Revolution in Syria Bound for Failure!

102mm Mortar pulled by a Prius

102mm Mortar pulled by a Prius – The American Millennium

By Jason Griffith
Special to the American Millennium

Revolutions are Dangerous things and we don’t always know the outcome.  The only real successfull War of Independance was the American Revolution.  It inspired a people to create their own government For the People, By the People.

The Americans used muskets and what canons they could find.  The weapon that was most powerful though was their Faith.  If you really read into the Founding Fathers like, John Adams, George Washington, Benjamin Rush, read their letters and so on they called upon Almighty GOD to help free themselves from the Biggest most well armed Empire in the World.

Great Britain was like the Empire in the Star Wars Movies.  Huge-awe-inspiring Navies and the most well trained soldiers and Hired mercenaries like the German Hessian soldiers in the world.  The American Cause seemed hopeless.

Now Does the Syrian Revolution stand a chance?  Despite these pictures I’ve attached, I think their cause is doomed.  Home made weapons are very impressive, no doubt.  But what they don’t have is the inspiration of American Freedom and democracy.  Muslim Brotherhood will simply enslave a new generation of Syrians, they will not liberate a Nation or inspire a positive change in the region.

Look at recent events.  Chemical weapons have been used in Syria.  The problem is we don’t know who used them, the Syrian Government or the rebels.  If the Syrian army had fired SCUDS with chemical warheads, wouldn’t the U.S. National Satellites have detected the launch?  I suspect so.  So where did these aweful weapons come from?  I don’t have any concrete proof, but my sinking suspicion is that Muslim Brotherhood has chemical arms just like they have SA-7s surface to air missiles obtained when Libyan Pres. Qadaffi’s evil regime fell to the Brotherhood.

Very alarming news indeed.

Home-made Rocket Launcher

Home-made Rocket Launcher – The American Millennium

Home-made mortar

Home-made mortar – The American Millennium

Home Made Kartushia Missiles 107mm

Home Made Kartushia Missiles 107mm – The American Millennium

Major Jason Griffith

Major Jason Griffith

From time to time The American Millennium invites a special contributor to add his or her two cents worth to the web page. Today we are proud to have Jason Griffith, a seasoned warrior leader with extensive knowledge of the Middle East, to the pages of our blog. Major Griffith is a Space Operations Officer in the Colorado National Guard. His last tour of duty was as the leader of a Space Team stationed in Afghanistan. He has four combat tours of duty under his belt dispersed through a 20-year military career. He is the twin brother of Jeremy Griffith, creator of The American Millennium. 

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Minnesotans Gather to Hear New Proposed Gun Law Debate Testimony

by Jeremy Griffith
American Millennium Online

Supporters and detractors of new gun control legislation showed up in great numbers Tuesday for the first of three days of hearings on the topic at the State Office Building in St. Paul, Minnesota, opposite the capitol.

The hearings began at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, with testimony scheduled throughout the day, Wednesday and Thursday. The halls were packed with supporters on both sides of the issue. The auditorium was overcrowded, making it necessary to open three more rooms to the public, where those gathered watched the testimony on TV. Those who could not fit in the viewing rooms or the auditorium gathered in the halls and debated with one another, or were swarmed by local media.

The hearings are being conducted by the House Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee. The committee consists of 11 DFL House Members and Seven Republicans. The committee chairman is DFL Rep. Michael Paymar.

Rep. Tony Cornish -R, House district 23B. -Photo by Minnesota House of Representatives

Rep. Tony Cornish -R, House district 23B. -Photo by Minnesota House of Representatives

Rep. Tony Cornish-R, who is the Republican Lead for the committee, commented on the nature of the hearings when we reached out to him on information about these hearings.

“I don’t plan on giving an inch in the upcoming battle to take away our constitutional rights.” -Rep. Tony Cornish-R

In his reply e-mail, Cornish wrote,” Dear Friend, I am a life member of the NRA and sponsor or co-sponsor of every major gun rights bill in the last 10 years.”

