A cure (5×8 – 3/4/13)

The implications of a cure for AIDS HIV, where are the kids in local sports, the Klan in North Dakota, tribute for a code talker, and one for all the “tortured souls.”

First, the Monday Morning Rouser:


A cure for HIV.

The words flow so easily, it’s possible not to grasp the meaning. A cure for AIDS HIV . For those who remember the fear that accompanied the realization that there was an insidious and unknown disease at work, the news that a child born with AIDS HIV has been cured — or at least scientists so claim — is particularly significant.

Three-hundred-thousand children worldwide could be ridded of the disease, especially in AIDS-plagued African countries where too many babies are born with the virus, the Associated Press says.

“We can’t promise to cure babies who are infected. We can promise to prevent the vast majority of transmissions if the moms are tested during every pregnancy,” Dr. Hannah Gay said.

Until now, such children have been considered permanently infected, NPR says.

The baby is from Mississippi. And after an initial treatment, the doctor said, the mother stopped bringing her in for help.

“The baby’s mom was having some life changes, that’s about all I can say,” Gay reports. “I saw her at 18 months, and then after that did not see her for several months. And we were unable to locate her for a while.”

Gay enlisted the help of Mississippi state health authorities to track down the child. When they found her, the mother said she’d stopped giving antiviral drugs six or seven months earlier.

At that point, Gay expected to find that the child’s blood was teeming with HIV. But to her astonishment, tests couldn’t find any virus.

“My first thought was, ‘Oh my goodness, I’ve been treating a child who’s not actually infected,’ ” Gay says. But a look at the earlier blood work confirmed the child had been infected with HIV at birth. So Gay then thought the lab must have made a mistake with the new blood samples. So she ran those tests again.

“When all those came back negative, I knew something odd was afoot,” Gay says.

There is only one other person on the planet known to have been cured of AIDS.

It took a doctor to take a gamble, First Post says.

Compared to the first decade of the epidemic, when it meant a miserable and stigmatized death, AIDS today is a chronic, manageable medical condition. People affected with the virus do not like to be called patients, just as they way people with chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension detest the term. They also live long, normal and productive lives.

From a handful of drugs with severe side-effects a few times a day to stave off death in the early years, HIV-positive people today need to take just one pill, once a day. A large number of long term survivors of HIV now die of old age and other illnesses than HIV-related complications. The Mississippi child might bring in better news for them.

That word in the first sentence — stigmatized — is certainly an important one, which is why the news of a possible cure comes with a remembrance of Ryan White, the face of AIDS in children. He was a hemophiliac who contracted the virus through a blood transfusion.

And people turned away from him. He wanted to attendpublic school in Kokomo, Indiana but the school system banned him because other students and parents were afraid of the kid with AIDS.

He died at age 18 twenty-three years ago next month.

The news of a possible cure reminds us of how far science has brought us. It reminds us of how far we can move from our own ignorance and fear.

More health: Minnesota House set to vote on health exchange.


Duluth athletic officials are noticing the trend; fewer kids are participating in youth sports, the Duluth News Tribune says. A third fewer kids are participating in hockey, for example, than 14 years ago. Basketball participation is also down.

There are fewer kids in Duluth than there were 14 years ago, but some are blaming another insidious threat: soccer.

You drive around on any weeknight in August and you will go, ‘OK, kids playing soccer. OK, kids playing soccer.’ On any patch of grass that’s big enough, there’s a soccer game,” a youth soccer league director says.

More sports: New Rochelle wins! New Rochelle wins! New Rochelle wins!


When we wrote last week about the hockey fans in North Dakota who wore Klan robes to a “white out” promotion at a high school hockey game, an astute reader reminded us that the Klan wasn’t entirely about black v. white, especially in North Dakota. Now, Forum Communications follows up, with a history of the Klan in the state.

In Minnesota, Hawley is remembered as an active site of Klan activity, and a historian once estimated that ministers of half of the Norwegian Lutheran evangelical congregations in the region were members or tacit supporters, according to research by Clay County Historical & Cultural Society.

The Klan often sought sympathetic preachers to spread its message and to help win converts. It also took on many of the characteristics of a fraternal organization, popular social outlets in the early 1900s.

In the Rev. F. Halsey Ambrose, a Presbyterian minister in Grand Forks, the Klan found a devoted and persuasive evangelist. Ambrose was a fervent anti-Catholic, a position he preached from the pulpit.

His sermons were so entertaining, in an age before television, that they even attracted admirers from outside the congregation, according to accounts from Grand Forks Herald archives.

Whatever happened to the Rev. Ambrose? He left for a pulpit in Saint Paul.


Chester Nez, now 91, is the last surviving original member of World War II’s Navajo “Code Talkers.” Their code was never broken by the Japanese.

The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs and Northland College in Ashland honored Nez on Friday. It takes a lot to get more than 50 veteran honor guards from tribes across Wisconsin to turn out but they did for Mr. Nez.


There is at least one “tortured soul” who says you don’t know what it’s like to go through what he’s been through. He hit the beach at Normandy and that’s not what he’s talking about, either. He’s talking about not being able to read.

By the way, the Minnesota Literacy Council provides adult learning classes. Go here to find one.

Bonus I: They’re walking on Lake Superior in Duluth, a chance to walk out to The Cribs.

Bonus II: In a warehouse in Philadelphia. a man is pursuing a dream to build a ship by hand. He hopes to sail it across the Atlantic. (BBC)

Bonus III: Snow got you down? You need to spend some time with Carl Martin’s new video on his trip to the BWCA last summer.

Boundary Waters 2012 from Carl Martin on Vimeo.


Gov. Mark Dayton’s plan to raise taxes on the state’s top earners is popular with a majority of Minnesotans according to a new poll. Across the U.S. wealthy families are paying some of their biggest federal tax bills in decades even as the rest of the population continues to pay at historically low rates, reports the AP. Today’s Question: Is our current tax structure fair?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Gov. Mark Dayton.

Second hour: Who should bear the cost of risky behavior?

Third hour: Charles Wheelan, author of Naked Statistics.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): A Chautauqua Lecture by historian Ronald White on Civil War General & U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant.

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – The Vatican’s focus turns to selecting a new pope.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – In Ludington Michigan, people love to watch the car ferry, smokestack billowing, heading to Wisconsin. It’s powered by coal, and it’s the last one of its kind in the U.S. The ferry has an uncertain future, and its shut down could have a large impact on the Ludington economy. NPR will have the story of the ferry and the town.

St. Paul wants the state to forgive its $30 million mortgage on the Xcel Energy Center. Minneapolis wants $25 million to rebuild Nicollet Mall. Minnesota’s two largest cities each have lengthy legislative wish lists and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobby state lawmakers. And with the DFL in control of the Capitol, they’re more likely to see some of those wishes granted