In Helping His Dad With Diabetes, Young Mexican Chemist Pioneers Healthy—and Cheap—Sugar Substitute
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Javier Larragoiti and team working in the Xilinat lab

When 18-year old Javier Larragoiti was told his father had been diagnosed with diabetes, the young man, who had just started studying chemical engineering at college in Mexico City, decided to dedicate his studies to finding a safe, sugar-alternative for his father.

“My dad tried to use stevia and sucralose, just hated the taste, and kept cheating on his diet,” Larragoiti told The Guardian. Stevia and sucralose are both popular sugar alternatives, and many reduced-sugar products available today contain one or the other.

With stevia and sucralose out of the picture, the young chemist needed to keep searching. He started dabbling with xylitol, a sweet-tasting alcohol found in birch wood but also in many fruits and vegetables. Xylitol is used in sugar-free products such as chewing gum and also in children’s medicine, but is toxic to dogs even in small amounts.

“It has so many good properties for human health, and the same flavor as sugar, but the problem was that producing it was so expensive,” said Larragoiti. “So I decided to start working on a cheaper process to make it accessible to everyone.”

Xylitol Made Cheaper

Corn is Mexico’s largest agricultural crop, and Javier has now patented a method of extracting xylitol from discarded corn cobs. Best of all, with 28 million metric tons of corn cobs generated every year in Mexico as waste, there’s no shortage of xylitol-generating fuel.

Simultaneously, Larragoiti hit on the idea of how to make xylitol less expensive, while inventing a way to reuse the 28 million tons of corn cobs, substantially upgrading the traditional means of disposal: burning them.

Especially in a pollution-heavy country like Mexico, reducing the amount of corn waste burned, would eliminate a portion of the carbon emissions.

His business, Xilinat, buys waste from 13 local farmers, producing 1 ton of the product each year. His invention was awarded a prestigious $310,000 Chivas Venture prize award, which will enable him to industrialize his operation and scale up production 10-fold, diverting another 10 tons of corn cob from the furnace.

Continue on to the Good News Network to read the complete article.

Monica Lozano Joins Apple’s Board of Directors
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monica lozano sitting in a black suit with apple logo in the background

By Apple Newsroom

On January fifth Apple announced that Monica Lozano, president, and CEO of College Futures Foundation, has been elected to Apple’s board of directors. Lozano brings with her a broad range of leadership experience in the public and private sectors, as well as a long and storied track record as a champion for equity, opportunity, and representation.

Prior to joining College Futures Foundation, Lozano spent 30 years in media as editor and publisher of La Opinión, the

Image Credit – (Monica Lozano is the newest member of Apple’s board. Photo: Getty Images)

largest Spanish-language newspaper in the US, helping shine a light on issues from infant mortality to the AIDS epidemic. She went on to become chairman and CEO of La Opinión’s parent company, ImpreMedia. Lozano continues to serve on the boards of Target Corporation and Bank of America Corporation.

“Monica has been a true leader and trailblazer in business, media, and an ever-widening circle of philanthropic efforts to realize a more equitable future — in our schools and in the lives of all people,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Her values and breadth of experience will help Apple continue to grow, to innovate, and to be a force for good in the lives of our teams, customers, and communities.”

“Monica has been a pioneer in every organization fortunate enough to benefit from her vision and expertise,” said Arthur Levinson, Apple’s chairman. “After a thorough and fruitful search, I couldn’t be more confident in the positive impact Monica will have on our board and Apple as a whole.”

“I’ve always admired Apple’s commitment to the notion that technology, at its best, should empower all people to improve their lives and build a better world,” said Lozano. “I look forward to working with Tim, Art, and the other board members to help Apple carry those values forward and build on a rich and productive history.”

Throughout her accomplished career as a business leader, public servant, and philanthropist, Lozano has made an indelible impact on companies and communities in the US and around the world, earning awards from organizations like The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

In her role as CEO of College Futures Foundation, Lozano has been a tireless advocate for expanding access to higher education, partnering with philanthropic organizations, state and local governments, and local communities to improve opportunity for low-income students and students of color.

