NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Tuesday February 18th 2020

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American Swedish Institute FREE Neighborhood Open House

Wednesday, January 8, 5:00pm to 8:00pm
2600 Park Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55407
612-871-4907 | ASImn.org

Be our guest at ASI’s annual Neighborhood Open House. From 5-8 pm, we’re offering free museum admission to thank our supporters, celebrate the holidays and introduce the Mansion to new friends. Whether you live nearby and wonder what happens here, in the suburbs and have been intending to visit, or are a long-time ASI member, please join us for this evening of hands-on holiday crafts, performances, bonfires and more. No registration needed!


Time Tested. Tradition Approved.
Currently through January 12

Step back in time over 90 years and explore the stories and decorations of holiday traditions from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Finland and our Celtic Junction community guests. With an ambiance drawing on holiday décor, music, sound and lighting as well as furniture, art, design, toys and food commonly associated with each era and country, each room offers informative and immersive experiences. Marking ASI’s 90th anniversary, visitors can discover bits of the past and visions of the future in the richly decorated rooms. 

The journey begins with Sweden showcasing objects from the ASI collection appropriate to 1920s/30s, including the Turnblads’ dining set. In 1929, founder Swan Turnblad donated the Mansion and many of the family’s personal belongings to what was then the American Institute for Swedish Art, Literature and Science. 

Norway’s room offers a view of traditions from the 1940s/50s, based on their unique post-WWII perspective. 

Denmark, with its local and international impact on art and design, steps into the 1960s/70s with mid-century Danish furniture, lighting and art. 

Celtic Junction explores the 1980s/90s, with its shift of place, people and cultural expression. 

Iceland revisits the unfolding economic events in the 2000s/10s that transformed the country into the popular destination it is today. 

Finland, with its strengths in contemporary visual art and design, takes on the future, unfolding a view of holidays to come.

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Transit – Schedule changes and a new idea for park and ride lots

By JOHN CHARLES WILSON

New schedule changes effective 7 December 2019 are in effect at Metro Transit, including some routes which serve the Phillips Community. Most of the changes are pretty minor, but you may want to pick up a new schedule, especially if you ride during rush hour.

Changes include:

• Minor schedule adjustments will be made to the Blue Line and Routes 5, 21, 22, and 53. The changes to Routes 21, 22, and 53 include reinstating trips which had been abolished during the bus driver shortage last year.

• Buses which normally run on 8th Street in downtown Minneapolis which were temporarily detoured to 6th Street are now back on 8th. Heading toward Phillips, these include Routes 5, 9, 19, 22, and 39.

With the winter season upon us, including the specter of fines and towing charges for parking in the wrong place during snow emergencies, I’d like to make an open suggestion to Metro Transit. You see, their current rules don’t allow overnight parking at most Park and Ride lots. I am thinking the Metropolitan Council could earn some public goodwill by relaxing that policy during snow emergencies. The idea would be for people who only have street parking at their homes to be able to park at a Park and Ride the night they have to be off their home street. They could take the bus home and then back to the Park and Ride to get their car the next day. This would alleviate the parking shortage that occurs on those streets where parking is allowed during the snow emergency. The car owner gets a safe, legal parking spot for the night. Metro Transit gets two fares, and maybe some appreciation, and the Park and Ride facility gets a little extra utilization, making the expense of building it incrementally more worthwhile.

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Peace House Community Journal – Where is your living room?

By MARTI MALTBY

When Sister Rose founded Peace House Community, it quickly became known as “the living room on Franklin Avenue”. Sister Rose wanted anyone who walked through the door to feel like they were going to a friend’s house where there was acceptance without invasive questions. People could share what they wanted or not share as they wanted.

