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Posts Tagged ‘Dwight Hobbes’

Challenging Responsibility part two

Interview with Amy Koehnen of Ebenezer Senior Living, Part Two By DWIGHT HOBBES Ebenezer holds fast against COVID-19, operating its business of caring for people with exactly that – care. The alley concludes its conversation with Amy Koehnen, Minneapolis Campus Administrator. You have your hands at the wheel. I personally believe in being professionally hands-on. Early on, I went to each site, seven days a week. I keep my fingers in it. No sooner did things become reasonably manageable than the Omicron variant arrived. How do you cope with the curve balls this virus throws us? We made sure staff were vaccinated or given an approved accommodation. Otherwise they couldn’t be employed at Ebenezer sites. Every weekday at 9, 9:30 we do calls to pass along information, ask questions. February 24, the Minneapolis rescinded mask requirements. Except for city owned or managed buildings. Where did that leave Ebenezer? March 13, Governor Tim Walz declared a state of emergency. The Department of Motor Vehicles was open, the day before, when my son got his driver’s license, it was terrible. Human beings were coughing all over each other. Ebenezer had our assisted living and nursing homes shut and lock their doors. Signs said, “No visitors.” It made you want to cry. I can’t count the twists and turns, the different directives we were given. Between the Minnesota Department of Health, Center for Disease Control, Center for Medicaid and Medicare, World Health Organization we have many bosses who tell us what to do. The Ebenezer leadership team gathered all that information, giving it to us and my job was to give it to the staff. Speaking of leadership, it seems corporation CEO isn’t just a high placed suit, but rather cares about people. Absolutely. The mission we have is not just written on paper. John Lundberg and the leadership team genuinely emulate that. Which flows down to the people I work with. Dignity, compassion, innovation. [...]

Challenging Responsibility

Interview with Amy Koehnen of Ebenezer Senior Living, Part One Editors note: When this article was first published online we incorrectly stated that if you are unvaccinated you can work at Ebenezer. This error has been corrected. By DWIGHT HOBBES The corona virus contagion threw South Minneapolis businesses for a loop.  Those that haven’t closed are fighting to hold on.  On top of which the highly contagious Omicron variant continues spreading across the country, eclipsing those fueled by the Delta variant over last summer: businesses are  far from full strength.  "There are many places in the country where hospitalizations now are increasing," Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told CNN in December.  As of January, the rate of infections in Hennepin County is “very high”, according to the New York Times. Ebenezer shoulders the unenviable responsibility to not only stay in business – after all, the bottom line is the bottom line – but continue providing invaluable human services, for tenants and residents the most  highly at risk Ebenezer Park Apartments and Ebenezer Tower Apartments (senior housing), Ebenezer Loren On Park (assisted living) and Ebenezer Care Center (nursing home). As of January 6, Ebenezer complies with the City of Minneapolis’ reinstated mask mandate.  On top of which, if you’re not vaccinated, you can't work at Ebenezer.  Amy Koehnen, Minneapolis Campus Administrator spoke with The Alley about meeting the challenges these past couple years. Yours is no easy job. It isn’t. But, I have  experience. Twenty-seven years in the profession, doing this type of work. For good measure, you oversee a fifth site. The University of Minnesota Transitional Care Unit. It is on the west bank and is connected to the Acute Rehab also at the University of Minnesota. It is licensed as a skilled nursing facility so I am the administrator of record. Although they do [...]

Having a heart for homeless cats

Having a heart for homeless cats

By DWIGHT HOBBES "Pretty Mister" of East Phillips If, as the Good Book says, the Lord gave humans dominion of animals, there are those of the mind that dominion doesn’t just mean being in charge. It means providing care. Accordingly, consider the plight of homeless cats that are hungry with no roof overhead not because they ran afoul of a landlord or having applied for housing are stuck sitting on a long waiting list. They are in their condition because some owner’s child no longer thinks kitty is cute, got bored, and no one in the house can be bothered. Or, because a family moves into a dwelling that doesn’t allow pets and, instead of searching out one that does, they simply dropped the defenseless creature off on the street. From there, the felines naturally procreate, resulting in a steadily increasing population that, overrunning areas, has no way to fend for itself. They make a nuisance of themselves, scrounging around in garbage cans, hiding under porches and in abandoned garages for shelters. Fortunately for them, some folk do what they can to help out. Some feed and water them, leaving bowls where they can eat and drink, close enough to the make-do refuge that the cats don’t starve and can scurry to safety at a moment’s notice. I did this for a clutch of felines who settled in behind my apartment building and an upstairs neighbor complained: “Stop feeding those cats.” At length, she ratted me out to the landlord who didn’t do anything, so she complained to animal control. When they came to the door, I stood my ground. “Who is it hurting for those cats to have a mouthful of food?” Which is how I learned food can be put down for three hours, then has to be removed. “Three hours? What I give them little critters is gone in three minutes.” However well intentioned, this is a stop-gap measure, not a solution to merely help keep them alive. Effective efforts, though, are being taken to more concretely address the [...]

