009.

Read More Thursday, August 13, 2009
Excuse Me 8-13



I know that the economy is in bad shape but our attitudes don’t have to be.  This is the time to reach out to your neighbors.  This isn’t the time for bickering about trivial matters just for the sake of it.  We’re in difficult and different economic times and we’re going to have to change the way that we think. 

Read More Monday, July 20, 2009
Excuse Me? 8-12

Dear Readers,

I just wanted to get an ice cream cone.  During the summer, I love going to different places and try out their ice cream.  I will go to any soft serve place just for a small vanilla ice cream cone.

Read More Sunday, July 5, 2009
Excuse Me? 8-11


Father's Day is Sunday, June 21, 2009 and I wanted to wish my husband, Frank, and all the fathers to please have a happy day. 

Read More Sunday, June 21, 2009
Excuse Me? 8-10

Dear Readers,

The sky wept on the earth as it opened a chasm of daylight. Slowly, like time broken down into half pasts, then minutes as I pondered the ticking of time down to seconds. I exhaled and turned into the driveway of the cemetery of Chapel Hill.  I recalled my meeting with a mother, Vivian Bodiford, who was still in an conscious state of shock that her only son had been murdered.

Read More Friday, June 5, 2009
Excuse me, are you Listening? 8-9


My most memorable experiences on the campaign trail are starting to pile up.  I will probably have many memorable experiences but I have been taken in and loved by some in the complexes that we have in Lansing for the senior citizens and the disabled. 

Read More Monday, May 25, 2009
Excuse me, are you Listening? 8-8

Dear Readers,

I want to say thank you to those of you who are supporting my run for City Council At Large.  I want you to know that I am not planning on stopping the production of this newspaper.

Read More Saturday, May 9, 2009
Excuse me, are you Listening? 8-7


I own a newspaper that is published and distributed in Lansing.  I have been volunteering in Lansing at all levels for nine years.  I volunteer for different ages, cultures and schools.  The entire city of Lansing has been a part of my life, not just the 4th Ward.  I actually live on the border of the 4th Ward and very close to the 1st Ward.  I do more within the walls of the 1st Ward than the 4th.    I know my neighborhood very well after being involved with it for over  20 years but after driving around and delivering in the entire city,  I know it well too.

Read More Sunday, April 26, 2009
Excuse me, are you Listening? 8-6


It was about 7:00 a.m. in the morning.  The birds were beginning to chirp.  The children were ready for school and the coffee was percolating in the pot.

Read More Sunday, April 12, 2009
Excuse me, are you Listening? 8-5


After a long conversation with myself, I took my daughter to see the “Color Purple”.  My daughter, Anissa, is 7 years old.  The “Color Purple” is a play that begins with youthfulness and the promises it holds.  However, the innocence of youth begins to quickly unravel.

Read More Sunday, March 29, 2009
Excuse me are you listening? 8-4


Hello, from the campaign trail.  I’m so excited about running for City Council.  It has been great. I’m learning a lot about people.  I knew that politics stirred emotions but I want people to think about this.

Read More Saturday, March 14, 2009
Excuse me are you listening? 8-3


I am running for City Council at Large.  I have had many citizens of Lansing say that they don’t know much about local government but that is one of the reasons why we should begin to learn.

Read More Sunday, March 1, 2009
Excuse me are you listening? 8-1


Happy 8th Anniversary edition to us!!!  We have completed our survey.  It was interesting finding out what people thought.  I can tell you that our readers are very educated.  Even though most our readers are African-American, The New Citizens Press offers news about our burgeoning multicultural community.  We also offer a wide spectrum of opinions from our novice and experienced writers across the nation and the world.

Read More Friday, January 30, 2009
Excuse me are you listening? 7-25

I'm upset.  I'm actually livid right now.  Reality sets in when you realize that there's a person who ruined the lives of thousands if not millions.  The atrocities that he dealt demands a special assembly, a call for action, a verbal uprising, a civil march or something cataclysmic.

This cruel, insensitive man is 70-year-old Bernard “Bernie” Madoff (pronounce MADE-OFF).  He “made off” with 1 life and 50 billion dollars ($50,000,000,000) so far. In my opinion, he's a murderer and a thief.  He swindled both the extremely rich and the extremely poor.

Above:  During better times Bernard L. Madoff smiles.  More recently he has been accused of fleecing money from investors all over the world.

