“Skillful Teaching through Facilitating Discussion—Teaching skills is an essential pillar of a competent CHW and CHWI,” a lecture by Dr. Shannon Cox-Kelley, summarized by J.D. Meyer

This was the first lecture at the 2018 Community Health Workers Conference for the NE TX CHW Coalition, July 13, 2018.

The NE TX CHW Coalition Conference featured two main lectures and three breakout sessions. The first main lecture was by Dr. Shannon Cox-Kelley –Dean of Health Science–who teaches in the Community & Public Health degree program at NE TX Community College. She received all of her degrees at Texas A&M at Commerce and is a noted online distance educator.

Dr. Cox-Kelly cited four occasions to use discussion: (1) Evaluate evidence. (2) Formulate application of principles. (3) Foster motivation for further learning. (4) Articulate what has been already learned—theory behind the discussion.

Memory is linked to how deeply we think about something. A research interest cited in Dr. Cox-Kelley’s biography really clicked with me: “the impact of educational attainment on health outcomes in diverse communities.” My disabling condition is COPD, but as a Master’s degree holder and former all-level teacher (mainly Developmental English/Writing: the Pre-College Composition course), I’ve learned to study my conditions. (Yes, I have other health issues). I write Word Press articles on health and make binders full of info on medicine, ER reports, and journal articles.

Returning to Dr. Cox-Kelley, she notes that relationships are key, and we have a need to know why and how information is needed. The CHW Instructor could start with controversy like a “devil’s advocate,” but one should announce it in advance to maintain trust. Uncertainty arouses curiosity; switch sides. Focus on solving problems rather than the solution.

Many students are passive and quiet since we’re taught to memorize in secondary education. An increasingly popular practice is to flip the class and have the lecture at night on You Tube or something like it. Then the classroom becomes a place for total discussion. This flip improved passing rates at Dr. Cox-Kelley’s junior college. Think, don’t memorize.

How to start with questions means to start with desired outcomes. Factual questions increase problem-solving. Application and interpretation questions find connections. Problem questions can induce critical thinking. Comparison questions can evaluate readings.

Dr. Cox-Kelley cites principles behind case studies: (1) Increase focus. (2) Break cases into sub-problems. (3) Socratic questioning, and (4) Lead students toward intended outcomes. Once again, passive students can be a possible barrier, as well as failure for students to see value.

Dr. Cox-Kelley cited Discussions as a Way of Teaching, by S.D. Brookfield and S. Breskill (1999) as a fine relevant book. Students can experience a fear of looking stupid and the inability to consider alternative sides because of emotional attachment. Are they trying to find a correct answer or explore? Helping emotional reactions includes asserting the value of discussion and keeping opinions and verbalization in perspective. To conclude, collaboration is better than competition.

“Skillful Teaching through Facilitating Discussion” lived up to its subtitle of teaching skills being an essential pillar of both the Community Health Worker (CHW) and CHW Instructor (CHWI). Furthermore, Dr. Cox-Kelley’s lecture reached out to teachers looking for a second career or a stimulating cause in retirement.

Midtown Pantry: Convenience Store/Valero Gas Station Finally Re-Opens in Tyler, Texas–by J.D. Meyer

The Midtown convenience store/Valero gas station re-opened on at 720 S. Fleishel Ave; Tyler, TX 75701 on Sunday, April 22nd. Located on the southeast corner of S. Fleishel & E. Dawson, it’s called Midtown Pantry by White Oak Pantry—a company based largely in Arkansas. It’s across the street from the new Christus Trinity Mother Francis 6-story parking garage.

The store went through extensive repairs after closing many months ago—including its sewers. Now it’s a snack grocery store (lots of chips) with a taco restaurant that sells beer and wine too. The beer selection is extensive with budget beers along with higher-priced beers. Midtown Pantry sells the strongest alcohol beverages for take-out in Tyler—Wild Irish Rose wine (various flavors) and some simulated liquor drinks—all at 17% alcohol.

