NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Tuesday April 7th 2020

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April 2020 edition of The Alley

City Denies Neighborhood Initiative, Disregards Laws and Guidelines, and Threatens Housing

By FORMER STATE REPRESENTATIVE KAREN CLARK
and STATE SENATOR PATRICIA TORRES RAY

Neighbors demonstrate their work and support of the
EPNI Initiative recently at the corner of 28th Street and Longfellow Ave.
PHOTO ELIZABETH CAMPBELL

East Phillips Neighborhood, the lowest-income neighborhood in Minneapolis, where the majority of residents are indigenous and people of color, ironically designated by the city of Minneapolis as a “Green Opportunity Zone” — was declared a federal “residential arsenic superfund site” in 2000. Industrial arsenic pesticide contamination was found in more than 500 homes in the area. To compound the situation, the city threatened to use “eminent domain” to take control of a large, prime development site, known as the “Roof Depot,” with the intention of turning it into a storage yard — a place to relocate the entire Department of Public Works Water Yards.

The site will be used to store sewer/water pipes, manhole covers, water hydrants and trucks with heavy traffic-produced toxic air pollution. This site promises to be the largest urban yard site in the state, and it will be in the poorest area of our city.

This would never happen in high-income neighborhoods in Minneapolis, but it is happening in East Phillips, and no one seems to care.

“Health Impact Assessment” DENIED by Mpls. City Council and Water Department
A three year “health impact assessment,” publicly funded and completed in 2017, documented severe health disparities due to excessive traffic, lead contamination and industrial pollution in this highly diverse neighborhood. People of color and indigenous people make up almost four-fifths of the population in the Phillips community, which is significantly higher than the city’s overall demographic distribution. The household income disparity is alarming: 63% of households in this community earn less than $35,000. The median household income in Minneapolis is $63,590.

Minnesota Legislation DENIED by Mpls. City Council and Water Department
The Minnesota Legislature enacted protective community legislation twice because of the severity of the socioeconomic, health and environmental conditions affecting this community. In 2008, one of the writers of this article, former state Rep. Karen Clark, authored an environmental justice law specific to Phillips, and in 2017 State Sen. Jeff Hayden authored State legislation to fund a community residents’ plan to organize and present their perspectives to the city for future use of the land.

A Phillips Community created and operated “indoor urban farm” with aquaponics, green jobs and job training, cultural markets, a bicycle shop, a youth-led cafe and more is being DENIED by Mpls. City Council and Water Department

Members of the community have done their part. They have been working diligently to design a plan to create a community-run “indoor urban farm” with aquaponics, green jobs and job training, cultural markets, a bicycle shop, a youth-led cafe and more — on a corner within the huge and empty former Sears warehouse building called the “Roof Depot.” But the city is not interested in the community’s proposal.

The City Council has repeatedly voted to overturn the neighborhood’s proposal and instead turn this prime community development site into the largest urban utility storage facility in the state, with 480 spaces for an employee parking ramp, plus space for 494 commercial vehicles that together will make nearly 2,000 additional trips within this residential neighborhood. Additionally, this site is right across the street from Little Earth of United Tribes Housing, where approximately 1,000 residents, mostly children, reside.

Residents of East Phillips are working hard to organize, educate and fight against the determinants that contribute to the racial, health, economic, social and environmental disparities that are damaging and even killing their children. They have experienced firsthand the deaths of children who suffer from asthma and lead poisoning, but they need residents of other areas of the city to pressure their City Council members and the mayor to reject this harmful proposal to build a storage yard in this space and instead adopt the community proposal — which is actually good for the community and all of Minneapolis.

Environmental Justice, Equity, City’s Engagement Policies DENIED by Mpls. City Council and Water Department
The city of Minneapolis needs to “walk the talk” when it comes to “environmental justice and equity.” The city’s broad map toward reducing greenhouse-gas emissions may show a small reduction over time, but the increased concentrations of toxic pollutants in poor areas of the city is blatantly racist and unconscionable.

