Tag Archives: Blog Post 1 – Intelligent Filter – Annotated Link

Food Deserts and Race

Since the beginning of my college education, I have learned about food deserts in several of my classes so I decided to do more research on this topic for my blog post. What I didn’t realize is how deeply food deserts are intertwined with the history of systematic racism in this country.

Food deserts are generally defined as places where residents don’t have access to affordable nutritious foods. Lower income areas are typically the hit the hardest with food deserts. It can lead to an increase in diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other diet-related conditions.

Food deserts have a deep connection to race and racist actions such as redlining. Redlining is a discriminatory practice developed in the 1930s U.S., where banks denied mortgages to people of color, usually in urban areas, thus preventing them from buying homes in certain neighborhoods. Although this practice is illegal, large supermarkets were still allowed to not open stores in these inner city and lower income areas. They creates issues because large supermarkets typically are able to sell healthy foods at lower prices because they can purchase in bulk. In 2012, the USDA found that in all but very dense urban areas, the higher the percentage of minority population, the more likely the area is to be a food desert.

Not only this, but food deserts may be under-reported because the North American Industry Classification System places small corner grocery stores (which often primarily sell packaged food) in the same category as grocery stores like Safeway and Whole Foods. However, just providing more supermarkets will not fix inequality by itself since food inequality goes beyond location, according to experts, and extends to bigger structural inequalities around income, education, nutritional knowledge and, importantly, race. There needs to be considerations made about the culture of the community, how people will access a place without a car, the quality of the food, and education about how to buy nutritious food.

Homeowner Associations: A Homeowner’s Dream or Nigthmare

Dawn Edwardson, MDST 485, Post #1, Type #1

Yes, you guessed it, I currently live within a homeowner’s association community and actually the home I live in is governed by not one, but two of these associations. The primary association governs all of the amenities within the community such as the clubhouse, gym, parks, pool, tennis and basketball courts, walking paths, along with other additional recreational facilities. The secondary association governs ten townhome complexes within a literal sea of additional townhome complexes.  The sea of townhome complexes, that surround my ten, are governed by the same primary association and also have four secondary associations which govern them. So, to put it plainly, there’s significant overlap in associations within the community I live.

So just what does this mean? From where I sit, it means over governance of people and some pretty outlandish rules and apparently, I’m not alone. Check out these articles for some great examples of just how outlandish some HOAs can get. https://didyouknowfacts.com/homeowners-share-the-most-ridiculous-hoa-rules-theyve-had-to-deal-with/, https://www.startribune.com/fines-fees-and-fear-minneapolis-neighbors-speak-out-against-harassing-homeowners-association/572411472/.

 I understand the rationale for many of the rules. For example, the community pool is for the residents of the community and we are allowed to bring one “guest”. This avoids overcrowding of the pool on behalf of one resident who wants to invite their entire family and friends for a Saturday afternoon “pool party”. That makes sense to me. What doesn’t make sense is that every single thing you do outside of your home is regulated. So, if you’d like to hang a wind chime, that’s a no. If you’d like to place some potted plants on your porch/door step/deck, you are limited to certain size pots, type of pots, when and how long you can keep them outside(May through Sept) etc.  If you don’t abide by these rules, you receive a warning and must correct the issue, or you are fined and then also charged for the association to remove said items. This over regulation isn’t limited to potted plants and windchimes. It goes as far as to regulate where you keep your trash/recycling containers to where you park your car(s).

There are absolute perks to living here which are coupled with the absolute nightmare of living here. Let me share some examples…I love that as I walk my dog on the countless miles of beautiful walking paths that I have multiple opportunities to conveniently dispose of dog waste in well maintained and routinely emptied dog waste stations. That being said, the association has announced that they are working with a company to provide DNA testing on all dogs owned by members of this association. The process they are planning to implement is in response to the amount of dog poo that is not disposed of properly. So, their plan is to do DNA testing on all of the dogs owned by members of this community. The members who own dogs will be expected to provide a sample of their dog’s dog poo for DNA testing. Then, whenever there is dog poo laying on the ground, they can test it and trace it back to the correct dog and fine the dog owner. I wonder how well this is going to work. And can they really get this up and running? Another perk is that I can walk across the street and use a nice clean gym for my work outs at any time of the day (5am – 11pm) with well-maintained equipment. That being said, the office personnel will always check you to be sure that you are changing into a different pair of shoes prior to using any of the equipment. They are there every day 8am – 8pm and outside of their office hours, they have cameras running to “catch” any rule breakers and follow-up with them accordingly.