Your soft tacos can be on corn or flour tortillas. The meat filling choices are coarse ground beef, chopped pork, and chopped chicken and coarse ground sausage— all mildly seasoned. The topping is a blend of sautéed sliced bell peppers and onions. Red and green salsa is available too. I bought four fried jalapenos stuffed with melted cheddar cheese for $1. Thanks to their first Taco Tuesday, my beef taco on a corn tortilla with bell peppers and onions was free! But they’ll be $1.99 from now on.

Midtown (The Hospital District) now has a wonderful new store that’s really close to both hospitals–Christus Trinity Mother Francis (TMF) & UT Health East Texas—formerly known as East Texas Medical Center (ETMC), as well as Pulmonary Specialists of Tyler, also on Fleishel. The Midtown Pantry and its location exemplify the “Eds & Meds” economy of Tyler, Texas. Cities with dominant industries of colleges and hospitals attract restaurants. Furthermore, the population of Tyler is just over 100K, but it swells to 250K during the day from those living in nearby rural towns coming to work or to see the doctor. I will return, and you should check it out too.

SOL18: Recent Highlights: Supporting the Dreamers, Pulmonologist Visit Followed by Long Walk, and Reaction to Resilience Talk, by JD Meyer

After writing a lengthy description of the first part of the Transportation Works Conference in Waco on Thursday, March 1st, I’ve missed doing blogs since then.

This afternoon, I went to a DACA Dreamers event downtown and held up a beautiful sign for the cause that had a picture of a big butterfly. Apparently, butterflies are symbols for the cause since they don’t have to worry about national boundaries. I’d gone shopping at La Michoacana on my way there, and bought two jars of pickled nopalitos (cactus), spicy tamarind candy, granola, and more. A photographer took a picture of my groceries and outfit—a red T-shirt with a Maya pyramid, a cap with a flag of Mexico, and a long-sleeved shirt with a Mexican design. She talked into her fancy cell phone too. Watch for me on a Mexican TV station! I met the principal of one of one of Tyler’s two high schools at the event–quite a pleasant surprise.

Yesterday, I read and commented on three SOL blogs. One was about how multicultural education is needed to reflect the composition of your class. Another was a response to the prompt, “If you really knew me, then…” The other was about a mom taking care of her baby.

Earlier that day, I got a pulmonology exam and showed improvement since October. Since I moved in February and started going to three committee meetings instead of one for my favorite non-profit, I’ve missed pulmonology rehabilitation meetings, so I was told to go get a new evaluation. Not only had I improved in the past four or five months, but I’m better than when I first started going to a pulmonologist in 2012! I brought a backpack full of folders and binders on my research of asthma and COPD: original articles, journal articles, drug descriptions, and illness descriptions from the hospital emergency room.

Ironically, I missed my bus transfer on the way home, so I took a less direct bus (straight south) and walked several blocks to the southeast in one hour and 12 minutes! I finally used a $25 gift card to buy a book at a store on the way—something on urban studies. Aren’t we supposed to be vague and not try to sell the book nor the store? On my walk, I found some artificial flowers too—white, yellow, and red. I wash out fancy beverage cans and convert them into industrial art vases.

I heard a fine talk on resilience on Sunday at church. References were made to plants by the speaker, a biology professor. That got me thinking about the concept. Resilience is the opposite of being fragile or showing withdrawn shame and a lack of assertiveness. I feel more resilient since my move across town.

#SOL My New Apartment, by JD Meyer

I moved to a new and improved apartment at the start of February 2018. It’s my fourth neighborhood in Tyler: South, North, East-Central (Midtown/Hospital District), and now Southeast. My new place is almost double the size of my previous efficiency! It’s a one-bedroom with a dining room, dishwasher, and balcony.

I still receive a HUD discount and received a lot of help from Neighborhood Services when I was trying to move. I’m a retired teacher on SSDI with COPD among other issues. My major teaching fields were Developmental English/Writing, the pre-College Composition remedial education course, and ESOL. I at least subbed in all grades from PK-12.

