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Sunday June 16th 2019

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MayDay 1974-2019: Everyone’s an artist, and creator of the future using ceremony and ritual for peace, justice and equality

 

Dan Newman and Laurie Witzkowski-Denise Mayotte

By DAN NEUMAN

Dear MayDay People,

Forty-four years ago a bunch of community activists and artists created a parade and a ceremony to welcome spring and the ending of a war. A few hundred people joyously marched from Phillip’s to Powderhorn and rallied on the shore of the lake.

What was different about MayDay then and now are two deep understandings that motivated the first organizers. 

Our studies and actions had taught us that ceremony and ritual are essential elements in the imagining, creation and the experiencing of a different future of peace, justice and equality. And that everyone is an artist, and a creator of the future.

The future of MayDay has always been uncertain, with no assured funding. As it has grown the cost has also kept growing and every year has been an act of faith that, in the end, the community will provide. Today the cost has overwhelmed the organization and the community of MayDay is challenged to imagine, create and experience a new way of making MayDay happen.  

I am worried. There are so many aspects of the new future to figure out. But I am so hopeful!  All around me I see the community of MayDay imagining and creating the 45th MayDay, something I never thought possible 44 years ago. All around me I see activists and artists who want to continue this incredible feeding of our hearts and souls that is MayDay.  

And I remind myself that we don’t have to figure it all out at once or get it all right once and for all. I remember that we are continuing on a journey that started long before us and will continue after we are gone.

There is a quote from Dag Hammarskjold written around the face of the Sun that greets everyone from the Avalon ticket booth during the MayDay build.

For all that has been thanks! For all that will be, yes!

Workshop 2019, by Bruce Silcox

The Changes and Conversation Ahead

MayDay is a different experience than other large community events.  It engages our hearts, souls and minds, presents a vision of a better future and calls us to act in community. This is not an accident or a byproduct, it is the intent.

Since the beginning Sandy Spieler has been the Artistic Director of MayDay. Her vision and values have been instrumental to shaping the why, what and how of the MayDay experience. As Artistic Director she has been the decision maker, navigating and negotiating the ideas and opinions of many people to shape each year’s parade. After an incredible 45 years, she is stepping down from that role.  

Sandy stepping down leaves some huge holes that we, as a community, must somehow fill if Mayday is to continue and have the meaning and purpose it has had. As I see it there are three key questions that must be addressed. They are essential if the ethic, values and the communal experience of MayDay are to continue.

1)What is the essence of the Mayday experience? How is that essence lived in the rituals and practices? These are the core elements that we need to find words for and share with each other.

2)What is the culture of Mayday, of its conception and creation, that should be carried on? The community of MayDay comes from many cultures and creates a common experience. What is the culture that we create together?

3)How will decisions about artistic content be made in the future?  

MayDay Workshop 2019-Denise Mayotte

These are big questions. There will be many different views and values. How we answer them will change over time. But we need to hold them up, examine them, listen to each other, acknowledge our differences and find a way forward together.

Dan Newman was a member of the Almond Tree Household in Phillips and an organizer of the first MayDay. He has served in leadership positions on the HOBT Board of Directors for most of the last 25 years and organizes the Tree of Life crew each year.

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Beloved principal leaves on high note

By Kinsley Wilcox-McBride

This article is reprinted courtesy of the South High student newspaper, the Southerner. 

Beloved Principal Ray Aponte made a huge announcement on March 19: with the end of the 2018-19 school year, he will officially end his time as principal of South High. 

Aponte has served as South’s Principal for the past five years.

“I was really struggling with it all the way up until December or January… But I am going to leave on my terms and not when somebody tells me to leave, so I am leaving on top. I feel like I have accomplished a lot here and in Minneapolis,” explained Aponte. “Now it’s time for me to move on and maybe take my talents and go somewhere else where somebody else might need some help. I don’t plan on retiring. I plan on taking some time off and reevaluating my position and my own personal track, but I suspect I will probably end up at a school some place.”

Aponte has worked in academic administration for 34 years, and for the Minneapolis Public School District for 25 of those years. This long history in the district has made him the longest-serving principal in Minneapolis Public School District history. He has been both an assistant principal and principal at a plethora of schools, including Northeast Middle School, Anderson, Waite Park, and Jefferson.