Something I Said: Mario and Melvin

Something I Said: Mario and Melvin

By DWIGHT HOBBES The original title of Mario Van Peebles’ Baadasssss! (Sony Pictures, 2003) was How To Get The Man’s Foot Outta Your Ass, entirely fitting for the social commentary his father Melvin Van Peebles’ film Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (Yeah, Inc., 1971) put forth in a time when grassroot black America had grown sick and tired of this country kicking us around to keep us down. Indeed, Baadasssss! is a dramatized, making of historic document, looking at what went into Melvin returning the favor and putting his foot in American cinema’s behind, profoundly challenging its cherished tenet of supremacist propaganda. There is a reason, after all, The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense lauded it, in Huey Newton's words as "the first truly revolutionary…" that, in the opening credits, starred "The Black Community," It became required viewing for Party members. There is the same reason Bill Cosby, who’d narrated CBS’ Black History: Lost, Stolen or Strayed three years earlier, stepped in with a $50,000 loan to complete funding after Columbia Studios suits turned their backs and left production high and dry. Neither was going to see this landmark depiction of black reality go by the wayside. The days of demeaning portrayals of mammies and shiftless men were done. There was a downside. It pried the door loose for Spike Lee, which continued to revolutionize cinema, but also ushered in an era of the new, “blaxploitation” stereotype: studs and sexpots – even if scores of actors did get work. These days it no longer turns the world upside down when black filmmakers including, finally, female producers and directors have something serious to say. For which we can thank a scrappy brother - the late Melvin Van Peebles - who made history on a shoestring budget of $150,000 (unfortunately bouncing a check to then-fledgling Earth, Wind & Fire) in just under three weeks. We can also be grateful to Mario Van Peebles for honoring that [...]

Society of St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Shop

Something I Said By DWIGHT HOBBES Society of St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Shop is, in very good terms as the euphemistic parlance goes, a beast: the South Minneapolis operation has made it through the corona contagion thus far, the catastrophic 2020 riot and the ongoing economic climate which, stimulus or no stimulus, is in lousy shape. That rioting, supposedly in the name of George Floyd, absolutely devastated the very community it's alleged to have been for the sake of. Overnight - actually the course of a few days - the business outlets along Lake Street that it didn't shut down were flatout destroyed, depriving whole neighborhoods of affordable goods and services in an area where affordable goods and services amount to a godsend. Not to mention store staff glad to have a job with all the contagion-related layoffs and firings suddenly were left wondering how to pay their bills. Fortunately, more than a year later, much, in fact most, of Lake Street's thriving commerce has returned. At 10th Ave., though, Family Dollar is a glaring exception. With this location of the chain still boarded up, households in the immediate vicinity sustain a serious hardship. Like the name says, families were able to stretch a dollar shopping for necessities. Parents, for instance, got a good price on things like Pampers. You could get a decent price on even name brand pet food. When you weren't able to make it to the supermarket for groceries, you could just fill in a few blanks, especially a day or two days before payday when you feel the pinch most.  Society of St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Shop can't do anything about those concerns, but it remains a resource for useful items like clothes, electronic equipment (including desktop and laptop computers), dishes,  and more. It is a modest but nonetheless valuable asset to a community still coping with hard times. The Minneapolis St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Shop, 2939 12th Ave. South (612-722-7882), is within walking [...]

