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Saturday June 24th 2017

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By Ray Jay & Young Dex

We must start this edition with a warm heart felt congratulations to The Minnesota Lynx WNBA basketball team, that just missed the playoffs, by two games. A season in which star player, Siemone Augustas, suffered a season ending injury in game four. Congrats to Lynx head coach, Jennifer Gillom, for her ability to rally the team, and keep them very competitive, losing six games by three points or less. We predict that they will be one of the best teams in the WNBA come next season. From players to fans, the good spirits flowed all season long!
At press time, in the WNBA payoffs, defending WNBA Champion, the Detroit Shock, are up 1-0, in their best of five series against the Indiana Fever, in The Eastern Conference finals, and the Phoenix Mercury, are up 1-0, against the Los Angeles Sparks, in the Western Conference finals. Young Dex picks Los Angeles to win it all. I chose defending champion Detroit. The Lynx played well against all four of the finalist, during the regular season, while missing Ms. Augustus.

Will The Timberwolves be as successful? One would hope for a little more success, but only time will tell. The team is already suffering from a bad draft decision, in that, first round draft choice, Ricky Rubio, ( picked instead of Stephen Curry, considered by many to be the best player available in this years draft), has declined to play for the Timberwolves and decided to stay in Spain. The Timberwolves will surely build this team around Al Jefferson, and fans can’t wait to the skills of 1st round draft picks, Jonny Flynn, Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington, who will all have to excel as rookies, (for a team that finished 21st, last year, out of 30 teams in points per game), for the T-Wolves to be competitive. It is hard for us fans to say the words, REBUILDING YEAR, but with a very high level of optimism, you can at least call it that! Let’s call a X a X, and an O an O.

On to football and The Minnesota Vikings, who are 3-0 at press time, having “pulled out” a win against the San Francisco 49ers at game’s end. They are looking pretty good and we thought they could handle the 49ers, and go to 3-0 early in this 2009-2010 season although we must admit we didn’t expect them to wait until the last 2 seconds. Getting rid of wide receiver, Bobby Wade, may come back to haunt them, however.

As for our baseball team, The Minnesota Twins, at press time, were two games in back of the Detroit Tigers, for the Central Division title, as neither seems to be equipped to catch the Boston Red Sox, for the wild card spot. One day, Minnesota, we will have a professional sports team, that others in the league will be trying to catch, and that time may come with this years Viking team, or next years Lynx team. Go Minnesota Gophers, Oops that’s not professional; OH WELL!

For Comment and feedback, please contact Young Dex and Ray Jay.

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THE WAR ON DRUGS HAS EXPANDED; Or Has It Really?

PART II, Where do we go from here?

By Raymond Jackson

This sequel to last month’s, ‘War On Drugs’ article will help to answer readers questions, such as Gina P. of South Minneapolis, who asked, “What do the officiados/doctors say  about this growing dilemma?

“What can we actually do about it?”

“What are some warning signs?”

This follow up article does contain excerpts from the initial article.

Remember that it’s all about educating and saving lives!

Crack-cocaine continues to rage the inner-city, most particularly, inner-city communities with large populations of people of color. Methamphetamine has still not had a huge negative impact in these communities, even though it is cheaper than crack-cocaine. Do marketing strategies, by those making the most profits; have something to do with this dilemma? Absolutely, yes it does!

So who are the big profiteers of crack-cocaine sales?  Certainly not the low level street corner distributors. Nor is it the ‘Scarfaces’, as main stream media would like to make us believe. The Tony ‘Scarface’ Montanas, have a tendency to go out just like he did, and guess who steps right in to profit from his removal.  Perhaps they are different entities that take hold, seize, sale and profit.  There are many so-called, legal profiteers, people making large amounts of cash, off of illegal activities, who are backed by our system. In these larger scale elimination efforts, the seized property brings in millions and the drugs seem to find their way back to the streets.

Although many consider Meth to be cheaper and more powerful than crack-cocaine, because of its make-up,(household products, etc.), the profiteers of Meth, seem to be more low level, somewhat ordinary people.

