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Sigstad Sisters and Frank Brant Die in River Road Accident Street Conditions not on Par with Coming of Motorized Vehicles – Changes Were Needed

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Mabel Sigstad who worked for a laundry company met a tragic death along with Ida, her sister and Frank Brant, a friend along the River Parkway November 3, 1916

by Sue Hunter Weir

On November 3, 1916, Ida and Mabel Sigstad were on their way home from a party in St. Paul in a car driven by E. C. Nelson. When Mr. Nelson turned onto the River Road and River Parkway, one of the car’s rear tires slid over a ten-foot embankment and the car flipped, trapping the driver and its three passengers underneath it. Mr. Nelson lost consciousness; he woke on and off during the next four hours and called out to his passengers but got no response.

John Kelly, the night watchman at Lock and Dam #1 was on his way home from work at 7 o’clock in the morning when he discovered the accident. He called several of his fellow workmen, and they were able to right the car and pull it off of the passengers. By that time, it was too late for Ida and Mabel and for Frank Brant, the other passenger in the car. They had smothered under the weight of the car.

Ida and Mabel were two of Ole Sigstad’s four daughters. Ida worked as a clerk in a downtown department store, and Mabel worked for a laundry company. They lived with their father, a bricklayer, their mother and one other sister, Emma, at 5023 28th Avenue South. Their parents learned about the accident early on the morning after it occurred. Mrs. Sigstad had spent a sleepless night waiting for their daughters to come home and, according to the Minneapolis Tribune’s account of the accident, woke up another of their daughters, Emma, and told her that she had a premonition that something was wrong—that she could hear her daughters groaning. Unable to sleep, Mrs. Sigstad was out working in her yard when she was notified of the accident.

By 1916, cars were no longer a rarity, but the cost of owning a car was beyond the means of most families. With only 13,101 licensed cars on the road in Minneapolis in 1915, collisions between cars were rare. Most accidents were the result of poor maneuverability in combination with poor road conditions. Rollover accidents were common when unpaved roads with steep embankments were the norm. The speed limit in downtown Minneapolis (the “loop”) was “flexible;” drivers could drive between 10-15 miles per hour. The speed limit on country roads was 30 miles per hour, and on city streets drivers could go as fast as 25 miles per hour. Children, playing or running into the street, were the victims of most accidents on city streets.

The two sisters were buried at Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers after a double funeral conducted by Rev. John Preus of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church. They were buried in Lot 6, Block M with four other members of their family: Gertrude, Inga C., Inga Mathilda and Oscar Sigstad. The other children, most infants, died from a variety of illnesses in the 1890s.

Sue Hunter Weir is Phillips historian extraordinaire, member of Friends of the Cemetery who, with husband Paul Weir, have lived in Phillips over 30 years and together also garden with the 12th & 13th Avenue Block Club, was a co-founder of Phillips website pnn.org.

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SPORTS TALK

By Ray Jay and Young Dex

Let’s start this edition of sports talk out with a big congratulations to Lynx coach Jen Gillom and Lynx point guard Renee Montgomery as they were selected to be representatives on The United States Women’s Basketball team for the pre Olympics Games.

We must also congratulate our Minnesota Twins as they made the American League play-offs with an exciting one game play-off entry win over The Detroit Tigers. Needless to say, that game took all of their oomph, as they were swept in the first round by the powerful New York Yankees, who beat the California Angels, Tori Hunter’s new team, in their best of seven ALCS playoffs for the World Series. Speaking of Tori, just imagine that we may still be playing had the Twins retained him, and/or Johan Santana. Oh well! That’s the way the small markets go, so some say.

The Minnesota Vikings are riding high as they go into the seventh week of the young NFL season undefeated. I admit, I was wrong about Mr. Brett Favre. The coaching still raises my eyebrows, however, and we can only hope that gets better.

What about the MN Wild NHL team. Two words; They Stink!

This next team, The MN Timberwolves, I’m not going to say stink, I will say they have their work cut out for them, as they are currently 1-4 in the exhibition season. It doesn’t help the cause when two of your best players go down to injuries in the pre-season. I really like young Jonny Flynn, the rookie point guard from Syracuse; Damien Wilkins, son of NBA great Dominique Wilkins and Ryan Hollins show a lot of promise. We think a key to this season will be Sasha Pavlovic, the 6’7” guard from Serbia, who gives the wolves something they have not had in many years, a big shooting guard who can hit the threes. With K-Love, Kevin Love out till December and Al Jefferson still suffering from his season ending surgery, the other players will have to step up. The Timberwolves only have five players returning from last year, so developing new chemistry is vital.

Seeing as how a couple of sub .500 teams made the play-offs last year, we would not count the Timberwolves out at this time. They are going to need a sixth man, in fan support, to be competitive.

