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Friday October 20th 2017

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Searching – A Serial Novelle Chapter 16: El Corrido De Don Jaime

By Patrick Cabello Hansel

When Angel and Luz arrived at her abuela’s house, the whole neighborhood was gathered. Children running everywhere, elderly women dancing to scratchy phonograph records from Mexico. Even though it was freezing outside, Luz’s cousin Rodrigo was in the backyard, turning steaks and sausages on a large grill cut from an oil drum. People who had run in terror from the raid just a few hours before were partying as if Mexico had just won the World Cup. Luz finally found her grandmother Dolores in the kitchen. Over the noise, she asked her what happened.

“Your Uncle Jaime is free!” she shouted as she gave her a big hug.
“What?” Luz cried. “Immigration let him go?”
“No, mi amor—he escaped—he flew the coop—¡voló como un paloma!”
It took a few moments for this to sink in.
“Where? How? Abuela, they’re going to come looking for him! They’ll bust the door down!” Luz shouted.
“No-no, he’s safe—he’s not here—he’s miles away and they’ll never catch him again!”
Luz wasn’t quite sure what that meant, and kept shaking her head. Angel, meanwhile, stood with his hands in his pockets, surrounded by people whom he did not know, but who surely knew Luz. Everyone, young and old, came up to give her a hug or a kiss on the check. Angel finally nudged her with her elbow.
“Oh, I’m sorry!” Luz laughed. “This is mi abuela Dolores. Grandma, this is Angel”.
“Oh I know you”, Dolores said. “The Tecolote Man!”

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Food Obsession: Something Different

by Jane Thomson
My readers (both relatives) are probably tired of my preaching about diet, obesity, waste etc., so I will tone it down.

These two recipes are good for summer. Neither is for “everyday”.
“Bill’s” Smoked Oyster Salad (from Star Tribune, long ago)
3 cans of smoked oysters, drained
2 cups of cooked curly macaroni, rinsed
1 green pepper, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
3 ripe medium-size tomatoes, cut up
6 hard-boiled egg, sliced
Mayonnaise seasoned with a dash of ketchup
“Good squirts” of Tobasco sauce
Combine oysters, macaroni, green pepper, celery, 2 of the tomatoes and 5 of the eggs. Moisten with mayonnaise, seasoning to taste with ketchup and Tobasco. Chill. Serve garnished with sliced egg and tomato wedges. Serves 6 to 8.

This recipe is a good one to illustrate the point that you should read the whole recipe, instructions and all, before starting to make it as there are some time lapses involved. Obviously, since there are no instructions for heating the water, it is for experienced cooks.

Red, White and Blue Salad (also from Strib)
Have a glass 9×13-inch pan? This salad would look nicer in glass.
2 of 3 oz. packages of raspberry Jello
3 cups of hot water
1 envelope of plain gelatin
½ cup of cold water
1 cup of half-and-half
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (8oz). package of cream cheese, softened
1 cup of pecans, chopped
2 cups of canned blueberries with juice (frozen would probably be fine). See also mulberries, enhanced with blue food color).
First layer: Dissolve on package of raspberry Jello in 2 cups of hot water. Allow to jell in a 9” x 13” pan.
Second layer: Dissolve plain gelatin in cold water. Heat cream and sugar without boiling. Mix with plain gelatin mixture. Add vanilla and cream cheese and beat until blended. Stir in nuts. Put on top of first layer and allow to jell before adding last layer.
Third layer: Dissolve the second box of raspberry Jello in the remaining 1 cup of hot water. Add blueberries with juice (or mulberries with a little water and blue food color), Mix and put on top of second layer. Refrigerate until firm. Cut in squares to serve (I guess if the pan isn’t pretty, you put the squares on a plate). Makes about 12 servings.

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Solitary Man & The Karate Kid

The Solitary Man

Solitary Man (2009)
***1/2
Millennium Films
Comedy/Drama
Running Time: 90 minutes
Director: Brian Koppelman and David Levien
Michael Douglas as graying old Ben Kalmen is neither villain nor hero in “Solitary Man,” Mr. Kalmen in his heyday was a sparkling car dealer for New York’s Honest Car Dealership. He’s saliently flawed in the morality department by cheating on his wife Nancy (Susan Sarandon) and disappointed his daughter Susan (Jenna Fischer) too many times to count.
Interestingly enough, Ben’s not solitary by choice but because of his breaking trust with the ones he loves. His new girlfriend Jordan (Mary-Louise Parker) asks him to accompany her college-bound daughter Allyson (Imogen Poots) to a college interview at his alma mater. He’s reluctant to go but he goes anyway. Later (as he has done in the past) he makes more injudicious choices.
Michael Douglas is one of those actors who can look like he’s in crisis or about to get out of one. “Solitary Man” is no “Fatal Attraction” (1987) nor is it “American President” (1995) which Michael Douglas also starred in. Douglas, like Robert DeNiro in “everybody’s Fine”, has alienated himself from familial circles in sated conclusion: everybody’s dysfunctional.

