Tuesday January 18th 2022

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January 2022 Issue

A New New Year’s Resolution


January always brings up the whole New Year’s resolution business – a promise to change our behavior. As I thought about resolution ideas, I found myself getting cranky. Resolving to do anything besides making it through the day in the darkest and coldest time of the year is insanity. The last thing I will do in January is throw away the remaining Christmas cookies or go out in the cold to exercise more. The failure rate of New Year’s resolutions is 80%. Eighty percent! Why would we set ourselves up for failure only to feel worse about ourselves? Yet, it comes up every year: we are asked to set a goal we almost certainly will not achieve.

    That is not to say we shouldn’t set goals that will help us prosper, live longer, and enjoy those longer lives. I propose we hold off on making promises to ourselves until the sun is higher in the sky and we aren’t so cranky to increase our chance of success. “Fourth Month of the Year’s Resolution”  doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as neatly as “New Year’s resolution”, but I can live with that.

    What should your Fourth Month of the Year’s resolution be?… Read the rest “A New New Year’s Resolution”

They Have Wandered Into an Unknown Land

Tales from Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery


Corrie Family Marker

The inscription carved on the Corrie family’s marker undoubtedly referred to life after death, but it also accurately captured the lived experiences of thousands of people buried in Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery. They are the ones who traveled thousands of miles to establish new homes in Minneapolis. Once settled, they tended not to travel far. They may have moved from house to house but for the most part they rarely strayed far from their first neighborhood—near to jobs, churches, family members and friends.

The Corrie family came to Minneapolis from England by way of Canada. Frederick Charles Corrie, the patriarch, was born in 1852. When he was 30 years old, he moved with his wife, Frances (Fannie) Hill, and their oldest son, also named Frederick, to Quebec. Two more children, Herbert and Tenice Rose, were born there. In 1889, they made one more major move—this time to Minneapolis. After traveling more than 4,000 miles, they were finally home.

Fanny gave birth to three more children. In 1890, she had twin girls, Edith and Ethel, and in 1892, she gave birth to Ralph. Ethel died from pneumonia in 1893.… Read the rest “They Have Wandered Into an Unknown Land”

Alley Annual Report – It Belongs To You!

From the Editorial Leadership Committee

2021 was a year of activity and evolution for the alley Editorial Leadership Committee. Highlights were – 

  • Welcoming new volunteers Tina Monje, Vivi Grieco, Laura Hulscher
  • Continuing our in-depth, local pandemic coverage through the summer and into the transition back to in-person school
  • Covering the Ward 6 and 9 CIty Council races and publishing voter education articles from The League of Women Voters
  • Partnering with the Semilla Center for Healing and the Arts to distribute The Phoenix of Phillips literary magazine, Volume VII
  • Moving to a more local printer to help with printing and delivery schedules
  • Working to expand paid positions, including the first business manager and website improver – Ben Heath!
  • Participating in community events as the post-vaccine world began to open up, including tables at the Phillips West Fall Festival and the American Swedish Institute Neighborhood Night. Look for us at upcoming neighborhood events!
  • Collaborating with artist and new alley designer Jessie Merriam on developing the distinctive visual feel of the alley

ELC Hopes and plans for 2022 and beyond –

  • Expanding cultural coverage of the Phillips community
  • Forming school partnerships to feature youth and student voices
  • Highlighting Phillips’ small businesses and the diverse people behind them
  • Building our community volunteer base to help fulfill these hopes and plans!
Read the rest “Alley Annual Report – It Belongs To You!”

Student Loan Program Changes Could Help Forgive Your Debt


Reprinted with permission from LSS Financial Counseling Sense and Centsibility Blog

If you are paying off student loans, you probably have noticed recent headlines about making student loan forgiveness possible for more borrowers. The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) is making (temporary) fixes, officially called a waiver, to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. Here’s your guide to understanding the DOE’s changes and navigating the system so you can get your payments counted towards forgiveness.

If these changes affect you, it’s crucial that you take action as soon as possible. The waiver will end on October 31, 2022.

What is Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)?

College graduates working for government agencies and non-profits are typically paid much less than their counterparts in private industry, yet they need the same level of education. Congress passed legislation in 2007 creating the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to make public service more appealing to graduates. PSLF offers forgiveness on the remaining balance of qualifying federal student loans after 120 qualifying payments, while working for a qualifying employer.

What Changes is DOE Making to PSLF?

The Department of Education created this waiver — finally — after years of complaints and a dismal rate of loan forgiveness. PSLF has been riddled with poor communication about program processes, confusion over what payments qualify for forgiveness, poor servicing and administrative foot dragging.… Read the rest “Student Loan Program Changes Could Help Forgive Your Debt”

New Council Brings New Hope for Environmental Justice in East Phillips


East Phillips Cultural Center gymnasium gathering, where community members gathered on Saturday, December 18th to lift up their ongoing work to bring community-led development to the Roof Depot site.

