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Sunday December 9th 2018

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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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“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.

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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.

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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.

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March Phillips What? Where? Contest

Answer these any 3 of the following 5 questions correctly and win a chance for a drawing of a $10.00 Gift Certificate at Welna Hardware 2438 Bloomington Avenue.

1. How many years between when Phillips Junior High School (12th Av. And 23rd built 1926 exactly similar to Sanford Middle School on 42nd Ave So.) was torn down and the Mpls. School Board bought Mt. Sinai Hospital four blocks away and remodeled it into a school?
2. The last “society” family to occupy a large mansion in Phillips Community was:

  • Turnblad family, publisher of the Mpls. Posten, at 26th and Park.
  • The Bell family at 24th and Park
  • Cowles family, owner and publisher of the Star Tribune and its forerunners
  • Crosby family at 22nd and Park.

3. How many schools can you name that were torn down in Phillips?
4. Welna Hardware on Bloomington Avenue used to be on the east side of the street and its previous owner was John Dalsin Roofing and Sheet Metal Company who had moved it from original building to their building which is now Na-way-ee, Center School, True or False.
5. Marion Savage who owned a townhouse mansion at 26th and Portland buried, Dan Patch, his famous race horse at:

  • Lakewood Cemetery near the old street car line.
  • Pioneer and Soldiers Cemetery at Cedar and Lake Street near the caretaker’s cottage.
  • South of Minneapolis near a town named for him.
  • Loring Park near the Ole Bull Statue made by brother of Pauline Fjelde who sewed the first Minnesota State Flag and whose home at Lake and Park was recently demolished.

Answers to February Phillips What? Where?

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What’s Up at the Franklin Library-March 2010

By Erin Thomasson
Children’s Programs
Sheeko Caruur Af-Soomaali ah/World Language Storytime: Somali. Tues. March 2–May 25, 6–7 p.m. La wadaag bugagga, sheekoyinka, jaan-gooyada maansada iyo muusikada Soomaalida. Ages 2 and up. Experience the world in other languages.
Cuentos y Canciones/World Language Storytime: Spanish
Thur., March 4–May 27, 6 p.m.
Para niños de 2 años en adelante. Comparta y disfrute con sus niños libros, cuentos, rimas y música en español. Ages 2 and up. Share books, stories, rhymes and music in Spanish.
Waxbarasho iyo Ciyaar Caruureed Af-Soomaali ah/Somali Play and Learn
Fri., March 5 & 19, 10:30 a.m.
Dhammaan caruurta ka yar da’ dugsi. Ka soo qaybgal sheekooyin caruur, heeso iyo hawlo waxbarasho. Join us for stories, songs and activities!
Hip Hop Hippety Hop
Fri., March 12, 4 p.m. K and up. Hop on over to learn about rabbits through fun activities.
Kids Book Club
Fri., March 26, 4 p.m. G 4-6. Join other kids to talk about a great book! No pre-reading required! We will share a story and discuss.
Preschool Storytime
Wed., 10:30-11 a.m. 4 to 6. Help your preschooler get ready to read. Enjoy stories together and build language skills.

Teen Programs
O.P.E.N. Time
Tue., March 2–May 25, 4–5 p.m. G 6 and up. Options for Play and Enrichment Now Time provides just that: options. Come downstairs to the Teen Center and choose from computers, magazines, board games, video games, brain teasers, conversation with friends and more!
Group Games
Tue., March 2–May 25, 5–6 p.m. G 6 and up. No consoles needed! Learn social games designed for large groups of all ages: Charades, Wink, Mafia, Whiz Bam, Thumper, Taboo and others. Sure to make you laugh!
Teens Talk Tue., March 2–May 25, 6–8 p.m. G 6 and up. Take time to enjoy old friends and make new ones at the Teen Center with something simple: talking. Discuss any topic or current event, play word games or simply answer “Would you rather…?” questions.
Design Club. Wed., March 3–May 26, 5–6 p.m. G 6 and up. Get creative! Design and take home T-shirts, posters, jewelry, magnets and other creations. Check out the posters at Franklin Library to see what project is coming up!
Art With a Cause
Thur., March 4–May 27, 4–6 p.m. G 6 and up. A youth arts and activism program focused on social awareness and vehicles for expression such as visual art, writing, media and social action.
Game On! Gaming Thursdays
Thur., Mar. 4 & 18, 6-8 p.m.
G 6 and up. Play PS2 or Wii games at the library! Grab a friend, bring your favorite board or card game, or play ours!
Theater Arts Workshop
Thur., March 11, March 25, April 8, April 22 & May 6, 6 –8 p.m. G 6 and up. Get out of your comfort zone and have some fun as you play theater games, practice prose and express yourself through performance. In these workshops, everyone is the star of the show!

