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Monday July 26th 2021

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Random alley Labor News

By LINDSEY FENNER

Random Alley Labor News

By Lindsey Fenner

Strike Averted at Allina: Service Employees International Union (SEIU) healthcare workers at Allina, which includes Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Phillips Eye Institute in Phillips, reached a last-minute tentative agreement with Allina Health. Workers had been set to strike on May 10 if an agreement wasn’t reached in time. Issues during contract negotiations included pay, and health and safety concerns. 

Boycott of Marathon and Speedway Gas Stations Called for as Lockout at Refinery Continues: The MN AFL-CIO has endorsed a boycott of Marathon and Speedway gas stations as the lockout of workers at the St. Paul Park Marathon Refinery enters its fifth month. Members of Teamsters Local 120 were locked out by Marathon after a one-day strike in January. Workers have been fighting against staffing cuts and changes that they are worried will make the refinery more dangerous. The Marathon Refinery is one of about 50 refineries in the United States that still uses hydrogen fluoride, a highly toxic chemical. According to Marathon filings with the Environmental Protection Agency, an explosion at the refinery could create a toxic cloud that could travel 19 miles and impact 1.7 million people. Teamsters and allies have been spreading the word about the boycott and safety issues at the Marathon Refinery with pickets at gas stations supplied by the refinery. 

Upcoming Labor Education Class from the U of MN’s Labor Education Service: Bargaining from Margin to Center, Thursday, June 3, 1:00pm – 4:00pm. Union members can use the collective bargaining process to center the needs and concerns of historically marginalized people (people of color, queer and trans people, disabled people, immigrants, etc.). This course will provide participants with skills and strategies to prioritize gains for historically marginalized people in your collective bargaining process.

Cost: $50 for participants with union sponsorship; $25 for individuals without union sponsorship; free for anyone who cannot afford to pay. Registration is required; space for each class is limited.

Instructors will email the link to access the class after registration is complete. Please contact les@umn.edu  for more information or if you need a price adjustment.

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Who Are Our “Leaders”?

PEACE HOUSING COMMUNITY: A PLACE TO BELONG

By MARTI MALTBY

For whatever reason, I’ve been wondering lately who’s in charge, or, to put it another way, who is the leader. If a space alien gave me the cliché, “Take me to your leader”, I’m not sure who I would take him to.

Many years ago, one of my college instructors defined a leader as someone who had followers. More recently, I came across the book Bad Leadership, which argued that many “leaders” were bad at their jobs because they were ineffective, meaning they couldn’t get others to buy into their vision or the direction they wanted to take their organization. In other words, no one was following them. (The book also argued that some leaders were bad because they did have followers, but they led the followers to make really bad decisions. Think Jonestown.)

I am becoming more and more aware of how many people call themselves “leaders” (or, even more pretentiously, “thought leaders”). Usually this is a gimmick to make themselves sound more important than they are, hoping that it will attract more attention on social media or more attendees at their online events. These people usually recycle other people’s ideas in new packaging, or they rely on novelty more than substance to keep their “followers” interested in what they are doing.

All this has led me to wonder who our real leaders are, or who should be the leaders. In one of these columns about 18 months ago I mentioned a work group in the Native American community trying to deal with the opioid and homelessness epidemic. The group is doing some fabulous work and making progress, but they lack the resources to get the situation under control. That group is leading the way on Native American issues, but a lack of followers among various government agencies (the people with the resources) is hampering their work.

The Phillips neighborhood hosts many of the largest homeless encampments, was disproportionately affected by the unrest after George Floyd’s death, fights chronic crime problems (including drug dealing and prostitution), and is historically one of the poorer neighborhoods in the city. Despite these challenges, many residents and business owners take responsibility for beautifying the streets, ensuring city funds are spent wisely, and keeping their neighbors informed of local events.

I know there are many leaders that I haven’t noticed or don’t get to meet. I wish these true leaders got more press and could attract enough followers to really make the positive differences they are striving for. The world would certainly be a poorer place without them, but it would also be a much richer place if they are able to truly become our leaders.

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Library News

By CARZ NELSON

All information listed here is accurate as of May 18, 2021.

CHANGE IS COMING

Library hours and services are expected to expand soon in response to the decrease of COVID in the community. In this rapidly changing environment, you can find the most recent and reliable information on the library website, www.hclib.org

JUNETEENTH

The library is hosting many online activities to celebrate Juneteenth. Million Artist Movement is helping the community to connect with each other and to reflect on Juneteenth themes, stories and dreams. There are three activities to choose from: making quilt squares, dance, and storytelling. Kits will be available to pick up ahead of time at Hosmer Library for making quilt squares. Check out the Events page on the library website to see all the Juneteenth programs on offer. 

