NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
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ReUse Center Closed after 15 years

ReUse Center Closed after 15 years

by Harvey Winje The Reuse Center in Phillips closed on Dec. 11th, held a one week on-line auction, gave away the remains, and was ended by Dec 31st. The Mpls. Reuse Center, which began as the first retail sales store selling reusable building materials in an urban shopping center in the United States, opened at the Hi-Lake Shopping Center on October 15, 1995. An Elder from Little Earth, Gladys Cain, opened the program with a traditional American Indian smudging and blessing followed with remarks by Senator Paul Wellstone, David Morris, city, county and state political representatives, environmental activists and community residents. This event topped off the culmination of 2 years of writing a business plan, fundraising, and conducting a pilot project in local warehouses in Phillips. The ReUse Center did not originate from an idea of a few nor did it come from an entirely environmental perspective. Instead, it arose out of a controversy between Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis versus the Phillips Community about clearing land of 27 homes and 5 businesses where a state of the art, garbage transfer station was to be built costing 10 million dollars. A diverse community of homeowners and renters, seasoned activists and passionate mothers decried that their children were worth more than what a garbage station represented and that together, they would fight to prevent this from occurring. The garbage transfer station was not built in Phillips. In fact, it was not built anywhere. Instead, the community did the research to discover that they could save Hennepin County these many millions of dollars with a relatively simple remodeling to the downtown incinerator to accept the existing garbage trucks to operate efficiently. This organizing effort became the catalyst for The Green Institute. (more…)

A Letter of Gratitude to the Phillips Community”¦from Leon Oman

A Letter of Gratitude to the Phillips Community”¦from Leon Oman

by Leon Oman Dear Community of Phillips, Let me express my deepest thanks and gratitude to the Phillips community upon my retirement from Community Education at Andersen School. It has been a profound joy and honor to serve with you over the past 28+ years. I appreciate all the well-wishes that people have shared, both formally and informally, for this next chapter of life. As I reflect on these many past years, gratitude also swells up within me for all of the ways that Phillips, both you as individuals and you as organizations, have supported Community Education: You have participated in classes and activities; involved yourself as volunteers, teachers and staff; used our gym and meeting facilities; provided input and feedback for programming, both informally as well as formally through our Advisory Council; partnered with us on out-of-school time programs for youth and lifelong learning for adults; provided financial support for many initiatives; collaborated on events; and many other ways. Your personal support along that way has been so fulfilling and motivating. The community has changed a lot in the years I”'ve been here. I can so clearly recall my first day in June, 1981 ”“ getting off the #21 bus on Lake and 10th Ave. and walking up to Andersen ”“ stepping over tree limbs that had fallen when a Sunday tornado had ripped through South Mpls. I traveled a lot on foot in those days, trying to get a close-hand view of the neighborhood and meeting the folks that lived here and were leaders here. The Egg and I on Chicago Ave., was a great place to meet with people, much like Maria”'s is today. It was then that I came to know the great community activism that is such a hallmark of Phillips ”“ both leaders who work in the neighborhood organizations as well as folks working on their blocks to make improvements. A wonderful case in point some years ago ”“ a drug house that was down at the end of Andersen Lane, a [...]

Leon Oman retires after 28 years in Community Education at Andersen Elementary

Leon Oman retires after 28 years in Community Education at Andersen Elementary

By Harvey Winje Two hundred people greeted and cheered Leon Oman on his last day of 28 years as a Minneapolis Schools Community Education Coordinator at Andersen School in the Phillips Community. His years as a community educator brought together his passion for education, his seven years experience as a social worker, as well as, his involvement in citizen participation in the Rice Park neighborhood. Five presenters reminisced about years spent, experiences shared and generally agreed that there were no skeletons about which they could “roast” Leon. However, they altered a shared experience while on a car trip in order to be sure we all knew Leon had made at least one mistake in his career. The Webster Open School Cafeteria was gaily decorated setting the mood for an upbeat celebration that included several of Leon”'s family members, Phillips Community residents, community leaders from many neighborhoods, past interns, students, current and former colleagues and many, many friends. Paul Boranian attended the event. He was the founder of Community Education in Minneapolis, its director for many years and was the person who hired Leon 28 years ago. Community Education”'s current Director, Jack Tamble also paid a tribute to Leon. The program was one and a half hours long as attendees shared personal experiences and examples of Leon”'s gentle demeanor whether he is handling parking or curriculum issues, interfacing with the day school, student conduct, or sustaining relationships with many community groups in South Minneapolis. One former principal said he recalled that when he first came to Andersen, he discovered that meeting new neighbors, interfacing with personnel for the first time, or bringing up new ideas were all made more credible if he just mentioned Leon”'s name first. He then said that he discovered the same was true when he was reassigned years later to a North Minneapols school. Yes, indeed Leon”'s name [...]

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