5 x 8: Vets marching to prevent suicide


The other night, Landon Steele, a former combat medic in Iraq, noticed that a soldier from his old unit changed her profile picture on Facebook to the image of a fallen soldier. Last week, she took her own life.

Twenty-three military veterans kill themselves each day, he says. So he’s organized a 23-mile march for veterans in full gear tomorrow, starting at 9 a.m., from the Richfield VFW to the Capitol in Saint Paul to VFW in Uptown to remind veterans not to leave any soldier behind.

“If we were trees, a rare species of rain forest fowl, or polar bears, the American public would be saving us by now,” he writes on his Facebook page. It’s an accurate indictment of the rest of us.

Honestly Doc James Blumenschein and I started this event a few weeks ago thinking it would just be two Docs rucking 23 miles and raising a little awareness about troop suicide. Sadly 5 days after I created the event one of our troops here killed herself. No words are needed. We now have around 100 people coming and I just want to express my thanks to all of you!

Only 1 percent of the population of the U.S. has served in the military. But veterans make up 20 percent of the suicide population.

Related: Canton yard display brings attention to alarming number of suicides among veterans.


When you’re safely ensconced in “flyover country,” the repeated warnings about a rise in sea levels because of climate change may not hit home.

But an effort by marine biologist Andrew David Thaler might’ve changed that a bit. He invited Twitter followers to submit their cities and he modeled visualizations of what sea level increases would look like.

What was particularly fascinating is he didn’t leave the Midwest out of it.

St. Louis, for example:


Sure, sea levels would have to rise 500 feet and nobody’s predicting that.

But it wouldn’t take much to take out New York.

Here are more cities.

Related: Rising Waters: How Fast and How Far Will Sea Levels Rise? (Yale Environment 360)


We’re liking the first rollout of a new online series at TPT (Twin Cities Public Television), “Are You MN Enough?” Ten producers are contributing to a series “that analyzes what it means to be a Minnesotan.”

They didn’t shy from the big topic in the first production — Minnesota Nice.


How bad is the broadcast business? The Minnesota Daily reports today it’s fallen to a student to try to revive hands-on broadcast opportunities on the Big Ten campus.

Aside from some upper-level courses at the University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, some students say there aren’t many ways to get hands-on broadcast experience on campus.

Weierke said the journalism school has a “state-of-the-art” broadcast studio, but he thinks it’s not being used to its full potential.

“It’s basically being used as a storage room right now,” he said.

The group plans to train members on the studio’s equipment, because many students don’t know how to use it.


At least one ski area in the metro has opened for the season. The temperatures are cooperating but the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports ski areas in the region are having a tough time finding people to work in the business.

Locals don’t want the jobs, some ski area owners say. So they’re hiring college students from Brazil.

How’s that working out?

“I remember picking up one fellow at the airport, and when the doors opened and it was 5 degrees outside, he started crying. He said, ‘I can’t do this. I can’t do this,'” Randy Axelson, spokesman for Cascade Mountain, near Portage, recalled.

Bonus I: The Daily Dot – Pumpkin heist gets its happily ever after.

Bonus II: The last piano bar (Smithsonian)

Have you changed how you listen to music?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Are U.S. drone strikes illegal?

Second hour: How can people with criminal records get jobs?

Third hour: The recent government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis have bolstered those calling for America to play a lesser role in the global community. The Chinese paper Xinhua called for a “de-Americanized world.” Russian President Vladimir Putin warned against the American tendency to think of itself as exceptional and indispensable. What would a “de-Americanized” world look like? And might there be benefits for us in such a world?

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): From the “BURN: An Energy Journal” series: “Rising Seas,” about climate change and rising sea levels.

The Takeaway (1-2 p.m.) – TBA

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Minneapolis mayoral candidate Stephanie Woodruff has seen both sides of the economic divide. She’s been a high-level corporate executive, and a victim of the foreclosure crisis. She’s never served in elected office before, but Woodruff is the only candidate for Minneapolis mayor endorsed by a major party — the Independence Party. MPR’s Curtis Gilbert continues his series on the mayoral candidates.

When it comes to uncovering cheating by students or teachers on statewide assessment tests, Minnesota takes a less rigorous approach than most other states. While many states analyze test scores or do regular audits to find cheating, the Minnesota Department of Education relies on school districts to police themselves. Education officials say they don’t have the resources, or the authority, to undertake thorough cheating investigations and instead work to prevent cheating in the first place. MPR’s Tim Post will have the story.