His announcement was made to the South High staff at a meeting after school on the 19th, and a letter written by him was emailed out to students later in the afternoon. For the meeting, Aponte had to ask somebody else to read the letter because of the emotion it brought out in him. “I thought ‘I better not read this letter in front of staff, because I don’t want to break down’… it was very emotional,” Aponte said.

The heartfelt announcement letter began with a recount of his struggle to acclimate to the schools in America, after his move from Puerto Rico as a young child.

“In my career as an administrator—34 years in all— never forgetting that the kids who might not be making it in the classroom, might only need an experience bigger than the classroom,” the letter read. “A garden to nurture, a trip to the Black Hills, advanced learning, music, theater, and art,” he continued, all examples of opportunities for students created during his term as principal, thanks to his passion for supporting “learning outside of the classroom.” 

Students and staff all respect Mr. Aponte’s efforts to connect to the members of his school community. “I really like the fact that Aponte interacts with students, no matter what their personality is,” said sophomore Abrea Woller. Aponte affirmed this in saying that “to be a principal, you have to love all children.”

“He really made an effort to connect,” agreed sophomore Beatrice Kennedy-Logan.

“Every morning I have to set the tone in the commons, in the halls,” Aponte said. He feels his involvement in the school and communication with students is vital to the health of our community.

After his announcement, there has been a lot of talk within South, the District, and online. “Just reading some of the things people are saying online about their experiences with me, it touches my heart,” Aponte said. He shared that he feels very happy to hear all of the ways people remember and appreciate their time with him.

“I’m hoping that we can continue working on a lot of the things that he was responsible for in his time at South,…that some of the visibility for particular groups of students and some of the work that we’ve been doing to try to improve things for them will continue,” said history teacher Joshua Fisher. Examples include South’s various murals and field trips taken this year to Hamilton or the Alvin Ailey Dance Company.

Aponte feels that his five years at South High have been the pinnacle of his career. “It’s not an easy job,” he said. He went on to explain how the diversity of the student body has taken a lot of commitment and education to properly lead. “We have five huge populations here, and you have to be able to kind of meander in and out of those cultures,” he said.

Aponte has also been a cheerleader for the All Nations Program, an often overlooked group. He has passionately supported cultural opportunities for Native students, such as a buffalo hunt, a trip to the Black Hills, and the building of lacrosse sticks.

“I spent about 45 minutes yesterday in All Nations…That is the population that continues not to meet the achievement levels that other cultures here do…They were worried because I have been their advocate…They wanted me to talk about what was going to happen,” Aponte explained. “The new Principal has to love Native children and understand the historical trauma that they have been under, and how desperate that community is in regards to outcomes academically and even with jobs.”

Aponte hopes that there will continue to be support for South’s Native community, as that is one area of the school where he does not feel his job has been “finished.”

“I am hoping that students here can continue to help support that program by…understanding that it is very difficult to be a Native child… People with more privilege need to be advocates for them,” Aponte said.

“To be a Principal, you have to be very centered around what you believe in regards to how students should be treated and how schools should be run, and that just doesn’t happen overnight. But I’m pretty centered around what I believe,” Aponte said. He feels that type of relationship which students are so fond of is his responsibility.

After 34 years as a dedicated administrator, Aponte’s hiatus may not be a shock to some people, but it is certainly emotional to many. “It was sad to hear that it is official… I hope that we have the chance to find another person who is an advocate for South in the same way,” said Fisher.

Aponte didn’t always foresee the path he would follow: “I never would have imagined that I’d be [an administrator]. Never.” Yet with all the growth he nurtured for South in his time here, his legacy will be hard to follow. “He’s had a long career. It will be big shoes to fill,” said Woldum.

There is a standard district process for hiring principals, and the MPS Superintendent will make the final decision. However, Aponte will be a part of that hiring process, as well as other staff and members of the Minneapolis Public School community.

As for next year, Aponte has plans of self-improvement. “It’s really hard for me to think past today, because this is an encompassing job, but I think I’m really going to try to simplify my life, make good meals and become healthier mentally and physically,” he said. “This job is taxing mentally… I’m going to do yoga and keep biking and try to eat good food. And my family, my brothers and sisters and my mama, I hardly ever see them because I am almost always here.”

