NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Thursday August 6th 2020

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Where Are We Going?

METRO TRANSIT

By JOHN CHARLES WILSON

Even though our buses and trains are still running on a greatly reduced schedule, Metro Transit is hard at work behind the scenes building and planning for a COVID-19-free future.

That said, I wish to interrupt the good news to tell everyone that Cub Foods is running a FREE shuttle bus between its temporarily ruined Lake and Minnehaha location to their Quarry location at 1540 New Brighton Blvd. in Northeast Minneapolis. Buses leave the Lake Street Cub every hour between 10 AM and 5 PM and leave the Quarry store one half-hour later. Each bus will transport up to 20 people, allowing for social distancing and room for shopping bags. Other rules are similar to Metro Transit.

Now, for what is in store for us when this debacle is over:

  • The Green Line Extension (Southwest Light Rail) construction is continuing as normal. It is planned to be ready for use in 2023.
  • The Blue Line Extension (Bottineau Line Light Rail) is anticipated to be done by 2024; however, a snag in negotiations with BNSF Railway for use of their right of way may cause a delay.
  • The D Line bus rapid transit (BRT) (similar to Route 5 but faster) is expected to open in 2022.
  • The B and E (BRT) Lines (similar to Routes 21 and 6 but faster) are expected to be built in 2022 and 2023.
  • The Orange Line (BRT) to Burnsville on I-35W is still under construction and is expected to open near the end of 2021.
  • The Gold Line (BRT) from Saint Paul to Woodbury is expected to open in 2024.

All of this excitement gets to happen within the next presidential term, which means we all have something to look forward to no matter who wins in November’s popularity contest.

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Tips from a COVID-19 Case Investigator

By LINDSEY FENNER

For the past two months, I have been reassigned  as a COVID-19 Case Investigator. This means that everyday I have conversations with people who have tested positive for COVID-19. Over the next few months, I will share tips and ideas from this experience. This month, I want to introduce everyone to what a Case Investigator does and what you should know if you get a call from one.

What happens when I test positive? 

After a positive test for COVID-19, you should be getting two phone calls: one phone call from the clinic where you got tested, and another phone call from a case investigator from the State of Minnesota Department of Health or a local public health agency. 

Why do we call?

We want to give you information about isolation and quarantine. I spend most of my time answering questions, talking through what isolation might look like, and making sure families have what they need to isolate and to stop the spread of COVID-19 to others. We also provide letters for work or school and can connect people with resources for essential needs while they are in isolation.

We also need to gather information to help understand this new virus and keep people safe. We only share private information with other people working in public health, like epidemiologists and other public health and infectious disease experts.We also want to make sure everyone you had contact with while potentially infectious has the information they need to quarantine. We usually ask you to communicate quarantine information with friends and family. We do follow-up with workplaces if someone worked while they were infectious, but only so the workplace knows what to do to keep everyone safe. We only share your name with your permission. 

What should I know about the questions you ask? 

There is a reason behind every question we ask. Some questions help us understand how the virus is spreading. For example, we only knew about clusters of cases at different Minneapolis bars because different people told us where and when they went out. Because of this information, we were able to inform the public that anyone who went to those bars should isolate and get tested. Other questions help us understand what occupations might be more hazardous or how different communities are being impacted by COVID-19.

How can I be prepared when someone calls me from the Public Health Department?

  • Think about your symptoms and see if you can remember the specific date for when you first started to feel sick. We use that symptom onset date to figure out how you got exposed to COVID-19 AND to know when you were likely infectious.
  • Think through all of the places and people with whom you would have had close contact two weeks before you started to feel sick AND ten days after you started to feel sick. 
  • Get permission from anyone you may have caught the virus from OR any close contacts while you were infectious to share their name with public health authorities. We usually only contact them if you are unable to, but it is important for us to get names so we can connect cases and understand how the virus is spreading.
  • Answer the phone! Our goal is to call everyone in the State of MN who has had a positive test result within 24 hours of that result being reported to the state. We really need to talk to you, so we will keep calling! But it will save us all time if you pick up the phone on the first call. There are many different public health agencies working on this, but people who call should clearly identify themselves as calling from the Minnesota Department of Health, or a local jurisdiction like Minneapolis or Hennepin County. We NEVER ask for social security numbers or bank account information.  If you have questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, call the Minnesota Helpline: 651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504 Mon.-Fri.: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or visit https://mn.gov/covid19/ add period here (?)
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Swim Safely at Home or Away

