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wellstone dem

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 4,460

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When Pigs Flew and a man found a home

My true story that helps me make it through a lonely Christmas Eve......(This happened in 2010)

I work for a non-profit agency that serves the poor. What we specifically do, does not matter for this story.

In October, we began working with a mentally ill homeless man to get him housing.

He did not want people to know he was mentally ill. He would not go to a shelter, because of what that did to his mental illness. He refused to sign the releases necessary to get the medical records that we could use to prove his disability and then get him into subsidized housing. One co-worker told me that she could read a paper he was holding, and could see the language we needed to get him housing, but he wouldn't give her the paper.

Co-workers met with him, and talked with him, and never judged him. He kept coming to the office, and staff kept telling him what we needed. In November, it was getting cold, and one day I met him at the doorway, he'd stepped into our building to get warm. I got him a cup of coffee and asked him if my co-workers were treating him well. He told me the people in our office were good people, but that he did not have housing. I told him, "You are right, they are good people. You can trust them." And he was warm for the morning, but didn't have housing.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, another co-worker came to me and asked if it was o.k. to pay for a room. He said, "I'm not doing it for him. I won't sleep at night, knowing he is outside when I'm supposed to be celebrating Thanksgiving." More than one of my co-workers kicked in a few dollars, and he had housing that weekend.

But he still did not have a home.

Last week, on Tuesday, I got to the office a bit early, because I had a meeting. He was sitting outside the door to our office suite, shivering. I told him I would get him hot coffee. As I said that, yet another co-worker brought a space heater and a blanket. He told us that when he had got back to his shelter under the bridge that he had found mice in his sleeping bag. He had tried to get blankets or another sleeping bag from other sources, but could not sleep and could not keep warm.

I went to my meeting, where directors of many non-profits were in attendance. As we introduced ourselves, we were supposed to say something about our work but were asked to select something that provided optimism in this difficult time. I told them that after talking with the man without a home, that I didn't think would have housing, I could not be optimistic.

But on Thursday, the staff person who had worked with him on almost a daily basis for 6 weeks, got word that a property manager for housing for the disabled was willing to accept a signed document from a doctor, without the details of the disability. This man still needed the money for his damage deposit and first month/s rent, but if he had it, he could move in on Friday.

And on Friday she came to the office and found that office staff had raised the money, and had brought in sheets and pillow cases, towels, and dishes, and groceries. One person had an extra bed. Someone brought a coffee maker. There were chairs from the basement that had been put in storage when other chairs were donated. Everything was to help make sure this man did not just have housing, that he would have a home.

But when we brought the items we had collected, we found that he had a recliner, a table and two chairs already in the apartment. And there were groceries in his cupboard. He had moved into the apartment with nothing, and others in the apartment building saw that, and they called their kids or friends, and "a TV is on the way too." While we were there, the on-site managers brought a pizza.

This man gave us a tour of the apartment before we left, and then he thanked one of the primary staff people in private. She told me that he started to cry, and didn't want to join the rest of us with tears in his eyes.

That night we had our office holiday party. One of our staff brought me an ornament of a pig with wings. She said, "At the start of the week, we all would have said that pigs would fly before "____" had housing, so I guess pigs must be flying today."

So on this Christmas Eve, I am so grateful for flying pigs.

Edited to add: Two years later he still lives in this same apartment, though there have been a few weeks when it was touch and go, he made it through those tough times. And still stops up to get a dose of respect and kindness.
Merry Christmas to those who celebrate that holiday. Peace to all.
Posted by wellstone dem | Tue Dec 25, 2012, 12:24 AM (22 replies)

My Small Business Saturday Shopping

I spent $32 on Black Friday, mostly on groceries.

Today I spent more than $600.

I needed a new dryer and had planned to buy it from a Big Box company, but decided if I believed in shopping local, I had to shop local. So today, I went to a local appliance store. I bought my dryer, they will deliver it and haul away two appliances for me. Although the dryer was a little more expensive, I came pretty to close to breaking even because of the difference in charges for the installation/appliance removal. But the best part, was when the saleswoman said, "If you have any problem, you call us. Don't call the number in the manual or the number on the box. You call us, we will make it right!" That's when I knew why shopping local isn't just about the business, it's about the service. It is good for the business and the community, but is good for me too.