CHILL ON THE LAWN

Franklin Library has free Wi-Fi outside the building from 7 AM to 10 PM. They also have chairs on the front lawn when the library is open. It’s a convenient spot to hang out and log on.

DUE DATES RETURN

HCLib suspended due dates for the past year because of COVID. This policy ended on April 26. Check your online account or paper receipts for due dates. Renewal policies remain the same; items can be renewed up to three times. Returns are accepted at all library locations. Book drops accept returns 24/7.

NO MORE FINES

Hennepin County Library has gone fine free. Patrons are no longer charged for overdue material, but they continue to be responsible for the replacement cost of unreturned or lost items. An item is considered unreturned 41 days after its due date.

LIBRARY SOCIAL WORKER

A social worker is available outside Franklin Library on Wednesdays and Fridays, 9 AM to 5 PM, and at East Lake Library Tuesdays and Thursdays 9 AM to 5 PM.

  • Basic needs (clothing, food, meals, shelter)
  • Chemical Health
  • Disability Services
  • Education & Employment Resources
  • Hennepin County Benefits
  • Housing
  • A listening ear
  • Mental Health Resources
  • Transportation

AT HOME SERVICE

At Home service is provided free of charge to Hennepin County residents who can’t get to a library due to illness, disability, or visual impairment. To apply for At Home service, submit an online application or apply by phone at 612-543-8850 Monday through Friday, 10 AM to 5 PM.

ONLINE SERVICES

Go to the library without leaving home. Here are just a few of the many services available at www.hclib.org:

  • Tools for job searches
  • Ancestry Library Edition and other resources to research family history
  • Local music on MNspin

ASK THE LIBRARY

Have a reference or library account question? Call, text, chat with, or email a library worker. 

www.hclib.org/contact

Call 612-543-KNOW (5669) to reach library staff by phone.

Monday to Thursday – 9 AM to 9 PM

Friday & Saturday – 9 AM to 5 PM

Sunday – Noon to 5 PM

Español/Spanish: Llame o envíe un texto al 651-503-8013 para recibir ayuda en español.

Hmoob/Hmong: Hu losis text rau lub tsev nyeem ntawv ntawm 612-385-0886 txais kev pab hais lus Hmoob.

Soomaali/Somali: Caawimaad Soomaali ah, soo wac ama qoraal (text) usoo dir maktabada 612-235-1339.

Carz is a Phillips resident and an enthusiastic patron of Hennepin County Library.

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We Are Not Trash, Stop Sweeping Us!

By SOUTHSIDE HARM REDUCTION SERVICES

This last month the Minneapolis Police evicted another encampment of people experiencing houselessness in East Phillips. This is the third time in the past few months that this group has been moved. This eviction was especially violent. About 40 police arrived to forcibly evict roughly 30 residents with no place for residents to move. The police barricaded the area surrounding the camp and forced almost all the community outreach workers out of the camp, searching for people with active warrants and telling residents they had 5 minutes to pack everything and leave. During this eviction, a resident of the encampment experienced an overdose. The police (all of whom are supposed to be carrying naloxone) did not respond. Instead, they continued to stand around and force people to leave the encampment. Fortunately, a fellow resident responded to the emergency by administering naloxone, and the person experiencing the overdose survived, exclusively because of this community response. 

These evictions are violent, and they cause immediate and long-term health crises. They prevent people from making progress in finding housing and in achieving health goals. They cause people to lose their tents, identification documents, personal belongings, medication, harm reduction supplies, and naloxone. They also cause disruption of important relationships with friends and family, as well as healthcare and social service providers. These connections are as valuable to people’s health as physical supplies. As one resident put it, “Every time we are evicted, we start back at square 1, we could be at square 450 and then immediately back to square 1.” 

Encampment evictions are happening in the midst of multiple outbreaks, including HIV, Hep A, and alongside record high numbers of overdose deaths. These evictions and health crises disproportionately affect Indigenous people and people of color, and we cannot pretend that these crises are separate or independent of each other or minimize their magnitude. We need to be open to new solutions, and we must recognize that people who use drugs and people who are living outside are part of the solution. 

