The 573 Foreign Correspondent

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Recently, a man came into our office at 573 Magazine. He said he was going to Cuba and wanted to write a story about it for 573. I thought about it for a moment and said, “Sure, why not?” So we issued him a correspondent’s letter and a camera and wished him good luck. (Well, there was a little more to all that.) Meet James Kellogg, the first official 573 foreign correspondent.

My name is James Kellogg.

I was born in St. Louis. After graduating from UMSL in 1970 with a BS in History and Secondary Education, I moved to Farmington with my wife and infant son in September 1970 to accept a position with the Missouri State Board of Probation and Parole. During my employment, I attained an MA in Human Relations from Webster University. After retiring from State service, I served as a substitute teacher in the R-VII School District and later as a teacher in Social Sciences in the Dual Credit Program at Farmington High School. While employed by the State, I taught as an adjunct instructor in the Corrections Program at Mineral Area College and served a total of 13 years on the Farmington City Council.

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My wife Peggy taught for 33 years at St. Joseph Catholic School in Farmington and has been active in community activities over the years. We are both retired but serve as Child Care Specialists for our grandson three days a week. Peggy and I have four children and five grandchildren. My sons Jim and Rob financed the Cuba trip and accompanied me as a 70th birthday present.

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We traveled to Cuba as individuals under State Department required categories, as U.S. citizens are currently not allowed to visit Cuba as tourists. My category was Journalist. We entered Cuba at Jose Marti Airport in Havana on an American Airlines flight on March 29 and departed Cuba on April 2, spending the better part of five days there, just sufficient to qualify as experts. Our time was spent in Havana, and we lodged at a Casa Particular, a B&B approved by the Cuban Government. Our residence was located in Habana Vieja or Old Havana. Much of this area is decayed, and some structures are beyond repair. A massive rescue effort, funded by the U.N., is under way. The architecture was outstanding historically and artistically, with forts, churches, museums, and palaces well worth a visit. It was depressing to see former mansions deteriorated and store and former bank and business buildings abandoned or put to other uses. One example is the magnificent building that was formerly the headquarters of the Bacardi Rum Company. Businesses were nationalized and private property confiscated after the Revolution in 1959.

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