“I don’t plan on giving an inch in the upcoming battle to take away our constitutional rights. I believe this is a huge smoke screen coming up where the anti-gun people will throw everything but the kitchen sink at us in the way of gun control bills and then try to give a fake compromise solution to then go after the alleged “gun show” loophole, which really takes away our right to sell or trade guns privately to friends or family members without background checks and registration…

“We need to fight against this and you can bet I will. Stay strong and come to the hearings, Feb 5th, 6th, and 7th at 10 am in the State Office Building in St. Paul.”

Two prominent political groups had members gathered in St. Paul to the view the hearings: the Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance; and the ProtectMN.Org supporters.

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Irish Fest Slideshow

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Experiment: Irish Fest Unleashed


(Experiment: Irish Fest Unleashed. – video by Jeremy Griffith)

The Second Annual Irish Fest was as record setting as the first according to its organizers. The Festival took place over the three-day Labor Day weekend and featured live music, dance performances, crafts and games for kids, Irish Food, and a Whisky Tasting on Friday night.

Headlining the musical performances was the Irish Music Award’s 2009 top traditional group Bua, which performed all three nights. Other musical groups included The Mairtin de Cogain Project, Andreas Transo, the Twin Cities Ceili Band and performances by the Mooncoin Ceili Dancers.

Eamonn de Cogain came back for a second year in a row from Ireland to MC the event.

More information about the Festival is available at www.irishfestmn.org. 

Performer plays bagpipes at Rochester Peace Plaza. – photo by Jeremy Griffith

Performers play live music at Rochester’s Peace Plaza. -photo by Jeremy Griffith

Musicians perform classic Irish tunes. – photo by Jeremy Griffith

Irish Wolf Hound is good with kids – photo by Jeremy Griffith

Irish Fest Placard – photo by Jeremy Griffith

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Greek Orthodox Church Celebrates 49th Annual Greek Fest

(Video by Jeremy Griffith, Greek Fest 2012, Rochester Minnesota)

The local Greek Orthodox Church in Rochester, Minnesota held a Greek Festival on the church grounds as part of their annual fundraiser this weekend, Aug. 24-26. The church, now in its 60th year has been holding these festivals annually for the past 49 consecutive years.

Tim Kelly, the Parish Council President, helped organize and run the festival.

“We’re in the 49th year,” Kelly said. “Next year will be the fiftieth. We do this as an annual fundraiser and to raise awareness about the church and in fact most Greek churches do some kind of a festival.”

Entertainment at the festival included the Levendes Band and dancers from the Greek Dancers of Minnesota dancing troupe. There was an enormous inflatible slide and a bouncer for kids as well as other games. A book booth was set up outside the church where gawkers could pick up items with information about the church and its 2,000-year history.

Father Mark Munoz, the parish priest, gave tours of the church and talked about church beliefs and practices.

Plenty of Greek food was served and turn-out was good despite a brief intermittent shower on Saturday afternoon.

Greek Orthodox congregants share information about their faith at Greek Fest in Rochester Aug. 24-26. -photo by Jeremy Griffith

A musician plays at Greek Fest in Rochester, Minnesota. – photo by Jeremy Griffith

Dancers give it their all at Greek Fest in Rochester, Minnesota. – photo by Jeremy Griffith

Rochester woman brings her rescued greyhounds to Greek Fest. – photo by Jeremy Griffith

Dancing girl with the Greek Dancers of Minnesota performs in Rochester Saturday, Aug. 25. – photo by Jeremy Griffith

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Operation Blessing – Video

Operation Blessing from Jeremy Griffith on Vimeo.

Gordon Griffith, R.N. the brother of the creator of this website, talks about his mission to Haiti to provide health care relief to earthquake victims. -Video by Jeremy Griffith

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Vietnam Veteran Heals Self and Others Through Service

Robert Havner, 65, of Charles City Iowa, with his Marine Corps Uniform. He wore this uniform upon returning home, where an angry woman at the airport doused him with hot coffee. -photo by Jeremy Griffith

Bob Havner, 65, of Charles City Iowa, doesn’t like to talk to people about Vietnam, but will open up to a select few. He doesn’t reminisce about those days, doesn’t go to the Veterans’ Halls to tell or hear war stories. Instead, he chooses to serve others.