“It’s been an honor to work alongside hard-working teachers and to know brilliant student minds…Thank you, beyond words, for the privilege of being your principal,” the letter concluded. “I am a better person now, than I was before South High School.”

Aponte is leaving big shoes to fill, but the search for a new principal is beginning. On April 10, there was a Site Council meeting to discuss the process of selecting a new principal. After a few brief statements from Assistant Principal Isabel Rodriguez and Student Council Representative Marie Stebbings, Daniel Glass, who leads school leadership hiring for Minneapolis Public Schools, began to describe the process of finding a new principal for South High School.

First, the Site Council and others need to create a finalized survey for students, staff, and parents. The survey results will create a profile that Glass will use to find potential matches from a pool of candidates. Those candidates will be interviewed by a committee of South High community members who will give a recommendation to the superintendent. The superintendent then makes the final decision.

Glass said his role is “to make sure we have a deep pool of people to draw from.” Applicants must complete a set of rigorous assessments to be considered. These include an interview with an associate superintendent and two sitting MPS principals, presenting a plan to their hypothetical associate superintendent on how to deal with a hypothetical challenge at a school, a role-playing activity with an upset parent, and an observational activity where they give feedback to a teacher. Glass also emphasized that “this is not a district-driven process. This will be a South High-driven process.”

Glass also discussed the need to move quickly in order to secure a highly-qualified applicant. “There’s competition for people, but that being said I don’t want you to go any faster than you feel comfortable with,” he expanded.

After Glass took a few questions from teachers and parents, Assistant Principal Mercedes Walker discussed the survey. Many people had comments regarding the format and content of the survey questions. In the end, people at the meeting made suggestions on physical copies of the survey that were handed out. Lisa Ramirez and other members of Site Council will make changes to the current survey, then on Monday April 15th a smaller group will meet to finalize the survey.

LaCresha Dotson, parent of South junior Jordan Dotson, attended the meeting. “I think it went fairly well. I think what I heard, though, is that we’re a little bit behind the eight ball. We’ve got this monumental decision to make and not a whole lot of time to make it if we want to get the best candidates. I think there’s some good ideas that came out of here. There are some really concerned parents, but I also recognize that there are lots of parents and stakeholders that are not here as well. So I’m looking forward to seeing how this process plays out,” Dotson said.

Associate Superintendent Carla Steinbach, who also attended the meeting and will oversee the hiring process, said she hopes the hiring process will be complete in time for the new principal to begin work on July 1.

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What’s Up at the Franklin Community Library – May 2016

By ERIN THOMASSON

Book Donations for Navigation Center
Hennepin County Library is partnering with three local bookstores – Birchbark, Boneshaker, and Moon Palace — to provide reading materials for residents of the Navigation Center, many of whom relocated from the encampment on Hiawatha. Your donation will provide positive recreational and educational materials for people experiencing housing insecurity. Choose any title you wish! All books purchased for donation can be left in the stores; they will be picked up periodically and distributed to the Navigation Center. The location for each bookstore can be found on their websites: Moon Palace Books https://www.moonpalacebooks.com/; Birchbark Books https://birchbarkbooks.com/; Boneshaker Books http://www.boneshakerbooks.com/.Information about the Navigation Center can be found here: https://www.franklinhiawathacamp.org/

All Ages
Children’s Day in Japan
Sunday, May 5, 3-4pm
Celebrate and learn about Japan’s Children’s Day by experiencing Japanese music and creating Japanese crafts, including origami folding to make Kabuto (Samurai helmet) and Koinobori. Materials provided.

Learn Together: Connect and Play
Tuesdays, 6-6:30pm
Connect with your child during this drop-in program exploring early literacy activities. Join your neighbors each week for a different theme including music, art, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), reading and creative play.

Family Storytime
Fridays, 10:30-11am
For children of all ages and their caregivers. Talk, sing, read, write and play together in a format appropriate for young children. Share books, stories, rhymes, music and movement.

Teen Programs
Urban 4-H Club
Tuesdays, 5–7pm
We do everything from urban gardening to digital photo/video to theater. Partner: University of Minnesota.

