NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Monday October 22nd 2018

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Dave’s Dumpster June 2010

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Thoughts From Smith Foundry

Smith Foundry 1855 East 28th St for over 80 years surviving to be the last manufacturer of metal in the Neighborhood. Smith employs 74 workers doing “green sand casting.” Check their website which includes artistic and industrial awards; www.smithfoundry.com

by Peter Molenaar

Folks driving 28th Street en route to Hiawatha Avenue and perhaps to Lake Street shopping are asked to glance right just east of Cedar Avenue. The rather unattractive dirty brown building seen there is home to Smith Foundry. Molten iron is sand cast within. This writer has survived 31 years of employment with Smith.

Actually, I am part of the aging remnant workforce which is credited with having saved the company. Such was the result of labor heroism coupled to the sad fact of our acquiescence to a one year take-away contract. For this we recently were rewarded with an all-you-can-eat in-plant pizza feed at which the office manager declared in her address: “You are the best.” Yes, I stuffed myself. But now a better contract has come due.

At present, more than half the laid-off guys have been rehired. This appears to bode well for business and employment in general inasmuch as foundries are bedrock to the “real” economy. Or, we might forecast a “blip” within the sea of uncertainty. In any case, foundry workers deserve a raise now.

Looking back, it is not the case that we were meek and cowardly a year ago. Our union business agent had been allowed a peek at the books. The bankruptcy was real. However, not disclosed was the degree to which the owners previously had bled the company to sustain the “high-life”. As always, we workers were made to pay for it when times got bad.

Time will tell…

Thinking about “owners”, a few weeks back I ran into Gary Smith, son of Clark Smith the original. Were it not for the class divide, Gary and I might actually have been friends. For starters, we are the same age. He informed me that he had suffered a stroke.

So, we ponder the after-life. It is said that very few rich people will see God in heaven. Yet every foundry worker, through arduous labor and sacrifice, has earned the right of passage. An infinity beyond all contradictions awaits us.

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Comments by residents who distributed the Alley insert on the BYI Assessment results on May 6th

“I met a lot of great people who work for the Alley newspaper.”
“Community gardens.”
“Burst into song with my neighbor!!!”
“ONE THANK YOU!”
“Met nice neighborhoods; getting together to garden later!”
“Nice neighbors”
“Beautiful gardens.”
“Clear litter-free sidewalks.”
“Encountered Census workers.”
“Very pretty clean yards.”
“Very quiet neighborhood.”
“I had a great time serving the community.”
“Powderhorn is beautiful in the spring!”
“Jude (new chiropractor) at Sabri Bldg (26 & Bloom) is interested if neighborhood is on the upswing – I thought (think) so.”
“I really enjoyed the nice people & viewing my old neighborhood. Also got good exercise.”
“Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender pride flags.”
“We were invited in to visit.”
“Nice to see, actually see the homes & businesses in the area.”
“Fun to get out in the community.”
“One woman came out & got the paper right after I dropped if off and said “thanks”.”
“People who were gardening were friendly.”
“Gave a copy of the Alley to two Latino men getting off work.”
“Was greeted by a friendly young peace person. He agreed to check-out the center-fold and to read my column on p.7.”
“A young kid said he reads the Alley all the time – his dad asked for one too.”

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Are you curious what’s happening in your “Backyard?” Backyard May Activities & Year’s Results

by Janice Barbee, Cultural Wellness Center

Have you seen the BYI Health Assessment Report?
Community residents learned about the results of the Backyard Initiative community health assessment in several gatherings in May. The completed report includes the findings and recommendations from 21 Listening Circles and the walk-around survey of 676 community residents, with over 1,000 residents participating. The Citizen Health Action Teams (CHATs) that are now meeting to plan actions for health improvement are making sure that their ideas address the state of health and health concerns reported by residents in this assessment.

A full copy of the report is available at http://www.allina.com/backyard. Anyone wanting a hard copy of the complete report can call Ifrah Biyou at 612-262-0667.

A special four-page insert presenting the highlights of the report to the community was published in last month’s Alley newspaper (May edition). If anyone did not receive this edition and would like a copy of the insert, please call or drop by the Cultural Wellness Center.

On May 6, community residents, Allina employees and youth volunteers from the Augsburg Fairview Academy gathered at the Midtown Global Market to share food and pick up copies of the Alley to distribute the insert door-to-door within the Backyard. Over 60 people participated. When they returned to the market from distributing the insert, people were invited to write comments about their experience.

