Colt McCoy – High School Football Career Playing Quarterback in a Small Town in Texas

Colt McCoy was born on September 5, 1986 in the small town of Hobbs, New Mexico which as of the 2000 census has a population of close to 29,000 people. The young boy from a small southeastern town in New Mexico spent his formative years in a significantly smaller town located in central Texas.

When Colt McCoy was growing up in Tuscola, Texas there was not much to do in the town with a population of only 714 except play football. At 6'2 "the right handed quarterback that was born in New Mexico was an instant star football player in the small town of Tuscola. University of Texas (UT) Longhorns in Austin, Texas. Having a father as a football coach can be both a blessing and a curse for a young athlete as there is increased scrutiny to be handled.

Because Tuscola is such a small town the area high school named Jim Ned High School were Colt played quarterback on Friday nights is in what is known as Class 2A. The design 2A is used to categorize high schools that are similar in size to Jim Ned High School. While the systems are tweaked from time to time and vary by state in the state of Texas Class 1A is the classification for the smallest schools while Class 5A embraces the largest schools in the state. The purpose of the classification distinctions is to encourage quality competition among high schools with similar resources.

During both his junior and senior football seasons in high school quarterback Colt McCoy received the very high distinction of twice being named as a first team All-State selection for Class 2A quarterbacks. In addition to the All-State accolades Colt received an even higher distinction in the form of twice being named the offensive player of the year in Class 2A football in the state of Texas. A piece of trivia that some football fans may find interesting is that during his junior and senior seasons while being denied to offensive player of the year awards Colt was also the punter for Jim Ned High School.

Among the impressive statistics that Colt McCoy posted during his high school football career were 116 touchdown passes and a completion percent north of 63% while tossing the ball for a cumulative total of 9,344 yards. Those numbers make McCoy the all-time high school passing leader in Class 2A and fourth overall when factoring in the entire history of every high school football team and player since the inception of prep football in Texas.

Let Dance Lessons Be Your Passport

It is hard to overstate the benefits of travel. Expanding one’s horizons, comfort zones, and interests is a vital part of the human experience. The multitude of cultures and histories available in this world will endlessly astound those who dig deep into its richness. In the ever-globalizing world, barriers are more fluid than ever before. Today, you can tap into some of this cultural kaleidoscope without even having to leave your home state. Dance lessons allow you to experience a taste of far off lands. Let the beat be your vessel and the movements be your passport.

Flamenco: Spain

Flamenco is a rhythmic and proud style of movement that originated in the Andalusian region of southern Spain. The style is characterized by intense, even violent, movements of the arms and legs in time with guitar music. The guitar is the focal point of the music, and flamenco guitar has developed a strong following, even removed from the dancing. Like the guitar style, speed is a hallmark of the action, with precisely timed jabbing foot-stomps and theatrical arm gestures (along with castanets) providing the drum beat. Flamenco has been exported all over the world, with schools offering flamenco dance lessons from New Zealand to New Mexico. It has also become incredibly popular in East Asia. In fact, there are currently more flamenco academies in Japan than in Spain.

Tango: Argentina

Many people believe that tango, like flamenco, has its roots in Spain. In fact, tango is a quintessentially new world amalgam of African and European styles that borrows more from the Italian immigrant population in Buenos Aires than the established Spanish heritage of Argentina. The style grew, or perhaps erupted, out of the slums of the port cities of Argentina and Uruguay along the Rio de la Plata. In dockside bar rooms and social halls, African candombe practitioners fused with European traditions to form the Tango. Originally, it was looked down on as the province of the working class, but in the 1920s, tango became a full-fledged global craze, with premier Argentinian dance troupes travelling all over Europe and North America spreading the style. If you are ever fortunate enough to visit Montevideo or Buenos Aires, do not miss the chance to watch a tango performance. However, don’t be fooled by the apparent effortlessness of the dancers; take some tango dance lessons to see just how much effort is required.

Rumba: Cuba

Perhaps no other dance is as important as a passport or cultural conduit for Americans. Travel restrictions have prevented Americans from visiting Cuba, but rumba dance lessons have brought the style and music across the Florida straits. Similar to the tango, rumba blends European and African traditions for an authentically Cuban dance. Today, thanks to a strong Cuban presence in Miami and musical migration (especially after the film Buena Vista Social Club), more people around the globe are enjoying this island export than ever before.

If you can’t visit in person, travel through dance!

Pulque in Mexico: Synthesis of Medicinal and Mythical Properties

Since the pre-Hispanic era in Mexico, and continuing to date, there have been several species of agave used to extract aguamiel (honeywater). Once this sweet, coconut-milk-like liquid is removed from the heart of the succulent and thereby exposed to bacteria and yeast in the environment, it ferments and becomes viscous. Fermented aguamiel is known as pulque. Over centuries of years, and more likely millennia, medicinal properties have been attributed to pulque, by means of myths which have been passed down through generations of indigenous populations, and more recently as a result of scientific inquiry (not without contraindications regarding the latter) . As may be expected the literature is not always consistent in both its actual underpinnings and conjecture. Nevertheless a lay synthesis in a summary fashion does serve to illuminate.

Pulque, for a couple of hundred years had been associated with an elixir for the masses, a mild toxicant with curative powers. Buoyed by the natural / organic and to a lesser extent the slow food movement, it has been elevated to trendiness. The predominately middle and upper class millennials living in Mexico's larger urban centers such as Monterrey, Puebla, Guadalajara and of course Mexico City, flock to pulquerías. However most of what is being served up is an adulterated form of pulque known as curados. A base of pulque, sometimes even canned, is combined with a selection of processed fruits, grains and / or vegetables, sugar or another sweetener, and sometimes milk / cream and / or a thickener such as corn starch. These curados could not be further from the real deal, and likely by the time they arrive at the table any beneficial attributes, medicinal or otherwise, have been long lost due to its commercial handling. However pulque available in bars and restaurants in cities close to rural regions where aguamiel is extracted (ie Oaxaca, from the fields outside of the town Santiago Matatlán) is anything but 100% unadulterated. The closer prosperity the cantina or comedor is to the field from which the aguamiel has been harvested, the greater the likelihood that the pulque has not been bastardized and that it has retained its positive properties.

The wide diversity of micro-climates in which the species of agave are grown suggests that the attributes of the resultant pulque must inevitably vary, significantly at times. And, each specie of plant in and of itself has a unique series of compounds, minerals, vitamins, etc., which are transformed in a different way. This depends on the sub-region of Mexico, as well as the then continuing bacteria and to a lesser extent yeast in the environment. Species of agave used to extract aguamiel which have been noted in the literature include salmiana, americana, deserti, mapisaga, atrovirens, ferrox and hookeri. Different roots, including and in particular acacia (referred to in parts of the state of Oaxaca as timbre), have been customarily used to make the pulque stronger, hotter, more intoxicating or spicier. It also accelerates the fermentation process particularly during colder weather months. Such additions further alter the properties of the pulque.

The name pulque was allegedly derived from the Nahuatl word poliuhqui, meaning spoiled. During the pre-Hispanic era in many regions of the country it was a drink reserved for high practices, warriors and the wise. It was used ceremonially as part of the celebration of the harvest, to induce the rain to fall, as a way or honoring certain gods, and during rites of passage such as marriage, birth and death. Divergent rules abound as to the appropriate way to imbibe, and there is a plethora of myths as to its origins. But the nationwide thread which binds is its medicinal value. It should come as little surprise that populaces which drank pulque were generally immune to the cholera epidemic of the 19th century.

Pulque has been viewed nationwide as a healthy drink, a nutritional supplement. In areas of Mexico where there is a lack of safe drinkable water due to human or animal contaminants, it is used as a thirst quencher. But its constituent elements including but not restricted to iron, carotene, thiamine, folate, riboflavin, niacin, ascorbic acid, protein, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, fiber, bioactive compounds, phosphorus and ash, have reasonably lead to its predominant curative role in traditional medicine and as a preventive foodstuff.