Read More Sunday, January 4, 2009
Excuse me are you listening? 7-24

In the last edition December 7, 2008 - December 20, 2008, my teenage son, Gianni, wrote about bike riding.  But it was not his article that sparked something in me, it was an e-mail that I received from Pastor Edward A. Thomas of Antioch Church in Lansing.

Read More Sunday, December 21, 2008
Excuse me are you listening? 7-22


Holiday shopping is about to begin. As I read the stories in this edition,especially the one about the Nyaka School, I begin to cringe at the thought of overspending this Christmas.

Read More Sunday, November 23, 2008
Excuse me are you listening? 7-21

Dear Readers,

       A new President will be in the White House.  It’s interesting to me that even in my short lifetime. I’ve seen so many things happen that show the world is changing for the better.

Read More Sunday, November 9, 2008
Excuse me are you listening? 7-20


I was recently reading an article on Black PR Wire and recalled an interview that I had with a reporter at the “State of Our Health: Through the Voices of Our People” symposium.  The reporter asked me which Presidential candidate, John McCain or Barack Obama had the best health care plan.  I said neither because we need a health care plan now to deal with issues that are escaping the politicians.  I don’t understand why Congress isn’t working harder to deal with these issues.  Readers, if you’re in a job and uninsured   or even if you’re in a job and insured by a third party, please note the best thing that you can do is to vote.  Readers, if you’re paying a large portion of your paycheck to a hospital because you waited too long to go to the doctor, please vote. 

Read More Sunday, October 26, 2008
Excuse me, are you listening? 7-18

Off to school again for the 1st and 2nd grade children in the Risper household.  I think that summer dragged on this year and I was starting to feel it in my bones.  Labor Day marks less labor for me. It seems like I work harder in the summer.  I think that children get lazy and restless.  They stay up late and if you have the leisure, you don't have to worry about them getting up to do anything.  Early morning cartoons and late night features become a major part of their lives and then Labor Day hits.

Read More Sunday, September 28, 2008
Excuse Me 7-16


We’re having a symposium and we would love to see you there. Bethlehem Temple is a beautiful church and has welcomed many people from all walks of life.  It’s close to the highway and the CATA bus line so it will be easy for people to get there.

Read More Sunday, August 31, 2008
Excuse me, are you Listening? 7-15


I felt very special covering my first Presidential rally.  Barack Obama spoke on August 4th (Obama's birthday) at the Lansing Center.  I was up early and excited about the opportunity.  I was so comfortable and nervous at the same time.

Read More Sunday, August 17, 2008
Excuse me, are you Listening? 7-14


I hope that your summer is  going well.  I’ve finally calmed down after my son Gianni’s graduation.  I don’t remember a time when I was more joyful.

Read More Sunday, August 3, 2008
Excuse me, are you Listening? 7-13

I carried an article around with me in 1996 when JonBenet Patricia Ramsey was murdered the day after Christmas.  My birthday is December 27, so to hear about such a heinous crime on a day that was supposed to be so joyful for me stuck to the hairs on the back of my neck like a yoke.

Read More Monday, July 21, 2008
Excuse Me... 7-12

As we prepare ourselves to go through the next growing phase at The New Citizens Press, we’re beginning to experience growing pains.

Read More Sunday, July 6, 2008
Excuse me, are you Listening? 7-11

When we saw each other we just smiled.  The last time I saw her was in May.  I spoke to her briefly on the telephone several times but never met her in person.  She works at an organization that helps children who are in the worst situations.  How could we ever forget the children in our community?  We can write about the tsunami and Hurricane Katrina but what about the children who don't have the same type of parents that you're to your own children. 

Read More Sunday, June 22, 2008
Excuse me, are you listening? There Will be More Pedestrians and Cyclists on Our Roads

On Saturday, March 17, 2008,  the 5th Annual Jasmine Miles Memorial  “Walk of Stars”  was held.  Anna Williams (red sweater) and Nancy Thelen (not shown), who are avid quilters at the Capital City Quilts, 635 S. Waverly Rd., Suite F, Lansing MI 48917  made a quilt for Michelle Miles (yellow shirt) out of material with a lilac print.  Rina Risper (far right) spoke about the quilt.

Before her daughter, Jasmine Miles, was killed in an auto accident, she gave her mother a bouquet of lilacs.
Courtesy  Photo

Read More Monday, June 9, 2008
Excuse me, are you Listening? 7-9

If You Aren’t, the Prison Population Is...