Choosing a good location isn’t easy–especially if you ride the bus or walk and no longer drive. For example, there are a couple of apartment complexes in Far North Tyler that are on the other side of a river and a few miles away from any stores. Another time, I hiked a couple of blocks east to find an apartment complex that cost less than average but nowhere near a HUD discount. Now I live close to a giant WalMart and a few convenience stores with plenty of beer. I’m close to a bus stop, though not as many as before.

Importantly, I’m quite near East Texas Human Needs Network (ETHNN)–the non-profit organization where I’ve volunteered for several years. We have five committees: Education, Employment, Healthcare, Housing, and Transportation. Transportation has been my major focus, but I’ve also gone to Education and Healthcare meetings too. I’ve organized Tyler Transit field trips with lunch for each of the five lines–going to both malls, two grocery stores, and Neighborhood Services. Now I’m going to more meetings than ever and doing more research too. They helped me with the move financially, and a neighbor non-profit donated some wide metal file cabinets to me! All this excitement occurred a week after my all-expense paid trip to Waco for my second Transportation Works conference for Texas Society of Independent Living Councils (TX SILC). Last year, my Cigna representative nominated me as a Consumer Advocate for Transportation(CAT), one of 30 in Texas and the only CAT in Tyler. Our Transportation conference was in Austin last year.

I just called the two Neighborhood Services ladies, and they got my note under one of their department’s cars that was in my complex’s parking lot a week or so ago. I went two weeks without TV, phone, and Internet. Glad to have seen a rerun of the Super Bowl last Sunday night. I’ll return after some more breakfast–anew invention–guacamole dip with cold collard greens, chopped onions, pickled cactus (nopalitos), minced garlic, cilantro, and spices. I’ve been more creative lately.

Just did some editing after the Healthcare Committee meeting; last Tuesday was the Education Committee meeting and next Tuesday is the Transportation Committee meeting. I’ve revived my Bilingual All-Level Academic Vocabulary (BALAV) project, as well as publicizing the Intellectual Entrepreneurship (IE) consortium at UT-Austin again. Much of my motivation, besides the kindness of my movers, is the UT-Tyler President’s plans for university improvement and the upcoming arrival of Chinese businessman, who wants to build condominiums, bring exchange students and retirees, and research East-West medicine. Earlier in the week, I sent my article on the personality type-major-vocation choice link to the UT-Tyler Faculty Senate President. That was my answer to improving the graduation rate.

Hopefully next Tuesday, I’ll describe some of my interior decorating moves–such as hubcaps and a bar stool look great on a balcony. Plus, my review of the Transportation Works conference in Waco will be due. Do you think for-profit businesses with a vested interest in the senior population would donate to local transit to help finance a struggling paratransit service for tax deductions?

Art of Peace Statement 2017, by J.D. Meyer

The Art of Peace implies a wide range of peace-making efforts. I’m going to analyze this issue according to four views: (1)my North Korea approach, (2) health, (3) apprenticeships, (4) the fiscally responsible approach to defending DACA and fighting The Wall. But first, I’d like to give an account of my spiritual experience some 30 years ago like a previous speaker. Self-confidence in one’s sincerity is the goal of the unity of knowledge and action (chih hsing ho-i). “Spontaneity as conforming to pattern-principle” (tzu-jan chi li) is another way to express having self-confidence in one’s sincerity.

I‘m a devout Twitter fan. I offered a different view of the North Korea crisis. “#NorthKorea wants praise for its nuclear weapons as a cash crop—their only crop! Make sure the bomb isn’t ticking #Diplomacy,”

I’m a member of COPD internet support groups and have written about health issues on my Word Press blog. Wear oxygen canula under your nebulizer mask to improve its efficiency. Also utilize your C-PAP while awake to end a bad exacerbation. I helped a depressed diabetic friend recently by telling her about the benefits of eating cactus (nopalitos). I buy my cactus already sliced, usually pickled in a jar. I don’t battle the quills.