Ask pretty well any tlachiquero (someone who taps agave to extract the aguamiel) in Santiago Matatlán, and he (or she, since at least in the state of Oaxaca producing pulque is a vocation not just reserved for men) will tell you that pulque is 100% natural in part since the only fertilizer, if any, used to stimulate growth of the agave, is abono from cows, sheep or goats and the mulch used is bagazo (waste fiber from distilling mezcal); and that pulque's attributes include stimulating production of white blood cells, being good for triglycerides, and controlling diabetes especially if consumed first thing in the morning well before breakfast.

The cross-cultural literature based upon studies from through Mexico, provides a much more expansive story. Pulque has been used:
• in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders including ulcers, and renal infections
• as an aid in diminishing general weakness of and in the body
• to combat loss of appetite and anorexia
• as a diuretic
• for enhancing relaxation prior to bedtime
• as an aid in foetus development
• to stimulant milk production for lactating mothers
• as a means of kick-starting breastfeeding when touched to the lips of newborns
• for children based upon its ability to promote muscle and bone buildup.

Although the purported use of pulque to stimulate fertility and improve sexual functioning does not appear to have any physical basis (except due to the extent that consuming alcohol may positively affect the libido in some), much of the foregoing has indeed been confirmed through scientific investigation .

While environmental yeast play a part in the production of pulque, in particular apparently contributing to its frothiness, the literature most often refers to bacterium from the specie Zymomonas mobilis as the primary stimulant converting aguamiel into pulque (and to a lesser amount bacteria from the genus Lueconostoc). Broadly encountered in sugar rich plant saps, Z. mobilis is extremely effective in producing ethanol.

Several studies have demonstrated in vitro growth promoting effects because of diverse lactobacilli and bifidobacteria plus probiotic strains. This aids in the absorption of important minerals. Phytase is present, and arguably very important. It is a digestive enzyme. Some believe that it can bind corn and increase the bioactivity of iron and zinc through metabolism. Phytase is a bacteria found in the gut of cattle and sheep, but not typically found in human beings although there is evidence of its presence in vegans and vegetarians. Phytase breaks down into phytic acid. This has been implicated in DNA repair, clathrin-coarted recycling recycling, control of neurotransmission and cell proliferation. While research regarding animal nutrition has claimed the value of supplementing feed with phytase as an aid in the production of calcium, phosphorus, other minerals, carbohydrates and proteins, the implications for humans are still extremely unknown and further study is required.

Through examining inside the context of scientific inquiry how and why indigenous populations have been utilizing pulque over centuries of years, we gain a better understanding of the actual validity and veracity regarding myths and beliefs as to the ferment's curative properties.

Scientific inquiry does confirm that consuming 850 ml of aguamiel satisfies the daily human requirements for iron and zinc. Because it is an alternative source of prebiotics FOS (fructooligosaccaride) syrups, it improves calcium absorption in postmenopausal women and more generally iron absorption. Consumption has been proposed for colon cancer prevention. It is known that pulque contains steroidal saponins which have been studied for their medicinal uses including antispasmodic activity and toxicity to cancer cells. They have been described as the most important bioactive compounds in yams and several biological activities such as anti-cancer have been documented.

The melatonin content in pulque assists in relaxation in preparation for sleep. The probiotic potential of lactobacilli isolated from both aguamiel and pulque provides a low cholesterol non-dairy source alternative for those who are lactose intolerant. It is perhaps the food product with the highest dose and variety of potential probiotic microorganisms. A study in the Valle de Solís, in the state of Mexico, found that the consumption of pulque rejected in less risk of insufficiency hemoglobin for pregnant women.

But just as the potential health benefits of pulque consumption have been difficult to evaluate and confirm for reasons some of which have been noted in this article, so have some of the contraindications. We do know that alcohol consumption can have harmful effects for pregnant women and their offspring, even with pulque at 6%. But this should be weighed against consumption in areas where there are generally poor dietary customs or unavailability of diversity of vitamins and minerals through foods. The literature does indicate drinking pulque in low amounts helps foam development and increases milk production during lactation (helps mother absorb calcium).

Pulque in fact does have a short shelf life due ambient temperature and ongoing contact with yeast in the environment. The longer it is kept, the quicker it goes sour. However once it is essentially undrinkable, in parts of Mexico such as Oaxaca it is used as a base to produce a refreshing drink known as tepache. Typically tepache is made with the vinegar-like pulque, pineapple, and a sugar cane derivative known as piloncillo or panela. Whether this beverage retains some of the positive attributes of pulque is uncertain.

For some another issue is the lack of sanitation associated with aguamiel and pulque. This may become obvious if one ever has an opportunity to participate in extracting aguamiel from agave and / or has consumed pulque in a village marketplace. To my thinking, having been consuming both drinks for the past quarter century, this is a non-issue. Commecially preparing pulque for sale in cans is a possible solution. Chemicals are added to halt fermentation. However, it is suggested that the benefits of pulque consumption will have long been lost by the time managed pulque is imbibed anywhere in the country, or in American states where it is available for purchase such as California, Arizona and New Mexico.

Further study is warranted and required in order to better understand the true benefits of pulque. But for now, subject to documented risks associated with its consumption, it is claimed that the reported positive attributes should be sufficient to induce the reader to imbibe a little pulque from time to time, and for that matter aguamiel if in a region of Mexico where it is being harvested fresh out of the agave.

The New 2010 Volvo Z70 Features a 3.2 Liter PZEV Rated Engine

The all new 2010 Volvo V70 comes equipped with a 3.2 liter engine. The 2010 Volvo V70s that are sold in California emissions states are PZEV rated. These states include California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Florida, Colorado, Utah and Montana. PZEV stands for Partial Zero Emission Vehicle, which is one of many of arcane emissions brackets there were created by the California Air Review Board. PZEV vehicles are actually Super Ultra Low Emissions vehicles that have been further modified to eliminate evaporative emissions from the fuel system. The new 2010 Volvo V70 that does have a PZEV rating is run on 225 horsepower rating, while a non-PZEV 2010 Volvo V70 engine generates about 235 horsepower.

The standard 3.2 liter engine featured in all cars has six in-line cylinders. The engine is constructed of aluminum. It also features double overhead camshafts that have 24 valves with variable valve timing; a Variable Intake System; Cam Profile Shifting on the intake camshaft; and a three-way catalytic converter with a heat oxygen sensor.

The 3.2 liter engine has an EPA rating of 18 miles per gallon of gasoline on city driving, 27 miles per gallon of gasoline while highway driving and 21 miles per gallon of gasoline with mixed driving. Depending on the driving style used and the situation the car is driven in, the intake valve train in this engine will automatically switch between economy and performance mode to optimize the fuel efficiency.

Overall this all new vehicle has an engine that is built to meet high performance expectations, comfort and strict environmental regulation standards. Giving you, the driver, the ability to have pride in your ride.

From Where I Sit: The Christmas Party

I am laid-back, six foot tall, New Mexico born, fairly well spoken, decidedly spiritual, a dark-skinned black man living blocks from the beach in the overpriced seaside town of Santa Monica, California. I'm married to a tall, blonde, energetic, and hard-driving, New York-born Actress / Writer / Singer.

I've included these facts in my introduction so that you've got a better picture of the view from where I sit.

When you grow up as part of socially aware, urbanely conscious family, you have no choice but to spend a fair amount of your time snoop watching the world as you move through it.

The particular event I'd like to share with you began at 6 pm, according to the information given to me by wife, who excitedly reported to me the news that we would be going to a Christmas Party throw by a well-connected musician, teacher, and singer she had recently befriended.

My wife … a Professional judge of Character was impressed by the woman throwing the party after meeting her and listening to her sing sometime before.

"She's actually a Los Angeles Institution, we have to go!" said whispered, knowing full well that I was rarely excited about gallivanting to places where I was not only a stranger but quite kindly the only black person in the room.

"That would be strange, considering our host was not only a singer, but a teacher, and student of Jazz," she assured me. "We're going … It's really no big deal … be ready to go by 7 o'clock sharp!"

My wife came home from work just after 6:00 pm.

I was ready to go … I was comfortably dressed in a slightly wrinkled dress shirt, and black pants, and black sneakers.

She approved and quickly vanished into the bedroom closing the door behind her.

