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Sunshine Report – Special Thanksgiving Edition

What Are You Thankful For?

Happy Thanksgiving! From our family to yours, I hope you have a safe and blessed Thanksgiving. Karen and I would love to know what you are thankful for. Today, if you have the time, please consider going to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and telling us what you're thankful for with the hashtag "#SunshineThankful"! I know for me, I am thankful that I get to spend Thanksgiving with family, and close friends. I am especially thankful for our troops at home and abroad who are missing Thanksgiving dinner as they protect us and our freedoms. In fact, our son, Lincoln, will be one of those incredible Americans in the military this year, as he is stationed in the South China Sea. Our prayers and best wishes go out to you and your family on this wonderful occasion.

Newport: 46 New ‘Family Friendly’ Homes to be Thankful for!

As our family begins to gather for the Thanksgiving holiday, I can’t help but think of those who don’t have a home to gather in. One of the most pressing issues in my hometown of Newport as well as in so many small towns around the country is the lack of family friendly, safe housing. In Newport, not only are the housing choices limited but the homes and apartments that are available have astonishingly high rents associated with them. This is why we have decided to make housing one of the benchmarks of the Newport Sunshine Initiative.

You see, a home is much more than four walls and a warm bed. It’s a place where children find stability and comfort. When a child grows up moving from one apartment to another, it’s hard and it takes a toll on the family in so many ways. However, in finding stability, we see grades improve, relationships strengthen, and, in turn, the community benefits. My friends David Kelly and Henry Hewes have developed a transformative program that provides a way for families to begin home ownership the first day they pay rent. Unlike other ‘rent to own’ systems, these homes are not only beautiful and competitive within the housing market, but they come with built in community enrichment programs. From placement of mailboxes in settings that encourage social interaction, to the existence of front porches and the offering of self-enrichment classes including parenting assistance and financial planning, the communities that David and Henry have developed improve the lives of their residents in so many important ways. When you purchase one of David and Henry’s homes, you become invested in the community physically, mentally, economically and even spiritually.

At our Newport Sunshine Initiative meeting last week, David and Henry shared with the group that as early as next fall, some of the forty-six of these new family friendly homes will soon be available to Newport families! And, just think, by next Thanksgiving, almost fifty Newport families will have their own homes in which to celebrate the holiday. What a terrific gift to be thankful for!

Thankful for the Brave Freedom Fighters in Hong Kong: Hong Kong Votes – Will Beijing Listen?

This past Sunday, the voters of Hong Kong had their first chance to create non-violent change via a normally very sleepy municipal election. They did not pass up on the opportunity. With 71% of the registered voters turning out, the pro-democracy candidates called “Pan-Democrats” won in a landslide. Think about that for a minute. In America our municipal elections normally see about a 30 percent turnout. In Hong Kong their turnout was 71 percent! The Hong Kong people wanted to let the dictators in Beijing hear their voices loud and clear.

The Pan-Democrats decisively won the day and remarkably even won 17 out of the 18 city district councils as well as the overwhelming majority of the 452 of representative districts. Make no mistake, this is a loud rebuke of Beijing’s authority and signals to the rest of China that the resistance movement is alive and well.

The election was not without drama though. Beijing had threatened to cancel the vote if protestors did not ramp down their activities before the vote. The protestors relented but they took their action to the ballot box where it mattered most.

With the results now in, Beijing is at a crossroads. Will the Communist regime continue its oppressive tactics or finally give into the people’s demands for more freedoms? Given recent developments, it seems more likely that the totalitarian regime will now take harsh action against the freedom loving people of Hong Kong. But the spark of liberty has now been lit. And, once lit, it cannot be extinguished. It may decades, but the citizens of Hong Kong will definitely prevail. As a consequence, however, the more looming question is whether this spark of liberty will now catch fire in other parts of China and is this the start of something much, much bigger? I certainly hope so. And without question, we need to be doing all we can to support the quest for freedom!

Newport Sunshine Initiative – Major Announcements at Last Week’s Meeting

Thanksgiving Ushers in the Christmas Season

‘Concord, NH kicks off the holiday season with a parade and honoring our great friend David Tille as Grand Marshall. Well deserved! We are thankful to have friends like David, who is leading the charge to end veterans’ homelessness and gives of himself to the betterment of the greater community.’

Profile of the Week: Deb Stevens – Putting Newport on the National Stage

Deb Stevens is a wife, mother, schoolteacher, horticultural expert and role model in so very many ways. Shaping the lives of students and young people throughout the greater Newport community. We were especially proud of Deb this past week as she and her selfless accomplishments were profiled on National TV. Please enjoy this incredibly moving video clip from the Strahan, Sara and Keke show on ABC-TV. It will make you feel so very thankful for Deb and people like her that are giving their all to the next generation.

Quotes of the Week: Thanksgiving

Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough.

Oprah Winfrey

Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.

Erma Bombeck

Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.

Henry Van Dyke

An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day.

Irv Kupcinet

If you think Independence Day is America's defining holiday, think again. Thanksgiving deserves that title, hands-down.

Tony Snow


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