A Historic Decision! COMMENTARY: Mpls. School Board made a magnanimous commitment of money and intent to youth and the Phillips Aquatic Center partnering with the Mpls. Park Board
Tonight was historic. The in a most selfless and noble act, the resolution below was passed by the Minneapolis School Board. Historic, selfless, noble? Really? Yes, really!
First, let me begin by saying tonight caps years of efforts by Minneapolis Swims to convince MPS of the virtues of swimming, and why Phillips, of all places, was the one neighborhood that most deserved a gift from the coffers of the MPS treasury. With MPS firmly entrenched in the philosophy of not investing capital in properties they do not own, and many budget fires of their own to put out, we resigned ourselves to not ever receiving capital dollars from MPS toward this project.
Of course, once it is built, we need to make sure it is sustainable, so we were quite pleased to get MPS to agree to a five-year commitment to contribute $150,000 toward operating costs.
Over the past year, our fundraising efforts gained momentum and neighborhoods stepped up with significant money, and the real possibility of a Phillips Aquatics Center emerged. The Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board (MPRB) took notice, other donors took notice, and a swimming task force at MPS was set up, and they took notice.
With the MPRB getting close to “picking a final pool,” I had some “what if” conversations with MPS board members along the lines of, “What if you had 50 percent ownership of the Phillips Aquatics Center, and it was going to be a two-pool 8-lane/4-lane facility, where you could use the 8-lane pool to host swim meets? In that instance, would you consider a capital contribution?” In a school district that only has one competition pool (the six-lane pool at Southwest High School), this was interesting to both board members and certain administration at MPS. In the end, it came out looking different, but it got the conversation started.
In the meantime, the MPRB passed its resolution, choosing the pool with the 6-lane/4-lane configuration and, although still about $2.4M short, they said, if needed, they would finance the difference.
My conversations with MPS continued. Interim Superintendent Goar was portrayed by the Star Tribune, as being opposed to the board on this issue. In reality, he just didn’t yet know enough about the Phillips Aquatics Center. He met with MPRB Superintendent Miller on multiple occasions to get a good understanding of how MPS could best help on the project, and how, overall, the two entities could establish a new level of collaboration on a multitude of different projects and priorities.
In the end, these two organizations reaffirmed that they serve the same public and, in many instances, have facilities and services that do or should overlap. By working together, they can both be more efficient and effective and deliver a better product or service. That is how we ended up with a thoughtful MPS resolution that has the word “park” in it many times and results in a selfless gift that puts the needs of the people — who, side by side with the MPRB, they serve together — first.
So yes, historic, selfless and noble.
What’s next? There’s still the issue of about $500,000 more capital to raise to complete this 6-lane/4-lane facility. We are hoping that everyone who has given, can give just a little more. Additionally, I do have a most exciting prospect that has the ability to step in and, in the Minneapolis spirit of selflessness, write the check we need to bridge the gap to get the competition pool to 8-lanes. I’ll know one way or another by the next issue. Stay tuned!
Here’s what passed tonight: Read the rest of this entry »
COMMENTARY: The City Says “NO” to our Efforts to Clean Up Air Pollution and to Seek a Better Future for East Phillips
By Carol Pass, Chair, East Phillips Improvement Coalition, EPIC.
In spite of their continuing rhetoric about ‘equity’, the City of Minneapolis is rapidly moving forward with their long-hidden plans to intensify the air pollution and traffic congestion problems of what has become known by area residents as the “Intersection of Death”, 28th St. and Cedar Avenue South, with its dangerous, toxic and foul-smelling air, its numerous massive and unsightly trucks, its impossible traffic congestion and its many nearby families with children and several ethnic daycare centers. The Ways and Means Committee of the City Council voted Monday, June 15th, 4 to 1 with one abstention to approve the intensification of these problems and on Friday, June 19th, in a 10 to 3 decision the City Council followed suit, in spite of the many letters, petitions and loud protests of your neighbors and many area organizations.
The Back Story:
Last November the East Phillips Improvement Coalition, EPIC, voted to begin a final campaign after all our others to remove the existing major polluting industries from East Phillips, i.e. Smith Foundry and the hot asphalt plant, Bituminous Roadways, and replace them with light industry and residential housing along the Greenway, changing this area to a place worthy of Highway 55 as the City’s International Gateway from the airport. Residents’ motivation came primarily in response to new science that has shown dramatically that all of this pollution is far worse for children than has been known in the past. ADHD and asthma recently figured far more heavily in the childhood health impacts resulting from these industries. EPIC, to implement our vote, began pressuring these industries to move and started building a movement to de-industrialize this area around the “Intersection of Death”.