After what feels to be hours, my wife re-emerged … She looked perfect! Her hair, her makeup, her smile, her essence … perfection! She was decked in a fitted black Donna Karan dress, well-matched jewelry, and a matching wrap, (that I did not even know she owned).

We arrived at the party shortly before 9 pm.

The festivals were in full swing. A few people spilled out of the house onto the steps and front lawn of this small, but a well-kept postcard of a house.

We enjoyed … We smoked … We entered.

Huddled immediately inside was a collection of very interesting writers, actors, singers, musicians, and a smattering of old fogies.

While I stand dutifully in place, my wife smiled and gifted everyone, floating skillfully through the room with the confidence of Grace Kelly. Without conscious intent, I caught myself taking a count of the number of "African American," party goers … Three, I count. Three exactly.

Seated closest to the door was a group of older, generously proportioned men; who quite obviously have known each other for quite some time. Crumpled, Rumpled, and comfortable these men sit surrounded by framed images, of pets, grand, and great-grandchildren, and black and white reminders of the life that exist somewhere, and sometimes before they were captured by the obvious comforts of life .

A colorful, and nostalgic collection of expensive overstuffed chairs, well-chosen wallpaper, rare autographed photos, music programs, classic portraits, stuffed animals, and a wealth of smartbooks, magazines, and albums.

Not wanting to fit in I make a sad attempt to hand-press my shirt.

We're spotted and warmly greeced by the owner, hostess of the party.

She is a petite dream. A missionary of music. She's LA's sovereign saint of the scat … a flowing mane of salt-n-pepper shoulder length hair, falling quickly on the shoulders of a well-preserved woman in her 60's, dressed in a formal white pantsuit, with a matching cardigan sweater and high heels as she floats effortlessly across the living room.

While still taking in the room, my wife & her hostess exchanged mutual flatterings, and then I'm introduced.

"This is my husband." He's a Writer and Artist … "

"Really, that's great! Make yourself at home," replied this lovely, well-kept woman, who looked my hand, smiled politely, and as if given an offstage cue, quickly whisked my wife away.

I am obviously, was on my own.

I move cautiously around the living room when a rather large, stodgy man sitting in a worn, ass-brown colored, lazy-boy chair, suggested I find a place to sit because "like parking downtown … available space was hard to find "Make them bring the food, and entertainment to you."

This man had apparently been sitting in the same place since the war and was not about to move without, and until nature made a demand.

I stop, locate an unobtrusive seat in the corner of the room, and shuffled my way across to it. Upon reaching my destination, and before I could sit … she (my wife), grabs me by the arm, and pushes me toward the heart of the party … The Kitchen.

The crabby comfort of the front room opens into a food-filled hive of untamed energy. There is food everywhere. Snack plates, and snack cakes. Wine, Ripple, and Rum dance on the same table as kool-aid, and cola.

Chips, Chocolates, and chicken dot every corner, still leaving just enough room for soups, sauces, and sundries.

Keeping pace with all of it is our hostess. She holds court, answers questions, and tops off topics with the ease of Ellington, and the class of Cole.

There were, of course, more introductions to be made … "This is Mr. so-and-so, he's a bassist … This is Carolyn whats-her-face, she's toured with Missy Struggs."

She flies through an assortment of names, places, and practitioners that she knows I'm never going to remember, and knows that I know she's never going to remember.

"Are you hungry? Go get something to eat … go grab yourself plate."

She is in her element. This is the kind of thing she was born to do.

While dodging plates, feet, tortilla chips, and the occasional over sauced drinker, I find the best spot in the entire house … The Music Room.

Suddenly I feel welcome with a familiar sense of warmth and acceptance. I sashay my way towards the entrance of the room, where "My People", these music-infused, tune-soaked, jazz-loving artists improvised smatterings of jazz standards no one but those in the know would recognize. Yes, these are, My People! This party is going to be alright.

I settle in to enjoy the moment when in my ear, a deep, baritone voice rumbles in …

"Hey Brotha ', you want to' hear some poetry? '"

I turn to find myself face-to-face with … Black Guy # 2.


"I write poetry.

(Exhaustive Pause)

"Sure, why not."

We find two stools near the music room, and just shy of the kitchen madness. He quickly explains to me that he only write poetry when inspired by a woman and that every word of it is true. I sit nonplussed, waiting to be engaged. He begins …

Switching between his smack enhanced and constantly rotating bites of petite crackers, and cake; he runs through a litany of what turns out to be pretty well-written prose.

When he finishes, he stares at me as if waiting for applause, when I realize … hey, he looks familiar …

"Are not you …?"

"Yep, are you a fan?"

(Exhausted Pause)

Before I could think of an answer, he blurts out …

"Man, you sure are dark … what country are you from?"

As if stricken dumb by the force of the question, I find myself at a complete loss for words when I'm saved by the Fogey I'd met an hour earlier, as he pushes past on his way to the bathroom.

I spot my wife tooling through the room at a breakneck pace, locked arm-in-arm with a new best friend; (giggling, and whispering like two school girls who've just spotted the cute new guy at a dance,) and make the sad attempt to catch her eye, when I'm bumped into by …

"Hi, I'm Black Guy # 3, and you are?"

He's a very smart-looking older gentleman, wearing a velvet two-piece suit, penny loafers, and a dusty gray Fedora. He leans over me reaching for his hand-carved walking cane, propped up on the wall just behind me.

"How did you get in here?"

All three of us laugh out loud at his joke in a shared moment. He collects his cane, wishes us well, and moves toward the open front door, finally disappearing into the night like a well-dressed, Buttermilk cake induced vision of a stylish past, and a somewhat frightening future.

Again I spot my wife heading – plate and purse in hand – into the music room. She finds a spot on the couch, arrangements herself, and begin to bop along with the music.

As if on cue, # 2 begins speaking again.

He shares with me his thoughts on acting, artisting, teaching, women, fashion, music, reading, and a what feels like an entourage menagerie library of random thoughts, and musings.

Finally, there comes a stress relieving break in the action.

Our host entices my tormentor over to try a bottle of wine that she feels he'd enjoy … I immediately fall in love with her.

I take that moment to make a break for it. I look for my wife, but once again she has disappeared. So I sidle back to the music room door and poke my head in. There she is, sitting on a tattered black sofa near the front of the room, staring in awe of the pianist's fingerwork. I join her. She is oblivious to me. Most of the musicians have gone by now, but there are a few very talented souls left connecting and spreading joy through their mutual love of Jazz.

I take a moment to gather myself and absorb my surroundings.

Seated on a large trunk / coffee table in the front corner of this small room, is an attractive, dark-haired, fashionably dressed young woman singing slightly off-key, and behind the beat.

She is surrounded by random stacks of sheet music, exotic instruments, empty cups, glasses, and coats, and dirty dishes.

There are fantastic photos, of Miles, Davis, John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, Art Tatum, Sarah Vaughan, Art Blakey, Sonny Rollins, and for some odd reason Johnny Carson lining the walls.

Alphabetized, and organized the shelves behind in front of us, and just behind the drummer is an awesome collection of what I assume to be rare and classic Jazz albums.

Finally. I am in my element.

The trio rip through an unrestrained, fully improvised journey of mixed melodies, scats, and arrangements invoking a sense this home's creative history.

We Are Family.

The pianist hands to solo to the drummer, and the spell is broken.

My wife finally notices and smiles at me, and asks if I'm having a good time? I rummage through the events of the evening … the conversations, the personalities, the food, and of course the music.

I look at this perfect, well dressed, smiling, blonde-haired person, and answer … "yes, I'm having a very good time." She looks knowingly at me. "Anytime, you're ready," she whispers.

I close my eyes, breathe deeply, and feel as though all is right with the universe.

"Look at all those jazz albums." She has one of the best collections I've ever seen, "I say boldly.

"Jazz … no, those belong to her husband. He hates Jazz."

(Exhaustive Pause)

"Yep, Time to go."