Backyard Celebration Event
On Thursday, April 29, Allina and the Cultural Wellness Center hosted a community meeting at the Allina Commons to celebrate the progress the partnership has made over the last year. Almost 100 people came from the neighborhood and community organizations. Community residents presented Allina President and CEO Ken Paulus, Interim President of Allina’s Center for Healthcare Innovation Bobbi Cordano, Director of Community Benefit Ellie Zuehlke, and President of Phillips Eye Institute Bill Kenney with bound copies of all the notes from all the Backyard community meetings since they began in December of 2008 and thanked Allina for investing in the community’s health by placing community residents at the core of the work.

Community Commission on Health
In the May meeting of the Commission on Health, Mike Christenson, Director of CPED (the City of Minneapolis’ Community Planning and Economic Development) presented information on the economic health of the Backyard area. He showed a slide presentation on such indicators as the number and location of crime, the number and location of foreclosures, and graphs showing job growth, levels of poverty, and changes in numbers of people of different cultures. Several people reported that this information shows more positives about the community than they expected.
Some of the questions raised by community residents were: How many people who live in the community are employed in the community? What about youth job opportunities? When there are new developments happening in the Backyard, how can more people who live in the community be hired to work on them? What money is coming into the community and for what? Who is that money benefitting?

Citizen Health Action Teams
The CHATs have been meeting twice a month to develop their ideas for health improvement and several CHATs will be presenting their projects to the Commission on Health this month to request funding for implementation. Each project must meet 15 criteria:

The project:

  1. Has as its ultimate goal to improve the health of residents of the Backyard, as defined by the Backyard definition of health.
  2. Is planned, developed, and carried out primarily by Backyard residents.
  3. Is inclusive; team members recruit new participants from the community with an interest in the project.
  4. Addresses the results of the Backyard assessment process – the Listening Circles and the Walk-around survey.
  5. Builds the capacity and leadership of Backyard residents – by teaching new skills and/or providing useful information. In other words, the process and the product of the project build health.
  6. Builds on what already exists, creates partnerships with or linkages to other projects/organizations.
  7. Does not duplicate what is already being done.
  8. Has the support of the community: research has been done (a survey or other form of information gathering) that shows there is support for the project.
  9. Creates positive ripple effects that go out into the community.
  10. If the project is culturally specific, it shows how its strategies and goals affect the health of the entire community, and includes ways that the learning from the project can be of use to other cultural communities.
  11. Has clear, feasible goals, with timelines for completing them.
  12. Has a well thought-out plan for achieving its goals.
  13. Has a detailed budget.
  14. Has a structure for documenting the results and the learning and reporting this back to the Commission.

Has a method of showing transparency and accountability to the community. It has a process for keeping clear records of the use of funds and produces a financial report.

It is not too late to join a CHAT or form a new one. 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.

Call the Cultural Wellness Center, 612-721-5745, for more information.

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“Power Over” or “Shared Power”: Which Will It Be?

by Susan Gust

Northwestern Hospital began in 1882 in a humble abode with a simple mission —to serve the community by aiding its women and children. This is truly a well-intended and honorable goal. It is not that different now from the many human service nonprofits in our community which begin with the singular, compelling and well-meaning goal of service to specific populations or need in the community. But, even with the best of intentions and most stellar delivery model, there is a power imbalance in the “service” model. There is a community or specific group of people that need to be served and those who are deemed to be the “servers”, usually because of their relationship to privilege, race and/or class.

This seems to have been true as one reflects on the development of the health care industry that is so rooted in the Phillips Community, in particular. The health care-providing institutions changed, evolved and grew bigger, not always any longer addressing the needs of the surrounding geographic community but often addressing the needs of people in a 5-state area. But, the surrounding geographic community changed, evolved and grew bigger, too. The relationship between the institutions and the geographic community waxed and waned, struggled and achieved over the decades. Agreements were made on how many square blocks could be consumed by the buildings for delivery of health care. Agreements were broken. A Community Advisory Committee (CAC) was formed by Abbott Northwestern as a place to have debates and dialogue. Now it has been disbanded. People come, people go. Sometimes harsh words were aimed from various sides of the spectrum with the intention to do harm.