Teen Anime Club
Saturday,  May 4, 3-4:30 pm
Discuss manga and share artwork. Something different every time!

Teen Tech Workshop
Wednesdays, 5-6:30pm
Get creative and make music, videos, animation and other projects using both high- and low-tech tools, everything from iPads and 3D printers to synthesizers and sewing machines. Led by the library’s Teen Tech Squad.

Dhalinta Horumar sare rabta / Young Achievers
Wednesdays, 4:30-6pm 
U dabaaldag Dhaqanka Soomalida, sameyso saaxiibo cusub iyo in aad isticmaasho hab nololeed cafimaad leh. Lamaane: WellShare International. Celebrate Somali culture, make new friends and practice healthy lifestyles. Partner: WellShare International.

Adult Programs
Blood Quantum Physics: A Podcast Workshop with New Native Theatre
Thursday, May 9, 6:30-8 pm
at Anishinabe Academy (3100 E 38th St) Registration required.
Join actors from New Native Theatre and learn behind-the-scenes podcast production. Activities may include voice acting and creating sound effects. Participants may be chosen to perform in Blood Quantum Physics, the live show that follows on Saturday, May 11. Best for adults and teens. Gakina awiya bizaanigo bi-izhaayeg. Owás’iŋ taŋyáŋ yahípi ye. All are welcome. Best for adults and teens. Space is limited. Collaborator: New Native Theatre. Funded by Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Open Crafting
Monday, May 6, 1-3pm
Looking for a space to sew, knit or work on other crafts? Bring your current project and materials and join us! Sewing machines, knitting needles and other equipment will be available for your use.

Franklin Technology Hour
Thursdays, 12-1pm
Do you want to explore new technology, practice using a computer program, or learn more about the library’s electronic resources? Then come to Franklin Technology Hour! Bring your questions or come and explore a spotlighted resource.

OLLI Nonfiction Book Club
Friday, May 10, 1-3pm
Enjoy reading a variety of nonfiction topics including biography, science, technology, politics and more. Partner: Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). May 10 & June 14: Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

Cards and Board Games
Saturday, May 11, 2:30-4:30pm
Come play a variety of games with new or old friends. Games are provided, or bring a favorite from home.

Blood Quantum Physics: A New Native Theatre Live Comedy Podcast
Saturday, May 11, 7-8:30pm
at at South High School (3131 South 19th Ave)
JFollow the funny adventures of three urban Indian girls as they relearn “the old ways” through characters like crabby aunties, baby daddies, hardcore culture keepers, tricksters, and so many more! Written by Deanna StandingCloud (Red Lake Anishinaabe). Join us as we kick off New Native Theatre’s brand new podcast series, Blood Quantum Physics! Live performance will be recorded. Gakina awiya bizaanigo bi-izhaayeg. Owás’iŋ taŋyáŋ yahípi ye. All are welcome. Best for adults and teens. Collaborator: New Native Theatre. Funded by Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Franklin Learning Center:
612-543-6934 flc@hclib.org
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 or flc@hclib.org.

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Transit: Wish the 53 ran all day?

By JOHN CHARLES WILSON

Route 53 is one of the nicest bus routes in the Phillips neighborhood. While the 27 and 39 also deserve honorable mention, they are barely known by most people.However, almost everyone loves the 53.What’s not to love? It runs down Lake Street like the 21, but only stops at intersections with other bus routes, rather than at every stop. In Phillips, the stops are: Hiawatha, Cedar, Bloomington, Chicago, 4th Avenue South, and I-35W. Unfortunately, the 53 runs only at rush hour, eastbound in the morning and westbound in the afternoon. There was a time about 10 years ago, when it ran more often and in both directions in both the morning and afternoon.

Do you ever wish Route 53 ran all day? Are you tired of being stuck on a slow 21 for most of your forays onto Lake Street? Well, there’s good news. In a few years, Route 53 will be replaced by the B Line, a Bus Rapid Transit line similar to the A Line on Snelling Avenue in Saint Paul. The B Line will have a similar stop pattern to the 53, with off-board payment and traffic signal priority like the light rail. This will make it even faster.