Realizing Success in a Dying Town – Out With the Old

During a recent visit to the once thriving southern town of Tucumcari, New Mexico, located in Quay County on "Historic Route 66," I was amazed how businesses were surviving there during this floundering economy, especially since the town had been sputtering towards failure for more than a decade. The universe answered my mindful inquiry by presenting this example of how one businesswoman was making it, while an elder businessman was not.

Once named "Six Shooter Siding," Tucumcari was founded in 1901 as a railroad construction camp. The 2000 census was 11 people short of reporting a population of 6000, but the count has since declined. The town occupations 7.5 square miles. Businesses in Tucumcari that exude a level of success are rare; they are few who windows are not barred or boarded up. The prominent ones are banks like Wells Fargo and Everyone's Federal Credit Union. (Yes, that is the credit union's actual name). Set apart, with its clean, almost modern architecture, Mesalands Community College sees as though extraterrestrials had plopped it down one late evening unbeknownst to the local habitants. [But I could only logically equate such an event with Roswell, New Mexico, far to the south.]

On Main Street of Tucumcari's "downtown," the only business front that said, "successful" was Pajarito Interiors, owned and operated by Ruth Nelson, an interior decorator who (according to local news articles) earned her degree from the University of Hawaii and moved to New Mexico from Oregon several years ago. Pajarito Interiors' Santa Fe adobe-style facade was clean, its paint fresh and stucco walls free of cracks. It had obviously been recently redesigned and updated compared to the buildings, up, down and across the street that sat in sad shape, windows boarded from vandal attacks, and having been long abandoned. An emaciated, feathery carcass of some now unidentifiable medium-sized bird-of-prey lay, spayed out in a display window where the raptor had accidently flowered in and failed in its escape. There it remained, in memoriam to its long suffering; for how long was anyone's guess. The building adjacent to Pajarito Interiors, connected by a shared wall was Sands-Dosey Drugstore. It had burned a year ago. Its partially scorched-black walls remained half standing, reminiscent of a bombed-out structure from a recent war no one had heard about. Its long history destroyed in what must have been a matter of hours.

Ruth Nelson's store is stocked with high-end home furnishing and decorator items. The interior walls hold a neutral hue that compliments every other color found on unique, seemingly one-of-a-kind tables, sofas, chairs, and objects de arte. The ceiling lights softly light partitions that showcase special furnishings like a fashion high table with a pair of plush-upholstered, matching chairs. In Tucumcari, with an estimated 80% of its population living on public assistance, it was an immediate mystery as to who among the locals could afford such exquisite items.

In an interview, Ruth Nelson said she moved to Tucumcari when she found a man with what she thought she could spend the rest of her life; that being Donald Schutte, an attorney and now former state district judge. (Having been originally appointed by the governor, Schutte had lost last November's election with his opponent winning nearly 2 votes to 1.) In local news articles, Nelson and Schutte have expressed plans to greatly improve downtown Tucumcari as they have filled key roles in the "Main Street" initiative with its mission to "bring back Tucumcari." Nelson said her business was doing okay, but there was a time when she was realizing $ 7,000 to $ 10,000 in sales per week. That number sounded suspiciously so I investigated further to find out the secret of how a businesswoman could be so successful in what appeared to be a dying town. The answer came as a surprise.

In July, 2006, Ruth bought a home furnishings business from businessman Stanley Jennings. Stanley was 81 years old and thought it a good time to consider retiring. A veteran, and retired serviceman, Stanley was born in 1925 in his family's ranch house home in Quay, New Mexico, about 17 miles south of Tucumcari. He grew up there. Stan (as his friends call him) remembers as a child having just one shirt which his mother would quickly wash every night when he got home from school. She would iron it in the morning right before he left to attend a one room school house that was located on an adjunct ranch a couple of miles away. He would walk or ride a horse to get there. As a teenager, Stan was a "soda jerk" at Sands-Dorsey Drugstore whose abandoned business location was the bombed out building, previously noted. He served in the Army Air Corp as a P-51 fighter pilot in Alaska, and was once state President of New Mexico Young Democrats, a time he was being groomed to run for a higher, future office. He attended pharmacy school in Albuquerque but quit when he got a C in one class believing that it disqualified him to graduate. He did not understand that was was a Grade Point Average (GPA) of a C or less that would have disqualified him. Unexpectedly, Stan's father died far too young, and left Stan's mother to cope with running a cattle ranch that was on the small side, as cattle ranches go. The ranch was associated with a large tax debt, as well. Stan accepted the responsibility, supporting his mother, wife and child.

Stan brave up pursuing aspirations outside of Tucumcari: the new, flourishing airline industry needed pilots, pharmaceuticals were short-handed, and state level politics continued to beckon, but he kept busy on the home front. He was elected to the office of Quay County Assessor for several terms, continued on as a 4th generation rancher and found a business in Tucumcari that he maintained for over 30 years. Tucumcari became home. He had married there; his only child had been born there. Janie, his wife, a school teacher who had taught for 26 years in Tucumcari, died there just short of their 50th wedding anniversary. Although now remarried, Stan has a burial place reserved around Janie's "place of rest." He was an active member and held offices in the Kiwanis Club and currently held the position of Chaplain in the local Masonic Lodge. Bottomline: Stan is a long-standing member of Tucumcari's history. A dedicated community leader, he did everything expected of, above and beyond, many of his friends and peers who have passed away over the years. Since selling his business at the age of 81, what has happened to Stan in his golden years, within this small community he's loved and served all his life?

Now a jolly-round man with a quirky little smile, and friendly disposition, Stan owns and operates Fort Bascom Trading Post, where he is a seller of used odds and ends. At a glance, one would describe it as a southwestern curio and junk store with a few interesting "pieces" scattered here and there. A private 45 rpm record "juke box" rumored to have belonged to movie star Grear Garson, a Bally's nickel slot machine, and a coin-operated orchestral that plays a tune for a quarter. There are the numerous Model As in various states of disrepair (rebuild); a couple look pretty complete. The business is housed in an old building whose interior is lighted by parallel rows of garish fluorescent lights that burn (a couple flicker) all day since the building's large picture windows were permanently boarded up after being broken out by vandals.

Who's buying this stuff? Nobody. "Economy's bad," Stan explains, "And I could sure use some sales, right now." Since he used to offer financing (credit) to his customers, a lot of people still owe him money from the former business, and most of them are not paying. Stan has to file a claim (to garnish wages) against them, but can only do that if he has the extra $ 40 it costs to do so. Why do not they pay? "People are hurtin 'here. They've been hurtin' for as long as I can remember, and can not afford to pay much for anything." Most of Stan's customers can not qualify for a credit card, do not have checking accounts, and "most live from paycheck to paycheck, if they're lucky enough to get a paycheck," he adds.

In 2006, Stan was approached by Ruth Nelson who wanted to buy his home furnishings business and transform it into her own decorator studio and interior design business. The deal was stuck and Nelson's live-in male companion (then district judge Donald Schutte) bought the building from Stan with no hitches. Schutte apparently greeted the building to Nelson as she is individually listed as the owner of record at the Quay County Tax Assessment's Office. Nelson produced and presented a contract to Stan stipulating the terms under which she would purchase his business and inventory (valued at approximately $ 118,000 which Stan was discounting to her for approximately $ 63,000). Nelson was buying only the new merchandise from Stan and she understood that Stan would retain the used items to sell as used merchandise. Nelson was to pay for the inventory over time … or at least that's what Stan believes one of the contracts stipulated. You see, Nelson presented a number of interviews of the contract to Stan over several days. Trusting, and in good faith, Stan signed each version of the contract that Nelson presented to him, but Stan was never given a copy of the final contract. Stan repeatedly asked Nelson for a copy, but those requests were ignored.

In 2007, Stan spent 30 full days in hospital battling and overcoming a case of pneumonia from which most people his age would have died. While Stan was still recovering at home, Nelson wrote a letter charging Stan with a break of contract, citing that she had seen a (free, courtesy) phone listing (not an advertisement) for his business in a telephone directory, and that Nelson had been told by a customer (hesay) that Stan's staff had offered to order new items for them. For Nelson, these two events justified charging Stan with a break of a non-compete clause that was allegedly part of their terms of sale. This alleged break therefore justified why she had the right to (abruptly) discontinue making payments to Stan for the inventory. Stan was not offered an opportunity to discuss the matter.