The institutions had power through place and size and by virtue of being an institution dealing with the health of people, no less. The very essence of dealing with people’s health elevates an institution to a towering place of authority. But, the surrounding neighborhood also had power through place, size and by being “of the people”. Appearing to be the proponents of practicing democracy presents a justifiable righteousness over the economics of a corporation, nonprofit or for profit.
Regretfully, there was never much talk directly around the issue of power and the dynamics of power and how to serve a community together. The neighborhood tended to use the same “power over” strategies that it saw institutions use on them. The CAC was an attempt by A/N to recognize the power that the community had and to provide it with some voice. But, again, the CAC was established largely by the institution with input from individual community leaders. There was not a direct conversation about the balance of power or shared power or how to work together for the common good or the health of the community.

Maybe that won’t be possible because human beings and the institutions they create are so accustomed to the “power over” model. We learn this model over and over again just growing up. We see it practiced by corporations and capitalism or experience it through oppression, violence and/or abuse. We have plenty of opportunities that help us internalize this approach.

My hope is that the Backyard Initiative will either directly or viscerally teach us all about creating a new, shared power process whereby there is a common understanding that what is best for the community is the best for “us”, whether it is an individual, a family or an institution. The jury is out on whether that can happen. Yes, there has been a lot of dialogue so far. But, there was a lot of dialogue over many years, too. The difference is that this dialogue seems aware of the context of the conversation and the issue of the responsible use of power. We all have power. It is our understanding of how we use it that matters in the end. I am throwing my hat into this ring full of purpose and commitment to think and learn alongside of others, building a model of shared power that will hold the work that is bound to come.

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Thoughts about the Community Advisory Committee

by David Spartz
The Community Advisory Committee was an important element connecting to the immediate neighborhood surrounding ANW` (Allina) and Children’s Medical Center. The mission of this committee was to establish a forum from which a dialogue with its neighbors could address issues affecting their concerns and the impact of these affecting the livability within the community. Such openness brought a rapport and reasonableness that now has been replaced by a disconnect with the absence of CAC. It regretfully is missed!

[David Spartz submitted the Commentary above.  In a conversation with David, he lamented the changes making hospital personnel less available than when Joyce Krook, Community Relations  and Gene Torrey, facilities manager, would inform about upcoming changes and heard concerns of neighbors like David who lives adjacent to the campus.  David says that helicopter is less noisy since heliport was moved further east onto the Heart Hospital addition although arrivals and departures are still heard. Editor]

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Women & Children First

“Women’s Work for Women” in the Children’s Ward at Northwestern Hospital for Women and Children. Photo from the Minnesota Historical Society

by Sue Hunter Weir
When Northwestern Hospital for Women and Children opened its doors in December 1882, its board members had lofty goals but virtually no money. Their goal was to create an “organization, charitable in its nature, for the care of indigent women and children—for the training of nurses for the sick, and also for the drilling of domestic servants.” Or, as one member described it, the hospital was “Woman’s work for women.” They rented a house at 2504 Fourth Avenue South that could house up to ten patients plus the staff needed to care for them. Rent was $25.00 a month for a hospital that had no indoor plumbing and was lit only by kerosene lamps. Despite the lack of amenities, patients were lining up for beds before the hospital opened. Furnishings, food, bedding and used clothing were donated. Three of the wealthiest donors each made a commitment to give $250 a year to cover the cost of operating one of the hospitals three “free beds.”

Northwestern’s Board of Trustees filed Articles of Incorporation the following year. The articles stated that only women and children would be treated at the hospital and that all of the staff, both medical and domestic, would be women. Priority was given to indigent women, followed by women who were able to pay for a small portion of their care and, lastly, by women able to pay the full cost of their treatment. In the hospital’s first year of operation, 97 patients were admitted for treatment; of those 74 were treated for free.

Northwestern’s nursing school, named the Harriet Walker Training School for Nurses, after the first president of the hospital’s Board of Trustees, was an important component of the hospital’s service mission. The earliest students spent a year to a year and a-half learning their profession. Some of their instruction occurred in the classroom but much of it occurred on the job under the supervision of the hospital’s physicians. The program’s graduates were in high demand in both hospital and private settings.