Ani-Meals Brings Meals on Wheels to Furry Family Members

Ani-Meals Brings Meals on Wheels to Furry Family Members

By DWIGHT HOBBES  In the best of times folk who have trouble making ends meet have enough of a challenge feeding themselves, much less Fido and Kitty. These are far from the best of times. Accordingly, Ani-Meals is more than ever a pet owner”™s godsend, spun-off from Meals on Wheels through a Meals On Wheels America grant to PetSmart Charities in 2015. Soon as word got out about the supply, demand grew. Melanie La Pointe, Ani-Meals director at the Community Emergency Service location, recalls, “It exploded pretty fast. At first, we had about ten animals, then, it went up to about 70.” That number is now 163 pets belonging to 90 clients of MOW.  For confirmed animal lover La Pointe, the program is a heartfelt undertaking. “It”™s really important for people to be able to keep their pets. Pets are family. A lot of our clients don”™t have any family. They”™re basically isolated.” A condition the corona crisis hardly helps. “Their dog or cat is their family and it”™s important to keep healthy. A study said that being lonely was equivalent to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day.” Accordingly, having that pet to care for as a reason to get up each day can be vital. “Somebody that needs them. It”™s a mutual arrangement that makes them both healthier and happier.”  As shown by the explosion in demand right off the bat, there”™s a steadily increasing demand for Ani-Meals”™ services. There is not a correlating increase in resources. Asked what she”™d do with more funding, La Pointe answers, “I”™d make arrangements so we could provide more veterinarian care really expensive. When you”™re on a fixed income, you can”™t spend $800 on a cat.” Generally, you don”™t even have it to spend on yourself. She underscores, “You just don”™t have [...]

Homeless Crisis Requires Common Sense Solutions

Something I said By DWIGHT HOBBES There comes a point at which even bleeding heart liberalism must yield to common sense and things at Powderhorn Park in South Minneapolis have passed it. There”™s been a great deal of carping about how the city owes the homeless a place to go, the parks ”“ not just Powderhorn ”“ should be their sanctuary, so on and so forth. This would hold water if the encampment in the middle of a decent, peaceful neighborhood had not sordidly and violently disrupted the surrounding quality of life. The inhabitants didn”™t even have to contribute to communal well being, just not drag it down into the gutter and literally endanger it. As of this writing, crime there has gone from bad to worse. A teen aged girl was raped on June 26. Two days later, so was a woman. All told, there have been three sexual assaults; at least three that were reported. A man was shot in the face recently. Drug use has become so commonplace, neighborhood residents don”™t bother to call police when they see suspected activity, including the directly related traffic of hookers hopping in and out of cars at all hours of the day and night. Junkies have been carted away in ambulances after overdosing. Home owners and rent-paying tenants who work for a roof overhead have had their windows tampered with and seen their automobiles broken into. The Sheraton Hotel at Chicago and Lake was a homeless sanctuary before this. The owner threw them out for good reasons ”“ drug overdoses and a fire. There are some people you just can”™t help for the simple reason that they don”™t want to be helped. They”™ll gladly take a handout but have no interest in changing, in taking accountability to if not lead a productive life, not violate the rights of others. Apparently, the whole endeavor was handled in ramshackle fashion from day one. [...]

Corona Crisis Exposing Minnesota Racism Against Asian- Americans

Something I Said  By DWIGHT HOBBES  For a place touted as a bounty of multiculturalism, Minnesota can be downright reactionary and racist. It is doubtful, for instance, that had the corona virus originated in, say, Sweden or Switzerland, blue eyed blondes would be targeted for harassment. Yet, the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) has had to denounce increasing racist attacks and xenophobic profiling of Asian-Americans, backlash for the pandemic against people who, for all they know, had never even been to China much less caused this crisis.  Consider. A St. Paul-based nonprofit held an online discussion on discrimination against Asian Americans during this pandemic, but scrapped it due to the overwhelming presence of derogatory remarks posted. Hardly in keeping with locale known for being socially progressive and ethnically inclusive. Xaria Vang, 23, bought a Taser gun after a stranger confronted her in a St. Paul butcher shop. Vang isn”™t even of Chinese extraction: she”™s Hmong.  Clearly, this state, the Twin Cities in particular, which breaks an arm patting itself on the for supposedly standing for equality is just as backwardly Neanderthal in its attitudes and behavior as places like: New York City where a woman was punched and called “diseased”; Plymouth, Indiana where a pair of Hmong men were refused hotel accommodations; a Texas town where an Asian family were knifed (father and son slashed across the face) while trying to grocery shop. And reports right here in Minnesota are on the increase.  The lead Donald Trump has provided to follow makes bad matters worse. After a White House official, speaking to CBS journalist Weijia Jiang called COVID-19 the ”˜Kung-Flu”™ the president not only didn”™t denounce the blatantly racist comment but denied any responsibility for Asian-Americans being targeted. He has no responsibility for this ethnic group being singled [...]

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