NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Thursday October 19th 2017

Keep citizen journalism alive!

Donatebutton_narrow

Archives

Abatement in April 2010

By H. Lynn Adelsman
The Superfund Arsenic Soil Clean-Up by the federal Environmental Pollution Agency continues this Spring of 2010. The EPA expects to start digging the first week of April, hoping to have 340 properties completed by the end of the year.

Last year they removed arsenic contaminated soil from 40 yards in Seward Neighborhood. The construction status map is on the EPA web page, and will track the EPA progress. The EPA is not planning soil removal in Phillips this summer. To note your concern for the residents of Phillips and encourage that yours or your neighbors yard have arsenic contaminated soil removed contact:

Tim Prendiville, Acting Chief
Remedial Response Section 2
Superfund Division
U.S. EPA (SR-6J)
77 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 886-5122
toll free (800) 621-8431 ext 65122

Share this with your friends:
  • email
  • Print
  • PDF
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks

Anti-Arsenic Arsenal + Absorption + Art = Amelioration

On exhibit at Regis Center for Art March 30th to April 15th…The exhibit will be on display at the Regis Center for Art, 4052 1st Av. So., Mpls. from March 30th through April 15th and the opening reception is on Friday April 2nd from 6:00-8:30 and I will be there for the duration of that if people happen to come in and want to talk or ask questions.

By Nicholas Riggers

Signs led to stories…
Shortly after moving to Seward I began to notice the Superfund Cleanup signs sporadically placed throughout the neighborhood and started to begin doing some research into what the Superfund was and why the EPA was here and after discovering that the area apparently had dangerously high levels of Arsenic I wanted to create a piece of artwork that would address the cleanup process. Initially I was interested in interviewing residents and then collecting their stories and turning those stories into artwork, and I did a small piece on that, but residents were some what hesitant to talk. Now that its spring and the cleanup process is starting its 2010 work, I’m going to try going door to door again and attending community meetings in the hope of collecting more stories.

Research led to sunflowers, mustard and ferns…

In early January I started to do some research and discovered that certain plants have the ability to absorb Arsenic and other heavy metals from the soil thus cleaning it, naturally. I wanted to create a piece that would encapsulate that idea. Thus the boxes and plants came, so in late February I planted Sunflowers and Mustard and just recently acquired some ferns. A few weeks ago I built the boxes and purposefully left them natural with the exception of text on either end of each box.

Plants lead to healing, renewal, and clean earth…

My hope is that people upon seeing this piece will have a heightened awareness of the healing and renewal power that plants have to clean the earth.
Regis Center for Art March 30th to April 15th…

The exhibit will be on display at the Regis Center for Art from March 30th through April 15th and the opening reception is on Friday April 2nd from 6:00-8:30. I will be there for the duration of that if people happen to come in and want to talk or ask questions.

The plants will be planted in the boxes and then there will be a pedestal next to them which will contain 100 smaller biodegradable pots that have seeds in them which individuals will then be able to take with them and in essence disperse and plant them spreading the “healing” power of the plants.
Inspiration from Mel Chin…

I’ll tell you more about why I decided on doing plants. I drew inspiration from the artist Mel Chin and his work in St. Paul (if you’re interested here is a link that contains more information about that project) I wanted to do something like that but perhaps a bit more mobile and assessable to a wider audience. Once I had the idea to work with plants I began to research what types of plants absorb heavy metals, particularly Arsenic, which is of course the center issue here in South Minneapolis.

Sunflowers and Mustard are natural cleaners, even in Chernobyl…

The first plant that came up were Sunflowers. I’m not sure how many people are aware of this, but Sunflowers were and are used in the cleanup of Chernobyl. Sunflowers are really a miracle plant they have the ability to cleanup several heavy metals including Arsenic. In addition to being a natural cleaner they’re visually appealing to look at, mentally and emotionally they have the ability to put you in a good mood. The other plant I chose was Ferns, like Sunflowers, Ferns are miraculous cleaners and will absorb Arsenic. Also certain Mustard plants are known to clean soil. I selected these plants because of their ability to grow here in Minnesota and since this was in response to the Superfund Cleanup these plants seemed perfect.