By H. Lynn Adelsman, Modified from MN Dept. Natural Resources advice

With few or no lifeguards at Minneapolis lakes and beaches this summer,  please be aware of these safe practices:

  • Always watch children around water, without being distracted. Phones can be distracting and contrary to child-monitoring.
  • Keep young children within arm’s reach of an adult at all times.
  • Teach children how to swim. Consider their age, development, and how comfortable they are around water. (See below for swim lesson resources).
  • Empty buckets, containers, and kiddie pools immediately after use. Store them upside down so they don’t collect water.
  • Air-filled and foam toys are NOT safety devices.
  • Children should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket in the water.
  • Be aware that fences are needed around home or apartment pools. A 4 foot tall, pool fence should surround all sides and have self-closing and self-latching gates to avoid children from entering unsafely without supervision.
  • Drowning most often occurs silently; not like in movies where the victim shouts and waves their arms. People often cannot recognize a drowning that makes little noise as a person can’t cry out for help. Ask the person if they are alright.  If they can answer they likely are OK. If not quick action is needed. 
  • Know what to do when rescue is needed including calling 911. Throw a floating object or extend a towel or paddle but release if the victim starts to pull you in and try something else.

Swimming During the COVID-19 Pandemic  not bolded in PDF file

  • Maintain your beach area with a towel, etc, at least 6 feet away from anyone not in your household. Then you can remove your mask. Wear a mask when you go for a walk or to a parking lot.
  • Practice social distancing in the water just as you would on land thus allowing any virus that might emanate from nearby swimmers, surfers, or paddlers to dilute, disperse, and die off.”

Swimming Lessons Now Available

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) offers lessons for all ages and abilities, with scholarships and donated swimwear is available to help make swimming more accessible and equitable.

For Minneapolis youth who qualify, a series of eight lessons with a scholarship is just $5, (versus the typical $50 cost); scholarships are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

These lessons are part of the Water and Ice Safety Education (WISE) program launched by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) and take place throughout the summer at a variety of MPRB aquatics facilities.  WISE scholarships are also available for women’s-only swimming lessons and lifeguard training classes.

Classes are held throughout the summer at various MPRB lakes and pools and year-’round at the Phillips Aquatics Center 2323 11th Ave. So.

For more information on MPRB swim lessons and scholarships, email aquatics@minneapolisparks.org or call 612-230-6495.

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“the alley” newspaper August 2020 issue

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AIM and Traditional Peacemaking are Still Here

“We are still here.”

“American Indian Vietnam vets were moving to the cities after their military service to find jobs to support their families.  In Minnesota, thousands left the reservations and moved to the cities to go to the schools and find jobs.  At the same time, negative attitudes toward Indians were widespread among the white police force, and nothing seemed to stop them from injuring people caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“ Even with Federal Funding coming into Minneapolis for jobs training, there was not enough to keep up with the numbers of Indians who were moving into Minneapolis’ major cities.  The police, first enforcers of the law and, to an extent, of the mores of the majority population, came into contact with Indian people in a very ugly way.”



 Franklin Front Yard Signs thanking American Indian Movement Patrol and Black Lives Matter and Rest in Peace Tributes to George Floyd
[photo: Ben Heath]

“The Birth of American Indian Movement, Minneapolis, MN, July 29, 1968

“From its founding on July 29, 1968, in a cramped loaned space at Twelfth and Plymouth on Minneapolis’ near north side, AIM focusd on children, who represented the future of Indian people.  Clyde Bellecourt, one of the founders, said, ‘People were beaten down and afraid to speak out, so something had to be done.  We had to create an organization to represent the people.’  According to Bellecourt, over a hundred people crammed into the room.  Most lived on the south side of the city, so they had to find rides to get to the momentous meeting.  AIM soon opened its first offices at 1337 East Franklin Avenue [across the avenue from Franklin Library] in the Phillips neighborhood, in the heart of the city’s urban Indian community.”

“AIM has remained active through these years, its numbers growing from thousands to millions as other groups from Canada and the Americas joined in related activities.The growth was so rapid that organization fell away.  There is still a leadership, but it is a core that remains like a small campfire in the distance.”

