Monday, January 26, 2009

Voices Carry, part 1

There are many challenges in producing this forum. First up, keep pumping out the content on a daily basis, staying broad based, timely and current, consequently "keeping it real," from various angles. All of this can be feat all unto itself and often times put myself in the precarious situation of evaluating what makes the cut each outing. Thusly not shying away from hot button topics, fringe subjects or offering unpopular observations. It's all here and will always be here, openly and unabashed. As a community collective, I encourage robust discussion, debate as well as all voices that carry.

BackTalk: Last Friday, I posted an e-mail response from a reader which detailed his personal observations concerning DSRA. I wanted to clarify that those unedited opinions were his own and his alone to share inside this forum. Often the opinions of others may run counter to my personal viewpoint, but otherwise they deserve to be heard if meeting our abbreviated publishing standards as well as our respect for free speech. I expected to hear from those involved with the organization in question, plan to certainly solicit there rebuttal or counterpoint and encourage each of you to give us your thoughts on this or any of our postings. The below unedited e-blast is from a DSRA supporter and frequent COP reader whom wanted weigh in on this matter.

In regards to Ken's comments on the DSRA becoming a money hungry free-for-all Sex club, let me say this. The DSRA RENTS the space to the Diamond State Bars for these Boots and Boxers partys. If you have a complaint about these functions, perhaps they should be directed to Michael who is in charge of these functions. And, attend a board meeting of the DSRA and let your feelings be known to the Board of Directors. I doubt seriously that EVERY fundraiser you have attended at the DSRA ended up in a "no-condom,no-care orgy. Having attended most fundraisers at the DSRA over the past two and a half years, I have NOT witnessed what you speak of. The DSRA rents the clubhouse out to various people and organizations which in turn, helps pay the rent and allow our community too have a rodeo every two years. Yes the DSRA has been plagued with turulence, musical chair leadership over the years. Most is due to the fact that our community would rather bitch and gripe, than climb on-board, join the DSRA, and get involved. I certainly don't agree with the Boards Leadership, however, the small group of active paid members elect these individuals and those seeking or wanting a position on this board are few and far between. Many of those serving on the Board have done so for years, they are burned out. But in order too keep the DSRA alive and kicking these people remain committed. So I suggest to you Ken, be knowledgeable in your facts, approach the Boards of these organizations ( Does the Diamond State bears have a board ?) If others feel the same as you, take them with you. Get involved and actively join, speak up and out.

Steve Thomas

Taking a Bite out of HIV: The Arkansas Health Department has announced a Special Oral Health Initiative offering dental services to current or future clients of the Ryan White Part B Program utilized by district ConsortiaCare providers. In Little Rock, that ConsortiaCare provider comes in the guise of the Arkansas AIDS Foundation. According to a circulated memo from Ty Keller, Program Services Manager, the program will allow clients to access dental services from statewide dentist using a $2,500 threshold for limited allowable procedures. Dental health of HIV/AIDS individuals has been widely contested as a low level priority which needed additional resources and revenue infusions to impact end users. Participants must be enrolled by March 31, 2009 through contacting their case workers. This forum will continue to post more information on this program or contact Ty Keller at 501.661-2433.

Paging Dr. Cannon: Did you know that there's a new Executive Director at ConsortiaCare District 1 also known as co-entity the Arkansas AIDS Foundation? It's Dr. Michael Cannon according to content on it's website. Of course, I was researching other material when I discovered this add on to their web tool which still has blurbs about AIDS Walk 08 and other old news with basically no follow up. Shame on that webmaster! In the meantime, did I miss a press release? Where's Mr. Cannon's bio on the website? What!!... no meet & greet for the new Executive Director or was I not invited? Apparently, I've got to send out a request for info, interview, smoke signal, or something about the who, what, when and where Dr. C is going to take this organization in 2009.

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