Last weekend, a northern Minnesota summer camp for HIV-positive children unveiled its new swimming pool by honoring Caleb Glover, an apple-cheeked three-year-old, with the inaugural dip.
Glover made headlines last July when an RV park in Alabama barred the toddler from its pool, showers, and bathroom on account of his being HIV positive.
"It was like a rewind to 20 years ago," says Neil Willenson, founder of Camp Heartland, which also named its new pool after Glover. "It was like Ryan White."
As Willenson points out, medical science has shown it's impossible to transmit HIV in chlorinated swimming pools.
But Ken Zadnichek, the man behind the banning, remains unrepentant.
"There was no lesson to learn," Zadnichek told Blotter. "It's not proven that children can't spread HIV through their bodily fluids. The government is trying to tell you stuff that isn't true."
How the other half lives
It may seem like we're in a recession, but rich people are apparently doing quite well: The number of millionaire households in Minneapolis and St. Paul spiked 25 percent in 2007.
Turns out our humble Twin Cities are home to 69,044 millionaires—more than Denver or Miami, according to a survey released by Merrill Lynch. Nationally, the number of new millionaires grew by a paltry 6 percent.
Where does that leave the rest of us? Broke, of course.
But maybe not for long. According to a new survey by Salary.com, Minneapolis is one of the top five cities in the country for building personal wealth.
The website compared individual salaries with the cost of living and the rate of unemployment to arrive at the rankings. Minneapolis finished fourth, behind Omaha, Nebraska, and above Albuquerque, New Mexico. Coming in first was Plano, Texas, home to corporate headquarters for Dr. Pepper, Snapple, and Frito-Lay.
Plano seems like a good place to snack, but we wouldn't want to live there. -Jeff Severns Guntzel and Beth Walton
I Can't Believe It's Not PaintThinner: Thunderbird
To many indigenous North American cultures, the thunderbird is mythical creature, a bird of unparalleled strength. Legend had it that the bird was so powerful, its wings flapping caused the thunder. To us, it's a strong white wine that hopefully won't cause any thunder in our intestines. Its label calls it "The American Classic."
Jeff Guntzel: It looks like urine of a very well-hydrated person.
Everybody takes a drink.
Jessica Armbruster: This is hands down the worst.
Nate Patrin: I feel like I was punched in the face with a Greyhound bus depot.
Ward Rubrecht: This is fine. It's just bad red...er...white wine.
JG: I don't think I can have any more.
JA: I just broke my flip-flop.
Ben Palosaari: I feel something weird in my head, like it's rushing into my eyeballs.
JA: Didn't they used to market this to Europeans? "Try drinking this, fuckers!"
JG: I'm going to dump this on the sponge in the kitchen and see if it makes it smell any better.
WR: You guys are pussies.
BP: The taste in your nose afterward... Like syrup or something. Don't exhale it while swallowing...it's the worst.
NP: I'll do it. [gags]
WR: You guys are fat fucking wusses. And you clearly don't have a sweet tooth.
JA: It's white so it should be paired with chicken or seafood.
NP: Okay, so McNuggets or Filet-o-Fish?
Thunderbird "citrus wine with natural flavors" came in a 750 ml bottle and cost $4.99.
Armageddon for ash trees
A metallic green beetle called the ash borer is threatening to ransack Minnesota's ash trees.
"Minneapolis will be very hard hit," says Matt Norton of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy. "Whole neighborhoods will be denuded."
Denuded? Yes, it will be that bad.
The bugs just landed in Chicago after eating their way through Detroit, and are scheduled to arrive here in seven years.
"This little bug causes 100 percent mortality in all species of ash," says Dr. Lee Frelich, director of the Center for Hardwood Ecology at the University of Minnesota. "And it doesn't respond to any attempts to control it."
So enjoy the shade while it lasts.
- Bradley Campbell
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