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Frost Illustrated (Newspaper) - August 9, 2000, Fort Wayne, Indiana "Mr. Imagination" makes sculptures from old sneakers and other odds and ends. See page 9. Party of Lincoln trying to recapture black vote. Seepages 2 & 3. Queen of Blues to give Fort Wayne fans a blistering earful. See page 8. New coalition tackling central city health issues Photo by A.A. Melton. ratnbee Minister Chris Bell (back to the camera), founder of CPT Ministries, directs the organization's youth choir at last week's Harambee Festival on Pontiac Street. The choir was one of a number of community groups that participated in the festival. The festival, now in its eighth year, featured a number of cultural events including music and Afrikan dance, as well as food and art vendors for the shopping crowd. Harambee organizers also sponsored garner and other activities for youth. Black Farmers challenge Democrats on agriculture settlement claims By Dodie Miller In a continuing battle over the settlement of claims filed by black farmers against the U.S. Department of Agriculture, members of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association (BFAA), charged that congressional Democrats are hindering the settlement process and as a result, black farmers are prepared to withhold votes from Democrats during the year 2000 elections. In March 1999, the BFAA filed suit against the USDA on behalf of black farmers whom they said had been systematically discriminated against by the federal government. In June of2000, the two combatants sighed a consent decree that would give the farmers monetary compensation for those past wrong. But, BFAA officials say the money has been slow in coming. Republican legislators recently proposed a resolution urging the government to quickly settle those claims, but black Democrats, have not supported that proposal arousing the ire of BFAA members. BFAA President Gary Grant expressed his anger toward the Congressional Black Caucus, which is made up of black Democratic elected congression- We 1/1/ are declaring war on anyone who doesn't support us. It is time thai black elected officials understand the time for taking the black vote for granted is gone." -Gary Grant, BFAA President al officials. ~ "We are declaring war on anyone who doesn't support us. It is time that black elected officials understand the time for taking the black vote for granted is gone," he said. Congressional support for black farmers could come in the form of legislation that would expedite the rate at which settlement checks were mailed, free the recipient from incurring a tax bill; from the IRS and prevent those receiving large sums from being subject to an FBI probe, which occurred when a farmer was compensated at the $50,000 level. Problems between the two groups were exposed in May when Congressional Democrats overwhelmingly opposed and worked to defeat House Resolution 296, proposed by Jay Dickey (R-Ariz.). The resolution expresses the need for the federal to settle all lawsuits filed by black farmers immediately, although would not have the force of law behind it. Congressional Democrats claim that Resolution 296 is a political ploy on behalf of Dickey who is up for reelection in his home state, but their lack of support for the measure strikes a negative chord with Grant. "The Democrats, shouldn't take the black vote for granted-this is a chance for the Congressional Black Caucus to bring money back to their districts if farmers in those districts get paid," he said. The BFAA warned that the traditional support the Democrat Patty has come to count on in recent years is in jeopardy. "We've been doing it (voting Democrat) so long that we just continue to dp it because supposedly they are the liberal party helping to keep people out of poverty. Its seems to be keeping people in-poverty," Grant said. The political void left by (See "Black farmers" on page 13) By Robbin L. Melton For some local central city residents, quality health care and preventive health information is a taboo subject that only brings about anxiety-^or at best, thoughts of a luxury beyond their reach. Several local community and health groups, however, have banded together to erase the fear and financial barriers surrounding preventiveand quality health care. Representatives of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, Minority Health Coalition, Fort Wayne Medical Society, Midwest Alliance for Health, St. Joseph Hospital and the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne announced July 25 the formation of the Central City Healthy Family Health Coalition. Building on some of the groundwork laid down by the Minority Health Coalition, the new five-member group seeks to improve access to health services and serve as a political advocate for those typically left out of the loop. "We're following the lead of the Minority Health Coalition under the banner of the Ministerial Alliance," said the Rev. Mike Nickelson, Central City's publicity director. "The Minority Health Coalition is one of our centerpieces. It holds our community together by working to improve the delivery of health services." The formation of a new health coalition, explained Nickelson, was triggered by several incidents, including the restructuring of St. Joseph Hospital and the YMCA's recommitment to the community. Coalition members determined that combining their efforts would enable them to reach those who typically fall through the cracks- particularly senior citizens, men and people of color. Despite free to no-cost health screenings and other health-related services available throughout Fort Rev. Mike Nickelson Wayne, too many central city resi-^ dents, explained Nickelson, continue to ignore or minimize their health problems and concerns because of doubts and fears or a lack of financial resources. By streamlining already established health programs and making them more user-friendly, Nickelson and others are confident that the Central City coalition can help alleviate those problems and concerns."~"........." ' "We already know what health issues are integral to us," said Nickelson. "We need to get people in front of doctors in non-threatening settings to help them get treatment." In conjunction with Minority Health Coalition efforts, Central City will provide its clients with access to dental and medical specialists, and offer screenings for sickle cell anemia, HIV/AIDS, prostate cancer, diabetes and other diseases. Central City clients will also benefit from a new Minority Health Coalition program. With financial support from the Lutheran Foundation, the Minority Health Coalition recently began tracking its clients as part of a three-year Midwest Health Alliance research program. Clients screened by Minority Health representatives are logged into a database that allows coalition representatives to identify at-risk individuals through family health history information, follow-up care and complete health assessments. Screened clients also receive a comprehensive read-out of their health assessments to learn how to take control of their own health. Call Tony Davis at (219) 422-6486, ext. 215 for more information about the Central City Healthy Family Coalition and its services or the Minority Health Coalition at (219) 456-4566 for Midwest Health Alliance participant information.
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