Monday, March 31, 2008

Winter's Last Breath

Right now we are bordering on a Blizzard out side,
It has been snowing here all day long, one of those days when you just want to wrap in a blanket , drink green tea and read.
In the last hour it turned a little wicked, just in time for heavy drive time.
I suspect there will be many cars in the ditch before this is over.
The good news for us in the hinterland, is the predicted 40's and 50 temps predicted for the rest of the week so we know this snow won't last long.

I was stuck home all day, waiting for the cable guy, or I should say cable boy,
I swear these tech's get younger and younger.
He came and rewired my TV's but since some reception is still poor, he will be back Sunday when Hubba is hear to talk to him.
Maybe he can understand the lingo.

Today is also one of my G sons 16th birthday, Hmm, wonder if he has ever been kissed?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

I Can Never Forget !

I remember an article I read several years ago in "The Rake".

It said "Tornadoes don't have names, they have dates and times.

The date was March 29th, 1998 and the time was 5:20 PM.

An angry Twister cut through the center of my hometown, St. Peter, Mn.
also the home town of five former Governors of our state and
a neighbor of mine who happened to marry John Denver, Annie Martell.
Her former home like my parents was on the south end of town and escaped any damages.

The twister destroyed over 500 homes, and damaged more then 1,700 more.
It totally destroyed the 2 churches I and my Hubba had gone too.

It was shortly after the Tornado struck that I received a call from one of my closest
friends, she was calling from the nursing home she worked at.
She was saddened because she had heard it on the news and she knew how close we were to so many in our hometown.
It would be around 4 months later that I would also lose her to a strep virus gone wild.

So I remember yesterday for more then one reason, and couldn't bring myself to post about it till now.

For more about the Tornado and some pictures and links, you can click on Centrisity.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

He has no Heart!

In 1992 the Minnesota Legislature introduced a plan to help all Minnesotans get access to affordable health care.

This plan the Health Care Access Fund (HCAF)was payed for by a new tax on health care services.

The idea of the fund was to give preventative and primary care to those without insurance, thus reducing
preventable Emergency room visits.

Though many Administrators, Doctors and health-care workers were opposed at the beginning because they would be paying the provider tax, they soon came to accept it, because they were assured that the fund had appropriate safe guards that would allow the funds
to be used only to increase access to care for sick patients.

What it is now happening is outrageous.

Minnesota Governor,Tim Pawlenty, who is on the short list for McCain's VP, has decided this is his bank to raid to balance the State budget.
A budget in trouble because he doesn't want to raise taxes on his wealthy friends.

Pawlenty, Bush's lackey, has lowered the bar in this state for people who need health care and now he wants to lower it even further

If you live in Minnesota, call the Governor and your Representatives tell them to keep their hands off these funds.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Garden Party!

Today some of my friends and I went down to the Garden show at Macy's.

This has been a trip we have enjoyed for many years downtown Mpls on
Dayton's 8th floor.
When Marshall Fields bought Dayton's they continued the tradition, but
since Macy's took over they have changed it and this is the last trip we will take.
Like everything else nothing is the same.
They place all of the flowers through out the store, hoping that you will wander around and maybe buy something.

We didn't!!
Let Ricky explain!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Truth is Power

Every Friday night Bill Moyers Journal is a must see for me.
This past Friday on the Journal was Phil Donohue discussing his documantery Body of War
Check the trailer

It seems like the only way you can get any kind of truth in the Media is to turn to PBS.

You don't see the true story of Iraq on the national Media.

Tonight while people are watching Dancing with the Stars, Frontline on PBS will be giving us the true story of Bushes War.
I will be watching it, and I hope that anyone that misses it
checks to see when it is rerun.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Five years ago My Senator spoke

If only someone had listened, maybe 4000 of our kids would still be here, and if
Paul was still with us, I think he would have been a candidate for President.
Many in Minnesota, see something in Obama that reminds them of our friend Paul.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

We have a Verdict!

I was at my Book Club at the library when the call came that there was a verdict.

The jury was going to return it within 15 minutes, not enough time for me to
get to the Government Center.
So my friend (who is also a neighbor of my niece)and I sat and waited for the call.

When the phone rang we both jumped out of our chairs.

On the phone was a very happy Father, my niece's husband and also the Mayor of my city


Sentencing will be held April 22, I WILL be there for that.
I am so happy for the prosecutor and our County Attorney who put so much time into this conviction.