Here are our starting Timberwolves line-ups. Ray Jay would start Jefferson, Gomes, Flynn, Wilkins and Pavlovic at season’s start. I still feel that Brewer is so much stronger coming off the bench with his hustling style. Young Dex would start Jefferson, Gomes, Cardinal, Flynn and Brewer. He just doesn’t believe in the new guys as of yet. In any event we will need strong games from Sessions and Hollins every night.
Coach Rambis is in a similar position that Lynx Coach Gillom was in during the WNBA just ended season, in that he will have to find some creative ways to motivate and stimulate this Timberwolves team. The home opener is Wednesday October 28th against the New Jersey Nets, followed on October 30 against the revamped Cleveland Cavaliers with LaBron James and Shaquille O’Neil.
Come out and be a part of that sixth man.

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Into Temptation & Jennifer’s Body

By Howard Mc Quitter, II
Into Temptation
****
Director: Patrick Coyle

Intotempationposter2

Into Temptation

Minneapolis based director Patrick Coyle is a tenacious, conscious man who has a passion for making movies or acting in movies. After seeing Coyle’s debut film “Detective Fiction” (filmed in Minneapolis) a few years back, I knew this very talented man was due for bigger and better things which is now clear in “Into Temptation”. As such his film is introspective and redemptive, not draped in evanescence or sensationalism.

Father John Buerlein (Jeremy Sisto), in the confessional presumably on a Saturday afternoon, a woman enters the confessional (the side with the screen) and begins to tell the priest that it’s been years since her last confession. Since she feels her life is no longer of value, she plans to commit suicide on her birthday (which is soon), then walks out of the confessional before Father Buerlein can complete the sacrament with absolution. He’s bothered by what she said but under church law cannot reveal a name and what he or she said. He becomes his own Sherlock Holmes at the risk of endangering his life, or opening himself to scandal or misunderstanding by his flock, his bishop, and/or his encounters with some louche characters.

Attempting to find the mystery woman, Linda Salerno (Kristen Chenoweth), [“Running with Scissors” (2006), “Bewitched”, (2005)] the priest asks his parishioner Lloyd Mantao (Bruce A Young) to assist him. Both men find her apartment but learn she has recently moved out. The hunt goes on; the priest goes alone at times, visiting a sex shop to inquire if anyone there knows her. The priest and Lloyd visit a pimp named James St. Claire (Ansa Akyea), who knows Linda but hasn’t seen her recently.

“Into Temptation” is similar to Irvin Kershner’s 1961 film, “The Hoodlum Priest” where a Jesuit priest (Don Murray) works with ex-cons, prostitutes and juvenile delinquents in St. Louis.

Walking down a seedy street, Father Buerlein sees a distinguished gentleman talking to a woman. He enters the restaurant, and sits down but notices a few minutes later the woman leaves. Father Buerlein, when not at his parish saying mass or addressing one of the church groups, is almost obsessed with finding Linda before she commits suicide. He asks what to do of fellow priest, Father Ralph O’Brien (Brian Baumgartner) at another parish, without revealing Linda’s name. The private conversations between the two priests – though about forgiving Linda, as if in a sacramental sense,- may be an impropriety.

Patrick Coyle’s characters are working class, everyday people. To Coyle’s credit he keeps the story simple, seldom veering from the course of the movie. Father Buerlein struggles with his vocation at times, especially when a woman whom he had dated before his entrance to the Catholic seminary re-appears at his church. He understands internal struggles even though his are different from the woman he is trying to rescue.

Read the rest of this entry »

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La Natividad Returns

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Outdoor candle-lit procession with Maria and Jose in La Natividad, In the Heart of the Beast Theatre

by Patrick Cabello Hansel
One of the most unique partnerships in the arts takes place literally in our backyard: La Natividad, the bilingual Christmas procession and celebration that is a partnership between In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre (HOBT), St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and Mercado Central marketplace. La Natividad will return this December 10 – 20 to our community. This beloved holiday show combines street theatre, HOBT’s expressive puppetry, and an outdoor candle-lit procession. Based on the Mexican tradition of Las Posadas, the audience moves from place to place and becomes part of the action.

Beginning at HOBT’s Theater and Mercado Central, the audience follows Maria and José through the streets as they look for refuge. The procession ends at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, with the Nativity and a fiesta— complete with music and food. Tickets for this unique performance and holiday celebration are on sale now, by calling 612-721-2535 or on-line.

But perhaps even more important, community members can be a part of the show by being actors, puppeteers, singing in the angel choir or volunteering at one of the fiestas. There are plenty of roles for children as well. If interested, please contact the theater at 612-721-2535 or St. Paul’s at 612-724-3862.

Patrick Cabello Hansel, creative & amiable poet, author, dramatist, and pastor (and so, too, Luisa Cabello Hansel) St. Paul’s Lutheran Church – 28th Street and 15th Ave. in Midtown Phillips. Writes a new Chapter for Novelle Searching in each month’s The Alley.

