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Editorial
Folio Weekly Wraps Up

 

Dear Folio friends,

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live.

Folio Weekly has experienced the economic freefall of this outbreak, and I have picked this moment to retire and conclude our business operations.

If you have been among our loyal readers, you are a treasure to me.

If you have been an advertiser in Folio Weekly, you made a worthy choice in locally owned media.

If you sold us products or services, you did us right.

If you allowed distribution of Folio Weekly at your business, your generosity cast light in this corner of Florida.

If you agreed to be interviewed for a story in Folio Weekly, I hope you feel we treated your story with respect.

If your name ever appeared in our masthead as an editor, writer, salesperson, designer, business manager, photographer, route driver, freelancer or contributor let it be known you were among the best at your craft.

Stay healthy and hope to see you soon.

Sam Taylor | Publisher

(904) 860-2465

Categories - Main
Angel Among Us

If there has been a defining theme of this awful year, so far, it has been death. COVID-19 has accelerated the usual pace by which tragedy has swept across our nation, taking precedence over standard fare like opioids, gun violence and suicide. One notable passing in recent weeks received little to no attention in the media, which is also experiencing one of its worst years. But we will take a few minutes to memorialize her in this column, because this column might not exist if not for her.

Charlotte Figi was 13 years old when she took her final, failing breaths at a hospital in Colorado Springs, Colo., on April 7. It was an epileptic seizure that killed her, and it was the seizures that brought her and her family to Colorado to begin with. Dravet syndrome may very well be the most brutal form of epilepsy. Figi had her first seizure when she was only three months old, and she was having as many as 300 every week by the time she was five.

Her parents searched high and low, far and wide, for a solution—any solution that could help their daughter. They found it in the form of cannabis, specifically CBD oil, which reduced the number of seizures by 99 percent. It was a revelatory moment in medical science, and it’s impossible to guess how many others benefited, especially children. That strain was originally called “Hippie’s Disappointment,” due to its miniscule concentration of THC, but it was later reborn as “Charlotte’s Web,” and her story became the foundation of the medical marijuana movement in this country. We couldn’t ask for a better spokesperson.

Cannabis helped her greatly, but there is no cure for the condition. She tested negative for the coronavirus when she was first admitted to the PICU; she was discharged two days later, which was a fatal yet common error in this harsh new reality. The extreme fever that typifies COVID-19 likely triggered her final seizure on April 7, and she died in the arms of her parents. Her tiny body, already weakened by years of illness, was no match for the great scourge of our time, but all things considered, a seizure was probably a more humane death than the slow, solitary suffocation that has claimed most of its victims. Figi’s family lingered with symptoms for nearly a month, but they did not qualify for testing. We can only speculate as to whether more prompt action could have saved her life, but all of that is academic now.

Her life was widely documented, but outside of her local news and the canna-centric press, her death was only mentioned in passing—although the New York Times did a nice feature on her. The lack of attention is understandable; we are all preoccupied right now. It cannot be stated forcefully enough, though, that Charlotte Figi changed the world, very much for the better. She did more than anyone else to humanize the case for cannabis as medicine. Her image countered the prevailing stereotypes of users, and even the most hardened skeptics could not deny the results she achieved.

There’s no way to know for sure, but the odds are good that the movement would not have expanded far beyond her adopted home state (and certainly not in Florida) had the Figi family not shown such courage in defying the law, moving across the country, and allowing her story to be told. The young lady’s legacy will endure through kids who will never know who she was. RIP

Living
Esteemed Colleagues

With a considerable increase in the number of people working from home these days, there has never been a better time to be a dog. Our owners no longer leave for large chunks of the day anymore. They don't even get dressed. Some of them rarely shower.

But it can be stressful for pet parents working remotely for the first time. Dogs (as well as cats) can associate presence with having unfettered access and attention. However, there are some simple steps you can take to help your pet adjust to your new work-from-home lifestyle.

Structure promotes productivity, so creating a schedule for your workday can do wonders for both you and your dog. Try to maintain as many regular routines as possible, such as mealtime, playtime, and normal mornings and evenings, so it’s only the hours in the middle, when you don’t leave the house at your usual time, that will feel different. Most dogs feel more secure when they can predict what is going to happen each day.

If you’re like most workers, morning is your most productive time of day, and a time you’ll want your dog on its best behavior. A good way to ensure this is to exercise your dog before you begin working. Exercise has a calming effect on canines and can induce napping. Besides that, it’s a healthy bonding activity for both of you. Start the day with a brisk walk or jog with your dog. Even a morning game of fetch can do wonders for your workday.

While you’re busy with your work duties, your dog can be equally occupied—so long as you give it something stimulating to do. Spending a little money on busywork for your pup can pay off. Dog puzzles are great toys that keep canines happy and engaged while their humans are handling calls or video conferencing with workmates.