Less than a year after the hospital opened, the Board realized that they needed more space and purchased a house at 2527 Clinton Avenue South. The new hospital had room for 18 patients and the staff and nursing students needed to treat them. It didn’t take long for the Board to realize that they needed even more space. In June 1885, local businessman, Levi Stewart, donated land at the intersection of 27th Street and Chicago Avenue, the current site of what is now Abbott-Northwestern Hospital. Two years later, in May 1887, the new hospital opened for business; it had room for 50 patients. That same year, men were admitted as patients, and men were admitted to the hospital’s medical staff. The Board of Trustees continued to be made up solely of women, a tradition that continued until 1964.

The need for space and additional hospital beds kept increasing and Board members raised funds during several capitol campaigns throughout the first half of the twentieth century. In 1970, Northwestern Hospital merged with Abbott Hospital, and in 1980, Abbott Hospital closed its doors for good and began working out of a single facility, the site at 27th and Chicago.

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Interview with Former Allina CEO Gordon Sprenger

Interview by Harvey Winje

The Alley Newspaper’s Editor, Harvey Winje, recently interviewed Gordon Sprenger, the former Abbott Northwestern Hospital President and CEO of Allina. The purpose of the interview was to talk with Sprenger about earlier attempts of Abbott Northwestern Hospital to develop ongoing, intentional relationships with the community. The expressed purpose was the mutually beneficial coexistence of the institution and urban community in a time of rapid evolution beginning in the 1970’s within the health care industry.

Gordon Sprenger’s first job within the health care industry began after getting a masters degree in Hospital Administration from the University of MN in 1961, a hospital residency in Milwaukee, WI, and 3 years of running a hospital in San Francisco while in the Air Force. His first job at Northwestern Hospital was in 1967 as Assistant Administrator. He became the Administrator shortly after Abbott and Northwestern Hospitals merged administratively in 1970. He was President/CEO of Abbott Northwestern (A/N) from 1971 to 1995. He served simultaneously as President/CEO of the newly formed LifeSpan (forerunner to HealthSpan), and eventually, Allina, until 2002.

During his time at Abbott Northwestern, Gordon Sprenger began a Community Advisory Committee in 1969. This group of neighbors and hospital leaders met monthly. Sprenger and the Board Chair of the Hospital also met quarterly with the Chair of the CAC Committee. Harvey Winje served as the Chair of the CAC for six years from 1981 to 1987. The CAC was disbanded much to the immediate neighborhood’s dismay in 2008.

ALLEY: Why did Abbott Hospital and Northwestern Hospital merge?
Gordon Sprenger: “The increased sophistication of healthcare personnel and the technology that was emerging necessitated larger facilities with more ability to absorb the changes practically and financially. It was a tumultuous time internally because not everyone agreed with consolidating into larger institutions. For example, doctors at Abbott appreciated their smaller facility and didn’t want to merge into the Chicago Ave site. In many ways, I agreed with them. We all liked the intimacy of a smaller institution. It allowed for great apple pies that were homemade in the kitchen at Abbott Hospital. I’m a small town guy. I like going into the grocery store where people know each other. If one goes into a grocery store now, no one knows each other. But, it wasn’t going to be possible to stay alive in the healthcare industry maintaining small hospitals.”

ALLEY: What are some examples of other major changes to health care institutions which occurred during your tenure?
GS: “There were financial changes and opportunities that became apparent such as the advantage of being able to negotiate with larger purchasers of healthcare (insurers, large employers, etc.,) on a regional basis whereas singular hospitals and clinics couldn’t do that. Also, with the tremendous explosion of medical technology and programmatic advancements in medicine, you needed the scale of volume of patients to afford the investments, which couldn’t happen in small institutions. Metropolitan Medical Center Inc., had been formed in 1966 as a cooperative system linking St. Barnabas and Swedish Hospitals and the latter merged with Mt. Sinai Hospital. We formed LifeSpan in 1982 to be that sort of centralized bargaining unit and healthcare provider. There were subsequent mergers; for example, with Health One (which included Metropolitan Medical Center at that time) so we became HealthSpan in 1993, then became Allina after merging with an HMO called Medica in 1995 to be an integrated healthcare system. And, finally, that was split into two entities, Allina and Medica, in 2002.

ALLEY: What is Allina?
GS: “It is a ‘not for profit’ parent company of various hospitals and clinics spread within the central cities and outstate that are owned by the Allina corporation. These hospitals include: Abbott-Northwestern and Phillips Eye Institute in Minneapolis; United in St. Paul, Unity in Fridley, Mercy in Coon Rapids, St. Francis Medical Center in Shakopee, and many clinics within the city and throughout the state. “

Read the rest of this entry »

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May What and Where is this in PHILLIPS Community?