While PHC has maintained Rose’ focus on hospitality and making everyone feel welcome, a recent comment by one of our community members reminded me that what counts as “welcoming” varies greatly. The comment came during a discussion about the three things you would want with you if you were stranded alone on an island (assuming the island had enough food and water to sustain you). The community member put up his hand, and with a big smile on his face, he said, “Nothing. I wouldn’t need nothing. You just described Heaven for me. Having what I need and not having to listen to people complain about their problems, not having to worry about how they’re going to try to get over on me… that’s all I need.”

From past conversations with the community member I know that he’s a loner who doesn’t trust anyone and only speaks when he needs to. In many ways his view of life is the complete opposite of Sister Rose’s. To her, welcoming others meant creating community that intertwined the lives of its members. It meant bringing a new person into an existing network, changing them from an outsider to a member. To him, by contrast, welcoming someone meant being willing to ignore them. It meant allowing them to enter your space without conditions or expectations, allowing them to set the agenda whether or not that agenda matched yours, and to leave them alone when they needed it.

His comment reminded me of how diverse people’s needs are. While there’s a limited number of basic needs, there’s a rich diversity of ways to meet those needs. Sometimes hospitality means making a fuss over your guests, but sometimes it means letting them in and then leaving them alone to work through whatever they brought with them. Sometimes it means staying up late talking and laughing, and sometimes it means letting them sleep.

All of this raises the question of how many people are truly aware of where their “living room” is. Many of us manage to ignore or suppress stress, fooling ourselves into thinking life is fine while our blood pressure skyrockets and our muscles tire themselves out through constant tension. Even when we recognize our situation, we often can’t or won’t take the time to slow down and find the space (physical or otherwise) to relax. Each of us is different, so there’s no simple equation beyond:

Awareness + Relaxation = My Living Room

On behalf of Peace House Community, I wish each of you success in finding your own living room.

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Marie Sandvik Center – December 2019/January 2020

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“I’ve been up and I’ve been down. I’ve been all around.”

By MIKE HAZARD

Peter appeared at Peace House, a face out of the past. He jumped in my face and smiled. “I remember you and you don’t remember me, Mike.” I remember your face, but not your name. “Peter. Pete the Greek from Crete. I was the guy who voted against you making a movie about Peace House back in 2007. I was wrong. It came out OK. Now I love you.” 

MIKE HAZARD This is the picture that Pete asked to have added to the We Remember wall where Peace House people who have passed away are remembered.

“I stop by Peace House every month or two. I have been coming here for over 30 years. I’ve been through it all. I have been up and I’ve been down. I’ve been all around.”

“I knew Sister Rose (who founded Peace House). I drove her home daily. She was wholesome, hearty, and spirited. She could settle the biggest guy down. She was so wholesome, she was innocent. She was one of the most giving persons I have ever known.”

“Her brother Larry gave AA talks. When I was in St. Cloud, I was so happy to see him at an AA meeting.”

We clicked pictures in the main room at Peace House. He liked the one “without the smile. No teeth. No toothy grin.”

He was busy working, selling vehicles. “I run a company called We Sell Old Cabs. I want to leave a legacy to my children.” Peter was making it, driving a big, old car he uses to drive people around. Peter had a key to a good life.

Then, a shock. Peter Nikiforakis was found dead in his van at Franklin and Bloomington on Monday, November 11, 2019. He knew his days were numbered. He had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). “I spend 6-9 days a month in the hospital. It is only a matter of time. I am ready to go. I’m OK with that.” It’s not clear if he died from exposure or from COPD or both.

The last time I saw him he was praising Mary Cassioppi, one of the coordinators at Peace House. “Her agenda is to help people.” Mary responded, “I’m always learning.” Mary said Pete always said that he had one foot in the grave and one foot on a banana peel. 

“Pete was always aware of the tenuousness of his condition, yet always had a smile on his face, though we could tell that breathing was getting harder and harder for him with each visit lately,” said Peace House volunteer Mary Robinson. “I think he came to say goodbye in his own way without actually saying it for sure. His pride, his vulnerability, his love of the Peace House community, his humility and his ‘acceptance’ of his journey as well as just his growing appreciation for LIFE, and his compassion for all who walked his walk stand out. He will be greatly missed and his presence will remain with me always.”

