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Stephens Akwhari is the marathoner from the African nation of Tanzania who, in 1968, dehydrated, bleeding from three falls and suffering from oxygen deprivation, staggered into the Mexico City Olympic Stadium.

finished half an hour behind the second last runner and ignored pleas to quit from medical workers, Olympic officials and even his coach. The medals already had been awarded and preparations for the closing ceremony had to be delayed as Akwhari shuffled the final kilometres on blistered and bleeding feet.

image of Akwhari, then 29 years old, staggering into the nearly empty stadium, has remained one of the most potent examples of courage in an athletic spectacle that has spiralled, not just in size and scope but in corruption and commercialism.

Olympics have spiralled but the values have shrunk since Akwhari crossed the finish line and fell into the waiting arms of Red Cross workers.

believed I was a soldier,” Akwhari said yesterday from the athletes village. “My country had sent me there to do honour. You do honour not by starting a race, but by finishing it.”

was an accomplished marathoner as he approached Mexico City. He began running as a barefoot teen across the hills of what was then Tanganika. He finished second, still barefoot, at a major event in Greece in 1958 and placed sixth, wearing shoes, in 1962 at the Commonwealth Games in Perth.

while he had run at altitude,
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Akwhari was not prepared for the depleted level of oxygen he found in Mexico City. He was among scores of athletes devastated by the course.

parts of the race, I was near the lead,” he said. “I was going at normal speed but feeling uncomfortable. At 32 (kilometres), I started to get heavily cramped and dizzy. At 38 km, my coach pleaded with me to withdraw. He told me I was the only one left.”

that if he fell one more time, he could not get back up, Akwhari minced up the ramp and into the stadium.

step, the muscles were pulling at me,” he said. “It was painful for me the whole time.

didn’t hear anything as I looped around the track and tried to find the finish line,” Akwhari said. “Slowly, I started to to hear a noise, it was clapping. As I came to the finish line there were many people clapping and cheering.”

62 and chairman of his Tanzanian village, Akwhari was brought to Australia as an honourary coach for his country’s three marathoners. In Sydney, he found a chance to put a final imprint on the Games.

Red Cross put me on a stretcher to take me to a clinic as soon as I crossed the finish line,” he said. “I missed the closing ceremony.”

he strode onto the track yesterday, Akwhari completed a journey from a teenaged barefoot runner to a lasting symbol whose legacy dwarfs anything he could have achieved with a gold medal.
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Mark Wetmore is not one to toss around praise unless it is warranted, and so when the longtime University of Colorado head cross country and track coach summed up the 2014 season with, “It was a pretty good year,” it was heady kudos indeed.

And well warranted, I think you’ll agree, starting with the CU men’s cross country team’s successful fall defense of its NCAA championship, to go along with its fourth straight Pac 12 conference crown.

With mature leadership by seniors Blake Theroux and Jake Hurysz, Colorado handled the pressure of its season long No. 1 ranking to give Wetmore and CU their seventh team title in school history.

Then there was CU grad Emma Coburn, who clocked 9 minutes, 11.4 seconds for the 3,000 meter steeplechase, breaking New Balance teammate Jenny Simpson’s American record. times ever, and ranks 11th on the all time world list. national steeplechase title. For all that, she was a finalist for the 2014 USATF Jackie Joyner Kersee Female Athlete of the Year award. And Coburn might have won, except that the honor went to training partner and fellow CU volunteer coach Jenny Simpson.”Honestly, we were surprised and flattered by it, so much so that I got dressed up for it,” Wetmore said during finals week, as he and Burroughs took their lone break of the year from their exigent coaching demands. “We were very happy for it.”

Added Wetmore, in his 23rd year at Colorado: “Jenny and Emma’s summer,
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and then this fall, we will all remember this for a long time. We didn’t expect it to happen, but we planned for it.”

That planning started way back last winter for Coburn and Simpson, and already, Wetmore and Burroughs are working with their athletes on the 2015 season that will culminate in August at the IAAF World Championships for the professional runners, and next November for the Buffs cross country teams.

“From December to August is a long time, and so much can happen,” said Wetmore. “That is why when it comes together, we can all celebrate. We were happy with the year; it was one of our best.”

As the last sands of 2014’s hourglass run out, other highlights worth celebrating come to mind, including Jeff Eggleston’s 2:10:52 marathon, second fastest of the year by an American, behind only Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi. time of the year. Olympic team.

The ultra and trail scene continued to boom, headlined by Sage Canaday picking up $10,000 by winning the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 miler.

On Dec. 13, Laura Thweatt of the Boulder Track Club, another former Buff, won her second USATF national club championship, with the Boulder Running Company placing second in the team competition.

The vibrancy of the local running scene was shown by Boulder Running Co. alums Kevin Aker and Jeff Boele opening up Shoes Brews in Longmont,
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and Henry Guzman opening Flatirons Running in south Boulder. Guzman also brought his Heart Sole half marathon and 10K to downtown Boulder.

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Whew! I have to write a $300 column. I have never written a $300 column. Once I wrote a $295 column, so I know I have been close.

The winning bid on a column space that my editor and publisher graciously allowed to be auctioned off at the Red Cross Gala was $300. That was a tense moment for me. I was afraid I would have to bid on my own column. That would have been embarrassing in multiple ways. First, the obvious humiliation would have been bidding for my own item. Second, I could have only afforded about $20 tops. The opening bid came slowly, but the fervor did pick up a bit.

The Gala was, for me, surprisingly a good time. I usually don’t go to anything that requires a dress code more restrictive than a polo shirt and my new tennis shoes. You know what they say, you can take the boy out of Oak Park, but you can’t take Oak Park out of the boy.

However, I donned my one remaining dress jacket (luckily for me it was warm as I no longer own a winter dress jacket). I donated all of my old suits to Goodwill when I left the corporate world. Even there for the last few years I was on casual office dress code.

The evening was very enjoyable. I sat with Bill Hanson, my new publisher. I had only sat with him and talked once before Gala night and thoroughly enjoyed that initial meeting. He was equally as enjoyable as a dinner guest. His wife was gracious and charming.

The other table guests all got along well. We were newspaper people, so I suspect it might have been one of the poorer tables in the room. I am certain my W 2 brought the table average way below the room’s norm. I suspect there was enough wealth in the big room at Kye’s that evening to finance a small country’s economy.

