Freedoms not being taken for granted..

5 Nov
(Note:  This story was first published in the print-only version of the Wisconsin State Journal, Neighbors section for November, 2012.) 
The Presidential campaign ads seem non-stop.
But there’s one Madison man I recently met who is paying attention to all the commercials, along with taking time to do his own research on both of the candidates.  He wants to know how the election may impact the dreams he has for his life.
Semere is a proud American citizen

Semere is a proud American citizen

Semere and I first spoke when he came into the radio station newsroom.  I was monitoring one of the national convention speeches; he was there to collect the garbage and vacuum.  I looked up from my notes to say hello and he asked about my interest in the campaign.  I told him as a long-time journalist, I didn’t feel I should share an opinion, but explained I’ve always been interested in the politics surrounding our government and the process of picking our leaders.  Then I asked for his thoughts.

Turns out, Semere came to the U.S. 11 years ago to find and live the “American Dream.”  It hasn’t been easy and much of his family still resides in his homeland of Ethiopia.  He’s lived and worked in various places, eventually finding a job with a cleaning company in the Madison area.
He is also proud.
Very proud to be a citizen of the country he calls the greatest on earth.
This is when I stopped tracking the words of those speaking on the big stage– and instead, listened to what he had to say about it.
Semere doesn’t understand why this great country is lagging when it comes to the economy and what he feels is a huge divide between the rich and the poor.
Yet, he says there is nowhere he’d rather be.
And while he is undecided about his choice for President, he says he sets aside time each day to learn more about the men running for this important office and where each stands on issues he considers critical.
I asked Semere if he is surprised so many people here choose not to vote.  He says he is, especially since residents in some other countries end up being killed while trying to go to the polls.  And he feels he will never take this privilege for granted.  He then says he also shouldn’t take his work for granted– and wishes me a nice evening as he moves on to the next room.
It is truly one of the best discussions I’ve ever had regarding an election, and in particular, this one.
And Semere is also one of the best reminders about what it means to have the freedom to work toward living what you define as your own “American Dream.”
By the way, I ran into Semere again a few weeks after our first chat.  We talked briefly about the upcoming election and I also asked if he was enjoying his job.  It’s when I learned he no longer works for the company hired to clean at the radio station.
He owns it.

Video Project: The Better Memory Minute # 2 “What Scares You?”

24 Oct

The video project in partnership with the national company Quincy Bioscience, based in Madison, is already running like a well-oiled machine!  The weekly news updates and tips focusing on brain health are being sent to more than 25,000 enewsletter subscribers, along with facebook and the web.

Check out episode # 2 “What Scares You?” here:

Video Project: “The Better Memory Minute” Episode # 1

17 Oct


“The Better Memory Minute” is the new video project I’m working on in partnership with Quincy Bioscience.  You’ll find more information about it by going back to my last blog post.

And here’s episode # 1, focusing on the light emitted by electronic devices and why you may not want to take these to bed with you:


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