Unfortunately, the lead time necessary in writing for a monthly publication leaves me able to give you limited notices of the upcoming B Line meetings. However, if you happen to read this column in time, here are the meeting times and places:

• Wednesday, May 1, 4-6 PM, South High School (English and Spanish literature available), 3131 S. 19th Ave., Minneapolis

• Thursday, May 2, 4:30-6:30 PM, Merriam Park Library, 1831 Marshall Ave., Saint Paul

• Saturday, 4 May, 11 AM-1 PM, Oxford Community Center, 270 Lexington Pkwy. N., Saint Paul

• Wednesday, 22 May, 4-6:30 PM, Walker Library (Dual meeting for both the B and E Lines, the E Line being a similar project planned for Hennepin Avenue), 2880 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis

If public transit matters to you, it would be wise to go to one of these meetings. Mostly, they consist of displays for you to look at to get the gist of what the project will look like when done. There is often a short presentation near the beginning, which is worth seeing but isn’t absolutely essential to getting the basic message.

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Month of May: a mix of old and new events

Tales from
Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery

By Sue Hunter Weir

165th in a Series

It seemed like spring would never come, but here we are at last.  And that means that there will be a lot of wonderful events happening in the cemetery.

One of the most important is the 151st Memorial Day observance on Monday, May 27 at 10 a.m.  This year’s keynote speaker is Lt. Col. Lori Allert, U.S. Army Nurse.  Students from the Minnesota Transition Charter School will read General Logan’s Orders and the Gettysburg Address. American Legion Post 1 will provide the Firing Team, and the Seward Community Concert Band will provide the music. Please join us for this moving tribute to veterans dating back to the War of 1812.

At 1 p.m. on the 27th, there will be a seated history talk followed by an optional tour.  If you’ve always meant to stop in and visit the cemetery but never quite made it, this is a perfect chance to do just that.  All Memorial Day events are free.

And spring just wouldn’t be spring if we didn’t show a Buster Keaton silent film. This year’s film is regarded as one of Keaton’s best—Sherlock Jr.  The Library of Congress designated this film to be preserved on the National Film Registry because it is “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.” What better film to show in Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery—the first cemetery in Minnesota listed as an individual landmark in the National Register of Historic Places. Dreamland Faces, another local treasure, will perform a live soundtrack. The film will begin at sundown (officially 8:45 p.m. but most likely closer to 8 p.m.) on Saturday, May 25th.  Gates will open at 7 p.m. Bring lawn chairs or a blanket to sit on.  Snacks will be available. Service animals only, please. Tickets $10 at the gate (cash or checks).  No need to purchase tickets in advance.

And on Sunday, May 19 at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. or 3 p.m., join us for the first-ever performance of “Hiraeth: Walking the Long Field at Laymans,” an original play written by local artist Cynthia Veal Holm.  Hiraeth is a Welsh word that doesn’t have an exact equivalent in English, but translates roughly into “yearning” or a sense of nostalgia for something from the past, even if that “something” never existed.  The play consists of three scenes woven together by music as guests proceed from one grave to the next.  Jenn Kudelka directs an amazing cast – Murial Bonertz, Wendy Freshman, and Ilana Kapra – and Laura Nichols creates the music to guide us on our way.  

The play is part of a weekend-long initiative from the Mayor’s office called Doors Open Minneapolis.  The cemetery will host an open house on Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (the play is Sunday afternoon only). There will be a self-guided history hunt, crafts for the kids, the opportunity to make a rubbing on one of the cemetery’s granite markers, a chance to see the inside of the 1871 caretaker’s cottage and a number of displays.  All open house activities, including the play, are free and open to the public.

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Movie corner Bold whodunit from Denmark

By HOWARD McQUITTER II

oldschoolmovies.wordpress.com

howardmcquitter68@gmail.com

“The Purity of Vengeance” (2019) ***** 5 of 5 stars

 This month I’m attending the 38th Minneapolis- St. Paul International Film Festival for about the 14th year (not necessarily in consecutive order) and for the third year (consecutively) as press (once I did press back in the days of Oak Street Cinema).

This year the festival has brought to the Twin Cities more than 250 films from 75 countries.

