August 29, 2012


I have consistently used Instagram for the past four or five months - especially when posting pictures to Twitter and Facebook. Instagram is a free app that allows the user to enhance and manipulate photos, adding depth, personality and character to each photo using preset lenses and lighting options.

I've posted a few Instagram photos on my blog and thought it would be appropriate to share more of those photos in this post...with the description I posted on Twitter and/or Facebook.

You can follow me by clicking on the Instagram logo to the right of this post or by clicking on the following link:


Stoked to see  tomorrow at the 

Did you vote ?

Thinking of those in 'Nola today as  nears.

Good morning Kansas City.

Hip Hop Wit: A brew from #silvergulchbrewing #fairbanks

August 16, 2012


The National Conference on Tobacco or Health (NCTOH) began Wednesday. As the tobacco program manager at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, I was excited for this conference to join national and regional public health leaders to strategize, learn about and implement best practices and policies to reduce tobacco use--the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States.

The opening plenary speakers kicked off the conference with the following statements...

Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death/disease in the United States. - Dr. Howard K. Koh (Assistant Secretary for Health, US Dept. of Health and Human Services)

While we have made real progress, we also continue to see signs of stalled progress & perhaps reverse trends - Dr. Ursula Bauer (Director, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC)

It takes collaboration. It takes partnership. No one can do it alone. Together we can make it happen. - Sandra Henriquez (Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing, US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development)

The opening plenary was a great launch to a conference that highlights the impact of tobacco use on millions of Americans and how public health advocates can work together to examine tobacco policies and practices that have excelled at reducing the terrible burden of tobacco-related disease.

The first day of the conference ended with a showing of Addiction Incorporated. Addiction Incorporated tells the story of Victor DeNoble, who in the 1980s was a research scientist at Phillip Morris and was tasked with finding a substitute for nicotine that would not cause heart attacks (essentially, a safer cigarette). He succeeded at the task, but in the process, produced evidence that nicotine was addictive, something the industry had been denying and avoiding for years. Instead of remaining silent, DeNoble became one of the most important and influential individuals of all time - testifying before Congress and setting off a chain of events that reverberates today.  

The video shares a great message and does an excellent job of telling the story that heavily exposed the tobacco companies - eventually resulting in the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA). 

The MSA was initially an agreement between the four largest tobacco companies in the United States and the attorney generals of 46 states. The states settled their Medicaid lawsuits against the tobacco industry for recovery of their tobacco related health care costs and also exempted the companies from private liability regarding harm caused by the use of tobacco. The companies, in turn, agreed to cease certain marketing practices and pay annual payments to the states to compensate for the medical costs associated with caring for individuals with tobacco related illnesses; paying a minimum of $206 billion over the first twenty five years of the agreement. 

Now that you've had your learning moment for the day...go out and enjoy the day. Cheers!

August 13, 2012

Visiting Friends

This coming week I will be in Kansas City for the National Conference on Tobacco or Health. Held every two - three years, the conference brings together individuals working in tobacco prevention and control from almost all 50 states and many countries.

I arrived in Kansas City Friday afternoon and was picked up at the airport by my college friend, Kala, who lives in KC. Kala and I lived on the same floor at UNI and became friends almost instantly. She now lives in KC, which is very exciting. We've been talking about this week almost all summer - looking forward to catching up with each other. Coincidently, Kala had agreed to sing in a wedding for one of her friends in Des Moines Saturday night, so we headed straight for Iowa after Kala picked me up.

The trip to Des Moines worked out great because I had the opportunity to spend much of the weekend with two of my greatest friends, Megan and Lindsay, who are also identical twins and have been close friends to Leah and me our whole lives.

Megan and her husband Brian and their son Graham just moved to Iowa from Memphis and were kind enough to allow me to stay the weekend with them amidst the middle of their move. I must say, however, that their house looked lovely.

After catching up with Megan and Brian on Friday night, we headed to the Des Moines Downtown Saturday Farmers Market on Saturday morning.

We met up with Lindsay, her husband Adam, and their daughter Kendall. It was the first time I had seen Kendall, who is four months old, and she was just a bundle of joy.

We hung out for most of the day, which was so fun. We had dinner Saturday night and then headed to Lindsay's house for a backyard fire. It felt so great to be outside in warm weather...something we don't always get to enjoy in Anchorage.

Sunday morning, Megan, Graham and I went for a walk and then enjoyed some coffee before Kala picked me up to head back to KC. Before leaving town, however, we met another college friend, Kate, for brunch at Granite City. After we finished, Kala, her fiancé Derek, and I headed back to KC. We watched some Olympic action and then Kala and I headed downtown so I could check into my hotel. Kala then took me to one of her friend's bars which was really close to my hotel. Snow and Company serves "artful frozen cocktails"that are made from fresh squeezed fruit and homemade syrups with premium liquors.

We each ordered a drink (I had the 'Pink Lady' and Kala enjoyed the 'A Kick to the Peaches') and shared a hummus plate and a veggie wrap. 

Really refreshing and tasty, the drinks were quite smooth and not too sweet. The food was delightfully fresh.

I had a great first weekend back in the Midwest. It was great to meet up with good friends and experience some Kansas City flare. I'm looking forward to a week of learning and more dining and exploring in Kansas City.

August 10, 2012


I apologize for the blogging slump. I'll be back soon.

For the time being, follow me on Twitter @3000milesNorth.