Two in one!

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I got two bylines in the local paper today: my regular weekly column and a feature article on Frank R. Hayde, a friend of mine who recently published his first solo work, The Mafia and the Machine: A Story of the Kansas City Mob. (He co-authored a book about Zion National Park a few years ago. It’s available for sale at all U.S. National Park bookstores as part of the Story Behind the Scenery series.) Frank’s currently a park ranger at Colorado National Monument but had somehow managed to find time to research and write a history of the Kansas City Mafia and its ties to local politics.

And I complain about not having enough time to do everything.

Had a fantastic conversation with Tom Acker, a professor of Spanish at Mesa State College and a well-known immigration activist. KEXO, the only local station that broadcasts Spanish-language programming, is threatening to pull all of that if they can’t bring their advertising revenues for the programs to $15,000/month. They’re asking for a monthly “sponsorship” of $500 from at least 20 businesses in order to keep the lights on for Alex Martinez and Esmeralda Martinez, the two DJ’s who run the shows. Acker is a fantastic resource for just about anything you want to know about immigration and the local Hispanic community; I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by the magnitude of the issue, the fact that — according to Tom — 20% (!!) of the local population is Hispanic (when I thought we were talking single-digits here) and that they’re so invisible, despite their purported numbers.

I hope to learn more as Tom introduces me to others in the community familiar with the issues at stake. I have a feeling there’s a huge amount of information about minority issues in our region that remains hidden — deliberately or not — from the rest of us.

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