[Excerpts from “WE ARE STILL HERE” text By LAURA WATERMAN WITTSTOCK, photographs By DICK BANCROFT,  Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2013 pages xxvii, 3 and 4]

“The Ventura Village neighborhood wants to thank the Native Community for organizing and protecting our area during the unrest following the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department on May 25th. Quoting the June 12th Minneapolis StarTribune: ‘Michael Goze, CEO of the American Indian Community Development Corporation, and Frank Paro, president of the American Indian Movement (AIM), sent out a call for volunteers as violence erupted into the streets.  Bob Rice, owner of Pow Wow Grounds Coffee Shop, opened his property as the staging area for AIM street patrols and offered other logistical support.’  Their efforts prevented any more violence or vandalism in the following days.” [Photos by Gerald Auginash on page 7] 

“Traditional Peacemaking”

 “The effectiveness of our AIM Patrol in protecting Indians on the streets of Minneapolis was now recognized throughout Indian Country. Having reintroduced traditional methods of peacemaking, we knew how to protect our Indian community from external threats and resolve internal differences.” …”The Thunder Before the Storm”  By CLYDE BELLECOURT, Minnesota Historical Society Press, page 84, 2016.



 the alley newspaper front page August 1976 of the Jones Block Building in which the American Indian Movement had its first office at 1337 East Franklin directly across avenue from the Franklin Community Library 1314 East Franklin Ave.

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HOW DO YOU TREAT THE STRANGER AT YOUR DOOR

By Barb Tilsen

How do you treat the stranger at your door

The one who comes in need of comfort

with no place to sleep

Little food

Just the few possessions they can carry in one move

This question is before us all around the world

People displaced, on the move

from the dangerous and intolerable

The refugee, the homeless

the one seeking harbor and safety

at the border, on your doorstep

fleeing the storms of the world

How do we treat the stranger at our door

Like the Lady in the harbor raising the torch

poetry in her arms welcoming all to this shore

Or with barbed wire, the wall, the guns, the fear

It all comes home to rest in our front yard now

Just across the street in our beloved park

Yes we need compassion and love

But the harsh reality of hunger, unmet needs

of no place else to go

demands concrete solutions

As neighbors we act to meet the need

Bring food and supplies

We call and organize in all the ways we know to

pressure the city, the park, the county, the state

To answer 

Not with elusive shifting drifting responsibility 

or bureaucratic dysfunction and entanglements

Not to keep people languishing in tents

But to find the solution that is safe for all

Respectful, effective and long lasting

This is not the first nor the last time

we will need to answer

How do we treat the stranger at our door

©  Barbara S. Tilsen

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Corona Crisis Exposing Minnesota Racism Against Asian- Americans

Something I Said 

By DWIGHT HOBBES 

For a place touted as a bounty of multiculturalism, Minnesota can be downright reactionary and racist. It is doubtful, for instance, that had the corona virus originated in, say, Sweden or Switzerland, blue eyed blondes would be targeted for harassment. Yet, the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) has had to denounce increasing racist attacks and xenophobic profiling of Asian-Americans, backlash for the pandemic against people who, for all they know, had never even been to China much less caused this crisis. 

Consider. A St. Paul-based nonprofit held an online discussion on discrimination against Asian Americans during this pandemic, but scrapped it due to the overwhelming presence of derogatory remarks posted. Hardly in keeping with locale known for being socially progressive and ethnically inclusive. Xaria Vang, 23, bought a Taser gun after a stranger confronted her in a St. Paul butcher shop. Vang isn’t even of Chinese extraction: she’s Hmong. 

Clearly, this state, the Twin Cities in particular, which breaks an arm patting itself on the for supposedly standing for equality is just as backwardly Neanderthal in its attitudes and behavior as places like: New York City where a woman was punched and called “diseased”; Plymouth, Indiana where a pair of Hmong men were refused hotel accommodations; a Texas town where an Asian family were knifed (father and son slashed across the face) while trying to grocery shop. And reports right here in Minnesota are on the increase. 

The lead Donald Trump has provided to follow makes bad matters worse. After a White House official, speaking to CBS journalist Weijia Jiang called COVID-19 the ‘Kung-Flu’ the president not only didn’t denounce the blatantly racist comment but denied any responsibility for Asian-Americans being targeted. He has no responsibility for this ethnic group being singled out? But tacitly condoned a mob, rabid ‘”Unite the Right” racists at the infamous Chancellorsville, VA rally. Hand in hand with Trump blithely glossing over bigotry, federal agencies including the Department of Justice have done exactly jack to safeguard at-risk citizens. 

It’s to the point where the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, at Gov. Tim Walz’s urging, has set up a hotline report attacks and/or harassment. 651-539- 1133. Also there’s a toll free number at the governor’s office. 1-833-454-0148. Weekdays 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

None of this would be the least bit necessary where this region as nobly humane as it claims to be. 

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Ventura Village neighborhood News

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