How about more apprenticeships, as proposed by Tim Kaine and three other senators? The business would get a tax break, and the intern would make some money while they learned a valuable trade. People with a good job are more likely to be peaceful.

I’m a member of the local Indivisible group, a Fareed Zakaria Fan Club, and related closed Facebook groups. Let’s defend DACA and renounce Trump’s Wall through fiscal responsibility. It would take an average of $10.4K per person to expel a Dreamer. Moreover, we’ve heard many big business honchos, such as Mark Zuckerberg, protest against this proposal. Check out Congressman Henry Cuellar (D–Laredo, TX). 40% of agriculture workers overstay their visas. The Rio Grande is safer than the U.S. average. A wall is a “14th Century solution.” Texas Republican Senator, John Cornyn, prefers drones in environmentally-sensitive areas, such as the Santa Ana Refuge. The Wall would hurt ecotourism and reduce money coming into South Texas, among other atrocities. So when I say, let’s save focusing on humaneness concerns for a future generation, I sound like Booker T. Washington in a parallel universe!

So now we’ve examined a variety of ways to make peace. The possibilities are endless. To conclude, try to bring serious data to your argument in this hot-headed era. Strong self-respect is important; don’t let yourself get run over. For improving self-knowledge, check out a free online MBTI-style site, such as http://www.16personalities.com

2017 NE TX Community Health Worker Coalition Conference, By J.D. Meyer

The 2017 Northeast Texas Community Health Worker (CHW) Coalition Conference was held on July 14th at TJC West. According to the official booklet, the CHW conference addresses “the role CHW Workers/Instructors play in creating access to care, reducing care costs, and promoting health and happy communities.” The Conference stressed “the importance of CHW(I)’s reducing health disparities; return on investment; and methods of overcoming barriers to CHW(I) program success.” Participants who attended the entire conference received six CEU (Continuing Education Units). “Presentations can be downloaded after the conference at the following link: http://tinyurl.com/y7brtht7

There were three main presentations. “The CHW and Public Health: The UT Health NE Experience,” was delivered by Jeffrey L. Levin, M.D. “Creating and Maintaining Health Workplace Environments,” was given by Terrence Ates, M.ED and Detective John Ragland. “CHW Self-Care—Focusing on You While Giving to the Community,” was presented by LaShonda Malrey-Horne, MPH.
The CHW of the Year was presented to the late Cynthia Keppard, the former director of the NE TX CHW Coalition. Several of her family members were in attendance.
There were three Breakout Sessions also—a choice of 18 sessions. First, I attended “Helping Clients Self Manage Chronic Disease,” by Marcus Wade, LMSW & CHWI. Then I went to “A Community Health Worker’s Guide to Texercise Classic,” by Jeanie Gallegly, MS & CHWI. The last breakout session for me was “Tobacco Danger,” by Lana Herriman, BS.
There were several organizations serving as vendors and sponsors. For example, I was able to pick up the Cigna Health Spring Provider Directory and Over-the-Counter Products Catalog in the lobby. Lunch was from Jason’s Subs; snacks were available too. Once again, the annual NE TX CHW Coalition Conference was a success that drew a huge crowd.

Arithmetic for Beer Drinkers: The Average Beer is 4.8% Alcohol. What if you drink strong beer, wine, etc? By J.D. (Joffre) Meyer

I am writing this beer consumption article because it seems easy to underestimate the actual number of beers that you have consumed. In other words, do you favor alcoholic beverages that go beyond the 4.8% average? Maybe you’re a fiscal conservative, who wants a cheap buzz? Usually, I walk a block to Speedy’s at the NE corner of E. Front ST & S. Beckham AV in Midtown (Hospital District) Tyler, Texas. Speedy’s is also a gas station. This article focuses on drinks in my neighborhood.