It was one of the see and be seen nights. It is kind of easy to get a bit star struck. I hid that well as I worked the room acting as though I belonged. The best thing was that I only felt snubbed by one person whom I won’t identify. I found out later this person no longer answers to their name unless it is preceded by a title. Oops. As I said earlier, you can take the boy out of Oak Park . . . Pretentiousness is not a pretty personal trait.

The unabashed star and scene stealer of the night was one of our local treasures, Bill Scott. I am referring to “Big Bill” who is actually about half the size of “Little Bill,” his son both of Scott Funeral Home notoriety. Bill delivered a dead pan comedy routine that had the place in an uproar while talking about his friend and Bales Humanitarian nominee John Woerhle. Big Bill is one of the great guys with his lone lesser than admirable trait being that he is a Purdue fan. Like I told him before, Purdue has just about everything that IU has, and in fact, one advantage over their rival. If you sit in the cheap seats at Mackey Arena your vision isn’t blocked by all of those darned old NCAA Championship banners blocking your view of the game.

My Charlestown buddy, Harold Goodlett, Sr. honored my new friends William and Rebecca Resch. After seeing you and Jo side by side and her all dolled up, I still don’t get it. My favorite part of his speech was when he gratuitously mentioned a certain Charlestown Band Booster president. That was good stuff. And all those words about what good people The Reschs are, that was okay too.

Chair Mary Kragin Kramer, Kate Merchant, Kye and Phyllis Wilikins put on a very successful event. Now all that’s left for me to wrap up is to write a $300 column when my high bidder is ready. I thought I would practice on this one. I would give it about a $150 value on the open market. I didn’t want to waste a really good one before I had to deliver.


To the people who contacted me with questions, I am in the process of securing a site. Stay tuned and thanks for all of the nice comments.


Charlestown Mayor Bob Hall had a birthday earlier this week. In his honor I will relay a story I once heard.

It seems a centenarian was being interviewed by a young cub reporter. When asked the secret to his longevity, the senior responded, “Son, my lips have never tasted the evil liquor. The devil’s tobacco has never been in my mouth and I have never found myself in the company of lewd and lascivious women. And today I am celebrating my 100th birthday.”

The young reporter’s follow up question was simply, “How?”

Happy Birthday Mayor!

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Because he retired 25 years ago, anyone under the age of 40 will have little to no recollection of him as a player. But those who do will remember a wonderfully elegant, thoroughbred, Rolls Royce of a defender, who had pace and vision and coupled that with a never say die resolve. He was tough lord knows you had to be back then yet in an era which specialised in brutal centre halves, Mark was anything but. He was hard and clever in equal measure. In many ways he was like a modern defender, tasked with bringing the ball out of defence and keeping possession, and he was bloody good at it.

It was no coincidence that his arrival at Liverpool in 1981 led to an incredibly successful period. That season, Liverpool won the League title and the League Cup, then retained both for another two seasons, becoming only the third club in history to win three titles in a row. They also added the club fourth European Cup in 1984. He was also a much loved Ireland international.

He been on our screens and radio since 1992 and spent many years in punditry partnership with ex teammate and fellow centre half, Alan Hansen. While over the years, some have felt he was too downbeat, others like myself saw a man who wasn afraid to put a brake on the hyperbole and hero worship all too prevalent in modern football. He got better and better as the years roll by. Lawro stands out against the froth ocracy who want to whip everything up into something fantastic when we know it isn He doesn flip flop and he not easily impressed. And I sure that why he always in work. There nothing fake about him, nor is there any overly polished media trained blandness. He honest and straightforward and seems content in his own skin, and that gives the viewer or listener a sense of relaxed certainty.

As the years have gone on, even many of his erstwhile critics have fallen back in love with him, in the same way many of us did with Andy Townsend. We all had a drink. We all older. Now we understand that none of this is worth a hill of beans. All that matters is that we have a good time and get on with loving, rather than hating.

He a unique presence and he brings something very different to the party. Primarily sarcasm, at which he is absolutely brilliant. Also, as a big radio fan, I think you can tell the good guys from the rest. It is such an in your ear, nowhere to hide medium that the vibe between commentator and co comm is very discernible and it always feels like everyone is happy that Lawro is there. He paints with a colour that is all his own.

I must say, if you only see or hear him on TV, you are missing out on some gold on 5 live. If you got a couple of hours to fill, especially on a Sunday, get Lawro in. He can spin gold until the next news break like no one else.

He has that classic, ever so slightly camp Lancashire accent that is the sonic equivalent of a cynically raised eyebrow. The fact that most sentences end with a downbeat gives a lot of what he says a sceptical tone but, importantly, not in a crushingly negative way. Pleasingly, he not one for any modern linguistic nonsense like the rising inflective or starting every sodding sentence with I bet both of those things annoy the living daylights out of him almost as much as Twitter does. If you ever hear him say the word Twitter, it is always with acidic, withering contempt.

He a really good storyteller, able to give rhythm and pacing to a tale from his footballing past. And of course he is legendary for puns and terrible jokes. Again, this sets him apart. Yes they are awful and yes he knows they awful, but they are a unique colour in the tapestry of football life.

I always loved his one word responses to commentators:

looks in pain. Do you think he badly hurt, Mark? with as much stating the obvious certainty as possible. course, being a man of 60 years, having grown up in an era where life was considerably less sensitive and very much more brutal, any football person is going to occasionally commit a gaffe which will set Twitter alight and cause accusations of said football person being a very bad man. So Mark has done well to body swerve a proper big boo boo, though 2011 Benders playing against London clubs, that unusual, comment must have made a few BBC knees tremble.

But y making jokes is a tough business. Someone is always the butt of a joke, and in today hysterical environment where being offended has been turned into a lifestyle, and where such offence is prime steak to a media forever looking for meat to feast upon, to even attempt humour while broadcasting is seriously dangerous and not just a little rock roll.

His ability to end a sentence with in order to contradict his previous statement makes him a kind Wayne World of football. Not.

Also likes to end a sentence with he/did he not? For example: started out as a striker, did he not? This is a good technique for discussions because it makes a statement and then invites others to come in. And he most definitely loves a definitely too.

His predictions of Liverpool results are legendary because he never casts them as losers. This annoys the hell out of people, but what they failing to understand is that he doesn care. He appreciates that the whole thing is a nonsense and to be cross about such a thing is daft. He knows he is the only sane man in the madhouse.