 

During a speaking engagement at Mid Michigan Leadership Academy,  a student looks over a portrait of Rina Risper.  It was painted by David Jones who is incarcerated in a Michigan prison. 
Photo by Yohnny Cardena-Abad, 8th Grade, Mid Michigann Leadership Academy

Read More Monday, May 26, 2008
Excuse me are you listening? 7-8

This past week, I had a surprise visit from my mother who lives in Georgia.  Surprise wasn't the half of it.  On a Saturday night at 11:59 p.m., she contacted me to let me know that she would be flying into Grand Rapids at 12:00 p.m.  Grand Rapids?  Did she know how much gas was?

Read More Monday, May 12, 2008
Excuse Me... 7-7


In this  edition, I decided to print an interview that I did with “Wordz in Motion” a telelvision program based in Detroit.  It gives some insight to questions that I have been asked over the years and I thought that I would share them with you.  I’ve been interviewed for radio, newspaper and television programs most recently in Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida.

Read More Sunday, April 27, 2008
Excuse me are you listening? 7-6

I want to share with you why we do the types of stories that we do.
    I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I’m a journalist.  I thought since I didn’t go to school for journalism, I wasn’t a journalist. It’s sometimes hard when you work alone to get a grasp on what your role is and what you’re doing.

Read More Sunday, April 13, 2008
Excuse Me 7-5


No matter what, 2008 will be remembered as one of the most exciting times in political history.  My 6-year old daughter, Anissa, made it quite clear to me as we watched CNN, a 24-hour news channel, while ironing clothes. 

Read More Sunday, March 30, 2008
Excuse me are you listening? 7-2

Having children is one of the greatest gifts in the world.  With each anniversary that I celebrate, I'll always celebrate my children, who have been a part of this newspaper journey as well.  My children have taught me to pay attention and to watch carefully.

Read More Sunday, February 17, 2008
Excuse me are you listening? 7-1

I believe that people who are assaultive - verbally or physically- have no love for themselves and need to rethink what their priorities are in this life.  I was recently at a place that I frequent and often see the same people.   One of “the regulars” is extremely negative and gossips about others.  She reminds me of an egocentric high schooler, who likes to find the weak to prey upon.

Read More Sunday, February 3, 2008
Excuse me are you listening? 6-26



    In 2008, we’re revamping the paper.  Thank you to all of the people who have helped us through it.

Read More Sunday, January 20, 2008
Excuse me are you listening? 6-25

My father took pictures.  He was always documenting the lives of others as if he had no existence of his own.  I never really thought about how much of my life is preserved on paper.  I mean photo paper.

Read More Sunday, January 6, 2008
Excuse me are you listening? 6-24


     Sometimes we forget how much we actually do for others.  Moreso, some forget how much others do for them. 

Read More Sunday, December 23, 2007
Excuse me are you listening? 6-23

There have been some disturbing incidents that have rocked the core of our nation and informs me that racism still exists.

Read More Sunday, December 9, 2007
Excuse me are you listening? 6-22


Three days before Thanksgiving, I received a box in the mail from my youngest sister, Kendra. It has been very hard since, my father passed away in late September.

Read More Sunday, November 25, 2007
Excuse me are you listening? 6-21


   There are so many things that are necessary to talk about and misleading advertising is one of them.  I try to read the Lansing State Journal almost every day.  I consider them as one of my co-existers.

Read More Sunday, November 11, 2007
Excuse Me... 6-20


I've decided that there's a club I don't want to belong to.  I'm one of its newest members and I detest it.  It's a club that consumes you in your waking hours and haunts you while you sleep.

Read More Sunday, October 28, 2007
Excuse Me... 6-19


      Do you ever get that sinking feeling every single time you get a phone call?  Kids, haircuts for the boys, hair appointment for my daughter, the last newspaper deliveries and yes of course, food shopping was what was on my mind when I got “the call”. 

Read More Sunday, October 14, 2007
Excuse me are you listening? 6-17

It seems as soon as I get comfortable with summer it is over. The summer of 2007, flew by without incident at the Risper household. My children kept...

Read More Sunday, September 16, 2007
Excuse me are you listening? 6-16


Since I last wrote we’ve had two more murders. Lansing lost Debra Waidelich and 64-year-old Sandra Eichorn. As of press time a 56-year-old Lansing woman was beaten in her home on Jones Street.

Read More Sunday, September 2, 2007
Excuse me are you listening? 6-15

It has been a scary time for everyone.  In Lansing there have been 11 homicides and 2 of the victims were very prominent figures. 