Southside and other outreach workers talked with folks who have been staying at the recently evicted encampments. Below are some of the needs they voiced to us: 

1. Create a space for community members living outside where they will not be evicted or harassed. Where community and safety as defined by residents is supported. 

2. Meet basic human needs in encampments such as sanitation (potable water, toilet access), food, waste management. 

3. Increased access to mobile medicine, harm reduction, and other relevant health and social services 

4. An overdose prevention site/supervised ‘shooting gallery.’ 

We want to acknowledge the real and legitimate concerns of housed community members on the public health crisis they see and experience from their homes in their communities. Lack of adequate sanitation, food storage, syringe and other litter, lack of adequate PPE and space for social distancing, and potential violence all create very real public health risks. However, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the people most impacted by these conditions are the people living directly in them. These evictions do nothing to resolve these conditions, and only serve to relocate these community members into other neighborhoods while poverty and unsafe living conditions continue to be exacerbated. 

Signs calling for housing justice attached to the fencing installed around the abandoned gas-station and, recently cleared tent encampment at 25th and Bloomington. Photo by Ben Heath
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Ventura Village News

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Phillips West Neighborhood Organization News

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But I Don’t Wanna Budget!

By MARY ELLEN KALUZA

I understand. Having a “budget” sounds restrictive, like a punishment. What if we call it something else, like a “spending plan”? Does that seem more palatable? 

Planning the money you have coming in and going out is really all about being in control. YOU are choosing where your hard-earned dollars are going, not the estimated 6000 to 10,000 advertisements we see each day! (That’s double what it was in 2007, by the way.) With that much pressure on us, it takes some effort to keep that control. 

Where to start?

  1. Know how much money is coming in. This is the net income – after taxes and other deductions. You’d be surprised how many people don’t know that number. (Frequently, they also carry expensive credit card debt.) 
  2. Subtract your Must Pay expenses – housing, utilities, loan payments, insurance – think of those things that will result in something bad happening if you didn’t pay them. 
  3. Subtract your Must Save For periodic expenses – car repair/maintenance, home repair/maintenance, taxes not subtracted from income, medical bills, emergencies, etc. 
  4. What is left? This is where the hard decisions come in – what do you need and what do you want. We need food and clothing. But how much food and clothing? And what kind of food and clothing? You may need a car, but what kind of car? Do you need a bigger screen TV? You get the idea.

How to manage it?

  1. Divide it up into piles. Set up automatic deposits or transfers to the piles (aka accounts).
  2. Your Must Pays go into a separate checking or savings account, or on a special debit card. This card stays at home, by the way. 
  3. Your Must Saves go into a separate savings account. (Calculate annual amounts and divide by 12 – this is your monthly deposit to that savings account.) 
  4. Some of the remaining amount can be made into sub-piles, if desired. Want a vacation, for example? Save for it in its own account or hidden jar. Love to buy gifts for birthdays and holidays – save for it.
  5. Finally, what is left after setting aside for the above is what you get to spend – this is it’s own special account or card. That’s it. No stealing from the other piles. (Except the vacation one, but you’re only hurting yourself if you do.)

Once you set up this system and your income is set up on automatic deposits to your respective accounts, your spending plan pretty much runs itself. Most credit unions and some banks offer multiple accounts at no extra charge. And, you can name them! You’ll need to revisit your plan when there are major changes in income or the Must Pay/Save items. 

For a small investment of time YOU are in charge of your money. Feels good, doesn’t it?

Mary Ellen Kaluza is a Certified Financial Counselor with LSS Financial Counseling which offers free counseling for budgeting, debt reduction, credit review, student loans, housing, and more. Website: www.lssfinancialcounseling.org

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A Ray of Hope

Returning Chapter 9

By PATRICK CABELLO HANSEL

The older woman walked as fast as she could toward Lake Street. She felt that she was being called further south, and had planned to wait for the light to change. But as she saw the car lights reflect off the mirrors in the huge mural at La Mexicana, a saying came to her mind:

Light is not lost in its reflection

She wasn’t sure where the saying came from, if she had heard it spoken by someone or read it in a book. Maybe I just made it up, she thought. But it was so clear and strong that she decided to heed it. The light that she saw reflected came from the east, so she turned east. That’s when she saw Angel and Luz and little Angelito, walking briskly. She could sense the fear in them.

They stopped in front of where the bakery used to be. The phone store was mostly boarded up; it had been looted recently, and the owner was waiting on the insurance. Whatever Luz and Angel were looking for, it didn’t seem to be there. All they could see was a little broken glass on the floor, and boxes scattered around.