So what is ‘The War on Drugs’, really about? It appears to be about profiteering off of the ones, who for whatever reason, have become addicted to drugs .Even though that concept has only recently and slowly started to apply to two of the most addictive, and deadly drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco, of whom humongous profits are made, the LEGAL drugs remain somewhat exempt from ‘The War on Drugs’, which is leading to a new found drug epidemic, which is actually very old.

This epidemic consists of highly addictive legal drugs that go under the moniker of painkillers. Because they are legal, and the big profiteers from them, is the pharmaceutical industry, it will be quite awhile before they are made a relevant part of ‘The War on Drugs’. Long considered a Suburban high, painkilling drugs, such as Percecet, Oxycodiene and Vicodine, have found their way into the inner-city. Many addicts trying to get off of crack-cocaine have resorted to these highly addictive pain medications as a way out, only to become addicted to these alternative drugs.  A lot cheaper, but just as destructive and deadly!

One could even include the various types of sleeping medications into this epidemic. These pills sell for 2-5 dollars each on the street, so therefore the big profit is being made by the manufacturers, who charge millions to the Health Insurance companies that cover these medications. These pills were once the choice of unemployed suburban housewives and their associates. Just as we, the inner-city communities, had to wean each other away from the Prozac fountain, we will have to do the same with these prescription medications.

AMERICA WAKE UP! According to a Pain Specialist, who spoke under the condition of anonymity; “The state of Minnesota is very strict when it comes to pain killing medication. Their one strike and you’re out concept drives many a recovering addict back into the streets, looking for pain relief. This state does not take into account that we are all human, and humans do make mistakes. In most games there lies a multiple strike or fouls clause. You know, like in baseball, three strikes and you’re out. If a client tests positive for non-legal medications, we have no choice but to either, ignore the positive test or simply take them off of our care. They usually wind up in jail or dead as a result of this strict enforcement. It’s like we just give up on them,” he said. “These laws and regulations must be changed or modified, for the sake of humanity.”

As long as high society profits, there will be no pending regulatory efforts. Aren’t you tired of being bamboozled!

So what one can do is question the need of the prescription. Be very careful when it comes to signing pain contracts that are very open ended and vague. Have someone close to you monitor your doses. Do not tell others that you are on pain medication. And if you feel a growing desire to take more than what the dosage is prescribed; do not hesitate to get professional help in getting off the medication.

Raymond Jackson is a staff writer and can be reached for comments and opinions.

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“…There are those that use pain meds appropriately…”

As I sit in my pain clinic reading Mr. Jackson tear apart pain meds without acknowledging legitimate use, I find myself getting angrier every line I read. I did not ask to be on pain meds just like I did not ask to be hit while on a motorcycle by a truck by an ass text messaging while driving. The obvious omission of a small insert of “there are those that use pain meds appropriately as well as those who don’t” pisses me off. I pointed this out to those that bring this rag to this office and was promised I would not see it here again. Write about all the people we see texting while driving. They are killing more people than pain meds!!!!!!! Write about something you actually LIVE instead of what you assume. I took your rag so that I can express my disgust to all the people who purchase ad space so they think twice before choosing to spend their money on your space. Lots of papers out there besides yours. I live & work in the area and am ashamed to be represented in such a non-objective way.

Lisa Widman

Editor’s Note: Lisa Widman’s objections are taken seriously and certainly illustrate how personal and significant all of the specific, underlying issues of health care generally become because they are so loaded with in-depth moral issues. Raymond’s article was talking about drugs that have a legitimate medical use finding their way to the streets for illegitimate, illegal use. The Alley welcomes her critic and the opportunity to learn again that such delicate topics need to underscore the main points being made even more clearly.

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Horsefly Swish

by Peter Molenaar

Unlike the pensive almost melancholy feeling induced, for example, by a visit to my childhood fishing haunts, the annual tour of the “Great Minnesota Get Together” is for me always an invigorating adventure. Jersey cows, fine arts, tractor prices, eco-technology, countryside crafts and preserves…

Then, after lightly caressing the giant pumpkins in the horticulture display, the “Pioneer Heritage House” was spotted. So enter, please. In their combined effect the representative household objects of my not-so-distant ancestors evoked the suspension of time. And then, oddly juxtaposed to everything else, there it was—the horsefly swish.