Meanwhile, Stan was slowly recovering from his illness and gradually returning to work. Stan continued to struggle to make payments on the original business loan he had obtained to buy the inventory that Nelson had bought, but now refused to pay for. Nelson was selling that inventory for pure profit and was realizing huge success in a faltering economy. This may explain how there were times when Nelson was able to sell $ 7,000 to $ 10,000 worth of merchandise each week … for a while.

Now comes the rub. Stan's family attorney (and CPA) refused to involve himself with a lawsuit against Nelson, not unlike five other attorneys across the state of New Mexico who, likewise, cited "conflicts of interest." Similarly, Nelson's live-in male companion (Schutte), the former New Mexico district judge and attorney also held a seat on the New Mexico Bar Association Review Board, a position that could have been politically dangerous for an opposing attorney to twiddle with.

Stan met with the sixth attorney in Albuquerque, a specialist in elder abuse law, who requested a $ 2000 retainer which he had borrowed from family members. To begin, the attorney requested a copy of the contract three times from Nelson who ignored the requests. The attorney wrote a letter of demand for payment to Ruth Nelson and Don Schutte. Schutte responded that he had nothing to do with the contract between Stanley Jennings and Ruth Nelson, and that Nelson would probably respond through her own legal counsel. (Keep in mind Nelson was living with Schutte, an attorney and former district judge capable of advising her in matters concerning business ethics, best practices, and taking appropriate legal actions.) Nelson did not respond to the letter.

The attorney told Stan that she would initiate a lawsuit against Nelson (and Nelson's attorney-judge-pro-bono-legal-counsel boyfriend for his role) if Stan provides a $ 10,000 retainer … which will only pay for "discovery" and filing initial paperwork. A subsequent trial or further legal action would be at an additional expense to Stan. With what Stan owes already on the business loan for the inventory, and borrowing the initial attorney fees, the old man would be looking at $ 100,000 of debt at age 83. This level of debt is never ever experienced in his life. The attorney voiced concern that Stan might not be able to physically weather the depositions, inquiries, interrogation, investigation, trial, or trials to come. [In the event that Stan died, he would not be alive to pay for services rendered by the attorney, which probably explained the reason for such a large, up-front retainer.]

So now this elderly cornerstone of the community is taken in a no-win situation. Why? The attorney outlined Stan's options and possible options of output:

1). If Stan initiates a lawsuit against Nelson (along with her attorney-judge-pro-bono-legal-counsel boyfriend), and wins, it may be ruled that Nelson must pay Stan's legal fees, court costs, intangible and tangible damages that could total in excess of $ 100,000. Could (or would) Nelson pay this? Not if she demonstrates the inability to pay, and that might be pretty easy for her to do. Game over. Stan loses … and he would still owe court and legal costs … and would have to continue to pay on the business loan for the inventory.

2). If Stan initiates a lawsuit, odds are, Nelson (and her attorney-judge-pro-bono-legal-counsel boyfriend) would counter-sue Stan with the pointed strategy of elongating the legal process, thereby financially breaking and / or out-living the old man Stan. Game over. Stan loses with his debts being transferred to his estate, or to his elderly widow who also loses … along with his children and grandchildren (who may have had some sort of inheritance prior to such a lawsuit).

3). If Nelson counter-sues Stan and wins, Stan would probably be required to pay Nelson's court costs, tangible and intangible damages, as well as legal costs to her now exorbitantly expensive attorney-judge-NOT pro-bono-legal-counsel boyfriend who will have suddenly transformed into the most expensive legal counsel on earth. Stan loses absolutely everything because the attorney-judge-legal-counsel boyfriend would probably file a lien against every asset Stan has.

New Mexico Attorney General, Gary King advocates a strong stance on the protection of elders against abuse, both physical and financial. Yet a representative from the New Mexico Adult Protective Services Division stated that Stan's situation is not really a case of financial elder abuse and that his case should be handled by law, through the legal system. If you review the options that the legal system offers (stated above), it is fairly easy to see that it offers little, if any, hope or opportunity for Stan to prevail in this situation.

Stan's retirement "plan" was simple. He wanted to spend his last days restoring Model A Fords, the kind he wished as a young man, but could never afford. Stan owns more than one shirt now, but his eyes tear up when he reflects about the moment when he had saved up enough money to buy two new shirts to have at one time. He gets up every morning, showers and shaves, checks his blood sugar, takes his insulin and other prescribed medications. He eats a little breakfast and feeds a group of cats before "going to work" at Fort Bascom Trading Post as a seller of used odds and ends, in an effort to make ends meet. For him, the weight of the world looks far heavier than it had 30, 40, 50 or 60 years ago. And he realizes he lacks strength. It seemed that Stan was headed on the same doomed path as the burn-gutted drugstore where he had once worked as a young man, only his suffering is lasting quite a bit longer. Stan is fast becoming the sun-dried hawk that cooked for its life in the store display window until it could fight no longer, when no one either noticed or cared or tried to help it survive.

This is one of those little stories about the unknown underdog featured on television's 60 Minutes, 20/20, 48 Hours or Nightline. How can an elderly, almost gone, and near forgotten man get noticed by those globally viewed and respected programs? Who can help him, and who cares for guys like this anyway? If you're reading this article and have the answer, please let me know, before Stan claims his place next to his wife Janie who died almost 20 years ago.

Medical Marijuana: An Insight Into a Patient's Journey


To date, medical marijuana is legalized in the United States in 30 states including the following:

Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connectiut, Delaware, DC, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusets, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hamshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota , Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and West Virgina.

Each of these states have their own regulations and guidelines regarding use and qualifications.

Here in Florida, the Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, also known as Amendment 2, passed on November 8, 2016 for qualified patients under the supervision of a qualified and licensed marijuana doctor. Furthermore, this amendment passed with a total of 6,518,919 (71.32%) YES votes and 2,621,845 (28.68%) NO votes.

The federal government has reclassified Marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug making it illegal for doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients. These marijuana doctors can only make recommendations for medical cannabis in compliance with the state law which can be valid up to 1 year. Patients can not go to a pharmacy to fill a prescription for medical marijuana.

Under strict regulations, medical marijuana doctors are prohibited to be affiliated with any medical cannabis distributors or dispensaries.

Only certain patients with "debilitating ailments" are afforded legal protection under this amendment. Ailments classified under its provision include PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), Chronic muscle spasms, Multiple Sclerosis, Seizures, Epilepsy, Glaucoma, Crohn's Disease, Cancer, HIV / Aids, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's Disease and Parkinson's Disease.

Although the above ailments were indicated as "primary debilitating conditions", under this provision, Amendment 2 also stated: "or any other ailment / condition of similar severity / symptoms, as determined by a physician's opinion that the medical use of marijuana would outweigh any potential health risks ".

There are currently about 56 known and listed marijuana doctors on Florida.

More information and specifics regarding this topic can also be obtained from the website of the Florida Department of Health ( ) on how to become a medical marijuana patient in Florida. More in-depth information about Amendment 2 can also be found here.


A few months ago, I came across a video on Facebook about a man with Parkinson's disease who was given a shot of medical cannabis. The before and after videos were quite impressive. Before the treatment, you can see this man's significant tremors, stuttering and abnormal posturing. The after video showed a very different person. His speech was intelligent and audible. He had no stuttering, tremors and he showed very controlled movements. This man was walking and talking as any normal person would. He also shared how it has improved his quality of life.

As a physical therapist with exposure to various cultural backgrounds, I personally have mixed feelings about medical cannabis. As a healthcare professional however, it is quite an epiphany to witness one of my patient's significant change with medical cannabis use.

Mr. JL with Parkinson's Disease

For over five years, Mr. JL has been coming to me for physical therapy treatment off and on for problems brought on by his Parkinson's disease. Knowing the progressive nature of the disease, I watched this gentle soul deal with the effects of this debilitating affliction. His primary physicist would refer him for treatment when he starts to develop weakness, rigidity, tremors and most of all, balance problems where he reported falls at home.

