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Tuesday June 27th 2017

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A New Column: PUBLIC TRANSIT

By JOHN CHARLES WILSON

Hello, People of the Phillips Community!  My name is John Charles Wilson and I have been graciously invited by the Editor of The Alley Newspaper to write a monthly column on the subject of public transit.

I grew up in St. Paul, near the present-day Rondo Library, in the 1970s and 1980s.  I have always loved buses and collected bus schedules as a hobby. When I was a teenager, I spent my money mostly on bus rides. I wanted to ride every route but there were some routes where it wasn’t possible without spending the night at the end of the line.  Fortunately, there are way fewer routes like that now than then, as many suburbs have attained all-day service.

My historical knowledge of the twin Cities transit system informs my opinions about how it can be made better.  I’ve always wanted to put my opinions to good use, and had my life gone differently I would probably have become a Transit Information Specialist, or better yet, a planner with Metro Transit.  Back when the system was called MTC, I dreamed of a gubernatorial appointment as a Metropolitan Transit Commissioner, but I now realize the Commission, and now the Met Council, don’t have the day-to-day authority over routes and schedules—the planners do.  All the formal leadership does is approve or deny the plans.

That leads to my first piece of advice for anyone trying to influence our transit system.  Aim your discussion at the Planning Department, not the Met Council itself.  Your ideas will be more likely to be seriously considered at that level.  Attend the public meetings that are advertised about various transit projects.  Actually engage the staff in conversations when possible.  They don’t bite.

As some of you know, the Met Council is considering a fare increase, the first one in nine years.  Presently the debate is whether to raise the fares 25 or 50 cents across the board.  I am proposing a different strategy: raise the non-rush hour fare, so the fare is the same at all times of day.  The rush hour tax was instituted June 1, 1982 as a “temporary” measure to circumvent a law limiting the bus fare to 60 cents.  That law is gone and so should the rush hour tax.

I hope to write something more Phillips specific next month.

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Cross-Cultural Urban garden unites neighbors and a business in a healthy mission impacting climate change

From left are Gandhi Mahal Interfaith Garden partners last summer: Ruhel Islam, owner and executive chef at Gandhi Mahal Restaurant; Claire Baglien, Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light office manager; Ritchie Robertson Two Bulls, arts therapist for Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center; and the Rev. Robert Two Bulls of First Nations Kitchen and All Saints Episcopal Indian Mission.

By Marilyn Moyer, Guest Columnist

In a backyard garden tucked into the Corcoran neighborhood, far more is flourishing than tomatoes, eggplant and squash. Here, people whose roots lie worlds apart are working together to strengthen the health of their community, while doing their part to address climate change.

The Gandhi Mahal Interfaith Garden is a unique collaboration between a Bangladeshi Indian restaurant, a Native American ministry and a non-profit working to address climate justice with faith communities across the state.

On May 12, these unlikely partners launched their urban garden’s second season. Dozens of volunteers turned out to prepare the soil and plant the seeds that will grow into a wide variety of fresh vegetables. Those include foods that are traditional staples in Bangladeshi cooking – such as spicy Asian chilies and cilantro – as well as those culturally connected to Native Americans, such as certain varieties of squash and beans.

Many people will share in the coming bounty, including the paying diners at nearby Gandhi Mahal Restaurant, and the guests who gather at First Nations Kitchen for a free, indigenous diet-based meal on Sunday evenings. The kitchen is part of the outreach ministry of All Saints Episcopal Indian Mission.

After the Sunday evening meal, people from across the neighborhood, as well as First Nations Kitchen’s guests, are welcome to gather at the garden, four blocks from where dinner was served.

“People who come for open garden night can pick the produce they want to take home,” explained Claire Baglien, who oversees the garden and works with volunteers to tend it.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Corrine Zala, longtime Phillips Resident, Housing Facilitator and Coach, Comedienne, Cook, and Preservationist

Corrine Zala, b. February 14, 1955 died April 26th, 2017 pictured here with “Les Walstein, my very best friend.”

BY SUE HUNTER WEIR, JANA METGE, DONNA NESTEA, and David PIEHL

Corrine Zala. A name known by so many families in this neighborhood.  We met Corrine because she sold us our homes, many our first homes. She negotiated through the stacks of paperwork which none of us understood. For years she ran the ‘Neighbors Helping Neighbors’ program out of Abbott Northwestern Hospital – a grant program for down payment assistance and for home improvements. Abbott Northwestern, being a partner and helping the Neighborhood which surrounds it.