We cannot accept this quietly.

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Backyard Community Health Hub

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Physical Distance While Still Connecting

Adapting to (COVID-19)

By HARRY LEED, Phillips Neighborhood Clinic

A policy of “social distancing” has been implemented by schools, universities, businesses, and the state. Social Distancing, however, is a poor term; we need Physical Distancing.

Viruses and bacteria can travel in droplets, particles that can move through the air up to 6 feet or (sometimes) even farther. Scientists talk about a “chain” of infection. Any break in the “chain” can keep disease from spreading. That is why people are asked to avoid touching their faces and to stay away from others when feeling sick. In other words, maintain good hygiene and keep at arm’s length from other people when reasonably possible.

We do not want this to end our social lives, however. We talk about too little about the role of mental health in relation to physical health. Stress hurts your immune system, which is the heavy hitter when it comes to defense against disease. It may seem hard not to be stressed by a situation in which you find yourself, but you can try to think of relaxation as something you can do actively to boost your health. Think of relaxation and positive thoughts as a kind of medicine that can reinforce your physical wellbeing. Meditate, call a friend for a good laugh, or smile. It might seem kind of silly, but striving towards a good attitude will strengthen every aspect of your life, even if you feel crummy.

Diseases do not discriminate, and neither should we. Be available for emotional support to your friends, family, and greater community. If you do not feel safe visiting someone at home, you may make a phone call to them, write a postal note to them, or write an e-mail to them. Support each other emotionally. It might be the best medicine we have.

Harry Leeds is a nursing student at the University of Minnesota and nursing clinician at the Phillips Neighborhood Clinic (PNC) 2742 15th Ave. So. As the PNC is primarily coordinated by students, the clinic will remain closed until at least April 1st. Please see http://phillipsneighborhoodclinic.com/ for up-to-date information. Other community clinics including Community-University Health Care Center (CUHCC) 2001 Bloomington Av., People’s Center 425 20th Av. So., and Southside Medical and Behavioral Health 324 E. 35th St., M Health Fairview—Smiley’s Point 2020 E. 28th St. are alternative options for PNC patients during this time and offer services on free or sliding scale.

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Takoda—All Are Welcome

Adapting to Needs

By ERIN WOLF, Takoda Institute

Students at Takoda Institute. PHOTO COURTESY OF TAKODA INSTITUTE

Takoda, previously known as the American Indian OIC, was founded in 1979 in response to the damaging education and employment disparities faced by Indigenous people within the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Since its foundation, the organization has grown a workforce of over 25,000 through its culturally-relevant education, training, and workforce programs. Each year, over 900 people, affiliated with tribal nations in the U.S. and Canada, utilize the OIC’s services. Though the OIC was originally founded to strictly serve Native Americans, it has since opened its services and programs to people of every race, creed, gender, age, ability, or sexual orientation. Hence the name “Takoda”, which is a Lakota word meaning “all are welcome”.

Takoda offers a wide array of services to those who qualify, such as: assistance with applying for public grocery assistance (SNAP), case management services for clients who participate in the Minnesota Family Investment Program, and re-entry services for youth and adults who are looking for a second chance. Takoda offers a wide variety of short and long-term career-based trainings that will help gain students employment after graduation. Among its long-term programs, Takoda offers a Computer Support Specialist program and Patient Services Specialist Program. Both of these long-term programs are designed to earn students a career in a high-demand field.

Some of the short-term programs include Customer Service & Sales Training, Warehouse and Equipment Operator programs, and a wide range of IT and Computer Literacy classes. Each programs offers transferrable college credits upon completion.

Takoda is located in the Seward Neighborhood, on the corner of Franklin and Cedar Avenues at 1845 East Franklin Ave. While short-term classes are taking place on a monthly basis, the spring quarter for Long Term classes start April 13th.