As Minneapolis residents waited to see what change would result from the November 2021 election, 75 to 100 community members gathered on Saturday, December 18th at the East Phillips Cultural Center gymnasium to lift up their ongoing work to bring community led development to the 7.6 acre Roof Depot site in the East Phillips neighborhood. Led by EPNI staffer Joe Vital, the meeting highlighted EPNI’s work to save the 230,000 square foot Roof Depot building for aquaponic farming, affordable housing, solar development, and a youth-led coffee shop, event center, and bicycle repair and assembly facility. Local BIPOC businesses displaced in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd are also supporting this community led effort. The meeting featured appearances of City, County and State level representatives. Restating their long-held support for the project were State Senator Omar Fateh and Hennepin County Commissioner Angela Conley. Neighborhood resident Karen Clark, who represented the area for 37 years in the state legislature, presented compelling documentation on disparities of income and wealth, as well as extremely elevated rates of asthma, childhood lead poisoning, and other environmentally related illnesses occurring in our majority BIPOC neighborhood.… Read the rest “New Council Brings New Hope for Environmental Justice in East Phillips”

First Black Police Chief in Minneapolis Leaves Much Undone


This commentary first appeared on the Minnesota Reformer,

It is difficult to countenance Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo’s betrayal of the Black citizens who greatly helped put him in that job.

Indeed, before he assumed the position in 2017, it would’ve been unthinkable. But, well, here you have it. Rondo, as he’s informally known, did nothing concrete about the department’s occupying-army treatment of a population desperately in need of a strong ally, beyond mandating body cams. His ordering fewer marijuana stops is laudable but not much more than politically correct. And he hardly deserves a pat on the back for the no-brainer of firing Derek Chauvin and his accomplices, taking a bow by testifying in court. At length, however, he sided with the enemy, then, with the announcement that he’s retiring next month, he blithely went on about his business.

When Arradondo’s name came up for consideration, the roar of support from Black folk, led by the likes of such veteran activists as Rev. Jerry McAfee, Spike Moss and Bill English, was not to be ignored. Had it been denied, all hell likely would’ve broken loose: protests up and down the streets and sidewalks in front of City Hall, demands for Mayor Jacob Frey’s head on a spike, the whole nine. … Read the rest “First Black Police Chief in Minneapolis Leaves Much Undone”

Hennepin County Workers Reject County’s Offer and Authorize a Strike

By AFSCME Locals 34 and 2822

photo credit James “Jim” Edin

AFSCME Locals 34 and 2822 have rejected Hennepin County’s latest labor contract offer. The County is attempting to stagnate wages, pass business costs on to employees, and is blatantly ignoring COVID risks employees are enduring during the pandemic. AFSCME Local 34 and Local 2822 members include social workers, human services representatives, service center representatives, and library workers.

On Monday December 13,workers represented by AFSCME Locals 34 and 2822 voted to reject Hennepin County’s “Last, Best, and Final Offer,” and authorize a strike. The no vote comes one day after members of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49, representing county snow plow drivers and other workers also rejected the county’s offer.

Collectively AFSCME Locals 34 and 2822 represent 3,545 workers at Hennepin County, the two largest bargaining units who work at the county.

Throughout the negotiations process, AFSCME has made it clear to the employer that its members demand wages that keep up with inflation, real compensation for the COVID costs, and respect.

AFSCME also made it clear that the county’s take-backs were unacceptable, including introducing a two-tiered system eliminating sick and vacation leave for new hires (leaving PTO as the only option), and attacks on the union’s power by shifting costs of the arbitration process.… Read the rest “Hennepin County Workers Reject County’s Offer and Authorize a Strike”

Minneapolis Edible Boulevards is Hiring Youth!


Ingredients for making walnut meat taco bowls from December’s cooking class Photo provided by Minneapolis Edible Boulevards

Together with Growing North Minneapolis, Julius Rennie, Kelly Shay, and Caring is Culture, Minneapolis Edible Boulevards is hiring youth from the Phillips and Cedar Riverside neighborhoods to work through March 31, 2022. Applications will be open until the positions are filled. If you’re 14-18, enjoy engaging with your community and making a difference, and have a passion for growing food, we’d love to have you apply. You can find an application on our Minneapolis Edible Boulevards Facebook page, or send an email to

In other news: join us on January 22, 2022, for another free cooking class on Zoom! You buy the groceries and cook from your own kitchen; we provide instruction with Kelly Shay of Harmonious World. In December we made Walnut Meat Taco Bowls, which were absolutely delicious, and while we’re deciding what to make in January based on feedback from our attendees, we’d love to have you sign up. You can find the registration link for the event on our Facebook page. If you don’t do Facebook, reach out using the email above. We can’t wait to cook with you!

Transit: Happy New Year, People of Phillips!


Well, the year 2021 is drawing to a close and 2022 is just now starting. As a transit enthusiast, I have a lot to be disappointed in and a lot to look forward to, and I hope alley readers feel the same.

What was disappointing was primarily that the pandemic has decimated transit usage to the point where many bus and train routes have been curtailed. I had hoped things would be back to normal by now, but I suspect this is the new normal. The rise in attacks on innocent transit users, especially on unsupervised trains, is very disconcerting. There are people who now eschew the light rail for slower buses because they are perceived as safer. The fact that there is a shortage of bus and train drivers doesn’t help any, either.

However, there are reasons to be hopeful for a better future: Maybe even if humans don’t beat coronavirus, we may find a way to have an uneasy truce with it. Maybe we will find a happy medium with security/law enforcement where really harmful behavior is suppressed without them having to be so brutal about it. (Hint: the powers that be should study how other countries handle this stuff.)… Read the rest “Transit: Happy New Year, People of Phillips!”

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