Then I went to a local jewelry/gift store. I was able to use my AmEX card which has a small business promotion, so got $25 off. I got the earrings I was looking for, but then I tried on these amazing, recycled wool, made in Minnesota mittens. And let me tell you, that Minnesota knows mittens. I spent a little more at the store, ($43 after discount) than I had planned.

Then to round it out, I bought 6 pounds of coffee from Muggsey's Beans. A local business that does most of its business on-line. http://www.muggsysbeans.com/ It feels a little weird to buy on-line from a store that I could drive to, but this is truly a small business, so its either on-line or at one of the coffee shops or churches that stock these beans. I've been buying beans from Muggsey, ever since he was one of the first non-Minneapolis/St. Paul, businesses to come out forcefully for same-sex marriage. He posted it on his website, and on his facebook page. And when someone said it would cost him business, he said some things were more important. It ended up boosting his sales a bit, as word of what he did spread. http://www.muggsysbeans.com/

It was a good day! Now I have to clean the house so I can let the delivery people in on Wednesday Or maybe I'll just have a beverage.
Posted by wellstone dem | Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:47 PM (6 replies)

We need a constitutional amendment

That allows a governor to veto a ballot amendment, and would then require that legislators ha e enough votes to override a veto, if they want to get something on the ballot without the governors approval,

Or, just require a 2/3 vote of legislature to put anything on the ballot. Governing by amendment is decisive and inefficient.
Posted by wellstone dem | Wed Nov 7, 2012, 02:48 PM (7 replies)

AP is reporting Marriage Amendment in Minnesota FAILS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry, no link but reported on NBC local channel. Oh MY! I am crying. Minnesota Voter ID also loses!!!!
Posted by wellstone dem | Wed Nov 7, 2012, 03:52 AM (16 replies)

Minnesota Marriage Amendment....I still have hope!!! 86% reporting

Banning Gay Marriage Amendment (We want "no" to win.)

Yes 1211375
No 1314595
Estimated Blanks 33596
Estimated Total Number of Voters 2559566
Estimated Percent of YES* 47.33%
Posted by wellstone dem | Wed Nov 7, 2012, 03:43 AM (6 replies)

Jim Graves just pulled ahead of Bachmann with 75.36 of votes in

Republican MICHELE BACHMANN 124470 49.62%
Democratic-Farmer-Labor JIM GRAVES 125627 50.09%
Write-In WRITE-IN** 725 0.29%
Posted by wellstone dem | Wed Nov 7, 2012, 02:59 AM (9 replies)

Just got back from Graves Headquarters

People are staying strong. This is an amazing result. With 73 % of the vote in.

Republican MICHELE BACHMANN 120691 49.97%
Democratic-Farmer-Labor JIM GRAVES 120118 49.74%
Write-In WRITE-IN** 702 0.29%
Posted by wellstone dem | Wed Nov 7, 2012, 02:48 AM (4 replies)

Lines are long at SCSU


and at St. Cloud Library

Posted by wellstone dem | Tue Nov 6, 2012, 05:12 PM (2 replies)

In line to see Bill Clinton. Doors open in 5.5 hours

20 people so far

Rally to elect Obama and Jim Graves.
Posted by wellstone dem | Sun Nov 4, 2012, 03:14 PM (5 replies)

Listening to a group of new voters talk about the Presidential election in a different language

Our community has a number of new Americans who have now been here long enough to get Citizenship. Many are voting for the first time. Their community organized a forum for new voters today, and invited many candidates to talk. I was there to look up voting places for people who needed that information (not many did. They were pumped to vote.)

The most interesting presentation was listening to one woman speak. Although most of the people at the forum spoke English, sometimes they used their native language because it was easier and faster for them. Sometimes there was an English translation, sometimes not. This time there was no English translation. The following are the words I understood:

"Mitt Romney" "Obama" "1 %" "99 %" "47%"

These new voters may be "English as a Second Language" speakers, but they are clearly high information voters.

That was it. Some of the above were said several times.

There were more than 250 people in that room. They were there for 2 and one-half hours listening to presentations and asking questions. It was amazing.
Posted by wellstone dem | Sat Nov 3, 2012, 07:31 PM (4 replies)
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