Oak Lawn community organizes donation site at Sam Houston Elementary for fire victims

Congress House Apartments, 4320 Congress Ave. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

Donations are being accepted for the 10 families displaced by an early morning fire at the Congress House Apartments on Thursday.

Nancy Weinberger, leader of the Oak Lawn Stakeholders crime watch group, sent an email out Thursday evening to inform the Oak Lawn community that the families lost everything they owned and are in need of clothing, furniture and other items. The American Red Cross housed the families and gave them cash cards but they will need to find permanent housing.

The nearby Braes Brook Apartments are being vacated, Weinberger said, so some of the families planning to move to Congress House will likely have to find other housing as well.

Donations can be dropped off at Sam Houston Elementary School, at 2827 Throckmorton St. While no one is in the office, Weinberger said she has spoken to school administrators and that custodial staff and teachers working summer camps at the school will be there throughout the summer to collect items. Donations can be made between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. by accessing the door off Dickason by the gym.

Weinberger said items needed range form clothing to linens and furniture.

“These families have lost everything,” she said.

—  Anna Waugh

Sprinkles rolls out 2 new cupcakes for March

You get an abundance of options at Sprinkles this week — more so than even on a usual week. The gourmet cupcakery is revealing two new flavors. The first, available only tomorrow, is a green velvet cupcake, for helping you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a little flamboyance. Of course, red velvet cake is merely chocolate cake with tons of food coloring; I’m assuming the same is true for green velvet, although the color takes, uhh, an adjustment.It’s really green.  Really. But tastes just as good as what you’ve come to expect from Sprinkles.

Then later in the month, you can go back to red velvet with a little Red Cross topper thrown in. From March 27 through April 1, 100 percent of the proceeds from this version of the classic go to the American Red Cross.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Senators urge allowing men who have sex with men who don't actually have sex with men to donate blood

RedCross

A group of 18 U.S. senators has requested that the Food and Drug Administration change the policy forbidding gay men from donating blood.

The change would not suddenly allow all gay men to donate blood, however. The proposed policy would only allow gay men and other men who have sex with men to donate if they had not had sex with another man for over a year.

The policy was put in place in 1983 when it became clear that blood transfusions were transmitting whatever was causing AIDS. The ban includes any man who has had sex with another man since 1977.

Once donated, all blood is screened for HIV, which is easily detectable after just a few months in the blood.

The FDA last upheld the ban saying gay men have HIV prevalence “60 times higher than the general population, 800 times higher than first-time blood donors, and 8,000 times higher than repeat blood donors.”

The American Red Cross and America’s Blood Centers support the change and claim this would bring the policy related to gay men in line with that used for other people with high-risk behaviors relating to blood donation. However, gay men in monogamous relationships would still be excluded.

Among other western countries that ban gay men from donating blood are Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Australia and Japan use the “one-year deferral” policy.

What isn’t clear about the new policy is where they are going to find men who have sex with men who don’t have sex with men.

—  David Taffet