Walkability, by J.D. Meyer

Let’s explore walkability—a key concept in urban studies/planning. Does your city have enough sidewalks—especially downtown? Downtown Tyler, Texas has a commendable Walk Score of 72, but the overall city only scores 35. https://www.walkscore.com/TX/Tyler  I’ve lived in four Tyler neighborhoods; walkability scores range from 24 to 66. Midtown/Hospital District is the best (66), and Hollytree in South Tyler is the worst (24).. Suburban sprawl is based on the domination of cars, and that leads to more traffic and air pollution. Can you easily walk to nearby bus stops?

The only time I really love the term—conservative—is when it’s preceded by the adjective: “fiscal.” I’m not the kind of liberal who would claim a need for concrete sidewalks on both sides of virtually all streets—unless it’s downtown. As long as one side of a major street has a paved sidewalk, your walking experience will be adequate. Moreover, flat land could get away with a trimmed dirt path through the grass. Not just a bus rider, I have considerable experience walking in Tyler—mainly in Midtown (66), Downtown (72), North Tyler (49 & 55), and Southeast Tyler (31).

Sidewalks could be downright dangerous if the land is slanted at a 45 degree angle! Hopefully, the pedestrian would have crossed the street by that time. On the other hand, a hilly path like across the street from Shiloh Road Learning Center could be a hazardous walk without paving or a trail. I recall a sidewalk in Midtown that was dangerously broken, and it could have been improved with some asphalt. Furthermore, bus ridership can improve with good sidewalks on the way to the bus stops.

Let’s hope my observation as a bus rider/pedestrian helps in our development of walkability. Check out this most walkable cities article with a map (at least a 100K population). http://www.governing.com/topics/urban/gov-most-walkable-cities.html

 

 

Xing Tan of Guizhou, China & his Plans for Tyler, TX: My Take for Assistance, 4th Edition—by J.D. Meyer

1. http://www.scmp.com/tech/enterprises/article/2102390/apple-build-massive-data-centre-chinas-new-hi-tech-hub-guizhou Apple built a data center in Guizhou’s capital city—a poor area in China!

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guizhou General info on Guizhou, China.

3. https://www.corporationwiki.com/p/2rgbt0/america-hongyun-city-international-enterprise-group-llc Xing Tan’s (aka. Zhixing Tan) concept of Hongyun City

4. Here’s my article that’s a response to the 2010 Industry Growth Initiative (IGI) in favor of starting a branch of the Intellectual Entrepreneurship (IE) program at UT-Tyler. UT-Austin has had this consortium for decades. My article ended up at the University of Toronto’s Creative Class consortium, directed by Dr. Richard Florida.
http://www.creativeclass.com/rfcgdb/articles/Intellectual%20Entrepreneurship%20at%20The%20University%20of%20Texas.pdf

5. http://www.asiamattersforamerica.org/china/data/sistercities Nine Texas cities have Sister City relations with 12 Chinese cities. Laredo leads with three, & San Antonio has two. Fort Worth is Sister Cities with Guiyang in Guizhou province. Xing Tan is from Guizhou! ……….Check out East-West Medicine sites; many are in California.

6. http://www.chinatourguide.com/guizhou/index.html Norway & Guizhou, China started China’s first ecological museum. Lots of tea is grown in the province too.

7. http://emwcenter.com/ East Meets West Holistic Center Based in Los Angeles, the center treats depression & anxiety, weight management, stress, pain management, women’s health, and fertility. … Acupuncture, Mindfulness, and maybe Yoga are a slam dunk! Tyler has many of those types of medical facilities.

8. https://venturebeat.com/2018/02/25/how-universities-could-drive-more-innovative-research-to-market-and-share-in-the-profits/ A venture search fund model was developed at Stanford. This article was liked by UT-Tyler’s Graduate School after I posted it on Facebook!