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Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Adapting traffic – Construction Update: New Lake Street & 35W Transit Station

By MNDOT adapted by GUSTAVO MANCILLA

Computer rendering of the Lake Street &35W Transit Station
PHOTO COURTESY OF MNDOT & GUSTAVO MANCILLA

As part of the 35W@94 project, MnDOT and Metro Transit are building a new transit station at I-35W & Lake Street Transit Station. The transit station is scheduled to open in late 2021 with the launch of the METRO Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit service along I-35W.

A new stage for this construction project at Lake Street will begin this spring (early April) – if weather permitting – and is anticipated to take two years and be completed by Fall 2021.

Pedestrians and drivers must know that Lake St. will, in general, remain open with one lane available in each direction and access to all businesses will be maintained during the con-struction.

The new transit station will include great new amenities, such as bike parking, benches, real-time bus arrival information, heating, trash and recycling bins, a station marker, and an in-formation kiosk.

The station will provide a significant upgrades in comfort and safety in comparison to existing bus stops. From the station, it will take riders 7 minutes to get downtown. There will be ap-proximately 700 buses stopping at the station each day, and 100 buses traveling downtown will stop here during rush hour.

The station will host the Orange Line, a 17-mile planned highway Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line that will connect Minneapolis, Richfield, Bloomington, and Burnsville along I-35W, which will provide frequent, all-day service in both directions, seven days a week; every 10-minutes during rush-hour and every 15 minutes during non-rush hour.

The project includes a space called The Green Crescent,which is a one-block stretch of green-space that will include biking and walking paths to connect the Midtown Greenway to the new Lake Street Transit Station; providing direct bicycle and pedestrian access from the new transit station to the Midtown Greenway. The bike ramp is scheduled to be open to the public in 2021.

There will be community-inspired public art installations created by two South Minneap-olis Latino artists, Maria Cristina Tavera and Xavier Tavera.
Other improvements along this construction site in the crossing of Lake Street and Hwy 35W include the addition of new pavement along Lake Street between Blaidsdell Ave. and 5th Ave. S. in Minneapolis, new sidewalks, new city utility upgrades and a new SB 35W auxiliary lane between I-94 and Lake Street.

Good things come to those who wait. Thank you for your patience.

For more information, visit: www.mndot.gov/35W94

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Clyde Bellecourt, “Keith Ellison, crisis in Phillips! Join us in mutual pursuit of justice!”

Nee Gonn Way Wee Dun ‘Thunder Before the Storm’ A.K.A Clyde Bellecourt, Co-Founder of American Indian Movement

March 9, 2020

Dear Attorney General Keith Ellison,

Thank you for your attention to this crisis in our Community. East Phillips, as you know, is the most diverse neighborhood in all of Minneapolis. It is also the poorest on the South Side and the most overburdened with pollution from arsenic, lead, and airborne pollution from freeways, cars, and trucks as well as industrial pollution from a foundry and an asphalt plant. All of this is well documented, and results in more emergency room visits from asthma, more cases of children with lead poisoning, and more incidences of other ailments such as heart disease that are also linked to pollutants in the air.

When the 230,000 square foot Sears Warehouse occupied by Roof Depot Co. came up for sale, the Neighborhood; led by Little Earth of United Tribes, Tamales y Bicycletas, Somali Chemical Awareness, Women’s Environmental Institute, East Phillips Improvement Coalition, and others drew up a plan that would create an Indoor Urban Farm with “green” jobs and job training, a community commercial kitchen, an all nations World Café and Market, a bike repair and assembly facility right on the Midtown Greenway in our own East Phillips Neighborhood. In addition, the plan would create 28 much needed affordable 2-bedroom apartments. All of this is fully suppported in the language of the Minneapolis City Council’s Green Zone Resolution which reads in part, “Be it further resolved that Green Zone efforts will include community led planning, prioritization of homegrown development, and community ownership of the Green Zone initiatives that are innovative, creative, courageous, flexible and adaptive.”