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Bow to Rwanda

by Peter Molenaar

At the corner of 31st Street and 16th Avenue exists a modest reddish brown brick structure –- home to United Methodist Walker Community Church. For decades, the Peace and Justice Community has used this facility for planning meetings and public forums. It is a proud church.
About early April of this year, the pews were occupied by supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal, political prisoner wrongly convicted of murder. An exposition of developments in Mumia’s case was delivered by a world famous professor of law. Shortly thereafter, Peter Erlinder would find himself imprisoned in far-away Rwanda.

Peter’s initial call to Africa had been issued in the year 2003 by the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. He was to lead a defense team assigned to persons charged with perpetrating the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

Please google “Rwanda genocide” and follow the Wikepedia links.

No doubt, the anti-Tutsi genocide delivered by Hutu forces is near the top of the list of 20th century horrors. Perhaps one million people were exterminated in 100 days. That would be 10,000 every day, 400 every hour. The machete was the weapon of convenience.

However, the genocide occurred in the context of a civil-war with roots in the age-old humiliation of the Hutu under Tutsi domination.

Question: Who precipitated this genocide by shooting down (Hutu) President Juvenal Habyarimana?

Question: Why did the radio voice which fomented and guided the genocide emanate from a European?

Question: Should the military force under (Tutsi) Paul Kagame be viewed as an invasion force under U.S. sponsorship?

So, Peter returned to Rwanda in order to defend Victoire Ingabire, the leader of political opposition to Paul Kagame, now president of Rwanda. It appears that both Peter and Victoire are guilty of “speech critical of the official version of the 1994 genocide”. Conclusion: A just law against “genocide ideology” has been perverted for purposes of political repression.
Elected persons Klobuchar, Ellison, and McCollum have pulled strings. Hillary Clinton has acted. Peter has bowed before the Rwanda judge and is coming home.
Let us all bow our heads…

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Love the Midtown Greenway?

Take The Greenway Challenge!

By Lauren Fulner, Community Organizer, Midtown Greenway Coalition

The Twin Cities community will be taking over the Greenway this September, and we want you to join in the celebration! Riders in the first annual bike-a-thon on the Midtown Greenway on September 25, 2010 will be delighted by live music, colorful community art, and delicious snacks along all 5.5 miles of the Greenway trail.

We’d love for you and your friends to participate; cyclists commit to ride 44 miles in the Greenway on event day and secure at minimum of $250 in personal pledges beforehand. Fantastic prizes await the fundraising fanatics—the top pledge-getter wins airfare for two and a week at a chateau built in an old winery in the bike-friendly Loire Valley of France. This grand prize is being donated by Bob Corrick and Beth Parkhill. Other prizes will be given away via raffle open to all bikers in the Challenge, and for best costume and best decorated bike. The Midtown Greenway Coalition invites trail users to sign up months early so that the pledge raising is a cinch, and will be hosting Pledge-Raising How-To parties throughout the summer.

Cyclists have all afternoon to complete their ride, and can begin as early as 11:00 a.m., with an awards ceremony capping off the evening at 6:00 p.m. at the Cepro site (10th Avenue entrance to the Greenway by Midtown Exchange).

All funds raised go directly to keeping your Greenway safe and beautiful. You can register for The Greenway Challenge online following links from midtowngreenway.org, or by contacting or visiting the Midtown Greenway Coalition office inside the Freewheel Midtown Bike Center to request a hard copy of the registration form. Thanks in advance for your support!