9. http://www.forerunnercollege.com/en/Menus.aspx?id=22 Check out Guizhou Forerunner College and its corporate partners!
“GFC prides itself on partnering with a range of corporations and institutions. These partnerships aid to promote a rich learning environment for students. Businesses such as Marriott International, HTC, Lenovo, Baidu, Ecological Agriculture Co. Ltd, Red Cross Foundation and Chengdu Industrial College work closely with GFC students by providing material, job placement and internship opportunities.”
10. https://www.asbestos.com/blog/2013/12/16/traditional-chinese-medicine-herbs/ Using Traditional Chinese Medicine to Treat Lung Cancer Approximately 133 Chinese herbs have been historically used to treat lung cancer. The herbs used most frequently for lung cancer tend to exhibit healing effects on the lungs and stimulating effects to the immune system. Here are the top 6.

11. http://www.scmp.com/tech/china-tech/article/2127841/how-one-chinas-poorest-provinces-morphing-world-class-hi-tech-hub More news on Guizhong Province becoming a hi-tech hub and experiencing the 2nd highest increase I GDP among China’s provinces.

12. https://www.jiangtea.com/green-tea/meitan-cuiya-guiding-yunwu/#.WrPacLgpXCc The green tea of Guizhou grows well because of the lack of air pollution in this Chinese province.

13. http://www.freepatentsonline.com/D432868.html Polyhedral bowl by Zhixing Tan of Zunyi City. Check out a patent by Zhixing Tan (aka. Xing Tan).

SOL18: Report on TX SILC Transportation Works Summit to ETHNN Transportation Cmte, Part 1 by JD Meyer

I attended the 2nd annual Transportation Works Summit in Waco, TX “Collaboration & Connectivity” on Thursday, January 25 through Friday, January 26th in Waco. Last year’s conference was in Austin, and the theme was “Identifying & Removing Barriers through Innovation.” Major topics included city transit, paratransit, Uber and Lyft, violation of parking for the handicapped, and sidewalk concerns. If there was less dependence on cars, there would be increased efficiency and safety because there would be fewer cars on the road.

The first speakers were from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. Their topic was “Emerging Issues & Advances in Accessible Transportation.” Low-vision people can be helped through Smart Cane Assistive Navigation (SCAN). Pathway Solutions for wheelchairs examines sidewalk conditions and curb cuts. Carnegie Mellon developed smart phones with traffic signals.
Houston METRO has 12 routes with 2400 stops and aspires to have 9600 stops. Plus, they’re being funded by Google! Houston also has a paratransit feeder service pilot program. It serves an area within a ¾ mile area around fixed routes, as well as beyond the required area. Capital Metro of Austin’s grant application, Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP IDEA), integrates transit and pedestrian planning. The technology is Open Source, so anyone can use it. San Antonio has a bunch of bond initiatives, including sidewalks.

The speaker hoped that someday sidewalks would be viewed as important as roads. Later we heard from Brian East, that sidewalks built after 1-27-92 must have curb ramps. Brian East works for Disability Rights Texas.
As for other states, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has a paratransit agreement with Uber and Lyft. Washington Metro Area has an on-demand paratransit that’s partly subsidized and allows service animals. Some places are experimenting with autonomous vehicles; that means they can drive themselves without a driver. Texas A&M has low-speed autonomous vehicles that are golf cart look-alikes for its giant campus. Automated Vehicle proving grounds are in seven Texas cities: Arlington, Austin, Bryan-College Station, Corpus Christi, Huston, and San Antonio.

Wheelchair passengers riding planes is a concern as a staggering 98% of them don’t travel by plane. However, more children would survive a plane wreck than a car wreck. Qstraint is the leader of wheelchair tie down services, and it’s passed a 20G crash test—doubled in eight years! Wheelchair test criteria examines if the rider would be thrown out of a plane, fall over on its side, be ripped away from the floor, and if the straps were adequate. Partnerships have developed between airlines, plane manufacturers, wheelchair manufacturers, and universities. Recall that Collaboration & Connectivity was the theme of the 2018 transportation summit.