Havner joined the Navy in 1965 as the war in Vietnam was getting more intense. A friend of his from high school had returned from serving in Vietnam and invited Havner over to his home for a game of ping pong, Havner recalls.

“He asked me, ‘Bob, what are you going to do?'” said Havner, to which he replied. “I have absolutely no idea!”

Havner’s friend suggested he join the Navy and become a Navy Corpsman, the rough equivalent of an Army Medic and serve in Vietnam.

“He said, ‘why don’t you become a hospital Corpsman?'” recalls Havner. “‘I know you want to be a nurse. If you don’t get killed in Vietnam you can use the GI Bill.’ And you know that’s what I did.”

Many of the stories Havner tells are too horrific to relate here. A short example of two of Havner’s least graphic tales can be found below as he relates what happened at his base in Da Nang during two separate attacks.

Life of a Navy Hospital Corpsman from Jeremy Griffith on Vimeo.

Havner suffers from PTSD or post traumatic stress disorder, for which he takes medication. Without the medication, he’s a different person he says.

“You absolutely don’t want to be around me when I don’t take my medication,” Havner warns.

He doesn’t dwell on the negative, the depression or the end of two marriages. Instead he focuses on service. After leaving Vietnam he did become a nurse and worked in different hospitals his whole career, including work in a neonatal unit working with young mothers and their premature children.

In retirement, Havner hasn’t slowed down. He belongs to a number of organizations and is active in grassroots politics. He says one of the greatest joys he has is greeting home veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, and escorting the older veterans on “Freedom Honor Flights” to the World War II memorial in Washington D.C.

As a member of the Marine Corps League in Charles City, he and fellow veterans have sponsored veterans to fly to Washington to see their memorial.

“It’s therapeutic for me!” says Havner. “It’s important that veterans of that generation get to see their memorial before they are all gone.”

Issues of mental and physical health of veterans of Vietnam and the negative reception many of the veterans of that war received upon returning home has been an impetus for many veterans to never allow what happened to them to happen to another, Havner says. That’s why many Vietnam Veterans are advocates for education in Veterans Affairs, insuring that new veterans get better health care and better treatment  as they return home.

Havner recalls how he missed his own grandmother’s funeral because he had orders to escort the remains of a fellow Marine home to his loved ones. Upon completion of his duty, he returned home, arriving at the airport in his Marine Corps Dress Uniform. An angry protestor greeted him with a snarl and a hot cup of coffee, which she poured all over Havner’s uniform.

“It wasn’t a popular war,” said Havner. “We were called all sorts of names, it wasn’t pleasant, that’s why we as veterans who had to go through this don’t allow it to happen to our men and women in uniform now.”

The Freedom Honor Flights are all done now, but the memory and the joy they brought rejuvenates the retired Havner. He recalls two incidents where he was able to help a veteran on those trips.

“An older veteran was told he had only a few months to live,” Havner said. “I asked him if he wanted to see the memorial. He said yes, but he said there wasn’t enough time. I said, ‘you think you can hang on a little while longer if I promise to take you?’ He said, ‘absolutely!’ and we went.”

“His family approached me after the old man had died, to thank me,” Havner said. “They said, ‘thank you for returning my father to me.'”

The old man had been bitter and angry since the close of World War II and hand been hard to deal with. Holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving, birthdays weren’t celebrated, and nobody wanted to deal with the aging father. Following that trip to Washington, the old man invited his family over for Christmas. Havner recalls there was a reconciliation in that family, because the old veteran was finally able to hang up his grief.

On the last Freedom Flight, Havner had a chance to fly out to Washington with the good friend who convinced him to join the Navy in the first place. Havner’s friend had had a hard time ever since and had suffered health and social problems. Havner invited him as a gesture. On their return home, Havner played a little trick on his friend. The man’s family was there, waiting to give him the welcome home that he never received upon returning from Vietnam.