It was at that point that the City planners and Public Works came out of the woodwork and revealed their nearly completed and never-before-seen plan to add to the polluting industries by buying the Roof Depot site at 1860 East 28th Street and moving the City Public Water Works facility there, bringing to this already congested area 68 more massive trucks, 24 of them diesel, plus numerous other oversized vehicles, back hoes, bulldozers, etc. and also all the vehicles needed to bring 100 employees to and from the site for work, none of whom live in Phillips.
This plan would add to the polluting industries, inflicting on us the opposite of the de-industrialization we had hoped to achieve. The City acknowledged to us that they had been planning this behind our backs since 2001. They had completely ignored telling the community about this, ignoring all community engagement for more than a decade. Had we not begun an “anti-pollution/protect the neighborhood children” effort, some of us think we never would have known about this until the giant trucks began rolling through the neighborhood near the completion of the project.
By Sue Hunter Weir
It’s a safe bet that Albert Emanuel Nelson loved Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery more than anyone else ever has. From 1928 until 1953 he was responsible for overseeing the care and maintenance of the cemetery grounds, for conserving and protecting the cemetery’s records, and for serving as the cemetery’s one-man public relations firm.
That’s what he was paid to do, but it does not begin to capture the reverence with which he approached his work. His interest in the cemetery and the lives of the people buried there—“the builders of Minneapolis,” as he called them– was his passion as well as his day job. He spent his free time assembling a library of more than 100 volumes of local history and gathering information for the book that he intended to write. There was a lot of information and gathering it was a time consuming task in those pre-internet days.
Albert Nelson was born in Minneapolis on February 1, 1892, a little more than 30 years after the start of the Civil and Indian wars, but close enough in time to them to have heard first-hand accounts from veterans and their families. The veterans and Minnesota’s territorial pioneers were of special interest to him, and he was also deeply interested in the lives of Swedish immigrants like his parents Nels and Anna Nelson.
Albert was Nels and Anna’s only child. It is not clear what happened to Nels but by 1893, shortly after Albert was born, Anna began describing herself as a widow and was faced with the task of raising her son by herself. She worked as a “laundress,” washing and ironing the clothes for a private family and on occasion she took in boarders. Albert left school after completing the sixth grade. By the age of 15 he was working as an apprentice, most likely to a confectioner since by age 17 he was working as a clerk in a candy store. At age 18 he was employed as an elevator operator at a downtown hotel. When the 1920 census was taken, he was working as a laborer for the Minneapolis Park Board. Read the rest of this entry »
By Frank Erickson
100 years ago White men who lynched Black men went off to fight “wars” to defend themselves and their country against aggression.
But these White men should not have been left alive to kill anyonein “war”—since they should have been killed for being terrorists by the people they were terrorizing. Yet those who opposed lynching 100 years ago did not have the violent capacity to have a “War on Terror” against the White racists.
So goes the slippery slope of claiming your right to defend yourself using violence—It is your capacity to use violence that rules the day, not your justification.
There is a long back and forth history of violence used by members of an exclusive club who commit acts of aggression but then have the capacity to use violence based on their claims of defending themselves—example, U.S. Drone attacks.
The U.S. Government will imit air strikes on ISIL if near civilians, but the box office susscess of”merican Sniper” shows that the U.S. is entertained by the slaughter of Iraqis, rather than concerned about it. Read the rest of this entry »
By Peter Molenaar
“Cut worms” are members of the largest family in the Lepidoptera, i.e., they are larvae of a moth. It was not a rabbit which murdered your tender young tomato, it was the devil incarnate.
Behold the innocent one, plump and curled in the form of a C beneath the severed plant. What role in nature did its ancestors play? What Karmic consequences might ensue should you destroy it?
In this matter, I choose to honor my Christian grandmother. Straighten the “worm” between thumbs and forefingers, meditate briefly, then pop it in two.
On the other hand, experienced gardeners will follow mitigating steps: 1.) weed and rake the garden clean before turning the soil in late autumn, 2.) turn the soil again come spring, 3.) plant a trap crop.
Who can eat a hundred radishes? Plant them in April, weeks before setting out expensive transplants. A few fallen radishes will reveal the whereabouts…