David Candelaria, 43, is a disabled and retired veteran, medical marijuana recipient and licensed grower. During Desert Storm, Candelaria, a tank mechanic, was hit by an exploding gas canister that fractured his skull. The injury resulted in the loss of his motor functions.
Candelaria had to re-learn how to speak, walk and read. He said he soon learned to live with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and received steroid injections, which contributed to cartilage deterioration in his hips.For many years, Candelaria said he couldn’t find prescription drugs that allowed him to function daily.
He said his life was forever changed the moment he tried marijuana. “I could walk. I could ride my motorcycle. I could enjoy life again.” Candelaria said he joined the Occupy Albuquerque movement in hopes that he could raise awareness of the benefits of medical marijuana and speak out against monopolies created by insurance and pharmaceutical companies.
Demetrius Walker was 12 years old when he was hailed a basketball prodigy. Walker was considered the best player in the country for his fifth-through-eight-grade age group. Before he was in high school, Walker heard from college recruits, and California basketball fans took notice of Walker’s potential.
Sports Illustrated writer and Pulitzer Prize winner George Dohrmann released a book about Walker, Play their Hearts Out, in October. In the book, he chronicles Walker’s personal story, detailing how it’s filled with unrealistic expectations.
After transferring to UNM from Arizona State University, Walker will suit up for the Lobos next season. Beyond the court, he balances a college life complete with team practices and studying sessions, which consume most of his leisure time.
Silva Lu, an access service librarian at Zimmerman Library, decided to help UNM students deal with stress during finals.
Lu was inspired by a National Public Radio story about a Yale librarian who brought his dog to campus during finals so students could take their minds off of finals and relax. Lu contacted the Southwest Canine Corps of Volunteers, who bring dogs to those in need all over the Southwest. From schools to hospitals, the canines are appreciated wherever they go.
Eli Wentzel-Fisher, a media arts major, is finishing his eighth year at UNM. Wentzel-Fisher came with his family from Iowa to New Mexico in 2003. Wentzel-Fisher took breaks from school to travel to different countries. In 2005, he went to Bolivia with his high school friend. They taught children living on the streets how to juggle for spare change.
In August 2009, he took over what was formerly the Donkey Gallery on south Fourth Street and changed its name to the Normal Gallery.
“A lot of people think art is strange and weird. But it is actually a normal behavior,” said Wentzel-Fisher, explaining his inspiration for the name.
He graduates this summer and plans to start his next journey in San Miguel, Mexico, to begin work on a film project. The Normal Gallery will hold its last formal exhibition, “Robots and Unicorns,” by Parker Jennings and Andrew Cimelli on Friday.
Abdulrahman Laryea Addy’s African Dance classes put on their annual, end-of-semester performance Wednesday in Carlisle gym.
Addy, originally from Ghana, teaches not only fundamentals of African Dance, drumming and culture, but also the importance of community, personal well-being and contemporary social issues.
Students are encouraged to bring their children to class, and anyone is welcome to join in the dancing. After the performance, the dancers, drummers and audience shared fresh, local barbecued goat.
Professor Gary Scharnhorst will finish his 24th and final year as a professor in the English department, marking the end of a distinguished UNM career.
He is a six-time Fulbright Scholar and the editor of American Literary Realism, a literary criticism journal used by English professors across the world. Arguably, he is one of the top authorities on the life and works of Mark Twain.
Scharnhorst will leave to Germany at the end of spring for a pro bono teaching position at Heidelberg University.
For the remainder of the year, he will remain in Albuquerque with his wife of 39 years, Sandy, while working on a biography about Julian Hawthorne, son to famed American author, Nathaniel Hawthorne.