We would see him for a period of about six to eight weeks each time. We worked on improving his coordination, strength, flexibility and balance for the primary purpose of keeping him safe and self sufficient at home as he lives alone. It is also to keep from falling which predisposes him to more severe flaws and complications.

The Change

About a few weeks ago, he came to the office to schedule for Physical Therapy as he was referred again by his doctor. Having worked with this patient through the years, I was trying to figure out what changed in him. I looked, and observed intentionally as I did my initial evaluation. He may have noticed the curiosity that was nagging me because he gave me a knowing smile. No longer able to contain my curiosity, I asked him: "Mr. J, what have you been up to?" Mr. J just laughed and asked me why the curiosity!

Well, it finally dawned on me that. J. barely had no tremors on his right hand where he used to exhibit the typical pin-rolling tremors of this disease. His neck was aligned and was not shifted towards the right side. Furthermore, his speech was clear! Another thing that stuck me was that he was walking better. Not great, but he was able to turn around without having to shuffle which I have seen him do for years.

He finally shared with me that he started taking medical cannabis for over a month as recommended by his neurologist. A friend of his allegedly mentioned to him a video on Facebook about a man with severe Parkinson's disease. This man received a shot of medical cannabis and the change was visible after only a few minutes. This apparently prompted him to consult with his primary physician and then his neurologist.

The change I have seen with Mr. J after only over a month of being on medical cannabis is significant. His speech improved. His voice deeper and more audible. He had no stuttering and he had more control of his right hand than almost a non-existing tremor. He is also standing straighter. His balance and coordination have improved, even more so with the advanced balance retraining he is currently receiving.

During his therapy sessions, Mr. J could bounce a ball on the floor faster with better accuracy. We saw him throw and catch a ball in standing without anyone holding on to him. We used to have somebody stand behind and hold him as he had slow reactions and reflexive responses. His walking also improved. Just months ago, he would drag his right foot and walked with very short shuffling steps. He would lose his balance with the slightest attempt to turn around or lift his leg higher to stand on one leg.

These seemingly subtly changes in him for just about over a month of using medical cannabis has made a difference in his life. He shared that he feels more relaxed and is less anxious about falling. He can do simple house chores with more confidence and he is able to tolerate more advanced therapeutic exercises during his physical therapy sessions. He does not feel as tired and is able to do more tasks throughout the day.

Mr. J is still on this journey and wanted to share this experience and for me to tell his story. Knowing him and his background, he is not the type of person who would take marijuana indiscriminately for mere recreation and self indulgence.

About JL

Mr. J is originally from Central New York and has moved to Florida. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease approximately seven (7) years ago. It used to be a designer for a very prestigious Syracuse China manufacturer which customers include the White House, 5 star hotels and prestigious restaurants. He also was a member of a Barber Shop Quartet as a tenor for the SPEBSQSA (Society for the Preservation and Encourage of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America) and has been on several amateur Broadway shows in New York. He was an art teacher to middle school students teaching drawing.

His life changed when he was called to ministry sometimes in 1986. He became involved with a healing ministry which he revealed was mostly with people who had tumors. He has traveled abroad to expand his healing ministry. This has garnered so much attention that even the media noticed and did several coverage on his ministry. He is now retired and lives in Palm Bay Florida.

It is a privilege to know this special person who has done so much during his younger days. He has dedicated so much time and commitment to helping others. I deeply appreciate the humanitarian service. J has rendered and how his ministry has touched so many lives. I consider him another unsung hero of his time.

His willingness to have me share a snippet of his story is a privilege. Moreover, to be able to work with him to further his progress and see his motivation and determination through the years is a very inspiring experience.

Mr. JL's personal battle with Parkinson's Disease.

Mr. J as he shared, was officially diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease some seven years ago. He has been under the care of a doctor of Internal Medicine practicing in Palm Bay, Florida.

About Parkinson's Disease

As described by the Mayo Clinic staff: "Parkinson's Disease is a progressive disease of the nervous system that affects traffic. disease, the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement. "

Subsequent effects of the disease include the following: expressionless face also known as masked facies or hypomimia and decline in speech quality that can be slurred, soft, even stuttering. These are very common in patients I have worked with. A patient's walking ability is also affected. There is loss of arm swing from trunk rigidity, stiffness and shuffling steps from resulting incoordination.

Unfortunately, this disease is progressive and current medications are aimed to improve the symptoms but not necessarily a cure.

There are currently many ongoing researches for cure including surgery to regulate certain regions of the brain and electrostimulation.

Still, there is no standard treatment for cure at this time, as per the National Parkinson Foundation.

Additionally, medication, lifestyle modification, exercise and rest are recommended.

Medications Prescribed

Current medications prescribed include the following: Carbidopa-Levodopa, Carbidopa-Levodopa infusion, Dopamine Agonists, MAO-B inhibitors, Catechol-O-Methyltransferase (COMT Inhibitors), Anticholinergics and Amantadine. -Source: The Mayo Clinic Organization

Parkinsons and Surgery

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) ia procedure where electrodes are implanted in specific areas of the brain with a generator implanted in the chest area near the collarbone which sends out impulses to the brain aimed at reducing the symptoms. It is not a cure however and there are many risks and side effects involved. Both the medication and DBS will not stop the progress of the disease.

Parkinson's and Physical Therapy

Physical Therapists get to work with these type of patients during the different stages of the disease. This is primarily because of the functional decline resulting from incoordination, dyskinesias (involuntary movements) and rigidity which makes purposeful and spontaneous movements very tedious.

These problems can make even the most basic functions as feeding, grooming and toileting very difficult. Walking becomes very unsteady. Shuffling gait is very common where it is difficult for them to make the first step (because of bradykinesia – very slow movement) but once they go, it is also very difficult to stop. Many of these patients are at a high risk for falling and a large number during the advanced stages becoming fully dependent for care.

When referred to Physical Therapy, patient education regarding appropriate exercises, movement strategies, task modification, gait training and fall prevention strategies are a part of the overall plan of care and functional intervention. They are also often referred to Speech Therapy for speech and feeding problems, and to Occupational Therapy for basic self care and hand or upper extremity functions.

Mr. J's Battle

I first worked with Mr. J about 5 years ago. Although he was not on the advanced stages of the disease at that time, he already identified the primary visible symptoms of the disease: Hand and neck tremors, masked facies, rigidity and significant incoordination. He walked very slow, was shuffling and took a long time walking even from room to room as he was unable to make quick turns. When he does turn, he tends to lose his balance and fall. His reflexes were very slow. He could hardly catch a ball or bounce it. His speech was slurred, barely audible and he had a stutter. He had difficulty getting up and down simple curves and stairs. He had fallen a few times from balance issues.

Mr. J persevered with the physical therapy program and was always very motivated. For each of the episodes that he was referred to us through the years, he always showed improvement and always followed through with the specific exercise program we prescribed. Due to the progressive nature of the disease however, he would have a physical decline and we had to work with him again.

He shared the story of how he first noticed the change in him from Parkinson's. Foremost he stated was when he was teaching drawing to middle school students in his art class in New York. He said that he was progressively having difficulty drawing and using his right hand as he had developed tremors. The rest followed including a change in his facial expression, rigidity and feeling stiff all the time.This became progressively worse through the years until his move to Florida.

Once under the care of an intern, he was prescribed Sinemet and other medicines which he had taken through the years.

The last time I saw him for treatment was in early 2016 where he had significant tremors on his right hand and an involuntary twitching in his neck. His masked facies had progressed, his face almost droopy and he was walking with so much shuffling and difficulty. He was barely able to move one foot in front of the other. He also reported of falls because of worsening balance problems.

This was why when I saw him in March of this year, I saw the significant change in him which he attributed to medical cannabis.

Medical Cannabis: Capsules and Gummies

He further shared his story. Upon hearing about the potential benefits of medical cannabis for Parkinson's disease, he consulted with his primary physician who directed him for further consult with his neurologist. His neurologist recommended trying medical cannabis due to the advancing nature of his Parkinson's disease.

