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At the Movies: Precious

Precious

Precious

by Raymond Jackson
Oh how precious everyone and everything is, all in their own unique ways! At the end of this very good movie, ‘Precious’, exemplifies the aforementioned statement so much that one could hear a pin drop in the carpeted isles, while gasping for air and exhibiting an inability to clap. This movie is good and leaves you frozen in deep thought! The metaphor, keeping it real, can certainly be applied in this case, with bold caps even.

Stand up comedian, Monique, plays an excellent role as Ms Jones, the mother of Clareece ‘Precious’ Jones, played by newcomer, Gabourey ‘Gabby’ Sidibe; who is said to have auditioned in between classes, while attending college in New York. Directed by Lee Daniels, ‘Precious’ is based on the book, ‘Push’, written by Sapphire, and is sure to be up for many awards. I am allergic to tears, so believe me when I say, this movie will have you crying and even laughing throughout, as you are taken down the path of a junior high school mother, who enters this drama pregnant with her second child, at the age of sixteen.

Based in 1987 New York, Precious, after being told over and over again, by her mother and countless others, that she is nothing and will never be anything but a complete zero; starts to feel better about herself and her capabilities, after being forced to enroll in an alternative school and meeting teachers and students who seemed to care about her.

Mariah Carey, who plays the role of an unbelieving somewhat kooky social worker, has already been mentioned for several awards. This is the best I have seen her, minus all makeup and extra hair. She is good!

There are no murders, nothing is blown to pieces, yet the audience is left glued to their seats, with the vocal communiqué exhibited in this movie. Leaving another ole saying, “Action speaks louder than words” completely falsified in ‘Precious’. Yes there is plenty of action, but the Hollywood sensationalism, most of us have become accustomed to at the movies, is not there. This cast of virtually unknowns, are nothing short of superb, and Monique , in a very serious, high impact role, ices being a mother, very misinformed, by very misinformed people. The physical and mental pain associated with childhood abuse is presented in a way that most can relate to! ‘Gabby’, in the role of Precious, shows that a seventeen year old mother of two, can break the vicious cycle of negative repetition and family curse by utilizing and trusting in the support mechanisms presented to them This is a must see, 4 star production. Precious is currently showing at The Lagoon Theater in South Minneapolis, as well as other locations near you.

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Dave’s Dumpster December 2009

007.02-dec-09-Dave's-Dumpster

Wakan Tanka

by Peter Molenaar

It took on the order of 200,000 years for humankind to develop a written language. Subsequently, “the word” accumulated in the form of scripture which in turn made literacy a requirement for entry into “the faith”. Hence, the emergence of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) within the once vast sea of illiteracy.

Note: the various peoples of this neighborhood might do well to acknowledge that we all reside upon Dakota land.

Prior to Abraham, prior even to the Druid elites of Pagan Europe, it was the vision quest which nourished the spiritual community. The trekker was rewarded by nature’s unforeseen coincidences, including close encounters with curious animals. Such were the revelations of “the great spirit”.

Note: A totem animal should be regarded as but one aspect of Wakan Tanka.

Prior to the existence of life sustaining planets, was there a great spirit? Or, did mind emerge merely as a function of highly evolved central nervous systems? Perhaps, as some have suggested, Wakan Tanka translates better as “the great mystery”.

Who among us has not noticed the great flock of crows which resides in this neighborhood during the winter months? What is the explanation for this? I suggest we observe them with great respect and admiration. Might we embrace the crow as our totem connection?

As for me, I will continue to function as a philosophical materialist i.e. liberation in the spiritual realm can be achieved only as we collectively re-harmonize to the material realm (matter is primary). Yet I confess the possibility that matter and spirit have coexisted for eternity and express my preference for the spiritual outlook of preliterate peoples.

I walk upon Dakota land.

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America, Wake Up & Mask Up!!!!!!!