The older woman smiled and said to them,

“It may look empty, but there are a lot of memories in that place, if you have eyes to see.”

Angel thought, Oh great, another thing that doesn’t make sense.

But Luz looked at the older woman’s face, and a spark of recognition lit up her own smile.

“Agnes?” she said. “Is that really you?”

“Yes, dear,” the older woman replied. “And Luz, my Lord, how your little family has grown!”

Normally, Luz would have introduced Angel and her son to an old acquaintance, but given what had happened, she only blurted out:

“But we’ve lost one of our little family—our littlest one—we don’t know where she is!”

Agnes sighed and reached out her arm to comfort Luz.

“Who is lost?” she asked.

“Our daughter Lupita!” Luz cried. “She’s only two, and we went to her day care, but she’s not there!”

Right at that moment, Agnes realized why she had been sent to that place. Even though she was a lifelong Lutheran, she had begun praying to the Virgin of Guadalupe when a new member of her church told her the story of how the Virgin had saved her and her little one when they crossed the desert. That very morning, she had been thinking of Xochitl and her daughter, who was now almost a teenager. Her daughter was also named Guadalupe—or Lupe—or Lupita—and Agnes had become her unofficial abuela. Her Minnesota grandmother.

“I think we need to go see Mother Light,” she said to Luz and Angel.

Mother Light had been the mysterious teacher who had guided the couple at the beginning of their journey together.

“But I thought that Mother Light had passed!” Angel blurted out.

Agnes smiled and leaned in for a whisper:

“Even when we pass, dear Angel,” she said. “We are still together.”

Angel was stunned by her words. How did she know about Mother Light?” he thought. And how does she know my name? And what does she mean that we are still together.

Angel would have had many more unanswered thoughts, but at that moment, both Agnes and Luz said, “We have to leave right now!”

Agnes led the little party down the alleyway, where the faded mural of San Miguel Bakery was barely visible. Angel had never seen an older woman go that fast. But Agnes had seen the van coming, and seen the look on Luz’ face. She knew that if they were to get to Mother Light, they would have to use the path through darkness.

To be continued.

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Nobody

MOVIE CORNER

By HOWARD MCQUITTER II

Universal Pictures

Nobody

Action/Crime/Thriller Universal Pictures  

★★★

By Howard McQuitter II

Needless to say, Nobody is that movie where in real time safety is an issue never guaranteed, much less respected in an era of dystopia, reining in all subjects whether they like it or not. Crime is such, whether serious or petty, that doesn’t stop at the sleepy-eyed white suburbs.

Hutch (Bob Odenkirk from TV series Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul) is a quiet hard-working gentleman with his wife Becca Mansell (Connie Niesen) and children. Perhaps his worst frustration is missing the garbage man every Tuesday.

However one night, while Hutch and his family sleeps, two robbers stage a home invasion. He holds one robber off with a golf club and forces the other to step back before they steal some cash and his daughter’s kitty-cat bracelet. Well, the theft of the kitty-cat bracelet sets him off.

Not long after Hutch’s house invasion, he comes to the rescue of a lone adolescent girl on a city bus from thugs harassing her. Hutch makes the thugs pay in the physical way. What’s unknown to him at the time is one of the baddies he’s punished is the younger brother of Yulian Kuznetsov (Alesksei Serebryakov), a cold-hearted Russian mobster who loves to party. Yulian visits the hospital to find out who did the damage on the bus.

But before Yulian sends his heavily-armed men to Hutch’s house , Hutch hustles his family away to a convenient shelter in the basement. Then all hell breaks loose as gunfire and severe violence ensue. When Yulian’s goons go after Hutch’s eldely father in a nursing home , the ex-FBI agent (Christopher Lloyd) turns the tide on them.

        Nobody  is worth seeing if only for Bob Odenkirk who carries the movie. The testosterone is high until the bland end.

Cast: Bob Odenkirk (Hutch Mansell), Conne Nielsen (Becca Mansell), Alexey Serebeyakov (Yulian Kuznetsov) Director: Lllya Naishuller 

(R) Running time: 92 minutes 

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Random alley news

By LINDSEY FENNER

City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County make Juneteenth an official holiday: They join a growing number of municipalities making June 19, which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States, an officially observed holiday. Because Juneteenth falls on a Saturday this year, City and County offices will be closed on Friday, June 18 in observation of the holiday. 

Check hclib.org and www.minneapolisparks.org for Juneteenth celebrations and events.