Little Earth of United Tribes, with its 1500 residents representing 34 Tribes and a waiting list of over 500, represents about 1/3 of the East Phillips Neighborhood residents. They suffer heavily from health disparities of asthma and other health issues that are correlated with the overburden of poverty and pollution, and along with Somali and Latinx residents, have been strong and hardworking supporters of the Community plan. The City’s Public Works Expansion ignores these disparities as enumerated in the 2017 Phillips Neighborhood Health Impact Assessment, and also ignores the language and legislative intent of the 2008 Clark/Berglin Environmental Justice Law. The authors have said as much and are ready to testify to their goals in passing this law.

The City of Minneapolis staff in their desire to expand their maintenance facility in East Phillips has managed to keep open discussion of the merits of the Community Plan largely out of Council deliberations, and in so doing threatens to miss an incredible opportunity to work with a challenged inner-city neighborhood in a way that would undoubtedly win awards as a model for cities everywhere.

Thank you, Attorney General Ellison, for allowing us to bring this to your attention, and we look forward to your response as we work together for justice in our City and our State.

Clyde Bellecourt,
American Indian Movement, Inc.

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Peace More Than Ever!

Adapting with Truth and Love

By PATRICK CABELLO HANSEL

This is the most important election of your lifetime. I’m sure you’ve heard that before, and will hear it again. Nonetheless, 2020 presents a stark choice to us: not only electing a President and Congress, but faced with an even more important decision. Will we continue to be led by fear and division that plague us, or will we find the courage to speak truth in power and in love.

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The ELC is open to new members

The Alley Editorial Leadership Committee (ELC) does a wide range of supportive tasks so the Board of Directors and Program & Engagement Coordinator can focus on core duties. Involvement/tasks are adaptable to time available and individual interests.

Interested and/or questions?
copydesk@alleynews.org; 612-990-4022

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What’s Up at Your Community Libraries

By Lindsey Fenner

All Hennepin County Libraries closed on March 17 and are tentatively scheduled to reopen to the public on April 6.
Please check the library website at www.hclib.org for updates, as the
reopening date may change. Availability of listed services below may change.

Starting March 20, ALL library staff are working from home. Hennepin County library workers fought hard to close library buildings down and keep library workers at home. This was a heartbreaking action to take; we all know how important public libraries are to the community. But frontline workers knew that it was impossible to keep libraries open or have workers in the buildings, and still keep workers and vulnerable community members safe. It was also heartbreaking because Franklin Library was scheduled to reopen on March 17 after a long renovation. Thank you to all of the community members who have advocated on behalf of library workers and patrons! We are still here (just working from home)

Have a reference or library account question?
Chat with, text or email a library worker
https://www.hclib.org/contact
Text ‘hclib’ to 612-400-7722

As of 3/20/2020, you are unable to reach library staff at 612-543-KNOW (5669) or library building phone numbers.
We are working to have staff available to answer phones, if possible.

Physical Materials:
All Due Dates Have Been Extended
All Holds Have Been Extended

Book Returns:
All library book returns were closed on March 19. There are no workers in the buildings to process them. Check the library website when they will reopen.

The Library could not ensure that workers could check in and process materials safely or without using up limited sanitation and Personal Protective Equipment resources that other County Departments urgently need. Thank you for holding on to your library books for us!

Library Card Information:
If you need to register for a library card or access your PIN number, contact the Library through AskUs: https://www.hclib.org/contact
At this time, you will need a library card and PIN to access Online Resources.

Online Resources:
Hennepin County Library has a smorgasboard of online resources including: Newspapers, Practice Tests, Interactives for Kids, Journals, Encyclopedias, Directories, Local History Digital Archives, Free Downloadable Music, Streamable Movies, Government Documents, Biographies, Computer Tutorials, and last but not least, E-Books. Visit the website to browse all online resources: https://www.hclib.org/browse/online-resources

E-Books and Audiobooks:
Libby: The Libby app is available for iOS and Android devices and is a streamlined way to access downloadable ebooks and audiobooks from OverDrive. You can check out and audiobooks right in the app. You can also read eBooks in the app or send them to your Kindle.