Here, https://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/things-your-hoa-cant-do/, is a great article that simply and clearly suggests productive steps that HOA members can take when their HOA is pushing on their rights as citizens. Of course, the best step one can take to address pushy HOAs is to simply avoid them buy refusing to purchase or rent a property that belongs to one. As my grandmother used to say, “an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.”

The Myanmar Coup

On February 1st I was scrolling through Reddit and happened upon this video. I was pretty confused at first and then became very alarmed once I realized what was happening.

After seeing this video I started to look into what was happening in Myanmar because this was my first time seeing anything about it.

It turns out that early in the morning of February 1st, Myanmar’s military staged a coup d’etat, seizing control of the government after detaining their democratically elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. According to Aljazeera, “Members of the military government justified Monday’s coup by alleging widespread voter fraud in a November general election that was won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy”

Myanmar has a long history of military control over the government after becoming independent from Britain in 1948. There was a couple years in the 60s where Myanmar had a democracy, but the military quickly took back full power. They then began the permanent transition to democracy between 2011-2015, but the military still held a lot of power in the country.

Then, a couple weeks ago I decided to look into more updates about the situation. I saw that hundreds of thousands of Myanmar citizens have been protesting over the last month. The military threatened protesters with the possibility of imprisonment and said that “protestors are risking their lives by turning out”. People are continuing to protest despite these threats and as I look today I see that a U.N. official reported that there were 38 people were killed this last Wednesday during a crackdown.

These protests are being compared to demonstrations on August 8th, 1988 in Myanmar, known as the 8888 uprising. The military cracked down on these demonstrations, killing hundreds of protestors and making it one of the most violent protests in Myanmar’s history.

Many Hispanic And Black People Say They Are Skeptical About COVID-19 Vaccine

For a long time, Hispanics, and blacks have felt like lab rats for vaccine and get the harm of being first trial. a huge pandemic has taken a toll on people all around the globe. Covid-19 has been here for a year now, and everyone at first was so excited to get a vaccine to help people everywhere. but since it came out so fast, people are at edge as to taking it at the moment. doctors say the people that are skeptical the most about it are the people that need it the most. due to the fact that Latinos, and African Americans are the one that are being hospitalized the most. Due to being skeptical and wanting to wait, right now there only shot is to rely on social distancing, and making sure your wearing a mask when your out in public. this is what they will rely on for now and if they see that its working for people and theirs no bad side effect, they will take it. Click here to find out more.

The CDC has wonderful explanation about the covid vaccine for us to learned more about it and how safe it is! i recommend that anyone that is skeptical to read this. as for me, my job requires me to take it since im in health care. and ive done enough research to know that its safe and great!


Food Service During a Health Crisis: What we can Learn from Restaurants During Covid-19

My answer to most requests these days is, “in a pandemic?” The phrase, although I’m using it lightheartedly, emphasizes the uncertainty and severity of the struggles that Covid-19 has brought us. Normal tasks seem either unimportant compared to other problems or simply impossible to meet while living in this unsettled period.  

When I eventually went back to work at my restaurant in June I thought, how are we going to retain and attract customers during an ongoing health pandemic? 

Here I found expert tips from a restaurant franchise president on how a restaurant can not only make it through the pandemic but use it to their benefit. This was written just two months after the Covid-19 pandemic really began hitting the US. 


Nearing six months later, over 50 Twin Cities restaurants have now permanently shut their doors due to the pandemic.  

I serve and bartend at a restaurant (which is still alive…barely), and we sat at home beginning in mid-March with absolutely no idea if or to what extent we would remain open. If us employees were hardly communicated with, I imagine our customers outright forgot we existed. It took two whole months of sitting and waiting before we were told that we would be re-opening for takeout only. During this period of planning (or lack of) we made minor adjustments to our existing menu, added one family take-out promotion that was overpriced and underutilized, and advertised even less than normally online. In short, when I look at the list of restaurants that haven’t made it, I see no reason we shouldn’t be up there with them. 

So, who will survive and why?

