Exhibit celebrates Tuskegee airmen

To celebrate 50 years since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Minnesota Dept. of Transportation (MnDOT) Aeronautics division and their African American Employee Resource Group honored surviving Minnesota Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Dr. Harold Brown and the rest of the Commemorative Air Force Red Tail Squadron.

Continue Reading

Drug courts: An alternative to the war on drugs?

Miami built their first drug court almost 25 years ago as an alternative way to combat the rapid increase in cocaine-related crimes. It worked so well that by 1996, Minnesota followed suit, and now the state is expanding the program.Following a 2013 Minnesota Legislature funding increase, the Minnesota Judicial Council authorized the addition of six new drug courts in Minnesota last month, bringing the state’s total number to 44 courts serving 56 counties. And officials say the addition will help keep offenders from falling back into the system and save the state money when compared to traditional incarceration.“What [the researchers] found was if someone was sentenced to treatment [by a traditional court], most defendants didn’t even show up, and the ones who did dropped out,” said state drug court coordinator Jim Eberspacher. “If you don’t supervise the person and continue to provide services, the likelihood of them continuing down a path to sobriety is minimal.  Drug courts attempt to provide all the services necessary to keep the person on the right path.”A 2012 state-wide evaluation compared 500 drug court participants to nearly 650 similar offenders who did not participate in the drug court program. Over the two and a half year study, drug court participants had a 17 percent recidivism rate compared to 32 percent of those who didn’t participate – almost a 50 percent reduction. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Honoring sacrifices requires more than a memorial

On June 4th there was a groundbreaking ceremony for the Minnesota Military Family Tribute (read=”memorial”) at the Minnesota State Capitol.  And it was a nice occasion; speakers included Gold Star parents Ken and Julie Drevnick, Major General (Ret) Harry Sieben, Congressman Erik Paulsen and Governor Mark Dayton. All spoke of the sacrifices military service has on the home front. “When a soldier is deployed, an entire family is deployed. The mother is sitting home watching the news like she’s never watched it before, wondering if her son or daughter is there.” remarked Major General (Ret) and Mn Dept of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Larry Shellito. Continue Reading

Swiftboating Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, an opportunity to change the narrative on war

The week just completed marked the 70th anniversary of D-Day (June 6) but the June 4, 2014, USA TODAY someone left in the McDonalds in Wahpeton ND, marks the true nature of “news” this past week. Indeed, the newspaper carried a long article on D-Day on page three; but the front page lead story was: “Bergdahl under new scrutiny”. A safe assumption: anyone who follows “news” knows who “Bergdahl” is, at least as portrayed in the media. Continue Reading

A letter to my ພໍ່ father in 1984

At the age of two, my brother Ti fell along the waterfront from a fatal allergic reaction to penicillin, given to him by a medic who had no other available medicine for children. At the age of 10 months, my sister Vilay turned cold blue and stopped breathing in my mother’s arms. It would be years later before mae would go to the local temple. She prayed for a child who wouldn’t leave her side. She told me Buddha answered her prayers. He brought me to her on a Monday night, when she looked out the window and saw a falling star in the sky. She named me Chanida. Continue Reading