By Raymond Jackson
[Editor’s Alley Opps …Note of Apology & Explanation this article was inadvertently omitted and another article wrongly printed last month]

Cough, sneeze, wheeze, drizzle, and not even an excuse me, or any attempt to cover up the expulsion. How many times has this happened to you, already, and so early in this cold and flu season? We have huge pharmaceutical companies claiming that they can’t get going fast enough, to keep up with the demand for H1N1 flu vaccine. OK, maybe it’s more difficult than anticipated, battling this H what N who (H1N1) bacteria, but this just does not seem fathomable, for a nation that puts men on the moon. Vaccines for Cholera, Chicken Pox, Polio and many other ailments did not seem to be as baffling as this H1N1. In any event, America, Wake Up & Mask Up! That appears the most logical and economical solution to this pandemic, which at press time had claimed the lives of over 4,000 adults and 540 children, (under the age of 18), here in America, with the state of Minnesota having 9 youth deaths. The past 17 deaths in Minnesota were all adults with preexisting conditions, which has lead some to believe this virus is a trial run of eliminating the feeble, valueless etc.  What is H1N1? We are now finding out that it is Swine Flu, which we became aware of in the spring of 2009. Some say it has been in existence for more than ten years. There are still just so many unanswered questions surrounding this virus. The name, we are told, was changed to save the pork industry from losing any money in sales. They now continuously say that you cannot get H1N1 from eating any properly cooked pork items. To me this insinuates that you can perhaps get H1N1 from eating undercooked or raw pork items. However, you probably stand more of a chance of getting trichinosis, (worms), than H1N1, from eating undercooked pork products. The following is a verbatim write up in Wikipedia pertaining to H1N1.

‘The 2009 flu pandemic is a global outbreak of a new strain of influenza officially referred to as novel H1N1, first identified in April 2009 and commonly called swine flu. The virus is a mixing, (reassortment), of four known strains of influenza. A virus, one epidemic in humans, one epidemic in birds, and two epidemics in pigs (swine). Transmission of the new strain is human-to-human, and eating cooked pork products will not transmit the virus.’

Wikipedia, which some think not to be very useful, for a variety of reasons, goes on to scribe: ‘Like other influenza viruses, novel H1N1 influenza is spread by coughing, sneezing or touching contaminated surfaces and then touching the nose or mouth? Symptoms, which last up to a week, are similar to those of seasonal flu, and can include fever, sneezing, sore throat, cough, headache and muscle or joint pain. To avoid spreading the infection, the CDC, ( Center for Disease Control ), recommended that those with symptoms stay home from school and work, and avoid crowded settings in general, wearing facial masks was not recommended, except in healthcare settings.’

Let me please repeat that last sentence to try to make sense of it; ‘Wearing facial masks was not recommended, except in healthcare settings.’ What a ridiculous statement from the CDC. Since other media outlets are not greatly recommending wearing a mask, one must take Wikipedia to be accurate in their reporting on this issue. Healthcare settings, then, must include hospitals, nursing homes and other special care centers. Could such a statement, of them being the only places wearing a mask is suggested, be a mistake or callous intent? Many medical people are now recommending that when flying in an airplane you should wear a mask. Is an airplane much different than the city bus or train? It is very apparent that this virus is most spread in congested areas full of people. When the SARS outbreak occurred several years ago in China, the most populated country in the world, there was little talk of vaccines and much talk of masks. Our American Olympic team all wore masks during that time period in China. What is really going on? We have a sometimes available and sometimes not, H1N1 vaccine that the producers tell us will not keep us from getting sick; we just won’t get as sick as our neighbor who did not get the vaccine. By the way, the vaccine contains some live virus that will indeed possibly make you sick! This makes little sense, except that the bottom line may center on profit margins. That may be the underlying cause of the double and triple talk.