My Choices at Speedy’s
Let’s start with my favorite strong, very cheap beer: Milwaukee’s Best Ice ($1.79). This quart comes in a fat can–blue and black with white letters, together with red and gold trim. Milwaukee’s Best Ice is 6.9% alcohol, meaning you really drank 46 ounces–closer to 4 beers than a quart. Alas, it returned to 5.9% alcohol, so now it’s like a 40-ouncer.

How about a Bud Light-a-Rita ($2.69)? They come in a variety of exciting flavors—such as mango, lime, lemon, grape, strawberry, cranberry, apple, watermelon, peach, etc. The 24 ounce slender can is 8% alcohol, meaning you just slammed a 40-ouncer!

The Gold 4Loco ($2.69) tips the scales at 14%, the second strongest beverage you can buy at a take-out store in Damp Tyler, Texas. A 23.5 ounce can is more like 68.54 ounces of standard beer. I like mixing it with low-fat milk, horchata powder (Mexican rice milk powder with cinnamon), and water. I call it a Damp Eggnog! If it’s half-&-half, I’m still drinking a 40-ouncer.

The Schlitz Gold Bull ($1.89) arrives in a 24 ounce can that is 8.5% alcohol—roughly 1 ¾ times stronger than regular beer. So you really drank 42.5 oz of conventional beer. It’s stronger than the original Schlitz Malt Liquor. The original Schlitz with the brown label was my favorite regular beer; unfortunately, it seems to be rare, unless you leave town for a liquor store.

Once I got adventuresome and bought a Bud Light Platinum ($2.69)–a 25 oz. beer in a silver can. Don’t let that word, “Light,” fool you. It’s really 6% alcohol, or 1 ¼ beers. So 25 ounces is really the equivalent of 31 ¼ ounces.

Most Ice beers range from 5.5% alcohol (Bud Ice) to 5.9% (Keystone Ice). I’ll let you do the arithmetic this time; just divide the beer in question by 4.8 & multiply by the ounces per can. You’ll get less than a 1/4 extra beer per 12 oz. serving in both cases.

My Picks at Family Dollar
Steel Reserve ($2.35) combines size–42 oz–with strength: 8.1%. This big, plastic bottle condenses a staggering 70 7/8 oz of conventional beer—nearly a 6-pack! A new blue disk on the label tells you if your beer is cold enough, based on how blue the cold sensor gets. I buy Steel Reserve at the Family Dollar on the NW corner of E. Front ST & S. Beckham AV–across the street from Speedy’s.

Let’s say I’m wheezing. I’m going to buy red wine because there are no bubbles like beer; plus, you get glutathione, a natural anti-inflammatory for those eggshell lungs. Liberty Creek Sweet Red ($6.49) is 8% alcohol in a 1.5 liter bottle. So that’s like drinking 83 1/3 ounces of standard beer.

My Choice at CVS Pharmacy
I go to CVS Pharmacy for asthma & COPD medicine: Advair, Combivent inhaler, & Dalisresp pills–as well as CoQ10, Red Wheat Rice, macular degeneration capsules, & Montelukast-an allergy pill at the corner of S. Broadway AV. & 5th ST in the Bergfeld Shopping Center—home of the 2nd Tyler Transit hub. I buy a bottle of Grape & Vine Sweet Red ($3.60), a 12% alcohol wine in a ¾ liter bottle. Once again, I avoid carbonation in beer and acquire glutathione. That’s like an even 2 ½ beers per drink, so it’s really like having 1 ½ liters of regular beer.

Miscellaneous
Wild Irish Rose is Tyler’s strongest takeout drink at 17% alcohol! Among other stores, you can find it at D&N in North Tyler near W. Gentry & Palace–next door to Neighborhood Services. Who could forget MD 20-20, aka. “Mad Dog 20-20?” This 13% alcohol, 3/4 liter wine comes in a wide variety of flavors, even Dragon Fruit & Habanero Lime-a-Rita. Alas, we can’t buy it in Midtown Tyler at last glance.