“You should have seen his face. It was priceless,” Havner said.

For information on Navy Hospital Corpsman in Vietnam and Navy Surgical Hospitals, click here. (Warning! Graphic content.)

For information on Freedom Honor Flights, visit freedomhonorflight.org.

Robert Havner, former Navy Corpsman, with a medic bag he carried in Vietnam. -photo by Jeremy Griffith

A plaque Havner received from his service with the Marines in Vietnam. -photo by Jeremy Griffith

Havner’s class of graduating Navy Corpsman, San Diego California.

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Mayo Clinic Employee Remembers Service to Earthquake-Ravaged Haiti

(Gordon Griffith, R.N. of Mayo Clinic Team 2 talks about his trip to provide medical support to the devastated community of Haiti following the earthquake there. A longer, more detailed version of his comments can be found here.)

Holly Hanson, R.N. with Haitian orphans.

In January of 2010, the island nation of Haiti suffered a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake that killed thousands and displaced many others. A year after the tragic event, the nation’s citizens were still reeling from the aftermath where disease, homelessness and poverty were rampant.

Leaders of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, after an extensive safety evaluation, decided that it was safe enough for teams from the clinic to travel to Haiti and provide medical support. Gordon Griffith, R.N., and emergency department nurse, was one of those selected for the mission and served on the second of ten teams that traveled to Haiti to provide medical support.

Griffith arrived in Port Au Prince where Mayo Clinic Team 2, under the leadership of Dr. Chris Farmer, a pulmonologist, embedded itself with a charitable organization already on the ground, Operation Blessing. The mission of Team 2 was to provide medical services to a hospital and clinic run by Dr. Rick Frechette, a Catholic Priest, medical doctor and missionary.

Mayo Clinic Team 2 with Father Rick Frechette, Center, of Operation Blessing. – Port-Au-Prince, Haiti.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can see Fr. Frechette’s early commentary about the earthquake’s effects on You Tube here.

Griffith and other members of the team were impressed by Frechette even though they worked with him only a short time, Griffith says.

“He’s a catholic priest, who is also a doctor, who givers sermons in combat boots,” said Griffith, describing Frechette. “He was an amazing man and quite inspirational to hear.”

Team 2 stayed and provided assistance for just one week, providing education and medical care to patients in poverty. Cholera was one of the major diseases common amongst the patients seen by the team, a result of the deplorable sanitary conditions of the shanty towns in which many of the population lives, Griffith said.

About midway through Team 2’s week of service, the team was allowed to visit an orphanage for young children displaced by the earthquake. Many of the children are without parents because of the earthquake or were abandoned because of severe injury or illness. According to Griffith, the purpose of the visit was just to provide comfort to the children who have little affection or human contact.

“We were allowed to see one of the orphanages that Operation Blessing had organized,” Griffith said. “It was developing into an oasis. We got to interact with all these kids, and because they no longer had their parents, many just had an innate need to be held and so we as care givers just gave.”

“They (the children) indicated what they needed,” continued Griffith. “And for a while we were able to provide some time for that.” The clinic was clean, well organized and had a competent, caring staff which provided many healthy activities, food and clothing for the children under their care, Griffith said.

One of the major goals of the teams sent by the Mayo Clinic was to provide care at a level that was sustainable by the Haitians themselves after the teams of healthcare workers were gone, Griffith said.

Holly Hanson, R.N. of the Mayo Clinic Team 2 documented the trip with her photography, some of which we include here. Hanson also produced a You Tube video describing the teams mission here.

Frechette’s charitable work earned him recognition in the United States and he was awarded the Hollywood Humanitarian Award in October of 2009.

Hollywood Actress Maria Bello, of the hit TV series ER, made the award presentation to Frechette.

“We were there (in Haiti) to visit Father Rick Frechette and his life-changing programs for the poor,” says Bello. “(He) is a priest and doctor who has lived and worked in the slums of Port Au Prince for decades. He saw the conditions of the poor and disenfranchised, and works tirelessly everyday to bring dignity and hope to the people there.”