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CHAT: Citizen Health Action Teams mobilize to improve health

Hilma Grundstrom Johnson Winje, 1948, taking clothes and quilts from the clothesline in their backyard at 2512-14 Chicago Avenue at this spot where a 800 car parking ramp has replaced the backyards and homes of 26 families. Send photos of your Backyard that has been affected by institutions for The Alley’s Gallery of Loss to editor@alleynews.org

Update on the Backyard Initiative

By Janice Barbee, Cultural Wellness Center

Community Residents’ Strategies to Improve Health in the Backyard
Residents of the Backyard have been meeting at the Cultural Wellness Center for the past six months to develop their ideas for health improvement. People with similar interests have been contributing their ideas and designing projects together that they believe will make a difference in the health of the community. So far 11 teams have formed and are now working on their projects. The CHATs are continually recruiting new members to join their teams.

The Backyard Initiative was initiated by Allina Hospitals and Clinics in the fall of 2008 in the neighborhoods of Phillips, Powderhorn Park, Corcoran, and Central. What was once a project led by Allina is now a community-owned project in which Allina is a major partner.

The Community Commission on Health
Some of the CHATs have developed their projects to the point that they are now in the process of presenting their proposals to the Community Commission on Health, a group of approximately 35 people who are members of CHATs or represent institutions that have been part of the process. The Commission’s work is to monitor the health of the community, build the community’s capacity for taking responsibility for its own health, and support efforts to maintain and improve the health of Backyard members.

In June, the Commission discussed how it will make decisions about which projects to fund.  They have approved a list of criteria that each project has to meet (see BYI update in the Alley’s June edition) and are now looking at how to score each proposal so that the most important criteria carry more weight than the less important. This will make it easier to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each proposal. They have decided they do not want to use a scoring system as a formula to determine which proposals are approved, but only as a basis for discussion in order to reach consensus  Members of the Commission are excited about developing a process that keeps the interests of the community in the center. Members have said they want to act differently than a funding board; they want to help build capacity in the community and support each good idea to move to implementation.

If you have a great idea to improve the community’s health that involves community residents working together, please come to the next CHAT meeting. You may also join an existing CHAT.
Current Citizen Health Action Teams

  1. Rebirthing Community: Bringing Elders and Youth Together: The team has discussed mentoring and visual arts as a way to bring the generations together.
  2. Establishing Anchor Families: This team is seeking to establish “anchor families” on each block who can teach life skills and guiding values to youth as well as connect youth and their families to resources for wellness.
  3. Did You Know?: Working on establishing and strengthening informal networks of communication through neighbors by recruiting, training, equipping, and supporting block leaders .
  4. LGBT: A team that is working to connect individuals from all cultures who are LGBT with the resources they need to be healthy and safe.
  5. Food and Nutrition: This group is focusing on creating an empowered community that is actively involved with the production and distribution of its own food.
  6. Dakota Language Revitalization: This group is concentrated on keeping Dakota language and life ways alive and vibrant in the Dakota community.
  7. Ancient and Traditional Healing Arts: The focus of this group is on educating community about natural and ancient ways to be healthy and well and connecting people to so-called ‘alternative’ health practitioners for healing and wellness purposes.
  8. Environmental: This group is looking at the impact of environment on the health of residents in the Backyard.
  9. Communications/Media: This group is working to lessen or eliminate the divide between people who have information and those who don’t so that everyone has the opportunity to be engaged in a healthy community.
  10. Organizational Leadership: This group is working on connecting the organizations of the Backyard with each other and with residents in the interests of the whole community.
  11. Assessment/Analysis Team: Guiding data analysis and utilization of the data collected in the Backyard assessment.

Call the Cultural Wellness Center, 612-721-5745, for more information.

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CURIOUS?

“Curiosity didn’t kill this cat!” …Studs Terkel

When you asked too many questions as a child, you were probably scolded with this advice, “Curiosity killed the cat!”

Studs Terkel died on Halloween Eve 2008 at 96 years of age. Three years earlier, at the time of major heart surgery, he said he wanted his tombstone to read, “Curiosity didn’t kill this cat!!” He was curious when he asked questions of many great Americans—not Presidents, Generals, and the famous–he was curious as he interviewed hundreds of common folks. After graduation from law school he became a doorman instead of a lawyer–so he could constantly meet and greet people. His consummate curiosity was only exceeded by his superb listening. Terkel asked poignant questions and overbalanced that adroit inquisitiveness with listening and documenting the answers.

Are you curious? That’s probably, why you are reading this newspaper. You may be curious about topics explained in this June issue of The Alley. So, read on, curb your appetite of curiosity. And then, “Tell Us Your Story,” because neighbors are curious about your stories and opinions, too.
Are you curious about……………?????

