Tag Archives: america

Memorial Day Origins

Memorial Day was started by former slaves on May, 1, 1865 in Charleston, SC to honor 257 dead Union Soldiers who had been buried in a mass grave in a Confederate prison camp. They dug up the bodies and worked for 2 weeks to give them a proper burial as gratitude for fighting for their freedom. They then held a parade of 10,000 people led by 2,800 Black children where they marched, sang and celebrated.

The Move

So its been a lil over a week now. I think I’m getting settled in my new place. Not that its that much of a transition since we’ve lived here before, many many years ago. The lil one is adjusting well to her new surroundings. Which, of course, is plenty of family with a whole lot of cousins. Her new school is top notch, she excels in a classroom. We made this move during the wintertime although they say its been very mild. Being in the deep south for so long anything below 50 degrees is definitely a little brisk. It’s a nice change to us though. The perfect cozy temperatures that make you wanna eat a pot of chili and snuggle up with some blankets in front of the tv. Everything is convenient now, anything you could imagine is within 10 minutes. Just the other day I walked to my kids school to pick her up in 60 degree weather in January. Such a simple pleasure, but one I have long been without.

For over 7 years we spent in West Palm Beach, Florida. Which if you don’t know, is life in the fast lane!! From there we moved to a small town in nearby central Florida that, well, has just not been that easy for a Big City Girl like me to adjust to. I mean, it’s Florida, it’s beautiful, but it’s desolate and so so quiet. I’m sure a lot of people would like that, hell I thought I would too. But there’s nothing like the convenience factor. Or the fact that everyone knows my name around here. I’m content with my surroundings atleast for now, and contemplating the part time citizen advantages in all of this. I mean, who wouldn’t want to take their kid back home to Florida for vacations? Disney World anyone??

But it wasn’t just for family reasons honestly. Actually has more to do with this Recession our country and the world is facing. This particular area I’m in now has virtually no foreclosures or abandoned businesses. Places are thriving! If you haven’t traveled or pay much attention to the news you may not even suspect anything is going on. And God Bless You if you don’t. Because I know in small town America that’s simply not the case! It’s been an economic storm brewing in Central FL. In the midst of a Recession, the Kennedy Space Center, who is the area’s #1 employer, shut down. It’s directly affected us all. The area is left with the steepest employment decline in the entire state and a huge loss of tourism in general. We’ve seen people sell,what looks like all their belongings on the driveway, less than a week later,you’ll see them loading up a simple Uhaul truck, never to be seen again.It’s sad really. The area is full of newer homes, most of which are sitting there vacant. I just can’t figure what the banks are planning to do with this huge amount of vacant homes on the market? The prices can’t possibly get much cheaper? I guess only time will tell.

Less than a week here and my husbands already got a good paying job, close to home. We’re greatful for that in so many ways. Our sanity being at the top of the list. We’re in our early 30s, so nowhere near no retirement age! But we are here, we are home, yet far away from our home, taking it one day at a time. For every ending there’s always a beginning, and we’re still maintaining through this journey called Life. I will keep you readers updated with some of gripes and grumbles I have along the way…….so Stay tuned!!!


Abandoned U.S.A.

Since February 2000, the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) has operated the Plan for Transformation, the largest public housing reform program in the United States. Among its reforms has been to make use of Federal HOPE VI dollars to demolish many of its large scale developments. Ida B. Wells Homes, seen here, was the city's first public housing development dedicated for African-American use. After more than 60 years of occupancy, it sat mostly vacant for several years as the groundwork was laid for its replacement. A new mixed-income community named "Oakwood Shores" currently occupies the site

                                               Philadelphia, Pa

After decades of economic prosperity, Strawberry Mansion experienced the decline common to many Midwestern and Northwestern cities in the second half of the 20th century. The demographics of the community and its physical condition dramatically changed throughout the period, and the neighborhood lost huge numbers of buildings in the process. While some edges of the neighborhood are now experiencing redevelopment, those farther isolated continue to confront the challenges of decline. These two buildings are among a handful that remain on this formerly dense row house block.

                                               Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The location has been economically silent since 1983, when the company shuttered the facility. Still, it wasn't until the early 2000s when the site was cleared of most of its structures and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency oversaw hazardous waste removal. The EPA is still actively assessing the nature of the site contaminants and expects remediation to be complete in two years. At that point, one of many recent development proposals could be executed.