Accepting the award, Frechette said,

“It is a sign of your interest to help the poor children of Haiti to move to a world of more Justice, more peace and more opportunity.”

Describing the charisma of the humble priest, Griffith said.

“He is a man equally comfortable addressing the rich and famous, politicians and movie stars, as he is talking and working with humanitarians and the poor disenfranchised children of his parish.”

Mayo Clinic Team 2 consisted of the following members: Dr. Chris Farmer, Dr. Mark Enzler, Dr. John Meuller, Gordon Griffith R.N., Shannon Hackbart R.N., Shannon Rodriguez R.N., Amy Brabec R.N., Holly Hanson R.N., Kathy Asp R.N. C.N.P., Laurie Vlasak R.N. C.N.P.

*Disclusure: Gordon B. Griffith is the older brother of the author of this column. He has served previously as a Peace Corps volunteer for two years in Guatemala, Central America; has served as a Navy Corpsman providing medical relief as part of a Navy Fleet Hospital in Togo West Africa; and provided medical support as a Corpsman to a detachment of U.S Marines in the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He works as an emergency department nurse at Rochester’s Mayo Clinic.

Members of Mayo Clinic Team 2, in Haiti.

 
A child’s Feet. -photo by Holly Hanson, R.N.

Gordon Griffith R.N. of Mayo Clinic Team 2 with an orphan child in Haiti -photo by Holly Hanson, R.N.

An orphan child in Haiti. -Photo by Holly Hanson, R.N.

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The Pipestone Pow Wow brings Visitors of All ages

Pow Wow 2 from Jeremy Griffith on Vimeo.

(A photo slideshow with audio interviews with organizers of the Pow Wow, from Jeremy Griffith of American Millennium Online.)

Pipestone Minnesota is sacred ground for all Native American Peoples because it is one of the few places in North America where malleable pipestone is found. The weekend of July 28-29, it was also the site of an annual Pow Wow, organized by the Keepers of the Sacred Tradition of Pipemakers.

Pow Wow organizer Rona Johnston says the Pow Wow has been going on at this site for 14 years, but the tradition itself goes on for centuries. She’s not sure how many different tribes participate every year, but says they come from all over the North American, including Canada.

“We don’t really ask people what their tribal affiliation is when they come to the Pow,” explained Johnston. “I’m sure we’ve had tribes from many, many nations; Cherokee, Ojibwe, Chalktaw, Sakenfox, Patawaname, First Nations, Lakota, Dakota. . . ”

“The Pow is a great way to get people together to expose them to the culture,” Rona said. “People come here to see what the art is like, the dance, the different types of beadwork, things like that. Traditions that have been carried on probably for thousands of years.”

Bud Johnston, Rona’s husband, is knowledgeable about the history of Native American Peoples. He explained how pipestone quarried here was valuable as a trade item.

“This was one of the biggest trade items in North America,” he said. “We’ve found pipestone from here all over these two continents, North America and South America. All of our stuff that was a prized item was traded. They found South Carolina flint on my reservation. So these two items traveled all over this continent. That’s how important this stone was.”

Native Americans of all ages danced at the Pow Wow in brightly colored traditional costumes. Spectators who came to watch the Pow were invited to dance along and participate. Veterans were asked to place flags from every military service of the United States and ringed the circle where the dances took place. An elder blessed the field before the dance to purify it.

It wasn’t all seriousness and tradition. The atmosphere was celebratory and fun. Audience members took time to dance with the dancers, including a traditional “potato dance” where partners balanced a potato between their foreheads. The last couple to retain their potato  without dropping it won a prize.

Pow Wow’s and native dances are not the only ways to preserve tradition. At the Pipestone National Monument, Park Rangers and cultural interpreters work to share Native American history and Culture. The monument’s 75th Anniversary is coming up August 25th.

Pam Tellinghuisen is a pipestone carver and cultural demonstrator at the monument. She teaches pipestone carving and gives demonstrations to curious tourists who visit the site.