It is a new law and it had not been tried before, because they usually don't have a witness willing to come forward in these cases.

Maybe this will send some kind of message to those that pollute our kids.
I am not excusing those that use drugs, but in many cases these are people
trying to erase some kind of emotional pain they are feeling, and these drug dealers take advantage of that.

Thanks for all the prayers and good thoughts and if you live in the Mpls area,
watch the news tonight and check the paper tomorrow.

Monday, March 17, 2008

It's in Their Hands Now!

Today was closing arguments.
I have been so impressed with the prosecutor assigned to this case.
She has done a great job with a limited amount of evidence.

The defense attorney put on a slide show which reminded me of high school.
But he does have the upper hand, because the only witness's were an addict and a cell mate of the defendant.
The phone records are not complete, and there was one mystery call on my nieces
phone to Disney Mobile and no one knows who that was.

The defense attorney has been followed around by two young female interns, whom I guess had a lot to do with putting his closing together.
They got there early to get front row seats.

The judge's instructions to the jury were orderly, he told them they could only rely on their notes and remembrance of the testimony.
They could not reflect on the fact that he was arrested in a sting, or that he had delivered heroin to my niece and her friend at other times.
The only charge they can consider is Murder in the 3rd degree.

I don't expect a conviction, the jury seemed to take copious notes.
They were very attentive, I never saw a yawn.

This after noon after a couple hours of deliberation they asked for a transcript of some testimony related to the phone records.
The judge denied them.

If they have a reasonable doubt then they should vote not guilty.
If he is released I have no doubt that this defendant will be back
before a judge soon.

They recessed at 4:30 and will be back tomorrow at 9:00

Friday, March 14, 2008

No Defense??

Prior to court resuming, the Prosecutor informed us that the defense was going to rest it's case with out any testimony.
The defendant chose not to go on the stand, which was smart, for him anyway, from what we have been told, he isn't the sharpest tack in the box.
I think our Prosecutor would have chewed him up and spit him out
She is brilliant.

I was happy he didn't go on the stand, mainly, because at least this way they weren't going to attack the victim any more then they had already done.

They didn't know her, they didn't know how smart and caring she was,or how much talent she had.
They didn't know her as we did.
They only looked at her as a drug addict, somebody else's problem.
They didn't know the real human heart underneath all that pain.

I just wish there had been testimony about her as a young woman struggling with her depression.
How she was hoping to go back to school and become a nurse before she got hooked on that shit!

I guess there was a reason and I am not second guessing anyone.
I have been so impressed with the young woman assigned to prosecute this case.
She knew from the beginning it would be a toughie and she has done the best she could with the evidence they had.
The County Attorney is a friend and when this is over, I am going to tell him how lucky he is to have this woman on his team.

We will go back on Monday for closing statements, I hope one way or the other that it ends that day.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Day Two!

Today's testimony started at 9:30 with a Detective from the Drug Enforcement Task Force, testifying about the drug sting that was used to arrest the dealer the day after my G Niece's death from the overdose.
The dealer fled when he realized what was going down, but was apprehended when he ran
his car into the side of a building.
Then there was follow up testimony from The Bureau of Apprehension concerning the drug analysis of the buy.
After lunch the prosecution called a witness who had been a cell mate of the defendant.
He testified that the defendant, shared information with him that led him to believe he was the seller.
Unfortunately because of his history I am not sure the jury took him too seriously.
The rest of the afternoon was filled with boring technical stuff about phone records.
I learned more about cell phones, location of cell phone towers then I care to know.

As the Prosecution rested, I felt it had not been a good day.
Trying to connect the dealer's phone to any of the calls made wasn't settled in any one's mind.

There also is a witness who is unable to be found because she doesn't want to be found, she was the girlfriend of the male friend who was with my G niece on the day of her death.
The defense did a good job of turning things around and putting doubt in peoples minds about whether she may have been the one who delivered the drugs.
We know that isn't possible, because if she had the drugs, they would have gone to her apartment not to a fast food place.
There was a 3rd syringe found with the the evidence and her boyfriend said he was suppose to bring it home to her.
At the end of the afternoon the prosecution rested and tomorrow morning the
defense presents it's case.
This dealer does not deny that he has ever sold heroin to the victim and her friend.
Some times 3 or 4 days a week.
He just denies he did it on the day my G niece overdosed.
All they need is one person with reasonable doubt.
Frankly the Defense lawyer is obnoxious and I think he may have ticked off the jury a couple times.
We'll just have to see what happens tomorrow and whether the defendant goes on the stand.
Thanks for all the good thoughts.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Law and Order

It was a long draining day today.
We arrived at court around 8:30 and we were met by our Victims Advocate who clued us in to what would probably be happening.
He told us that they expected the trial to go through this week and by Monday
the attorneys would give their closings, then it will be up to the jury.
He warned us that after lunch the medical examiner would be on the stand and there would be pictures.

