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Thursday September 20th 2018

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SEARCHING – a Serial Novelle CHAPTER 13: Stories in the Storeroom

By Patrick Cabello Hansel

How long Angel and Luz sat in the storerooms of masks and puppets no one knows. No daylight entered their hiding place, just a few small bulbs in the ceiling lit the long hallway. It did not matter to them. They told stories of their youth: growing up amid the mangoes and papayas and alamos of their little villages in Mexico, discovering that they had been in some of the same Holy Week processions and harvest festivals. Angel laughed at some of Luz’s stories, and realized he hadn’t laughed in a long, long time.

As the night came on, their talk became deeper and sadder. In that crowded space, they shared—as if bread—the story of the death of Luz’ mother in a desert crossing, the estrangement Angel felt from his father multiplied recently by Angel’s absence, the wandering spirits both of them held like a stolen treasure deep within.

Angel told Luz all he knew about the owl, the strange words, the healing of his body, the slender knowledge—cut short by the immigration raid still coursing beneath them on the street—of his ancestry. The strange lineage of the Hidalgos, how he was coming to believe that it was the ghost of Mateo Hidalgo talking to him, that he himself—Angel Augusto Cruz Rojas—was descendant of Spanish nobles and Irish mercenaries, and Aztec warriors, all rolled up in his 19 years of walking on the earth

They talked of their dreams and their defeats, their vision of the future, and the pain of today.     As their stories inched closer and closer to each other, so did their bodies. First brushing each other’s shoulders, then hands, then their fingers began to play upon each others, as you would softly soothe the keys of a piano.

“Do you think I’m crazy?” Angel asked her.

“No. You’re not crazy at all. But it seems like you are starting to wear your wounds on the outside of your skin.”

“What do you mean by that?” he asked.

“I mean that your face—it’s changed from the last time I saw you. Quieter somehow, but stronger. The scars of your search have taken away your fear.”

Angel thought for a moment what in the world Luz was talking about. Not to mention that she was starting to talk like Mother Light, like Mr. Bussey, like the world around him. He could almost feel her words like a wind to his face, and it felt like blessing. He sat for a long time, breathing.

“Do you know who is trying to kill me?” he finally asked, his voice shaking.

Luz sat for a moment, her hands forming a cup in her lap.

“I don’t think it’s just you” she said. “I think they’re trying to kill us all.” And then she began to cry. And cry.

Between her sobs, she told how she thought her uncle Jaime had been taken by the Migra. How they burst into the bakery and grabbed two customers and wrestled them to the floor. When Jaime came from the back room, armed with a rolling pin, the agents pulled out the mace, spraying wildly. As Luz ran out the back door, she heard the sound of display cases breaking, of trays of bolillos and cuernos falling to the floor, of cursing in English and Spanish.

“He’s the only family I have, and what if he’s gone?” she said and looked at Angel with eyes, open now the part of the spirit most wounded, and most whole.

“We have to go look for him”, Angel said.

“How?” she asked.

“I have friends out there who might be able to help” Angel replied.

“Who are they?” Luz asked.

“I don’t know. I haven’t met them yet. But I know we have to find them.”

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Endorsements of Minnesota as “Exceedingly Bracing” and “ An Asylum for Invalids,” Inspired Hopes to Cure Tuberculosis

By the middle of the nineteenth century, tuberculosis caused one in five deaths in the United States. Not surprisingly, the first burial in Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery (Layman’s Cemetery) was Carlton Keith Cressey, a ten-month old boy, who died in 1853 from what was then called “consumption.” Six of the 30 people who were buried in Layman’s in the 1850s died from consumption. The cause of death for 11 others in that group was not recorded so the number may have been even higher. This tombstone marks the gravesite of Andrew Berggren, one of 1300 people buried in the cemetery, who died from tuberculosis. He died on February 4, 1908, age 39 years old.

By Sue Hunter Weir

Now that winter is almost over and it’s still a little too soon for us to start worrying about mosquitoes and humidity, we can take a short break from complaining about the weather. Complaining about the weather is part and parcel of living in Minnesota, but that wasn’t always the case. There was a time when Minnesota’s weather was considered one of the state’s major attractions. After visiting Fort Snelling in the 1820s, President Zachary Taylor, endorsed our “exceedingly bracing” weather and wrote that the area was “probably the healthiest in the nation.” Four decades later, civic boosters wrote pamphlets encouraging people from the East Coast and Europe to move here because of our invigorating weather. Minnesota was, they claimed, an “asylum for invalids,” the perfect place to recover from tuberculosis.

Cemetery’s first burial was due to death from tuberculosis: a disease without cure and contagion unknown.