Lozano is a co-founder of the Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program, and a former chair of both the University of California Board of Regents and the board of directors of the Weingart Foundation, a private philanthropic organization. Lozano is also a former board member of The Walt Disney Company.

Read the original article at Apple Newsroom.

In Minority Communities, Doctors Are Changing Minds About Vaccination
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two black women waiting in line outside buiding waiting for vaccination

Many Black and Hispanic Americans mistrust government officials, and instead have turned to physicians they have long known.

Like many Black and rural Americans, Denese Rankin, a 55-year-old retired bookkeeper and receptionist in Castleberry, Ala., did not want the Covid-19 vaccine.

Ms. Rankin worried about side effects — she had seen stories on social media about people developing Bell’s palsy, for example, after they were vaccinated. She thought the vaccines had come about too quickly to be safe. And she worried that the vaccinations might turn out to be  (Image Credit – The New York Times)                                      another example in the government’s long history of medical experimentation on Black people.

Then, one recent weekend, her niece, an infectious disease specialist at Emory University in Atlanta, came to town. Dr. Zanthia Wiley said one of her goals in making the trip was to talk to friends and family back home in Alabama, letting them hear the truth about the vaccines from someone they knew, someone who is Black.

Across the country, Black and Hispanic physicians like Dr. Wiley are reaching out to Americans in minority communities who are suspicious of Covid-19 vaccines and often mistrustful of the officials they see on television telling them to get vaccinated. Many are dismissive of public service announcements, the doctors say, and of the federal government.

Continue to the original article at The New York Times. 

Farmworker turned astronaut Jose Hernandez urges kids not to give up
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Astronaut Jose Hernandez in spacesuit smiling holding his space suit helmet

Former NASA astronaut Jose Hernandez spent most of his youth working the fields.

So many kids have struggled with remote learning, but Hernandez wants them all to know when it comes to their future, the sky’s the limit.

As a young boy, Hernandez picked fruits and vegetables alongside his family.

“We spent nine months in California, three months in Mexico, but those nine months I went to three different school districts,” he explained.

The family settled in Stockton. Jose couldn’t speak English until he was 12 years old, but STEM subjects spoke to him.

“I gravitated towards math because 1 + 3 is 4 in any language,” Hernandez said.

When he was ten, Jose told his dad he wanted to be an astronaut, so his father laid out a five-part recipe for success.

First, set a goal. Then recognize how far away you are from that goal.

“The third thing is you have to draw yourself a road map to know where you’re at to where you want to go,” Hernandez added. “And then I asked what’s the fourth? He said you’ve got to get an education.”

The University of the Pacific grad called hard work the fifth ingredient.

But his path was a difficult one.

“NASA rejected me not once, not twice, not three times but 11 times. It wasn’t until the 12th time that I got selected,” he said.

Hernandez would blast off with the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery in 2009.

“It’s a ride that even Disneyland would be envious of because you go from zero to 17,500 miles an hour in eight and a half minutes,” he recalled.

Jose worked on the International Space Station during the 14-day trip, which covered 5.4 million miles.

“I wish we had a frequent flyer program,” Hernandez laughed.

He circled the globe 217 times but remains a down to Earth guy who tells kids how to realize their own dreams.

“Hard work and perseverance and not being afraid to dream big,” he said.

Continue on to the NBC 7 to read the complete article.

Hispanic and Latino health and the Affordable Care Act
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The ACA has narrowed racial gaps in access to health care, but Latinos are still nearly three times more likely to be uninsured.

As a little girl, I would accompany my immigrant mother to her numerous doctor’s appointments; I didn’t know it, but at the time, she was fighting a brain tumor. By the tender age of 7, I had translated most medical terminology from English to Spanish; see, my mother did not speak any English and when she went to the doctor’s office, I was her tiny translator, not that I knew much, but I tried my best.

By the time I was 13, I understood what was happening to my mother and knew how to discuss her symptoms with all her physicians, including neurologists and radiologists. I had my mom buy me a Spanish-to-English medical dictionary and became well-versed in the processes that happen at every one of my mother’s appointments: blood pressure check, weight check, neurological tests. When I moved out of my parent’s home at the age of 24, she stopped going to her doctor’s appointments regularly and chose which doctors she “felt” like going to at the time. I have heard all of the excuses in the book: “I don’t know if they will have an interpreter,” “I feel fine, why do I need to go?” and the most recent one, “I don’t have the money to go to the doctor.”