Consider placing a cozy pet bed in your office, so your pet is nearby throughout the day. Giving pets their own space in your work area can help establish boundaries as well as keep them happy. This will also help you remain more focused, as you won't be concerned about what your pet might be doing when out of sight. Keep in mind: the bed shouldn’t be too close to your printer.

Breaks are critical to a successful workday, not only for your mental and physical health, but also for the continued cooperation of your canine coworker. Breaks allow you and your dog to move around, refresh and refocus. Just make sure you are in charge of setting breaks and altering them. Mid-morning, mid-afternoon and lunchtime are good times for you and your dog to grab a bite to eat, get some fresh air, or have a brief petting or play session.

Dogs will do just about anything for praise, so using it to reward good behavior while you work can go far in buying you more quiet time. When people praise their dogs for good behavior while they work, they will remember it and continue to understand what’s expected of them day after day.

Above all else, enjoy this time with your dog. While the world feels so unfamiliar, pets are working hard to bring joy. Let them know they are doing a great job!

Categories - Main
The Pet-Owning Prepper

Amid new rules and regulations, pet owners may be wondering how to get necessities for their furry friends. I spoke with local retailers and pet service providers to see what they are doing to meet owners' needs during the ongoing pandemic. These pet shops and pet care facilities are putting measures in place to protect customers while providing for pets. They have temporarily changed operating hours to allow for restocking, set aside time for sanitizing, and staffed up services, such as curbside pickup and delivery, to support social distancing.

 

 

PET RETAILERS

 

 

Earth Pets Natural Pet Market

San Marco Location: 1629 Hendricks Ave., earthpetsflorida.com,586-2576

Mandarin Location: 11740 San Jose Blvd., earthpetsflorida.com, 677-4429

11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. Curbside pickup available daily; delivery service available Wednesday and Friday within 10 miles of either location; call ahead to place orders.

Bark on Main 1713 N. Main St., Springfield, barkjax.com, 516-7836

Boutique currently limited to curbside pickup noon-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; shop online or call ahead to place orders for curbside pickup and delivery; shipping available. 

Bark on Park 1021 Park St., Five Points, barkjax.com, 356-4530

Boarding available 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Sunday; dog daycare currently unavailable; boutique currently limited to curbside pickup noon-3 p.m. Monday-Saturday; shop online or call ahead to place orders for curbside pickup or delivery; shipping available.

Woof Gang Bakery 3590 St. Johns Ave., Avondale, woofgangbakery.com/avondaleopening, 683-5274

Store open to 10 customers at a time 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Sunday; curbside pickup available daily; delivery available Saturday and Sunday; call ahead to place orders.

Pet Wants Jacksonville Beach, petwantsjaxbeach.com/shop, 373-8770

Free delivery for Duval, St. Johns and Clay counties 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Sunday; shop online for discounts and to place delivery orders; customers can make online donations for pets in need.

 

 

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

 

 

Central Bark 5614 San Jose Blvd., Lakewood, centralbarkjacksonville.com, 730-1200

Dog daycare available 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; curbside drop-off and pickup for dogs (one-person limit inside the facility for the safety of parents and pets); currently offering a 10 percent discount for first responders, military personnel and schoolteachers. The daycare requires 24 hours advance booking and cancellations.

Dogtopia 1075 Hendricks Ave., Southbank, dogtopia.com/jacksonville-southbank, 600-3810

Dog daycare and boarding available 6:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Monday-Friday (closed Saturday and Sunday); currently offering a 20 percent discount on boarding and spa services for medical professionals and first responders and a “buy five days get one free” promotion for all customers; daily spa specials available with daycare service.

Pet Paradise 5140 University Blvd. W., Bowden, petparadise.com/jacksonville-university-blvd.htm, 396-7529

6:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday & Sunday. Curbside drop-off and pickup for dogs; currently offering a 50 percent discount on boarding and daycare for healthcare workers and a 30 percent discount on boarding for all customers.

Kanine Social 580 College St., Brooklyn, kaninesocial.com, 712-6363

Dog daycare available 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday; boarding available 6:45 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday; weekend drop-off and pickup 8 a.m.-noon and 3 p.m.-7 p.m.

BrewHound Dog Park + Bar 1848 Kings Cir. S., Neptune Beach, brew-hound.com, 372-7266

Open for Doggy Recess 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Dogs can participate in supervised play for up to three hours at $5 an hour. The park is also hosting a pet food drive for people to donate pet food and supplies for pets in need during this time.

 

 

The situation is evolving rapidly, and this information may change, so it’s best to check your local store’s hours before heading out to shop. It's also a good idea to prepare an emergency kit for your pets. The American Humane Society recommends having two weeks' worth of pet food and a 30-day supply of your pet's medication on hand.