At the Lunch Panel, we found out that Texas is a leader in accessible buildings. There have been efforts to move into rural areas with Uber and Lyft because the drivers would have their own vehicles. Public transport is stronger when cities are bigger. It’s expensive for transit to run paratransit.

Upon hearing that paratransit can be hampered by a lack of funds, when I returned to Tyler, I proposed that we look for the for-profit businesses that would have a vested interest in paratransit and get a tax deduction for donations! “Eds and Meds” place like East Texas Medical Center (ETMC) and UT Health-NE are the most obvious. But how about banks? Tyler has a bunch, and it could be really good public relations. Then a lawyer friend suggested looking for businesses that have a large percentage of employees using Tyler Transit as possible donors.

#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?

Proposed Budget Cutbacks to the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)–Including the End of Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)

The Trump HUD Proposal

Trump’s budget proposal has severely threatened the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) would be destroyed. Apartment rent subsidies for the poor would be in trouble too–especially since it’s a federal-only program, unlike Meals-on-Wheels. Let’s check an article from The Atlantic on this proposal–Sadly it was on March 16, 2017–my birthday.

“It also eliminates funding for the HOME Investment Partnership Program, which provides grants for low-income people to buy or rehabilitate homes, and the Choice Neighborhoods program, which provides grants to organizations attempting to revitalize neighborhoods. The proposed budget also eliminates the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which coordinates how 19 federal agencies respond to homelessness.” There would be cutbacks from two other departments: Education and Health & Human Services
How Trump’s Budget Would Impact Cities’ Poorest Residents

Carson’ s Confirmation Hearing for Secretary of HUD

However, two months earlier at Ben Carson’s confirmation hearing for Secretary of Housing & Urban Development, The L.A. Times summarized, “For worried Democrats, he gave assurances that he would not try to strip programs like rental assistance and said he wanted to intensify efforts to remove lead and other hazards that harm children living in older housing.”

“When it comes to entitlement programs, it is cruel and unusual punishment to withdraw those programs before you provide an alternative,” Carson said. Carson proposed he wanted to get businesses and faith groups more involved in helping people in HUD-backed housing, and find ways to enlarge the role of private industry in backing home mortgages. http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-carson-hud-20170112-story.htmlBen Carson at Confirmation Hearing (HUD)

Apartment Subsidy Experience in Tyler

A Neighborhood Services inspector checked my efficiency–my fifth annual inspection. This time, I was required to scrub my oven and change the oven pans. Otherwise, it was adequate from my side. Meanwhile, the apartment’s maintenance man got a report on repairs–such as weather-stripping for the door and replacing an outlet. I utilized my social skills by turning down the news and turning on some Tejano music for the maintenance man and myself. A few days later, the apartment manager signed for the repair completion. We have monthly insecticide sprays too, so the apartment better pass inspection on a monthly basis to avoid fines.

I brought my annual apartment subsidy paperwork to our Neighborhood Services office, located on West Gentry & Palace on the North Side. While I waited for the Green South bus, I not only ate and shopped, but copied information on the Community Development Block Grant program.

Let’s start with the definition of how Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) funds are used. They “may be used for public facility and infrastructure improvements in low income areas. The funds are concentrated in the annual ‘target area’ for a variety of projects, including street renovations, curbs and gutters, sidewalks, and water, sewer and drainage improvements.” Park improvements may be to create new parks or enhance existing parks. There’s also a Home Buyer Assistance Program that includes using the voucher towards buying a house, provided the individual completes Home Buyer Education workshops. Here’s the description of CDBG on the City of Tyler website, including eligible and ineligible activities. http://www.cityoftyler.org/Departments/NeighborhoodServices/CommunityDevelopment/CDBG.aspxCity of Tyler: Neighborhood Services, CDBG

Conclusion

As you can see, these HUD programs are relatives of infrastructure repair programs. My voucher keeps me from spending over half my SSDI (disability)check in rent. At least I have one more year. I can only earn $120/month and still keep Medicare D. My COPD has improved from severe to moderate in the past year, contrary to folk belief that we either get worse or stay the same. Let’s save these fine programs in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)or find alternatives. At least, Secretary Carson stated he’d look for assistance from local business and faith groups, as well as private industry. Efforts to help the poor would need to come from local sources more often. Neighborhood Services has always been a jewel for the City of Tyler.