Read More Sunday, August 19, 2007
Excuse me are you listening? 6-12

It has been a hot dry summer so far in Lansing, MI and I am loving it.  The children are out of school and I just realized that Amir will be 5 and will be in school all day.  I’m looking forward to spending more time on the newspaper.  It seems like I just had him yesterday.

Read More Sunday, July 8, 2007
Excuse Me.. 6-11

When I write to you, I do it from the perspective that you are my friend.  My feelings are true and there are not too many people who are honest anymore.  They aren’t honest about themselves.  They don’t take time to make assesments of their lives and ponder it from the perspective of a novel.  I mean take a look at yourself from the outside.  Sit in a chair in your office and watch yourself.

Read More Sunday, June 24, 2007
Excuse me are you listening? 6-10

Today, is the first day of the rest of my life.   Imagine if you woke up every day, thinking  that to yourself.

Read More Sunday, June 10, 2007
Excuse me are you listening? 5-10

 I watch siblings as they interact with each other.  I am a sister.  I have blood sisters and a blood brother.  But I also have sisters of the soul, who I consider my friends.

Read More Sunday, June 10, 2007
Excuse Me... 6-9


     Aging affects all of us differently.  I find it very difficult to comprehend the people who send their children away to go to school without thinking about long-term ramifications.  When my children become college age, I hope they stay right here with me. I shudder when I hear a parent proudly state, "I don't want my child to stay in Lansing (you can fill in any town). He is going out of state to school."

Read More Sunday, May 27, 2007
Excuse Me... 6-8


      As it is Mother’s Day, I thought why not write about being a mother.  It’s a time to give thanks and to recognize that the gift is primarily found in the ones who you have brought into the world.

Read More Sunday, May 13, 2007
Excuse Me... 6-7


    Summer is  almost here and school is almost out.  It seems like I just had Amir, who is 4 and Anissa who is 6.

Read More Sunday, April 29, 2007
Excuse Me... 6-6


          The week before March 31, 2007, which was the date of our first CCCAN's (Capitol City Community Action Network's) first Town Hall Forum, I prepared with feelings of contentment and sentiments ranging from anxiety to excitement.  The members of CCCAN were giving the community a forum to express their concerns and actually be heard.

Read More Sunday, April 15, 2007
Excuse Me... 6-5


     Sunday, March 4, 2007.  When I think about Robert Busby, I no longer feel as overwhelmed as I used to.  I felt a sense of anger.  Murder can make you feel that way.
     I told my friend and Robert's friend of 20 years, Suellen, that I was very angry.  She told me to let go of the anger because there was not anything I could do about Robert's murder.

Read More Sunday, April 1, 2007
It's As Though They Read My Mind

I knew that as soon as I started writing about my children again that it was going to be the impetus for some interesting experiences.

Read More Thursday, January 4, 2007
People Need the Right Kind of Care

I've been having a grand time with my two youngest children, Amir, 4 and Anissa, 5. Gianni, 14, is in high school and that's been an interesting experience for me.

Read More Thursday, December 21, 2006
Always & Forever: A Story of Life and Death - Part II

 


A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." - Genesis 2:24

Read More Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Joshua, you provided encouragement for all of us.

In our last edition we featured a story entitled "Always & Forever:  A Story of Life and Death - Part I

Read More Monday, November 6, 2006
KP Made A Difference

Dear Readers, It has been a tumultuous two weeks.  I was on City Council on Monday, October 2, 2006 to complain about our Poetry program

Read More Monday, October 23, 2006
Excuse me, are you listening?: I get to cherish my memories by writing them down and I hope you are doing the same.

The air is getting crisp and the squirrels have started collecting food for the winter.  The birds and people who fly south for the winter are making preparations to leave.

Read More Sunday, October 1, 2006
Goodbye, Trinidad

A mural that includes Trinidad Sanchez, Jr. is evidence of how well
loved he was in San Antonio, Texas.  His likeness was added to the
wall after his death.

On August 20, I made a pilgrimage to San Antonio, TX to say goodbye to my mentor and friend, Trinidad (Trino) Sanchez Jr.   It was one of the the greatest spiritual experiences of my life.

Read More Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Poetry Under Mystical Circumstances

It was beautiful.  I could only believe that we would be done before the rain.  The poetry finally came to an end but it was a performance by all that I will never forget.

Read More Saturday, August 19, 2006
The Friends and Family Plan

Dear Readers,
I was reading Duke University's newspaper and found that they did an interesting study on friends.  The study reveals that Americans have fewer friends outside of the family.  Go figure.