Conclusion
In conclusion, a beer needs to be over 6.5% to be particularly strong. So with standard Ice beers, you can have the full flavor without a severe alcohol level. Beware when your beverage is in the 8% alcohol level and over. Enjoy the flavor! Seek variety and save money.

SOL Tuesday: Shopping at Family Dollar for a Low-Fat/Low-Sodium Cardiac Diet

I spent a half week at the East Texas Medical Center (ETMC) Cardiac floor for COPD & hypertension. I’m on disability for COPD and asthma. Usually, my blood pressure isn’t bad, but in it was in mid-September 2016. It was my first overnight stay in a hospital in five years. Previously, I’d assumed my diet was okay because I eat a balanced diet. I’m no carnivore, for I like grain, vegetables/fruits, and dairy. My diet is if I see food, I eat it. Recently, I’d become aware of anti-inflammatory foods to cope with my Asthma-COPD Overlap Syndrome (ACOS). http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation Foods that Fight Inflammation

So I’ve been shopping with memories of the Cardiac Diet in my mind. Now, I check all foods for saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. I made sure I bought Mrs. Dash, the salt substitute, for starters. Texas Pete, a Louisiana type hot sauce, makes the cut with only 3% sodium per tsp. Texas Pete is the hot sauce for Church’s Chicken too.

Cheese was on the not-there list at the hospital. So I surveyed all the cheese at Family Dollar. Much to my amusement, the lowest fat/lowest sodium cheese is the cheapest generic cheese in Family Dollar! It’s simply called, Singles, an “imitation pasteurized process cheese food.” Saturated fat is 5% and sodium is 9% per slice, and the package has 16 slices for a mere $1.25! However, it didn’t melt well, so I’ve switched to Shredded Velveeta at 10% saturated fat, and it tastes way better. The generic shredded Mexican 4 Cheese Blend has a comparable low-level of saturated fat; the four cheeses are Monterrey Jack, cheddar, asadero,and queso quesadilla. But the winner of the low saturated fat award for cheese goes to Family Dollar’s Salsa con Queso with only 4% saturated fat in a 2 tablespoon serving. Plus it’s ready for dipping whether you heat it or not.

Unfortunately, that delicious slab of generic dark chocolate is off-the-scale for saturated fat at 41%! Hershey’s with Almonds has a staggering 71% saturated fat for the day. But all is not lost, Family Dollar chocolate syrup has no saturated fat! Here’s a pleasant surprise. Snack-Pack Chocolate Caramel Pudding has only 8% saturated fat and 5% sodium per cup. Furthermore, a four cup package only costs $1 at Family Dollar.

My beloved Family Dollar Sweet & Salty Peanut Granola Bars are OK at 10% saturated fat and 7% sodium per bar. Those peanut granola bars are so good with beer! Another generic granola bar favorite is Dark Chocolate-Peanut Butter Protein Chewy Bars. They’re a bit high in fat at 15% saturated fat, together with 7% sodium per bar. Snicker’s Ice Cream has only 15% saturated fat and 3% sodium for a half-cup–another mega-relief! I had to indulge myself on Halloween but within reason. So I bought a package of 6 “Fun-Size” Snickers bars. Two bars have 15% saturated fat and 3% sodium

Margaret Holmes Seasoned Collard Greens have 16% sodium per half cup, but a staggering 130% of your daily Vitamin A, and of course, no saturated fat. Family Dollar Diced Tomatoes have no fat and 8% sodium per half cup. Both are considered anti-inflammatory foods.

Dean’s Zesty Guacamole Dip from Brookshire’s–Tyler, Texas’s major grocery store– has 15% saturated fat and 8% sodium per 2 tbsp serving. Speaking of other favorite grocery stores, Granvita Ganola from La Michoacana only has 4% saturated fat and 1% sodium per serving. I also mix horchata (cinnamon rice milk powder) with low-fat milk from Meals-on-Wheels. Horchata only contains 3% saturated fat per 4 ounces, and I only need a tablespoon, as I mix the half-pint of milk with a half-pint of water. La Michoacana is the leading chain Mexican grocery store in Texas. Hey, sometimes I catch the bus instead of walking a block.