Free membership is coming to Quatrefoil Library: Quatrefoil Library, the community center and resource for LGBTQ+ materials at 1220 East Lake Street, is offering free membership starting June 1. Quatrefoil Library has over 30,000 books, thousands of DVDs and movies, podcasts, and countless other pieces of media. The library has been open for curbside service only during the pandemic, but will start offering in-person hours this summer. Visit their website to learn more: www.qlibrary.org.

Emergency Broadband Benefit Program Now Open: The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) is a new federal program designed to reduce internet costs. The program will provide discounted or free internet to many households.

If you qualify, you can receive a discount of up to $50 per month towards your internet service. There are three ways to apply for the program:

  1. Online at www.GetEmergencyBroadband.org
  2. Through the mail by calling 833-511-0311 to get an application
  3. Directly with a participating internet service provider

You can also contact the Emergency Broadband Support Center hotline at 1-833-511-0311 or EBBHelp@USAC.org.

Rita Ortega drops out as Ward 9 City Council candidate: The Little Earth resident and community organizer announced on her facebook page that she was ending her campaign due to medical issues. Remaining candidates seeking the Ward 9 City Council seat are: Jason Chavez, Al Flowers, Jr., Carmen Means, Mickey Moore, and Haji Yussef.

Midtown Greenway crossing work this summer: Hennepin County will be making safety improvements at intersections along the Midtown Greenway this summer. Updates will be made at 6 intersections: James Avenue, Irving Avenue, 5th Avenue, 28th Street East, Hiawatha Avenue (Highway 55), and Minnehaha Avenue.

American Swedish Institute (ASI) Community Fund Recipients: ASI has started awarding grants as part of its new Community Fund Initiative. The Community Fund offers short-term aid to service-oriented organizations located primarily in the Phillips and adjacent Minneapolis neighborhoods. The first round of recipients were Tamales y Bicicletas, Semilla Center for Healing and the Arts, and the Somali American Women Action Center. The next deadline for submissions is Wednesday, June 30.  www.asimn.org/communityfund

East Phillips Urban Farm Wins Major Victory: After years of community activism, the Minneapolis City Council passed a staff directive to suspend the City’s proposed Hiawatha Public Works Facility expansion and to recommend ways to sell the Roof Depot property back to the East Phillips Community. The staff directive was approved by the City Council on April 30, with a vote of 12-1. Councilmember Steve Fletcher, Ward 3, was the lone “no” vote. The pending Environmental Assessment Worksheet approval will be delayed until August, when the staff recommendations will be presented to the City Council. The East Phillips Neighborhood Institute has been advocating for urban agriculture, affordable housing, and retail space at the Roof Depot building at 1860 E 28th St.

Photo by East Phillips Neighborhood Institute
Neighbors and Allies celebrate at the Roof Depot site on May 15, 2021

Midtown Greenway Apartments project receives City approval, County funding: A new 5-story affordable housing complex between 11th and 12th Avenues along the Greenway was cleared by the City of Minneapolis Planning Commission on May 10. Greenway Apartments is being developed by Reuter Walton, a St. Louis Park based developer, and would have 86 units of affordable housing. On May 11, the project developer was awarded up to $800,000 for the project by the Hennepin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority Board as part of a record $17.1 million approved for funding affordable housing. 

More ’20 is Plenty’ speed limit yard signs available: Speed limits in Minneapolis and Saint Paul are 20 miles per hour citywide unless otherwise posted. To help get out the word about the new speed limits and the importance of slower speeds for safety, the City again has yard signs available for community members. You can pick up your “20 is Plenty” yard sign at the Hiawatha Public Works Facility at 27th Street just east of Longfellow Avenue near the Public Works gate. Signs will be available 24 hours a day for no-contact pickup while supplies last. Signs come with metal stands.

City of Minneapolis
Slower speeds on local streets make travel safer for everyone no matter how you get around.

Bike with a Naturalist: Join a Naturalist at East Phillips Park to bike the Minneapolis Midtown Greenway! This program for 12-18 year olds  will provide the opportunity to develop overall bicycling skills, explore the local trail systems, hands-on learning experiences, and education on how to explore the green spaces in Minneapolis. Minneapolis Parks staff will include activities such as nature exploration, developing safe riding habits, and learning about biking as a form of travel. Participants can bring their own equipment or bicycles and helmets are available to borrow from MPRB. Tuesdays, 5-7pm, starting June 15. Register online at https://apm.activecommunities.com/minneapolisparks/Home.

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