Transit Annotated Link Page, by J.D. Meyer

Member: Consumer Advocates in Transportation (CAT)

for Texas State Independent Living Council (TXSILC)

  1. http://www.capmetro.org/transitbenefits/    Savings, Health, & Green Wins. Here’s a great persuasive document about why one should consider riding the bus.
  1. http://www.capmetro.org/csac/   Consumer Satisfaction Action Cmte.  “The Customer Satisfaction Advisory Committee (CSAC) is comprised of 9 members who regularly use transit, and are appointed by the Capital Metro board of directors upon recommendation of the Capital Metro Chief Executive Officer.” Austin, TX

 

  1. http://www.capmetro.org/aac/   Access Advisory Cmte.  “The Access Advisory Committee is appointed by the board of directors to provide guidance and advice on how to better serve riders with special needs, such as customers with disabilities, language barriers, or other challenges to the normal riding experience.” Austin, TX
  2. https://asunow.asu.edu/content/transit-oriented-development-helps-cities-ease-gas  “Transit Oriented Development Cities Ease Gas, from Arizona State University—an article in a series about sustainable cities. Features that lead to more bus-riding: (1) short blocks, (2) intersections that are easy to cross, (3) short distances between destinations, (4) well maintained sidewalks, (5) lighting and other safety features, & (6) an aesthetically pleasing environment. {Much more info in this article!}

 

  1. https://maps.bts.dot.gov/arcgis/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=8aa7d21846524c09a1fbf72d89e9b38dHere’s a map of participating transit agencies in a national map. Dallas and Austin are among the participators. Tyler hasn’t joined.

 

  1. http://www.capmetro.org/uploadedfiles/Capmetroorg/Schedules_and_Maps/System_Map.pdf Austin Bus & Rail Map & Schedule.

 

  1. http://www.masstransitmag.com/press_release/12215879/jta-encourages-drivers-to-dump-the-pump-and-ride-public-transit Eleventh annual National Dump the Pump Day on Thursday, June 16.The Jacksonville, FL Transit Authority is a multiple award winner.

 

  1. http://www.masstransitmag.com/article/12244552/election-2016-which-outcomes-should-transit-fans-cheer-for Election 2016: “Which outcomes Should Transit Fans Cheer For?” The positions of Clinton vs. Trump & Democrats vs. Republicans are listed.

 

  1. https://ioby.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Trip-Final-090914.pdf “5 Projects Any Community Can Do To Improve the Transit Experience in 5 Easy Steps.” (11 pages).

 

  1. https://bohemiotx.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/tyler-tx-transits-two-bus-hubs-why-it-works-in-a-rectangular-cityintroduction-to-riding-the-bus/ “Tyler, TX Transit’s Two Bus Hubs: Why It Works in a Rectangular City/Introduction to Riding the Bus,” by J.D. Meyer. This essay includes a link to the main Tyler Transit map. Most of Tyler is considered “south.”

 

  1. https://bohemiotx.wordpress.com/2015/05/23/frequent-tyler-tx-bus-rider-survey-by-joffre-jd-meyer-midtown-resident/ “Frequent Tyler, TX Bus Rider Survey for a Midtown (Hospital District) Resident,” by J.D. Meyer. This question and answer essay is designed to help people read the bus map in my neighborhood.

 

  1. https://bohemiotx.wordpress.com/2015/05/24/frequent-tyler-tx-bus-rider-survey-answers-for-a-northside-resident/ “Frequent Tyler, TX Bus Rider for a Northside Resident,” by J.D. Meyer. Same format as the survey for Midtown.

