Agony and ivory: Teens’ bagpipes seized at Canada-US border because of ivory

Tyrants.

CONCORD, N.H. – The skirl of their pipes had barely receded before two New Hampshire teenagers learned a hard lesson in cross-border musical diplomacy: If your bagpipes have ivory in them, leave them at home before travelling to Canada or risk having them seized at the border.

Campbell Webster of Concord and his friend Eryk Bean of Londonderry were returning from Canada on Sunday after a bagpipe competition that served as a tuneup for the world championships in Glasgow, Scotland. The 17-year-olds, fresh off winning several top prizes in the competition in Maxville, Ont., east of Ottawa, got to a small border crossing in Vermont when they were told they’d have to relinquish their pipes because they contain ivory.

The U.S. prohibits importing ivory taken after 1976. Even though the boys had certificates showing their ivory is older — Campbell’s pipes date to 1936 — U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized the pipes in Highgate Springs, Vermont. Well, not all of them: The boys took every other part possible and left the ivory with the Border Patrol so nobody else could make a full set out of the parts.

“This has been an awful headache,” said Lezlie Webster, Campbell’s mother. “At one point at the Canadian border, they said, ‘no way are we going to get our pipes back.'”

After contacting New Hampshire’s congressional delegation and getting more than 3,000 signatures on an online petition, the boys are getting their pipes back and were set to fly from Boston to Scotland on Tuesday. But the hassle is lingering like a sour note: Lezlie Webster said the boys had to shell out $576 in extra fees because they took the pipes across the border at a “non-designated crossing.”

What the hell is a ‘non-designated crossing’, CBP? I tried Googling it, and all I found was this story (save a few links about other parts of the world)!

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Virginia DSS Sued for Removing Children from Home on False ‘Medical Child Abuse’ Charges

Virginia DSS Sued for Removing Children from Home on False ‘Medical Child Abuse’ Charges.

The situation began in 2012 when Lane and Susan Funkhauser took their two children, a boy and a girl, to a doctor as the children had not been feeling well, but was unable to diagnose the problem. As the children remained ill, the Funkausers decided to homeschool their children while they sought further medical help so that they would not continue to miss school.

School officials soon filed truancy charges, which were dismissed. However, as a result, the Clarke County Department of Social Services soon became involved in the matter, and social worker Michael Austin accused Susan of having Munchausen Syndrome by proxy, a mental illness in which a parent invents, induces or exaggerates their child’s illness in order to draw attention to themselves.

During this time, the Funkhausers obtained a diagnosis from another doctor, who determined that the children had a combination of strep throat, parasites and a serious and contagious bacterial infection called C. Diff. (short for clostridium difficile) which kills over 14,000 Americans a year. As laboratory tests proved the presence of the C. Diff. infection, the doctor sent the Funkhausers to the hospital, where they were treated and released.

Nonetheless, in July 2012, the Funkhauser’s children were removed from the home by Clarke County DSS. They were taken to the emergency room, where it was confirmed that the children had C. Diff.

However, building off of Austin’s theory, social workers from the neighboring Shenandoah County DSS also became involved and placed the Funkhauser children in foster care. The county went to court over the matter, where a judge allowed them to continue to investigate and interrogate the children.