Adult Programs
Healthy Eating on a Budget
Tue, March 2, 2–3 p.m.
Held at Franklin Learning Center, in the lower level of Franklin Library. Learn to make healthy food choices, even when your budget is tight! Presented in partnership with the Phillips Neighborhood Clinic.
Seniors Play Reading Group
Fri., Mar. 12, 10:30a.m.–12:30 p.m. Join us for a stimulating morning of reading and discussing some of the great plays of our heritage. For additional information, call the library, 952-847-2925.
Nonfiction Book Discussions for Elder Learners. Fri., Mar. 12, 1–3 p.m. Join us for a stimulating discussion of nonfiction books. For additional information, call the library, 952-847-2925.
Memoir Writing Group
Thur., Mar. 18, 1–2:30 p.m.
Would you like to create a record of your personal history? Bring what you have written and are willing to read to the group – for helpful comments and suggestions. Contact Franklin Library staff at 952-847-2925 if interested.
Círculo de Lectores en Español para Adultos/Spanish-Language Book Club for Adults. Sat., Mar. 20, 11 a.m.–noon. Participa en el Círculo de Lectores para leer con nosotros las mejores novelas Latinoamericanas por escritores Latinos. Para más información llama 952-847-5648. Participants will read and discuss the greatest Latin American novels written by Latinos. Call 952-847-5648.

Phillips Technology Center:
Register online for these classes and more or call 952-847-2925
Computer Basics Workshop
Thur., March 4 & 25, noon–2 p.m. and Friday, March 26, 1–3 p.m. Learn and bring questions about basic mouse and keyboarding skills, creating an e-mail account, using the Internet and scanning (where available).
Microsoft PowerPoint: Multimedia Tips
Thur., March 4, 6–8 p.m.
Use multimedia tips and tricks such as auto transitions, audio and video to dress up your presentations. Prerequisite: Microsoft PowerPoint: Basics or familiarity with presentation software is highly recommended.
Searching and Applying for Jobs Online. Sat., March 6, noon–1 p.m. Conduct a more effective job search by learning about valuable job hunting tools you can use at the library or online from anywhere.
Fasal Kumbuyuutar Af-Soomaali ah/Computer Class in Somali. Sat., March 6–May 29, 1–2 p.m.
Ka baro fasalkan sida loo isticmaalo kumbuyuutarka. Ka baro adeegsiga Microsoft Word, Intaraneedka, iimeylka, xog-kaydiyaha iyo kaataloogga Maktabadda Degmada Hennepin. Fasalkaaan waa lacag la’aan wuxuuna ku bixi doonaa Af-Soomaali. Wac Warsame, 952.847.5662, wixii faahfaahin ah. Learn the basics about computers; how to use Microsoft Word, the Internet, e-mail, the library catalog and databases. Classes, taught in Somali, are for beginners and intermediate-level users and are free. Call Warsame, 952.847.5662, for more information.
Senior Surf Day Wed., Mar. 17, 10:30 a.m. –12:30 p.m. Learn computer basics, how to navigate and search the Internet and how to access websites of interest to seniors. Get hands-on computer experience from representatives of the Senior LinkAge Line®
E-mail: Intermediate
Thur., March 25, 6–8 p.m.
Learn how to use folders, view and attach files to an e-mail and set up an e-mail address book using a Yahoo! account.
OpenOffice: Basics
Fri., March 26, 10a.m. – noon p.m. Registration required, begins Feb 26. Register online or call 952.847.2925. OpenOffice is a free, multiplatform office suite that can be used to create documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Learn how to use Open Office in the library and how to download and install the program at home or work.