 

 

SOL Tuesday: Shopping at Family Dollar for a Low-Fat/Low-Sodium Cardiac Diet (2nd Edition)

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 Later at the annual Northeast Texas Community Health Worker (CHW) Coalition conference in July 2019, we heard that grocery store tours–including how to shop at a dollar store–are available in some sectors. That lecture was “Meeting your clients where they are to promote healthy changes,” by Ardis Reed.

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 tried Shredded Velveeta at 10% saturated fat, and it tastes way better. Then I found delicious, generic shredded Mexican 4 Cheese Blend with 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 Developmental English and ESOL (mostly)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. Moreover, I no longer buy generic CoQ10 at the dollar store, but get the CVS Pharmacy choices– such as gummies and Qunol CoQ10. 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. Technically, most would consider a grocery store to be a far more valid dodge of food desert classification than a mere dollar store. But a dollar store is way better than nothing or mere snacks at a gas station.

Tiny Houses: Sequel to Northside Revitalization for Tyler 21—Annotated Link Page, by J.D. Meyer

The North End Revitalization document for Tyler 21 emphasized the significant amount of vacant land in North Tyler—residential and non-residential: 25% of parcels and 40% of land (including non-developable land) (pg. 72). Furthermore, “the current number of households and median household incomes in North Tyler are too low to attract national retail chains.” (pg. 64).

1.thetinylife.com/what-is-the-tiny-house-movement What is the Tiny House Movement? Sustainability, save money, less clutter, freedom, travel & engage with community. Design tip: Drawers>closets. Spend time in one before buying.

  1. http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/news/the-top-5-states-for-tiny-homes_o The Top 5 States for Tiny Homes (CA, OR, TX, NC, & FL), by Katie Gloede. Rated on six categories: (1)Tiny Home Communities, (2) RV Parks Accepting Tiny Homes, (3) Permitting/Zoning Opportunities, (4) Tiny House Builders, (5) Tiny House Architects, and (6) Towns Specifically Welcoming Them.
  1. tylerpaper.com/TP-News+Local/227648/sellers-market-for-tiny-homes-in-smith-county “Sellers market for tiny homes in Smith County,” by Roy Maynard. 11-28-2015. Jason Campbell of Campbell Custom Homes. Model mini-house is 729 sq. ft. & $58, 420; metal exterior & wood panel interior. Slab-extra $4274. Median house as of October 2015, Smith County: $160K.
  1. tylerpaper.com/TP-News+Local/234003/tiny-homes-built-in-east-texas “Tiny homes built in East Texas,” by Andrea Martinez 4-9-2016. Andrew Pleban: American Tiny Homes in Longview, Founder. The 360 sq. ft. home in the photo is going to San Francisco.
  1. http://www.tylerpaper.com/TP-News+National/226403/think-you-want-a-tiny-house-heres-a-way-to-try-one-on-for-size “Think you want a tiny house? Here’s a way to try one on for size,” by Collin Brinkley (A.P.) 11-6-2015. Harvard’s Millennial Housing Lab started Getaway in Croydon, NH so people can temporarily stay in a 160-sq. ft. home. Jon Staff is the Founder &CEO.
  1. lpratthomes.com Pratt Homes. 310 SSE Loop 323; Tyler, Tx 75702. (903) 593-6300. Your Modular Home Builder: BBB A+, Tyler Chamber of Commerce, Tyler Area Builders Association. www.lpratthomes.com/tiny-houses/#View7houses-floorplans&pics www.lpratthomes.com/live-big-in-a-tiny-house  
  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqoHpsz1Yss Legal vs. Illegal Tiny Houses Most are on wheels and don’t pass building codes. Ceiling height must be at least 6’8”. Steps with drawers no more than 8” riser. Over 2 steps, need railing. Zoning may prevent one from parking in a backyard. Utilities could be an issue. Minimum square feet for plot.