Corrine knew that some of her first-time home buyers needed support not only to guide them through the process of purchasing a home but to help them maintain the properties that they had worked so hard to own. Long after the papers were signed and the deals were sealed she visited her clients to make sure that they had everything they needed to keep their homes in good shape.

Then there was saving our homes from MCDA tearing them down. Corrine was known to block bulldozers from demolishing perfectly structurally sound homes.  This activism led to many policy changes.

Then there was Historic Preservation. In Central Neighborhood she helped secure resources to move homes rather than demolish them during a Park Expansion project.  She purchased a home north of the Historic Healy block on 2nd Ave and 31st Street and worked to save her home and those adjacent to hers.

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“The Truth Beneath” From the 36th Annual Minneapolis-St. Paul Film Festival

“The Truth Beneath”

(2016)

*****

A scandal may be on the way during an extremely close race that Eui-sung Kim (Noh Jae-soon) wins narrowly over Jong-chan (Ju- hyuk Kim).

Just as the elections will go national, Noh Jae- soon and his wife’s daughter Kim Min-jin (Ji-Hoon Shin) goes missing. Noh Jae-soon tells Yeon-hong (Yeon-jin Son) to wait a day which Yeon-jin Son is appalled by his suggestion. She goes on her own search for her daughter when she runs into lies, secrets and conspiracy theories.

Country: South Korea. Running time: 102 minutes. Languages: Korean with English subtitles.Director:  Kyoung mi- Lee.  Cast. Ye-jin Son (Yeon-hong), Ju-hyuk Kim (Jong-chan), Eui-sung Kim (Noh-Jae-soon).

“Everything Else”

(2016)

*** out of 5 stars

Dona Flor (Adriana Barraza) has worked at a government office for 35 years.  Dona’s just doing her job in a perfunctory way finding little enthusiasm on or off the job. She shows weariness in her face day in and day out. Why?  Well, in large part, because her daughter has drowned, but there’s no indication whether her daughter’s death was a month ago or twenty years ago.

Dona is a very lonely person: no friends or boyfriend to lean on. She’s no young person and when her cat mysteriously dies she seems even more depressed. Her clients at work seem like mechanical noise boxes and I was bored right her. Smothered by masses of people, largely women and children, getting on and off the crowded rail this lonely woman is oblivious to the distractions

Languages: Spanish in English subtitles. Running time: 90 minutes. Director:

Natalia Almada. Countries: Mexico/USA/France.

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Dave’s Dumpster – June 2017

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Birthing the Seed

Largest Black Bean ever? Sacred to some Native American Tribes & regarded as “poor man’s meat” beans are rich in protein, supplying 1/3 of the essential amino acids to the corn, bean and squash trinity.

By Peter Molenaar

Two seasons ago, amidst the typically mottled ones, the harvest of Scarlet Runner Beans revealed two completely black seeds.  In their turn, these seeds would germinate and prove to be a new mutant strain.  Will the largest black bean ever grown bear my name?

However, in this New World, horticultural advance must largely be credited to the practice of Native American women.  This is true, because the processors of the food were also the seed savers.  Her gift to us was not merely that of the various beans, but also the tomatoes, peppers, squashes, melons, potatoes, pumpkins…and she gave us corn!

We should pity the school child who has not been introduced to teosinte, the grass from which, by her hand, corn was born.  In the course of thousands of years, the once separate seed strands fused to become the precursor to the cob.  Then, some 2,500 years ago, the modern cob emerged from Mexico.  Cast north by the awesome birch bark canoe, the seeds stabilized families and cities grew.

And then…

For a very long time things were mostly good, until an invasion of “well regulated militias” destroyed the fields.  This was done just before the harvest, for maximum effect…along with unspeakable atrocities.

And now…

In his speech before the National Rifle Association, the President of the United States referred to Senator Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahantas.” Yes, Elizabeth acknowledges her Native ancestry.  She will run against Donald Trump in 2020 and she will have my vote.

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Frank Reflections – June 2017

BY FRANK ERICKSON

I asked Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal about these rising rent costs in the Twin Cities.  Her response was, “the rising costs of rent are based on what the market will bear.”

How absurd and cruel to believe that the payment of an ever increasing rental amount is an affordable and “bearable” amount—simply because it was paid. Many of us renters will cut back on food, medical care, and turning on the heat because the money is needed for a higher rent.