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Dave’s Dumpster November 2009

Dave's Dumpster November 2009

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How about also making Park, Portland, 26th and 28th Streets more “Accessible, Vibrant, Pedestrian and Biker Friendly with Less” and Slower Speeds?

Hennepin and 1st Avenues have been changed to two-way streets again so they will be “more accessible, more vibrant, with slower speeds and less around the block trips,” according to city planners and politicians, plus many pedestrian and bicycle improvements.
The City widened Park and Portland Avenues and 26th and 28th Streets decades ago:

  • decreasing pedestrian space,
  • removing old well-canopied trees
  • decreasing space for new trees,
  • and increasing speeds on former residential streets thus making them speedways unfriendly to residents, pedestrians and bikers alike.

Is it time to return residential streets so they, too, are more “accessible and vibrant” with less around the block driving and slower speeds coupled with improvements for pedestrians and bikers?

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Irony Of Ironies

By Peter Molenaar

Followers of this column might recall a two-part slogan issued prior to the Obama presidency. The first part read: “Unite to fight the ultra-right”. The second part: “even as we project the vision of socialist future”. It occurs now that it might be helpful to define some terms.
By ‘ultra-right’ is meant: those political forces which are manipulated and set in motion by the most greedy and self-absorbed section of the capitalist ruling class. The Republican Party is said to be dominated by these forces. Whereas, the more liberal wing of the ruling class consents to a political alliance with the social-democratic wing of Labor (and the other sectors which make up the Democratic Party).
The term ‘social-democratic’ refers to that trend within Labor which seeks to improve life without fundamentally challenging the power of accumulated wealth, i.e. without challenging the property relations which constitute the “rule of capital”. However, during a prolonged period of declining living standards, social-democracy of necessity evolves towards a more militant socialism. Similarly, the liberal tendency will be altered, but in reaction.

Note: We will endeavor to define working class socialism as opposed to “national socialism”.

Socialist society is based on public ownership of large scale industry, transport, and real estate. Thus it involves the revolutionary transfer of a huge sum of wealth to the public domain. It follows that a strong “worker’s state” must be built upon a foundation of democratic institutions which in turn must reflect necessity itself. Socialist society strives to eliminate all forms of oppression and inequality while seeking to elevate the spiritual content of each individual. Peace between nations and harmony with nature is the goal.

But for now, “our” state rests upon a highly unstable capitalism: hyper concentration of wealth …mass consumer debt…stagnation…financialization…housing bubble burst…meltdown…bailout…Obama…stimulus.

In essence (consciously or not), we have elected Obama to save capitalism (to save capitalism from the capitalists!) until such time as a viable socialist vanguard develops in conjunction with the requisite mass movement. As for now, I suggest we defend our president from the radical right saboteurs (and racists) on the one hand, and from certain “left” agitators who falsely focus blame on him.
Is Obama a good and competent man? Yes, he is. However the gods of history might yet view his election as the irony of ironies.

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THE WAR ON DRUGS HAS EXPANDED; Or Has It Really? part III

By Raymond Jackson

This epidemic consists of highly addictive legal drugs that go under the moniker of painkillers. Because they are legal, and the big profiteers from them, is the pharmaceutical industry, it will be quite awhile before they are made a relevant part of ‘The War on Drugs’. Long considered a Suburban high, painkilling drugs, such as Percecet, Oxycodiene and Vicodine, have found their way into the inner-city. Many addicts trying to get off of crack-cocaine have resorted to these highly addictive pain medications as a way out, only to become addicted to these alternative drugs. A lot cheaper, but just as destructive and deadly!

One could even include the various types of sleeping medications into this epidemic. These pills sell for 2-5 dollars each on the street, so therefore the big profit is being made by the manufacturers, who charge millions to the Health Insurance companies that cover these medications. These pills were once the choice of unemployed suburban housewives and their associates. Just as we, the inner-city communities, had to wean each other away from the Prozac fountain, we will have to do the same with these prescription medications.
AMERICA WAKE UP! According to a Pain Specialist, who spoke under the condition of anonymity; “The state of Minnesota is very strict when it comes to pain killing medication. Their one strike and you’re out concept drives many a recovering addict back into the streets, looking for pain relief. This state does not take into account that we are all human, and humans do make mistakes. In most games there lies a multiple strike or fouls clause. You know, like in baseball, three strikes and you’re out. If a client tests positive for non-legal medications, we have no choice but to either, ignore the positive test or simply take them off of our care. They usually wind up in jail or dead as a result of this strict enforcement. It’s like we just give up on them,” he said. “These laws and regulations must be changed or modified, for the sake of humanity.”