The creator of this “swish” lived in the glory days of the horse and buffalo culture. Crafted from half a horse’s tail and an eight-inch shaft of polished pipestone, its original possessor was a distinguished and dignified hunter (Lakota warrior?). No doubt this object had served the ceremonial regalia even as the rider’s mount appreciated its use in fending off biting flies.

Flash to Vietnam via Thanhnien News.com…

Elders will recall the name: Lieutenant Calley of My Lai massacre fame. Calley just recently apologized for his role in the slaughter of hundreds of peaceful villagers some 40 years ago. “I feel remorse for the Vietnamese who were killed, for their families, for the American soldiers involved and their families…There is not a day that goes by that I do not feel remorse…I am very sorry.” Now free, Calley intends to revisit the site.

Why then does Leonard Peltier remain in prison—parole denied once again? He is at least ten times more innocent than he is guilty. So now, the fact is the better part of my generation is compelled to contemplate the increments of his passing even as we contemplate our own.
Other soldiers have returned to My Lai, succumbing to tears as they do, in the midst of big hugs from survivors emerging from the blue.
Horsefly swish…free Leonard.

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October-Dave Moore

October Dave Moore

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Now Begins the Process of Staying Together

backyardUpdate on the Backyard Initiative

Many of the Allina Backyard Initiative participants are describing the process of community engagement as “trustworthy”,” “deeply instructive,” “nurturing,” “Informative” and completely surprising.

The Process
Since December of 2008 there have been 11 dinner dialogue gatherings. Each gathering has held the attention of 28 – 70 people of various ages. The youngest is 6 years old and the oldest is a 74 year old resident. The 74 year old resident told the story of organizing the residents in his apartment building after being so inspired by the knowledge gained while attending 8 of the 11 dinner meetings and participating on the very active Assessment Team.

He left one of the Assessment meetings fired up. He had seen several drug dealers on the block where he lived. He was feeling frustrated and angry because as he stated, “no one was doing anything” suddenly he realized that the no one included him. He stood up and started knocking on doors inside his building asking people to come together for meetings about the drug dealer. He then called the SAFE office, then the councilperson’s office, the mayor’s office. Each office staff provided support and encouragement and within two weeks the house where the drug activity was happening was closed. This is a man who is now committed to moving his own fears about challenging unwanted forces in his community. He attributes his sense of ownership as well as his sense of empowerment to this process of building an engaged community of people for Allina to partner with in the “Backyard.”

This story illustrates how the engagement process works. In 9 months the people involved have redesigned the community health assessment, including the methodology and the instrument to perform the assessment. Over 20 Listening Circles were organized facilitated and documented by residents; a survey of 750 households is being implemented in October and November. All the questions were created by residents and will be carried out by residents. This on top of adopting a new definition of Health and engagement vision and writing up 5 prevention strategies, which they want to see implemented over time.

The groups have come together, walked around together, worked together are now beginning the process of staying together. The next several meetings October through December will focus on sustaining participation, active engagement and the partnership between Allina and the Community groups of the Backyard.

This partnership will now actively build health improvement strategies which will sustain healthy people and their families in the community.

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President Obama in Town for Health-Care Reform Rally

Rowena Aubrey, daughter; Elder Naima Richmond, mother, talk about President’s visit.)

Rowena Aubrey, daughter; Elder Naima Richmond, mother, talk about President’s visit.)

By Raymond Jackson
On Saturday, September 5, President Obama returned to Minneapolis and spoke to a crowd of 17,000 at the downtown Minneapolis Target Center. This Health-Care Reform Bill is taking on a life of it’s own as many in the Legislature labor hard to get this bill through. It is attached to a lot of confusion and unclear tactical planning that the President is trying to clear up as he tours the country, both in person and via electronically. At this time it is still not a sure thing to pass. There is a lot of opposition based on clarity and half truths on both sides. I have only electronically followed President Obama’s path, since attending his Inauguration last February, so this is my first subsequent write up surrounding his presidency.