                                                  Detroit, Michigan

While derelict buildings are common in Detroit, the city is actively engaged in reducing their numbers. One major funding source is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which will be used to demolish more than 10,000 buildings by the end of current mayor Dave Bing's term. Here, a collapsing building on the city's east side is demarcated by city barriers before its soon-to-come demolition.

                                                  Cleveland, Ohio

Like Strawberry Mansion in Philadelphia, many former Jewish neighborhoods in Midwestern and Northeastern industrial cities transitioned to African-American neighborhoods during the 1930s and 1940s. In the process, synagogues and schools were typically purchased by African American Christian churches, finding new life in a new spiritual community. Cleveland followed the same pattern, with some institutions finally becoming derelict after years of use. More than two dozen synagogues once populated east side; of those that survived the subsequent decades, nearly all but the Chibas Jerusalem are occupied by churches.

                                                 Las Vegas, Nevada

These small buildings are located on the northern edge of the Las Vegas Arts District, which occupies a liminal place between historic Las Vegas and the most grandiose contemporary casinos in the unincorporated Paradise to the south. The area is a place of contradiction, simultaneously underdeveloped and overvalued, a victim of its location. While major development of the area has slowed with the recession, many smaller incursions are happening through the arts community. The city's tallest structure, the Stratosphere, is seen hovering over the buildings despite being more than a mile away

                                                Baltimore, Maryland

Like Perlman Place, this intersection is located among miles of row house blocks on Baltimore's near east side. Here, two short blocks of entirely derelict and unoccupied row houses converge. The history of the neighborhood is written on the building façades, clear in layers of resurfacing, repainting and burn marks. The area was transformed into an art installation by local artist Ryan LeCluyse in summer 2011.

                                                  Chicago, Illinois

Contrary today's pattern of north side development, Chicago's south side was the city's first home of Chicago's elite. While many buildings were demolished during urban renewal and public housing construction, still others were shielded from major institutional planning only to be affected in recent years. This block of remarkable row houses has seen ups and downs, including the recent renovation of the two left buildings. The right building remains derelict.

                                                  Baltimore, Maryland

This photograph was taken on the first day of the city-initiated demolition of all but a few row houses on Perlman Place. After years of neighborhood decline on the city's east side, the block's end came relatively swiftly following a failed attempt to rehabilitate the buildings into upmarket row houses. Without sufficient financing, the developer stalled the project, leaving the block in the state it was when pictured. There are no immediate plans to replace the demolished units with new housing.


Briefly the world's largest shopping center, suburban Cleveland's Randall Park Mall has been almost entirely vacant and derelict since March 2009, eclipsed by new retail construction in more affluent suburbs. At present, only a handful of stores with direct parking lot access operate on the entire site, leaving mall entrances like this one irrelevant. Meanwhile, unattended plants overgrow their planters and through the increasing numbers of cracks in paved surfaces.

Political sense of humor

Homeless Veterans

~According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans & The USA Today

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) states the nation’s homeless veterans are predominantly male, with roughly five percent being female. The majority of them are single; come from urban areas; and suffer from mental illness, alcohol and/or substance abuse, or co-occurring disorders. About one-third of the adult homeless population are veterans.

America’s homeless veterans have served in World War II, the Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq (OEF/OIF), and the military’s anti-drug cultivation efforts in South America. Nearly half of homeless veterans served during the Vietnam era. Two-thirds served our country for at least three years, and one-third were stationed in a war zone.

And homelessness is not just a problem among middle-age and elderly veterans. Younger veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are trickling into shelters and soup kitchens seeking services, treatment or help with finding a job.

Veterans make up one in four homeless people in the United States, though they are only 11% of the general adult population,

How many homeless veterans are there?

The National Alliance to End Homelessness, a public education non-profit, based the findings of its report on numbers from Veterans Affairs and the Census Bureau. 2005 data estimated that 194,254 homeless people out of 744,313 on any given night were veterans.

In comparison, the VA says that 20 years ago, the estimated number of veterans who were homeless on any given night was 250,000.

About 1.5 million other veterans, meanwhile, are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.

Why are veterans homeless?

In addition to the Advocates worry that intense and repeated deployments leave newer veterans particularly vulnerable. It’s a complex set of factors influencing all homelessness – extreme shortage of affordable housing, livable income and access to health care – a large number of displaced and at-risk veterans live with lingering effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse, which are compounded by a lack of family and social support networks.

While services to homeless veterans have improved in the past 20 years, advocates say more financial resources still are needed. With the spotlight on the plight of Iraq veterans, they hope more will be done to prevent homelessness and provide affordable housing to the younger veterans while there’s a window of opportunity.



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