We were seated in the court room, the jury came in and we all stayed standing
while the judge entered the room.
I expected the defendant to look like drug dealers I have seen on TV, but there sat a
kid in his 20's.
It made me sick to think how many lives have been ruined by drugs.
I am not going into detail about the case, just that it involved
my 23 year old great niece, my brothers only granddaughter, who died from a heroin overdose in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant.
Her parents knew she was troubled and had gotten her professional help and thought things had turned around, little did they know until today how serious her problems were,
Parents can be blind, or sometimes they just don't want to see what is in front of them.
She was a very intelligent young woman who also happened to be suffering from depression

The friend who was with her, another addict, stayed at the scene and was arrested.
He assisted the police in a sting and the dealer was caught.
He is small potatoes but he is being charged with Murder in the 3rd degree, because the substance he sold caused a death.
His lawyers whole defense is going to be, that he wasn't the dealer and that because the companion was afraid of going to jail he just chose this particular dealer at random.

The morning session was mostly the officers and their supervisor who arrived on the scene with in minutes of her collapse.
Then, the Emergency room Doctor, who testified to what had been done to try and save her life, the medications they used to try and reverse the drugs affects.
He also testified to the fact that she had died from a heroin overdose and that it was the only drugs found in her system.
This is important, because other wise the Defense would have been able to say that they couldn't be sure what she died from.

After lunch came the medical examiner and I did not look at any of the pictures and really kind of shut out what he was saying.
The day concluded with the testimony of the friend who was with her.
It was painful for all of us to hear most of the things he said, but
if we can believe him, he went into treatment shortly after this happened last June and hasn't used since.
So maybe one life will be saved because of this tragedy.
His mother was sitting in the back of the court room, I'm sure she was in terrible pain too.

Court resumes tomorrow AM and if time permits I'll add more then. If not Ill update
on the weekend.

Keep those prayers coming,her parents and her 19 year old brother need them.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Hope for the Future!

It has been a busy week, I haven't had time to really sit back and relax.
I served as a judge this past week for a speech contest for the second annual
NW Regional MAAP STARS Competition.
It is an organization formed to assist the education of students who attend Alternative Schools.
I found this to be very rewarding, hearing the stories from these kids about their reasons for attending an Alternative School was at times heart wrenching.
One in particular grabbed me.
Elizabeth was your typical student up until High School.
One morning she woke up and just couldn't get her self out of bed.
She went from an outgoing, active, high achieving student, to a slacker.
As the months went by she found herself falling deeper into depression.
Finally it peaked,then she decided the only thing to do was to go to sleep and not wake up.
Thankfully there was someone there who rescued her from her suicidal attempt.
She was hospitalized for several weeks, diagnosed with OCD, Agoraphobia,Anxiety and Panic disorder along with her depression.
Medication eventually helped but she still couldn't handle the regular high school
It took some time before her Mother finally realized that she needed ALC.
Now as Senior she stood before us in the regional contest telling us of her pain, and how she had overcome it with the help of her Mom, who sat there with tears streaming down her face.
This was just one of the stories we heard,
I scored Elizabeth as my number one and another beautiful young woman Trini who spoke about her Immigration to the US as my Number two.

When the final results were announced they were reversed in order.
But only one point had separated the two on my score card.

I was approached to be a judge for the state finals but because of a conflict on the date, I declined.
I did tell them to call me in the future.

Elizabeth story hit close to home for me.

Last May my beautiful Great niece died from a drug overdose. She was bright, talented and suffering from depression.

On Wednesday I will be attending the trial for the drug dealer that sold her the heroin.
He refuses to plea bargain and all I can hope is that the jury hears the truth and puts him away, so maybe her death will result in saving somebody else.

Wish us luck and keep us in your prayers.

Monday, March 03, 2008


OK I'm an idol junkie, and this kid David Archuleta is about to become a big star.
Was it the song that grabbed me?
We'll see tomorrow night when he sings again.
I need the distraction from the election craziness going on.
Just sit back and enjoy this kid.