Take a pot…a seed…and plant and heal…

I also wanted to do a project with the plants because individuals from the general public didn’t seem to know that plants have the ability to cleanup and perhaps do a better job then we, as humans can. It’s my hope that from this project that there will be a heightened awareness among the general public as to what plants can do. Plants provide comfort and after talking to residents that live in the Superfund site, I could sense in some of them a lot of worry and frustration. Several were worried that perhaps their children or themselves were exposed to Arsenic, the long term effects on the area is unknown. I believe there were some studies done, but I don’t know the results. Hopefully people will get some comfort out of seeing this project and seeing the plants. Perhaps they themselves will go out and turn their yards into gardens or just plant a Sunflower. On the opening reception night there will be small biodegradable pots with seeds in them that people can take and begin the process of planting and healing.

The word–phyttoremediation–must get out…

In the future I would like to see this project expanded, perhaps these mobile boxes can be reproduced and sent to schools or community gardens and centers where residents and children can learn about the process of phytoremediation. I would also like to see more residents actively involved in this. Also this summer I am going to begin photographing yards and residents that have been cleaned that will broadly address the cleanup and the effects it has had on individuals and families.

A bit more about me…

I am a senior at the U of M, and I graduate this May and the plants and boxes are part of the B.A. Exhibition that will be on display that people can see. I am passionate about the environment, arts and sustainability and how I can combine all three. I am also interested in how I can involve the community into art projects. Art has the special ability to address multiple issues and transcend divides among people to bring them closer together.

Share this with your friends:
  • email
  • Print
  • PDF
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks

“DEAR PARENT, YOUR CHILD IS FAT”

By Jane Thomson

Above is the gist of a message that would have been sent home a couple of years ago in a harebrained plan to combat childhood obesity. Now, Michelle Obama is on the problem, and at least, she will do no harm. I was a fat child; it was not fun; and guess what – my parents had noticed without being informed. When I was ten years old, after years of nagging, my mother gave me, as part of my Christmas present, a pocket-sized calorie reference book with a dial on the front to count my daily calories. The timing must have been right, as instead of hurting my feelings, the book intrigued me. I ate a lot of cantaloupe that summer, and Junket (comparable to today’s instant sugar-free pudding mix made with skim milk). When I went back to school the following fall, I was no longer fat and clumsy, but thin and clumsy.

What causes childhood obesity? I will add to the condemnation of junk food and soda advertising – cigarette companies are hardly alone in trying to get at their market as early in the kid’s lives as possible. In my case, living in an inner-city apartment with little access to physical activity was part of the problem. Domestic turmoil surfacing at meals can lead to nervous eating. A pleasantly casual family meal would be the ideal. Parents can set an example another way: Don’t just lock up the candy, cake, donuts, sugared soda, etc. Don’t have them around except for special occasions.

What to have around for snacks and meals? Tasty, attractive, filling foods. These can be expensive; but don’t have to be (I will try never to have recipes in this column that call for hard-to-find or expensive ingredients.) The following recipes are adjustable – unlike in baking, these ingredients do not have to be in exact proportions.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this with your friends:
  • email
  • Print
  • PDF
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks

Top 10 movies of 2009*

by Howard McQuitter, II

[*Editor’s Note:  Howard’s selections were done before the Academy Awards and were only listed in the March issue of The Alley.  This month we include the list with notes.]

Hurt Locker
War/drama
Rated: R
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Staff Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner) has the most dangerous job in the world, disconnecting road bombs in Baghdad. There’s not enough money to compensate him for his task. Sometimes Sergeant J.T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie), James’ superior, thinks James is a little crazy.

Baader Meinhof Komplex
Drama/History/Thriller/Adventure/Mystery
Rated: R
Director: Uli Edel
German with English subtitles
The meanest leftist groups in the west, the Red Army Faction, aka Baader Meinhof Gang, emerges in the late 1960s and into the 1970s in reaction to too much ultraconservatism in the West German government. They seek to take extreme measures, bombing banks, government buildings, etc., against the status quo.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this with your friends:
  • email
  • Print
  • PDF
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks

Casablanca: “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

Casablanca

by Howard McQuitter

*****
1942 Warner Brothers
Parkway Theater
Drama/Romance/Mystery
Running time: 102 minutes
B/W, English, French, German
Director: Michael Curtiz

“Casablanca” is one of those special films I have seen many times over the last 50 years, but every time I see it, the feeling is like the first time. The first time over many times, the Humphrey Bogart/Ingrid Bergman duo, the cynical Claude Rains as Captain Renault, the Czech freedom fighter and escapee from a Nazi concentration camp, the memorable piano player “playing” “As Time Goes By” in Bogart’s character Rick Blaines’ Rick’s Café American, and so forth.

