NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Tuesday January 15th 2019

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“Bridging Minneapolis” Wins FEAST FUNDING

‘Bridging Minneapolis,’ the community-arts’ project on both ends of the 24th Street Pedestrian Bridge [see March The Alley, Page 1] recently won the public vote at FEAST, a city-wide arts funding competition. The $1,000 proceeds are being used to move the project forward. Watch The Alley as it unfolds! (Contact Dallas Johnson for information and to share your ideas: dallicious@gmail.com).”


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Update on the Backyard Initiative: BYI Citizen Health Action Teams Update

By Janice Barbee, Cultural Wellness Center

Every month at the Cultural Wellness Center, members from the Backyard Initiative Citizen Health Action Teams, or CHATs, come together to update each other on their activities and talk about common principles and problems in their community building work. Last month, on February 17, CHAT members discussed what it takes to work together and accomplish what they set out to do.

The Backyard Initiative was started two years ago as a community partnership between Allina Hospitals and Clinics and the residents of Phillips, Powderhorn Park, Central, and Corcoran with the goal of improving the health of the community. Most of the work of the Backyard Initiative is carried out within Citizen Health Action Teams, where community members on each team have developed a strategy for improving health and are now in the process of implementing that strategy.

CHAT Leadership in the Community

Elder Atum Azzahir from the Cultural Wellness Center, the facilitator of the meeting, explained to the CHAT members that the Commission on Health, a body of primarily community members from each CHAT, will be looking at the work of each CHAT this year in terms of how the work contributes to the health of the whole community and involves people from the community. She told the members, “The Commission is going to be asking ‘Is the CHAT growing in its connection to other people?’ How are you adding to your list of people in the Backyard? Are they connecting to what you are doing, becoming part of what you’re doing?

She then asked the CHAT members to think about their leadership skills and what skills they need to develop to be effective leaders. The CHAT members identified building relationships, identifying resources, strategic planning, and influencing, directing, and organizing people as the set of skills that are needed to do the work. Elder Atum told the group that last year the CHAT members were more focused on envisioning their projects and planning; now new skills are needed for implementing them. Some CHATs may not be able to last throughout the year if they don’t develop these skills. Elder Atum stated that the Cultural Wellness Center staff will teach some of these skills throughout the year. “One of the most important is the skill of self-study, of reflecting on what you are learning about yourself. If you cannot self-study and correct yourself, you’re not going to be able to get anything done.”

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Youth Gather and Grow Solutions in Phillips

By Ruby Levine

In July 2010, the unemployment rate for people ages 16-24 reached 19.1% nationally – it’s worse in low-income and minority communities. In response, young people here in the Twin Cities are working with the broader community to create solutions.

The Summer of Solutions (SoS) is a two-month summer program building capacity for projects that address social and environmental injustice in Phillips and the Twin Cities as a whole. Last summer, 25 full- and part-time SoS participants gathered in Phillips to work on energy efficiency, bike access, green manufacturing, and urban farming. The initial influx of capacity provided by SoS has led to sustained work throughout the year in the Phillips community and all around the Twin Cities and the program is gearing up for another jolt of energy this summer.

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Public comments NEEDED on the Certificate of Need Xcel Energy Public Hearings Wed. March 16

Plaza Verde, 1516 E. Lake St., 3rd floor ballroom

Afternoon session 2 p.m. – Evening session 6 p.m.

This is the time to bring up ideas on alternative energy sources

MN Office of Energy Security (OES) will conduct a public information meeting Wed., March 16, on the Certificate of Need application submitted by Northern States Power Company (Xcel Energy)… for the proposed 115kV high voltage transmission lines in the Midtown area of south Minneapolis.

The purpose of the meeting is to provide information to the public about the project and to identify issues and alternatives to study in an ER that will be prepared by OES Energy Facility Permitting (EEP) staff.