Franklin Learning Center:
952-847-2934
The Franklin Learning Center offers free, one-to-one tutoring for adults who are learning English and math, preparing for the GED and citizenship exams, and gaining life skills. We are always looking for community volunteers! No experience necessary; we provide training and materials. Contact us at 952-847-2934.

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SEARCHING – a Serial Novelle CHAPTER 12: The Raid

By Patrick Cabello Hansel

People running in all directions. Shouting. Horns. Babies screaming. Right in front of him, an old man tripped on the ice and fell face down, splitting open his upper lip and breaking his nose. Blood poured out upon his worn Vikings sweater and onto the fresh snow. What is going on? Angel thought. Did someone get shot?

He began to walk towards the uproar that was centered at Bloomington and Lake. Three or four SUV’s with dark tinted windows were blocking the intersection. Cops were putting up barricades. A mother holding a baby and pulling a toddler along by the sleeve of his jumpsuit yelled at him: “!La Migra! ¡Corre! ¡Corre!”. And so he ran, away from the immigration raid, from the chaos and noise. He ran smack into the back of a girl in a sky blue coat, knocking both of them to the ground. As he struggled to pick himself up, he said “I’m so sorry” and held his hand out to help her. He noticed there was a large rip in his pants, and the skin was red and stinging, as if someone had slapped him.

She turned around and said, “That’s OK, I was…” and stopped. It was Luz, her face red, bits of snow clinging to the fake fur of her hood. “Angel…what are doing here?”
“Luz, oh my God, it’s good to see you. I’ve missed you so much”.
“I missed you too.”
For a moment—you know that moment if you’ve loved and been loved—the street disappeared, the people running, the loudspeakers of the police ordering people to be calm. It was as if all power was concentrated in their eyes, as if they were breathing, thinking, believing just with their eyes: young, hungry, free.
“We’ve got to get out of here!” Luz said, and began to cry. “I think they got Uncle Jaime”.
Angel touched her shoulder gently, and said, “Let’s go.”
They ran down an alley, slipping on the ice under the snow, grabbing each other’s arms. As if by magic, a door appeared. Their eyes, shrunken to pinpoints by the sun and snow, could barely see inside the dark space but somehow they found the stairway and began to climb: one floor after another, until they arrived at the last door. It opened into a dark space full of strange and beautiful shapes. Giant turtles, heads of mice, a dragon that went on forever, a sun made of mirrors and painted stones.
“Look, Angel”, Luz whispered. “It’s Maria and José—Mary and Joseph. And look over there—a donkey!”
“What are they doing here?” Angel whispered back. “Where are we? What is this place?”
“And why are we whispering when no one else is here?” Luz answered, in a perfect stage whisper that made both of them laugh.
Angel leaned against the cardboard frame of what appeared to be a boat. He breathed in the smell: dust, paint, Luz.
Luz looked at him intently, her large brown eyes now fully dilated.
“How have you been, Angel?” she asked. “I’ve been praying for you.”
“I know, Mother Light told me”, he said. And then said something he wasn’t sure he believed, until the words came out of his mouth: “And I could feel it—I could feel you—when I was hurt, when it felt like I was swimming in a dark hole. Darker than this place. Darker and not so kind.”
“I think that was death you were swimming in.”
“Death? Whose death? Mine?”
“I don’t think it’s your death, exactly. I think—I don’t know, maybe it’s the death of our people, or the death of the whole world.”
“You’re scaring me now, Luz”, Angel said, moving a little closer to her. But I’m actually feeling less scared than I have in a long time, he thought.
“I think you know that’s not true”, and she lifted her hand to touch Angel’s cheek, letting her fingers linger.
“So what do we do now?” Angel asked.
“We need to stay here until it’s over”, Luz said, “Maybe we should sit down. We could tell each other stories.”
“Ghost stories?”, Angel laughed.
“No, our stories. Where we’ve come from and what we’re searching for”.
“I don’t know much about that”, Angel said, sighing.
“Yeah, right! You hear the owl, you find me, you get beat up and left for dead, you’re healed by Mother Light, you run into me—literally—right in the middle of a raid by the Migra. No stories at all!”
Angel shook like he had indeed just heard a ghost story.
“How do you know about the owl?”, he asked.
“Mi amor, I’ve been hearing that owl since I was a little girl…”