One of our fine commentators got in touch to say this about Lawro:

is a man who, unlike many other so called experts, actually goes to matches, and is totally genuine. There no false are you mate when you catch up with him.

knows the game and loves the game. Plus he actually knows your name, which is terrific. At a funeral of a dearly loved Radio 5 colleague we all met in a pub beforehand, Lawro had already covered in advance whatever the bar bill would come to, but you only knew that when you attempted to pay, he certainly wasn going to mention it.

I had to choose a meal with any ex footballers now working in the media he be at the head of the table first name on the team sheet. that absolutely heartwarming?

is a great guy to work with. Very funny and a brilliant storyteller. You sometimes forget he was a big player in a historically great team. No airs and graces. Always gets a round in. suspect a crucial aspect to being a successful long serving football pundit is to be a good team player, a good tourist and be very clubbable. And clearly, Mark is all of those things.

Famously had a lush for many years. Is one of those men who, even after shaving off the fungus, seems like he actually still a mustachioed man. Clothing is just distinct enough to be memorable but not fashionable enough to express vanity or self regard. Only gets as ostentatious as wearing a stripey shirt with a white collar. Must own all manner of sensible, well made, moderately expensive menswear. Dark cashmere coats, plain heavyweight cotton tailored shirts, maybe even a pale pink polo shirt for the golf. Possibly has just one pair of very expensive leather shoes which will see him through most of a decade.

It may surprise under 40s to know that Mark was a dashing, rather rock roll looking man in his youth, he also had incredibly wide shoulders.

It inevitable when you a distinctive, characterful, colourful broadcaster that you will annoy some people. That is one of the qualifications you need to have to be great at the job. No one made good being middle of the road.

To be interesting you have to be who you are, you have to strike a distinctive tone. I think there is such joy in embracing all things Lawro and many people agree. When I asked on Twitter for comments, I got loads. I think he has a lot of secret fans people who know it not cool to like Lawro in the way it is to like James Horncastle but who nonetheless feel nothing but good vibes when he on radio or TV. I think these comments perfectly express what we enjoy about the man. Some are very funny.

imagine he a very dry wit and excellent company off screen. I gone full circle with him, and think he ace again of late. He does also, most definitely, know his stuff if that sort of thing matters to you. met him personally a couple of times, couldn hope to meet a nicer guy. felt that no football match he was covering could affect the mood he happened to be in that day. Loved him for that! love him to release spoken in the same style as Telly Savalas. Thinks he the king of laconic humour. I do love him not in the way he probably appreciate. cynical when doing co comms, but usually works out quite funny. That sort of his thing now. Has improved from his misery stage of a few years ago. complaints while watching a dire 0 0 Euros group game (for example) are just hilarious. In the era of Sky hype it quite a nice antidote. He better on radio, and refreshingly humble about his own playing career. me of an elderly, but good natured snail. commentated and analysed games as if he was suffering from a dark rum induced hangover. fairness his grumpiness and biblically hysterical 1 1 predictions for big games is hilarious. Dad jokes are something to behold. hair looks like the roof of a cottage. was a truly wonderful player in today market he would be worth many, many millions. I feel it is his self deprecation that stops people remembering quite how good he was. As a pundit he has a Sancho Panza role of broad humour, insight and saying what he thinks. Nice. the greatest comm/co comm badinage in the Croatia qualifier in 07. Croatia take the lead again at 3 2 and England look abject. Motty loses his sht after a period of silence; something Mark! can John! Loved him since then! occasionally a bit too knowing, but a sense of humour and a back catalogue aren to be dismissed on having a good commentator to with. Loves the game, as passionate and blinkered as all of us. a bit of work on Irish radio on Saturdays and always talks sense, with plenty of Lawroisms thrown in. our younger readers an absolute thoroughbred of a centre half. Like if David Luiz was being controlled by Ronnie Moran instead of know. the greatest day the world has ever known (Birmingham Carling Cup win) his famous sense of humour hit heights never before seen. is 6 when standing and 5 when jumping. For that alone, I shall always love him. I happily have a pint with him after that. the one hand he’s a caricature, a relic from a punditry age gone by, but then I hear him on Irish radio and he fully up to speed with the modern game. His sarky comments on co comms are glorious too. legend in his own lifetime. Bumped into him at the CL Final in Rome 2009. Happily posed for photos with a load of beer up United fans. Including me. Given the result, was a highlight of the trip. greater joys than hearing him laugh uproariously, half off mic, to the witty aside of his comms partner during a dreary dead rubber World Cup stalemate. man, he is so entertaining for his absolute grumpiness and the glimpse of any poor defending. And his sense of pride that is so visible every time he makes what he thinks is the funniest joke ever. And where would he be without his brilliant predictions each week. Legend. to annoy the hell out of me, but like a kidney stone, passed through. Now I quite like him like an older Andy Townsend in that respect. misanthropic co comms were sometimes a very accurate reflection of the dirge he was watching. love Lawro. He biased, grumpy and gives awful puns but like your uncle he knows way more than you and can tell you so with just a sideways glance. be lauded for his use of truly unique character amidst a sea of identikit flotsam. Has the air of a man who discovered the elixir and isn about to share it with the likes of you or I. is a unique voice and presence among the punditocracy. There is, was and will only ever be one Lawro. across as genuine when he being grumpy, unlike other pundits who are deliberately trying to be controversial. Clearly loves the game and his bluntness is sometimes a nice antidote to all the hype. Another one of those people who are better on the radio than the TV. these quotes from Lawro re his role as defensive coach at Newcastle under Keegan: did absolutely nothing. Honestly I did absolutely nothing but my CV looks great because we finished second and got into the Champions League. I trained every day I was first pick of the staff in the five a side! I got myself fit and all that and after three months I said to Kevin I earning money under false pretences here Self deprecating and disarmingly honest to a fault. has the air of someone who was in ELO and fell out with both Jeff Lynne AND Roy Wood. Probably even Bev Bevan. sartorial taste and terrible puns when Valencia keeper Canizares dropped a bottle of aftershave on his foot, Lawrenson remarked the injury had his chances of a move to Cologne Easy to forget what a superlative defender he was. played him Andy Cole song on Football Focus in the week of its release, asked Lawro his opinion and he just wearily shook his head and said toilet liked Lawrenson. One of my first newspaper jobs as a temp was to call him out of the blue and ask some rubbish questions. He was very, very nice about it. (Barney Ronay) Mark when I did a Five Live Premier League preview show in February 2015 he was lovely. I also spotted him write my name down on a piece of paper after I introduced myself so he wouldn forget it and could reference me by name during the show. Which he did often. (Sachin Nakrani)

I fervently hope that Mark is in our lives for many years yet, because there no one else who can express being unimpressed or disgruntled in quite so magnificent a manner. I leave you with 5 live absolute commentating star, Ian Dennis, who got in touch to say this.

is a joy to work with. He is so easygoing, no ego whatsoever. His career both on and off the pitch speaks for itself, especially when you consider his longevity as a pundit. He so modest, what people might not know is how generous he is in every respect. Funny, kind, modest, a genuine top bloke and it always a pleasure to be in his company. we should all hope to be so well regarded. To all doubters, I say free your mind: Lawro is a national treasure and lord knows we will miss him when he gone.