By the middle of the nineteenth century, tuberculosis caused one in five deaths in the United States. Not surprisingly, the first burial in Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery (Layman’s Cemetery) was Carlton Keith Cressey, a ten-month old boy, who died in 1853 from what was then called “consumption.” Six of the 30 people who were buried in Layman’s in the 1850s died from consumption. The cause of death for 11 others in that group was not recorded so the number may have been even higher.

Although claims that a change in climate had curative powers were overstated, there were no other effective treatments at the time. Doctors did not know that tuberculosis was a contagious disease and had little to offer their patients except advice, including advice to travel to healthier parts of the country. That advice, well intentioned though it may have been, helped spread the disease.

Henry David Thoreau and Horace Mann, Jr. sought a “cure” in Minnesota.
One of those who followed his doctor’s advice and came to Minnesota was Henry David Thoreau. He and his traveling partner, Horace Mann, Jr., spent two months here in 1861. Thoreau spent his time pursuing his interests in botany and zoology and visiting St. Anthony and Minnehaha Falls before taking a short excursion up the Minnesota River. Although his traveling partner, Horace Mann Jr., wrote favorably about their experience, if there were any health benefits for Thoreau, they were short-lived. He died less than a year after returning home to Concord, Massachusetts.

Findings of Cause, Contagion, and Cure of the “White Plague” were slow as it affected immigrant families heavily.

As early as 1873, Minnesota’s Board of Health began investigating the effects of Minnesota weather on “diseases of the lung and air passages.” About ten years later there was a major breakthrough in identifying, if not yet treating the disease, when a German physician, Dr. Robert Koch, isolated the tubercle bacillus. Eight years later, in 1890, he produced the first tuberculin.

Yet progress in treating the disease was slow. As urban areas became more crowded, the disease spread so rapidly that it became known as the “White Plague.” Thousands of Minnesotans died from tuberculosis, including over 1,300 who are buried in Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery. The number of people buried there for whom tuberculosis was a secondary, or contributing factor, is unknown.

The disease hit immigrant families and those who lived in crowded houses and apartments particularly hard. While the effects of clean air as a cure for tuberculosis were grossly overstated, there is no doubt that crowded living conditions and poor nutrition contributed to the spread of the disease. At a time when health insurance didn’t exist and paid sick time was unheard of, many who suffered from tuberculosis were forced to keep working (and spreading the disease) because their families needed the income.

Minnesota pioneered early treatment.

By the early twentieth century, it was well understood that tuberculosis was a contagious disease and several hospitals were built in Minneapolis that specialized in treating it. The first was Thomas Hospital which opened in 1908; over 100 people buried in the cemetery died at the Thomas Hospital between 1908, the year that the hospital opened, and 1919, the year that the cemetery was closed to new burials. The majority of those who died were young adults between the ages of 20 and 40. Although the number of deaths attributed to tuberculosis began to decline between 1910 and 1920, it remained a major health concern for several decades. Glen Lake Sanatorium, the last local hospital dedicated to serving those with tuberculosis, closed its doors in 1961.

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Lake Street Council Annual Meeting

Joyce Wisdom LSC Executive Director congratulates John Meegan owner of Top Shelf and organizer of Lyn-Lake Days on his Award for Community Responsibility

by Joyce Wisdom and Chris Oien

We had a great annual meeting on Tuesday March 16th! One of our favorite activities at this event is recognizing some of the many businesses and individuals who help make Lake Street great. This year we gave out six awards. Community Responsibility Awards went too Gandhi Mahal, Top Shelf, and Kathee Foran from In the Heart of the Beast Theatre. Capacity Building Awards went to Highpoint Center for Printmaking and Midtown Global Market’s Taste Bud Tart. And our Startup & Innovation Award went to Sauce Spirits & Soundbar. Congratulations to all our awardees!
Six people were elected to the Lake Street Council board. Council Member Gary Schiff, Marty Shimko from US Bank, and Debbie Tucker from Hennepin County were all re-elected for three year terms. Nubberd Gonzalez from Goodwill Easter Seals, Joe Gilpin from Wells Fargo, and and Trung Pham from Pham’s Deli were newly elected to the board.

To close, we featured a panel on Building Our Community’s Economic Future, with Ron Price from LISC, Morgan Zehner from Zehner Consulting, and Tony Hull from Transit for Liveable Communities. They shared their insights on a variety of topics, such as what makes Lake Street unique, the strengths it can offer during an economic downturn, how to approach business recruitment, and how to best design a roadside so that it works best for businesses and customers using all forms of transportation. The panelists concluded by agreeing that a bright future for Lake Street starts with supporting the hopes, dreams, and lives of the area’s residents.
Throughout the event we had opportunities to reflect on past successes and our path ahead, including the debut of our Action Plan for the next 5 years. Thank you to everyone who attended!

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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

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 »

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