AMERICA, WAKE UP & MASK UP!
Do get the vaccines when they become available, if that’s your choice, because the mask also, does not guarantee a total safeguard against getting sick. Helpful suggestions include eating healthy, getting rest, exercise and hydration, (drinking plenty of fluids), as well as, dressing properly and, wearing a mask also warms the air that one breaths into their body, which makes a big difference upon entering your lungs. This all works handily with the mask and/or vaccine.
AMERICA, WAKE UP & PROTECT YOURSELF & YOUR CHILDREN.
Yes they are the future!!

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First Anniversary, New Director, Commission on Health

08_byi

Good food, stories, discussion and debate have characterized the first full year of Backyard Initiative gatherings like this one at the Cultural Wellness Center, 1527 East Lake Street.

by Janice Barbee

The Backyard Initiative, a partnership between Allina and the surrounding community, will be celebrating its first anniversary on January 30, 2010. Come to the Cultural Wellness Center to hear about the accomplishments of the past year and plans for 2010.

The Backyard Initiative’s assessment process is already producing a great deal of knowledge. Community residents have conducted 21 Listening Circles, the notes from which are now being analyzed by residents. They will create a report for the community and Allina that will be presented at the January meeting.

The walk-around is now over 1/3 completed. Community residents hired by Wilder Research are walking around the Powderhorn Park, Central, and Corcoran and the four Phillips neighborhoods to ask people about their health and the health of the community. Residents designed the questions and they will be interpreting the results. The great majority of residents have been interested in participating, especially as they learn that other residents are asking the questions.

New BYI Project Director

Allina hired a new project director for the Backyard Initiative in early November. The new staff person, Paula Fynboh, has begun attending Backyard community meetings and meeting with community residents and organizational leaders within the Backyard. She is also participating in the listening circles analysis team. Prior to joining Allina Hospitals & Clinics, Paula was a Project Manager for Grassroots Solutions, a national consulting company specializing in community engagement and also served as the Interim Executive Director with the Phillips West Neighborhood Organization. Paula is also a resident of the Backyard.

November Dinner and Dialogue Gatherings
Residents met over dinner twice in November. On November 5, the GLBTQ (Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer) community hosted the gathering at a home in Powderhorn Park. People told stories of how difficult it has been to be a part of the larger community. They also talked about how this community has been more welcoming than many for GLBTQ folks. The meeting ended with affirmations about the importance of every person being respected and having a voice.

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Thanks to YOU, The Alley Is Bound for the Future!

60 people attended the Oct 23rd Bound for the Future event.  Here a third of them are pictured listening to Cathy Strobel describe the project.

60 people attended the Oct 23rd Bound for the Future event. Here a third of them are pictured listening to Cathy Strobel describe the project.

by Susan Gust

Neighbors, friends, advertisers, writers, cartoonists, delivery people, volunteers, young and old, new and well-heeled,—–gathered at the Cultural Wellness Center for a terrific Annual Meeting celebrating 34 years of The Alley Newspaper. This important event also served as a fundraiser for our Bound for the Future Project.

Cathy Strobel, President of Alley Communications’ Board of Directors announced at the meeting that the Hennepin County Library has generously decided to contribute the cost of printing and binding two sets of the 17 volumes holding 30 years worth of history, photos and stories contained in over 4,000 pages of The Alley Newspaper. One of these two sets will be located at the Downtown Library and the other set will be available in our own community at the Franklin Library. The Board and volunteers of Alley Communications, the community owned, non-profit publisher of The Alley Newspaper, are so very grateful for the efforts of the staff of the Hennepin County Library and Commissioner Peter McLaughlin’s office that helped to make this project successful.

The printing of these two sets has been completed and now the volumes are being bound. We will make an announcement in an upcoming issue of The Alley Newspaper as to when this project has been completed and delivered to each of the libraries.