Better still, he probably hate all these nice things being said about him because, like all us Northerners, he built to resist hate, not to accept love. But love it be. Cheers Lawro!
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“Since the very beginning, I have always thought that my job really . is dressing a huge variety of people of all ages, different body types, different heights, different ethnicities,” Kors said backstage, just before launching is 36th fall collection. “And (in this show) we have women and men from their teens to their 40s. We have people who are petite, we have people who are curvy, we have people who are tomboys . Honestly is my job is to make everyone look the best they can look.”

Kors’ collection, which drew Blake Lively, Amanda Peet and Vogue editor Anna Wintour, among others, focused on sensuality this season.

“I really kept thinking about the dichotomy that I think people want to feel strong and at the same time when you’re feeling strong and powerful you still want to be sexy, but I don’t like the idea of overt sexy,” he said. “So we’re really thinking about sensuality the season. And how do we express that particularly in a way that I think is great for the city streets?”

What Kors came up with, he said, was “a sneaky kind of sexiness.” Makeup, for example, was minimal.

“There’s not a miniskirt in sight,” he added. “Long sleeves for the most part. But, at the same time, when you walk things unwrap, fringe flies.”

The collection was heavy on comfy sweaters, camel coats, and colorful furs. But there was also a decent dose of evening glam: A number of items were embedded with crystals, providing their own light source as they traveled down the runway.

Celebrity models included Bella Hadid, in a slate leopard wrap dress, and Kendall Jenner, closing the show in a decidedly glamorous strapless, black fringed dress with black sequin embroidery. Valletta wore a black crepe dress with black and silver embroidery.

A 20 piece orchestra was directed by fashion show sound veteran Michel Gaubert.

“In my head I guess I’m a bit of a Broadway impresario,” Kors said. “I always say that I’d love to produce a Broadway show and I would. I think in so much of today’s world, people don’t experience the idea of anything live anymore.”

Nicole Evatt and Jocelyn Noveck


Lauren transformed his Madison Avenue flagship store into an oasis of orchid adorned walls and treated guests to their scent and the piped in tweets of birds for a serene show of burnished gold and desert tones that had his models wending their way down a grand staircase through two floors, the crowd tucked away on cozy white couches and chairs.

Rodriguez presented a sleek, disciplined and beautifully tailored collection Tuesday evening, thrilling fashion fans who might be wearying from some of the louder spectacles of Fashion Week, now in its closing days.

And while some designers sent overt messages about the nation’s political and social turmoil slogans on T shirts, for example Rodriguez was happy to let his craftsmanship do the talking. “No shenanigans anywhere,” he said, summing up his collection.

“I think there’s so much fashion today and there’s so much theater and that’s great,” he said in a backstage interview. “But I guess what I am trying to say is that the climate we’re experiencing has made me focus on things that are pragmatic and real and beautifully made.”

Standout garments included dresses and tops with ladder like cutouts in front, adding a bit of spice to the impeccably tailored look. There were cropped pants, a few filmy black tops, and shimmering paillette dresses. There were sleek cashmere or wool coats in black, white, gray and copper, and a loosely fitting silk dress that looked impossibly soft.

“I think everything that happens in the world affects any creator, any filmmaker, everyone, and this is certainly a time where I was focusing on creating things that women were going to be wearing in the future,” Rodriguez said. “And hopefully getting rid of any of the nonsense.”

He said he hoped to be making garments that women would keep forever in their closets.

“I think we have the capability . to create things that empower people not because they’re wearing huge shoulder pads, or impractical things, or costumes, but you can make people feel really good by giving them something that they’ll treasure for their entire life, and they’ll want to keep in their wardrobe forever and hopefully pass it on to their daughter,” he said.

Front row guests included the newly arrived Calvin Klein designer Raf Simons, and actress Sarah Jessica Parker.

Jocelyn Noveck


Delpozo’s craftsmanship on the runway was heavy on architectural dresses, voluminous skirts, curved pleat peg leg trousers and inflated sleeves.

At Pier 59 Studios on the West Side Highway, couturelike silhouettes seemed to float away in geometric designs under the sounds of xylophones and drums played by musicians on site.

Backstage, creative director Josep Font said his fall winter collection was inspired by Swiss sculptor Max Bill and Hungarian painter Jozsef Rippl Ronai.
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By all accounts, Genny had little interest in company or small talk. She tolerated the social workers, cops, mental health counselors and church staffers who approached her over the years with offers of help. But she brushed off their suggestions of motel vouchers and bus passes and clinic visits. Delve into her personal life, and she’d respond with steely silence. Like hundreds of others who sleep on Sacramento’s streets, she was a puzzle of intelligence and delusion, endurance and vulnerability, need and stubborn denial.

Marie, a retired nurse, and James, a retired chef, lived in an apartment just a few blocks from midtown’s B Street Theatre, and got their daily exercise by walking to the post office on Alhambra and Q Street. Along the way, they often saw homeless people, mostly disheveled young men who railed at invisible enemies. Both held a deep moral conviction to help those in need. So they volunteered at nearby St. Francis of Assisi church and at the Loaves Fishes homeless services complex, and passed out gloves, socks and other provisions during their walks.

As far back as Diane could remember, her mother had been subject to dark suspicions and volatile mood swings, but her mental condition never was discussed at any length. When her girls were young, Genevieve suffered what family members described as a “nervous breakdown” and wound up in a psychiatric ward for a few days. When she was older, Diane remembers being told her mother had paranoid schizophrenia. But it’s not clear when or where the diagnosis came, or whether she had ever sought treatment.

In 2012, with the pastor’s blessing, Genny set up camp in the side entrance to the elegant Faith United Methodist Church on J Street. For months, the Rev. Barbara Horikoshi Firebaugh had made small talk with Genny whenever the two crossed paths en route to a nearby Subway. She told Genny the church entrance needed to be clear for Sunday services, but otherwise she was welcome to stay. Genny complied, disappearing early each Sunday and returning in the afternoon. She interacted with some of the church staff, once alerting them that a door lock was broken, and occasionally accepted leftovers from congregational gatherings.