The Drifters Ray Charles Elvis. They’re just some of the musical stars whose hits were written by Doc Pomus, who started out as Jerome Felder, a kid from Brooklyn who was stricken with polio. NPR has the story of Doc Pomus, the unlikely songwriter who shaped the sound of early rock-n-roll.

  • MrE85

    1) We all need to close ranks on this problem, people.

    • Kassie

      I’ve been thinking about this all morning, because you are right, we need to provide adequate mental health service to all people with mental illness, especially our vets. My question is, and I don’t know if anyone can answer, if money was not issue, are there enough qualified mental health professionals in our country to sufficiently deal with the problem? Are there enough mental health professionals in the United States, especially in areas with high number of vets, to allow every vet who needs help access to a therapist once, twice or more times a week, as needed?

      • Starquest

        I have an idea. Let’s stop making veterans.

        • MrE85

          Combat veterans, at least. That’s a damn fine idea.

      • MrE85

        In some places, access to qualified professionals will be a challenge. Insurance and referrals are another potential barrier to proper mental health care for vets. Add the usual V.A. paperwork and waits, and its a mess.
        But the biggest issue is us, and our attitudes about getting help. If you have been following “Doonesbury” lately, you’ll see that Sgt. Ray, blown up 17 times, refuses to get help for repeated head trauma. It’s the same for many of us in the military with mental illness. We (wrongly) see mental illness or depression as a sign of weakness. We worry it will hurt or careers, both in uniform and out. We don’t want to be labeled as “crazy,” but we feel isolated and alone. It’s hard for us to talk to people who have not shared our experiences — and not many mental health pros have. We just want to make things right, better, but we don’t know where to start.
        If we retreat into darkness, the worst can happen. Too often, it does.

        • MrE85

          P.S. I’m using the third person to include all my brothers and sisters who served. I’m feeling fine. 🙂

        • Kassie

          I don’t think the problem of people seeing mental illness as a weakness is unique to people in the military. I think a lot of people end up in an acute mental health crisis before they get help.

          My point is that I don’t think most of our mental health professionals are trained to deal with post traumatic stress and depression related to military service. That even with no bureaucracy, awesome insurance and better attitudes, we still couldn’t get them the help they need. I heard a story recently on MPR about a guy who had to travel across the country to get the help he needed because there were no open programs anywhere near him.

          • MrE85

            I heard that story, too. Yes, it’s a universal thing, but even more stigma in the military. That change needs to come from the top down.

  • Jim Gray

    (4) While the U of M still has a strong print/journalism program, they have a significant lack of any broadcast/new/electronic media experience for their students. Radio K (KUOM 770AM) is successful in spite of this. This is exactly why students that want to learn about communications & broadcasting AND get hands on training in doing so got to other schools that support this model and invest in the facilities & faculty to operate it, such as St. Cloud State University. Full disclosure: I teach broadcasting at SCSU. 😉

    • MrE85

      I’m a graduate of the broadcast journalism program at Indiana University. Our facilities, equipment and opportunities for hands on work was rather limited back in the late 1970s. I wonder if it’s better now?

  • Jay T. Berken

    #2) How high’s the water momma? 150 meters high and risin’; how high’s the water papa? She says its 150 meters high and risin…

  • joetron2030

    2) A question that just came to me. Understandably, it would take an insane sea rise to drown out St. Louis (and even more to drown the Twin Cities). What I’m wondering is what these gradually rising sea levels would do to the flow of the Mississippi?

    • http://blogs.mprnews.org/newscut/ Bob Collins

      On MPR News Presents today, they played that BURN documentary,w hich I’d mentioned earlier in the week. There was a segment of it that sort of addressed this. Might’ve been around the half hour mark. Basically water flowing into an ocean begins to flow backward.

      It got me thinking about when I covered the Red River flooding and realized that in floods, it’s not the big wall of water in front of you you have to worry about, it’s the toilets and the sewers and the floor drains where the water comes up BEHIND you while you’re trying to hold the wall of water.

      They mentioned sewer and flow pipes that used to be 60 feet above the water, are now just six inches above the water in some cases. So the problem isn’t going to be the water from the ocean; it’s going to be the crap in the sewer system.

      It was a fascinating show.

      • joetron2030