During the meetings, OES EEP staff will give a presentation about the state’s high voltage transmission line permitting process, certificate of need process, the proposed project, and how the public can participate. … Members of the public will have an opportunity to ask questions, present comments, and propose issues, impacts and alternatives to be studied in the ER.

Bring all your friends even if not everyone plans to speak. It is important that the room be packed with an overflow crowd. If you testify, introduce yourself, give a short one or two sentence testimony on how mitigation, conservation and.or sustainable locally-produced electricity will help you, our neighborhoods and the small and large businesses located here. Suggest methods Xcel can use instead of the high transmission lines. You don’t have to have all the answers – it is Xcel’s job to look into all the suggestions offered!

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“Programs might die, but good ideas and community… live” Phillips’ “Wellness Corridor”

by Robert Albee

For the past two years many of us in the Phillips Community have been working to resurrect the Phillips Community Center (PCC) and turn it into a centerpiece for rebuilding the fabric of the neighborhood—this time as Phillips people instead of edifices or individual programs. We want the PCC to become Phillip’s hub of activity just like the Sabathani Community Center does for the Greater Central neighborhood.

If you look below at the map of Phillips, 24th Street is the only street in Phillips that intersects all four Phillips neighborhoods: West Phillips, Ventura Village, Midtown Phillips and East Phillips. It connects LSS’ Center For Changing Lives on the west to Little Earth of the United Tribes on the East. In between is East Phillips Park’s new building, Holy Rosary Church, AICDC’s Townhomes, Center School and Open Arms. Then there is the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center, All Nations Church, 1ra Iglesia Apostolica De La Fe En Cristo Jesus, Habitat For Humanity homes, Indian Health Board, Phillips Community Center, the Somali Village Market, Hope Academy, Phillips Eye Institute, Our Saviour’s Church and Shelter, Southside Family Nurturing Center, Sustainable Progress through Engaging Active Citizens, and of course Lutheran Social Services. WOW!

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A highway divided, but it didn’t conquer. What is a Bridge? New community project in Phillips West

by Dallas Johnson

A bridge is more than a connection between two places.

Yes, our very own 24th St pedestrian bridge across 35W connects our neighborhood to Whittier. But did you know it’s also a testament to community activism? You are invited to help breathe new life into the incredible story of our bridge.

What’s the story?

When the imminent installation of 35W was announced in 1962, the affected community fervently protested but was summarily dismissed. According to a Minneapolis Tribune article by Ted Kolderie, “Minneapolis finds itself…facing another impossible choice between accepting a highway plan to which a substantial segment of the community objects, and delaying the program again for another study”. Despite the resistance of the (largely minority) community, the freeway project was completed in November, 1967. Residents, who’d been forced to move, experienced extreme hardship in their protracted effort to restart their lives. Those who remained not only lost their neighbors but also suffered through the deafening roar of traffic as they watched the neighborhood disintegrate over the ensuing years.

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“Turning A Negative Into A Positive….” GI Hi-Jacked at Hi-Lake!… Green Institute dead to South Mpls.

by Annie Young

Last month The Alley printed information about The ReUse Center closing. Now another part of the story unfolds before our eyes, where has the Phillips Eco-Enterprise Center and The Green Institute gone? On Monday, January 25th the Phillips Eco-Enterprise Center’s name came down and Greenway signage was put up. On Friday, January 29th The Green Institute offices moved out of the building with a smattering of files and limited staff up to the other ReUse Center store in Maplewood.

To date, none of us in the Phillips neighborhood know the GI Board’s response to the administration’s malfeasance. We probably never will. That is their business and we probably don’t need to have the dirty laundry hung out for everyone to see. However, it seems we do somehow need to communicate that The GI, ReUse Center and Deconstruction Services are all but gone – or what’s left of them have gone to Maplewood… So be it for grassroots democracy and action.