I noticed several months ago that many major news outlets began to refer to him quite often as Mr. Obama, instead of President Obama, which helped to swell opposition to his official titling as President of The United States of America. It makes one think; Is this really about The Health-Care Reform Bill, or simply opposition to America having a black President. Many seem to be suffering from selective amnesia when remembering all of the problems we now face, were inherited from the Bush administration, and some, even before those terrible eight years of Bush’s leadership. Is it realistic to think that President Obama can change so much, in so little time in office. I continue to give President Obama high marks for his efforts and most importantly, his example setting of the past 9 months; as he continues to deal with an economic disaster, a war or two, the problems of mass immigration, as well as heavy racial bias, He and many others realize the importance of health-care for all. A sound body leads to a sound mind, which should help America with the other problems we are currently facing.

Everybody seams to agree that the Health-Care system, here in America, is in CRITICAL CONDITION. What has commonly become known as the triple AAA’s, Accessibility; Affordability;& Availability, are the well known culprits of this overall decline of the American way. They, along with Accountability, appear to be the underlying culprits to the other big problems America now faces.

What is truly amazing is that even the opposition, to Health-Care Reform, agree that something must be done. There is too much nitpicking going on, (in many peoples opinion), that is keeping anything from being agreed upon in detail, therefore keeping anything from ultimately being done to correct THE PROBLEMS OF HEALTH-CARE.

For instance, a group out of Seattle Washington, that were following President Obama’s Health –Care Reform campaign across the country, refer to the President as a sell-out.

The Backbone Campaign, advocates Single Payer Health-Care & Medicare for all. Their point is that Uncle Sam needs help in order to help the people. They presented their message through song and skit, while here in Minnesota, and it sounded much like the Health-Care Reform Bill, President Obama is trying to push through Legislation now. The Bill this group claims the President has abandoned. They said, in their presentation, that over 100,000 die every year because of no healthcare insurance. The Bank bailout situation appears to be at the heart of this dilemma. Paid for with tax-payers monies, many of these banks have returned to a business as usual mental state, several months after receiving taxpayer infused monies, many executives have started to award themselves the huge bonuses partly responsible for the economic crunch. The Backbone Campaign, run by a group called The Lumbar Club, states, “You can’t bleed us dry”, which indicates that healthcare is needed by those in bad health scenarios; a valid point.

As I was unable to attend the President Obama Health-Care Reform rally, I interviewed some in attendance. “This was like a dream come true; being there, seeing and hearing the President speak”, stated Community Elder, Naima Richmond. She continued, “I was awakened with a phone call, that Saturday morning, and asked if I wanted to go. Of course I said yes! I have only seen him in the news, since attending his Inauguration last February. Actually seeing him here in Minneapolis was like putting frosting on the cake. His message just resonated with my support of him. His message about the importance of having affordable health care, it was incredible! I just don’t see how anybody would oppose that. Those who are in opposition should come to reality and support him.”

Even though some groups who do support him, do so on the premise that certain things are deleted or added to the Bill. One group, Acorn, via e-mailings, says that the preexisting condition clause must be strengthened, in that it is very difficult for people with pre-existing conditions, to find affordable health-care coverage. They continue that Insurance companies must be prohibited from denying or dropping coverage for patients with preexisting conditions. Impose reasonable limits on out of pocket costs to protect the chronically ill from bankruptcy, and eliminate financial barriers to preventive services.

One can only hope that all of this is ironed out quite rapidly, as we go into, what is described as, the worst and most deadly flu season in decades.

For comment and feedback, please contact Raymond

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H1N1 Flu: Prevention, and Vaccine

by Kristen Godfrey and Sarah Ekerholm
The seasonal influenza vaccine is now available; if you would like to lessen your chance of getting the seasonal flu, you should get the vaccine. Getting a vaccination in the fall gives your body a chance to build up immunity and protect itself from the flu virus.

It is important to note that the seasonal flu vaccine will not protect against H1N1 influenza. There is no vaccine available yet for H1N1, but it is expected that the vaccine will be available sometime in October. If you are among the following groups, it is recommended that you receive the H1N1 vaccine when it becomes available: pregnant women, health-care and emergency services personnel, people who are 6 months through 24 years old, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months and people age 25 through 64 who have chronic health conditions.

Currently, the H1N1 influenza symptoms have been similar to seasonal influenza and have not been severe. However, there has been an increase in people receiving medical care for influenza like illness and groups of influenza like illness taking place in schools and colleges. We all play a role in limiting the number of Minnesotans who are infected with the virus by practicing good prevention techniques. It is important to stay home when sick, wash hands often, and cough and sneeze into a tissue or arm (not hand).