“I teach the art of pipestone carving,” she said. “I learned it from my mom, my mom learned it from her mom, so I’m actually a fourth generation pipestone carver. For me it’s a family tradition.”

Pipestone is used in sacred items used in ceremonies, especially the traditional pipestone pipe with it’s distinctive reddish brown stone. Only certified Native Americans can quarry the stone after they’ve submitted the proper permits, Tellinghuisen said. Right now there is a five-year waiting list to get a quarry, and those who are successful in getting a quarry are required to quarry at least twice a year.

While no non-native can quarry the rock, items made from the stone are available for sale at the bookstore, as well as books, music and other items. The Monument’s Interpretive Center has a bookshop, a museum and a theater, and visitors can walk around the grounds on designated paths to see the pipestone quarries for themselves.

Sadly, not all of the traditions begun here have continued. In 2007, the committee that puts on the beloved Song of Hiawatha Pageant, shut its doors for the last time. The popular outdoor play  based on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem began showing at that location in 1948. Longfellow wrote the poem in 1855. Committee members said they shuttered the play finally due to diminishing crowds.

 

 

 

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Pipestone Pow Wow 28-29 July 2012

Pipestone Pow Wow from Jeremy Griffith on Vimeo.

The Pipestone National Monument in Pipestone Minnesota is sacred ground for all Native American Peoples because it is one of the few places in North America where malleable pipestone is found. This weekend it was also the site of the Annual Pipestone Pow Wow, organized by the Keepers of the Sacred Tradition of Pipemakers.

Pow Wow organizer Rona Johnston says the Pow Wow has been going on at this site for 14 years, but the tradition goes on for centuries. She’s not sure how many different tribes participate every year, but says they come from all over the North American, including Canada.

“We don’t really ask people what their tribal affiliation is,” explained Johnston. “We just know from their stories that they share who they are and where they come from. We’ve had people from the First Nations, Lakota, Dakota, Ojibwa, Cheyenne,  Cherokee, just about everyone from everywhere.”

Bud Johnston, Rona’s husband, explained that story telling is one of the ways the culture is kept alive and the Pow Wow is a way to bring people together to tell those stories.

“Pipestone is a crossroads,” he said. “Many people come here for the pipestone for their pipes and they barter and trade, and they tell their stories. They’ve found pipestone from here in every corner of the continent and they’ve found other valuable trade items here, like North Carolina flint. This place is a major trade hub.”

Native Americans of all ages danced in bright costumes and people of the audience were invited to dance along and participate. Veterans were asked to place flags from every military service of the United States and ringed the circle where the dances took place. An elder blessed the field before the dance to purify it.

“The Pow is a great way to get people together to expose them to the culture,” Rona said. “People come here to see what the art is like, the dance, the different types of beadwork, things like that. Traditions that have been carried on probably for thousands of years.”

It wasn’t all seriousness and tradition. The atmosphere was celebratory and fun. Audience members took time to dance with the dancers, including a traditional “potato dance” where partners balanced a potato between their foreheads. The last couple to retain their potato  without dropping it won a prize.

Pow Wow’s and native dances are not the only ways to preserve tradition. At the Pipestone National Monument, Park Rangers and cultural interpreters work to share Native American history and Culture. The monument’s 75th Anniversary is coming up August 25th.

Pam Tellinghuisen is a pipestone carver and cultural demonstrator at the monument. She teaches pipestone carving and gives demonstrations to curious tourists who visit the site.

“I teach the art of pipestone carving,” she said. “I learned it from my mom, my mom learned it from her mom, so I’m actually a fourth generation pipestone carver. For me it’s a family tradition.”

Pipestone is used in sacred items used in ceremonies, especially the traditional pipestone pipe with it’s distinctive reddish brown stone. Only certified Native Americans can quarry the stone after they’ve submitted the proper permits, Tellinghuisen said. Right now there is a five-year waiting list to get a quarry, and those who are successful in getting a quarry are required to quarry at least twice a year.