However, as many times as I have seen “Casablanca”, there were things I didn’t know until now. At a showing of “Casablanca” at the Parkway Theater in South Minneapolis last month, poet par excellence John Flynn explained that there were 35 nationalities represented in “Casablanca”, and all but the beginning scenes are set on stages. Another point he brought out, to my surprise, was that the famed “African American” pianist Dooley Wilson, a drummer by trade, had his playing “As Time Goes By” and “It Had To Be You” dubbed. Although Michael Curtiz’ “Casablanca” premiered at the Hollywood Theater in New York City on November 26, 1942, it received general release on January 23, 1943. Warner Brothers issued the “late” release coincident with the Casablanca Conference, a crucial meeting between Churchill and Roosevelt in the city.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this with your friends:
  • email
  • Print
  • PDF
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks

Against Finger Pointing

by Peter Molenaar

Scientific reminder: The totality of existence (i.e. ‘matter’) is in motion…this is true because all phenomena are a manifestation of a self-contradictory unity of opposing forces (i.e. matter is ‘dialectical’).

So then, to understand something one must begin by uncovering the main contradiction within it. Secondly, one must ascertain the dominant aspect of this contradiction (i.e. the relationship of forces must be examined). Thirdly, one must examine the relative development of the opposing aspects as might be correlated with environmental influences (i.e. external factors are the conditions of change, internal contradictions are the basis of change). Fourthly, one must determine (or judge) the “tipping-point” (i.e. quantitative change) beyond which the dominated aspect becomes the dominant (i.e. qualitative change).

To continue…

No phenomenon can be fully understood apart from its historic development, potential future development, and interconnection with the totality. Those who proceed otherwise are said to be “metaphysical”. Unfortunately for the human condition, the formal logic derived from a narrow and one-sided approach results in an ‘idealistic’ departure from rationality.

So then, with regard to President Obama’s “failings”, whose interests are being served by the trendy groundswell of smug indignation which flows now from the ‘left’?

Readers might recall my recent column “Irony of Ironies” which asserted: “We elected Obama to save capitalism (to save capitalism from the capitalists!) until such time as a viable socialist vanguard emerges in conjunction with the requisite mass movement”. Which is to say: not every moment of every day constitutes a ‘revolutionary situation’. Or, as Lenin himself indicated: contradictions within the ruling class acquire an elevated significance during periods of right-wing reaction. To which he added: “We are not indifferent to the outcome of bourgeois elections”.

Is it correct then to parrot the “leftist” line which reads: “Obama is nothing but a war criminal and corporate stooge”? Or, is there a more principled response to expressions of “disillusionment”?

I suggest we start by recognizing Obama as a human being (i.e. he has strengths and weaknesses along with good and bad qualities…in fact, he has admirable qualities). Clearly, however, there are forces beyond his control—the general instability of the world capitalist order among them. It follows that our system of governance rests upon a shaky foundation and consequently is emanating an extraordinarily mean-spirited politics. Our president, by and large, is trapped within the mess.

Obviously, no one is beyond reproach. But listen, white-radical-leftists, modify your tone, please. We all have a stake in Obama’s success. This holds true because racist reaction seeks to underscore his every failure. And, we dare not forget that Black-White unity is central to the future of humanity.

Share this with your friends:
  • email
  • Print
  • PDF
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks

We Want Your Ideas For Health Improvement! Backyard Initiative Update

The Backyard Initiative is a community partnership to improve the health and health care of the community. The Alley Newspaper will be publishing a special insert on the Backyard Initiative in the May edition. We invite you to join us for a special event to meet your neighbors and distribute the insert throughout the Backyard*. Thursday, May 6 5 to 7 p.m. Midtown Global Market Food and brief program before distribution begins Thank you incentives for all volunteers To RSVP: Please call the Cultural Wellness Center at 612-721-5745 *

by Janice Barbee, Cultural Wellness Center & Paula Fynboh, Allina Health System

Join a BYI Citizen Health Action Team (CHAT)

The Backyard Initiative has moved to a new phase. Community residents who live in the Backyard area (the Phillips neighborhoods, Central, Powderhorn Park, and Corcoran) are now meeting twice a month to develop projects that improve the health of residents. We want to involve more community residents in this work. If you have an interest in working with your neighbors on a health-improvement project, and/or if you have a great idea to bring to the dialogue, please join us.