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Curious about a “key victory” in the Xcel Powerline dilemma?

By Tim Springer, Executive Director, Midtown Greenway Coalition
As many Alley readers may know, Xcel energy applied to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for a permit to construct two new high voltage transmission lines over the Midtown Greenway or nearby, and two new substations. The community has concerns about potential impacts on human health, aesthetics, and historic resources, and consigning this part of town to blight.

Because of the relatively short distance of the lines, about 1.2 miles, a “certificate of need” was not required for the project. This means that the PUC cannot deny the project, they may only say where the wires go. This was a frustration to many people who felt that a closer look should be taken at energy conservation, local power production such as with photovoltaic solar panels, electricity storage, and smart grid. The only way to require an analysis of this bundle of alternatives is to require a certificate of need.

Enter State Representative Karen Clark, our rock star legislator. Karen pulled together a group of people, including lobbyists for Xcel Energy, and hammered out language acceptable to community members and Xcel Energy. Then she changed state law to require a certificate of need! Other legislators who deserve thanks are Senators Linda Berglin and Ellen Anderson.

The certificate of need process will be undertaken over the next year or so. The route permit process that is already underway with the PUC to determine where the wires and substations will go will be finalized and decisions made, but the permit will not be signed and the project will not be constructed until after the need for the lines is proven. Even if a certificate of need is provided and the high voltage lines are allowed, the analysis of possible energy alternatives created as part of the certificate of need process could provide a great energy efficiency and energy alternatives roadmap for south Minneapolis, potentially making us much greener and providing many green jobs. Yeah Karen Clark, shero of the day.

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Curious about another threat to East Phillips Community Center?

Cockroaches may have been our “canary in the coal mine” at Cockroach Park, the neighbor’s name for the East Phillips Park for the four decades since housing was demolished.

By Brad Pass, Chair East Phillips Park Community Design Team

Once again East Phillips Cultural and Community Center has uncovered a deeply dismaying setback. Serious hazardous pollution was discovered as excavation proceeded this spring as if the struggles to gain political support, funding, and an appropriate design were not enough,. Borings and beginning excavation last Fall did not find this problem.

Foundation rubble from houses demolished in the early 1970s left small quantities of numerous pollutants; asbestos, lead, ash and fuel oil, and others thoroughly intermixed with the excavated soil. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) require all excavated material be treated as hazardous waste and disposed and new soil brought substituted. The total cost of removing this and purchasing more clean fill and top soil far exceeds budgeted project funds.
The solution proposed by the Park Board was to reduce the building’s size and function by:
Eliminating 1,000 Sq. Ft. at the south end of building designated as the Elder and Family Gathering Space;

Eliminating all commercial kitchen equipment: refrigerator, freezer, range, exhaust hood, fire suppression system, make-up air system, and all counters, cupboards and storage cabinets;
Eliminating the sound attenuating system in the gymnasium.
Eliminating many other building amenities.

Downgrading was a nightmare after the long struggle to deliver a wonderful multi-use building for the many needs of Phillips’ incredible diversity. The losses were too severe to accept without a fight. The Community Design Team and EPIC scrambled quickly and found two sources of money to help.

One is a Hennepin County Pollution Mitigation Grant. The second is a bill rushed through the legislature in the last days of the session by Representative Karen Clark.

Members of the Design Team worked frantically on May Day weekend to meet the Monday, May 3rd deadline for the Hennepin County grant.

Rep. Clark worked tirelessly at the Legislature to shepherd her bill through and to attain the Governor’s signature.

These two options were minor miracles.

We will have most of the “solution,” if we are successful with Hennepin County and if we are able to use all of both grants. We are continuing to seek funding to avoid any losses to the building.
Stay tuned and curious.

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Curious about a United Phillips plus Waite House Proposal for Phillips Pool and Gym Community Center?

The Phillips Pool and Gym Community Center on East 24th St. between 10th and 13th Avenues closed for repairs and awaiting operating proposals.

by Robert Albee, Ventura Village Secretary
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has set July 9th as the date by which interested parties must submit their applications for future leasing of the Phillips Community Center. The Park Board has clearly stated that they are interested in proposals compatible with, and complimentary to MPRB programs and services and have a good reputation and an interest in the community being served.

Accordingly, successful applicant/s must have the resources “to renovate the interior and exterior of the building and provide rental income to offset the building utilities, operating costs and provide for long term building maintenance and operation of the project.”

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