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.

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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.

 

 

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.

http://goingviralposts.biz/group-build-community-tiny-homes-homeless-veterans/20 feet from end to end, and 240 square feet. That is the extent of every house under development in Veterans Village – a task began by the Veterans Community Project in Kansas City, Missouri.

 9. 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 (2nd Edition), By J.D. Meyer

  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. communityprogress.net Community Progress (Used to be National Vacant Properties Campaign) www.communityprogress.net/filebin/pdf/toolkit/NVPC_VacantPropertiesTrueCost.pdf The True Costs of Vacant Properties
  1. http://www.foodsecurity.org/primercfsuac Urban Agriculture and Community Food Security in the U.S.: Farming from the City Fringe to the Urban Fringe, by Katherine H. Brown, et al. 27 pages & 7 chapters.
  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. https://segmentationsolutions.nielsen.com/mybestsegments/ Nielsen: My Best Segments Where Can I Find My Best Customers? Go to the third section on the right and enter the zip code you’re studying; North Tyler is 75702. https://segmentationsolutions.nielsen.com/mybestsegments/ The 68 PRIZM zip code clusters. They’re subdivided into three categories based on life stage and several social groups based on the urban to rural continuum.

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.

Frequent Tyler, TX Bus Rider Survey, by Joffre (“JD”) Meyer (Midtown Resident)

Resident of Midtown (Hospital District) near Stanley’s Bar-B-Q

1. Which bus lines are closest to you?

2. Where are they?

3. Where are the “least distant” bus stops of different lines?

4. Is Bergfeld Shopping Center the closest Yellow Line stop for you?

5. Is the Downtown Transit Depot the closest place for you to access ….
A. Blue North
B. Green North
C. Purple South

6. Where are your favorite bus stops used by three lines, aside from the two hubs.

7. Where would you like to see a bike rack?

JD’s Answers

1. Purple North, Purple South, Green North.

2. The closest Purple North stop  is on East Houston at Donnybrook, while the closest Purple South stop  is at Austin State Bank near the SW corner of S. Beckham and E. Houston–across from Trinity Mother Frances. The nearest Green North bus stops are on S. Beckham at Trinity Mother Frances, directly across from Austin State Bank and on S. Beckham just south of E. Front. That Green North bus stop at the SE corner of Beckham & E. Front is less surrounded by traffic than the earlier stop by  TMF.

3. The closest Blue SW southbound stop used to be the one across from PATH on W. Front, a 15 minute walk. Now there’s a Blue SW southbound stop next to the new parking garage on S. Broadway between E. Front and Elm. The nearest Green South bus stop for me is on Fleishel & E. Houston, just past “Heartbreak Hill.” The closest Red North bus stop is at S. Broadway–just north of E. Houston. The closest Yellow stop is at its northernmost point in Bergfeld Shopping Center. The closest Red South bus stop is at the SW corner of S. Broadway & E. Front in front of the Catholic cathedral.

4. Yes, the Bergfeld Center hub is the closest Yellow Line stop for me.

5. A. No, the closest Blue North stop for me is across from the new parking garage between Front and Erwin next to the furniture store with all the bean bags, near the abandoned skyscraper.
B. No, I live very close to Green North bus stops because it serves the East side of Tyler, and I live in Midtown (East). C. No, I live in Midtown (The Hospital District), so three Purple line stops are very close to me.

6. Blue SW Northbound, Purple North, and Red North have a stop on N. Broadway across from the new Fair Parking Garage by the old furniture store with all the beanbags.

7. Both hubs, Downtown by the train museum and the Bergfeld Shopping Center, should have bike racks. I’d like to see a bike rack next to D&N in North Tyler on Bow ST near Neighborhood Services and a Green South stop at W. Gentry and Palace. Finally, I’d like to see a bike rack at the Downtown Square.

March 3rd #SOL15: It’s Payday!

The 3rd is payday–actually disability check day, COPD in my case. It’s a day of scurrying around to pay bills and buy groceries. I no longer drive. I walk or ride the city bus. I’ve become so well-versed in the bus routes and times that I was recruited to switch to the new transportation committee of the East TX Human Needs Network (ETHNN). Our other committees are education, health, employment, and housing.

My first trip this morning was the Family Dollar to buy really cheap stuff, such as paper products, liquid bath soap, and a bar of dark chocolate–all really a dollar. After a beer stop for later in the day, I visited a former student who works at the cell phone store in the same shopping center. Now she’s married with two kids, some twelve years later after our Developmental English class. I went to her dad’s regional Mexican karaoke a few Fridays ago and sang a couple myself a norteno song and a duranguense song.

Then it was time to watch a compulsory Rockford Files episode–starring the late, great James Garner as a private detective in Los Angeles who lives in a mobile home on the beach. After some rooting around on the Internet with my cellphone alarm keeping track, I galloped to the Purple South bus and headed for Brookshire’s Grocery in Bergfeld Shopping Center–the second hub of the Tyler Transit too. Besides splurging on food, that’s where I get my cashier’s check for rent. Recently, I’ve become a smart shopper who really looks for bargains in the mailbox insert with pen in hand. Sorting heavy groceries into two canvas bags (one lined) preceded the wait for the ride home. I sat next to my new bus friend who was grappling with a scratch-off game.

Once I got home, it was time to lay down with my albuterol nebulizer, while watching news on MSNBC with the volume turned up., for I was exhausted. Then it was time for one more errand before a couple of episodes of “Two-and-a-Half-Men,” in the early Charlie Sheen. Finally, I went to visit friends at Stanley’s Famous Bar-B-Q, and I live just two doors away–really convenient to a well-known restaurant. Now I’m hurriedly typing this Slice of Life while watching J*A*G, the Navy lawyer show.

I prefer living in business districts over residential. My neighborhood is called Midtown, aka. The Hospital District. I can reach stores, pharmacies, restaurants, banks, and doctors fairly easily–even by COPD standards. https://twowritingteachers.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/11454297503_e27946e4ff_h.jpg