One of the films that catches  my eye is a brilliant thriller/crime/ drama from Denmark called “The Purity of Vengeance” directed by Christopher Boe. Simply put, the film is as bold as it is smart marked by whodunit and why. To date, “The Purity of Vengeance” is the highest- grossing film in Denmark, but unlike so many American films of similar genre that put too much heat in the violence blocking out any feasible plot(s) the movie just blossoms.

To get a feel of director Christopher Boe’s riveting story one first must see homicide detective Carl Morck (Nikolaj Lie Kaas)  sitting in his office mopping over his confinement to the cold case division for some indiscreet act. His partner Syrian émigré Assad (Fares Fares) vis transferred to another division as he’s been promoted. The last days before he’s transferred to another department, Assad looks through cold cases on his desk and one particular case catches his eye: Construction workers tearing down a false wall in seems like an abandoned apartment find three mummified bodies sitting around a table as if drinking tea. The weirdness and mystery continues when a fourth chair is empty. Television stations in Copenhagen and throughout Den- mark report the macabre mystery deaths as all three have been poisoned according to the toxicology labs.

Morck go on the assignment joined by his partner Assad and a third party Rose (Johanne Louise Schmidt) to solve this bizarre case. As one can imagine, the case is going to be a difficult one to solve especially since the bodies have been there for 30 years or more. What may take them to the source is to Sprogo – now defunct – a school for wayward girls subjected to forced sterilization and feticide. A young woman, in particular, Nete (Fanny Bornedal) is the key character subjected to sterilization and solitary confinement. She has disappeared over the years – finding her will not be easy for the three detectives. One thing is for sure is one of the principal villains at Sprogo, Doctor Wad (Anders Hove), who led the sterilization program is now the head of a fertility clinic. Apparently, Wad has changed his evil ways, a doctor death who will do anything to keep from getting caught. He has men around him to do his dirty work directing their attention at the  detectives. Dead men (woman) tell no tells.

I hope the film can get a wider audience and those who dismiss viewing subtitled  films should be much more opened-minded. Danish subtitles notwithstanding and fun to watch.

Cast: Nikolaj Lie Kaas (Carl Morck), Fares Fares (Assad), Johanne Louise Schmidt (Rose), Soren Pilmark (Marcus Jacobsen), Fanny Borneaal (Nete), Clara Rosager (Rita), Amanda Radeljak (Nour), Anders Juul (Gunnar). Director: Christopher Boe. Running time: 118 minutes.

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Make your garbage beautiful

By Patrick Cabello Hansel

Have you seen the beautiful mosaics on concrete garbage and recycling containers around Phillips?  Would you like one on yours?  

Those mosaics are the work of the Semilla Center for Healing and the Arts @ St Paul’s Lutheran and its artistic director, Pastor Luisa Cabello Hansel. Pastor Luisa and other community artists would love to work with you and your neighbors to create a unique mosaic that will last decades.In the process, you will learn how to do mosaic, and maybe meet some new people in our community.

The Semilla Center also is looking for youth ages 11 to 15 who are interested in learning about community art this summer. Our Young Leaders program trains youth for the job market and leadership in the community. Youth earn stipends while creating together. Career day visits to artists, theaters and museums connect youth with possible professions in the arts.

For information on either of these programs, call 612-724-3862 or e-mail: semillacenter@gmail.com. And like “Semilla Center” on Face Book, ¡por favor!

Pollinating 

Phillips

As we know, pollinators are crucial for life. Without butterflies, bees and other insects, many of the foods we eat would not be available. And we know that humans have had a negative effect on the life of our small friends, through use of pesticides, destruction of habitat and global warming. We can make a positive difference in the life of pollinators in our neighborhood by what we plant and by what we use

Saturday, May 18: 9 a.m. to noon, the Semilla Center for Healing and the Arts at St. Paul’s Lutheran will host its annual “Pollinate Phillips Day.” We will plant pollinator attracting plants and art in boulevard gardens to make our beautiful community even healthier and more beautiful.The day begins at 9 am with a breakfast and presentation on practical ways to protect our land and water. Any age can participate! Pollinate Phillips will be at: St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 2742 15th Ave S.