Another volunteer, Meg Mannix, added, “About a month ago, Pete made a point to introduce himself to me—knowing I was new-—and engaged me in a great conversation about Peace House and community and friendship. He told me he was dying, and I wasn’t sure how to respond. He said it in such a ‘matter of fact’ manner, more as an aside, that it caught me off guard. I mumbled something being sorry…he brushed that off and went on singing the praises of the various volunteers at PH, and the love he experienced there. I was looking forward to more conversations with him… my loss, for sure. My loss, indeed. May the angels lead you into paradise, Pete the Greek from Crete. What a kind man you were.”

Tressa Sularz, a regular PH visitor, described him succinctly, “He was a quiet man who left quietly.”

The last time he was at Peace House, Peter fixed the dishwasher. Nobody knew he could do that.

His agenda was to help people.

Rest in peace, Pete the Greek from Crete, rest.

This poetical picture story is by Mike Hazard. It is part of a project called Peace House People. A selection of the work will be exhibited at Franklin Library in February, 2020. The project is funded by an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board.

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Alley Communication’s 2019 annual gathering celebrated 45 years!

When a nonprofit organization has been around for 45 years, it can be a task to find a way to host an Annual Meeting that can both convey some of the important activities of the recent past and to instill the momentum going for the year ahead. With the skills and talents of many Alley Newspaper and community friends and volunteers, we were able to do both! Here is a sampling of what attendees experienced on November 8th:

• We were moved by the words of Phillips Community spoken word artist, Amjed Yusef and our spirits nurtured by the music of Siama Matuzungidi and Dallas Johnson with Tim O’Keefe, Siama’s Congo Music.

FIRST PERSON PRODUCTIONS-AARON THOMSON Tim O’Keefe, Siama Matuzungidi, and Dallas Johnson, Siama’s Congo Music at Alley Gathering Nov 8th

• Tom O’Connell, historian, organizer, professor, and author (including “It’s Up to Us”) inspired us with a dynamic talk about community leadership.

• Media Mike Hazard shared a few words about his poetry & photos project at Peace House Community which is also a new feature in The Alley as of 2019.

• Phillips resident and Alley cartoonist, Dave Moore read the lyrics from one of his “Spirit of Phillips” poems.

FIRST PERSON PRODUCTIONS-AARON THOMSON Dave Moore

• Josie Adkins, who recently received her undergraduate degree in graphic design, presented her “Phillips Finder” senior project and wayfinding display.

• Roberta Barnes, from the Cultural Wellness Center’s Backyard Health Hub help us to experience the connection to community in a matter of a few short minutes!

FIRST PERSON PRODUCTIONS-AARON THOMSON Roberta Barnes and Susan Gust

• Three students from HECUA–Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs kicked off their project to produce a short documentary about The Alley Newspaper. Stay tuned!

• Many folks won a great prize through a wonderful raffle made possible by local businesses and Alley Board members 

• Several of The Alley Newspapers educational and promotional displays constructed through the years were portrayed. These included enlarged cardboard Spirit of Phillips cartoons, cartoon greeting cards, boards showing the front pages of past years and much more! 

FIRST PERSON PRODUCTIONS-AARON THOMSON Spirit of Phillips cartoons by Dave Moore

• Gift of the book “Wendell Phillips: Social Justice and the Power of the Past” presented to two teachers from Trinity First School. The last chapter of this book, “Phillips Community of Minneapolis: Historical Memory and the Quest for Social Justice” is co-authored by Dave Moore, Susan Gust, and Harvey Winje.

FIRST PERSON PRODUCTIONS-AARON THOMSON Attendees at Alley Gathering Nov 8th
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Thank you!

