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Camel-herding boy becomes a true Minnesotan

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Neither his guerilla gunfire nor time in prison were as powerful as the simple seeds of education planted in the life of Dahir Jibreel, 58, a Somalian father of 10 now living in Monticello, MN.
But …

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Border-crossing dentist saved the best for last

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After 34 years of repairing teeth, no one would have blamed Stillwater, MN dentist Fred Kalinoff for taking a year off to rest, reflect, or just plain golf.

But the drill, probe and forceps are still in his hands — the only changes being his floppy orange fishing hat, and a different stream of clients…ones that could never pay him.

“It took me 10 minutes to get used to retirement, and after six months, I was having such a good time, I realized I should have retired a long time ago,” he said by phone, fresh off a plane from Guatemala.

Since retiring — or shall we say re-firing — in 2003, Kalinoff has made more than 50 service trips to Mexico and Guatemala, filling cavities and treating infections for the poorest of the poor, including the indigenous people from the Copper Canyon that we introduced in Mariano’s story earlier tonight.

Dr. Kalinoff first learned of the Tarahumara Indians in 2001 while backpacking in the Copper Canyon, that cavernous part of the “Mexican Rockies” extending southeast from Arizona where he and his wife Tricia have a second home.

Sadly, because of their remote location, “The Tarahumara don’t always get the medical help they need,” he says, and their plight was compounded last year by 300 consecutive days of drought that run through our winter and spring seasons.

During this time, the federal government and Red Cross try to address the starvation with rescue trucks filled with corn and beans, but health and education services are poor. Then, mother nature plays a trick and dumps torrential summer rains. Read the full story »

How a big-city Jew made room for a small-town Cheesehead

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When, as a small-town Wisconsin Cheesehead, I came to marry a fun-loving Jewish girl from the Bronx, her poetic “New Joisey” uncle toasted this union as the joining of the “Empire State and the State …

How Latino “Aliens” Have Enriched My Life

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“A story about overcoming our own biases…is exactly the kind of story we need to hear in America. We should (discuss) in a truthful and mature and responsible way the divides that still exist — …

Hmong youth navigates maze; finds career passion

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As a daughter of transitory Hmong migrant workers, Belick Pha had reason to believe that her life would be hard in middle-class America.
It was hard when her parents fled from Laos to Thailand across the …

Wilderness Retreats Heal Family Relationships

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Caryn Hirshleifer thought she had done her job by arranging wilderness therapy expeditions for her teenaged girls with Soltreks, based north of Duluth in Two Harbors, MN.
When filling out application forms and describing the family …

The Land Cries Out

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SUMMARY: A pioneering prophet-activist exposes the rarely reported social and ecological roots of a crisis that has claimed 43,000 lives since 2006 in Mexico. His untiring community development in the most dangerous state of Mexico …

Beloved Italian down but not out

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Beloved Italian down but not out

A hand-waving and exuberant Catholic, Will DeSanto is best known for two things: joyful mischief and faithful prayer. Though he’s a beloved “people person” who loves to encourage others, his …

Confident exec finds toughest job at home

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A former Pillsbury executive, Barb Benetti had always been educated, capable and self-assured. But when “this little creature” — her first child — came along, she felt clueless and undone.
“I used to manage 20 people …

RN measures love for the homeless in feet

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When you’re a survivor on city streets, a nasty little pebble can really ruin your day. In fact, if it’s beneath cracked and numb feet in the cold or rain, it often leads to bloody …

Voice nearly gone, his life still speaks

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After a lifetime of passionate public speaking, former Twin Cities priest Terry Dosh would rather lose an arm or a leg than his voice. Yet this is the prized tool being stripped from him through …

Two grandmas and a gangster

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A former gang leader from Chicago’s Southside, Ardest said, “My heart was so hardened, I sat in jail and rolled marijuana joints with pages of a Bible. As a gangster, you can’t trust anyone. Metro …