One woman’s determination to succeed in school,
despite being bound to a wheelchair
By Jonathan Gradin
Most people take for granted the ability to walk anywhere, pass through any doorways, travel up and down stairs—even use the restroom without the need of railings or handholds. This ambulatory mindset, prevalent when the University of Idaho campus was built, creates problems for wheelchair-bound people on campus such as 24-year-old English student Ashley Centers.
Cerebral palsy has limited her to a wheelchair since childhood, but this does not stop her determination to succeed, even through academic obstacles independent of her disability. Continue reading →
Dis-Criminal Hate: Discrimination based on sexual orientation an issue in Moscow, on campus; new city code targets housing, employment instances
By Jonathan Gradin
That’s so gay.
This and similar idiomatic expressions can be overheard in average conversations, yet many people don’t realize these are a type of discrimination, called micro-aggressions by counselors and the LGBTQA community. Such discrimination has real and serious effects, which are often overlooked or disregarded in a conservative state such as Idaho.
“Usually, what I see is a kind of covert or indirect discrimination,” said Dan O’Donnell, doctoral psychological intern and LGBTQA liaison with the University of Idaho Counseling and Testing Center, who sees “quite a few” such cases. “This can come across in the form of looks or glances that are uncomfortable for the person receiving them, or more verbal micro-aggressions. Specifically with LGBTQ individuals, they often hear the phrase ‘Well, that’s so gay,’ …that type of phrasing suggests that being gay is not what is normal, and so the psychological effects are reinforcing the idea that being gay is not a normal human experience.” Continue reading →
By Jonathan Gradin
The barber shop holds a quintessential place in Americana. From Andy Griffith’s Mayberry to Moscow, Idaho, barber shops functioned as places for men to hang out, share news and keep their hair trimmed. Nowadays, this tradition is gone, save for a few local shops.
“It’s a shame that the tradition of barbers has and is fading away… Traditionally, the barber shops were a place for men to B.S. and get warm by the stove,” said Bill Jones, 71, semi-retired owner of Bill’s Barber Shop on Second Street. It was “sort of a man-cave situation.”
Jones began cutting hair in 1979, when he he sold his convenience store in Calder, up the St. Joe River from St. Maries. He said he was tired of the seven-day-a-week and extra after-hours nature of the store, which robbed him of family time. Continue reading →
By Jonathan Gradin (Short Article Written Feb. 24 for JAMM-425 Feature Article Writing at the University of Idaho)
Nearly 100 elementary to high school students entered the Kenworthy Theatre Thursday morning for a workshop on free improvisation using wind instruments. As they chattered, Eli Yamin, the workshop instructor, walked through the aisles with an energy and personality reflected in his light bluish-gray paisley shirt.
“Got your instruments?” he asked each group, his wavy black hair slicked back despite his excited motion. “Get ’em out!”
Around the theatre, gleaming brass tenor saxophones, alto saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and a baritone horn emerged, as well as a few black clarinets. Those who didn’t have instruments present—including a dozen community members—could use their voices, they were soon told.
Before running through several exercises in free improvisation (music-making without set rules of chord progressions or tonality), Yamin polled the audience as to why the played, both musically and in general. Students around the room shouted responses:
“To be involved in the music!” Continue reading →
My recent Feature Article Writing exercise, about a man for whom a providentially timed car wreck meant saving a family’s life, got me thinking about Romans 8:28—a verse that always seems to be mentioned in times of tragedy, whether tactful or not—and a car wreck of my own that happened more than a year and a half ago.
The oft-cited verse reads “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (NRSV 1989). Many people hear this and subconsciously think this means that everything should be smooth sailing for them, and are disappointed when problems and troubles arise. However, the wording indicates that this is not the case: God uses good and bad events to further his purpose. In this case, he is almost taking a slightly utilitarian view to fulfill the end result.
Personal trainers and bodybuilders are accustomed to the phrase “No pain, no gain”—which is part of the viewpoint this verse engenders, in addition to the contribution of positive life-goods and events. In my case, I saw the literal truth of this principle and verse in the time elapsed since getting rear-ended on July 29, 2011. Forgive me for venting with a long description of the incident, but I promise it builds to a surprising point. Continue reading →
(This was a short take I wrote Jan. 29, 2013, for JAMM-425 Feature Article Writing at University of Idaho.)
By Jonathan Gradin
Every year, new college students complain about the cold as temperatures dip below freezing. Moscow resident and retired physical education teacher Terry Peterson, who grew up in Pullman, holds that “they don’t know what cold is.”
Her claims are well founded.
Terry and her husband of 45 years, Mike, are survivors of the coldest winter in Moscow history, which peaked on the night of their first anniversary, Dec. 30, 1968. While temperatures in town plummeted to -42 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature in the low-lying Palouse Hills Mobile Home Park (southwest of town) further plunged Continue reading →