THANK YOU to the wonderful following businesses and organizations!
Your contributions toward the food or great items for the raffle helped to make The Alley’s celebration a terrific event.

A very special thank you to Crystal Windschitl, Phillips West Neighborhood Organization, and her invaluable assistance to help us host and make this event happen!

This event was guided into place and hosted by Alley Communications’ Board Members: Cathy Strobel-Ayres, Board Chair, Thor Adam, Steve Dreyer, Lee Leichentritt, Frances Mendenhall, Gabriel Pass, Steve Sandberg

A special tribute for dedicated service
Beautiful, framed posters created by Ricardo Levins Morales and purchased through his studio allowed us to pay special tribute to the following folks for their 20+ years of dedication to Alley Communications: 

Leon and Elaine Oman for about 2 decades of Leon’s participation on The Alley’s Board and doing the bookkeeping for the organization and Elaine for her support in helping Leon to make this contribution of time and energy.

Jonathan and Amy Miller, in recognition of Jonathan’s being an Alley intern from Carleton College about 20 years ago, a part-time Editor for The Alley and then its graphic and layout designer. Amy made it possible for him to serve in this capacity especially as they began to grow a family. 

Cathy Strobel-Ayres for two decades of her leadership on Alley Communications Board of Directors, currently serving as its Chair. This consistent dedication has been essential to helping The Alley persevere through its transition of the last couple of years.

The Alley has so appreciated the invaluable volunteer time, energy and contributions of each of the following 13 regular writers of The Alley Newspaper for over one year: Bob Albee, Roberta Barnes, Steve Dreyer, Sue Hunter Weir, Howard McQuitter, Peter Molenaar, Dave Moore and Linnea Hadaway, Brad Pass, Julia Robinson, Sunny Sevigny, Erin Thomasson, and Crystal Windschitl. 

Each person received a small framed card of the same print from Ricardo Levins Morales, a Welna Hardware reusable bag, and a voucher for free entry to the American Swedish Institute. 

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Help Wanted at The Alley

Alley Program and Engagement Coordinator

Alley Communications is seeking to contract with a person to fulfill the Engagement and Program Coordinator position. They will work with the Editorial Leadership Committee (ELC) to deepen, broaden and culturally diversify engagement with community members and organizations. This person will identify prioritize, and produce news and information in The Alley Newspaper and Alley social media. Responsibilities include the layout and publication of the newspaper each month in coordination with the ELC, regular Alley writers, guest contributors, and advertisers. Knowledge and experience with Adobe InDesign or compatible software is a must. Email the Board Chair, Cathy Strobel-Ayres, cstrobel11@gmail.com to receive more information about this position. 

Editorial Leadership Committee

Do you like newspapers? Better yet, do you read The Alley Newspaper and want to it to improve, grow or change? VOLUNTEER for the Editorial Leadership Team of Alley Communications and work with the Alley’s Coordinator to lift the many voices of the Phillips Community and how to get them represented within the pages of The Alley Newspaper! Email Editor@alleynews.org or call Harvey at 612-990-4022 for more info and next steps.

Board Member Position(s)

Join the volunteer Board of this dynamic organization and this important community media source to stay strong, vibrant and lifting the many voices of the Phillips Community. Current responsibilities include the ability to attend monthly Board meetings. Email the Board Chair, Cathy Strobel-Ayres,
cstrobel11@gmail.com to receive more information about this position. 

Part-time Bookkeeping/Accounting

Alley Communications is seeking to contract for part-time bookkeeping/accounting services. This person will work with the Alley Board of Directors to manage the Alley’s accounting and bookkeeping needs to ensure we meet our financial and tax reporting requirements and are tracking income and expenses. Email the Board Chair, Cathy Strobel-Ayres, cstrobel11@gmail.com to receive more information about this position.

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The Epic Report – December 2019/January 2020

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Midtown Phillips Neighborhood Association News – December 2019/January 2020

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