For years, the Phillips community has been proud of its Green Institute, ReUse Center and DeConstruction Program. It has won awards for its endeavors. The projects were the first of their kind, entering the fight for environmental justice and setting examples that are now almost common day occurrences. Reusing materials and bringing renewable energy initiatives to the community – both lofty goals but leaves us wondering “What happened?” With these gone now and some of the services moved to Maplewood there is no longer a connection to the Phillips community – the home of the roots of these endeavors.

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Searching – A Serial Novelle Chapter 24: “The Great Divide”

By Patrick Cabello Hansel

Luz had her own story, part of which she had buried deep. Growing up in two countries—in the winter along the US-Mexico border, Pharr on the Texan side, a small pueblo outside of Matamoros in the land of Cuauhtémoc. During the harvest season, she travelled with her family to the onions, the peas, the corn, the green beans, the pumpkin. She learned to pick before she could read.

Luz had family on both sides of the great divide. Mexican and US. Documented and undocumented. Speaking Spanish, speaking English. Migrants and land owners. Dead and alive. Her ancestry went back to great healers of the Nahuatl people, who had had their hands cut off and their tongues torn out by the conquistadors for being “pagan”. And she was a direct descendant of Mateo Kelly Hidalgo, the ghost of these pages, the prince of the divide.

This came pouring out little by little as she talked with Angel. They had walked into the teeth of the blizzard until they reached the Global Market, where they bought coffee and chai. Although she had felt cold much of the day, she now felt like she was burning up. She knew Angel needed to hear something, but she didn’t know what she needed to tell.

“I don’t know where to start, Angel. We moved around a lot, and so I never made any real friends. I really wanted to belong to something. But we moved and moved and moved. I always had my family, but I wanted something else. Then, one year, my Dad said, we’re staying put. So we stayed in Hollandale all year, in a little house. But it was out house. And I went to the same school all year long.”

“And that’s where you met that guy we just ran into?” Angel asked.

“Yes”

“Who is he? What did he do to you?”

“He is my executioner” she said, looking not at Angel, but at the floor. She raised her eyes. “My enemy. Sometimes I can almost feel him, like a power, a threat inside of me.”

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Squire Borden, Tender of first Bridge Across the Mississippi River

Members of the Minneapolis Cemetery Protective Association’s Ladies Auxiliary sprucing up the cemetery in the Spring of 1926. The cemetery will reopen on April 15th, 2010.

by Susan Hunter Weir

Squire Borden was born on the Atlantic Ocean on August 25, 1823. Perhaps that explains his life-long attraction to water. For many years, he worked as the bridge-tender on the first two suspension bridges that spanned the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, and since everyone who crossed the bridge encountered him, his was one of the most familiar faces in the city.

In 1854, local entrepreneurs paid for the first bridge in the country to span the Mississippi River. The bridge was made of wood, and the cost of operating it was initially covered by tolls (two cents for a pedestrian and 25 cents for a wagon). Twenty years after it was built, the bridge was in poor condition and too narrow to accommodate the number of wagons that needed to cross it. The City contracted with Thomas M. Griffith, a nationally-known engineer, to build a replacement.

The second bridge, 675 feet long and 32 feet wide, was constructed of steel and concrete rather than wood. It was thought to be an engineering marvel and crowds gathered along the riverbanks every day to watch construction workers string the cables from one side of the river to the other. Local boosters claimed that this new wonder would last for at least half-a-century, but it lasted only 24 years.

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Food Obsession: PANCAKES

By Jane Thomson

More pancakes and less prose (could this be on a t-shirt?) Pancakes, combined with fruit and either milk, eggs, yoghurt or sausage make a decent meal. It’s only when you take in “all you can eat” that they become a weight hazard. Any of the pancakes below would be good with syrup, honey or tart/sweet fruit jelly.

WATKINS OATMEAL PANCAKES – (This must refer to the Watkins company that sold household items, including vanilla, door to door. Perhaps they are still in business.)

1cup rolled oats

½ cup of whole wheat or unbleached white flour

1 ½ cup buttermilk or low-fat milk

2 eggs, beaten

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. vanilla

1tsp. cinnamon

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