Sardines–my favorite seafood in a can–tomato, mustard, plain; which is the healthiest choice? Pampa Sardines in Tomato Sauce wins with 5% saturated fat, 11% sodium, and 15% cholesterol. Furthermore, a serving has 20% of daily Vitamin A. A 15 ounce sardines-&-tomatoes can has seven servings, and it’s only $1.75! Our sardines are a product of China that’s distributed by a Miami company. I love globalization. Alas, sardines in mustard sauce–my former favorite–finishes last in my health measures with 15% saturated fat, 17% sodium, and 20% cholesterol.

Peanut butter is a mandatory fixture in my pantry, so let’s check it out. Value Time Creamy Peanut Butter (a generic) has 15% sat. fat & 6% sodium in a 2 tbsp serving size. Total fat is far higher at 25%, not a common large gap between total fat and saturated fat. Gold Emblem Crunchy Peanut Butter has 12% sat. fat & 6% sodium per 2 tbsp serving size with 23% total fat. I bought my crunchy peanut butter at CVS Pharmacy. Did you hear CVS bought out Medicine Chest? Peanuts show a range of saturated fat/sodium, depending on the seasonings. Japanese peanuts win with only 11% saturated fat & 9% sodium. Honey peanuts contain 17% saturated fat and 5% sodium. Meanwhile, the two spicy peanuts clock in at 20% saturated fat & 15% sodium and 17% saturated fat and 14% sodium.

CONCLUSION: Hopefully, you liked my analysis of some key favorite foods–mostly from Family Dollar. I’m no health professional, just a disabled teacher. However, I’m certainly going to research what I eat from now on, and I seem to be improving. Furthermore, I can guarantee another revision with a sat.fat/sodium analysis of more food. I was glad to pass this article to a Family Dollar employee, who had some heart issues about a month before I got sick. Don’t you feel sorry for those who live in food deserts? Some apartment complexes in town aren’t close to any stores–let alone hospitals, pharmacy, and a pulmonology clinic. We’re really happy to have a dollar store–Family Dollar–in this neighborhood: Midtown (aka. Hospital District), Tyler, Texas.

A New Instructor in a College Classroom During 9-11-01, by JD Meyer

Everybody who was alive in America on 9-11-01 and the next day remembers what they were doing during that tragedy. My situation was unique as a brand-new White instructor at an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges & Universities): Texas College of Tyler. I taught Developmental English. I used my own textbook (and kept adding to it) for the course, worked on a website, and tutored Spanish. The vast majority of profs at the small bachelor’s level liberal arts college had many courses to teach; some upper-division classes were taught only once every four semesters.

An older-than average lady student (future “A”) came to my door from the Developmental Reading instructor’s lobby and asserted, “Mr. Meyer, something really bad is happening. I think you should come look at the TV.” I told my class that I’d be right back, and they were working in the Writing lab anyway. Then I saw the shocking sight of the twin skyscrapers burning from the crashed jet. My initial reaction was shock through assuming pilot error–a dumb but very unintentional act. I quickly learned how wrong was my guess–something vastly worse: suicide terrorists.

The next day (Or was it two days later?), all of the staff tried to console our students. Yes, it was two days later; the college was closed the following day. I recalled which student I’d been talking with right before the crash. Several weeks later, I drove him to a local doctor for help with his sickle-cell anemia.

Then I apologized for my short-lived guess of pilot error. But my conclusion was that tragedy doesn’t always follow bad times. Tragedy can occur after what had been an average, good, or great day.

Nine-eleven will continue to be remembered much like December 7, 1941. Both days will “burn in infamy,” as Franklin D. Roosevelt lamented about the sneak attack that started USA participation in World War II