NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
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October Random alley News ’22

By Lindsey Fenner

Tawfiq Islamic Center Vandalized: The mosque at 2400 Minnehaha Avenue in the Seward neighborhood was vandalized and burglarized on Sunday, September 4, with an estimated more than $50,000 in damages and stolen donations. Later that week, a mosque in St. Cloud was also vandalized, the fifth incident at a mosque in Minnesota this year. A solidarity event for the Tawfiq Islamic Center was held on September 10 and a GoFundMe has been created to support the mosque: https://gofund.me/6147cc9f. The Minnesota Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) is calling on the FBI to investigate, with concerns that the incidents are potentially hate crimes. The Tawfiq Islamic Center opened in 2014 and primarily serves the Oromo Muslim community. 

Housing Project Get More City Funding, Visit from HUD Leader: Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia Fudge stopped by 628 E Franklin on a visit to the Twin Cities at the end of August. The long vacant building is being redeveloped into affordable housing by the City of Lakes Community Land Trust in partnership with Hope Community. The project recently received an additional $750,000 in grant funding from the city as construction costs have increased. 

Leonard Peltier’s Walk to Justice Begins in Minneapolis: Organized by AIM Grand Governing Council, the spiritual walk began with a rally at Cedar Field on August 31 and will reach Washington, D.C. in mid-November. According to AIM, the Walk to Justice is a “1103 mile prayer being carried from Minneapolis MN to Washington DC for the release of Leonard Peltier.” Leonard Peltier is a Native American activist and AIM member who was convicted and imprisoned for the murder of two FBI agents as part of a shootout at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in 1975. Seen by many as an innocent political prisoner, there have been increased calls for the Biden Administration to grant Peltier clemency. Peltier, aged 78, has been in federal prison for over 45 years, and has suffered from poor health in recent years. Learn more about the Walk to Justice by visiting: http://www.aimgrandgoverningcouncil.org/

City Funding for Urban Ventures Gun Diversion Program Extended through 2025: The Pathways Gun Diversion Program, first piloted by Urban Ventures in 2017, works with people who have plead guilty to gross misdemeanor  illegal gun possession. In an effort to prevent reoffense, Urban Ventures has worked with the City Attorney’s Office in developing a 9-month curriculum to teach decision-making and coping skills and awareness of the impact of trauma. The City is contracting with Urban Ventures up to $790,000 through 2025. So far the program has worked with 130 participants, with 64 people graduating from the program, according to the City. 31% of graduates have gone on to commit new crimes. Urban Ventures is a 25 year-old faith-based organization in Phillips West whose goal is “to prepare and send every child in our neighborhood to college or some form of postsecondary education.”

Abbott Northwestern Hospital Air Permit Approval Timeline “Postponed Indefinitely” Pending Investigation: The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is delaying the release of a draft air permit and public comment period for the hospital’s Central Utility Plant at Chicago Avenue and E 26th Street. Reporting by the alley in the September 2022 edition found that Allina Health had started construction on the Utility Plant before the air emissions permit was approved, which appears to be in violation of MPCA rules. MPCA staff attended the September 7th Southside Green Zone meeting to give an update on the project. Community members with questions about the project can contact MPCA air permit engineer Jeffrey Hedman at Jeffrey.hedman@state.mn.us.

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