CHATs now meeting:

1. Rebirthing Community: Bringing Elders and Youth Together: Focused on bringing elders and youth together for a “rebirthing” of community. The team has discussed mentoring and visual arts as a way to bring the generations together.

2. Establishing Anchor Families: 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. Mapping: Identifying the services that exist in the Backyard area which treat sickness and also those that prevent sickness.

4.  LGBT: Working to connect individuals from all cultures who are LGBT with the resources they need to be healthy and safe.

5.  Food and Nutrition: Focusing on finding ways to support healthy eating though accessibility to healthy foods and educating about healthy practices across cultures.

6. Dakota Language Revitalization: Keeping Dakota language and life ways alive and vibrant in the Dakota community.

7.  Alternative/Traditional Medicine: 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: Looking at the impact of environment on the health of residents in the Backyard.

9. Communications/Media: 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: Working with building bridges between the many organizations serving residents in the Backyard area and beyond.

11.  Healthcare: Looking to identify ways to maximize preventative care and to personalize health care delivery.

12.  Assessment/Analysis Team: Developed the assessment process and will continue to guide data analysis and the utilization of the data. Read the rest of this entry »

Share this with your friends:
  • email
  • Print
  • PDF
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks

“Going the extra mile…beauty is an essential element in one’s life.”

by Michael Simms

I’ve always believed that having beauty in one’s life was an essential element for my own happiness. When we started rehabbing properties in Minneapolis, we had many discussions with various contractors whose mindset was “Just do what’s absolutely necessary” to rent, and we’ve insisted on going the extra mile to make our buildings more liveable and to try and instill some pride in the people who live there. We ultimately believe it will extend the life of the property and,… it’s also the right thing to do.

Whether it’s restoring a magnificent porch, or keeping or restoring hard wood floors that have been covered up by cheap carpet, or keeping beautiful built-in buffets and wainscoting that dramatically add beauty to a property, we’ve always insisted on going the extra mile to attract renters who want a sense of beauty in their living accommodations. Of course, we also make sure that they are even more structurally sound than originally. We do new electric, furnaces, plumbing, leveling of floors, and whatever else it takes to meet our standards.

2704 has beautiful built-in woodwork and oak, hard wood floors we just discovered that we’re bringing back to their original beauty. We put crown molding in other properties, have utilized exposed brickwork to help beautify another property, and in general, are always looking for a way to make a building stand out.

Last year we spent over $500,000.00 into the local economy, kept 7 full time employees working over the winter, paid over $19,000.00 in property taxes, over $16,000.00 in utilities, $10,000.00 in insurance, and brought 3 buildings that had been derelicts and eyesores in their respective communities back to life with the same pride of ownership you see displayed at 2704 16th Ave.

Our small company, Tahoe Holdings, which is basically my wife and I, in partnership and conjunction with Safehaven Development, are committed to this market, and are developing rental properties of which the entire community can be proud. The effect on a neighborhood that revitalizing an abandoned property has, is catastrophic in a good way. It makes everyone’s property look better, which has a direct impact on their property values as well. If all the abandoned properties in Minneapolis were done this way, the market would rebound over night.

Our original plan was and still is to create beautiful, money making investment properties for resale. We actually price them at a 12% Cap return, so that an investor is guaranteed a beautiful, brand new, fully leased and professionally managed building, that is guaranteed to cash flow at an incredible return. Who couldn’t use an extra $4,000.00 a month? The fact that we also make the properties as attractive and sound as possible is just an added bonus.

We love the Twin Cities. This is a vital, beautiful place in the heartland of America. We’re aware there are many investors that are doing what we are, but we like to think we’re helping the communities we’re in as well as ourselves.

