I'm thankful that I can still spend time with my grandparents

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At 31 years old, I'm thankful that my grandparents are still alive and I'm still able to spend time with them, an opportunity that not everyone still has at my age — and that some people never have at any age.

My maternal grandparents are in their early 90s; my paternal grandparents are in their 80s; and my maternal grandfather's second wife, who is an extra grandmother to me, is in her 60s.

While I get to see my maternal grandmother every day (because we live together along with my mother), typically, the only reason I ever venture out of Florida is to go visit my other grandparents and my father.

While my paternal great-grandmother is no longer living, I remember her fondly, and I still love her. Some of her beautiful original paintings will soon be hanging on the walls of my new home.

So if you have any grandparents who are still living, consider giving them a call or, better yet, going to visit them soon and telling them that you love them and that you are grateful to spend time with them.

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Couple duped into doling out $25,000 during despicable 'Grandparents Scam'

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Authorities are investigating after grandparents fell prey to a devious scheme and shelled out thousands of dollars when a caller claimed to be their granddaughter and said that she needed money.

The caller said that she had been in an accident and needed $12,500 for bail in order to get out of jail, according to a Volusia Sheriff's Office press release.

"The caller told them a courier would pick up the money and instructed them to place it in a shoebox," the press release noted. "The couple secured the money and followed instructions, notifying the female caller when it was ready. Shortly afterward, a male courier collected the money and drove away."

The DeLand, Florida, couple later provided an additional $12,500 after receiving a call from a woman who claimed to be their granddaughter's lawyer.

"The 'lawyer' stated the other accident victim was pregnant and the baby had died. The granddaughter was possibly going to be charged with vehicular homicide and the judge had set bail at $25,000, so she needed another $12,500," the release noted. "The victims again complied and a different driver appeared to pick up the money."

After a man who claimed to be a prosecutor tried to convince the couple to fork over $10,000, they finally reached out to authorities.

"When a third call came, this time from a man stating he was a prosecutor in the case and another $10,000 was needed to help their granddaughter avoid prison for 10 years, the couple knew something was wrong and contacted the VSO for help," the press release noted.

"This type of impostor scam is known as 'Grandparents Scam' in which impostors pose as law enforcement officers who call grandparents claiming their grandchild is in jail. The caller demands immediate payment to bail the grandchild out of jail. Or, in cases such as the DeLand incident, someone pretending to be the grandchild calls and says they've been mugged or detained in another country and need money to return home," the sheriff's office noted.

The press release said that individuals who receive such a call should determine the location of their grandchild using a different source and refrain from taking any immediate action.

\u201cOur detectives are investigating after an elderly DeLand couple reported Monday they were scammed out of $25K by someone pretending to be a family member who needed bail money. Don't fall for this scam! Read more: https://t.co/qyoeWqpbEm\u201d
— Volusia Sheriff (@Volusia Sheriff) 1669145471

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Smiling Democratic Gov. Whitmer appears with Santa in video, urges Michigan children not to visit grandparents for Christmas

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer posted a video on her Twitter page using Santa Claus to spread the message of mask-wearing and social distancing — and the Democrat had an extra-special holiday message for the children gathered on the video chat.

"And another way to stay safe during the holiday is to stay home but call your grandparents and your cousins and your family," Whitmer told the tiny tots with their eyes all aglow, adding, "It's the a safest way to tell the people you love how much you care about them. This year is it has to look a little bit different so we can stay safe."

Image source: Twitter video screenshot via @GovWhitmer

What else was said on the clip?

Whitmer started things off by referring to Santa, her "special guest" on the chat, as "someone who's been really following the rules and making sure that he stays safe and the elves stay safe."

Then in what appeared to be preselected questions, the children on the video chat took turns asking Santa questions, such as "Santa, do you have to wear a mask?" and "How can we keep people safe for Christmas?"

St. Nick answered the latter query: "What I would suggest to do is what the governor is telling all the people of the great state of Michigan to do: Social distance, wash your hands, and make sure you wear your mask when you're outside your home."

As Michigan's kids gear up for the holiday season, I decided to surprise a few of them with a special guest from th… https://t.co/UUtTVMOqOl
— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@Governor Gretchen Whitmer)1608132605.0

How did folks react?

Whitmer — who's drawn national attention for her strict coronavirus lockdown efforts — certainly has her critics. But she has plenty of supporters as well, so reactions to her Twitter video were a mixed bag.

Some commenters gushed with admiration:

  • "Happy holidays, Governor," one user said. "Helluva job this year under extraordinary circumstances. You are everything a public servant should be. A tower of power. A leader. Compassionate. Tough. Smart as hell."
  • "I don't even live in your state but you Rock," another commenter said. "Wished you were our Governor."
  • "Thanks for doing something sweet for the kids this Christmas Governor Whitmer! Merry Christmas!" another user wrote. "To the conservatives that said this was a hoax and now mad their family members are dying due to COVID-19 and stuck at home, you can get coal."

But Whitmer's detractors were just as passionate in response to her Santa video for kids:

  • "You doing this qualifies as child abuse," one user said.
  • "That's nice since a lot of kids won't be having much of a Christmas due to your insane lockdowns," another user noted.
  • "Nothing like seeing Santa on a screen while you sit home learning next to nothing with your abusive parents who've lost their jobs," another commenter said.
  • "You exemplify the problem in politics/government today," another user wrote. "You believe that you are a 'class' above, and the 'regular people' have no right to question you. You are an oath breaking/ignoring traitorous bilge rat that should be removed from office and society."