 

 8. http://la.curbed.com/2016/9/22/13020562/shipping-containers-homeless-housingOn a once vacant lot in Midway City, American Family Housing is building Potter’s Lane, a two-story apartment complex made entirely out of old shipping containers. When completed, Potter’s Lane will offer 16 units, each measuring 480 square feet.” Orange County, California.

Northside Revitalization, Tyler 21: Annotated Link Page (3rd Edition), By J.D. Meyer…….9-4-19

  1. http://www.lisc.org Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Our Initiatives: (1) Affordable Housing, (2) Education, (3) Economic Development, (4) Financial Stability, (5) Health, (6) Safe Neighborhoods, (7) Community Leadership, and (8) Policy & Research.
  1. http://www.knowledgeplex.org The Affordable Housing & Community Development Research for Professionals Topics: (1) All Topics, (2) Affordable Housing, (3) Economic Revitalization, (4) Fair Housing, (5) Homelessness, (6) Homeownership & Mortgage Markets, (7) Land Use & Housing Planning, (8) Personal Finance & Asset Creation, (9) Public Housing, and (10) Social & Comprehensive Development.
  1. https://www.communityprogress.net/ Community Progress https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-34 Vacant Properties:Growing Number Increases Communities’ Costs and Challenges
  1. http://foodsecurity.org/committees/ Active committees are Community Economic Development, Food & Faith, International Links, Policy, & Urban Agriculture.
  1. https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-economics-of-historic-preservation The Economics of Historic Preservation, by Randal Mason, 75 pages. The first ten readings in the annotated bibliography are the “best to initiate and inform a reader new to economic preservation issues” (pg. 29).
  1. http://kantarmedia.srds.com/common/pdf/claritas360/ClaritasPRIZMPremierSegmentNarratives.pdf Claritas PRIZM Premier Segment Narratives 2018. The 68 PRIZM zip code clusters are subdivided into three categories based on life stage and several social groups based on the urban to rural continuum. https://claritas360.claritas.com/mybestsegments/#zipLookup Here are the five most common clusters for 75702 North Tyler. View by lifestage and social group. The zip code is also clustered by household income, household population, population by age, & population by race & ethnicity.

 

Kwanzaa #3: Collective Work & Responsibility—Smith County 2015 Education Report & Kwanzaafest of Dallas are Examples, by J.D. Meyer

Welcome to Principle #3 Night: Collective Work & Responsibility. According to Dr. Maulana Karenga, the founder of Kwanzaa, Collective Work & Responsibility is “to maintain and build our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our own and solve them together.” http://www.officialkwanzaasite.com

The Public Intellectual

I believe that Kwanzaa is the effort to serve as a public intellectual. Dr. Ali Mazrui of the Institute of Global Studies in New York defined the intellectual as “a person who has the capacity to be fascinated by ideas and has acquired the skill to handle some of these ideas effectively.” Dr. Mazrui continues that a public intellectual “communicates and influences debate outside of one’s own field.” http://binghamton.edu/igcs/docs/Newsletter30.pdf He was a Top 100 Thinker, according to ForeignPolicy.com in 2005.

My former teaching colleague, Ibiyinka Solarin, offers a description of the public intellectual and how Wole Soyinka of Nigeria fits that model. Mr. Soyinka was the first African Nobel Prize in Literature. Dr. Solarin notes that the the real intellectual is engaged with society and contributes in his/her own way to impart knowledge and lower ignorance. The intellectual has varied reading , exposure to other cultures, and shows courage versus the establishment. http://www.gamji.com/article3000/NEWS3736.htm

Smith County 2015 Education Report & Claritas/PRIZM Zip Code Clusters

We saw a great example of the Third Principle of Kwanzaa at the Rose Garden, October 20th. The Tyler Area for Partnership in Education http://www.tylerareapartnership4education.org/ launched the Smith County 2015 Education Report—an unprecedented collaboration between education groups, city leaders, and non-profit agencies. http://www.tylerareapartnership4education.org/#!community-report-card/ax6nf

They discovered that only 20% of Smith County students earn a post-secondary credential, a figure that sinks to just under 10% among economically disadvantaged students. Economically disadvantaged students are defined as those who qualify for a free or reduced price lunch. Not only is this a slump from the 35% figure for adults with a post-secondary credential, but 65% of jobs will require such education nationally by 2020.