Read the full article at Benefits Pro.

Why Many Latinos Are Wary Of Getting The COVID-19 Vaccine
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NPR’s Rachel Martin talks to Dr. Eva Galvez about the issue of vaccination hesitancy among the Latino community she serves in Oregon. Polling shows Latinos are less likely to trust a vaccine.

New data from the CDC this month continues to show the disproportionate impact the pandemic is having on certain communities. Those numbers show that Latinos are being hospitalized at almost four times the rate of whites. Polling has also shown that Latinos are less likely to trust a vaccine.

 (Photo Credit – BBC News)

So why is that? I spoke with Dr. Eva Galvez. She’s a family physician at Virginia Memorial Health Center in Hillsboro, Ore. Most of her patients are first and second-generation Latinos.

EVA GALVEZ: There continues to be just a lack of accurate information available to the community about the vaccine. So in other words, information that we are reading in different media platforms is often not in a language or at a literacy level that my patients can understand. So definitely this leads to many questions and also leads to much misinformation. What often happens is when people don’t have access to accurate information, they rely on other platforms, word of mouth, social media, and those are often not accurate. And we have seen anti-immigrant rhetoric. We’ve seen anti-immigrant policies. And there’s just mistrust, I think, of the federal government. And so when you have what they perceive as a federal government trying to bring a vaccine to the community, naturally there is some mistrust, and there is fear.

MARTIN: Do you see that fear and distrust across the board, or is it more acute among undocumented immigrants?

GALVEZ: We have a lot of mixed-status families, so even families who maybe have the documents to be in this country, they’re worried about grandma or aunt or uncle or Mom and Dad who don’t have documents. So, really, this fear is being seen whether or not people have legal status.

MARTIN: Is there a particular anecdote you can share, a conversation you’ve had with someone who was honest about those fears or concerns?

GALVEZ: Yeah, absolutely. It was a family who came in to get care for their children. And so the visit really was not a visit for Mom and Dad. But Mom asked me if the vaccine was safe, and she had heard some information on a social media platform that the vaccine had long-term side effects and that the vaccine was actually risky. And then she asked me, how can you ensure that this vaccine is safe? And then what I told her was that we had done very many studies, and it had gone through a rigorous process and that, based on my reading, that it was safe. And what I conveyed to her was that all vaccines have side effects, but that the risks of the side effects generally are less than the benefits of getting the vaccine. And that was how we ended up leaving the conversation. So she didn’t tell me that she was going to get the vaccine, but she certainly seemed open to the vaccine. And so it’s really fighting two battles here. One is trying to convince people that the vaccine is safe and that it is important, but at the same time is also trying to rectify all of those messages that they have been getting from other sources. So these conversations really do take time.

Continue to the full article at NPR.

Free Zoom alternative: Microsoft Teams lets 300 users video chat for 24 hours
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Laptop webcam screen view multiethnic families contacting distantly by videoconference. Living abroad four diverse friends making video call enjoy communication, virtual interaction modern app concept

This year has been a huge year for Zoom, as families and friends around the world have turned to the video chat service to stay in touch during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Microsoft Teams just barreled into the room to make Zoom look a little silly by comparison.

According to The Verge, Microsoft’s primarily business-focused video call app is getting a free tier with a 24-hour time limit on calls just in time for the holidays.

As many as 300 people can jam into one room, with a gallery view that can display up to 49 of them on one screen. (Zoom has a max of 100 participants for Basic and Pro users.) There’s also a feature called Together Mode that will arrange everyone’s video feeds so it looks like they’re sitting together in a theater or coffee shop. If your family is that big, feel free to go nuts with Microsoft Teams — and good luck following the conversation.

Calls can be started and joined from a web browser so you don’t need to download an app. Whoever starts the call will need a Microsoft account, which you should have on hand if you’ve ever used Office or an Xbox but is pretty easy to set up if you haven’t. Crucially, folks who don’t have Microsoft accounts can join calls.