Alley Communications especially wants to thank the organizational contributors to the Bound for the Future Project: Franklin Avenue Business Association (FABA), Chicago Lake Florist, the Cultural Wellness Center and Hennepin County Library. Our Annual Meeting and fundraiser was made possible through the in-kind contributions of May Day Café, May Day Book Store, Jonathan Miller, Leon Oman, Helen Pound, Cathy Strobel, Jane Thomson, Sue Hunter Weir, and Joyce Wisdom. We especially want to commend the Cultural Wellness Center for making this event possible with their generous commitment of valuable staff time, food and consistent encouragement and help in hosting this event on October 23.

The evening’s program culminated with a time of tributes to Leon Oman upon his retirement after 28years as Coordinator of Community Education at Andersen Elementary School. The Alley Board was pleased to hear and announce that Leon will stay on the Alley Board and as our bookkeeper. Thank you, Leon.

Thank you, Thank you to all of our neighbors for being our neighbors. Thank you to those neighbors, our readers, who have thus far contributed a total of $1,715

For those who haven’t contributed yet, please know that any amount is appreciated. Every dollar raised has helped to contribute to this tremendous effort to get 30 years of The Alley Newspapers gathered together, organized, transported, printed and bound.
We’re excited now to anticipate going beyond just the hard copy sets at the libraries by increasing the access with microfilms of past Alleys through the Minnesota Historical Society, digital access of past issues, and finally indexing so names, events, and articles may be found quickly.

The January issue of The Alley will have a report on the finances and progress of the bound for the future project and an Annual Report to the Community of your paper, The Alley.

Each of the contributions, large and small, helped the community members governing this endeavor to truly feel a vote of confidence of the importance of keeping The Alley bound for the future! As Phillips Community namesake, Wendell Phillips said: “When great newspapers don’t say much…see what little independent ones say. We came into this world to give truth a little jog onward; we came into the world to help our neighbor’s rights.”

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With Necessity as the Mother of Invention, Brothers “Rack-Up” Success

01_dero_bikes

The infamous Seward racks at the Co-op

by Megan Sheridan

It all started at the University of Minnesota’s Campus Security. As Rolf Scholtz and his brother Derk used to patrol the Twin Cities Cam­pus, they would notice how unappealing and dysfunctional the bike racks were – as far as they could tell, the market for aesthetically appealing, U-lock compatible bike racks was wide open. After spending some time out of college in an eco­nomic development position, Rolf, along with his artistically inclined brother started Dero Bike Racks, now at 2657 32nd Ave S. And since 1995, they have been producing racks that are shipped all across the country as well as other parts of the world.

The foundation of Dero’s work is based on functionality and artistic appeal: all Dero racks are U-lock compatible, so users are assured that their bikes are safe; and all Dero racks are aesthetically attractive, so architects and planners can integrate them as visible aspects of their designs.

Dero Bike Racks is also firmly rooted in the community. The original office was located at Seven Corners, directly above Bullwinkle’s Saloon and warehousing located in Phillips. The company’s first real break was when they worked with Uptown to do one of the nation’s first large-scale artistic bike rack installation. From there, Dero landed contracts with the City of Honolulu and the University of Minnesota as the business began to really take off. But even as they grew, Dero stayed in Minneapolis, first moving to Prospect Park and later to their current facil­ity in Seward.

In 2003, Hans Steege joined the Dero team. One year later, was when they moved to Seward. Rolf told me that they were ready and almost signed a lease in another neighbor­hood when he noticed the building on 32nd Avenue while out walking his dog (both Rolf and Hans are long-time Seward residents). After moving into the neighborhood, Dero invested in their own equipment. Until then, racks had been finshed and packaged offsite. Within the first month, sales went up 25 percent. Their leap of faith paid off because they were then able to control quality throughout the entire process and ensure that everything went out properly.

Quality control and exceptional customer service are what make Dero so successful. They are willing to work with any customer, no matter the size project, to develop exactly what they need. For example, when working with the University of Minnesota, Dero came up with a customized rack that fit the specific project. Dero now offers what was origi­nally customized as a regular product.