Tyler (71.8%) and Chapel Hill (71.3%) have the highest percentages of economically disadvantaged students in the eight-city Smith County—well over the 60.2% for Texas. Meanwhile, Bullard (34.8%) and Lindale (45.9%) have the fewest poor kids.

However, Tyler has a solid average income of of $47.4K per year. How can both figures be possible? Could that mean we have a tiny middle-class here? Let’s look at Claritas/PRIZM zip code clusters for zip codes 75701, 75702, and 75703. https://www.claritas.com/MyBestSegments/Default.jsp?ID=20&pageName=ZIP%2BCode%2BLookup&menuOption=ziplookup# Out of 66 clusters, only #53 Mobility Blues is present in all three Tyler zip codes in the Top Five. Furthermore, 75702 ranks in the top 1/5th nationally for #62 Hometown Retired. Only 3-15 clusters rank in the top half while two barely miss the top half at #34 and #35.

The Three Focus Areas for Education

There are three focus areas: (1) Kindergarten Readiness, (2) Middle School to High School Transition, and (3) Post-Secondary Readiness, Access, and Success. One statistic really jumped out at me: the discrepancy between high school graduation rate and college readiness. Virtually all graduate from high school: 94% in Smith County and 88% nationally. However, only 56% of both groups are college ready, and just 58% in Smith County and 54% nationally even enroll in education after high school. Students could take the traditional four-year bachelors degree or two-year associates degree routes, but there also shorter certificate and apprenticeship routes.

The answer for lacking readiness beyond an apprenticeship is developmental, or remedial, education. There are three subjects: (1) Developmental English/Writing, (2) Developmental Reading, and (3) Developmental Math.

Post-Secondary Readiness: Developmental English/Writing Study Guide for the Exit Exam

I taught Developmental English/Writing for ten years: five as an adjunct in Mountain View Community College in North Oak Cliff and five full-time at Texas College, the HBCU in North Tyler. By the way, this course is called Developmental Writing in junior colleges and Developmental English in four-year colleges. The Smith County Education Report called for a “restructuring of Developmental Education,” a common suggestion. I wrote an article that I called “Follow-Up to the Smith County 2015 Education Report.” It’s 6 1/3 pages with ten sections and a staggering 21 references. I published four of these articles. https://www.academia.edu/19181221/Follow-Up_to_2015_Smith_County_Education_Report I concluded the article by asking if the over-emphasis on literature in high school at the expense of grammar after middle school could be a major cause for a lack of readiness for College Composition, the first official college English course. The final link goes to my study guide for the Developmental English/Writing exam. It’s based on the official practice exam and includes that link. My analysis reviews the test maker’s categories and my impressions, along with questions and answers.https://www.academia.edu/18726274/THEA_Study_Guide_for_Developmental_English_Writing_Exit_Exam

Middle School to High School Transition: Bilingual All-Level Academic Vocabulary (BALAV)–A Focus on Cognates

Let’s backtrack to the Middle School to High School Focus Area. I’ve published material on Bilingual Academic All-Level Vocabulary (BALAV)–A Focus on Cognates. https://www.academia.edu/1744169/Bilingual_All-Level_Academic_Vocabulary While informal English has most of its roots in German, technical English has most of its roots in Latin, and French is the main source for formal English. Spanish and French are Romance languages, meaning they’re descended from Latin. Portuguese, Italian, and Romanian are the other Romance languages. For example, “inundacion,” is the Spanish word for “flood.” If  I were to say that the Bangladesh prime minister is a leader in climate change because her country is frequently inundated, that’s using sophisticated English.