Continue on to Mashable to read the complete article.

Putting the AISES Family into a Family Practice Career
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AISES Family

By Don Motanic

It takes a special village to raise a Native doctor, and in the case of Kelsey Motanic, Umatilla, and Coeur d’Alene, the village includes the AISES family.

As her father, I can take credit for starting her AISES family connection. I’ve been a member since 1981 and served on the Board of Directors (1999–2002), the Winds of Change Editorial Advisory Council (2001), the Local Planning Committees for several National Conferences (1988, 1993, 2000, and 2009), and the AISES Finance Committee (2000–2020). I also was an exhibitor at the National Conference Career Fair for more than three decades (1986–2019). My wife, and Kelsey’s mother, Mary Beth, a registered nurse, has also been a part of the AISES family volunteering at National Conferences. During the 1980s, most exhibitors were engineering companies, and health care students used to stop by my forestry exhibit to thank me for being about the environment. Happily, these days all exhibitors, including the engineering companies, have an environmental and sustainability focus.

Kelsey first encountered the AISES family when she was a 12-year-old doing her homework in a room at the BPA Building in Portland during a 2000 National Conference planning meeting. At the 2009 National Conference, she heard Dr. Bret Benally Thompson talk about his experience as a medical student and doctor, which helped inspire her to apply to and complete medical school at the University of New Mexico. During that conference, she also sat next to John Herrington, and they compared their GRE and MCAT preparation exams toward the Ph.D. and MD they would achieve, respectively. Kelsey also received her Sequoyah medal at that 2009 conference. I worked with Shirley Jaramillo on National Conferences at that time, and Shirley would become an extended family member for Kelsey in Albuquerque while she completed her four years of medical school.

The importance of our AISES family circle was underscored this spring when Kelsey finished her three-year medical residency with the Seattle Indian Health Board at Swedish Medical Center. During her last three years, she reconnected with a mentor, Polly Olsen, Yakama, who had helped Kelsey apply to medical school programs in 2009. Kelsey found out that Polly’s family picked huckleberries in the same fields as my family. This AISES family reconnection is also multi-generational because Polly’s uncle was the late Richard “Dick” French, an Ely S. Parker Award recipient and the person who inspired me to become involved with the AISES family in 1981.

Kelsey spent the last challenging months of her residency working the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle at the hospitals while also living next to Seattle’s Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (a focus of international news during the George Floyd protests). She found out that I had also lived in that same Capitol Hill area while I attended the University of Washington during the time of the Fort Lawton Native Occupation and the 1975 George Jackson Brigade attack on the Seattle watershed. I was then a firefighter for the City of Seattle and on the watch for any Brigade attack. 

Kelsey and I were both first responders living and working in the same location during historic Seattle events, but nearly 45 years apart, and we’ve both lived to share our stories. Kelsey will continue putting “family” into family practice because she will start her own practice near family as a physician with the Puyallup Tribe. 

For the past 25 years, Don Motanic, Umatilla and Coeur d’ Alene, has been a technical specialist for the Intertribal Timber Council. Motanic spent most of his career with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, starting in 1978 after receiving his forest engineering degree at the University of Washington. He was a forest engineer at Yakama and a forest manager with his Umatilla Tribe as well as with the Spokane Tribe, where his mother grew up. He’s been president and vice president of the Lower Columbia/Willamette River AISES Professional Chapter (1995–2020) and lives in Brush Prairie, Wash.

Reprinted by permission from Winds of Change © 2020 by the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.

Meet Georgia Sandoval
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Georgia Sandoval standing outside University building smiling with arms folded

Zigzag. That’s the advice Georgia Sandoval, a high-performance architect at Intel, has for STEM students.

“You think there’s only one path for you and if you fail, everything’s going to fall apart,” recalls Sandoval, 28. That’s when you learn to zigzag.