While no non-native can quarry the rock, items made from the stone are available for sale at the bookstore, as well as books, music and other items. The Monument’s Interpretive Center has a bookshop, a museum and a theater, and visitors can walk around the grounds on designated paths to see the pipestone quarries for themselves.

 

 

 

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Conversation with a Trainer, Prepare for the Horse Show.

20120620_Horsetrainer from Jeremy Griffith on Vimeo.

A photo story by Jeremy Griffith. A conversation with a horse trainer, Terri Lauth, on how to prepare horse and rider for a show.

Summer is here and that means the horse show crowd will be headed to fairs and shows. There are five or six things that every showman needs to be successful at a show. Eyota horse trainer Terri Lauth laid them out for us.

The rider’s outfit: Every cowboy and girl riding in a show has to have the right costume, including hat or helmet, cowboy shirt with buttons not snaps, long pants or nice jeans, boots and spurs. That is, if you are riding western. If you are riding English you need a jacket, helmet, slacks and English riding boots.

The equipment for the horse: saddle, bridle, horse blanket and any specialty equipment like boots or shoes.

Training is very important for the horse and rider. That’s why the local clubs have clinics at the Olmsted Fair Grounds. For information on these clinics, contact your local 4-H Club or riding club.

When you are riding, always remember, safety first.

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Performers, Artists and Musicians Gather at 2012 Art in the Hollow Event

by Jeremy Griffith

Performers, artists, musicians and craftsmen gathered at historic Swede Hollow Park in St. Paul Saturday to show their stuff. Onlookers came to circulate amongst the performers to listen and to see what the craftsmen had for sale.

This year’s lineup included the Mariachi Estrella, a premier Latin and Spanish musical group, Aztec performers from the Kalpulli Yaocentoxtli Mexican/Aztec Dance and Drum Group, and a children’s group from Mounds Park American Indian Magnet School, amongst others. For a full list see the website at Artinthehollow.org. 

St. Paul, (June 2, 2012) Harpist uses Swede tunnel as a megaphone to capture the attention of passersby during the 2012 Art in the Hollow event. Artists and musicians gathered to show off their talents Saturday. - photo by Jeremy Griffith

St. Paul, (June 2, 2012) Children are encouraged to draw what they see at Art in the Hollow Event Saturday. Performers, artists and musicans gathered at the Swede Hollow Park to participate in a day long event. - photo by Jeremy Griffith

St. Paul, (June 2, 2012) Kalpulli Yaocenoxtli Traditional Aztec Dancers demonstrate at Swede Hollow Park during Art in the Hollow Day. The dancers were part of a number of artists and musicians who participated in day long event. - photo by Jeremy Griffith

St. Paul, (June 2, 2012) Mariachi Estrella band plays Latin, Mexican Regional and Spanish Pop music at Art in the Hollow day at Swede Park Saturday. Performers, dancers and artists participated in a daylong event. -photo by Jeremy Griffith

St. Paul, (June 2,2012) Artists capture the scene at Art in the Hollow event at historic Swede Hollow Park Saturday. - photo by Jeremy Griffith

 

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Minnesota Social Workers Demonstrate Against Gay Marriage Ban

By Jeremy Griffith

Minnesota voters will see a new constitutional amendment proposal in their ballots this November protecting the traditional definition of marriage, a proposal that his highly supported by the Catholic Church. Meanwhile, on Monday Minnesota social workers marched to the capitol to demonstrate in opposition.

Members of the Minnesota Association of Licensed Social Workers met at the History Center in St. Paul in the morning to attend training sessions. In the afternoon, they marched the short distance to rally on the capitol steps. Governor Mark Dayton and several state legislators made brief remarks.

Mike Arieta, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist, attended the rally.

“People were carrying signs and talking about the issues,” said Arieta. “I was particularly moved by a couple of the signs I saw.”

According to Arieta, it is the duty of a social worker to advocate for the less fortunate and to take up those issues on behalf of clients to political leaders. He is against the marriage amendment as written, he says, because it would discriminate against people who have an alternate home life.