We also know that ideas and changes in our community and our society need pollinators as well. People who are willing to take wing and take risks to bring new ideas to life, and bring people together. On Thursday, May 9, from 5-8 p.m., the Semilla Center St. Paul’s will be at Midtown Global Market’s Neighborhood Night.  Pastor Patrick will read from his new poetry collection “The Devouring Land”, 4th grade poets from Andersen United School will read their poetry about deportation, racism, violence and other issues.  Live music will feature jazz pianist Peter Breen. All these events are free and open to the public.

For more information, call 612-724-3862 or e-mail stpaulscreate@gmail.com. Follow the Semilla Center on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @semillacenter.

And coming up this summer:  “Our Sacred Land:” A day camp for children 3 to 11, June 10-14. Block Party July 20. Workshops in poetry, mosaic, lantern making and more!

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Briefs

Help bump up recycling

Funding is available to neighborhood and community nonprofit organizations in Minneapolis to conduct outreach focused on increasing participation in the city’s residential organics recycling program. Participating organizations will receive training, funding and environmental education resources to conduct a project in their communities. Contact: jessica.arika@hennepin.us or 612-348-3025.

Help mow for seniors 

Senior Community Services is a city of Minneapolis partner organization, and its HOME Program mows lawns for seniors in Hennepin County. The HOME Program is seeking helpers to mow lawns every 7-10 days and use a weed whip once a month for $16 per hour. Mowers must supply their own lawn mower and weed whip and set their own schedule. Contact Bethany at seasonalwork@seniorcommunity.org or call 952-767-7886. 

Rethink I-94 over free meal 

Share a free family-style, sit-down meal with the communities surrounding I-94 and I-35W on Thursday, May 2, 5-8 p.m. at Franklin Steele Park off Portland Ave. This is an opportunity for neighbors to meet, share a table, and have a conversation with MnDOT staff and construction workers about rethinking I-94.The meal will include halal, vegan, and gluten free options, and there will be kids activities. More at: mndot.gov/I-94minneapolis-stpaul

Norway House to expand

The country of Norway has pledged NOK 1.5 million (around USD $175,000) to Norway House in Minneapolis. The funds will help to build a new event center that aims to strengthen cooperation between the business sector in Norway and the Midwest. Construction is scheduled to start in the fall next year. Other financing will be provided by the private and public sectors in the United States and Norway.

“Norwegian technology companies are at the forefront internationally, and there is great potential in the Midwest. By supporting this expansion of Norway House, we want to showcase Norway as a leader in technology, with a dynamic business community that is ready to grasp the opportunities that are available in the United States,” said Norway’s Minister of Trade and Industry Torbjørn Røe Isaksen.

“There are strong historical and cultural ties between Norway and the Midwest. The expansion of Norway House provides an excellent opportunity to present modern-day Norway, with a focus on innovation and the business sector. Norway House also highlights the close ties between the people of Norway and the United States,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide said.

Midtsommer Gala 

The Midtsommer Gala Celebration at the Norway House is an annual signature event set near the summer solstice. The gala dinner features the Going Viking awards, which honors Norwegian-Americans who have significantly advanced the quality of life for others through their adventuresome spirit and extraordinary accomplishments. It is set for Tuesday, June 11, 5 p.m. at the Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot, in the Newly Renovated Expansion – The Great Northern Ballroom. More at www.norwayhouse.org.

American Indian Month’s 50th 

May marks the 50th anniversary of American Indian Month in Minnesota. In Minneapolis, community members gather each May to celebrate Minnesota’s native cultures with a kickoff rally on May 1, art, food and open houses showcasing American Indian organizations in Minneapolis’ American Indian Cultural Corridor, along Franklin Avenue. Stay up to date by following the Native American Community Development Institute’s Facebook page.

Cars, bikes & more 

The city of Minneapolis is collecting public input on ways to improve the city’s transportation system as city staff develop the Minneapolis Transportation Action Plan and the Vision Zero Action Plan. The Transportation Action Plan will be a 10-year plan to implement the transportation vision outlined in the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan. It will develop strategies and actions on advanced mobility, pedestrian, bicycle, transit, freight, street operations and street design. The Vision Zero Action Plan will be a three-year plan to advance the City’s commitment to ending traffic fatalities and severe injuries resulting from traffic crashes on our streets by 2027

Attend the south area open house on Thursday, May 9, 5-7 p.m. at Longfellow Rec Center, 3435 36th Ave. S Minneapolis, MN 55406. You can respond to short surveys at http://go.minneapolismn.gov/.