Mr. J then got started on medical cannabis capsules where he said it contained about 30 pieces of 25 mg capsules. This cost him about $ 80 or so including shipping. With his shipment came a sample pack of the gummies version of about 5 gummies in a pack. The capsules were bitter, according to him and he took 1 capsule daily.

He added that after taking the first capsule ever, he felt so relaxed and calm. He could move around, get in and out of bed easier, get in and out of his chair better. He also noticed that his tremors were much less that first time.

Mr. J stated that he liked the cannabis gummies better as it tasted much like candy and was tastier than the capsules. Even more so, the effect of the gummies appeared much faster than that of the capsules and was much cheaper. The capsules per piece costed about $ 3 each and the gummies would amount to about $ 1 a piece he added.

So as to mimic the effect of the gummies, Mr. J said he tried melting the capsule under his tongue to take off the edge of its bitterness. He also chewed regular gummy bear candy. This worked for him.

To date, Mr. J continues with physical therapy where we see him better able to tolerate and execute high level balance training tasks that he was unable to do so before. He has very little to no tremor on his right hand, he no longer exhibits the twitching on his neck, and his reflexes improved. I see this by his ability to make a turn and not lose his balance. We do not have to hold him while he catches, throws or builds a ball to improve his protective righting reflexes necessary for him not to fall. he can lift his feet higher when walking and his shuffling is so much lesser.

Still aware of the progressive nature of this disease, it is just inspiring to see this very soft-spoken, kind-hearted, intelligent and talented individual overcome simple daily functional obstacles caused by this debilitating and irreversible disease.

For the population afflicted with debilitating diseases, a day to day victory of being able to move about and perform tasks that seem so trivial to most of us, is a blessing.

Legalizing medical marijuana currently is, and will be an ongoing battle in congress. We all have varying stands and strong opinions about this issue. Researches are ongoing about its pros and cons. I foresee more awareness of its existence as an alternative treatment to various diseases who do not respond to conventional medicine and treatment.

As a medical professional however, it is just fulfilling to be able to witness the functional changes in Mr. J., how he is able to stay independent and self sufficient his own injury.

I am currently working on finding an individual who can share with me the negative effects of medical marijuana as well. I would like to hear from you and be able to share your journey and experience as well, anonymously, of course.

Please reach out to me if you have something to share.

My greetings for a wonderful day and until my next article!

Aging Out of EPSDT – Part VIII: Strategies

In the previous 7 posts, we've looked at detail at what exactly is wrong with the system that forces children with disabilities covered by Medicaid's Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) program to become adults with disabilities covered by .. nothing at all. Now, it's time to look at how those same families can find some way to cope with the realities of the broken system that they work inside of.

Become Your Adult Child's Home-Based Care Provider

Some states have implemented programs that allow a parent or sibling to get money from Medicaid to provide health care for their loved one with special needs. The programs are called "Cash and Counseling" or "Self-Directed Care" depending on the state. They're available in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.

In short, your Medicare-eligible loved one must apply for the use of the program, and the state will assess them to determine how many hours of in-home care they need each week to function. They use the "fair and customary" rate paid to in-home care workers in your geographical area, multiply it by the assessed number of hours that they believe your loved one will need, and give them a budget of that amount to work with. They may choose to pay anyone (in some states, you must pass a nursing class), and they may choose to pay any amount at or above the state's minimum wage. (Note that this gives them the freedom to stop paying you and pay a professional for a period of time if you need a break, which is an intimate benefit to the family caretakers of the world.)

Move to a State with Better Medicaid Coverage

If you live in one of the 19 states that have not yet accepted Obamacare's Medicaid expansion (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas , Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, or Wyoming), it may be difficult to accept, but moving to one of the remaining 31 states (or the District of Columbia) might actually be in your best benefit. This can be a tough call, naturally – it's dependent on a lot of factors, not the least of which is finding housing and employment – but if you can make the move, the effects on your disabled loved one can be awful.

If you do attempt to go this route, there are a few things you will need to do:

1. Make sure that the Medicaid programs available in your target state will actually cover your loved one (see Part III of this series).
2. Check the income and resource limits and ensure you will still qualify. (Some states offer a spend-down for resource limits; others do not.)
3. Move.
4. Declare your new home state.
5. Apply for Medicaid in your new home state.
6. Shut down your Medicaid in your former state.

It's hard the easiest thing to do – but it might just be the best.

Bad Credit Score? You Can Still Get Albuquerque Apartments for Rent

Renters with bad credit score looking for Albuquerque apartments need not necessarily panic. Small apartments do not generally ask for a credit report. Even with other apartments, by proving your ability to pay rent on time, you could end up finding a good apartment for rent in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque being the largest city in New Mexico, the population of this city has only been increasing by the day. If you are one of those new residents in Albuquerque, finding Albuquerque apartments for rent may seem like an arduous task. But by knowing where to hunt for Albuquerque New Mexico apartments, you can find the right rental home of your choice.

There are numerous ways by which Albuquerque apartments may be sought, the most common being looking through ads on top news papers like Albuquerque Express, Albuquerque Journal, etc and looking on Albuquerque page on Most people would even resort to taking the help of a local broker or agent, in which case it is important to check the background of the broker and ensure that there is no history of complaint against him. During your hunt for apartments in Albuquerque, you would come across a number of prospective landlords who has the right to check your credentials which includes a check on your background and a credit check. If the landlord during such investigation finds out that you have a bad credit history he may reject your proposal.

Having a bad credit score shouldn’t prevent you from searching for rental homes in Albuquerque. It definitely does pay to have a good credit score. But if you don’t’ have one, there is nothing really to worry. There is no strict requirement for a minimum credit score but when you have one, it gives the potential landlord the confidence that the rent will be paid month on month without any default. Smaller apartments and single family Albuquerque apartments do not usually ask for a credit history. You should try place like North East Heights, South West Valley and Mesa, some part of downtown to get cheap rental deals.

In situations when a copy of the credit history is called for, you could submit a letter explaining the reasons for bad credit history. You could also convince the landlord of your ability to pay rent on time. Most landlords of Albuquerque apartments for rent around the above mentioned areas and sometimes in Paradise Hills would be satisfied with your explanation but may also ask for a recommendation letter from your previous landlord. By submitting the letter you are indirectly proving your creditworthiness.

But there is something that you could do to rectify your bad credit history. You can get your credit status evaluated from the three major credit bureaus. The report of each of them normally reveals the discrepancies if any in the reports. So, do not unnecessarily worry if you have a low credit score. You will still be able to find Albuquerque New Mexico apartments for rent.

Are You Interested In Knitting More About Monterey California?

Author: JD Conway

Publisher: Arcadia Publishing

ISBN: 0738524239

The following interview was conducted by: NORM GOLDMAN: Editor of

Today, Norm Goldman, Editor of is honored to have as our guest, Jim (JD) Conway, author of Monterey: Presidio, Pueblo and Port (The Making of America Series). Jim is in addition to being an historian and genealogist, the Museum Coordinator for the City of Monterey.

Good day Jim and thank you for agreeing to participate in our interview.


Jim could you tell us something about your personal and professional background. What are you duties as the Museum Coordinator for the City of Monterey?


Thank you Norm for your interest in my book. As the City of Monterey's Museum Coordinator I am responsible for the city owned museums along with the cultural arts activities.

We have 4 museum facilities:

*** Colton Hall: that was started in 1847 and completed in 1849. It was the site of the Constitutional Convention in 1849, it is where California became as state

*** Presidio of Monterey Museum. It is located in the heart of the Lower Presidio Historic Park, which is 26 acres of some of the most historical land in all of California. The Museum traces the city's military heritage through the Spanish, Mexican and American periods.

*** Located on Cannery row we have 3 "worker shacks" interpreting living conditions for the seasonal workers who helped make Monterey the Sardine Capital of the World.

*** Across the street from the shacks is the Pacific Biological Lab This was the home, office and laboratory of Edward Flanders Ricketts, who Steinbeck immortalized as Doc. The city also has an extensive art collection, which I oversee.

I was born in Hope, Arkansas, grew up in Southern New Mexico and went to college at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico where I majored in History and Political Science.