Even if they can’t afford it, renters will find a way to pay rent; the roof over your head always comes first.  But even if you go hungry, the paying of your rent is seen as what “the market will bear.”  Capitalism is beyond sick, it allows humans to not be human… “I’m not greedy or wicked it is what the market will bear.”

Landlords hold renters hostage.  Hey all raise their rents simultaneously to a “market value” rent. Where are renters to go?  There is no place to go.  They practice collusion, they band together, and you pay the “market value” extortion rate or live under a bridge.

If you don’t pay, the sheriff will help you move out.  If you pay, you have participated in establishing the new “market value” rate.   What are you to do?  They’ve got you! You’re screwed either way!

We renters have no rights. We are just seen as cash machines for the landlords; seen as less than human.

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It Is Summer and We Are GROWING THE BACKYARD! Check out the activities of this Community Health Action Team (CHAT) in the following images !!!!

BUILDING COMPOST BINS

Building compost bins in Paradise Gardens, East 34th Street and Chicago Avenue South

BUILDING COMMUNITY AND PLANTER BOXES

COMING SOON…

Produce stand at the Midtown Global Market

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Amos Yancy: A Slave, A Soldier, A Free Man.

Amos Yancy learned of the formation of colored regiments in Missouri (perhaps from an advertisement like the one above) and must have realized that this would be his opportunity to escape the bonds of slavery. On May 30, 1864, at the age of 18 years, Amos enlisted in the 18th Regiment U.S. Colored Troops as noted on the Enlisted card, right; thus guaranteeing his freedom at the end of his service.

By Timothy McCall, Guest columnist

From its inception, the Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery has been a non-denominational, racially integrated cemetery. A racially integrated cemetery in the early 1860’s, was not a common occurrence. While we don’t have a precise count on the number of African-Americans buried here (an ongoing project), undoubtedly, there are more than a few that were ex-slaves. One such person recently re-discovered is Amos Yancy.

Amos was born into slavery, escaped to fight in the Civil War, came to Minnesota in search of a better life for his small family and died here, a free man.

From the moment of Amos’ birth in Monroe County, Missouri in 1846, he was considered someone’s property. We may never know the names of his parents, but we do know the names of the two families who once owned him, the Scobys and the Heizers.

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census-Slave Schedule, lists seven slaves belonging to John Scoby living in Monroe County, Missouri. Three were female, four were male and their ages ranged from one to twenty-two years. The Slave Schedules generally didn’t list the individual slave’s name, but grouped them under the name of the owner. The census did, however, list other important details, including: the slave’s age, sex and color (Black or Mulatto).

The person we’re interested in is a three-year old, mulatto boy. John Scoby died in 1851 and his wife Elizabeth followed him two years later. After Elizabeth’s death, an auction was held on August 1, 1853 by Sheriff Marion Biggs to liquidate the Scobys estate. It was at this auction that Amos, now seven years old, was purchased by Joseph Heizer.

Joseph Heizer was born in Virginia and had taken up farming in Kentucky before moving to Missouri. By 1860, Joseph and his son John, were farming 540 acres in Monroe County, where they owned 5 slaves, including Amos, now 14 years old. Read the rest of this entry »

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Paradise

“Paradise” (2016)

*****

A riveting story about a young Russian aristocrat, Olga (Yuliya Vysotskaya), is sent away to a concentration camp where she faces unspeakable circumstances. She has joined the French Resistance to save as many Jews as she can from extermination only to be captured and interrogated for the “crime” of hiding Jewish children.

Olga meets a handsome man, Khelmut (Christian Clauss), at an outing in the 1930s.They would meet again only this time the man is an upcoming German SS officer who is even invited to Heinrich Himmer’s (Viktor Sukhorukov) suite. Khelmut and Olga rekindle their love from the earlier time. To her surprise, he offers her an escape route at the time the Nazis are beginning to realize defeat may be near. However, what seems to be a window of escape becomes more communicated. (Lushly filmed in black and white.)

Cast: Yuliya Vysotskaya (Olga), Plilippe Duquesne (Zhyul), Christian Clauss (Khelmut), Jean Deni Romer (Shulman), Jakob Diehl (Fogel), George Lenz, Irinda Demidkina (Okhrannitsa Tyurmy), Caroline Pietta Zhyustina), Anna- Mariya Danilenko (Babish), Vera Voronkova (Roza),Yaroslav Khimchenko, Anastasiya Serova. Running time:130minutes.Languages: German, Hungarian, French, Yiddish with English subtitles. Cinematographer: Aleksandr Simonov.

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