Need in the News, Vol. I, Issue 11

An overview of “stories of need” with links to news articles, editorials, press releases and blog posts from around the area, the nation and the world:



  • SPAIN & CATALONIA: This upcoming Sunday the people of one of the wealthiest and most economically viable regions of Spain could vote to become independent in an unofficial referendum on secession. Tensions between Madrid, the seat of the Spanish government, and Barcelona, the seat of Catalan government go back for generations, but the recent financial difficulties faced by Spain have stoked patriotic passions on both sides.
  • This central Barcelona garage door graffiti says in Catalan, "300 years of Spanish occupation." (Marrton Dormish)
    This central Barcelona garage door graffiti says in Catalan, “300 years of Spanish occupation.” (Marrton Dormish)

    BANGLADESH: Thousands protested a recent garment factory fire that killed more than 100 people, even as a new fire broke out at a different factory.

  • COLORADO, USA: Legislators have promised to review the state’s child protection system in the wake of a recent investigation by The Denver Post and Denver’s 9News that revealed concerns about the care some children have received.

Fighting the Good Fight

  • SAN JUAN TARARAMEO (Mexico): Maria Santos Gorrostieta, the former mayor of a town in Mexico and mother of three, had long defied the cartels that now rule large swaths of her country. Last month she was kidnapped and later found dead.
  • TOMS RIVER (New Jersey): One determined hospital worker swam to work in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
  • LONGMONT (Colorado): The Inn Between helps homeless families get back on their feet.
  • THE INTERNET: One recently diagnosed cancer patient is trying to come up with an open source cure.
  • MOGADISHU (Somalia): Ahmed Jama ran a thriving Somali restaurant in London, but after the long-lasting conflict in Somalia recently died down, he decided to return home. So far he has opened four restaurants in his homeland, and isdetermined to move forward with his palate-satisfying, community-focused vocation, despite a bomb blast in September that  killed 12 of his customers and destroyed one of his restaurants.
  • BOULDER (Colorado): A former homeless veteran helped serve Thanksgiving dinner for Boulder’s needy. Meanwhile, Community Food Share conducted its annual “Let’s Bag Hunger” food drive.
  • MANCHESTER (New Hampshire): In a unique “Live-Free-or-Die” initiative, a community in New Hampshire wants to mobilize members of its community to help the needy rather than rely on taxes to do it for them.
  • LAS CRUCES (New Mexico): Two Peace Corps volunteers are raising money to build a running track at a school in Ethiopia.


Major Troublespots

  • DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Rebels continue to advance and this long-suffering country is once againdescending into chaosAfrican leaders have demanded rebels leave the city of Goma, and the DRC government has refused to negotiate with the rebels until they do.
  • LESOTHO: Despite pledges from the international community, the tiny country of Lesotho continues to suffer from food insecurity due to late rains, poor harvests and long-term agricultural issues.
  • SYRIA & TURKEY: The civil war in Syria is now heightening tensions between Turkey and the region’s Kurdish minority, which wants autonomy from both sides of the Syrian civil war.
  • SPRINGFIELD (Missouri): One community debates how best to address the local scourge of meth labs.
  • ISRAEL & PALESTINE: Fighting between the Israeli military and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip took at least 100 lives. A ceasefire is currently in effect.


Reflections & Reviews

  • UNAFFORDABLE CARE?: The health care legislation that proved a lightning rod issue during the November elections presents challenges for some of the people it proposes to help most.
  • GIVING TUESDAY: Will this new moniker for donating to good causes at the outset of the holiday season become a lasting tradition?
  • SMALL TOWNS THRIVING, BUT…: A recent USA Today report found incomes in small towns thriving, while incomes in cities and suburbs continue stagnate.
  • THE CLOTHES ON OUR BACKS?: A fire recently killed more than 100 people at a garment factory in Bangladesh. The factory included items from several international clothing brands, and it appears at least one clothing retailer was aware of safety issues at the factory. Do consumers also bear responsibility for incidents like these?
  • POST-SANDY HOUSING CRISIS: Is it possible affordable housing projects can actually increase property values? Adeveloping solution in New York in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
    • Bitter Seeds“: A documentary on the plight of Indian farmers.


Published in November on

  • House of Peace — A profile of the visitation program of the Casa de Paz hospitality house in Aurora, Colo.
  • Mountains of Coats — I recently joined a few friends to collect 18 bags of coats for needy people.
  • On Family — A brief update on Dry Bones Denver features a video on the meaning of family.
  • Shadows & Dust / November  — My review of books I’ve read recently.
  • On empathy — Blogger and writer Mary Wade reflected on empathy and the story of need.


Coming Up

  • Commentary: “Shadows and Dust” for December, reflections on “The Sweep Gospel.”
  • Stories: A look at economic poverty in the midst of one of the world’s richest communities is still in the works.


Share your thoughts about this month’s review of “need in the news” or offer additional links below.

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