As long as high society profits, there will be no pending regulatory efforts. Aren’t you tired of being bamboozled!
So what one can do is question the need of the prescription. Be very careful when it comes to signing pain contracts that are very open ended and vague. Have someone close to you monitor your doses. Do not tell others that you are on pain medication. And if you feel a growing desire to take more than what the dosage is prescribed; do not hesitate to get professional help in getting off the medication.
Raymond Jackson is a staff writer and can be reached for comments and opinions.
Raymond Jackson, long time on and off Phillips resident or business affiliate, past organizer for People of Phillips,an advocate for positive growth and development opportunities for all children. He is legally blind and disabled, so is also a strong advocate for the disabled. He has written four plays, three of which have been performed in front of audiences, He is a Spoken Word Hip-Hop Artist; and strongly believes that if we want it solved, we must get involved! Please feel free to contact him anytime at 612-558-8630. Thank you and please have a great day.

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Recovery Act Project Activity to Remove Soil at Arsenic Levels That Pose Long-Term Health Threat to Residents

EPA will use the $10-25 million in Recovery Act funds allocated to the Minneapolis Residential Soil Contamination site to conduct all cleanup and restoration work at the approximately 500 remaining residential properties with soils above the arsenic soil cleanup standard. The activities include the excavation and off-site disposal of all contaminated soil above the cleanup standard, with excavation to occur to a depth of 12 inches in lawn areas and 18 inches in garden areas.

If confirmation samples from the base of the excavation show arsenic levels above the acute arsenic cleanup standard, EPA will continue excavating soil until the acute standard is met or foundation depth is reach. Once excavation is complete, the properties will be restored to their original condition. The activities also include establishing institutional controls on properties where excavation is not possible due to access restrictions. Concerning the possibility of household pesticide Application Skewing EPA Date, the EPA replied that, “If common use pesticides was the primary explanation for the residential arsenic contamination at the site we would expect elevated levels on properties from both pre and post 1960 periods (of homes built). However we do not. This all indicates that elevated arsenic levels resulted from some source other than pesticide application.

All of this information supports EPA’s conclusion that the former plant site caused elevated levels of arsenic in the soils of the surrounding areas, and that the area affected is limited to the current investigation area as defined by the results of the EPA’s air dispersion model.”
-Source, EPA Responsiveness Summary to Public Comment (from June 2 through July 1, 2008) Available on the web.

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16 residents will interview 750 households door-to-door by year’s end

By Janice Barbee
The Backyard Initiative’s Community Interviews are now happening in the Phillips Community and in Powderhorn Park, Central, and Corcoran neighborhoods.

Over the past several months, community residents have been meeting weekly as part of the Backyard Initiative’s Assessment Team. The Assessment Team has been charged by the larger BYI community group that meets monthly to oversee the process of creating a picture of the current state of health and well-being of the residents and families in the Backyard area.

Early on in the process, the community had given feedback to Allina that they did not think that a proposed mail survey would be an effective and accurate method for assessing the health of people who live in the Backyard area. They decided that a better process would be to hold a number of Listening Circles where people would give their input in groups, and a Walk-around process where people would be asked questions about their health in a one-to-one interview. The Assessment Team has been designing the details of this assessment process, including choosing the questions for the Listening Circles and the Walk-around. The team members, including Africans, African Americans, Natives, Latinos, and European Americans, have worked hard to ensure that all the questions are based in the BYI’s definition of health that was first developed by the large group. The questions address physical, mental, and spiritual health as well as personal, family, and community health. The questions focus on what people need as resources for their health as well as what people can do for themselves and each other to improve health.

Members of the community have conducted 20 Listening Circles and the notes from these meetings will soon be read and analyzed by community members with support from staff from Allina, Wilder Research, and the Cultural Wellness Center. The Listening Circles included members from the different cultural communities, men and women, youth and elders, mothers and fathers, members of the GLBTQ community, and people from all the neighborhoods in the Backyard. The questions asked of the residents were:

  1. How do you keep yourself and your family healthy?
  2. How do you maintain harmony and balance in your life?
  3. Who do you turn to for help?

The second phase of the assessment, the Walk-around, will start in early November. Approximately 16 community residents, recruited by the Assessment Team and the Cultural Wellness Center and hired by Wilder and who represent the neighborhoods and the cultural communities, will go door-to-door and conduct interviews with members of 750 households. This number was chosen so that approximately one out of every twenty households in the Backyard area will be asked to participate. The goal is that the community interviews will be completed by the end of the year.

The Assessment Team will also be involved in interpreting the information collected and in creating the reports (both written and by presentation in community gatherings) to the community. Look for announcements in the beginning of 2010 to hear about the results of both the Listening Circles and the Walk-around.

All residents of the Backyard area are welcome to join the large gathering on the first Thursday of every month from 5 – 7 PM. Call the Cultural Wellness Center at 612-721-5745 for the location.

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