People also gave Genny money, which she typically stuffed down her shirt. One morning in October 2013, police arrested her at one of her midtown sleeping spots, charged her with illegal camping and took her to jail. When she was booked, according to sheriff’s spokeswoman Lisa Bowman,
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deputies found $6,681.70 stashed beneath her clothing, with many of the bills virtually glued to her skin. She was given a check for that amount when she was released later that day, Bowman said. Genny took the check. But, with no bank account or identification, she never cashed it.

Sacramento police Officers George Chargin and Michelle Lazark witnessed Genny’s stubborn resistance for years as they patrolled the streets of midtown. It was part of their job to respond to complaints about illegal campsites, rousting homeless people from their sleeping spots. On cold and rainy nights, Chargin and Lazark sometimes sought Genny out to offer a voucher for a hotel room, but she steadfastly refused. More than once, the officers said, they considered taking Genny to a hospital, where she could be held for 72 hours as a danger to herself.

As a young mother, Diane wanted to be everything that Genevieve was not. She read and sang to her daughter, made sure her teeth were brushed and her clothes clean. The family gathered around the table each night for dinner. Stephanie attended the same schools as her friends from first grade until high school. Although Diane and her first husband divorced after 18 years of marriage, they did so amicably. Diane went on to remarry, and Stephanie grew up close with both of her fathers. She knew stability and unconditional love.

The coroner had identified Genny through her fingerprints. Her full name was Genevieve Lucchesi, the Boyers were told, and she was 77. Cause of death was listed as cardiovascular disease. She had arrived at the morgue with the clothes she was wearing, a Del Taco gift card, business cards from El Hogar Mental Health Clinic and the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, and $24 in cash. She also carried a check made out in her name: $6,681.70 from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department’s inmate fund, dated Oct. 25, 2013.

Diane agreed to speak about her mother, she said, to help illustrate the destruction that mental illness can inflict on families. She counts herself as an example of someone who survived, even thrived, in spite of it. Stephanie is thriving, too. She is 34, with an easy smile and cascading blond hair. She has a husband and two young sons, loves to cook and decorate, and works as a teaching assistant with special education students. With continued treatment and family support, she’s learned to work through and manage her depression.
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Reserve Dinner Dance tickets for $40 a person (reserve by March 27), or Dance Only tickets for $20. Each ticket is $15 tax deductible. Cash bar. The menu for the dinner buffet includes grilled hamburgers, grilled chicken breast, assorted buns, calico beans, Jo Jo’s or steak fries, fresh vegetable display and dip. Ask regarding dietary requests or restrictions. People’s Bank in Eau Claire, at 2720 Golf Road, will also take ticket orders in person. William’s Diamond Center is an early Gold level sponsor, and Banbury Place and Charter Bank early Silver sponsors. Proceeds from the celebration support the Museum’s summer and school year educational programs, which serve almost 4,000 students a year.

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The concept of acculturation, conceived in the fields of anthropology and sociology early in the 20th century (see Park Burgess, 1921; Redfield, Linton Herskovits, 1936), has been used to explain dynamics involved when people from diverse cultural backgrounds come into continuous contact with one another. Throughout the years, theories of acculturation have evolved from the unidirectional school of thought with an emphasis on assimilation to bidimensional and interactive perspectives which posit various acculturative outcomes (see Berry, 1980; Castro, 2003; Chun, Organista Marin, 2003; Gordon, 1964). Acculturation theories could potentially offer insights into multifaceted and often versatile interactions between immigrants and the dominant culture. The processes of acculturation are, however, complex and have often been dealt with in the literature in confusing and inconsistent ways (Berry Sam, 1997). The interchangeable use of the terms assimilation and acculturation in many acculturation theories also points to the persistent melting pot discourse. Furthermore, many acculturation theorists have not explicitly reflected upon their ontological and epistemological orientations and biographies, and how these impact their work. These contexts call for the use of an anti oppressive and social justice lens to critically examine the prominent acculturation theories and their usefulness to understanding of interactions between immigrants and the dominant culture.

The anti oppressive and social justice perspective has served as a critical lens for feminists, critical race theorists, queer theorists, and proponents of the rights of persons with disabilities, among others, to examine social structures that favor certain groups in society and oppress others along social divisions of class, race, gender, ability, sexual orientation, and so forth. Philosophically, proponents of the anti oppressive and social justice view position themselves in the transformative paradigm (Mertens, 2004), also known as the structuralist or socialist collectivist paradigm in social work literature (see Payne, 1997; Poulter, 2005). They reject the notion of consensus in the nature of society, and attempt to deconstruct apparently democratic notions of and individualized power as convenient illusions which mask a more complex reality in which some are more able than others to exert influence (Tew, 2006). Instead, they see society as changing and evolving not through cooperative endeavour, but through conflicts of interest, power and resources (Howe, 1987).

According to the anti oppressive and social justice perspective, complex, multifaceted oppressive relations at the personal, institutional, cultural, local, national, and global levels permeate all physical, psychological, cultural, economic, political and spiritual domains of humanity (see Dominelli, 2002). Oppressive relations divide people into dominant and subordinate groups along social divisions. It also exerts, reinforces and defends its status quo through various oppressive mechanisms, such as normalization of dominant values and priorities, curtailing activities of subordinate groups with social control systems, attacks on formation and reformation of identity, aimed at dehumanizing people and ascribing to them a subordinate status, creating myths of superiority and inferiority, and cultural alienation and annihilation (Dominelli, 2002; Freeman, 2006; Mullaly, 2002).

With respect to social justice, the anti oppressive perspective is critical of conventional notions of distributive/redistributive social justice, which focus solely on the distribution and redistribution of income and other resources, often defined in terms of some kind of social minimum (Mullaly, 2002). Rather, it advocates for procedural justice with greater emphases upon social structures, processes and practices (see Duetsch, 2006). As a profession, social work has articulated its commitment to social justice and human rights (see Abramovitz, 1998; CASW, 2005; NASW, 1999). It is, thus, necessary to put a spotlight on the theorists ontological and epistemological orientations and histories before delving into the theories.

