Statewide: March 15, 2012 Archive
I don't have a frame of reference for what happened to Abdiaziz Warsame, above, his wife Ayan Mohamed and their son seven years ago.
No one has ever confronted me demanding that I give them my home, and then starting a gun battle.
Warsame says that's the gist of what happened in his Mogadishu neighborhood when a militia showed up telling them to get out.
Warsame's command of English is commendable but limited so it's a challenge connecting all the dots and understanding the details.
His account is that the gunfight corresponded with the wounding and abduction of his wife Ayan, and in the ensuing chaos he lost track of her and began to consider the possibility she had been killed.
Warsame never stopped trying various means to locate Ayan. But two decades of civil war in Somalia have taken a heavy toll. Communication is difficult, people are scattered.
A chance meeting with a neighborhood acquaintance at a refugee camp in Egypt, Warsame says, brought new information his wife had been wounded, maybe she survived.
There is a very compelling parallel narrative to the family's ordeal that anyone with physically and mentally challenged children can appreciate: Their son, now ten years old, is autistic and has physical disabilities as well.
The son's medical condition and need for surgery, Warsame told the Red Cross, expedited his relocation to the United States where he has family. And that is where he resumed the search for Ayan, this time with the help of the Red Cross' family tracing service.
The entire process took about eight months because the backlog of thousands of family tracing requests is large compared to staff available to handle them.
The end of the story is gratifying but not without some sadness.
Warsame's request for help involved the Red Cross Twin Cities' chapter, the national Red Cross office in Washington, D. C., the International Committee for the Red Cross in Geneva and their sister agency in Mogadishu, the Red Crescent. Ironically they found Ayan rather easily, back in the family's home, and the Red Crescent volunteer reports she was joyful at being reconnected with her husband and son.
Reconnected. Not reunited.
Warsame obviously has the option of returning to Mogadishu to be with his wife. But think about it. The news from the beleaguered city is not good, and life there, Ayan reports in words translated through a telephone conversation, is iffy. Others report life there as chaotic, life threatening.
Instead, Warsame is starting the process of trying to get a visa for Ayan to come to the United States. The prediction from experts is the process will take, "several years."
In the meantime Abdiaziz Warsame speaks with his wife Ayan Mohamed frequently by phone, obviously delighted they are reconnected if not yet reunited.
Posted at 7:45 AM on March 15, 2012
by Michael Olson
Filed under: Around MN
This post initially contained an item by the Northland News Center that reported the Pagami Creek fire was still smoking. MPR News followed up on that report and found a different story. Dan Kraker reports, "Superior National Forest District Ranger Mark Van Every says there hasn't been any smoke reported since January. But with the remaining snow cover melting fast, he says they could potentially see some smoldering activity soon." -- Updated at 5:04pm
Former Sen. Majority Leader Koch, Brodkorb affair confirmed
Star Tribune: "The revelation of an Amy Koch-Michael Brodkorb relationship comes in wrangle over his termination." Star Tribune: "'Despite Mr. Brodkorb's efforts to disrupt the work of the Senate in the current legislative session, to distract members of the Senate, to extort a payment from the Senate and to try his so-called claims in the media, the Senate will not allow that to succeed,' Cal Ludeman, the secretary of the Senate, said."
Landowners won't get help fighting mining leases from Minnesota Legislature
Duluth News Tribune: "Legislation that would give northern Minnesota landowners more power to say no to mining companies that own the mineral rights under their land appears dead at the state Capitol."
May is Minnesota museum month
New York Times: "The country's first monthlong, statewide celebration of museums. It is the creation of several Twin Cities museum administrators, who expect it to become an annual event."
Senate panel vote on Vikings stadium delayed indefinitely
MPR News: "Supporters of a bill that would finance a new $975 million football stadium for the Minnesota Vikings suffered a setback Wednesday." Pioneer Press: "Gov. Mark Dayton minced few words Wednesday, March 14, as he called on House and Senate leaders to end the "theater of the absurd" surrounding the Minnesota Vikings stadium proposal and move the bill to a final vote." Star Tribune: "After nearly two hours of debate and testimony, the Senate Local Government and Elections Committee abruptly opted against a vote on the bill, after several members from both parties expressed significant concerns about it. Bill sponsor Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, insisted however that the postponed vote was not a setback."
Obama signs St. Croix Bridge bill
MPR News: "President Barack Obama has signed legislation authorizing a replacement for the aging Stillwater Lift Bridge.The approval grants an exemption to the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to build a new, four-lane bridge over the St. Croix River. The project is estimated to cost as much as $676 million."
St. Paul teacher accused of bias
Pioneer Press: "The families say Timothy Olmsted repeatedly disparaged their children, who are black, and made them sit at the back of his classroom."
iPads for St. Louis County schools
WDIO: "The St. Louis County School Board approved a new three year technology plan on Monday. And the plan calls for providing iPads for every high school student, starting in 2014. But next fall, all 7th and 8th graders will get to start using theirs."
Moorhead chief says plant fire worst he's seen in 20 years, damage could be in the millions
Forum of Fargo Moorhead: "Duysen said the fire was likely started by a pulp dryer on the west end of the building. He likened the dryer to a 'big oven' used to dry wet newspaper. The recycled newspaper is used to make the egg cartons."
Disappointment over graffiti covering Rochester park
KAAL: "On a warm day like we had Wednesday, many families headed outside enjoying parks and playgrounds. But people in a Southeast Rochester neighborhood arrived at theirs to find it vandalized, but for the parks department, a cleaning trip to Joyce Park is nothing new."
Faribault Woolen Mill tries to secure spot on National Register
Faribault Daily News: "Councilors approved a letter supporting the mill's application to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places this week. If the mill secures the designation, it will give it a national scope and open the door for state and federal Historic Preservation Tax Credits."
Minnesota's most influential plants? Arboretum wants input
MPR News: "The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum wants you to nominate your pick for the '10 Plants That Changed Minnesota.' The new initiative, which will include education at K-12 and college levels, is led by Mary Meyer, a professor of horticultural science at the University of Minnesota."
Posted at 12:16 PM on March 15, 2012
by Michael Olson
Filed under: Weather
MPR News Dan Kraker: "Superior National Forest District Rangers and Ron Stoffel, the Wildfire Suppression Supervisor for the DNR, say they have not heard any reports of smoldering or burning in the Pagami Creek fire area. Superior National Forest District Ranger Mark Van Every says there hasn't been any smoke reported since January. But with the remaining snow cover melting fast, he says they could potentially see some smoldering activity soon."
That contradicts a report lacking attribution from the Northland News Center that was featured on Minnesota Today's morning update.
Minnesota Today: Boundary Waters News