Read More Saturday, August 5, 2006
Dear Readers

Anissa finally had an opportunity to see the ocean and she “wasn’t even afraid of it”.

Dear Readers,

(This is a continuation of the column in the June 25, 2006 - July 8, 2006 edition)

Read More Saturday, July 8, 2006
Excuse me are you listening? 5-1



Dear Readers,  

     Everyone loves e-mail.  I love e-mail.  There are a lot of great benefits to using e-mail. It affords you the opportunity to get your message to someone without wasting a lot of time on the phone or writing a letter and putting it in an envelope and waiting several days for the person to get your correspondence.

Read More Saturday, February 4, 2006
Excuse Me are you listening? 4-26

<p>&#160;</p> <div> <div>&#160; &#160; &#160; &#160;So far 2006, has been full of dreams. &#160;I'm serious. Maybe I've &#160;had so much on my mind that I am still thinking when I go to &#160;sleep. &#160;Maybe I'm bothered by certain things that go on during the day. It's strange when I wake up I remember my dreams in details.</div> </div> <div>&#160;</div>

Read More Friday, January 20, 2006
Excuse me are you listening? 4-25

 

Dear Readers,       
 
     I think that I was the only one working like a maniac over the Christmas holiday. My children are home and it has been quite an experience. I wonder how a 4 year old and a 13 year old can argue over doing the dishes. 
Read More Sunday, January 8, 2006
Excuse me are you listening? 4-24



    I should truly say that I've been blessed this year.  I've seen many business come and go.  When a store goes out of business that I deliver to, I'm saddened by the loss.  It's very difficult to help all of the businesses.
   I'd like to say thank you to the people who have been helping me this year with the newspaper.  On the top of my list is the Washington family, my “Southside Angels.”

Read More Sunday, December 25, 2005
Excuse me are you listening? 4-23
 
Dear Readers,
 
    Thanksgiving is a time of year for sharing with family and going over your family’s house and eating until your heart is content.  You may have to make a dish or get the children dressed up some years.  Other years, you may go empty handed and bring back a plate or two.
Read More Sunday, December 11, 2005
Excuse me are you listening? 4-23

 

 
Dear Readers,
 
    Thanksgiving is a time of year for sharing with family and going over your family’s house and eating until your heart is content.  You may have to make a dish or get the children dressed up some years.  Other years, you may go empty handed and bring back a plate or two.
Read More Sunday, December 11, 2005
Excuse me are you listening? 4-22
 
Dear Readers,
 
      November 5th was my husband’s 50th birthday.  He had never had a birthday party and I figure on this monumental date,  we should at least do something special.  It worked out that it was on a Saturday. 
Read More Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Excuse me are you listening? 4-21

 Procrastination is on the top of my list for discussion.  What I find to be a miracle and maybe my first baby steps towards my “Procrastination Recovery 10 Step Program” is that  I benefit greatly from just doing what I need to do as soon as possible.

Read More Thursday, October 13, 2005
Excuse Me... 4-18

      As I sit and write this article, I am in the middle of a two-week vacation from my job.

Read More Sunday, October 2, 2005
Excuse Me 4-17

Surely, I thought that life would be simple because my 13-year-old Gianni would be home this summer to assist me with Anissa, who is 4, and Amir, who is 3.  Life could not be simpler, right?  Almost every day he would load them in the Radio Flyer wagon and take them to Comstock Park on the Northside.

Read More Thursday, September 15, 2005
Excuse Me... 4-16

     School has started already.  It seems as though time is flying.  Anissa my four years old will be attending pre school this year.  This will be interesting.   It seems as though they are growing before my eyes and I can hardly believe it.

Read More Sunday, September 4, 2005
Excuse me, are you Listening? 4-14

I told you that I was going to take it slow and I have been.  I realized that I was moving just a tad bit too fast and not taking care of myself.  I started to revisit a lot of things that I was not paying attention to like why I could not pick up heavy items any more.  Well, I found out from a recent doctor’s visit that I my muscles in my stomach were separated.  She told me that it was from childbirth but she still checked me for a hernia.

Read More Sunday, August 7, 2005
Excuse me, are you Listening? 4-13


Dear Readers,
    Imagine my fear as I tried to put the final touches on pages 1 and 2 of the last edition and my computer system froze.  No disk space!!  I looked at my computer like it was on a crazy mission to ruin my day.  I called one of my good friends and she tried to calm me down about the whole situation.