I like to say that after four years of college I then spend 4 more years in the Marine Corps where I got and education, including a tour in Viet Nam. After the Marines, I worked as a logistics and warehouse manager for many years. As matter of fact, it was that business that bought me to Monterey County where I worked for the Spreckels Sugar Company. That was close to being in a time warp. We lived in the company town with generations of employees who had worked for company. It was quiet an experience and when I went back to graduations school in 1997, my thesis was on Spreckels and it first fifty years in the Salinas Valley. While working for the Sugar Company, I became interested in family history, went back to college taking classes in genealogy and that rekindled my passion for history.

After receiving my MA in History form San Jose State I went to work for the City of Monterey as a museum attendant and research assistant. Over the next 6 years my duties expanded to include all the museums and cultural art activities. But at heart, I am a historian. I am married and we have two grown children, and two grand kids.


How did you become interested in the history of Monterey and what compelled you to write Monterey: Presidio, Pueblo and Port?


When I first came to work for the city my boss asked me to research Monterey's history between 1849, the end of the constitutional convention, and 1880, the opening of the Hotel Del Monte. What I found, was that this period had been highly neglected by historians. And much of what information they had had was based on a prevailing idea that Monterey had been passed by during the gold rush, and was a "Mexican village with no ambition" according to one prominent California historian. The more I researched, the more I realized that an updated history of Monterey was needed. New evidence, research and new interpretation were redefining Monterey and that story needed to be told.


What important historical landmarks should one visit or look for when visiting Monterey and why are they important?


Monterey has such a varied past that choosing landmarks becomes personal preference.

*** If ones interest is the Native people or the Spanish and Mexican periods then the historic old town section is the place to be.

*** The Path of History offers the visitor a chance to visit all the historic buildings and sets that make up the historic district.

*** Located on the path is the San Carlos Cathedral, one of the oldest European buildings in California, and is still used today. I think that is a must.

*** I may be biased, but the Lower Presidio Historic Park was the site of a native village 2000 years before the Spanish arrived. It is also the location where Vizcaíno landed in 1602, and where Father Serra and Captain de Portolá met to found Monterey on June 3, 1770. Within the park, is the only site in California where a land and sea battle was thought, and the site of the first American fort in California and possibly all of the West Coast. And that just takes one up to 1846 with much more following the American take over. Did I mention that some of the most stunning views of the bay are from the park?

*** If one's interest is tied to the literary history promoted by Steinbeck, they will not want to miss Cannery Row. I like to challenge visitors when on Cannery Row and try to differentiate between the stories stories and the actual events and places that made up the cannning and fishing business. Monterey has museums and art galleries that can keep the youngest to the oldest person's interest.


When is the best time to visit Monterey and why?


Another difficult question. If it is good weather you are looking for I would suggest the fall. However during the summer months (the problem is cool not hot) more festivals and activities are going on. But, if you want to miss a lot of the crowds December through April are the best times.


How does the history of Monterey differ from other neighboring areas such as Carmel, Pacific Grove, Salinas, etc?


They all start with Monterey and then branch off to come up with their own identities. Salinas' history is associated with agriculture, which makes it a little different than the Peninsula communities that surround Monterey. That is not to say the only history in Salinas is agriculture but it is the cornerstone of its existence. Pacific Grove came along earlier than Carmel. It began as a Methodist Church retreat in the 1870s and has maintained an identity as a seaside village with a quite demure and hometown atmosphere. Carmel-By-the-Sea was an artist colony that became prominent with California artist following the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. It developed a bohemian flare that has spread down the coast to Big Sur. One of the best things about Monterey and the surrounding communities is its verity of cultures, and the unique role that they have developed to make this area more than just a one dimensional location.


How have historians established and interpreted Monterey's history and do you believe that their perceptions are accurate?


I love this question. Without going into a complete historiography of Monterey, I would say that earlier interpretations were overly romanticized and were often repeated without being researched. They where often one dimensional, only looking at one aspect of a subject, ignoring other elements that helped complete a more diverse picture.

One good example is that period between 1850 and 1880 when most historians say Monterey was in decline with no civic ambition or economic base. That was just not accurate. Yes, there were economic swings in Monterey, but every town in California suffered through the same problems. If you look at what the Chinese were accomplishing locally during this time, Monterey was better off than a lot of communities.

Too often in Monterey's history we have ignored the contributions of the different cultures. The study of history has changed considering over the last 30 to 40 years today we look more at cultures, gender and class in our interpretations and that gives us a more complete history. I suspect in 30 or 40 years another historian may be criticizing my work based on new sources and techniques that have been developed.


You mention in your book that culturally Monterey has a connection with its native heritage, but that connection remains secondary to its Euro-American past. Why do you believe this and how is it in evidence today?


The Native People of Monterey, known as Rumsien, did not have a written language, much of what we know about them is from what the missions recorded and a few oral histories passed down through the generations. To survive, the Native People intermarried with the Spanish and Californios and they are the ones who wrote the history often ignoring their own native heritage. We do know that descendants of those first residents still live in the area and that is the connection Monterey has to its native heritage.


What is the origin of the Seventeen Mile Drive and could you briefly describe this tourist attraction?


In 1880 Charles Crocker opened the Hotel Del Monte. It was dubbed as "The Most Elegant Seaside Establishment in the World." Presidents, royalty, business leaders and celebrities came from around the world to enjoy the hotel and all its amenities. One of its attractions was a drive or horseback ride through the Del Monte Forest and along the scenic shorelines of the peninsula. That original 25-mile loop started at the Hotel and ran out to the hunting lodge on Pebble Beach. Today the hotel is the Naval Postgraduate School and the lodge is the Lodge at Pebble Beach.


I understand that in early October Monterey will be having a History Fest. What is this all about?


The Monterey History and Art Association, California State Historic Park and City of Monterey, as part of their MOU for the promotion of Monterey's history sponsors History Fest. It is a means of promoting the multi layers and varied aspects of Monterey's Past. There are exhibits and programs that educate and enlighten visitors, and locals alike, on Monterey's history. Other organizations, such as the military bases, Historic Garden League and cultural groups join us in this celebration.


What is the historical significance of Cannery Row?


After the turn of the century (20-century) Monterey experienced growth in 3 areas. First was tourism associated with the Hotel Del Monte. Second, was the return of the Army to the Monterey Military Reservation, know today as the Presidio of Monterey and thirdly the expansion of the fishing and canning industry. Following WWI the demand for canned sardines helped create an entire industry based on getting the fish from the sea to the customers. Not only were there canneries but the offal was transformed into fertilizer, chicken feed, fish oil and other sundry needs.

Because the smell associated with the rendering facilities was so strong the canneries were moved away from the city and Hotel Del Monte along the waterfront on Ocean View Avenue.

It was from this industrial, blue collar, neighborhood that Steinbeck found his inspiration for Tortilla Flats, Cannery Row, Sweet Thursday and East of Eden. So the significance today is twofold. One, it was the location for the fourteen canneries that made up the row. And secondly it has a literary history associated with John Steinbeck.


You indicate in your conclusion to your book that Monterey today is at a crossroads on how it will address development, water restrictions, traffic congestion, and the cost of living. Could you briefly elaborate?


The issues you stated above are common to all the communities on the Monterey Peninsula. How those issues are deal with local will be the next important chapter in Monterey's history. For the City of Monterey each of the issues have the potential to completely change how Monterey is viewed, or will be viewed in the future. What type of development will be allowed how we manage our limited water supply how will young families afford housing, where even the smallest cottage goes for $ 800,000, how we answer these questions will be our history.


Is there anything else you wish to add that we have not covered, and what is next for Jim Conway?


I think we have covered a tremendous amount of ground. I hope that I have been able to provide some insight into Monterey's past and create some interest in it future. It is an exciting place to be a historian and I look forward to sharing it with those who discover its heritage.

Next for Jim Conway is a book on the California Constitutional Convention that was held in Colton Hall. It is surprising that more has not been done on that important event, especially when you put it into context with what was going in through the United States at that time. However, do not expect in the near future as I have to work it around my full time workload at the city. And that work is exciting in its own right.

Thanks once again Jim

To read Norm's Review of the book click on