The Hispanic population in Smith County is rising, especially among the young. Meanwhile, the African-American population is remaining steady and the White population is falling. Tyler ISD’s largest ethnic group has been Hispanics for several years, and many are in the Limited English Proficiency (LEP) group—those who need ESOL or Bilingual Elementary education. Most secondary education textbooks actually have glossaries in both English and Spanish. I like the glossaries that alternate back and forth between languages for each term, rather than first all the heavy words in one language followed by the other.

I can attest to figuring out a new language through an incredibly great lesson in ESOL class. Our instructor divided us into groups, and we deciphered an essay in Portuguese based on our knowledge of Spanish. I love reading public signs written in Spanish and English to keep my skills solid. At Church’s Chicken the other day, I found out the Spanish word for “simmer;” “biscuit” is exactly the same in both languages. There’s a weird myth that Mexicans and others from Spanish-speaking countries move to the USA with little kids only, so they don’t need Spanish subtitles after fifth grade. Maybe their teachers can get away with grunting to them about the glossaries. I’ve seen LEP newcomers in high school simply copying their English textbook into their notebooks since they didn’t know what was going on in class.

Eds & Meds” and the Local Home Construction Boom: Help the Home Health Care Aides & Start More Construction Apprenticeships.

The main approach I took in follow-up article was to analyze the dominant occupations in Tyler, especially Colleges and Hospitals, affectionately nicknamed “Eds & Meds.” More descriptive than prescriptive, I cited the pros and cons listed by experts on urban planning, such as Dr. Richard Florida. Many of the success stories are in large cities, such as Houston, Cleveland, and Philadelphia.

Later, I found a list of the 15 fastest growing occupations in the USA. Home health aide is by far the largest nationally, and it’s a low-paying job that doesn’t require a high school diploma. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecopro.t05.htm What if there were grants, scholarships, and maybe communes available for star home health aides so they could pursue a certificate or associates in fields like surgical technology and physical therapy assistant at Tyler Junior College?

A sound man/boat house builder friend told me about the home construction business boom. http://www.kltv.com/story/28527392/home-construction-booming-in-e-texas Then a star local construction business owner (home and business) liked my article, as well as the idea of apprenticeships. My Twitter M.D. friend voiced her support for apprenticeships as a way to move up without debt. Think about it; if post-secondary credentials are rare among the poor, have quick programs.

Kwanzaa Today: Kwanzaafest of Dallas and More

Now that we have shown how a major city project fits in with a Kwanzaa principle, how is Kwanzaa doing these days? It’s spreading around the world from the USA. Education World reported in 2014 that Kwanzaa is “the world’s fastest growing holiday.” http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson039.shtml I noticed celebrations in South Africa last year, England this year. Older folks born between 1948-1964 are more likely to celebrate Kwanzaa in this country http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2011/12/who_celebrates_kwanzaa_the_holiday_in_statistics.html , but there are more Black Studies programs in colleges than there used to be.

Kwanzaa spin-offs have had major success, notably Kwanzaafest of Dallas–held on the second Saturday weekend of December. This festival had its 25th anniversary this year, selling 60K tickets. http://www.johnwileyprice.com/kwanzaa-main.php Kwanzaafest has health screenings, recycling, high school debate, an obesity 5K walk/run, and more. John Wiley Price, long-time councilman, is the master-mind of this project.  Amherst University Black Student Union presents awards to students exhibiting the best of the seven principles in early December http://amherststudent.amherst.edu/?q=article/2015/12/08/unpacking-kwanzaa-critical-reflection-cultural-holiday.

Conclusion

Once again, the seven principles of Kwanzaa–Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work & Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith–are principles universal to all humanity.The “made-up” accusation carries little weight in the light of Santa Claus, the Christmas tree, and the other folks’ religions or holidays. But Kwanzaa endeavors to improve the community and to offer activists a chance to serve as a public intellectual.