May Phillips What Where?

Identify what and where of this photo and win a chance for a drawing for a $10.00 Gift Certificate to Welna Hardware on Bloomington Avenue.
About the March
Phillips What Where
NO ONE had Correct answers in March. So here they are:

  1. Phillips Jr High School demolished in 1984, School Board bought Mt. Sinai Hosp. 4 blocks away 5 years later.
  2. Cowles family, previous owner of Star Tribune was the last family to still live in a Park Ave. mansion.
  3. 6 Phillips schools were torn down— Elementary: Adams, Clinton, Greeley, & Irving; Phillips Junior High, South Senior High.
  4. True; Welna Hardware was across street; previous owner John Dalsin Roofing & Sheet Metal Co. who had the store in the building that is now Na-way-ee, Center School.
  5. Marion Savage buried, Dan Patch, his famous race horse at Savage, MN.
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Minneapolis Park Board Issues RFP for Phillips Community Center

Special to the Alley Newspaper by Robert Albee, Ventura Village Secretary

In its April 21st regularly scheduled Wednesday night meeting, the Minneapolis Park Board voted unanimously to issue a Request For Proposal (RFP) seeking qualified partners to “add programming and services… compli-mentary to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board [MPRB].” The document issued by the Board is seeking to utilize “all the space available in the building for community use,” by tenants who have the resources to renovate or build out the space and provide income to offset building utilities and operating costs that include long term renovation needs. The Park Board is also seeking “a services provider with a strong interest in the community and a solid reputation for service.”

Reactions were mixed at a Monday, April 19th meeting called by the Park Board at Phillips’ Stewart Park. At that meeting, MPRB Commissioner Scott Vreeland read the RFP aloud to the assembled group of attendees. Several residents spoke out about the responsibility of the Park Board to serve all the people and not just the highest bidders. Others reminded the attending commissioners that there are 7,000 youth and children in Phillips which is far more than other better-served parks.
Robert Albee of Ventura Village spoke in favor of the RFP by saying that he appreciated having real guidelines publicly issued and the elimination of a single entity being expected to “take over” the facility and operate it. Having written many grants and proposals in the past, he said he relished the chance to help get the Phillips Community Center operating again in a sustainable way.
As approved and published, the following schedule was given:

April 21, 2010: Board approved release of the Phillips Community Center Request for Proposals
April 30, 2010: Request for Proposals released.
June 4, 2010 10 am to noon: Walk through at the facility for interested parties
July 9, 2010 at 4 P.M.: Proposals Due 2117 West River Road Minneapolis, MN 55411
To be scheduled in July and August, 2010: Proposal Presentations to Committee
August 18, 2010: Recommendations Presented to the Park Commissioners
September 1, 2010: Final Board Action
By October 1, 2010: Contract(s) Executed
During deliberations between MPRB commissioners, other parts of the RFP were discussed. Commissioner-At-Large and Vice President Annie Young raised concerns received in emails that language included in the document could be construed to give the Park Board free use of proposers ideas while rejecting their proposal. The passage read as follows: “All proposals become the property of the Board and the Board shall have the right to use all ideas, and/or adaptations of those ideas, contained in any proposal received in response to this RFP.” Although the next sentence suggested that materials marked confidential, proprietary, or trade secret would be exempted this seems to address another issue.

For example, if a proposer wants to install or operate a simulated bowling alley and other activities using popular Wii Fit hardware and software, the Park Board can reject that proposal and purchase its own equipment and offer that service, or find another vendor to provide that service even though the chosen vendor never proposed that idea originally. Given that the original proposer would use off-the-shelf hardware and software, there are no trade secrets contained in the proposal. Thus, the original proposer would have the feeling that their good idea was stolen and given to another proposer.

In preparing this report an effort was made to find the RFP online at the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board website. Action was taken on 22 April 2010, but it is not posted. For a copy of the RFP please email me and I will send you one that I had gotten while it was in the proposal stage of approval. I believe that this document is the same as the approved and issued RFP. My email is ralbee4045@aol.com. Ask for the MPRB RFP of 22 April 2010. You can also call the Park Board at 612.230.6400 and ask for a copy of the document.

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