Celebrate Freedom Day 

Juneteenth – Celebrating Freedom Day brings together people throughout the Twin Cities area to commemorate the ending of slavery in the United States on June 14. The daylong festival features a parade, music and performances, historical re-enactments, a host of family activities and more; it takes place at Bethune Park in North Minneapolis: site of the first Freedom Day celebration in Minneapolis, which was led by Michael Chaney and Spike Moss.

 Community meals during Ramadan

In 2019, mosques and Islamic Community Centers throughout the Metro area, and in several places in greater Minnesota, are extending an invitation to their non-Muslim neighbors for a traditional Ramadan Iftar, or fast-breaking meal May 5 to June 4.  People of all faiths are invited to Masjid Dar Al-HIra on May 15, 7 p.m. (504 Cedar Ave. S.). Information and registration materials can be found on the Minnesota Council of Churches website: http://bit.ly/TakingHeartRegister

Ending Homelessness Day

On April 23, Avivo and members of Red Lake Nation, along with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, celebrate “Red Lake Nation and Avivo Ending Homelessness Day in Minneapolis.” In October, Red Lake and Avivo partnered to house 100 people from the Wall of Forgotten Natives homeless encampment and Navigation Center in six months. The project exceeded the goal, housing 103 individuals in under 6 months, and organizers remain committed to helping house the 90 individuals remaining.

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Letter to community: Arsenic levels map confusing

The April 2019 Alley page 3 shows a map with a confusing description: “Childhood elevated blood lead, arsenic & asthma per 10,000 people.”

 It should be clarified to show that the arsenic levels were in soil, not blood.  Soil with greater than 95 ppm (or mg/kg) was removed in an extensive project by 2008.     For more information about arsenic, see https://www.mda.state.mn.us/chemicals/spills/incidentresponse/superfund/southmplsressoil

My neighbor’s yard in Seward was removed and replaced with new soil because of arsenic. I agree that children in Phillips  bear excess burdens of a contaminated environment. Lead remains a major issue because of lead paint and poor removal practices that allowed lead to go into the soil.

Jim Haefemeyer

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Raise Your Voice: The last martyr smiled

By PETER MOLENAAR

Peter Molenaar

Elliot Park (1000 E. 14th St.) was host on April 6 to Sudanese immigrants, friends, and families, who had come to observe a revolutionary moment. In Khartoum, a million people surrounded the armed forces. Soldiers were leaving the compound to celebrate among the people. The 30-year dictatorship of al-Bashir was about to fall… and it did!

It is not too soon to begin casting the vision for a new Sudan, including the reconstruction of the historic irrigation system. Naturally, the prison gates have been breached, freeing the comrades to the democratic process.

What might we take home from the heart of Africa?

For all time, the Sudanese people have demonstrated the possibility of implementing fundamental change by nonviolent means. (Hey, why wait for some mythical Red Army to drop from the sky?)

Anything else?

We are witness to a Muslim people who have taken down an “Islamic” state. How does this square with the assertion by D. Trump and Company that our Congresswoman bears responsibility for the 9/11 event? Supposedly, all Muslims are the same. Right?

However, progressive Jewish voices are coming forward. I will cite former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich:

“The President of the United States has endangered the life of a member of Congress by creating and disseminating a propaganda video… which ties her to the 9/11 tragedy because she is a Muslim….

“He has not condemned the recent burnings of three black churches. He has not repudiated his relationship with the Saudi crown prince who murdered an American journalist. But he attacks a political opponent… for exercising her First Amendment rights….

“Congresswoman Omar has already received death threats….

“This is how tyranny takes hold, friends.”

From a distance and in a small way, I have been privileged to take part in the Sudanese People’s Revolution. From that far away land an image of a martyr was sent to my phone. His head was cradled by a comrade as he bled out upon the stretcher. In the last flickering of the light, he smiled.

 

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