Sandoval bases that insight on her own story. “If you don’t get an internship, then try for a research opportunity,” she says. “If one path doesn’t work, try another until you get where you want to be. Nobody has a linear path in life.”
In high school in Tuba City, Arizona, Sandoval was often the only girl in math classes. Because she was shy, she never applied for extracurricular programs. “It was a lack of confidence,” she explains. “I didn’t think I’d get in any, so why bother?”

Things didn’t click until she was a junior at Arizona State University and took a coding class. “I really loved it,” she says. A year later, she graduated with a degree in computational mathematics.

Today, after stints at Boeing and Raytheon, she’s at Intel helping create the world’s first exascale computer. Able to perform a quintillion floating-point computations per second, this new breed of ultra-supercomputer will help scientists model climate change, map the brain, and conduct advanced physics research.

Sandoval’s job involves making performance projections, a role that entails far more than crunching numbers. “We have brainstorming meetings throughout the day on how we’re going to solve the next problem,” she says, and collaborates with scientists from multiple national labs, who send her bundles of their code to evaluate.

Her Navajo heritage has guided and strengthened Sandoval along her path, which has not always been easy. She was single mother in college who had to work her way from tribal college to community college and finally to Arizona State University. Being a role model for her child inspired her to finish her college degree.

“My parents continue to say, remember who you are, and remember who your people are, so you’re grounded,” says Sandoval.

She has a special fondness for her masani (her mother’s mother) who told her, “The way to succeed in this new world of technology is to use your brain, study, and always walk on dirt to remember where you came from.” Sandoval offers that advice to today’s students: “Find the balance between culture and modern society, without sacrificing your core identity.” Above all, she wants students to remember they’re not alone. “In college I was pushed to network, even when I didn’t want to,” she recalls. “But I made sure to be myself. People can see when you’re faking it. Explore new areas — there are so many opportunities out there.”

Succeeding in college networking was a big step from her days as a shy high school student. She wishes that back then she had learned an important lesson. “It is okay to admit you need help, to admit you’re scared,” she explains. “The most important thing is to talk to someone, to ask for help — to figure out what you want and build your confidence.”

Georgia Sandoval has come a long way. “I was always the quiet girl in the corner,” she says. “I’m far from that now.”

—George Spencer

Reprinted by permission from Winds of Change © 2020 by the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES).

Virtual Events Take Center Stage
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young Hispanic woman on tablet outside

By Innovate Marketing Group

As the live events industry awaits COVID-19 regulations, guidelines, and phase rollouts; innovations and digital opportunities arise, virtual events take center stage, and the importance of an events agency and planner sustains.

Why go virtual? Virtual events have proven to be an effective and efficient way to convey content and engage attendees. Experts shared that future events will incorporate a digital aspect as a hybrid-type model as the events industry seeks to widen their audience and maintain contingency plans. Events will see more virtual aspects embedded into their programs moving forward.

Going virtual also brings market share and new opportunities.
“Some companies that were previously on hold to wait out COVID-19 have either pivoted to virtual or seriously considering since the recovery is so uncertain. Business still needs to go on. Leadership conferences, educational and training are still vital for companies,” said Amanda Ma, chief experience officer of Innovate Marketing Group.

All of the different elements of a virtual event need to be coordinated into one impactful and engaging experience. The event agency’s role includes helping guiding businesses to pivot to the new normal, advising and adjusting contract changes, applying event strategies to help meet goals, vendor coordination and recommendations, program management and managing multiple tracks, marketing and communication, incorporating sponsors and stakeholders and the guest experience.

Some of the many benefits of pivoting to virtual include:

  • Cost savings and lower cost per guest attending
  • Access to a wider audience and reach, and not limited by location
  • Replay capabilities and reusable on demand content
  • Lower carbon footprint and less impact on the environment
  • Attendee engagement
  • Opportunity to get creative and engage viewers in new ways
  • Metrics, instant data tracking and capture, and gaining new insights
  • Virtual events eliminate the need for a venue, catering, rentals, stage, décor, photographer, videographer, transportation, etc.
  • Taking action – calls to action link in right away; connect, survey, polling, Q&A and donate

Some challenges in comparison to a live event include emotion and energy, stimulations such as touch, taste and smell, memory and recall, networking, and viewer attention span.
Innovate Marketing Group also shares top best practices in going virtual, such as setting your goals on information, education, message, attendee and sponsor engagement, networking, etc.