Some restaurants are handling the pandemic surprisingly well. My personal favorite is Pig Ate My Pizza in Robbinsdale, MN. Within the very first week that my own restaurant had shut down, PAMP was operating a socially distant takeout window with a line wrapped around the building. Their social media is consistently drool-worthy with innovative weekly specials and limited run items. As each restriction came and went, PAMP has been adaptive and creative with their branding. If you go to their website now, not only will you find takeout cocktail kits and unique items from their crazy inventive kitchen, but also purchases you can make that help the community by sending food to frontline healthcare workers and donating to a North Minneapolis food bank. 

 It will be only imaginative restaurants like these that manage to survive and even thrive. The ones finding themselves successful mid-pandemic were the ones that grappled with the unfolding news quickly and pivoted their plans to selling only the most economical items, as well as assessed their customer’s developing needs: transparency with safety precautions, comfort, and ease of pick-up or delivery. Those that understood what problems their perspective customers would be facing met those customers exactly where they were…their homes. Through new social media campaigns for take-out options, additional communication to existing customers keeping them in the loop, and even programs that gave back to frontline workers, some restaurants saw the future enough to know where they needed to get to retain and even reach new customers. 

Did you lose any of your favorite restaurants? 

What are some restaurants near you doing creatively to stay alive? 


Reconnecting on “Animal Crossing” amid Covid-19 Pandemic


Social distancing policies and covid-19 restrictions are making it harder to connect with our loved ones and do things like go to the gym, resturants or even go to church.

Faith and hope are now more important than ever during this tough time as we need motivation, strength and resilience to overcome it. With the pandemic, religious communities have converted to giving their services through virtual services like Zoom and video conferencing programs hoping to give the same inspiration and hope as conducted in a in-person service.

It’s especially hard for those celebrating Ramadan who are unable to pray, break their fast or celebrate the holiday with loved ones due to the pandemic.

But although there were a lot of negative outcomes to the coronavirus shutdown, Rami Ismail, a game developer, turned to Animal Crossing to overcome isolation. Animal Crossing like other forms of social media is a way to communicate, connect online and or share ideas. But after playing the game, Ismail found that the game isn’t available in arabic enabling those that celebrate ramadan unable to use the game to connect online.

So he used Twitter to promote the festivities on his island welcoming those that celebrate ramadan to the game.

Although, the coronavirus shutdown has had many reconsider if its going to affect the way we live, work or communicate, Ismail used social media to not only promote the game but to stay connected.

The Importance of Protecting Our Wild Country

As our world is exponentially being formed into a concrete playground, the future of the wild is truly becoming one of question. Public land ranges from east to west and from massive national parks all the way down to the little nature preserve in your backyard. Whether it be the snow-capped mountains of the Rockies or the sawgrass wetlands of the southeast, the beauty that is held in these areas takes the breath of millions of visitors year-in and year-out.

It may be simple to take the land for what it is and believe that places like Yellowstone and the Everglades will stand the test of time, but that is all too far from the truth. There is a constant battle between economics and preservation, one in which the outcome creates ruins of what once was sacred. Millions of acres of land that is owned by the public, our land, is being sold off to energy companies in the hopes of extracting the valuable resources that lay beneath. In the midst of a pandemic, the Trump administration is acting quickly to open thousands of acres of land in the western US for drilling and mining operations. A Guardian article explains the specifics of the operation and can be found here. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/30/public-lands-sale-trump-coronavirus-environmental-regulations

Among the land that is being threatened is a 150,000 acre chunk just a mile away from the Canyonlands National Park in southern Utah. Environmentalists are questioning the action of the administration, the “planet drowns in oil” which is seen to be true with current oil prices.

The importance of our wild country is far beyond words, it has to be seen and experienced. If we want to have that option for ourselves and for our children, we have to realize the beauty that lies within the land and actively voice for the continued preservation of it all.

Blog #1 COVID19- Pregnancy, Birth, and Breastfeeding

The outbreak of Coronavirus has been the hottest topic on social media and just about anywhere. COVID-19 has done major impact causing fear and anxiety to many around the world especially expecting mothers. Having a child during this Pandemic time can be one of the most stressful and concerning thing for a mother. Per CDC, health officials and authorities it is unclear if pregnant women are considered high risk.

Pregnancy & Coronavirus Per CDC: Being pregnant during COVID19 can be stressful. There are have test done on newborn whose mother test positive for COVID and it is still unclear if the virus can transmits to the fetus. So far, many positive pregnant Women give brith to healthy babies.