Most recently, Dero installed the beautiful custom Seward bike racks that are now scattered through­out the neighborhood. They also donated the tem­porary bike racks used in Washington D.C. for the Presidential Inuaguration and just last month, they were contracted to install bike racks throughout the City of Dubai.

Years in Seward: 5
Employees: 18 (24 including the dogs)
Megan Sheridan, staff of Seward Redesign working with Seward Civic and Commerce Association. reprinted with permission from the Seward Civic and Commerce Association October 2009 Newsletter

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November Phillips What? Where?

November Hint: Out of an explosion order appears.

November Hint: Out of an explosion order appears

Tell us correctly What and Where this is in PHILLIPS Community and you will get a chance at a drawing for a $10. Gift Certificate to Welna Hardware on Bloomington Ave. One winner for each will be drawn. Call or write: 612-990-4022 or via e-mail or The Alley P.O. Box 7006, Mpls, MN 55407
November HINT:
Out of an explosion order appears.

Update on the East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center

By Brad Pass, Chair, East Phillips Park Community Design Team
On October 1st, the bids for the new East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center were opened. Of the thirteen bidding construction companies, not one bid exceeded the money we have available for the project and the three lowest bids came in sufficiently low so as to allow us to include EVERTHING we had cut weeks ago when we were concerned about pre-bid estimates.

We had sadly cut the Elderly and Family Gathering Space, amounting to 1,000 Sq Ft from the south end of the building. Then we eliminated sound insulating material in the gym. We eliminated all the appliances and the ventilation and make-up air system from the Kitchen along with many other less noticeable cost cutting measures including the elimination of the exterior plaza sitting wall. As a result of this, we were able to reduce the estimated building costs by just enough to warrant putting out the bids to the building construction industry. The bids were to go out in early September with a deadline of October 1st. Then, on Sept. 3rd, we were informed that our figures did not include money for a contingency fund. An additional $150,000 would be needed. The decision was made to proffer the bids anyway and hope for the best.

Now the contingency is also covered and we can even consider additional additions. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Commissioners voted unanimously; at their october 21st meeting, the “contingent upon staff receiving the city purchasing department’s approval letter, (the mprb) authorizes acceptance of the low bid from rochon corporation…to furnish all labor, materials, equipment, and incidentals for construction of the east phillips cultural and community center….” including all the items that had recently been eliminated.
Once the City Purchasing Department approves Rochon Corp. the bid will be awarded and we can plan a groundbreaking ceremony. The actual groundbreaking and start of construction may be in early spring to avoid winter construction fees which, if avoided, can be used for more computers, security cameras, furniture, furnishings and etc.

Now we will continue to work with the Park Staff and our Partners to create great programming and a strong volunteer base of support for our Center.

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What’s Up at the Franklin Library: November 2009

By Erin Thomasson
Children’s Programs
Sheeko Caruur Af-Soomaali ah/World Language Storytime: Somali*
Tuesdays, Nov. 3, 10, 17 & 24, 6:30–7:30 p.m. La wadaag bugagga, sheekoyinka, jaan-gooyada maansada iyo muusikada Soomaalida. Waxaa lagu maalgaliyey deeq ay Comcast Foundation siisay Library Foundation of Hennepin County.
For children ages 2 and up. Experience the world in other languages. *

The Turkey That Got Away
Friday, Nov. 6, 3–4 p.m.
For kids in grade 2 and up. What would Thanksgiving dinner be without the turkey? Kids will find out by sharing great books and fun activities.

Kids Book Club
Friday, Nov. 20, 4-5 p.m.
Join other kids to talk about a great book! Pick up a copy of the book at the information desk
Preschool Storytime
Wednesdays, 10:30-11:00 a.m.
For children ages 4 to 6. Help your preschooler get ready to read. Enjoy stories together and build language skills.

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