Format: Determine your virtual event format – webinar, webcast, pre-recorded sessions, simu-live, live streaming, networking, exhibitors.

Registration: Reconsider the registration process, including number of users who will be accessing the website, personal data, payment processing safety, and customized questions per data you would like to collect.

Keep Your Audience Engaged: with tools such as live polling, question and answer sessions, networking opportunities, gamification, live leader boards, rewards and social media feeds. Maintain your event experience by making your guests feel involved and connected to your program. We are in the planning stages of a 3,000 people walk/run event, and one of the ideas is on the day of the event to have a virtual DJ play during the walk and the organization lowers the volume if messages need to be communicated. The music is based on what the organizers want. This way while people are walking, they can stay connected as part of the program.

Pre-Event Communication & Marketing: Communication and marketing are key. Unlike an in-person event where they must get dressed up, drive to the event, and spend more time to prepare for the event, a virtual event is simply a login to a platform. Therefore, it is very important to send out reminders and build up the anticipation of the event. In a recent virtual event, we advised the client to ask for the attendee’s cell phone number.

So, in addition to email reminders, the week of event and day of, a text notification was sent out to all attendees. We received great feedback for putting that in place. It reminded folks the virtual event is coming up and to tune in. Digital marketing, promotion, advertisement, and video content is still very important for a virtual event, before broadcasting on your event day.

Surprise and Delight Before the Event: Sending a swag bag prior to the event with items relevant to the event. For an upcoming conference, we are sending a box with a blue light blocking glasses, candle, custom door handle, notebook, T-shirt, and a coffee tumbler. We have a special note to go along with this kit to kick off the conference mindset. On the day of the conference, we asked everyone to wear the shirt provided. One less worry about what to wear on “top.”

Content is King: Offer educational, relevant, timely and meaningful content that people will want to hear. It is vital to create content that captivates guests, sparks their creativity and results in productivity.

Do Not Try to Replicate Your Live Event: Instead, look for new opportunities but stay true to purpose of your event. Keep principle of why your guests were coming together, and make it part of the equation.

Test, Test, and Test Again: Technical difficulties may occur, and it often distracts from your event. Have a run through with your speakers and moderator in advance and test the virtual release on your platforms.

She’s patrolled the Navajo Nation for nearly 20 years. Nothing prepared her for the COVID-19 outbreak
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Officer Tallsalt standing next to her car and a cross looking into the distance

The Navajo Nation patrol car pulled up to the jail near the center of town and Officer Carolyn Tallsalt stepped out. She adjusted her surgical mask, pressing the edges so they sealed against her cheeks, then flung open the door to the back seat where there was a woman in handcuffs.

A jail guard proceeded to pepper the woman, arrested for disturbing the peace, with questions.

Have you been in contact with anyone known to have coronavirus? Have you contracted the virus yourself? Do you have a fever or body aches?

“No, no, no,” the mask-less woman mumbled, before coughing twice into the open air. Tallsalt stepped back.

The guard placed a temperature gun to the woman’s forehead — 95.8, a few degrees lower than the average body temperature. Cleared to go inside, the woman walked to the side entrance, escorted by Tallsalt. That routine process, which Tallsalt has performed countless times in a nearly 20-year career, carries a stressful new weight during the COVID-19 outbreak. At the start of each shift, she thinks the same thing: I hope I am not exposed today.

More than a dozen fellow Navajo Nation officers have contracted the virus along with thousands of residents of the sprawling reservation.

“My anxiety is out of control,” Tallsalt, 53, said on a recent afternoon. “You don’t know who has it.”

Since mid-March, when the novel coronavirus began to spread like a brush fire on the dry, remote 27,000-square-mile reservation, daily patrols for the nearly 200 Navajo Nation officers have transformed into an exhausting mix of stress and overwhelming sadness.

Here on the Navajo Nation — spanning portions of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah — nearly everyone knows at least one victim of the deadly virus.

Continue Reading the Full Article at the Los Angeles’ Times Website

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