Ontologically, many influential acculturation theorists, including Milton Gordon and John Berry (see Gordon, 1964; Berry Sam, 1997), have firmly planted their philosophical roots in realism, which posits an objective, knowable and universal reality (Williams Arrigo, 2006). Berry and Sam (1997), for example, insist that although there are substantial variations in the life circumstances of the cultural groups that experience acculturation, the psychological processes that operate during acculturation are essentially the same for all the groups. They go on to state explicitly that adopt a universalist perspective on acculturation (Berry Sam, 1997, p.296, italics in original). Such an empirical, universalist stance on acculturation has been responsible for a significant body of theoretical work that denies historically, politically and socially situated realities facing immigrants and fails to explain varying experiences in immigrants lives. The field of acculturation has been dominated by white males of European descent, who often do not speak immigrant languages (Gans, 1997). Yet, these scholars do not readily discuss their limitations with respect to their understanding of languages, cultural nuances and histories. They seldom offer a critical account of the effect of their own biographies, worldviews and ideologies on their work with people of diverse cultures and on their own theoretical development. Further, they often do not articulate their awareness of the social, political and cultural contexts in which they are living, and how these impact their work. Consequently, their analyses of acculturation have been ahistorical, gender neutral, and apolitical. Most ironically, their views on culture have been rather monolithic, overlooking diversity within cultural groups.

In summary, the existing body of knowledge related to acculturation theories has been bounded by the prominent theorists relatively uniform ontological and epistemological orientations and histories. It is important to keep these limitations in mind as we proceed with a critical examination of the prominent acculturation schools of thought, namely unidirectional, bidimensional and interactive acculturation.

In the unidirectional tradition, acculturation is synonymous with assimilation, or absorption of subordinate groups into the dominant culture. Early in the 20th century, Robert Park drew upon the hallmark ecological framework of the Chicago school of sociology to describe the process through which ethno racial groups progressively and irreversibly experience contact, competition, accommodation and assimilation (Park, 1950, p.138). Building upon his mentor work, Gordon (1964, 1978) proposed an assimilation model that describes the gradual process of absorption of immigrants and members of ethnic minorities into the dominant culture at the individual and group levels. Gordon classified assimilation into seven types and their sub processes: (1) cultural assimilation and acculturation (change of cultural patterns to those of dominant culture); (2) structural assimilation (large scale entrance into institutions of dominant culture); (3) marital assimilation or amalgamation (large scale intermarriage); (4) identificational assimilation (development of sense of peoplehood based exclusively on the dominant culture); (5) attitude receptional assimilation (absence of prejudice); (6) behavoural receptional assimilation (absence of discrimination); and (7) civic assimilation (absence of value and power conflicts).

According to Gordon theory, cultural assimilation and acculturation is the first step of the absorption process that would take place and that would continue indefinitely even when no other type of assimilation occurred (Gordon, 1964). Gordon vision for intergroup harmony, however, rests in the centrality of structural assimilation. He states, structural assimilation has occurred, either simultaneously with or subsequent to acculturation, all of the other types of assimilation will naturally follow (Gordon, 1964, p.80 81, italics in original). Gordon rationalized that structural assimilation would facilitate opportunities for interethnic relationships, which in turn provide opportunities for interethnic marriages. Marital assimilation then would result in the loss of ethnic identity of minority groups, promote stronger ties with the receiving society, and over time reduce prejudice and discrimination. Gordon made it clear that the culture, in the American context, that represents the direction and eventual outcome of assimilation is the cultural patterns of, largely, white Protestant, Anglo Saxon origins (Gordon, 1964, p.72). Acculturation, in his view, would require the extinction of any form of ethnic identity in favor of an exclusively national identity.

Subsequent efforts, notably by Gans (1973) and Sandberg (1973), addressed Gordon somewhat static formulation of assimilation with their explicit elaboration of the notion of assimilation. Again, immigrants and members of ethnic minorities would be involved in a sequence of intergenerational steps, progressively stepping away from ethnic zero and moving toward assimilation (Alba Nee, 1997). Portes Zhou (1995), conscious of the importance of socioeconomic factors in immigrant adaptation, challenged the notion of homogeneous acculturation, and offered a segmented assimilation theory. They outline several distinct forms of adaptation, including: (1) acculturation and integration into the white middle class, (2) assimilation into the underclass, and (3) preservation of ethnic cultural traditions and close ethnic ties through social networks in the community.

From the anti oppressive and social justice perspective, the unidirectional acculturation school of thought is pervasively and devastatingly oppressive. Its assimilation framework, both as a social process and an ideology, mirrors the deliberate colonization of the so called World nations and cultures by European imperialism over the course of hundreds of years. It involves the sociopsychology of superiority and domination of Eurocentric ways of being, the assignment of inferiority and otherness to non European people, and the gravitation toward expansion, exploitation and subjugation. The prevalent assertion among the unidirectional acculturation theorists that the ultimate aim for acculturation of immigrants is their assimilation into the dominant culture, involving their eradication of any form of ethnic identity in favor of an exclusively national identity (Gordon, 1964), is parallel to the final act of appropriation in the chronology of imperialism (see Smith, 1999).

Theorists of the unidirectional school of thought gravitate toward an existentialist functionalist orientation, putting a strong emphasis on social equilibrium, stability, and free will. They have not adequately and justly examined the structure of the dominant receiving society and its role in the social construction of socioeconomic inequities facing immigrants. Specifically, they fail to position acculturation in the larger social, political and economic contexts of intergroup relationships and interactions, to question the role of power and domination in the marginalization of immigrants in the assimilation process, and to understand the historical influence of colonization and imperialism in modern day immigration. Even some progressive segmented assimilation scholars, such as Portes Zhou (1995), have only discussed the issues related to social class in deterministic, consensual terms. Unidirectional theories, then, view acculturation as a one way, psychological process relevant only to immigrants in their journey toward cultural shedding, behavioural shifting and eventual full absorption into the dominant culture. Embedded in this view is the inflated notion of free will exercised by immigrants, and undeclared structural determinism with respect to the dominant culture. Psychosocial and economic struggles of certain groups of immigrants are, thus, viewed as their failure to shed their cultural inferiority and to acquire the aspired to Eurocentric, middle class norms and standards.