Cloud Library:
Find downloadable eBooks for readers of all ages. A reader app is also available for Apple, Android and other devices.

Library Events:
All Library events have been canceled through April 30

Meeting Rooms:
All Library Meeting Room reservations have been canceled through April 30

Community Resources:
Internet Access: Free Wireless Access
in Minneapolis

USI:
USI opened their WiFi network in Minneapolis for those that may need temporary internet access
• Look for the “City of Minneapolis Public WiFi” or “USI Wireless” networks on your mobile device and you will be connected. The process is similar to using Wi-Fi at a coffee shop or the airport.
• No password or credit card is required to sign in.
• You need to be within 50 feet of the hotspots. Signal strength varies indoors. Contact:
Call: (24/7) 1-800-US-INTERNET Email: info@usinternet.com
Text: 952-253-3277
Comcast opened their Xfinity WiFi network and is offering unlimited data for free.
• For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, select the “xfinitywifi” network name open your Internet browser.

Hennepin County Human, Health, and Emergency Assistance:
As of March 17, all Human Service Hubs are Closed to face-to-face contact.
Call: 612-596-1300 for Assistance with SNAP, Emergency CASH Assistance
(GA, MSA, DWP, MFIP), Health Care

To Order an EBT Card:
1-888-997-2227
To submit documentation:
Dropboxes are available outside of all Human Service Hubs
Documents can be mailed to:
HCHSD PO BOX 107
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55440-0107

Census 2020:
Visit www.2020census.gov or call 884-330-2020 if you need assistance in filling out the 2020 Census

Meals for Children:
Minneapolis Public Schools are providing two cold meals per child Mondays through Fridays from 10 am to 2 pm while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 virus. MPS is working to add meal service during weekends.

Meals are available to any child 18 years and younger; the child does not have to be an MPS student. Due to federal regulations, children must be present to receive a meal.

Meals are available in or near Phillips at:
Andersen United Community School
1098 Andersen Ln, Minneapolis, MN 55407

South High School
3131 S 19th Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407

Green Central Park Elementary School
3416 4th Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408

Food Shelves open as of 3/17/20
Waite House
2323 11th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN, 55404
612-721-1681
Mondays: 1-5 pm
Tuesdays: 10 am-12 pm & 2-5 pm
Thursdays: 10 am-12 pm & 2-5 pm
Community Emergency Service
1900 11th Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55404
612-870-1125
Monday through Thursdays
Doors open at 10:30am to receive a number for each day
Registration begins at 12:30pm
Food shelf operates from 1:00pm – 4:00pm

Division of Indian Work
1001 East Lake Street
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Mondays, Tuesdays, & Wednesdays from 12pm-3pm

Food will be distributed through the garage near the main entrance.
As always elders 60+ are our priority and will be served first and foremost
BRING YOUR OWN BAGS!! This is important as we may not have any available.

Day Shelter
Catholic Charities’ Opportunity Center
612-204-8300
740 E 17th St
Minneapolis, MN 55404.
Mary F Frey Opportunity Center will operate from 7am – 1pm Monday – Saturday.
The Opportunity Center is staying open for meals, mail, lockers and showers.

United Way 2-1-1
United Way 2-1-1 provides free and
confidential health and human services information for people in Minnesota.
We’re here 24 hours a day,
7 days a week to connect you with the resources and information you need. Whether you are in crisis, or need a little support, we’re here to help.
Call: 651-291-0211
Online: https://www.211unitedway.org/

Subject to MN State Mandates after March 22nd

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Earth Day Cemetery Clean-Up

Please join us starting at 9 a.m. on April 18, 2020, for a cemetery clean-up in honor of Earth Day.

Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery

2945 Cedar Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407

If you can, bring a rake and work gloves.
We have plenty of bags. Light refreshments will be provided. If you can’t make it at 9, come later. We’ll continue working until it’s done.

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