Feature
Home Away from Home

JASMYN, the only LGBTQ+ center in Northeast Florida, celebrates its 26th birthday this year. In 1993, Ernie Selorio Jr., an LGBTQ+ teenager, was new to Jacksonville and feeling isolated—even suicidal—in his new surroundings. He and his sister decided to start a support group at Willowbranch Library to allow other young people experiencing the same feelings to come together and support one another. The group went from an idea to a remarkable reality that is JASMYN today. The organization is now headquartered in a Brooklyn campus comprising three large houses in which health services, housing support and student opportunities are available to LGBTQ+ youth, especially those experiencing homelessness. It is a community filled with like-minded people, love and support: a safe space to marshal mental and physical health.

JASMYN stands for Jacksonville Area Sexual Minority Youth Network, and it focuses on the general well-being of young people’s lives. One aspect of that is sexual health and HIV testing, treatment and counseling. The organization hosts weekly clinics, workshops, informational sessions and support groups. The clinics offer young people resources, medication and support from other young people HIV+ as well as those who are not. They approach problems using these resources and also offer preventative measures with PrEP, or “pre-exposure prophylaxis,” a medication for high-risk individuals to take daily to prevent getting HIV.
Jacksonville consistently ranks high in national HIV+ indexes, so the directors of JASMYN feel “a responsibility to connect with young people and help them make positive and appropriate healthcare links … We empower them to take control of their care,” Christina Woodhouse, JASMYN’s assistant director of health services, told Folio.

The goal is to help these young people get themselves in a stable position. Jupitar Adams, a young person who was introduced to JASMYN 10 years ago, told Folio, “I can remember how comfortable everything was. It was like a home away from home.” Adams has stayed home ever since. They continue working closely with JASMYN, coordinating events and interacting with the young people with whom they relate.

JASMYN not only works to create a safe learning environment for LGBTQ+ young people, but the organization also helps their parents. “Children come out to their parents and family, and the family does not know what to do. That’s where JASMYN comes in,” CEO Cindy Watson explained. JASMYN holds quarterly parent/child support sessions in which children meet in one building and parents meet in another. Each group discusses experiences, approaches and adjustment techniques in the new dynamic of their home. Sharing with people who are experiencing similar situations helps everyone.

Some 60 percent of the homeless young adults in Jacksonville identify as LGBTQ+, so it’s safe to say that JASMYN is in the right place, doing the right work at the right time. One of JASMYN’s flagship events is Youth Prom, an annual happening held in May for LGBTQ+ youth and their parents. There is a “parent room” at the event where the elders can hang out with each other and continue the discourse of community and family. Another event is the Formation Ball, held every December. The shindig is modeled after the television show Pose and features a parade of “houses” created by young people who have been thrown out of their own homes. Each house has a “mother” or “father,” and they compete every year to decide who is the most “fem” of them all (who can display the most effeminate qualities).

There is also an annual student retreat weekend that focuses on social justice issues and leadership development. ACCESS, which stands for Accessing Client Centered Essential Support Services, is a valuable program that allows homeless young people time at the house to do their laundry, take a shower, have a hot meal, and hang out with members of their community. It also allows them time on a computer to look for jobs or gain access to other resources that may not be available to them elsewhere. The Healthy Relationships Retreat is hosted for young people who tested positive for HIV, and it allows them the opportunity to discuss their options and experiences as well as gain support and opportunities for the future. Not only does JASMYN provide an abundance of community and group support, it also offers private counseling for young people. This is extremely important, considering how difficult it is to find a private counselor on your own, especially when you’re experiencing homelessness.

JASMYN is not only health-centered, but it is first and foremost youth-centered. “We have a youth-centric approach,” Watson said. “We meet them where they are and focus on their empowerment.”
Adams, the alumnus who remains at JASMYN as a youth counselor and coordinator, added, “The staff is unlike any other. You just feel the vibration that resonates with the youth. I’m not just another number; they make me feel like an individual—heard and loved.”
This truly seems to be a shared feeling on the JASMYN campus, and the organization has become an important part of these young peoples’ lives. They have built a community there, and JASMYN continues to grow. The campus’ newest building will offer shower suites, with the ability to do laundry, grab a hot meal, phone service and internet access. The facility will be equipped with the necessary tools and other resources to help youths find a job and benefit from a stable environment—a place to call home.
As JASMYN grows, so does demand for its services. Yes, the community has made strides on the path of inclusivity, but we still have a long way to go. JASMYN continues to build community partnerships, making the campus—and Jacksonville—an even safer place. It plans to expand and build outside of the campus to create a meditation garden and more space for outdoor gatherings and events.

“Until recently, the community was not ready to support the work we do here. We have seen that change in the last six years or so,” Watson said. “We expect the community and large city of Jacksonville to step up and respond to the challenge of homelessness.”

JASMYN offers more than housing, healthcare and developmental opportunities for these young people; it offers a safe space to come and share memories and experiences. JASMYN is a powerhouse of visionaries who are working together to shape the lives of young people through empowerment, community and, most remarkably, love.

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