With a few exceptions (see Portes Zhou, 1995), the unidirectional acculturation school of thought perpetuates the pervasive myth of equal opportunities. Immigrants are assumed to be able to achieve a good life, similar to that of the dominant culture, once they shed their cultural identity, norms and practices and achieve full assimilation. This myth serves two purposes. First, it reinforces the myth of fairness in an unfair society in order to justify the status of the dominant culture. Second, it masks the fact that social position and resources will give some people preferred access to these so called (Mullaly, 2002). The myth of opportunity, therefore, helps to put blame on immigrants who fail to achieve Eurocentric, middle class life patterns. Those who experience socioeconomic hardship are seen as people of inferior, inassimilable cultural groups who fail to take advantage of the equal opportunities available to all citizens. The myth of equal opportunities, of course, has been proven untrue. It has been well documented that immigrants do not have equal access to opportunities in various aspects of their lives, including education (Ngo, 2007; Watt Roessingh, 2001) and employment (Statistics Canada, 2001), and that second and third generation children of immigrants have experienced differential rates of poverty and social alienation (Portes Zhou, 1995; Reitz Banerjee, 2007). If there were such a thing as equal opportunity for immigrants, it would be the equal opportunity of becoming unequal.

Finally, the monolithic view of culture, inherent in the unidirectional acculturation school of thought, refuses to examine the diversity within cultural groups in terms of gender, age, sexual orientation, ability and so forth. It further attacks the very identity formation and reformation of immigrants. By presenting Eurocentric middle class cultural patterns as the goal, the monolithic view has reinforced inferiority and subjugation of non European immigrants by the dominant culture. Unidirectional acculturation theories ignore the devastating impact of the extinction of ethnic cultural identity in the process of assimilation on the wellbeing of immigrants, and its potential role in creating bleak socioeconomic realities for some immigrants. Unfortunately, the oppressive intent behind the unidirectional school of thought has often escaped scrutiny in the existing literature. Many scholars, particularly those who focus on measurement of acculturation of immigrants, have uncritically incorporated the established unidirectional acculturation theories into their research efforts. They have contributed to the imperialistic discursive field of knowledge that pathologizes the complex and often unjust experience facing immigrants (see Cuellar, Harris Jasso, 1980; Padilla, 1980; Szapocznik, J. Scopetta, Kurtines, Aranalde, 1978; Wong, 1999).

Criticism of unidirectional acculturation theories led to the development of the bidimensional acculturation school of thought. Prominent, and perhaps most influential, in this school of thought is John Berry, a Canadian scholar of cross cultural psychology. Berry (1974, 1980) proposed a quadric modal acculturation model outlining acculturation strategies that individuals and groups use in their intergroup encounters. Central to this model is the concept that there are two independent dimensions underlying the process of acculturation of immigrants, namely maintenance of heritage, culture and identity, and involvement with or identification with aspects of their societies of settlement (Berry, 1980). Projected orthogonally, an acculturation space is created with four sectors within which individuals may express how they are seeking to acculturate: assimilation, separation, marginalization and integration (see figure 1). According to this model, assimilation occurs when there is little interest in cultural maintenance combined with a preference for interacting with the larger society. Separation is the way when cultural maintenance is sought while avoiding involvement with others. Marginalization exists when neither cultural maintenance nor interaction with others is sought. Finally, integration is present when both cultural maintenance and involvement with the larger society is sought. Other scholars have also proposed similar bidimensional acculturation models (see Phinney, 1990; Bourhis, Moise, Perrault Senecal, 1997).

Figure 1a: Quadric modal acculturation model (Berry, 1980; 1984)

Like its unidirectional acculturation predecessor, bidimensional acculturation theory gravitates toward the functionalist perspective. In a recent publication, Berry, Phinney, Sam Vedder (2006) stated, we seek to avoid the extra baggage that often accompanies terms such as mainstream, majority, dominant, minority, non dominant and host society (p.11). This is as much a declaration of their apolitical, ahistorical and overall functionalist stance in viewing intergroup relations as a statement about their choice of terminology. Without a willingness to engage in critical examination of domination and institutionalized oppression (legitimizing the dominant group power through established social structures in all social, political, economic and cultural domains), bidimensional acculturation theorists focus solely on how immigrants, in a one way process, acculturate themselves into the dominant culture. Even though the bidimensional school of thought offers various acculturation outcomes, its notion of acculturation, with a strong focus on changes of identity, life patterns and adaptation of immigrants, carries remnants of the assimilation school of thought.

Without being grounded in social justice, bidimensional acculturation theories have faced some serious conceptual limitations. At issue are the two foundational dimensions, namely maintenance of cultural identity and characteristics and relationships with the dominant culture. In the context of intergroup relations, identity is a site of struggle that involves ongoing negotiation, creation, deconstruction and re creation (Dominelli, 2002). Depending on their dominant subordinate experiences and subsequent effects, struggles and resilience, immigrants may view their cultural identities differently at various points in life, and at times even experience a false sense of identity, as in the case of internalized oppression. race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and so forth) among immigrants. Similar dynamics also challenge the construction of the second dimension of immigrants relationship with the dominant culture in the bidimensional framework. A sole focus on immigrants perception of their relationships to the dominant culture as individuals possessing free will undermines the dominant subordinate interactive processes that involve exclusion, negotiation, acceptance, accommodation, and so forth, and have varying impacts on immigrants relationships with the dominant culture. Without a deeper understanding of social justice involved in formation and reformation of multiple identities of immigrants and their interactions with the dominant culture, the bidimensional acculturation theories at best cannot provide a holistic explanation of inequitable socioeconomic realities facing some immigrants, and at worst pathologize a marginalized population.

Finally, the language attached to various acculturation modes requires analysis. In the consensual perspective, the bidimensional acculturation theories assume horizontal hierarchy in power relations among groups. This unexamined and biased assumption is in direct co
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UNION SPRINGS Tiffany Sennett loves a bargain, and as a mother of three, understands how clothing expenses can add up.

Combining her fondness for resale shops and garage sales with the joy she feels when she’s around children, Sennett planted the seed of one day opening a toy store and children’s clothing consignment shop of her own with her husband, Kevin.

This summer, after a year and a half of planning, with little fanfare, but with some good timing, the couple opened The Growing Tree Boutique on Union Springs’ main drag.

“We didn’t really do a lot of advertising; we just wanted to open quietly,” Tiffany said. “But people definitely saw us and checked us out.”

Syncing the shop’s opening in the same month as the nearby MacKenzie Childs Barn Sale and50 Mile Garage Salemeant shoppers had one more stop to pick up a good buy.

“I don’t want to pay full price for clothing for children,” she said. “I want people to leave here saying, ‘Man, I got a good deal.'”