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100 Year Old Church is a Treasure within 129 Year Old Legacy and 1500 Years of Welsh Culture

Moses led Welsh Congregation from Franklin Avenue to Lake Street 100 Years Ago. Minneapolis’ Welsh Congregation formed in Phillips in 1881 and worshipped at Franklin and 17th Avenues in a church they outgrew by 1911. They built a new church on 15th Avenue near Lake Street and were led by Reverend John Moses, their first permanent pastor having served them 28 years before they moved to the new $30,000.building drawn by drafstman William J. Williams who lived at 2433 11th Avenue. See also, The Alley Vol. 33 #2 april 2008 Page 4 “Moses Led Welsh Church from Franklin Avenue to Near Lake Street.

By Sue Hunter Weir

Since at least the 1880s, what we now call the Phillips Neighborhood, has been home to thousands of immigrants and their families, many of whom are buried or have relatives buried, in Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery. Their contributions to the city’s early development are among the reasons why the cemetery is on the National Register of Historic Sites (the only cemetery in Minnesota honored with that designation). Many of those buried in the cemetery, quite literally, built the city of Minneapolis. Their presence is still visible throughout the Phillips Neighborhood most notably in many of the old churches which functioned not only as places of worship but as places where the language and culture of the “old country” was celebrated and preserved.

Among those buried in the cemetery are several named Evans, Hughes, Jones, Morris and Williams—most of them the children of Welsh immigrants. (If your house is 100 years old and located between 15th and 17th Avenues from Franklin Avenue to Lake Street, there’s a good chance that someone with one of those names lived in, or built, your house). This year marks the 100th anniversary of the groundbreaking of the Welsh Church located at 2917 15th Avenue South, on the edge of the parking lot behind In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre. It was the last Welsh church built in Minneapolis.
From 1883 until their new Welsh Church opened its doors in 1911, the church’s congregation met in a church located at the intersection of Franklin and 17th Ave. In a history of the church that was published in 1931, in honor of the congregation’s 50th anniversary, William Jones noted that most of the church’s early members “lived within walking distance of their church.” As members of the congregation moved farther south in the city, they felt the need to build a new church in “a more convenient location,” and moved all the way from Franklin Avenue to Lake Street.

On April 15, 1910, the congregation applied for a permit to build a new church, the last one that would be so closely identified with Welsh language and culture. The church was designed by one of its members, Mr. William J. Williams, an architectural draftsman, who lived at 2711 16th Avenue South. Much of the construction work was done and many of the materials were provided by companies located in the neighborhood, including Hughes Heating and Electric, a company which is still in business. The church cost $30,000, a large sum of money in 1910, and the members of the congregation, who took great pride in their thrift and frugality, paid off all but $1,300 of the mortgage by the time that the congregation held its first service in their new church on September 8, 1911.

Music is the heart and soul of Welsh culture, so it was only a few years after the church opened that the congregation purchased a new pipe organ for $4,000. The fundraising effort was led by Hennepin County Commissioner John W. Williams, a druggist whose business was located at 12th and Franklin;
Church membership was approximately 200 people until the late 1930s. By then, fewer people spoke the language, and marriage outside of the Welsh community was common. The congregation disbanded in 1948, but since then the church has been home a number of different congregations, many of them with ethnic and cultural ties. Today it is home to the very active congregation of Iglesia de Dios Monte Sinai.

“1500 Years of Welsh Poetry in an Hour”
An Evening Celebrating Welsh Culture
Potluck at 6:00 PM
Program at 7:00 PM
Featuring John Good of Musical Group “Tramor” Presenting the Poetry. Free and Open to the Public At the Cultural Wellness Center
1527 East Lake Street

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