Infant Health & Coronavirus: Due to low profile and researches of COVID19 related to newborn, it is unclear at the moment about fetus risk of catching COVID-19.

Breastfeeding & Coronavirus: Any mothers who test positive should always take extra precautions when handling a newborn, baby or infant. Precautions that need to be taken is always washing hand, especially when breastfeeding. It’s best not to spread to virus to the baby.

Below is the link to the full detail about Pregnancy, Birth, and Breastfeeding:


Paul Nettles – Blog Post 1:


Students are weary of online classes, but colleges can’t say whether they’ll open in fall 2020……

Do to the Coronavirus Pandemic, Colleges were forced to convert In-person/hybrid courses to online courses. We all are experiencing this abrupt change. Here at Metropolitan State I have developed great relationships with a lot of staff Members. These staff in which I visited every week. I also have made a lot of friends in the classroom. I honestly have developed another family here at Metropolitan State. That has been taken away from me by this pandemic. I am a hands on learning and have always preferred taking classes in person, the traditional way. College is not fun right, I don’t feel as if I can fulfill my learning potential under these circumstances. I wonder if I will continue my education if the only options is for that to be online. Other students around the country are uncertain as well.

This article shares how college students threaten to not register for classes if the universities put the fall semester online. One student expressed how the transition to online classes has been rocky. A student says it hard to find motivation when not surround by his peers. I completely agree, I have a hard time “doing homework” at “home”. I typically go on campus and utilize the library, computer lab and lounges . Just being at the school helps me focus and be productive. I have had a hard time not being distracted at home. Having so much time has not been helpful for a procrastinator like me.

Another point that article brings up is that the universities are taking a hit financially hit. Multiple universities have announced that they have cut a few sports programs due to the pandemic. They also announced that it will lay off and furlough some employees. The financial problems started when colleges had to send students home and issue refunds for housing cost. Also the “college towns” who thrive on the business of the students at these universities are being hurt the most.

The final topic of this article is “What does Fall hold for college students?”. It shares that one college is on record saying that students physically returning back to campus in the fall is not likely. Majority of them have no definitive plan in place. A total of 5% of college committed to online classes only for the fall. I haven’t heard anything from Metropolitan State University, but I know that if our school does go completely online then I have a hard decision ahead of me. This semester was going really well until this pandemic happened. Good luck to the students across the World and wish me luck.

Animal Crossing is the new wave during this pandemic

Animal crossing has saved so many of us from extreme boredom being stuck in our houses due to Covid-19. This game came out in such a perfect time! It’s only been one month since it’s release and it’s the most talked about game. This article states that sales figures from Japan and Britain suggest that this is the strongest launch for an animal crossing game in history. This game became so popular that it’s being talked about on so many social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok, etc. So many people are sharing their screenshots of the game, showing off their islands, and villagers, even their own characters and the cute clothes they wear. Usually animal crossing is the not kind of game I’m into but after seeing all the screenshots on twitter and my close friend getting the game, I got it. I don’t regret buying it at all. The game basically starts off with you talking to two raccoon looking animals and you create your character and your island. There’s not really an objective to the game, you just build you island and create it how you want it to look. You gain cute animal villagers and you can chat with them so they can feel loved. There’s something about doing manual labor in a cute game that’s soothing, and since I can’t go out anymore, it helps. My favorite thing about the game so far is getting to create cute clothes and sharing them with my friends so they can also wear it. A lot of animal crossing players have been creating clothes from their favorite shows or anime and letting their character cosplay which is super cool. The best part of the game is that you can visit your friends islands and talk with them. Due to social distancing we can’t hang with our friends anymore but with animal crossing we can go to their islands and hang with them virtually.

This is a screenshot from my switch. I’m at my friend’s island and we’re all just hanging out in her museum. I’m the one in the middle.
This is another screenshot of my character. I’m on my island. I loved how the cherry blossoms looked.

This game is super fun! I love to buy clothes and switch my look up here and there. The great thing about animal crossing is that you play at your own pace whenever you want to. You can literally play for a few minutes and check on your villagers, or you can play for hours and work on your island. You can create your own world and hang out with friends! During these uncertain times it’s really nice to just sit back and escape into your own world.