The boutique, located at 151 Cayuga St., brings a brightness to the town’s commercial district, which appears to be on the upswing. This May, Karen Luziani celebrated a one year anniversary of Karen’s Country Confections, and in June, Liz and Aaron Hoskins brought burgers to boaters when they opened The Burger Boat in Frontenac Harbor.

“The locals have been really pleased with the store and the storefront,” Sennett said. “Karen and I are constantly scheming ideas to bring people into the village.”

The Union Springs entrepreneur and resident sees an opportunity for other enterprises to sprout next to the Growing Tree Boutique.

“It’s an exciting time here,” she said. “I hope the Union Springs storefronts start filling up with restaurants and shops. There’s no reason we can’t have all those things.”

Inside the boutique, which was formerly the gift shop Copperesque, the Sennetts’ clothing displays are an eye catching marvel of clever utility. Kevin’s reuse of old barn shutters combine with water pipe infrastructure to create racks exhibiting colorful clothing for ages newborn to 14. The child centered tone of the shop is reinforced by a whimsical mural left by the former retailers and revamped by Sennett, depicting a hillside landscape.

“I chose Melissa Doug to be my only new items. I love their classic wooden toys,” Sennett said. “They’re timeless.”

A toy market, complete with a tike sized shopping cart and cash register, and within sight of the adult sized cash register, will occupy the littlest customers as parents make selections of clothing and other, gently used necessities, such as strollers, bassinets, playpens and activity seats.

Maureen Riester, business development specialist with the Cayuga Economic Development Agency, worked with the Sennetts to find the right spot to open the consignment shop.

“As a mother, Tiffany understands the need for affordable, quality childrens items and saw the opportunity to open a boutique in this area,” Riester said.

Sennett relishes the hope her store stays put for years to come and becomes a locus of activity for Union Springs families. The warmly lit shop’s spacious back room will begin hosting yoga classes in October “for moms and children.”

“As the kids grow up, we can grow up with them,” Sennett said.

Within walking distance of area schools, the Sennetts’ three children will have a spot to meet up with their mother after classes. The Sennett’s eldest, Gabrielle, 11, earned enough money this summer to buy an iPod by helping her parents sort the clothes people sold to the store at 40 percent of their resale value, or at 60 percent store credit.

The family also credits Gabrielle with choosing the shop’s location. Saturdays and Sundays; closed Mondays

WHERE: 151 Cayuga St., Union Springs

There are three ways to exchange items at Growing Tree Boutique in Union Springs:

40 percent of the resale price for cash

50 percent of the resale price for consigned items with higher resale value, such as strollers, bassinets, swings and high end goods

60 percent of the resale price for in store credit

Clothing and shoes must be freshly laundered and stain free; matching outfits should be together; shoes must be wiped clean. Walk ins are accepted, but for items totaling more than a laundry basketful, call ahead for appointment.
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Jon Shields starts every day with a barefoot run along Lido Beach and a 500 meter swim in the Gulf.

Then, without drying off or putting on shoes, he goes to work.

For 39 years give or take a few brief sidetracks Shields has spent his days with sand between his toes, the sound of seabirds in his ears and the Gulf waters spread out before his eyes like an ever evolving masterpiece.

“To start every day like that is unbelievable,” says Shields, a Lido Beach lifeguard. “I feel absolutely blessed.”

He was 19 and a recent graduate from Venice High School when he took a summer position with the county at Siesta Beach. It was meant to be a short sabbatical from school and a welcome change from a coat and tie sales job at a menswear store.

But to someone who spent his childhood years in Rockford, Illinois, swimming in ponds and dreaming of living like Tarzan “in a loincloth with no shoes and swinging on vines,” this was as good as it gets.

“I’d never thought seriously about doing it, I didn’t even have the Red Cross requirements,” says Shields, 58, who was encouraged by a friend to apply. “But I just thought this was fantastic. From that very first summer, I loved it.”

He came back the following summer, and when a year round position opened up, college fell by the wayside. But he still wasn’t thinking “career.”

Over the next five years there was a stab at modeling in New York (one month), a stint in Colorado climbing cliffs and doing pool maintenance (one summer) and a year as a firefighter, a parentally approved future. But performing CPR on bodies he knew were lifeless while hysterical spouses sobbed nearby was not for him.

“I didn’t like it at all. For me, it was always heartbreaking,” Shields says. “And again, I was in clothing .”

Every day is unique

Much to the dismay of his father (“What are you doing?”) and the amusement of his buddies (“There’s the beach bum!”), he quit the fire department and went back to the beach. There were no openings in Sarasota, so he spent a year at Coquina Beach in Manatee County before a position opened at Lido, the only city run lifeguard program at the time, in 1986.

He’s been there ever since, stationed at one of the three stands or circulating between them. It was there he met his wife of 26 years, Tricha, on a blind date at a party by the rock jetty. And where his daughter, Alle,
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now 23, grew up, surfing, boogie boarding and learning from Dad about water safety and beach critters.

As Lido’s institutional memory, he can tell you about everything from the public backlash that occurred when they outlawed topless bathing in the mid ’80s and the cops in Speedos the police department sent on undercover patrols when North Lido became a haven for gay men.

But most of the time it’s been just one sunny day after another. Not just the weather people who come to the beach are almost invariably in a good mood and Shields is, too.

But he’s also well aware of how quickly a day can get dark; all it takes is rough water and someone who overestimates his abilities. Two of those days he will remember forever; both involve men swept out to sea by tides or rip currents. One he saved. The other despite unprotected CPR that forced him to undergo a year of blood testing he couldn’t.

Thankfully, there aren’t many like that. Most of the time, the biggest strain is shrugging off stereotypical notions about lifeguards.

“A lot of people think of us as mindless bronze Adonises,” he says, looking like a bronze Adonis, albeit not a mindless one. “But you have to make split second decisions and be ready to react at a moment’s notice.”

There’s one stereotype, however, he admits to. He calls it a “fringe benefit.”

“Girl watching? It’s an undeniable part of the job,” he admits. “If you didn’t look, you wouldn’t be human.”

But even on the days when there aren’t any bikinied bodies, or cute kids to reunite with parents terrified they were lost, or yes, even on the days when there is no sun, Shields is content. If he were firefighting, he’d still be consoling the hysterical; if he were modeling, his career would be over, and if he were doing pool maintenance well, a swimming pool is not an ocean.

“One question I get all the time is, ‘Aren’t you ever bored?'” he says. “I am never, ever, ever bored. There’s too much to enjoy about it. Even on the coldest, dreariest winter day,
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this is a beautiful place to be.”