“The state used to promote the traditional marriage because it was viewed as the most stable situation,” Arieta explained. “Things have changed a lot. We aren’t the same farm based economy we were a hundred years ago. Our idea of what a marriage is should change with it to better reflect who we are today.”

According to October editions of The Blaze and the Minnesota Independent , the Minnesota Arch Diocese has sent an open letter out to every Minnesota priest advocating support for the amendment. The letter signed by Arch Bishop John Nienstedt says in part:

It is imperative that we marshal our resources to educate the faithful about the Church’s teachings on these matters, and to vigorously organize and support a grass roots effort to get out the vote to support the passage of the amendment. .  .”

The letter calls for “Church Captains” who would advocate in their churches, forming ad hoc committees, a tactic that worked well in California’s successful Proposition 8 bill initiative.

If passed, the amendment would make it so that only unions between one man and one woman would be recognized by the state as a legal marriage.

Social Workers gather in St. Paul -photo by Mike Arieta

Social workers rally at Minnesota state capitol carrying signs -photo by Mike Arieta

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Faithful Catholics mark the death of Christ with a Silent March

Father Gerald Mahon and Music Director Sebastian Modarelli - photo by Jeremy Griffith

by Jeremy Griffith

Faithful Christians all over the world marked the anniversary of the death of Jesus Christ this Good Friday, as they do every year, in their own way. This year Rochester area Catholics silently marched through the city’s main streets, led by a contingent of priests bearing a cross.

Margaret Kelsey, Parish Administrator of St. John the Evangelist Church in Rochester, spoke about the importance of the event.

“This is our thirteen year participating in this event. We first began in 2000,” said Kelsey. “We observe four of the 14 stations of the cross in a silent march through the city, remembering the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus.” The march is an annual event organized by local members of Communion and Liberation, a worldwide Catholic organization begun in Italy in 1954.

The march began in front of the Government Center in Rochester and from there traveled to the Peace Plaza, Statuary Park and then the church itself. Often parishioners, numbering in the hundreds, marched two by two down the center of Rochester’s main streets, escorted by city police. At four separate times, at the locations mentioned above, the parishioners gathered to sing songs and hear a litany read. Father Gerald Mahon, pastor of the church, made comments at each of these stops.

At the government center Mahon recognized the importance of good government in protecting the rights of citizens, including the right to practice one’s faith and one’s right to freedom of expression.

With the Government Center as a backdrop Mahon said, “Good government is necessary for the preservation of the freedom of the American people. I hope and pray that our government always continues to protect our religious liberties.”

Standing at the Peace Plaza in the triangle of the Kahler Hotel, and the Mayo Clinic’s Siebens and Gonda Buildings, Mahon praised the compassion and service of the Mayo Clinic, comparing it with the compassion of Christ in healing the sick. “We recognize the service of the many doctors and nurses and other health care professionals who serve this community,” said Mahon. “We recognize in them the compassion of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the great physician.”

At the third location, Mahon spoke at Statuary park next to statues of William and Charles Mayo, the Founding Brothers of the Mayo Clinic where they sit opposite the Gonda Buiding across from the church. He again praised the Clinic, saying. “Our health care professionals do so much for us to keep us well. But sometimes things get confused, because as people they do not know us. Our Lord knows us and accepts us as we are, where we are.”

The people participating in the procession were a diverse but silent group. African American families joined Hispanic and white families. The group was as diverse as their clergy and leaders. Efforts to engage them in conversation during the march were in vain. When a reporter approached a senior citizen marching at the rear of the crowd, the woman commented only, “We’re not out for a walk, we are in procession and aren’t supposed to talk.”

There was an undercurrent to the event that reflected the national tone. Several of the parishioners marched in hoodies in remembrance of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin in Florida. None would speak to reporters who approached them but only disappeared in the crowd when the procession began to march again.

Other church leaders joined in the somber event, including Father John Lashuba, Parochial Vicar of St. John’s from South Sudan, Deacon Adam McMillan, Music Director Sebastian Modarelli, Dr. Sidna Scheitel, and Margaret Kelsey.

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