To prepare yourself or your family, create a “flu kit” with the following items: tissues, alcohol based hand sanitizer, disinfectant cleaner (to clean surfaces), thermometer, fever reducing medication such as ibuprofen, bottled water and other nourishing fluids.
If you are mildly sick, stay home and treat your symptoms. If you are have a temperature of 100 °F or higher AND a cough or sore throat, or if you have another chronic illness contact your doctor for guidance.
For more information: Minnesota Department of Health: 1-877-676-5414, Centers for Disease Control: 1-800-232-4636, U.S. Government’s Web site

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SEARCHING – a Serial Novelle CHAPTER 6: The Mission

By Patrick Cabello Hansel

Angel dreamt before he awoke. He could hear voices: his mother, Luz Maria, a childhood friend from back in Axochiapan, whose name he couldn’t remember. The boy was kicking a semi-deflated soccer ball through a lot bereft of grass or flowers and calling out to Angel: “Dále, dále, Cameroon”, the name of his neighborhood team. Angel ran to the ball, as fast as his leaden legs would take him, but he couldn’t get there. He woke up kicking, his eyes looking east and west for a ball he could not see.

It was early evening. There was a young woman from the reservation sitting by his bed, wrapped in a Mexican blanket. She seemed to be moving something in her hands. At first, Angel thought it was a rosary, the way her fingers moved. But as his eyes adjusted to the candlelight and back to consciousness after three days out, he saw she was moving a few small, smooth stones. He did not know the girl, he could not have known that she had bathed him, changed him, rubbed salve in his temples. And yet he knew enough to call her correctly:

“Sister”, he said, “where am I?”

Read the rest of this entry »

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SEARCHING – a Serial Novelle CHAPTER 5: Darkness

By Patrick Cabello Hansel

Dear reader,

It is hard to describe evil. Sometimes it carries a bat, sometimes it wears a badge. Sometimes it is a boss, sometimes a prayer gone horribly, horribly wrong. The evil that befell Angel was all of them, none of them. It was all of us, the worst of us, and we were its victims and its helpers.

For three days, unconsciousness became Angel. If he dreamed, if he was visited by memories or spirits, he will not be able to tell us. He dwelled in the land of Morpheus, in the land before darkness was separated from light. Hovering over the waters, hanging between life and death.

Some say that angels and demons converse secretly, right under God’s nose, in the chasm between heaven and hell, in the moments before dusk becomes night and dawn becomes day.

They are after all, family. Separated not by essence, but by actions. They were all created as the light of God, and if some confirm that light by seeking the darkness, should we be surprised?

Jaime knew better than to take Angel to the hospital, and Ahmed sensed it quickly. Whatever or whoever could beat him that badly, with that kind of impunity, would seek him out to finish the job. Angel had no papers, no insurance, no advocate for a health care system gone bad. He could, he would receive loving treatment at the hospital, but his tormentors would seek him there. Besides, Angel needed a healing that was stronger, stranger, deeper.

They carried him to Jaime’s truck, and then drove him to the heart of healing, to the far northeast corner of our community, where the drum still beats, and plants speak to those who would listen. They brought him in a basement door, and laid him at the feet of a woman known only as “Mother” or sometimes “Mother Light”.

Meanwhile the word went out about Angel, not by phone or television or official channels, but by the heart and its harsher sister, the tongue. His friends hung out on the corner, talking of revenge. His former teachers sighed and wondered how many more. Angel’s mother went to the cemetery, not because she feared her son dead, but to implore the dead, to stir the ancestors to intercede on his behalf. And Luz Maria lit candles in the shop, and kissed each long pan of bread with her breath.

Perhaps, reader, you are wondering about the one we call “Mother Light”. Oh, she has a “real” name. In fact, she has several. One for the taxes, the voting, the troubles and the bills. Another for the land she came from. Perhaps another that not even she knows, but only the Spirit that hovers. But now she is hope to this wounded child, mother and milk and we may dare to say, healing magic.

Rest in her, Angel, rest.

 

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