Share this with your friends:
  • email
  • Print
  • PDF
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks

KUDOS HOMES AND GARDENS-April

Kudos Homes and Gardens

By Harvey Winje

The Alley occasionally features aproject in the Community that has accomplished an improvement project that adds to the view on the street, is pleasing to the occupants, and deserves special attention so that everyone knows that others care and appreciate it. The Kudos this month go to the work on 2704 16th Avenue by Tahoe Holdings and SafeHaven Development.

If you know of a small or large project you enjoy seeing, let us know so we can feature it here.

An Ode to Porches

Porches are more than an amenity. Porches have historic and architecture value that adds to the livability of a house, complementing the house as they beautify the streetscape. Some suburbs have begun building porches on new developments calling them one feature of a “New Urbanism” referring back to the folksiness of people enjoying a summer’s evening on the porch in plain enough view to greet the neighbors and passersby.

Porches in this area usually didn’t have frost footings—a stone or concrete pad beneath the supporting members deep enough at a minimum of 42” locally to withstand the heaving of the earth during freeze/thaw cycles. Because of the lack of such footings as houses usually (but not always on older houses) have, porches would start to lean away from the houses from the changes and also from deterioration of lumber underground.

The City of Mpls. went through a phase about a decade ago of forcing owner’s to improve those conditions. Some novice inspectors mistook porch floors that were purposefully sloped for rain run-off to be structurally unsound. The end result was that many porches were removed completely and not replaced since that was more cost effective.

The result often damaged the streetscape aesthetic. Those houses lost this identifying, welcoming structure on the front of houses that visually brought the closed-in walls of the house “down to the street.” Without the porches, the houses are lacking a key architectural feature identifying the entrance and beckoning to the passerby to come out of the rain, sit a spell to talk, or, at least, wave at the occupants who could sit at the front of the house partially sheltered and identified by this canopy. Try to envision the four-plex in this photo without its large magnificent front porch.

The Alley invited this houses’s owner, Michael Simms, to describe their approach to renovation work generally, its effect on the economy and work on this fine old four-plex specifically.

Share this with your friends:
  • email
  • Print
  • PDF
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks

U-COUNT… B-COUNTED Census And Tax Time Phillips And Everybody Else, Yikes!!!!!!!

“Oh why, oh why, did he swallow the fly?? I guess he’ll die!”

By Raymond Jackson
Oh why, oh why, did he swallow the fly?? I guess he’ll die!… a old fairy tale rhyme that greatly describes many dispositions at this time every ten years. Well, don’t swallow a fly, and whatever you do, don’t die as a result of this once every decade occurrence. The one big edge in this time of 2010 Census and Taxes is that, taxes are not due until April 15, the Census starts in March , giving one a four week edge to complete the simple Census form process, that only takes about ten minutes of your time.

Please do keep in mind that one does not have anything to do with the other, (Census & Taxes), in fact this article really has nothing to do with your 1040 Tax forms. It’s about the importance of standing up and being counted. Not since the depression era thirties has there been a more detrimental time to take part in the Census. “And why?” One may ask. The number of people gathered in any specific locale are counted, in large part, to determine where stimulus monies are applied, for things such as job growth and development, as well as, skilled training opportunities. The Census count also affects the Federal Funds allocated to non-profits, and other people helping people organizations, including public schools, activity centers and churches.

This year Minnesota is faced with the possibility of losing a congressional seat. That will be determined by the population count of this 2010 Census. Each person counted is worth approximately $1,300 federal dollars for your state’s budget.

Some undocumented persons feel that taking part in the Census could put them in harms way, and for that reason will refuse to take part in the Census. Census agencies have been assured that all of the information gathered is confidential and cannot be released to any other government agencies for any reason. This includes the IRS and other immigrant related agencies. The count does help to have the resources to help just about anybody needing help, in a wide variety of areas. The unemployed, the homeless and the disenfranchised, most particularly. This year, the Census survey will consist of ten questions and should only take ten minutes to complete with a Census worker.

Minnesota is part of the Kansas City Regional count, which includes Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas. The Regional office phone number is, 913-728-6728, or you can call the main number of, 1-800-861-2010 or 1-800-728-4748, for more information. The web site is www.census.gov.

Share this with your friends:
  • email
  • Print
  • PDF
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
 Page 151 of 160  « First  ... « 149  150  151  152  153 » ...  Last »