Read More Sunday, July 24, 2005
Excuse me, are you Listening? 4-11



  Sometimes I wish that I could do all and be all but I am not, will not and can not.
    First I would like to apologize for the typographical errors in the last edition.
    It was very difficult edition.  I wanted to quit after it.  I wanted to throw in the towel.  The duty of compiling the information was overwhelming to say the least even though we received so many positive responses from the edition.

Read More Sunday, June 26, 2005
Excuse me 4-7

I am a Repubilcrat.  I am a Demopublican.  I am an independent, intelligent, person, college graduate, homeowner since 19, mother, wife, small business owner (I should say micro business owner), sister, daughter, radical, conservative, neither right nor left.  Who am I?  I am most of you.

Read More Sunday, May 1, 2005
Excuse Me 4-8


   I am a Repubilcrat.  I am a Demopublican.  I am an independent, intelligent, person, college graduate, homeowner since 19, mother, wife, small business owner (I should say micro business owner), sister, daughter, radical, conservative, neither right nor left.  Who am I?  I am most of you.

Read More Sunday, May 1, 2005
Excuse me 4-6

  “My name is Rina Risper.  When I was just out of high school I found a lump in my breast.” I told the group  of young ladies who were sitting before me.

Read More Saturday, April 16, 2005
Excuse me 4-5


    At the start of 2005, I told myself that I was not going to make any stupid New Year’s resolutions.  I said that I am going to start off having monthly goals.  If I get 70% of my issues taken care of as of March, I am doing exceptionally well -- you have to give yourself a margin of error, in case of bad weather, tornados, the moon crashing to the earth and all the other things that could prohibit you.

Read More Sunday, March 6, 2005
Excuse Me 4-2

I heard Anissa yell out, “ Get in Amir.... Yucky, you have a booger in your nose, go wipe your nose first.”
      What could they possibly be doing I thought to myself.  I half had the mind to tell the  guy on the phone that I had to go.  But he was at the good part.... he was telling me that big office supply stores were giving out free cartridges but there was a catch.
     In the background I heard,  “Put your feet in, put your feet in.  Come on, you’re taking too long.”
     I had to remind myself the next time I get on the faxphone to make sure the cord was not a twisted mess, this multitasking business was not working out...

Read More Sunday, February 20, 2005
Excuse Me 4-1

(This Edition Celebrates our start of our Fourth Year.  Celebrate with us by sending in letters or e-mails about the edition that you like or hated the most.  If you just have something to tell us that you learned, that would be great.  Also let us know what you would like to see.  We are working on some great articles for 2005.  I have started a  wall of fame in my office so call and come  by and visit .)

Read More Sunday, February 6, 2005
Excuse me... 1-12


Dear Readers,

A  lot of work was put into the last issue and I hope that you enjoyed its content.

Read More Sunday, July 14, 2002
Excuse me... 1-11

Dear Readers,

It seems very strange when you layout a newspaper and you are on the front page.  Our Unveiling Party was a very moving and an emotional time and we were happy to have shared it with over 100 supporters, inquirers and friends.  It was a huge success.

Read More Sunday, June 16, 2002
Excuse me.. 1-10


Dear Readers,

I would like to add to a front page story that was entitled “DeWeese and Thomas’ efforts help to jump-start Freedom Trail Commission” in the June 2, 2002 to June 15, 2002 issue.

Read More Sunday, June 16, 2002
Excuse me.... 1-9

 
In our March 24, 2002 to April 6, 2002, I wrote about a reader who could not find Little Ceasars pizza shop on Logan and Grand River.  He was new to the area.  We contacted corporate office to express our concerns regarding the name change of Logan to Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., which occurred over ten years ago.  We pleased to announce that current Little Ceasars advertisements reflect Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.

Read More Sunday, June 2, 2002
Excuse me... 1-8


Dear  Readers:

Photographs of our past, help us to understand our future.  When we take pictures most of us just throw them into a box and we do not take the time to label them and / or provide an informational reflection of what was happening during that time. 

Read More Sunday, May 19, 2002
Excuse me... 1-7


Dear Readers,

Lately, the disparity in  health treatment that minorities receive  has been featured in  the news.  These studies are not being done by minority agencies  so it can not be said that they are biased.  The outcome of these studies should be taken into consideration every time you step into a health professionals office.

Read More Sunday, May 5, 2002

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rinarisper.tncp@gmail.com

 
 

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